Even though the book has been written, I still feel a little uncomfortable in telling my story. It's not that I didn't think that the story didn't deserve being told. It's not that I am uncomfortable with what happened to me at the age of six and thirteen. It's not even that I was ashamed of my thought processes in choosing a partner to spend the rest of my life with.
The issue is that although I have no regrets about writing the book, I wonder what the fallout is going to be. I wonder who will benefit from my story as well as who will find me at fault for who I was at the time.
With our current climate of sexual misconduct running rampant in our government, we must reconcile within ourselves that this is not the only area where this type of abuse occurs. We must understand that it occurs more often than we like to think. It occurs everyday in every aspect of our society. Victims are women, men, boys, girls and children.
We don't want to admit that because to do so would be to rip away the illusion of a great society. It will show our flaws and force us to come to grips with the fact that we may not be as great as we thought we were.
It may cause us to take a look at the ills that pervade our souls and force us to come to reckon with something that we don't want to acknowledge.
We have to work on what and who we want to be as a people. We have to work to change who we are. We have to own up to our faults and mistakes and then strive to make it and be better.
But the first step is dealing with the cards that have been dealt; right or wrong, and take ownership of what is wrong with us in the first place.
I admit my mistakes. I lay bare my flaws. And as I embark on this journey to try to make this world a bit of a better place by telling my story, I realize that this is just the beginning.
I know that some will read this book and take me to task and call me on my flaws and mistakes. I know that some will accuse me of piggy backing off the current climate of sexual misdeeds and believe that I am looking to make a quick buck.
I assure you that this is not the case. I began this book five years ago...on the eve of my fifty-first birthday to be precise.
We have such a long way to go to claim who we once were as a people...because as a people, we are flawed even if we don't want to admit it.
We have to address what is within us before we can fix it. In many ways, it's what I have done and continue to do everyday. It doesn't make me perfect and I certainly cannot undo the wrong choices that I have made or the people that I have hurt along the way.
But I can continue on my journey knowing that I can either be the best of me or the worst of me. I choose to be the best of me. And even more importantly, I cannot allow anyone to define me now by the mistakes that I have made in the past.
This is my journey. This is my story. It's not perfect and it doesn't have the proverbial happy ending, but it is mine just like your story is yours.
I will continue to speak my truth and try to live the rest of my life in way that God intended.
But we need to understand that in order to deal with a problem; in order to fix an issue or right a wrong...we must take that first step and acknowledge that something in us has gone awry.
~ J.L. Whitehead
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