Inspiration and Definition

I watched an episode of Dateline NBC about the rape and murder of Kenia Monge and the rape, beating and attempted murder of Lydia Tillman.  I watched their stories unfold and was in awe of Lydia's courage, strength, heart and her unbelievable capacity to forgive.  At the sentencing of the monster who raped her, beat her so severely that she was unrecognizable even to her sister, and then tried to cover it all up by dousing her in bleach and setting her on fire, Lydia was able to do something extraordinary.  Through a written statement delivered by her father, since, as a result of what happened to her, she had a stroke and still needed to learn how to speak again, Lydia Tillman forgave the man who did this to her.  She said she no longer wanted to live with hate and anger in her heart.  She chooses, instead, to live life through an acronym for her name: Live Your Days Inspired Anew (L.Y.D.I.A).
I am amazed and inspired by Lydia.  She walked into the courtroom shortly after being released from the rehabilitation hospital she called home while she recovered from her injuries.  She looked the monster in the eyes and forgave him.  I have not been able to forgive the monster that molested me as a child nor the monster that raped me.  I have not been able to get to that point and reconcile the things that they did to me and being able to forgive them for it.
I have always understood forgiveness as telling the forgiveness seeker that what they did is OK; that the damage that they caused with their act no longer exists.  I have the capacity to forgive. I can forgive friends and family when we get in arguments, get on each others' nerves and do things that hurt each other out of pure stupidity.  We are each others' friends and families, we fight and make up.  These things happen in the best of relationships.  Rape and abuse are not that easy for me to forgive.  These are two things that have impacted my life and changed me dramatically. These things have made it difficult for me to trust other people.  These are things that have made me scared to pursue romantic relationships, even though I want to.  These are things that have made me doubt myself and my instincts.  How do I forgive the people who did these things to me?  How do I forgive the person who robbed me of my childhood, left me with memories that are blank, and stole so much of my innocence?  How do I forgive a man who professed his love for me yet raped me as I slept?  How do I forgive an act of pure evil?
I believe that I have to let go and heal before I can be free of it, but I don't know how to forgive these things.  I don't know how to forgive the hell I have lived as a result of what these two people did to me.  The one thing I do know is that Lydia Tillman has inspired me to try.  I do not want to live in a constant world of distrust and fear, questioning each and every word that comes out of a man's mouth looking for a sinister meaning.  I want to be able to go out on a date with a man without an intense level of anxiety and fear.  I want to be able to fall in love without feeling that it will all fall disastrously apart because of some fucked up belief that I do not deserve good things in my life.  I want to live without fear again.  I want to live inspired anew each day. I just have to do it day by day, hour by hour.


Comments

  1. I love you and hope you learn to love and trust again.

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