I didn't begin my comments the other night as a "rebuttal" to you. So I can't really 'refute' your comments point by point because I don't feel my original e-mail was written in that manner.
I get told by a lot of people that because I am an optimist, I must not be familiar with the horrors of the world. I get told my head is in the sand and I am not being realistic. I don't think that is true. The only "answer" I have is this:
When I was a little girl, I was sexually abused over a long period of time. I attempted suicide and spent time in a mental institution when I was still in my teens. I spent a lot of time in therapy, in both my teens and in my twenties. In my twenties, while living in Germany, I regularly shared my thoughts on rape and what I was doing in therapy with a close friend of mine. Later, when she left her husband, he decided that if "I can't have you, no one can". He kidnapped, beat, raped and tortured her for 4 hours, intent upon killing her. She survived and escaped. When I returned to the U.S., I told her one day that I felt really bad that I had not been there for her in her hour of need because I was still living in Germany. Her reply to that was "But you were
there. Even while he was beating and raping me, I remembered our conversations and I knew that it did not matter if he hurt me with his fist or his penis: it was not about sex. It was about hurting me and controlling me. You shielded me during the worst of it."
I learned that day that I am not defined by what has happened to me. I am defined by what I choose to do with my experiences. Hemingway once said "Life breaks us all and some grow stronger in the broken places." Aldous Huxley said "Experience is not what happens to us. It is what we do with what happens to us." I hold such sayings near and dear.
I don't expect you to believe me. It isn't a story I usually tell so publicly. You are already pretty hostile towards me and I don't expect to win you over or something. But maybe others will believe me and, therefore, be less shocked when I remain optimistic in the face of whatever evidence you present to me that this world is a terrible place. But, honestly, I hope you don't try too hard to convince me that you are right and I should go around horrified at everything. To my mind, it seems like a campaign to break my spirit. I never understand why good people seem to want to do that.