Second Most Important Day of my Life
Warning: Possible triggers (Rape/Sexual Assault)
‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’ -Mark Twain
I recently rediscovered this quote. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, whether we know that reason or not. I don’t think that life just happens as a result of random events. Of course, many things have tried to shake this theory, namely, my rape. There are so many senseless acts of violence every year, this was just another one. It almost destroyed me on several occasions. I couldn’t figure out how or why this would happen to me. The only reason it didn’t totally obliterate me is because it takes a lot more than that to break me. I won’t lie though, if anything has ever come within millimeters of honestly, completely and totally destroying me, it was this. There are so many times I almost didn’t make it. There were days I struggled to get through and most times I scraped through by the skin of my teeth. Other things, like my marriage, were not so fortunate. This one event destroyed huge, enormous parts of my life. I’ve lost almost everything. There is so little that I didn’t, and those people are my family, either by blood or choice. They’re the ones that realized this wasn’t a cake walk. This was real life, and it was dirty, disgusting and I had to battle it mostly on my own. They saw me even when I couldn’t see myself, let alone find me. Outside of my immediate family, I can count these people on one hand if that tells you anything of what I’ve lost.
It’s hard to see what good can come of this, especially when the detective decided that I couldn’t have been raped, despite conflicting facts including documented physical injury. My case never stood a chance of ever being tried, let alone my rapist ever seeing a day behind bars. He’s still walking free. I couldn’t even obtain a restraining order against him, despite video of him coming after me in a public place. What kind of universe or higher power allows that to happen? I’m not going to pretend I know, but I’m glad it did. It took me a long time to get to this point, but if anyone was going to be raped that night, at least I know I could make it through without it destroying me completely. My experience with law enforcement was shitty at best and I knew from prior experiences in my life that if there’s something that’s not right, the best thing you can do is change it. I tried to by going up the chain of command, but that got me no where. I realized that my situation really sucked, for lack of a better phrase, but that this likely wasn’t the only place it was happening. I thought some more and came to what was the only logical solution for me.
I dropped all of my engineering classes and on a whim, signed up for criminal justice courses. I wasn’t going to let this happen again if I had any say in it and I decided I did by going into law enforcement myself and not treating some other victim the same way I was mistreated. I’ve always wanted to do something where I could help others but was too afraid of others opinions that I was selling myself short by going into something like firefighting and law enforcement. If anything, the rape made me realize that what other people thought didn’t matter. I wasn’t dropping out of college to do this. I was getting my degree still (and in fact, I’d love to get my master’s or PhD some day, but right now my brain is just burnt out). I’d have something to fall back on if this didn’t work, and could go into a field like law or something if needed. During the one period in my life where I handled everything in the most illogical manner possible (which is so rare for me. Logic and I are like best friends, most times), this was the one thing I was completely logical about, thankfully. The minute I changed everything, it all fell in place so perfectly. My logical, linear thinking was a perfect fit. My courses kept me interested, even the ones I hated. I excelled at them (with the exception of when my marriage was completely over, as is obvious by my grades dropping across the board. I still graduated with over a 3.0) and felt like I’d made the right decision. Even getting back into shape has been awesome. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and feel better than ever. I won’t pretend that it’s going to be what I use to protect myself because let’s face it – I’m 5’8″. Even if I’m strong, some 6’4″ guy could probably still kick my ass. But it helps, for sure. Working out with CrossFit has made me confident that I can handle the worst that any police or FBI academy can throw at me and take it in stride, probably with a smile. It’s improved my mental fitness as well because those days I want to throw the towel in, I’ve got to convince myself that it’s not worth it to give it all up. I am forever so thankful that I’ve found something like CrossFit – it’s just another piece I was missing that I didn’t know was til I found it.
I don’t remember the exact day, but that day in mid January 2008, two days before classes started, was the day that I figured out why I was born. I was born to help others during their darkest nights. I was born this stubborn, this strong, for this very reason. I was born to face adversity and exceed it, to not take ‘no’ for an answer. I was born to be the one running into the fight, one of the first to respond when anyone else would run from it. I was born to walk that thin blue line, to maintain order in a world full of chaos. I’m not anything special or unique, there’s nothing that sets me apart or made me more prepared for this. It’s just who I am, what I was born with, and how my life events brought me here. I’m not a hero, I never will be. At least, I’ll never see myself as being so. I’m just someone with a burning desire to help people when they need it most. Why not a firefighter? Why not a doctor, or a nurse, or something ‘safe’? Because ‘safe’ has never described me. Risk and danger find me no matter what, so why pretend that I could get away from that?
Even better, aren’t I afraid of dying? Of the danger? Of course. Any sensible person would be but I’ve lived through my personal hell. Dying will happen when it’s meant to, whether it’s a bullet, a plane crash, a heart attack or when I’m old. Why not live my life doing what I love and makes me happy instead of some soul-sucking job that leaves me feeling resentful?
This is what I was born for, no matter what path brought me to this point.