May 30, 2006

MY GUILT OVER NATALEE'S DISAPPEARANCE



Why Natalee? Why not me?


Ever since I started following and became emotionally involved in Natalee’s case, I have felt guilty about my own life and my past…the things I did when I was 18 and younger.


What happened to Natalee could have happened to me 100 times over. In high school I was a ‘wild child’. I was every parents nightmare. Teen angst? Normal behavior? I doubt it. Starting at the age of 14, I began a serious habit of binge drinking on almost a weekly basis. I hitch hiked, drove home with strangers after parties, walked the streets with my friends…I did everything that Natalee would never have done. I took unnecessary chances and never suffered any consequences.


Why am I here? Was I naïve? Most definitely. Were we safer 15-20 years ago than teens are today? I always had the attitude growing up that I was invincible. I was not afraid of anyone. Before my high school graduation, I had already lost my virginity to my high school boyfriend and was already on the path of becoming a teenage alcoholic (which I outgrew in college and rarely drink to this day) But at that time in my life I was everything that Natalee was not.


Why am I here? All the situations I put myself in when I was young make me feel terribly guilty…why not me? Why Natalee? I took a million more chances in my life to end up being raped, victimized or even murdered.


It’s not fair that good people like Natalee suffer the demise and the cover-up of her disappearance for a year now. It’s not fair that someone as good and smart and beautiful as Natalee should have endured this unimaginable situation.


They always say, “bad things happen to good people.” And this rings true…what is God trying to tell us? I don’t know what his plan is…but I will take whatever he feels is right. Maybe this all happened for a reason. Maybe Natalee is a martyr…and ironically, this day in history, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. What more violence can women endure before we all come together and do something about it?


Violence against women has increased over the years…this needs to stop. Women need to bond together to protect themselves and their “sisters” instead of adopting and agreeing with the male opinions that Natalee is not the victim and she asked for it.


As a grown adult I see the crazy and unwise things I did when I was in high school. Although not to the magnitude that teens choose to do today. (i.e. "Girls Gone Wild", extreme open sexual behavior, all the attitudes that younger people have adopted in today's society). I am glad that I made it through those insane times of my life, but it doesn’t stop the guilt I feel for doing the things I did and why I am still here…while an innocent, beautiful hearted human being has suffered…and most importantly the pain and suffering her family and friends have endured over the past year.


It’s just not fair. They say “life isn’t fair”…true. But it still doesn’t take back the fact that this could have happened to any of us. I am sure we have all taken far worse risks than Natalee did sometime in their lives. We cannot be hypocrites.


If I were Natalee I would have been crucified from day one and I am sure that I would not have received any media coverage...just another girl who 'deserved it'. They would have written me off after all the mudslinging and information the Arubans would have found out about me and used against me.


The victims in all cases such as this not only suffer the tragedy, but have to endure the hateful remarks and do not have the ability to defend themselves. They are the silent victims. Unable to speak…unable to get the justice she deserves.


This case has made me think about the wild high school life I chose to live many years ago. Unfortunately, I believe Natalee is most likely deceased and then there are others like me who took unwise chances while we were younger that are still alive. It’s not fair and I don’t think I will ever feel the same about myself and my childhood actions after Natalee’s experience.


I grieve daily for Natalee, Beth, Dave, her family and friends. My heart hurts not knowing where she is and what happened to her. I know that everyone who believes in Natalee will ever give up until the truth comes out. Aruba will not hear the end of us…maybe even for life. Aruba and Holland has been irreparably damaged.


We will never forget Natalee…a good, intelligent and beautiful person inside and out. I don’t need to know Natalee personally to figure that out.


Think about the unwise things you have done in your life before you cast stones. If you think you are perfect and have never done anything unwise or irresponsible in your life, you are delusional and in denial...or just a plain liar. At least I have the balls to come out and admit my past faults...there are many others who have done the same thing and are cowards for not thinking of what they've done themselves before they bash Natalee and her family.


To those who believe Natalee "deserved it" and Beth is a "media whore", I hope that if God forbid something would happen to you, someone like me and thousands of others stand behind you and not write you off.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!

Michelle said...

Michelle,

I am proud of the bravery that you showed in writing this article. I know who you are and what you have become as a woman and I am proud to call you my friend. I am not merely some blogger who writes for your site but a friend who has met you, spoken to you and knows what is in your heart.

No matter what you did in your past it's what and who you are today that counts. What you have become is someone who has taken great risk to help another person. You risked your emotional and physical health to keep beating the drum for Natalee and her family and that is an amazing and VERY daring and selfless thing to do. Those past mistakes made you who you are so they had a purpose. No one is without past indiscretions and no one can claim to have lived a perfect life. No one deserves what happened to Natalee and neither do you.

I don't discount your sorrow over your past but I commend and admire the woman you are today and I hope that you will focus on that person and know that there are those of us who are very proud to know you and who consider ourselves grateful to have become a part of your life.

You have given me a forum from which to speak out and you have never censored me, corrected or changed anything that I've ever written. To me that is a trust that I hold dear just as I hold our friendship dear.

If I could add another daughter to my brood it would be you.

I know that Natalee and her family are proud to have you in their corner and I know that I am too.

Meri

Anonymous said...

