I've seen so many horrible things in my life. My trust has been broken by every type of relationship that exists. First by my parents, I found out at the age of seven or eight that I was adopted by the man I knew as my Daddy. I've had friends and lovers betray me. I dated a man for over a year before I found out he was not only still married to whom I thought was his ex-wife but was also seeing another woman who was an acquaintance to me. I met his children and even his brother-in-law. Yes, his so called ex-wife's brother. It was actually this man who finally told me the truth. It was the first time that I had been so overwhelmingly duped. I thought for a while I was literally losing my mind when all the truth about this man came out. Even after the full truth came out, this man continued to ask me to marry him. I may have been losing my mind at the time but I wasn't crazy. I got the hell out of that situation. It took a while to regain my grasp on believing even the simplest things people would tell me.
I've been stalked and even came close to being raped by a guy that I had been out on several dates with. I eventually joined a fundamental Christian "church" that I later learned is considered by many educated theologians to be a cult. It took four years for me to begin to question the religious institution that I had been involved with and eventually left. At that point in my life, I no longer even trusted myself. All I thought about was death, wishing and begging for it to come. Those who knew me probably wouldn't have even realized the depth of my despair. I learned at a young age to keep things deep inside. It's very painful for me to even write this, much too personal for me to share. But I am because the Raven hoax compels me to.
After the church situation, which by the way if you've been reading my journal, this is the "dark time" that I refer to, which to those who have a Christian/Judeo background will probably see the irony in this label. Because, Jesus is suppose to be the light. Since death wasn't going to happen and suicide was out of the question, I decided to seek medical help through psycho-therapy and anti-depressants. I spent three or four years in therapy learning to forgive not only all those that had hurt me but to also forgive myself. In addition, I learned how to trust in a way that isn't destructive to my well-being. And, that's why I feel compelled by the Raven incident to share here. I hope in some way, some how, I can help even one person out there put this all in perspective. And who knows, maybe someone out there will have wisdom to share with me.
What I had done all my life was to give my trust without question and when something occurred that broke those trusts I was devastated, time and time again. What I learned through therapy is that trust isn't something you give freely to someone; it is something that he or she must earn, and to earn the trust of someone takes time. There are some things you can just give a person the benefit of the doubt for but never be afraid to use your skeptical mind. I had the same wonderings as Shelli and even thought about going to seek the truth regarding Raven but have very limited time. I figured I would give Raven's "friend" Leslie the benefit of the doubt. After all if I was wrong, how awful it would be to subject her to my doubt in a time of need. Ultimately, if it was a lie the truth would come out and the only person that Raven is really hurting is herself.
But let this be a lesson to all. Don't be afraid to question and don't be afraid to listen to your intuition. Speak your mind, trying to do so with tact, something I'm still trying to learn. I tend to end up sounding abrasive. Building trust starts with you even in small ways. How often have you been late and spent the entire time going to your destination thinking of plausible "excuses" to give for being late. Speak the truth clearly and without the fear of retribution. You'll be amazed at how liberating it can be. Lies require so much more energy to maintain. While interacting with people, whether online or in the real world, be judicious. Have boundaries and protect your privacy until you've gotten to know someone. Ask questions; observe if someone is evasive or inconsistent in what they say. Don't assume everything is what it seems. Each person has a different perception and motivation. But, do all that you can not to allow this to jade you from opening up to anyone at all. There are still many many people in this world who are good, just, and true.