When we were children in terrible situations, some of us, like me, hid in corners or rooms where we wouldn't get in the way of, say, a parent yielding a knife or screaming serious death threats.
When you are six or seven, you can't fight that kind of terribleness. You can only be afraid, and your response may be to freeze or hide.
Since that's what I always did when I was younger, I always assumed that's what I would do if I were ever put into a traumatic situation as an adult. When someone yelled at me, I'd usually freeze. Hearing people yell at each other made too many emotional memories of being psychologically terrorized as a child resurface, making me slink away into a corner and cover my ears, as the six or seven year old in me surfaces along with the memories of that terrible fear.
Tonight I found out that, guess what?
We're stronger than we think!
My theory that I wouldn't fight back was put to the test. In my quite safe neighborhood, I walked down the street to get a cold fruit juice on an unseasonably warm night. A man grabbed me from behind, held my mouth closed, and shoved me to the ground. It was dark, there was no one else on the street, but I did not freeze.
Though panicked, I said to myself, "I WILL NOT BE RAPED." I knew there were many people in the houses on the street and had hope that if I screamed loudly, someone would come. Surprisingly, instead of being a six-year-old scared kid who couldn't protect herself, I kicked! I scratched! I wriggled until I could scream expletives at the top of my lungs.
And it worked!
Besides bruised breasts and probably a bruise or two on my face, I suffered no other harm, and the cherry on top? He didn't steal my purse. Instead he ran off, hopped on his motorcycle and fled away. And to my own surprise, I chased him, still screaming!
This is huge! Turns out I am strong and I can fight back!
Sure, I came home and cried my eyes out (in fact, I'm still crying) and called the police. Sure, they didn't come out because where I live, sadly, the police are sort of useless like that. But I did my best to try and not let an event like that go unreported, as so many do.
I reached out immediately to whomever I could get hold of instead of curling up in the fetal position.
In other words, wow! I am strong!
If I am strong, all of you sure as hell must be really strong, too!
I'm proud of me and I'm proud of us, The Band.
Remember that there's a fighter in you somewhere. No matter how far pushed down he or she is into your soul, she is there and she wants you to win - to not be a victim.
Sometimes we're so far down the rabbit hole that we don't realize this, but I learned tonight that it's true. You're strong. You have inner strength.
And if an unfortunate time comes when you need to use that strength, you will.6 Comments