When I reflect on the past three weeks and the events in my life, the most overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. In the midst of one of the most undeniably challenging seasons of my life, I've been surrounded with a myriad of blessings. People who've come into my mess and stood there with me. Not to try to fix things, but just to be.
I've been thinking for some time now for a way to put my thoughts on what I've experienced out there and to be honest, there isn't an easy answer. I'm very much a verbal processor, but for me, words on a page seems more doable than a conversation. Because while I want to process what's gone on, I don't think I can do it if I'm constantly reading the facial expressions and body language of those I speak with. Thoughts have swirled in my head as I've processed internally what I've experienced, and there's a huge part of me that feels it is important to share those thoughts with whoever will read. Putting it in writing is better than face-to-face for the moment because my tendency to observe and analyze would make it too difficult to say what I need to.
It's a blessing and a curse, being observant. It helps me in my job and it saved my life. That same observance, however, means I'm hyper aware of how the things I say affect people and I read into those reactions - sometimes in a way that limits my ability to express what I need to. So here we are.
What's gone on can be best broken into three time frames, and over the next several posts I plan to unpack most of it. Those three time frames are the past 18 months, trial week, everything since.
In total, since my life changed 18 months ago, I've been in a season of tremendous challenges. I never could have imagined the path I'd be walking on. It's not one I would ever have wished on myself or anyone else, but it is my journey now, and I'm grateful.
Perspective changes things. In September 2014, I knew I'd eventually emerge on the other side of this nightmare. One day, I'd be stronger. One day I'd see how all of this fit into the larger plan for my life that God was working. There'd be a greater purpose, and one day I'd see how some of the pieces fit. Perhaps I imagined a light bulb moment... as if one morning I'd wake up and feel different. Or maybe it would come when the verdicts were read and he would finally face real punishment for what he did. Neither of those things happened. You see there wasn't a single moment when I felt differently, had more clarity or could see where God was weaving this into the fabric of my story. Instead I've trekked on - step by step - I've had days where I've felt stronger and piece by piece I've begun to heal.
If you're still reading at this point, you might be wondering what it is I'm even talking about. To be honest, I've lost track of who knows and who doesn't. None of that really matters because it's not a dirty secret. To hide in the shadows of what happened to me would be to imply that somehow I'm in the wrong here. That simply isn't the case.
In September 2014, I was raped.
I became one of millions of women who joined the survivors club. One in 5 women will join our ranks in her lifetime. I never imagined I'd be in this club, but life is surprising like that. On that September night I feared for my life and wondered how I would survive. But survive I did.
In the days, weeks and months that have passed since that night, I've had a lot to be thankful for. For family who endured my stress mood swings and irritability, for friends who helped me move in a hurry and then escorted me into my apartment every night after work until I felt safe and secure and for the countless others who've sent prayers up on my behalf and good vibes my way.
Thank you seems hollow when I reflect on the officers who responded to my house, the detectives who worked on my case the prosecutors who got to know me and won justice on my behalf.
Thank you isn't nearly enough.