I went to a club tonight. And ran into some jw's from my past. One was the DJ. He was the cousin of one of my good friends from my teen years. DJ man didn't shun me. I don't think he knew I was "no longer a jw" (the official announcement made when someone leaves the cult). He didn't ask. I didn't tell him. That's their rules, their game, their narrow box. I felt no need to play into it. And it felt good. Damn good.
It's been almost 2 years since I left the cult and I was curious to know how some of my old friends were doing. I first asked about his cousin. Found out that he, wife and child are all well.
DJ man then goes on to tell me that another friend, my first boyfriend in fact, is not doing well. Apparently, ex-boyfriend, now married, is out of work and sits around and plays video games all day. Now, he did that when I was with him. Of course, we were teenagers then. It's not quite the same when you're 33.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized that my breaking up with this person was a very smart thing to do, although I was heartbroken at the time. This ex-boyfriend was abusive to me. His abuse changed the course of my life for the next 10 years, as I worked to undo the damage he did to my psyche. It could've been worse. Much worse.
Just as we were finishing up our conversation, I caught sight of another jw friend of mine. Someone I knew was well aware that I was no longer part of the cult. He was one of my best friends. We had known each other since we were children, our mothers being good friends. And we shared a lot together. When I left the cult, he would not say goodbye to me. I was heartbroken. The last social event I attended as a jw was his wedding, a bittersweet event. I knew at the time that I was going to be leaving the cult and that I would probably not see him again. But my heart was also sad as I remembered how much I loved this person.
As he entered the DJ room, our eyes met. I smiled. He turned his eyes away from mine. No acknowledgment. No smile. I held my head up high and walked past him onto the dance floor.
I danced and danced. I would catch his eye occasionally and smile. He would quickly turn away. I felt sorry for him. I realized that the shunning was hurting him more than it was hurting me. As the night wore on, the dance floor crowded and we ended up dancing close, almost back to back. It felt good to be near him. Even if just for a moment. I sent him a silent hello and let him know that he was loved. Shortly thereafter, he left the club. As he descended the stairs, he stopped, turned my way and smiled. And I smiled back.