I’ve been away for a few weeks with work. And I am closing in on the end of my story. But I wanted to share an observation with you all on something I am really happy about. It might seem a silly thing, but here goes….
The past few weeks, I have been working extraordinarily hard at my job as I want to do my best heading into the start of the college season. I’ve been traveling a lot and been really pressed for time. But along the way, and in just the past two weeks or so, I realized something fabulous: I am my old self again! I have not ever felt that way until now. And the way I know this? I’m not afraid to speak my mind, challenge people, or be playful and persnickety. There’s been a shift, a subtle and prolonged one, but a shift nonetheless.
I am going to say it started with my move away from Hoboken. And then, getting settled in to my new home and job took time. I went on a blind date – which was entirely laughable and forgettable at the same time. I have even let myself flirt again (once, but it still counts!!) ; I didn’t even remember that I could do that. After I published my story in Marie Claire, I have been keenly aware that people might be watching my actions and/or words to see if they are in line with “what a sexual assault victim should act/speak like.” I’ve been aware of it in my public-facing role at work, especially in the social media realm, and with new people I meet through work who likely read about me, but never met me. I have always thought that they might dismiss me and my voice because they’d judged me. I finally, finally, have shed that layer of concern. Even if people make fun of me or disparage me when the Travel Channel piece comes out, I feel better equipped to do battle. I know I did a good thing with this blog. And I have helped women. I always think of them and the sweet letters they’ve written to me.
I told an old friend about this last week, this discovery of mine. And she said, “You were wounded. Probably longer than you realized.” And she’s right. Sometimes, the wound is still there even though we can’t see it. And the healing won’t be rushed. I could talk about it, will it away, put my best foot forward and my chin up. But none of that really mattered until the back of my brain decided to join the party. I am beyond grateful that it did.