Last night I came across a tweet from someone attending Skepticon and was propelled into the deepest of thoughts regarding this past year. MY past year.
It’s important to note that 2013 has been my year I have regarded as selfish and should have been labeling it self-care.
At the age of 8, I learned life wasn't fair. Widely misused statement by most but I am going to define my use of the phrase. I learned life was NOT equal, good, forgiving, kind, loving, pretty, comfortable, instantly rewarding, purposeful, happy or even something I thought worth having. The idea of God died as well, for obvious reasons. At the age of 8.
At the age of 6, I got shingles from the stress I endured from my outside environment. I was the victim of abuse by a family member periodically up until that vivid vivid day when I was all of eight years old. I can still remember what my mother smelled like when she hugged me and told me to lock the door. What took place on the other side that night is still a reoccurring mystery in my head, but I can tell you what happened to me from 6-8 yrs of age set my life into motion, without my consent.
I will tell you what was on the other side of that door: my parents, my attacker, a handgun and a conversation that I will probably never have the advantage in knowing. Standing on the truth, no matter how ugly, is not something I've been privileged to during this process. We are all nursing pretty big wounds but the adults in the situation didn't take into account, the brutal acts alone, made me not a child anymore.
My bedroom was situated on the front of our house, so I would crawl on my bed over to the window and softly lift up the vinyl blind panels with my tiny fingers as I waited. I remember seeing lights. I know my memory desperately wants to remember police lights, but I am sure they were the lights of my predator’s dilapidated van, being allowed a second chance at life and given the benefit of doubt to streamline back into society under the verbal contract of not coming near me again. This is where parents think they are doing the right thing and not understanding your life is not up for barter, at any point in time.
There was no dramatic ending here. There was no justice. Just the continuation of life for a very perplexed 8 year old girl.
A few years later, my attacker was imprisoned FOR THE SAME CRIME HE COMMITTED ON ME. Now, we have an interesting complex mix of emotions regarding perpetual fault here. That other girl could have been saved. Then again, children are not the decision makers here, and I still have to remind myself of that.
As some of you may or may not know, I had a phone meeting this week. It was with the Texas Parole and Pardons Board. After many years of tracking him down on my own, I put myself in the system to seek some personal healing. On the account of my relationship to him and being a victim, I was allowed to protest his parole on tape, issue a victim statement and tell my story.
22 years later.
My story isn't a personal anecdote anymore- It is evidence, testimony to the truth, a statement of the facts. It holds value when applied correctly. This part of my life is no longer a black hole shrouded in shame. It was brought to light for retribution and self-care.
I have not been the most reliable person this year to some people and I am tired of feeling bad because mending isn't a timed appointment. I do not seek apologetic exchanges or pity. That is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to make those aware of my selfish living this year. Yes I am 30 and life owes us nothing- so I am taking what I can back. I am taking back what time I can and applying value to it.
Call me selfish. I’m okay with that.