I was ten the first time I can remember reacting negatively.
My parents had pissed me off. We'd been visiting friends of theirs and I hadn't wanted to go with them. I'd wanted to stay in the hotel and watch some movie that was about to come on. They'd made me go with them. When we got there, I was looking for a way to show them exactly how mad I was. I thought about breaking something. I thought about being rude to their friends. By the time they sent all of the kids to the back room I'd still not found a way to show my parents how mad I was. Their friends had a son, he was 17, muscled, gorgeous and he kept smiling at me. I bet you guys know where this story is going don't you?
You'd be wrong.
We played house. Me and him, our younger siblings. All of us packed in that room, the lights off and it was getting dark and he, we'll call him S, suggested that everyone go to bed. Since he was the "daddy" and I was the "mommy" we laid next to each other away from everyone else. He leaned over at one point and asked me if he could "do something" to my butt with his fingers.
What the hell?
I had laughed and said "That's how we got our kids." Because at the age of 10, I wasn't a virgin (that's another story and one I'm not sure I'll ever share on here), so I knew what he meant when he said "do something." He laughed and said "No, I'm serious. Can I do something to your butt?"
Here was my opportunity. I was going to get back at my parents. I was going to let this older boy finger my ass and then I was going to tell my parents that I had LET him do it. So I nodded and said yes.
I don't know what he used. His saliva, Vaseline, hair grease (it's some that black people use for their hair just in case you didn't know)...all I know is that first he had one finger in my ass, then that one finger became two. I was in pain but I knew that pain was a part of sex, so I didn't say anything. When his hand covered my mouth and those two fingers became three I became afraid. What was he about to do? When his fingers left my ass and he pulled my pants down even further and lifted my top leg, I knew then that he was planning to fuck me in my ass.
I changed my mind at that moment. I started to try and push him away but his hand was held over my mouth and I was more concerned about the fact that my younger siblings were in the room. So I stopped fighting and let him fuck me.
I had someone tell me that that was rape. I think it would have been had I not agreed to it initially. There's still some debate. I saw S two years later and he apologized for raping me...right before he asked to have sex with me again. By this time, I was drinking and had begun doing drugs. More bad reactions to more bad things that happened to me.
So why am I writing this blog?
I learned a few years ago that it's natural for a person to react. It's instinctual. Someone does something nice for us, we react and say thank you. It's someone's birthday that we care about and we react and say happy birthday or get them a gift. If someone does something bad to us we react. We want to retaliate. We want to lash out. We want revenge. We cry. We get mad, we cuss, we do things that we may regret later but our humanity is proven in the fact that we REACT.
I think sometimes that people forget that people react. That we were all young once. That when someone feels pressured or ignored or offended or trapped that they will lash out. Sometimes the wrong person is hit and when that happens then the person who reacted needs to apologize, but once the apology is accepted then the incident needs to be forgotten.
We've forgotten how to forgive and forget. When you forgive someone, TRULY forgive someone for something that they did, especially when it wasn't malicious or spiteful, then you forget that it ever occurred. That's what true forgiveness actually is.
Yes, it hurts when we've been wronged, but an apology doesn't ease the emotional pain. An apology CAN'T ease the emotional pain. An apology shows that the person who did wrong is taking responsibility for their actions. The healing of that emotional wound? Well that's on the part of the wronged party.
I had to learn that the hard way. I'm still learning it to some degree. But when I think about all the times that I've been hurt, been suspected of being "selfish" or "self-centered" or "neglectful" or for even "being too private", when I think about the people who have wronged me, to a very serious degree...when I think of the malicious attacks on my person, I get angry all over, I hurt all over, I want to cry all over again...but then I remember how I REACTED the first time those things happened and the consequences of my REACTIONS. Then I remember coming home to my mother with tears in my eyes, sobbing, begging for her to let me move back in. I remember crying, begging for Christopher to forgive me for cheating on him...AGAIN. I remember begging my best friend to help me kick my habit one more time because I wanted to go to seminary school and make my daddy proud. I remember standing before a group of people and asking them to forgive me for turning my back on them at a time when they needed me the most.
Each time I remember those people forgiving me, giving me another chance and forgetting what had occurred. I remember them welcoming back with open arms. Most of all I remember them saying some version of, "Your actions hurt, but your reaction was understandable."
We have GOT to learn to display compassion to others. To be quick to love and slow to judge. To be slow to anger. To observe the situation from the other person's point of view before we take offense and allow ourselves to be hurt, because no one has the power to hurt you unless you give it to them. Most of all, we have to remember our own negative reactions to things so that we never sit in judgment when someone else reacts negatively, unless that reaction caused physical pain, financial ruin, or something equally destructive.
The biggest thing is this, as we mature we learn to think about our reactions, before we do them. We feel the instinct but we've learned to hesitate and think before we do it. When you're younger you haven't learned that yet, unless you've been through a lot. So when my baby cousin, at 9 years old, pushes someone who insulted me, I don't fly off the handle and berate him as I would someone who was 49 or even 19, because he is still a baby, I gently tell him that what he did was wrong and he reacted in a negative way. Then I discipline him, tell him I still love him and then I forget about it.
Again (and I've said this in earlier posts), this is how mature adults handle things. Yes, we still hurt, we still get angry, but we've learned to be quick to love, quick to forgive and slow to anger and hurt. Slow to react.
That's my revelation.