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dfbehr1967
Apr 29, 2021
Thank you for your comments. This blog isn't about changing the system and helping others to realize that the whole registry is messed up and all sex offenders get lumped together in one pot. From the most dangerous kidnappers and sexual assaulters to the guy who got caught urinating in a park because there were no bathrooms, they're all "sex offenders" and have to follow the same rules. I get that. A lot of people don't take the time to understand the differences. There are legislators working to make changes and I plan to offer my assistance. As I said earlier, this blog isn't about that. I have to live as a "sex offender" and "registrant". Those are the labels I'm stuck with. I made a mistake and now my life will forever be different. The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to rise above those labels. Don't be the sex offender that people will say, "He's just like all the other sex offenders." But, be the offender that people might say, "That guy doesn't belong on the registry." This goes back to an experience when I was first incarcerated. I was bunking with several other offenders. Some of the men were acting like animals. They were crude and disgusting. Another inmate said to me, "Don't mind them, that's who we are." NO! That's not who I am!! I made a mistake and it cost me dearly. But it doesn't mean I have to act like other sex offenders. I vowed that day that I wouldn't be "like them." That choice has carried on to this day. Sitting through mandatory therapy, I would hear other offenders talk about how their lives are ruined. They would start making excuses for their troubles. "It's because I'm an offender." Unfortunately, as an offender, it's easy to get caught up in all the negative aspects of being on the registry. We constantly hear about horror stories and how bad life is going to be. Then, one day I began learning about very successful people that also happen to be on the registry. They still have certain restrictions to follow, but they have a very happy life. I decided I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to become a success story. That's when I decided I don't have to be what the world sees me as. I will always have these very negative labels, but it doesn't mean I can use them as excuses. I lost many great friends who just didn't understand. So obviously, they weren't so great after all. However, I've made many new friends and acquaintances that are in my corner and want nothing but the best for me. One of the most powerful things I learned in therapy is that I have the ability to reinvent myself. I chose to do just that. I'm going to be happy, successful, friendly, and goal oriented as a "sex offender" and "registrant." I can go days, and sometimes weeks, without even realizing I'm on the registry. I was able to go and do the things I wanted to do. The only person to remind me that I was on the registry was myself. I follow all the rules and avoid those places I'm restricted from. Luckily, there are hundreds of other places I can go to. Some might say that I've gotten lucky or have been blessed. Yes, I have. But, it's no coincidence that my attitude has led to this so called "luck." Your mind is a powerful tool. It all begins with a thought. If your thoughts are full of, "I'm an offender and my life is going to suck, " then guess what? Your life is probably going suffer. So, when a suggest, "Don' Be A Label", I'm not telling you to ignore the label. If you do that, you might break a law and find yourself back in jail. What I'm asking you and others to do, is to not let your life be defined by these labels. The labels will remind you what rules to follow. And, I agree, they are much to restrictive for most offenders. But that's a whole nother story. Depending on what state you live in, life isn't so bad. I feel grateful to be living in the state that I do. The restrictions aren't nearly as bad as other states. Also, my state just made it possible for me to get off the registry in 20 years. That might seem like a long time. But it sure beats a lifetime requirement. I see that as a plus. I'm excited to live the kind of life that will get me off the registry in 20 years. I believe other changes are on the horizon. However, to benefit from these possible benefits, we're going to have to avoid acting like offenders most of the public think we are. In other words, DONT BE A LABEL. Accept the labels we have. Unfortunately, they're awful. But, until we can legally shed them, it is what it is. So make the best of it. Find those people who will accept you for who you are and not those who avoid you for what you did. They're out there. Trust me, they are. There are good jobs with employers who are supportive. Keep moving forward and don't let a label hold you back. It's easier said that done, I get that. But it is possible. This is crazy to say, but most of my life is better today than it was before I offended. I had a pretty good life. But overall, it's better now. I'm not sure why it is. I do know it has a little bit to do with the fact that I chose not to be like them. I chose not to be the label. I know several others who are enjoying success because they have chosen to navigate life as an offender but refused to live up to the public perception of what an offender should be like. I could go on and on but I hope you get my message. I had very dark days when I let the negativity of these labels nearly ruin me. I'm grateful I didn't succumb to those feelings. You can do it. We all can.
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dfbehr1967

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