If only....that's a scary place to go. I think every one survivor or not have regrets about his past. As a survivor it's even even scarier -- the if only place that is.
It sure is. But okay, I will go there this once. My girlfriend's little brother was a scrawny shy kid who was 11 when the abuser got chased away from the Scout troop. I imagine he had been caught up in things a few months by then. I remember him going with the abuser alone, showing all the typical body language of a kid who knows what's going to happen to him next.
But that's me thinking about it now. At 14 I wasn't able to connect the dots and figure out why he looked so ashamed. Hell, I couldn't connect the dots even where myself was concerned. I had been abused two years before I figured out this had something to do with sex. It didn't occur to me that there was any other boy in all the world being hurt like this, and even when my friend got dragged into the picture I didn't figure out there might be more. Talk about naive, but sure, I had the right to be naive.
Yeah, if only....
I wasn't going to do this at all, but then I saw Jarrad's comment:
...essentially i am just a number too. everything in my life is a statistic.
You know, I sometimes think that. But looking at our group of 8 reminds me that these are all real kids - broken boys. This isn't about wallowing in the past. It's about recognizing that the statistics count the cost of the pain in terms of real lives wrecked and sometimes lost.
At the Mike Lew workshop we did an exercise which I won't reveal, since it's very powerful and helps a lot with guilt- and shame-busting if you get hit by his point only right at the end. But I will say it shows you what a huge accomplishment it is even to be functional at all
. Just showing up at a workshop or conference is an act of great courage, and so is coming here to talk about things with guys you don't even know. Fuck the argument that it's the Internet and we're all anonymous. It's still a huge risk and we take that risk every time we hit "enter".
I guess looking at my group of 8 shows me how incredibly fortunate I am, and how fortunate we all are here on MS. We're the ones who, for whatever oddball reason, have been able to get it together and at least try
. It's like an iceberg maybe. We're the tip showing above water, trying to heal and refusing to give up. That's already pretty cool (no pun intended).
It's even more significant when we think of those who didn't make it at all, or who are stuck in silence and isolation unable to face what happened to them or to dare to seek the answers they so desperately need.
Part of it's dumb luck, perhaps, but hey, let's lay some claims where we have the right to do so. The rest is just raw courage, guys. That's one thing that overwhelmed me in New York.
One guy who said he was wondering if he would make it through the day, but lasted the whole conference and seemed a changed man by the end - on Saturday evening he was joking about how scared he had been three days previously.
Another guy - couldn't have been more than 18-19 - there with his parents to support him. He was scared, but he showed up every day.
Another guy - also maybe 18-19 - sobbing his heart out after Marty Moran's play, but with a friend on each side to support him and keep him safe. He kept coming back.
Or how about Lou and Pat Serrano, who have been campaigning for male survivors for decades now, since their son told them he had been abused by their parish priest.
NY keeps clobbering me with new ideas and ways of looking at things, and I guess this is another one. Yeah, it sucks bigtime what happened to us, but as kids we kept finding the courage and means, however desperate, to just keep getting through one more day. As older teens and adults we are survivors because we fought off all the false lessons long enough and well enough to decide our lives are worth living and our future is ours if we are willing to reclaim it. We have made that choice.
We should appreciate that in ourselves and each other, because we have EARNED our place here - we didn't just tumble in here off the last load of turnips.
I feel so honored and proud to be among you.