As 2016 winds down and the holidays rapidly approach, many people are finalizing their Christmas gift lists, preparing elaborate food menus, getting the guest room ready for family, and eagerly counting down to time when they feel they are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
For me, however, the holidays are not that special. I enjoy the time off from work, seeing family I haven’t seen in a while, and getting my grub on, but this Christmas will be just like any other Sunday to me.
The reason being is I grew up Jehovah Witness and don’t celebrate holidays. And while, technically I am still a Jehovah’s Witness, I do not follow the teachings any longer.
As soon as I say I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I usually get two reactions. One is a nod of acknowledgement as they start naming off other JW’s they know to see if I know them.
The second and most common reaction is the look of sheer horror and confusion on their faces:
“You’re one of those Jehovah’s?!”
“But you seem so…. normal.”
“Do you go knocking on people’s doors?”
I don’t even get offended anymore. I’m used to it. All my life I stood out and had to learn to be different and field questions about my “bizarre” beliefs.
Growing Up Jehovah
I was raised in a two-parent household. Both of my parents converted to the Jehovah Witness faith as teens and were heavily involved by the time I was born. Since I was raised JW, that was all I knew, and for a long time I had no idea I was different since JWs really only hang with other JWs. I have family members that are other religions but we are not close so I did not see them often.
My childhood was somewhat normal. My dad worked and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. She was heavily involved in the service ministry, so my days were spent going out in field service…all day. Field service is when you see people knocking on people’s doors and offering to study the bible with them. See, my mom was what they called a “regular pioneer” and they were required to get 90 hours a month in field service. My mom was very dedicated and we would literally be out in service from sun up to sundown.
I hated it.
Even after I got older and started school, in the evenings I would either be at the Kingdom Hall (it’s like church) or bible studies with my mom. Saturday mornings were spent in field service and Sundays, I was at the Kingdom Hall again. We would have family worship night at home and were encouraged to only read materials approved by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I read some secular books for school but not much outside of that.
In school, I stood out for not doing what the other kids did and sometimes I was teased. JWs don’t believe in pledging allegiance to the flag (our allegiance is to Jehovah and Jesus only), participating in extracurricular sports or activities (participating in those activities would require association with others who are not JWs and that is frowned upon), or celebrating holidays or birthdays because of their pagan backgrounds – so I never had a birthday party or received Christmas gifts.
At school when other kids were celebrating holidays, I would excuse myself and do other activities. My parents would buy me gifts for getting good grades, or just because, and I would have friends over for slumber parties. I never felt deprived and never missed celebrating holidays. I did, however, want to get involved in some extracurricular activities in school like track, cheerleading and band but wasn’t allowed to.
I always resented my parents for that.
Rebel Without a Cause
When I turned 14, like most teens, I started to rebel and do things that were against my religion and my parents’ wishes. I became friends with some girls at school who were not JWs and started to get into the party scene. We were all underage, but got our hands on fake IDs and started to hit the club scene, drinking, and smoking weed. I also got a boyfriend and started having premarital sex which is a BIG no-no in the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Having premarital sex willingly is grounds for being expelled from the congregation so I had to hide it from my parents and everyone I knew that went to the Kingdom Hall.
It was so hard and emotionally draining to live a double life, so eventually I got tired and told my parents that I did not want to be a JW anymore. They responded with “our house, our rules” so I continued to sneak and do what I wanted but I would still get caught sometimes. If any JW sees you doing something wrong, they are obligated to tell on you. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way because I could not talk to anyone about sex, boys, etc. I made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided if I could just have had a REAL conversation with someone older than me.
When you commit serious sins (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, murder, witchcraft, pornography), you have to talk to a group of designated men called Elders that decide if you get to stay in the congregation or not. They usually try to help get you back on track if you show them you are repentant. I messed up a lot so I got to know the Elders very well, but I always hated having to talk to them. It is embarrassing having to tell all your dirty deeds to someone.
Plus, depending on what you did, and the number of times you did it, they would announce to the congregation that you were basically on punishment. That was so embarrassing and other people would judge you. Not fun.
Walk By Faith, Not By Sight
I was always taught that if I ever left the JW religion, my life would turn out miserable. I remember they used to show us these skits of people who left and ended up on drugs, contracted AIDS, etc. so for a while I was terrified that I would end up like that. But that never happened. I moved out of my parents’ house at 18 and never looked back.
I started reading up on other religions. I wanted to know what else was out there before Christianity. There were times when I would feel that my life was missing some spiritual connection and I would try to go back to being an active JW, but it never lasted long.
I decided to start living my life for me and do what made me happy.
Any education after high school was always discouraged. They encouraged everyone to get involved in the ministry full time and just find a job that allows you to pay your bills but not look for a career. I decided to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree. I met new people, did some traveling, and started to see the world outside of what I was taught.
[Tweet "To me, any religion that encourages relatives to abandon their own flesh and blood is not something I want to be a part of."]
My relationship with my parents suffered because they do not have much contact with me since I decided to stop practicing the JW faith. The only time I hear from them is when they are trying to get me to go to some JW service or get me to read some JW publications. Other than that, nothing. To me, any religion that encourages relatives to abandon their own flesh and blood is not something I want to be a part of.
There are still some principles of the JW faith I believe, but I also believe some other teachings from other faiths. I haven’t found one faith where I believe everything they teach.
Now, I am in my 30’s and finally feel like I really know who I am.
I have an awesome group of friends and I am in a great relationship with a loving man and we are planning our future together. I know that my parents will most likely not come to our wedding and I have come to terms with that.
I no longer live my life for others. I still pray to Jehovah, but I don’t want to go back to being a Jehovah’s Witness. I could be completely wrong. Jehovah’s Witnesses might have everything right. All I know is it's not right for me and no one else has to understand or agree with me and I can honestly say I am completely ok with that.
Have you ever had problems in your relationship with your faith? How did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy