Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No title seems fitting....

As I write this Sean and I are watching a movie called 'The Brave One'.
Words are filling my head and begging me to write them. I only wish I were half as eloquent as the writer of Jodie Foster's lines in the movie.
For those that have not seen it - a woman and her boyfriend are attacked in Central Park. The boyfriend is killed and she becomes a 'woman with a grudge'. I am not a spoiler, I would hope that you could have gotten that much from a tv preview. What you don't hear are her words throughout the movie. They spoke to me in ways that only one who has experienced fear brought on by others, can understand.
I was 16 when I was raped. It was August...and two weeks afterwards I was at our small town's 'festival' discussing with my friends, who somehow knew, the effets of a stun gun on the human body. I desperately wanted one. I lived in fear.
Since that night I have this twitch - I cringe when I call what happened to me 'rape'. Why? I have no idea, except I know that it could have been worse. I could have been hurt - or killed. My boss' wife, who I worked with, told me of her 2nd rape experience...by the cab driver who held a gun to her head.
When I think about the experience in these terms I know how blessed I was.
But.
From the night my father and I drove away from that diner and I saw that awful man's car, packed full of his 'buddies', I felt fear. I always wondered if the car lights behind me at night belonged to that car, I would scan the thousands of people at the amusement park and fight hiding under the desk when I saw a large man with a shaved head. When I had to walk the back way out of work at night I dreamed of being able to reach in my bag and pull out a weapon - and I dreamed of having the chance, and courage, to kill him because of how he had changed my life.
Now, I'm not writing all this to bring up this story again. In the movie she talks about how 'there is no going back to that woman you were before' and street corners you once felt safe on, are no longer what they were before. You'll find familiar stairs that you are now afraid to go up.
She says that she thought fear was for other people - weaker people - until it touched her.

We often have our notions of life. I'll never say that thing, or do that one. That will never happen to me. "How can people live like that? Why don't they just go get a job?"
Then one day we wake up like every other and realize that our 'beliefs'..or life-affirmations...are way off base. For some people it will crush them. They will see themselves as failures and let it rot their lives. For others it will give them understanding and sympathy. They will take the life lesson on passing judgement. They will rise above and make the world a better place - hopefully - by passing that understanding onto their children and those that they meet.

Who would you be?

3 comments:

Marylin said...

I have never been through an ordeal like yours, and I feel really blessed that I haven't.

I have been through some things that would crush people though, and I am still here, I am stronger, and I will pass on what I've learned to my boys once they're older.

There are still times when I have little fantasies of what I'd do to persons X, Y or Z if I was ever to see them again, but then I know that it just wouldn't be worth my time or effort. These things are pushed to the side and I think up something special to do with my boys to take my mind off it.

I'll always be raw to a certain extent, but if I let myself be consumed by it I'd never DO anything with my life!

((hugs)) for you Kendra, you're a wonderful person and don't you forget it! xx

Kendra said...

Thanks Marylin :)

I know what you mean about doing things with the kids. I have moments...though few they are...where I'm reminded of 'bad' situations of my life. I'll look at my kids and be able to think 'I have risen above...and we will all be better for it' and there are times where I'm angry that depression from past events has affected them in any way. Its a strange dance.

Melissa said...

Wow. What an amazing post.

Your question is interesting for me. For me the answer is "both." I don't think I ever needed empathy. I've never thought "That would never be me." I do try to pass understanding onto other people. But I am "crushed" by stuff. Very much so. I don't "rise above" though I would like to. I know that for some people, difficult experiences make them stronger. With me, they chip away at my soul.