3 years ago I was attacked. It started as any regular Thursday began. I went to work. I stayed for OT which I usually did three times a week. I was contemplating going home on time and skipping the OT, but I talked myself into staying for some reason. I have thought of this small decision a million times, wondering where my life would be now, if I listened. It was February and one thing I remember is the weather being cold. I have a black pea coat with purple silk lining and I wear it when it’s really cold outside.
My bus was delayed and usually, this would not be an issue with safety but the bus stop was temporarily moved because of construction. The temporary stop was not well-lit and when it was moved to that location it gave me an uneasy feeling.
There were four people at the bus stop that night including me and I state this for a specific reason. If you are in a dangerous situation do not expect anyone to swoop in and save you. They witnessed me being harassed, threatened, and bullied. No one stepped in but God.
I was pacing the sidewalk, cold, tired and really wanting to go home. I looked up and a man walking towards me started mumbling under his breath. Before I could react, he lunged toward me, screaming expletives and racial slurs at me. I stared at him shell shocked. I wasn’t sure what to do. I had never been attacked by a complete stranger.
I yelled at him “Leave me alone!”
I glanced at the strangers at the bus stop, but they averted their gaze and turned away. The assailant kept coming towards me menacingly.
“I will kill you. I hate your face I will slice that smile off your face!”
My first thought was to run. I didn’t know if he had a knife or a weapon and as I started running away, but God told me to face him and scream. I faced him and screamed. I screamed at him to “back the hell away and I would call the cops.”
I just kept screaming at him and he darted off. I felt like my chest was going to explode. Tears ran down my face, I tried to focus on my breathing so I wouldn’t have a panic attack. Ironically enough two minutes after my attacker left a cop car drove past.
I don’t remember the rest of the night. I recall dialing my bestie’s number bawling and the bus pulling up mid-call. I remember getting home and pretending everything was okay as I said hello to my mom and gave her a kiss good night. I cried on the couch for what seemed a lifetime as my bestie held me and told me I was safe. I didn’t feel safe. I felt broken.💔I felt like a million pieces of tragedy. I wanted to hide in the deepest, darkest hole imaginable.
I told one of my friends Shelle* I couldn’t sleep because of stress and she suggested journaling. Shelle* told me the most important lessons of journaling. Always keep your journal with you, ‘it’s your mute best friend, never leave your journal out in the open. 📓 The first few posts in that journal (I still have it) were very torturous. I cried most of the time I wrote. 😭 I felt like a shell of myself.
I thought ‘The more I write, the better I will feel. I have to get back to me’. I joined a mental health app called TalkSpace. I made a few friends that struggled with similar feelings. I could chat with them when I was anxious or felt overwhelmed and didn’t feel judged.
This happened in Feb 2020. I planned a trip with my mom towards the end of February to surprise her best friend in Oklahoma. The weeks blurred by and I pushed back these feelings and tried to act normal. I jumped at every noise.
I slept haphazardly. I was so thankful for the trip to OK and looking back I think that’s why I turned into ‘party girl’ during the trip. When I was alone with a family friend she confided in me about issues that were going on with her bf. We hugged and I started crying.
“Are you okay?”
Me: “I need to tell you something.”
“Hey, Char you ready to go back to the hotel?”
Me: “yeah..”,”don’t worry, we’ll talk later.”
When I was in Oklahoma, I reconnected with my friends and I felt safe. One of my friends invited me to a bar and I canceled because I was scared to go alone thinking I would get attacked, raped, or worse on my way there.
When we flew back from the trip my feeling of safety was gone. ✈️ I was scared to go out at night alone. I jumped at every little noise. I kept journaling and tried moving on. Travis* one of my TalkSpace friends texted me daily to check on me. Every time I said I was broken, he told me I wasn’t.
I felt broken all the time. I felt scared all the time. I started snapping at my friends. My family. I felt like someone else took over my life and I was trapped on a runaway roller coaster that wouldn’t stop. I saw his face everywhere. I bought a defensive keychain and that made me feel less anxious going outside. My younger brother knowing how I was becoming hermitted encouraged me to leave the house more.
One day I was about to leave the house to check the mail and the sun was starting to set. I started shaking and crying. I felt like a ghost walking the earth when I should have died.
I told myself ‘you are enough and you can do this. I don’t know how but you can’.
It was hard. I cried a lot. We all know what happened in 2020. I think the forced isolation of sheltering in place just furthered my hermit.
At the end of 2021 after suggestions from friends, I started therapy with medication. The first topic was my attack. I have told 2 friends, my full story and Via. I didn’t tell Via until a few months ago. Writing this I cried. 😭 Remembering the events and my emotions still shocks me. At the end of 2020, I started the blog. I don’t think I would have started a blog focused on empowerment if I did not go through the hardest situation in my life.
I don’t know where I would be if this traumatic event didn’t happen. I just know I feel stronger because of what I went through and coming out on the other side.
Diamonds are the hardest form of natural material. I think of that, how beautiful and sought-after diamonds are. 💎 I emerged from who I used to be. Last year for my birthday, I asked my best for a tattoo. We got inked together and the only image I could think of was a raven. I went through the dark and came through and my raven “Nevermore” reminds me of how strong I am.