Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Victimhood is a Choice

 Many years ago, when a horrible shooting happened at an Amish school, I remember my mom printing off a quote from one of the parents whose child had died in the shooting that had made her think.

"Victimhood is a choice."

I remember walking past that quote many times in her laundry room and wondering if that meant something to me personally. I knew I could be the victim of my childhood and how hard life was. Or maybe I could be the victim of an eating disorder. How about a victim of depression? What was I choosing to be a victim of? Anything? Nothing?

Then one sunny day in August, actually August 17th to be exact, I was walking in to Liberty Market with my sister to pick up her birthday food when I got a call that changed my life. I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I struggled with secondary infertility for 2.5 years and the only reason I no longer "struggle" with it is because I'm single. That day in August, I slipped down into a deep pit. I felt like NOBODY understood. I felt like everyone would judge me for being sad since I already had 2 kids so I was sad alone. The first few months, we were in it together {we being my husband and I}. Then we went through a period where one of us was still heartbroken and the other one wasn't as sympathetic and understanding. It was hard. I chose to be a victim to infertility for a long time. I didn't function as well as I should've in groups of people. I got angry when people would announce pregnancies. I was playing the part of victim extremely well.

But I wasn't very happy.

You see, choosing to be the victim becomes overwhelming. It runs your life. It makes you bitter.
At the time, I was praying daily and nightly but not for peace---I was praying for a baby.  So the bitterness came easier and easier every month when I would find myself NOT pregnant.

So one day, I made a choice. I started praying for God's will. I prayed for peace. And I lived my life, actually in my life.
I believe that is one of the hardest things about becoming a victim. It's really hard to see past your fears and doubts when you focus on being a victim.
But it's a lot easier to be the victim. It's easier to feel like you can blame your mistakes, your attitude, and your choices on something or someone else. Being the victim creates a way for you to do this.

When my husband left me, a huge part of me was thinking, "Welcome back, victim card!" because I had an easy way to blame life on someone else. I was crushed and depressed and my heart was breaking---but at least this was his fault, not mine. I had confidence at first. I was ready to date and put myself out there because I knew I was a good person. I had faith in myself.

But I was numb and wasn't dealing with my feelings. All of that faith had been an act because I was scared as all heck on the inside. I was playing the "poor me" card and hoping someone would find me broken and pick up the pieces. I was doing things the exact opposite of my infertility experience because on a cold day in January, I decided I had never been good enough. I decided not only was this all my fault, I wasn't worthy of love. I went from one extreme to the next, both of them involving me playing a victim.
Some days, I'm still the victim. Some days, I feel sorry for myself. But most days, I live in the moment and am grateful for life today.

Life today doesn't involve a husband. Life today doesn't involve pregnancy {and thank goodness for that!}. But life today involves happiness. Those things don't go hand in hand.

Although I play a victim every once in a while, I am not a victim because victimhood is a choice. I choose not to be a product of divorce or infertility. I choose to focus on the good things God has given me. I have the opportunity every day to make choices that involve me being happy or sad or angry. Most of the time, I choose happiness. Sometimes, especially at night, I have a hard time choosing the happy and the anger or sadness sets in and overwhelms me but it's ok! It's ok to grieve the life I once had as long as I pick myself up and try to find happiness again the next day.
Happiness is found everywhere around me. I just have to choose whether I'm going to seek it out.

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