SHAME

Photo credit: James Phillips

The scene opens… there are six or so of us sitting around a restaurant table discussing our favorite cocktails.  I found the saw in my drink in front of me and took a long sip.  “I can’t believe you’re drinking.  What about the child you’re carrying? Have you even thought of them?” snipped my friend to the left.  I was floored with betrayal.  I had recently taken a leap of desperate faith and confided  in her about this pregnancy.  I couldn’t believe that she had just outed me, and in such a nasty way.  Shame.

“How could you be pregnant?” said one friend. Shame.

“What were you thinking?” said another. Shame.

“Oh honey…” said a more compassionate voice. Shame.

I looked back at the original accuser with sharp eyes of pain, hate, and disbelief and rose from my chair.  In a fog I walked out of the restaurant, not even bothering to take any belongings with me.  I just had to get out.  I had to run away.  Shame.  Looking left, I stumbled along in the way of a drunk person headed home.  The present circumstances of my life had just come shouting into reality and I was sick.  Continuing to walk, I had no destination, I just wanted to keep moving… as if my crisis was oil that would just roll off my back.  But no.  Shame… still more shame.  I couldn’t decided if I wanted to die or just keep running.  I wasn’t even thinking clearly enough to figure out suicide.  I noticed a car’s open driver side door, climbed in, started the engine and speed away, not even caring what stranger saw me.  I just wanted to run away faster, much, much faster.  Shame.  There was a tree just up ahead.  As if I was deciding what to have for lunch, I plainly thought to myself, “I wonder if that would work,” and accelerated the car with purposeful aim.

//

I awoke this morning feeling immense shame.  This disgusting blanket of emotion was so heavy on my chest I felt as though someone was holding it down.  The above story was all a dream I had last night, with just a little too much truth mixed in there for my comfort.  But it got me thinking… about this idea of SHAME and how powerful it can be.  It’s so choking, so demeaning… such a lie full of truth.  I think much of the power in shame comes because it attacks the core of a person.  It screws with your very identity, not just telling you that you did a bad thing but that you are a bad thing.  With this in mind, I’m finding that the only way to beat it is to make sure that truth is securely married to the essence of the good you know yourself to be.  Hang on tight to that.  That truth is where I find my independence today.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

(Post originally written 6/18/12)

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My Relapse Lie

Let’s talk about right now the thing I reeeeally don’t want to talk about.  Relapse.  First of all, what is relaspe in the context of trafficking?  It’s when a girl, previously controlled by a pimp/trafficking finds freedom and yet at some point seemingly gives up her freedom and returns to her abuser.  Yes, this may sound absurd, but from the eyes of the girl, it’s actually complety logical (and a normal part of the healing process).

Secondly, I’d like to express my distain for the word “relapse.”  A relapse implies that someone has retuned to a negative addiction to “something”.  I’d like to argue that it’s usually not that these girls are addicted to sex or money… but more that they just still haven’t found in their new life what they were looking for to begin with… real love.  As I look at my own life, I might even say that it’s the misunderstanding of love, value and identity that trigger my desires to return to The Life.

Lies like, You’re fulling yourself to think that you’re anything more than a whore; Everyone can tell what you’ve done; Life is harder now than it ever was before; You’re going to fail again, just stick to sex, it’s all you’re worth; No one’s ever going to love you here; You were so horrible and disloyal to leave, you broke their hearts and ruined their lives– how dare you?!… lies like those have a certain knack for infiltrating the mind at its weakest moments.  I know that these are lies, my mind KNOWS this… but sometimes it takes my heart a moment to catch up and I find myself entertaining the possibility of going back… going back to what was once home.

There is so much shame wrapped up in all of this.  I feel much shame because I can honestly say that I’ve never missed my parents.  What kind of person can say that? I must be bad for feeling that way, right?  But it’s true.  There’s nothing about the people who put me in front of rape night after night that I miss.  They, and all the other traffickers and pimps out there, are the ones who first instilled those lies in my heart.  The truth is though, I know that I’m worth more than a life of prostitution.  I know real love, love that wants nothing in return is possible.  That’s what I have to cling to.  I can’t go back… I just can’t allow myself to go back.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

(Post originally written 3/12/12 and 6/13/12)

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