(NEW YORK) — On her first trip to New York City, Jaycee Dugard attended a star-studded awards ceremony, took in a Broadway play and gazed upon the city’s skyscrapers. But for her, the most memorable part of the trip was going for pizza.
“Just walking down the street. With everybody. It was my favorite moment,” Dugard told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.
For a woman who had spent most of her life held captive in the backyard of Philip and Nancy Garrido and who had been reclusive since her rescue to make sure her notoriety did not affect her children, it was liberating not to have to hide.
“For eighteen years I had to hide, and to be out in public, to go to a restaurant and not — because even now I feel like I have to hide,” Dugard told Sawyer. “I want my girls to have a normal life as much as possible. … I feel like on some things I have to do it a little bit differently … not be recognized … for their sake.”
She doesn’t intend to always live in hiding, but that will have to wait until her two daughters, 17 and 14, are more mature and better able to cope with their mother’s story.
“I think in time as they get older they’ll know how to deal with it better and that would be the time that we would come out,” she said.
Dugard was kidnapped in 1991 when she was 11-years-old and held captive for 18 years by the Garridos. She was raped and gave birth to two daughters in captivity before being rescued in 2009.
Part of enjoying her freedom is making sure the past does not have hold of her, and Dugard, 31, told Sawyer that the traumatic ordeal is not on her mind every day and that she decided to forgive Phillip and Nancy Garrido in order to move on with her life.
“It’s not with me every day. That is over. Nancy and Philip are behind bars,” she said. “There is so much out here to do and feel. … I feel like I can make a difference. … I don’t want to be remembered for what happened.”
Dugard wants to be remembered for the work of her foundation, the JAYC Foundation, which stands for Just Ask Yourself to Care. The foundation uses animal-assisted therapy, along with other support services to treat families recovering from abduction and the aftermath of traumatic experiences.
Dugard is also trying to make memories, crossing life experiences off a list she made when it seemed freedom was impossible.
Watch Diane Sawyer’s exclusive interview with Jaycee Dugard Tuesday, March 13, on World News at 6:30 pm E.T.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Tracy Bloom & Chip Yost, CNN
Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM