Wednesday is my birthday, marking 14 years since I was sexually assaulted. Beyond an occasional family dinner, I prefer not to celebrate it.
In the past, my busy work schedule and lack of solid friendships has made for plenty of excuses to skip it and move on. “Oh I’m sure we’ll celebrate this weekend but I’m working today”. Boom, easy, no one thinks twice about it, nor do they remember to ask later. Over the last few years I’ve spent it driving, just me and the dog, getting lost and coming home to take a bath and get drunk. It easily translates into “Oh I’m just having a me day today!”.
The truth is, I spend it mourning the loss of my innocence. I’m reliving that day, the events that took place, the details, the things that were said… And how when it was all over, I emerged, broken, stone cold and determined no one would ever hurt me again. That sweet girl who believed in saving herself for love and who was kind and thoughtful and innocent beyond her means was gone.
But this year I have vowed to start taking my life back. This year I will wake up and when that dread starts spreading over me, I will remind myself that this day in 2019, is not that day, 14 years ago. I will remind myself that this sweet pitbull laying next to me will protect me, should I need it. I will wake up saying good morning to God, the universe and my best friend who are all watching over me. I will greet the day with excitement and a smile. I’ll treat myself to a coffee. And whatever else happens, whether we go get lost and come home to a bath and a bottle or we get that long awaited invite, it will be MY day. Not the day someone hurt me or broke my spirit or stole so much from me, no, this year, you do not get to win. I do.