Have you wanted to just leave everything?
To walk away from life as you know it to pursue a different path?
A few months back, I coached an incredible woman named Alicia. Today, I invited her to the blog to share her story of how she changed her life and how she’s now, step by step, creating the life she desire.
I know you’ll love this post, and her.
After you’ve read it, make sure to leave a note to this brave, big-hearted and kick-ass woman in the comments section. It takes courage to share these things.
The floor is yours Alicia…
I was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I was taught that the sole purpose of my life was dedicated to serving a God named Jehovah.
This included attending multiple weekly congregational meetings, annual assemblies, preaching in local neighborhoods, reading the bible daily and studying supplemental bible literature. I did not enjoy any of these activities. I especially did not enjoy attending the weekly meetings or preaching.
As a young girl I was forced to give talks in front of the congregation. After the talks I was critiqued by a one of the male leaders in front of the entire congregation. They would point out the mistakes I made in my talks. I wanted to melt in my skin and later I would cry out of embarrassment and shame.
I also highly disliked preaching. I had to memorize a short speech and hand out magazines called The Watchtower and Awake. This made me feel distressed and uncomfortable. I felt my childhood was being taken away.
From my earliest memories something deep inside of me continuously told me that being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses was not for me. I was shy growing up, so I never spoke up for myself and I did not have the courage to tell my parents that I did not enjoy being in this religion.
I knew doing so would mean the end of the relationship with my family and friends. I was afraid that I would be trapped in this religion and be unhappy for the rest of my life.
At the age of 28, I finally decided enough was enough. I couldn’t continue to ignore this voice inside of me, telling me I have my own life to lead. I was depressed, confused and angry with myself as well as with the world.
Later that year I tried to commit suicide by swallowing every pill I had in my apartment. I missed work the next day and, as a result, was fired the following Monday. That same week the leaders of the congregation placed me on religious punishment.
That evening I wrote a letter to my mom. I told her I was leaving home and the religion, not to contact me and not to worry about me. I packed everything I could in my small two-door car (which I still own to this day) and drove to my friend’s house seventy miles away.
I had twelve dollars to my name.
Even though I had no money, no job, and no support, I never felt freer. From there I did some soul searching, I became a nomad and cried. A lot. I was confused about my lot in life. Eventually, I channeled the confusion to determination.
I knew I wanted to create my own family and put down my own roots. I wanted to create a community outside of what I raised in and used to. I tried different things. I went to nursing assistant school and, shortly after, I landed a job with a major hospital and got my own place.
I now have the support of my boyfriend, his family and the community that I have built. I also have a three-year-old daughter who is my heart and I love and adore.
My aim is to inspire my daughter – for her to grow up and know that even as a girl, she can be who she wants to be! I’ll make sure to ask her who she wants to be when she grows up.
Now I know that I want to inspire other people who are in a similar situation that I was, and to show them that there is a better way.
I am raising my daughter without religious restrictions and I want her and others to know that we can be better individuals, families, communities, states, countries, nations and world if we are courageous enough to follow our own voice and values, and not something that’s passed down by religion.
My 3 best tips if you want to change your life:
1. Change takes time, be patient and celebrate accomplishments along the way.
2. Your life if yours, choose what to do with it, or someone or something else will.
3. Be kind to yourself if you feel you have taken a step back. A step back may be the step needed that puts you in a better direction.
Alicia is a California native. Born and raised in Southern California, and now calls the Bay Area home. Alicia works at a University and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree. When she is not working or doing homework, her and her boyfriend Eddie are chasing, dancing, twirling or sipping pretend tea with their three-year-old daughter Lillian.
If you can relate to her story, she’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org