The Arubans are rasing their boys to be female tourists eater beast. Remember Anita she could openly discuss about Natalee's private parts as Joran had told her. God create man and woman equal. Woman has the right to pursue happiness and you trust a man. My youngest 15 years old boy told me yesterday that there was a new girl across street keep staring at him, and she was playing basketball with my neighbor's kids. I know my own son and I had to get him waterred down, and I said you have to talk to your dad about it. I and my husband were highschool sweethearts, we rode his HarveyDavis to South Florida to shoot alligators. I was young and naive then, and we ended up sleeping together at the bayou for several days. My parents worried about me to death. My boyfriend took me back to my house by next weekend. I didn't tell my mom exactly what happened and she was a drunk. I hardly saw the boy anymore until we met again at college three years later. He proposed to me and we got married. My hubby wasn't my ideal, I was playing with other boys too. But I do feel that he is honest and accountable. When I heard about Joran, I will never let my son do some wild thing to a loving girl without learning his own responsiblility.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend of Natalee:

Do not doubt the reasons why you are here, for already, you are making a difference in allowing Natalee's voice to be heard.

You say: "What more violence can women endure before we all come together and do something about it?". Perhaps you are already leading women to realize this very point. Alone, women can become victims; but together, YOU ARE A VERY POWERFUL FORCE!

Do not use your wonderful creative energy in being drawn away from the good work you are doing by those evil comments that blame the victim, who is Natalee, and the victims in Natalee's family.

There was a reason for hiding Natalee's body.
I guess those toxicology reports were a little too frightening in what they would show: some Rohypnol, with some GHB, maybe Ketamine or Ecstasy.

So you see dear friend of Natalee? The "no body, no case" was the sinister answer to insure a "no toxicology report" scenario.
This way, it made it that much easier for the rapist, murdering cowards to then slander Natalee's good name, especially since the murderers insured that she would never speak again. "No body, no case." How could Natalee be responsible for the drugs that were slipped into her drink, or for getting into the car that happened to be waiting right outside C&C...right when she exited? "No body, no case"...was for a reason, friend of Natalee.
It was to insure that Natalee's INNOCENCE could never be documented, and silencing her voice was thrown in for added measure. So, do not worry your heart over the darkest vile evil among us. Evil will be conquered by goodness....YOUR goodness, Deetch's GOODNESS...Meri's GOODNESS...and the goodness of those who cry out for justice, who cry out for the TRUTH in Natalee's name! This is why you must realize your very important value.

So here comes the hard part, dear friend of Natalee:

You must muster up all YOUR courage. You must find your voice and not give up this very real battle of good vs. evil. Continue to write, continue to speak out wisely. Do not be drawn into any hate sites that waste your beautiful and passionate energy and pull you away from the wonderful writing you do to defend Natalee.

Instead, consider yourself tapped on the shoulder by an Angel who is calling you to speak out for Natalee, and to fight for her right to be set free.
Do not give up. Stay focused and do not be drawn in to the hell hole they want all of us to fall into. You can only help Natalee if you are strong. So be strong and recognize that the very beauty and giftedness you so clearly see in Natalee is so very clear to me -
in YOU! Keep writing. And know that you are deeply loved by Natalee for you are a true and loyal friend to her. Find other women, and inspire them to write. Inspire them to use that beautiful list you created to make a difference, to make sure this child's voice is heard and is never lost. Keep up the good work, and believe and trust that there is a reason for you to be here...for where would Natalee be without friends like you, Meri and Deetch? Keep writing.

Anonymous said...

http://hope-for-natalee.blogspot.com/

It is because of YOU, Michelle, and DEETCH and MERI, and KERMIT, and so many others - that Natalee WILL RISE UP! Don't lose heart.
Keep writing!

Michelle said...

You all made my day. Thank you for your encouragement. I will continue to write and seek justice for Natalee.

Zarina said...

Here Here, I was a former partier too in the 70's. Yes it is more dangerous now... but what happened to Natalee did not need to happen. We must keep blogging.... Women must begin to stand with each other. Too many missing women and children out there.

dennisintn said...

just thank your lucky stars you didn't run into people like the 3 amigoes. and keep on what you're doing now.
dennisintn

Anonymous said...

Michelle...never question why Natalee and not you...for only God knows the answer to that. We did grow up in a different world.....one where, although we were a little wild, we weren't subjected to what young people all over the world are subjected to in these times. Had Natalee been a bit more wild, more worldly she would not have been such easy prey. Your voice has been heard by millions...keep up your work .....finding justice for Natalee....a young woman who DESERVED to be on this earth...to make her mark.....the j2k will pay...if not in this lifetime, then in another...but they will have no peace in their lives....they will always be viewed as those responsible for the murder of an innocent young woman....they will never ever be able to walk among poeple and not worry about who is behind them...

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate if you good people would e-mail Greta, Cosby, and Grace. All the cable shows you can. Ask them to stop saying "Mistakes were made at the beginning of the case"... "They Botched" this case at the beginning. As we have seen by the actions of those in charge. Van Straaten and Jacobs. No mistakes were made. Everything that was done. Or not done. Was intentionally thought out to sabotage this case. This subject needs to be explored. And shown to the public. The cable networks are letting these sabatours off the hook. With there stupid comments. The corrupt officials names and pictures need to be put on the TV screens for all to see. These corrupt officials need to have the spotlight shown on them. And made to explain there actions. E-mailing the cable shows to do this. Might help. They have the power to shine this case back on the people who did the crime. And the ones who have covered it up. If you have time to post or read here. You have time to e-mail them. NancyGrace@cnn.com ontherecord@foxnews.com Rita@msnbc.com

Anonymous said...

I just love this argument about a victim "deserving" their fate. As though it absolves the perps of any responsibility for their actions!