Howdy, I sit here reading all of the news about Lance Armstrong and feel like sharing. I was, years ago, charged with a crime I didn't commit. I remember feeling so alone, so afraid. I remember feeling like giving up. Years later, after I had been fighting the charges (it is amazing how long some things take) I pleaded no contest. I did so because the chance was that it would continue to go on and on and on. I was ready to move on, to forget about it all and get on with my life. The charges were brought on by a stalker who threatened my world in so many ways. She threatened to ruin my career, she followed me home, she scared my friends and co-workers. She worried the judge who questioned her fighting the restraining order I'd brought against her. The deal was if I was going to fight any harder I would have to come to the realization that I am a big black chick and a little white chick looks more innocent to most people, regardless. I just don't seem like a 'victim.' I didn't want to take any chances and I didn't want to continue to be judged any more than I was when the false charges were uttered from her mouth. So I let it go and am so very happy that I did.
I remember when, from a jail cell, I sat horrified. I had never (and still haven't) done any drugs. I had never done anything to anyone that was criminal. I went to college, paid (and am still paying) my way. I was and am a pretty upstanding citizen who, for the most part, played by the rules. I don't have a problem facing what I have done, it is really hard when you haven't actually done anything. It is like you are yelling at an imaginary person. You are fighting a fight that can morph and change because it doesn't actually exist. It is pointless in so many ways that are hard to describe. You basically feel like you are digging a hole the harder you push against it because you are acknowledging a lie. You are defending something that isn't actually there. Then, you face other people's feelings about what you 'should' have done. One of my brothers tried to use this event against me, saying awful things about me. I knew a few people in my life momentarily believe that I was guilty. It was hard and scary and I got through it. It is amazing to me how many people have opinions about things they know nothing about. Ha! It is very hard to understand what you don't understand. The most you can do is acknowledge that you don't know. It is also the kindest thing to do.
Since that event I have learned so many things, one of which is that I really, truly, don't know whether someone did or did not do something unless I was there… and that people are not to be trusted sometimes. You simply rarely know the truth and, in my opinion, compassion is what is needed in place of judgement. It is so easy to say that someone did something and for it to be a lie. It happens people, it really does. People lie, the cheat, they steal, they tear others down just to see them fall. It is amazing how resistant we are to seeing that truth when it is all around us.
I believe it is also important to let people decide what is best for them and when. Lance letting go isn't him giving up, it is him moving on.