Photo on 2013-02-10 at 23.15.jpeg

Sometimes when I meditate, thoughts of my rapist arise.

I used to stop right then and there--I used to run--but one day I followed him. I followed the meditation through to the end.

More came to the surface: things I had forgotten, or things I never even knew. That's the thing about trauma--sometimes it hides itself until we are good and ready to deal with it. 

I don't care to rehash "My Story", but it's interesting to me that my meditation(s) have, more often than not, attempted to show me the humanity of my rapist--and I think this is what scares me most of all. This is what I try to run from. 

I don't mean to say that I have completely forgiven this man (and I certainly do not condone his actions), but, like any trauma, it's a daily struggle for me. Some days, I feel strong and forgiving about it, and other days I feel red with anger and violence. I'm lucky in that, through it all, I have been able to release these feelings through healthy activities, such as: yoga, exercise, and writing. I have never once hurt myself. I have thought about it, but I have never gone there.

When I think about his humanity, I think about his pain, his happiness, and everything in-between. I think about what happened in his life to make him treat me the way he did--the way he probably treated other women. This thought process is not easy, and I do not recommend recent survivors attempt it, since it can drudge up a lot of dirt and grime. 

Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron writes,

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

In my meditation(s) in which my rapist presents himself, I struggle to be present with his "darkness." I struggle to be present with my own. Through all of my time in therapy, self-work, etc, I realize more and more how important and life-saving it is to release another's darkness; to make sure I can disentangle my own darkness from someone else's. 

None of this is easy, and as I said, I continue to struggle with it, but in the end I would rather live a life of peace and authenticity, than one of suffering and masquerading. For me, this is my survival.