I was talking my mom’s ear off yesterday night, nursing a stomach ache and just chatting about anything and everything.
“Hi mom!” *waving like a 3 year old at a recital*
We started talking about being young and how I felt like I knew so much about so much. I had such strong convictions and beliefs about so many things that I had never even experienced. And I was telling to my mom about how, after a trauma that happened in college, I wanted so desperately to get back to that place that felt sure, certain and confident in my decisions and who I was. I wanted to get back to that place of knowing my mind.
Growing up is complicated though. The more I have experienced the more my eyes have been opened to life and it’s ups and downs. It’s easy to say what one would do in certain situations when one hasn’t really been in that situation because it’s all hypothetical. In those circumstances, nothing is really on the line so what do you have to lose? But when I’ve really been faced with life changing choices, or life altering circumstances, there’s more at risk.
When I was a teenager I felt very strongly that every person should report sexual assault. I used to say that if that ever happened to me I would most definitely report the person responsible because I would never want another woman to be hurt by that person again. And I believed that, then.
Here’s the deal…I was sexually assaulted. I was 18 years old and I was a baby. I had just moved out of my parents’ home for the first time and I trusted everyone and everything. I had lived a happy, sheltered life for the most part and I didn’t realize how frequently sexual assault occurred, especially on college campuses. I guess I never thought that would happen to me. And when it did…my previous beliefs and convictions fell away. My foundation of knowing fell away. There’s a groundlessness.
I did not report. Why? For a lot of really complicated reasons. And guess what? If you haven’t experienced a violent assault, you may not really be able to understand it anyway. My point is this…
I thought I knew what I would do in that exact situation and I had no idea what I was talking about.
Here’s the other thing, not all similar situations are the same. Maybe you have experienced sexual violence and you did report it. No two situations are ever the same.
Yes, sometimes my life now seems more complicated, less carefree and trusting, less decisive and sure, and less naive but I am sure about one thing-
No one has ever lived anyone else’s life but their own. And the older I get, the more life I’ve lived, the less I know!
And I guess I’m ok with that.