Forgiveness: One Survivor's Story
The only thing I really understand about forgiveness is that it goes beyond an apology; its making a commitment to change a behavior. I remember the man who used to make me wear his wife's wedding ring while having sex with him and then would apologize over and over for treating me like a sex object, until he would come back the next week and do the same thing.
Or the forgiveness my boyfriend, my pimp, would ask of me, while driving me home from a night of work, a night of being chained to the wall, repeatedly raped.
I have said I forgive them, only to move forward until one night I find myself lying in a bed reaching for a blade, a drink, a drug because the pain is so unbearable, the memories so intolerable, but I have forgiven them I say to myself.
I have grown up hearing that one is supposed to forgive, that in order to move forward, I must forgive. Its not about condoning a harmful act, but setting yourself free from whatever it may be. This concept has never made sense to me, nor do I believe it works.
And then there is myself, the one I cannot forgive. Why? I'm not sure. I would imagine it starts with grace, patience, love, respect. Characteristics I haven't allowed myself to indulge in for a very long time. Why I struggle to give these things to myself, I'm not sure.
Maybe its blame, perfection, shame and guilt that prevent me from forgiving myself.
What is clear to me now, is that I know very little about what forgiveness is, what it feels like, what it looks like, or even its purpose.
~A Local Chicago Survivor~