Friday, September 28, 2012

One Profound Moment:
What's Your Own Self-Worth?

Last night was the first night that I went to group and sat amongst eight men who have sexually offended and laughed. It was the type of laughter that can't be contained, the type of laughter that is utterly contagious and uncontrollable. I listened as a group member described in great detail the psychological warfare he's been engaging in with his neighbour, laughing and living through him as he weaves the intricate details of his daily life.

It's important to celebrate the achievements and the joys of daily existence, but our group is bound by men who share many obstacles, challenges, and heartache. Not ten minutes later after laughing along with the group, I'm suddenly filled with reverence and respect as another man shares the story of his offence from beginning to end, pausing often to find the language for the words he hadn't yet spoken out loud. Two hours is gone before I even realize it, and I'm left thinking about the many profound truths I'd witnessed in that short time.

The following discussion took place between a new member who is currently awaiting sentencing and a veteran member who remembers being in his same precarious position. 

Man One: 
I've lost my half-million dollar house, the Cadillac in my driveway, my boat and my big screen TV - every material thing I own is gone. But you know what? That's not even the worst of it. I've been served my divorce papers, my friends and family have up and disappeared, I'm not allowed to see my kids, and just about every source of happiness that I had before is gone. I have nothing - literally nothing. Suicide? Sure, it's a thought - isn't it always? - but I don't want to be that headline, the one that says I've somehow escaped justice. Whatever that means.

Man Two:
I feel like I was right where you were after my offence - except for the Cadillac maybe. I was lucky enough though that the first corrections officer I made contact with sat me down and said something to me that I'll never forget. I had just been stripped of all my personal things, and I was a mess. He saw that, and he took a minute and said to me:

Everything you have, someone can take from you. Not one thing that you hold close is safe from being ripped away without a moments notice. Everything except your self-worth - no one can take that from you. Ever. So what is yours worth?  

At that moment I realized that I had always valued myself for what I had, not for who I was. My self-worth needed to be based on my character and my values, not all the shit I bought to blow the money I barely earned. But I know what you mean, the worst part is all of the real stuff - the family, the friends, the kids. The people you love. It's hard to go through losing all that, but it's even harder when your self-worth is shit to begin with. When you're left with nothing and you are nothing because of it, well, suicide looks pretty good, doesn't it?


No comments:

Post a Comment