Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Discovering Evil

This is a darker, more serious post.

I remember when I first really grasped the idea that there was true evil in this world.

It happened when I was a young child, not even old enough to read. My mother was in nursing school at the time, and I enjoyed browsing through her textbooks because they included pictures of cool things like skeletons.

But one picture wasn’t cool. It was of a young girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old. Her face was blurred, but you could see the rest of her. One of her arms was missing at the elbow. I asked my mother, “Mommy, what happened to the little girl?”

My mom looked over my shoulder and read the caption. She didn’t believe in lying to me or hiding things from me, but she still paused a bit, taking time to formulate how exactly she was going to phrase her answer.

“Her father did it to her,” she finally said. “He told her to stop getting into the peanut butter. She did it again, and he chopped her arm off.”

I was instantly very sad, and my mom hugged and comforted me.

Writing this, I can still feel a tinge of that sadness I felt all those years ago. And since then, my knowledge of evil has grown exponentially.

Yet I don’t let the darkness consume me. I try to acknowledge it, deal with it, and move on. I also use it as motivation. As John Lydon once sang in “Rise,” the classic song by PiL, “Anger is an energy.” There is a direct connection between that abused little girl’s photo and my martial arts training. I can’t prevent all the evil in this world, but I will do my damnedest to be capable of preventing evil from occurring in my proximity. As I wrote in an earlier post...
I don't have a hero complex. I hope I'm never in a situation where someone is being assaulted and is in need of help. But if I am, I don't want to be helpless and unable to do the right thing.... In a way, I practice hurting people because I cannot stand seeing people get hurt.
A word about my mother and my upbringing: Some people might think my mom was irresponsible to honestly answer my question about the photo. I do not. As I mentioned earlier, she didn’t believe in lying to me or hiding things from me. I asked a question, and she answered. If I hadn’t asked, she would have never brought the whole thing up. It isn’t as if she was purposely exposing me to dark and disturbing things. In fact, I had a very happy and joyful childhood. I just didn’t have a needlessly sheltered childhood.

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