Today, I listened to a talk about forgiveness and trust. It was said that forgiveness is relatively quick to come by. They didn’t say easy, but as the two go, forgiveness is easier than trust. I think I agree with that. It’s not difficult for me to forgive, and as I practice it more in my daily life, I think it gets easier as time goes on. Trusting a sex offender that is on the database is a difficult task and one that I am sure no one is interested in pursuing. But, if we are going to make sense of this thing that is sexual addiction and the folks that suffer from it, we need to really dive into what society thinks of the folks who are overtly identified as offenders. It is an uneven measure, as I have already illustrated, but trust is what makes things even.
I find that people, on the whole, are patently unreliable. My life experience has played that out as has my current life framework of distrust that is a daily occurrence in others’ relation to me and therefore my relation to them. I do my best to not let that generate fear of their distrust, but when people prove to react in fear over fact, the hurdle seems almost insurmountable.
How is that going for you?
My life is full of mistakes and full of consequences as a registered sex offender. Specifically, the offense that is now in highlight through the legal framework of my life, I cannot escape. Even if I wanted to “leave it behind me”, it will always be at the forefront of my psyche. So, while I cannot escape the thoughts that constantly plague me about my offense, the resultant distrust from society as a result of their fear of my “potential” for causing harm, and the consistent reminder of how dangerous everyone believes I am; I still must make the best of my life.
Let me put this in perspective: A while back, I saw a charming old man talking very sweetly to a child. He gave the child a toy that he made. He keeps them in his pocket because he could have the opportunity to give them away, in fact, he looks for that opportunity. Is that old man doing something positive? Sure! Is he making good memories? Absolutely, he is; for himself and for the child to which he gives the gift. I think that’s the point and no one would fault him for it.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Except, he is registered as a sex offender who has offended against a young child… around the same age as the children to which he gives these toys.
How does that change your perception of what he is doing?
Would it surprise you to realize that he does it for therapeutic and for penitent reasons? Would it make him less safe if he were occasionally aroused by these children? How do his therapeutic motives change your assessment of the motive of his actions?
Now, let’s apply this object lesson to another scenario. On a daily basis, I struggle with seeing women as sexual conquests. And let me tell you, I find all sorts of women attractive. But what if the same woman I find attractive and sexually appealing, I linger a look at? You see me do it. Would you say that I do it to arouse myself?
Oh, who are you kidding?
Would it surprise you to learn that you are conversely incorrect? I do it to calm myself in many cases, and in other cases, I do it to change my perspective of that woman from uncontrollable attraction to controllable admiration. And what if I just paused to admire, from a healthy perspective the real beauty of the person? This is the nature of my stare. No, not every time. Sometimes I don’t, but honestly, I mostly do catch myself. Do I sometimes get inappropriately aroused? You betcha. But that is why it is a journey to normal relativity, not an arrival.
The Real Relativity
Today, I put my arms around a woman without overt consent. I didn’t touch her but I intentionally got close to her and at the same time untangled her from a wire. Earlier in the day, I did touch her on the arm. Intentionally. She is attractive to me. An even more attractive woman caught my eye and I looked. In fact, I looked a few times. Intentionally. She really is a looker. The other day, I flirted with a woman who had changed her hair color. Intentionally. She is a fun person to chat with, and what normal person does not enjoy a compliment?
I played a game alone with a girl who is still in high school. Intentionally. We had a good time working together on a common goal. I overtly flirted with a woman who is very friendly to me, and (by the look in her eye) she appeared to have caught it, but it went nowhere. I was not aroused. But what if I did become aroused at any one of those interactions? That is the point. In all of these examples, the point is the journey to normal relativity. The point is that life is not black and white and we don’t get to determine our fate, but along the way, we can at least make things a little better for others, and hopefully step closer to normal.
The wrapper doesn’t reveal the contents
So when you see me stare, when you see me flirt, when you see me linger, or when you see me flush or blush, it is not because I am aroused. Or maybe it is, but when I do, I like to think I have a higher motive than my own satisfaction at viewing or interacting with a beautiful woman, a child, a boy, a girl, a young man, an older gentleman. Sometimes I am aroused and for that, please forgive me. It is not intentional. Though you may not trust me, I hope you someday can.
One more thing… do you know what I liked and admired most about that one woman from my example that was extremely attractive… the real looker? The look in her eye and her body language while she paid close attention to her husband. It was obvious she admires and adores him.
How does that challenge your idea of a registered sex offender?