I’ve been thinking about personal responsibility of late. I started this after I was listening to one of the presidential candidates talking about personal responsibility and the like, and the fact that we need to take more responsibility for our own actions, rather than blaming other people, the “system”, or other convenient scapegoats for our problems.
Thinking on that, and thinking on what happened yesterday (when I realized the extent of my burden on society), I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer hide behind the excuses of childhood events, especially when I was an active participant, not an innocent victim, in some of the events I whine about.
I have long claimed that I was abused as a child. While technically correct, it fails to tell the whole story. I have failed to mention how I was not always coerced into these activities, but sometimes was a willing participant. I also failed to mention that I profited from the interactions with these men, sometimes quite well (for a kid, anyway). And while it’s not entirely true to say I willingly sought out individuals to sell myself to, I cannot deny that I made no efforts to deter additional “clients”. And in truth, I also cannot deny that occasionally the experiences were quite pleasant, both on a mental and physical level. Some individuals treated me quite well, in fact.
In short, I failed to say “no”. Not only that, but I took shameful advantage of the situation. One could argue that a child (or, stretching it quite a bit, a teen-ager) would have a difficult time saying no to one’s parent. But as an older child and later as a teen, I had the duty and responsibility to say “no” to other people rather than agreeing to their advances. I failed to do so, and because of this I really cannot continue to claim any sort of status as a “victim”. Slut might be a far better word (or, the male equivalent, if there is such a thing).
I also had the duty to seek treatment for any issues I actually had long before this. I certainly won’t claim I am issue-free. But I have perhaps invented this persona in my head that claimed to be wounded, then proceeded to believe it for long enough that it became true – a perfect description of a self-fulfilling prophesy. If I had addressed these issues years ago, instead of allowing myself to be mired in the past, perhaps a councilor would have corrected my misguided direction long before it got to this point.
By refusing to take responsibility for my past, and by choosing to believe I was purely a victim, I arrive at the point I am now. Because of my own often selfish actions, I make use of far more than my fair share of resources. It is undeniable that I am screwed up, but more from self-inflicted wounds than anything done to me. Many, many people have gone through far worse and have been fine. I certainly have no excuse.
There are hordes of people who have no insurance and are facing a problem with ever increasing health care costs as they struggle to afford critical medications. These folks in general didn’t put themselves in the positions they find themselves in, and deserve much better. But the resources just aren’t there to help. Instead, they go to people like me who never should have needed them in the first place.
Most of the people on this board are the ones who have really been hurt. You said "no", but the perps hurt you anyway. You all had the guts to try to either fight of attempt to deal as best you could. What happened to me doesn't hold a candle to what most of you have gone through, and it has been shameful to pretend otherwise.