Not that I would ever trivialize the enormity of being a 'survivor' -- after all, I'm one, too -- but once the initial relief of realizing I'd attained that goal had abated, it wasn't long before I began to wonder, "OK ... now what?" Because there had to be something beyond that, something more substantial, something more satisfying and fulfilling, than the mere notion that I endured something horrific and managed to come out of it relatively intact.
Not that that's any small thing. Believe me, when you're in it up to your eyeballs, sometimes all you have is the comfort of "...if I can just get through to the other side of this with a pulse and a few functioning brain cells, that'll be enough." However, after nearly two years of being immersed in unimaginable anguish, then clawing my way out of it, and then slowly, oh-so-slowly-but-surely, putting some distance between myself and the pain, one thing has become abundantly clear: I cannot have the remainder of my life defined by the fire I just walked through.
That means I have to find a way to let it go. And that means I have to find a way to forgive. But how?
When someone's reality is such that their actions inflict pain upon others and yet, even though they are fully aware of this, they forge ahead anyway, or -- even worse -- if this person deliberately sets out with every intention of causing maximum damage, would it not stand to reason that this person has earned every bit of retaliatory hate and vengeance that comes his way? At first blush, that makes sense. At least, it did. But now I'm not so sure.
Clawing one's way out of the viscous pool of "victimness" gives a person a perspective on life which is worlds away from anything you ever imagined your life could be. Nothing feels certain any more, the ground under your feet is no longer guaranteed to be solid, and solutions give rise to as many questions as they do answers.
I've been on this earth nearly sixty years and I have heard the word "victim" bandied about with the same nonchalance as one might say "coffee cup" or "rain drop." I never fully comprehended the agonizing impact that word carried until it was applied to me. It's a terrible word because all the adjectives associated with it -- defenseless, powerless, vulnerable -- they are all like wagging fingers pointed directly at me, accusing me of weakness, inadequacy, blindness, and negligence. The first time I had to sit with a detective in order to report the crime, and had to identify myself as "the victim," it was as though some foreign thing outside myself suddenly and violently reached deep inside me, all the way to my soul, and wrenched out some vital part of me: the part that, up until that very moment, had always taken the solid ground for granted. And from that moment on, all in the world I wanted was to take back my power -- anything to stop feeling the way I did.
(Tune in next time when I talk about taking back your power.)
Copyright by Pamela S. K. Glasner © 2013, All Rights Reserved