Demon, I name thee Guilt.

I have a problem, I know things, I find out things, and when I do - I need to do something about them.  I cannot ignore them, I am compelled by an internal force to react to information.  I speak, I warn people, loved ones about dangers, about dangerous people, about everything I can to protect them.  To just give information, lots of information, all the information that I have in the hopes that they can make a decision on their own.  In the hopes that the responsibility I feel because of the knowledge I possess will be alleviated, that somehow by telling I am no longer responsible for people getting hurt because I knew they were getting involved with someone who is dangerous.  It doesn't work, I still feel guilty, I still feel like I could have said or done something, that I could have stopped people from getting hurt.

In my brain, my rational self knows better.  I know that I am not responsible for choices others make.

The basis of my guilt is not the incident at hand, it never is, the guilt is always there, just below the surface, waiting. 

So let me tell you why, why I feel compelled to "air dirty laundry in public", to "name names", to publicly avoid interacting with certain people and why I avoid giving money, time, and attendance to events that I know are run by sexual predators, to distance myself and those I love from people I have found to be dangerous - regardless of the reason, the explanation for the dangerous behavior - be it drugs, lack of meds, psychotic breaks, even simple they "were at a bad place in their lives".  Through intentional choices of behavior they have injured others or myself in ways that I find to be completely against my core values.  Not everyone shares the same values and standards that I do.  I know that - but I have mine and I use them and they serve me well.  Someday I might even get around to writing them all out.

Back to the story at hand:  A long time ago (over 15 years ago) in a world far far away (nowhere near herehere), when I was young, I was raped.  This is not new news, the details can be found by talking to me directly or of course if you were in my life at the time, you know this already.   I was raped, by a friend, an ex-lover, the details of which are not so important.  I survived with a little help from my friends.  I thrived with a little help from my family.  I did not pursue him, not legally, I mandated that my friends could not harm him, I chose that.  I chose it because I could not handle the dissonance between what he was and who he had become. 

I am responsible for there being no legal record of the rape.  I am responsible for choosing to allow him to live as a fully functioning man after the rape.  I chose that path.

Years later (around 5 or so) things happened, and entire series of events that some of you know & some of you may have to inquire about if you feel the need to know.  I found out that my rapist was on his way back to me, he knew where I was working, where I was living, he had a plan to get to me.  I found out that he had raped several other women in the interim years.  They looked like me, I've seen the pictures.  They looked just like me.  They were scattered all over the country, he was wanted in several states for these alleged crimes.

Upon finding this out I realized that I was responsible for their pain, I was the reason he was able to continue on his path.  I sat with that for many years, processing, the differentials between my path and the path I had allowed him to take.  I was on me, all on me.

It took those years for me to accept & deal with the fact that his path was his own.  I made choices that altered it but I am not responsible for his choice to walk it. 

I am not responsible for his other victims' pain, their lives, I know this.

But from that point forward in my life, I don't keep silent well, I don't easily keep quiet about things I feel are dangerous.  And with that we have reached full circle.  This is the story of why I am this way that I am.


Nothing quite like it

There is nothing on Earth like pulling the gag out to make one fall in love with one's own voice.  In the next week more posts will be appearing filling in the interim spaces.  In a few hours I will be officially free and under zero obligation to hold my tongue.  A great culling of the herd is due.  I am happy.