An Open Letter on a Personal Matter   2 comments

To Whom It May Concern,

When I say that I’ve done many things in which to be ashamed, I’m not even sure I understand the weight of those words, the power behind the statement’s intent. I’m nearly 38 years old and I am on the better end of a life of pure strife, sharing my mind, body and soul with things like severe drug addiction, sexual deviance, social anarchy and, quite honestly, a lack of connection. And here I sit having not slept, my mind racing and my heart skipping beats as if to practice stopping altogether, wondering if I even want to ask for forgiveness from anyone that I’ve offended. Because when it comes right down to it, my life has been a global event. The years have passed and the situations have taught me not just my likes and dislikes, but the sincere essence of what it means to be a human being.

Don’t judge me. At least, if you feel the overwhelming need to judge, ask me for details and pay attention to the who, what, where, when, why and how’s that play a part in my design. My guess is that we’ve all lived a life full of mistakes. I know that I have and I believe that I am not so unlike you that maybe, just maybe, you have some things to look back on and shiver with your own bout of guilt.

Yes, I have danced with every drug I know of except for peyote and no matter how “clean” I am, if I can get my hands on some I will certainly do it because I’d love to be able to say that I’ve done every drug I’ve ever heard of. I realize that sounds reckless and perhaps just plain stupid to most people, but I don’t really care. I’d rather be honest with you. And that’s the simple truth. If I find peyote, I’m going to try it. But don’t let that take away from the fact that several years ago I stopped using drugs and have only had a handful of set back in which I was very proud of the way I walked away. I prefer being a drug free individual. I am not against social drug use. Sorry. I think partying can be a fun and quite valuable way of enjoying life and learning about who you are. But I have a very addictive personality and I lack control once drugs are introduced and it just doesn’t work out well for me. Besides, I started using drugs because of a struggle I faced in dealing with my father’s drug addition and in dealing with his death and my relationship with him I have worked my way passed any justification for using anything other than properly prescribed medications.

Now, I’d like to blame all of my mistakes on drug addiction, but that just wouldn’t be sincere. Honestly, I am incredibly flawed and I know that. I know that since I’ve been a kid I’ve had a lot of problems and only in the last couple of years have I really taken any kind of responsibility for the things that I have done or the results of the mistakes I’ve made in both how they directly affected my life as well as those around me. There are countless strangers, friends and family members whom I have led astray. I’ve never been a forceful person, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been a convincing person and while I think that each and every adult needs to “man-up” and take responsibility for their actions regardless of who tempted them, I still see my part in their wrong doing and wish to be held accountable for what are deemed my crimes.

I can give you a long list of reasons as to why I am the person that I am. I can point fingers and tell stories about abuse, neglect, confusion and influence that would probably soften your aggression towards me, if not eradicate it altogether. But that’s not my style either. I go to therapy and am constantly told that I need to blame people for what they have done to me or for what they have brought into my life and while I understand that I too am a victim the chain of blame needs to be broken. Let me be the link that snaps and stops passing on the valid excuses for being a royal fuck up. I really don’t mind. As a matter of fact, I prefer washing away as much of the “victim” role as possible and if that means that I need to pile on a bit more of “perpetrator” so be it.

I’m not going to get into details here because I realize that not everyone reading this really needs to know, nor do they sincerely give a damn about my deviance. I’m also sure that there are at least a handful of readers who only want to be given a laundry list of “dirty deeds” so that they can compare or enjoy the kinky darkness that has been prevalent in my life. I’m not judging those folks either. I’m just not going to spend my time being porn for someone when what I’m aiming to do is be educational or motivational.

What I will say is that, like with drugs, I have a very liberal point of view as to what is healthy and permissible when it comes to sexuality. My rule is simple. As long as everyone involved is old enough to take responsibility for their actions and is in no way forced or threatened into doing what they are engaging in there is no reason to demonize someone for taking part of a sexual adventure. Sincerely, that’s my rule. I don’t always understand why someone would want to engage in certain activities and I don’t think that all involvements that fit into the above category are ultimately wise or without negative consequences, but there is a big difference between regretting something you’ve done and doing something wrong.

So as with my drug use, while I see that I may have introduced a lot of “things” into many people’s lives that doesn’t mean that I have been a criminal or villain. I have spent a lot of my life being confused, being overwhelmed and, quite honestly, being very alone and totally disconnected from my actions. I am not trying to pass blame off onto anything other than my own flaws and faults, but the truth is I do suffer from mental illness which has, at times, given me a cloudy view on which choices that fall into gray sections of life I should or really want to make. These mental issues have never, EVER, made me confused with the black and white elements of those same choices. And I am sincerely over anyone who wants to try to make me feel shame or blame for the life that I’ve lived.

For anyone who doesn’t know me well or who feels that they may have some valid reason to judge me there is only one thing left for me to say to you.

Ask someone who does know me, someone who has spent the time being affected and involved in my life and they will assure you that there has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t doing what made sense considering all of the details. My life has been a constant struggle to figure out just who I am and what my place is. My life has not been perfect, nor have I been innocent on all counts. But I love the people in my life. I love them all. I want to help, to encourage, to entertain, to support in any way I can. That is who I am. And while I have had to grow and learn a lot over the years as to the proper ways to go about all of this, my heart and my intentions have always been pure. With each new test, with each new development, I have become more and more the person I have set out to be.

I will always be willing to admit my fault. I will always be ready to apologize for any ways that I have made someone’s life more confusing or difficult. But I know that I have never forced anyone into anything and I will not accept that kind of blame from anyone because of a confused sense of guilt or their lack of responsibility.

I’m sorry if this seems like some sort of wild, early morning rant. Truth is this topic has been on my mind the last few weeks because I was faced with someone’s judgment of my past actions, actions that took place years before this person was even involved in my life. And I’m having a really hard time being thought of as some kind of enemy or deviant by someone who has many known faults of their own. We all make mistakes, we all have had to grow and accept fault throughout the years. But I will not ask for forgiveness from someone I never did anything against. And I will never apologize for things that I have done in the past that were not only harmless, but equally the responsibility of others involved who seem to have escaped this judgment.

When this situation first became known to me I felt hurt, sad that someone could see what I had done as such a negative thing. But that sadness has turned into anger. Sadness I can handle on my own. But anger is deadly; it kills the spirit and denies growth. I will not allow that to settle in my stomach and slowly kill me.

I am a work in progress and I am slowly breaking bad habits and growing in the right direction. I love myself. And while I hope to be able to break bread with everyone in my “human circle”, I will not sell my soul nor break my heart to do so.

I guess the point of all of this has been simply to let it be known that I haven’t forgotten. I haven’t decided to just let this go. I deserve the same compassion, understanding, patience and respect as everyone else. And if no one else wants to demand it for me, I will stand up for myself.

Quite sincerely,
Jen

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2 responses to “An Open Letter on a Personal Matter

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  1. Nice post. I especially like the 4th paragraph. I blogged for years about my sons severe addiction, finally got tired of rehashing the past, moved to wordpress and started a new place. Now I blog some about those nightmare years, but in general our family (and him) are healing, so I kind of jump around.

    His heroin addiction of over 12 years taught me a lot about judging other people…since I (and him and family) got judged so much. He is much better, still has mental/anxiety issues but I hope someday he can say he loves himself also. Anyway, no need to defend yourself to me. Take care.

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