I was recently asked, given what I went through because of my sexual assault, if I trust again. I was pretty sure what I was being asked, but I replied, ‘You mean people in general?’ Hesitantly, he said, ‘Yes.’ I suspect he was asking if I trust men again. What I told him was, ‘Yes.’ He thought maybe I look for ‘the lie’ when dealing with people. No, no, I don’t think I do. I’ve thought about it a lot in the last 10 days or so since the question was posed to me, and the longer I think about it, the more I know this is true.
I have definitely been accused in the past of being naive. Seems hard to believe that someone would think that of me just because I tended to expect the best from people, and tended to give people the benefit of the doubt. As Anne Frank said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are good at heart.” I do my best, though I am not always successful, to live my life this way. The truth is, even immediately following my assault, when I was still in shock, afraid of most everyone, men, women and children, I still knew, deep inside, that in spite of what had happened to me, most people were not bad. And just as I really hated living on Coronado for a long time after 24 September 2011, I also knew that it wasn’t the island that had done something to me. It was one person; well, and the entire process did not help, but it was never Coronado that hurt me. Didn’t make it any easier to live there though, until I got through it. I can’t even tell you exactly when it changed back for me, but one day I was walking home from uptown and it suddenly hit me that I no longer wanted to move away anymore.
I believe what I am told…is this the same as trusting someone? I don’t think people are going to lie to me. If you tell me something, I trust that you are telling me the truth. Somerset Maugham said, “It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” I prefer to live my version of his quote: It’s a funny thing about people: if you expect the best from them, you very often get it. Or as Claude M. Bristol said, “We usually get what we anticipate.” I think Anne Frank, Somerset Maugham and Claude M. Bristol sum up the way I used to be pre-attack, and the way I have, finally, gotten back to after a whole lot of work. Part of what made my healing process so difficult was getting my head around the fact that it happened to me at all. The only thing I did ‘wrong’ that morning was be tall, thin and blonde, and was be in a place that a predator was looking for just that type of woman. I never expected it to happen to me. Never. And in spite of doing everything I was ever told or ever heard about how to behave in a situation like I found myself in, nothing worked, starting with no warning bells going off in my head when I first encountered DCD. I attribute that to the fact that I didn’t expect to be attacked. I trusted that I was safe. Turned out I wasn’t, and my world turned upside down as a result.
What I do know with absolute certainty is I cannot, I will not, live my life being afraid. Part of the reason I worked as hard as I did to heal from this was because no way was I letting one person, one awful event, determine the rest of my life. I was very lucky that at the time of my attack, I was in a healthy, happy, loving relationship. I know that my healing process would have been very different, and much more difficult, had that not been the case. The fact that my boyfriend was very supportive and encouraging made all the difference, and even though, ultimately, the relationship did not survive, he was there for me through the worst of it. For that, I will be eternally grateful to him.
Back in 2013, I chose TRUST as my word for the year. This is what I wrote then:
“I TRUST that everything is working out. I TRUST that I am right where I am supposed to be. I TRUST that I am doing just what I am meant to do. I TRUST that everything happens for a reason. I TRUST that even if it may not seem like it at the time, everything truly is happening for my highest good and to make me a better person. I TRUST that the right people, the people who can be helped by my story, will read my story. I TRUST that the right people show up in my life at the right time. I TRUST that even in the darkest hour, there is light. I TRUST that I am safe. I TRUST that even behind the clouds the sun is shining. I TRUST that I am making a difference. I TRUST that all my dreams are coming true. I TRUST that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing.”
Yeah, what I said more than two years ago! And since I am two years further along my healing path, I can honestly say that, yes, I do trust people again, though I’m not positive I really ever stopped. And last, but not least, my new favorite quote from Pinterest:
And while the patience part is challenging, I do TRUST my journey.