Is this a controversial statement? Does it ruffle your feathers, make you hot with indignation? Every so often I come across these words, having jotted them down in an old journal. My response to these idealistic words varies. Sometimes my head nods in silent agreement. One has only to buck up and stop thinking about the past with all its handicaps and hardships! Don’t use the past as an excuse to not accomplish what you can in the here and now!
Another response is total indignation. How can one make such an assertion? How can any of us possibly be who we might have become when every day is a struggle merely to survive? When I’m stricken with such indignation it’s usually because I’m soul weary of dealing with the aftermath of the actions of others towards me. I’m most apt to take offense during these times to easy sounding platitudes and glib pronouncements. I strongly suspect they are made, always, by those who have no concept of true suffering.
Other times when I read these words, my mind just sort of wanders. I ponder who I thought I was as a child before the abuse began. From there I consider how my self-image changed dramatically overnight with one contaminating touch. And the question this quotation poses is, “What if I had to go through everything I’ve experienced in life to be who I am today?” Many times over the years I’ve felt robbed of my true potential. I’ve felt heart-sickeningly certain that now there was no chance in the world that I could be who I’ve always wanted to be. How could I, living with the repercussions of sexual abuse?
And yet, the infrequent nagging voice persists. What if there is a purpose in the chaos and hell of my past? I don’t mean purpose in the sense that God decided, “I want Beauty to be like this and that, so I think I’ll send a pedophile into her life to make sure she ends up with a strong character.” Maybe it boils down to another question, Do I believe that things happen for a reason? Which leads me back to the beginning, though. If I believe that everything happens for a specific reason, then I pretty much have to accept that my childhood abuse was ordained. Which puts God in league with the evil on this planet.
But maybe it’s more like this. Maybe I was meant to become a certain person and the means of accomplishing that aren’t important. Maybe I could have become who I was meant to be if I’d been born blind or with missing limbs. Could it be that it’s not the circumstances themselves that form character, but how one responds to those particular circumstances?
I do believe there is free will involved. True, I never had a choice in what was done to me as a child. I do have a choice though in choosing to allow bitterness and self-pity to rule and destroy me.
Am I still capable of being what I might have become, in spite of all the midnight tears and shame and unspeakable terrors? Or (and this may be stretching it a bit, but needs to be considered honestly) not in spite of but because of all my sufferings? Without them would I have lived a thoughtless, selfish life? Without suffering to soften my rough edges would I have ended up shallow and phony? Could I reach out to others with empathy if not for my own heartbreak?
I’ve not come to any definite conclusions on this matter, for my alters each have their own unique viewpoints. Still, it’s a question worthy of serious thought, “Is it too late to be what I might have become?”