Somehow I must think I would be pretentious or audacious to think of myself as a writer – but maybe I am anyway. If so, words are the tools of a writer’s craft be one a poet or a songwriter or a writer of plays or stories true or imagined. I am tracking a thought of mine today in between my writing for the book and this must MATTER to me because the use of one of the following words instead of the other makes – to me – a universe of difference.
Hero or victim? Now, this must be coming from the writer-in-me (obviously, I’m writing this) who ‘says’ to me, “You were never a victim. For all the terrible abuse your mother did to you, you were NOT a victim. You were a hero.”
Next thought: In order to have the LUXURY of being a victim rather than a hero one must be in a place of SAFETY rather than in one of threat, danger and harm. The VICTIM part comes after-the-fact when there’s somebody there to CARE! Being a victim does not happen while we are enduring alone.
That would mean that VICTIM is a word other people use to describe something from the OUTSIDE of the tragic-traumatic experience. It is (probably) NOT a word the one who experiences the abuse ever thinks about – unless somehow someone OUTSIDE of the situation has given this hero the word and the thoughts and feelings that might go with it.
I am traveling back to before I was born in my book-writing process, and although I have made a deal with myself not to discuss what is happening with THAT writing, I wanted to let the writer-in-me have this say about these two words.
I will not be able to go back to any abuse memory from my early life, not even into the memory of a terrible beating and find myself in the midst of those traumas feeling, thinking or acting in ANY WAY like a so-called victim. I bore what was done to me. I endured. I survived. I was then and still am now A HERO!!
Now – I am safe. I have people around me who love me and care. But I have NO ONE, not one single person in my life who perceives me in any way as a ‘victim’. I like that just fine!
Yet I also know that all infants and children who are being maltreated are being ‘victimized’ – but just as those actions against little ones are done by the big people, so does the word ‘victim’ belong to them. The little ones who are suffering – and YES there is much suffering — their only choice is to a HERO.