Today’s the day – today is the sixth anniversary. 7 November 2013 was a Thursday, just like today, and as I write this, some tears are falling.
Thursday, 7 November 2013 was the only day I missed a Thankful Thursday post because I thought I’d write it when I got home from school and work. Obviously, it didn’t happen, and I’ve never missed a post since then. I’m a little superstitious and I’m too afraid of missing a post, fearing it’ll lead to something else happening.
However, on Thursday, 7 November 2019, I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m still alive, he didn’t take the physical, mental, or spiritual lights from my life. Although I live with PTSD, I’m more kind and compassionate than I was before I was raped.
I am ashamed to admit this, but I used to judge people harshly, mostly when I was a teenager and when it came to high publicity cases of celebrities assaulting a young woman. I know this was coming from fear – if she would have stayed home, she would have been okay – because as I look back on the feelings I had as a 13, 14, 15 year old, I remember thinking to myself, “if someone raped me, I would kill myself. That would be shameful because that person ruined my honour.” At 24, after it happened, I felt very ashamed of myself and all of the the blame that was placed on me, I felt even worse. I will admit that for a while I was feeling ashamed and suicidal. Well, I am still here and I’m letting go of that shame and now that I am part of the community, I don’t place shame on others either. We did nothing wrong, we couldn’t have prevented what happened to us and the onus belongs to the rapist, the person shouldn’t have violated our boundaries to begin with. Now, I meet people where they are without judgement.
While I wish I was never raped and it’s a horrible thing to go through, I am thankful for what it taught me. In my 20s, I let go of listening to myself because in my teenage years, people thought my intuition was weird and paranoid. I wanted to let go of it in college, I wanted to be liked. Well, silly idea because I let some bad people in. After 7 November 2013, hindsight is always 20/20 and I thought some things leading up to the day were odd, but I chose to ignore it. I don’t ignore my gut feelings now; I listen to my intuition and observations.
I think therapy and talking about the the lead up, with my counselor validating most of my feelings (Brandon would have had to plan it; this was unavoidable and you didn’t have the insight at the time), helped prevent an ugly situation with Savage. Because of Brandon, I’m hyper aware and I really listen to people; if I get a bad vibe, I don’t care how mean I look, I’m walking away. I’m actually really thankful for this insight now. I guess at 30, unlike my teens and 20s, I don’t care what anyone thinks, my safety comes first.
Brandon died on 31 March 2015. I’m not sure what the cause of death was, but he donated organs and I’m surmising that it was some sort of accident. This is a very wild feeling. I could have died six years ago, at 24, but through a miracle I got out alive. The person who tried to kill me, the person who humiliated and bullied me is now dust, while I’m still standing and thriving. He didn’t get Earthly justice, but karma is real.
I’m glad he can’t hurt anyone else anymore, but I do feel for his family. People told me that I shouldn’t, he obviously didn’t care about me, but Brandon did not break my spirit or compassion. In the six years, I’ve chosen to forgive him and myself.
I’m grateful for the people who did support me in 2013; I’m thankful for Darlene coming to appointments so I wouldn’t be so alone; I’m thankful for the coworkers from the library and the internship for giving me the shoulders, hearts, and hands at the time. I’m thankful for all of the support over the years and the people I worked with this year.
Because of this life altering event, I started the Happiness Box Project two years into the healing process and now, four years later, I’ve inspired others. My pain, the work I’ve done and continue to do to reach joy, healing, and community, has lifted so many others. I don’t know if this project would have come to life if I wasn’t raped. I’m thankful for my meaningful life.