It’s clear that my fear helps me think I’m not enough. Not ______ enough. And that blank can be filled with many different things. I also have a bit of a misconception about forgiveness that I’m looking at today.
I wrote a while back about being grabbed at the park by some creepy guy and how messed up I was about it. I’m not used to thinking of myself as a victim anymore. I consider myself a strong and confident woman, and when that happened, I started to question my perception of myself. Here is how my mind was using fear to keep me trapped instead of letting go:
- There were two of us at the park that day with our girls. He grabbed me. I must have looked like the weaker one. That’s one of those insidious lies my fear starts bringing forward. As if some crazy guy (who later wielded a pen as if it were a knife when confronted by the policeman) was discerning enough to decide who looked like the easier target.
- The day it happened I downplayed everything – especially how it felt to have my arms pinned to my sides from behind. I didn’t want to think through to what might have happened if my friend had not been there. What if he had chosen to attack before she got there? Why had I gotten out of the car when I saw a strange man at the park? He creeped me out, but I overcame my own internal warning system saying to myself, Times are hard right now & not every homeless guy at the park is dangerous. Have some compassion. Then I followed dd within 24 inches of the play equipment & didn’t let her out of my sight.
- Now I find out the police didn’t arrest him. It appears that they took him to a mental facility from which he was released shortly thereafter. They did this for a number of reasons (like the fact that he acted a bit crazy) and it seems like a big part of it is that I wasn’t actually injured because I got loose before anything happened. Here I question my worth- was it not important that this happened? was I not that important that they would arrest him? I feel invalidated. It’s not personal, but it feels personal.
- Now he’s been arrested for similarly attacking 2 other women, only these women didn’t get away until after he dragged them to the ground. I can’t help but wonder- if they had arrested him back in September, would these other events have happened? It makes me angry that it happened at all.
So I’m angry. I’m angry at the police for not arresting him in Sept. I’m angry at him for grabbing me and making me feel unsafe in my own neighborhood. And I’m angry at myself for not being more proactive, for not paying attention to the warning signs, for taking chances with my daughter’s safety.
But I don’t want to be angry. It keeps me stuck in the role of victim. It keeps me stuck in the experience of fear. So my next step is forgiveness and realizing that forgiveness doesn’t mean that “everything is ok.” (I mean, if you’re reading this you can see that things are not yet ok.) But if I am going to get to ok, if I am going to reclaim my strength and confidence, I have to start with me. I can’t change anyone or anything else.
So I choose to forgive the experience. I forgive being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I forgive hiding under the covers for a week after. I forgive myself for poor judgment. I forgive this man for his action and intention. I forgive the police for being numb to crime.
I choose to release my anger. I choose to live without regret. I am sure this experience is here to teach me something and I am open to seeing what that might be. I choose to let go my ideas and expectations surrounding this experience and instead open to the limitless possibility of today.