The numbness I felt after the attack was a welcomed relief. I had been through so much in the nine months leading up to it, that feeling nothing was a pleasure. Even so, I had a nagging feeling it would not last forever. I knew that once the numbness wore off, it would take everything in me not to crumble. But I kept reminding myself enjoy this oddly new emotionless state as I usually feel all the feels.
I was angry going into the weekend when it happened, but I insisted on making lemonade out of lemons. It’s weird in the aftermath the only way I could explain it was I was fine, until I wasn’t. When the numbness wore off the bruises were still there. I could not run from it. I stood in the bathroom staring at my rib cage. It didn’t hurt, well not physically. How did I get to 40 years old with not so much as a hair on my head mishandled and now, I had this very evident reminder?
What happened and how it happened to me are the minor details. Anyone who has been assaulted has a story, the response is different, and perhaps even the healing is different, but we all are the same in that we “earned” a new title, victim.
Once the numbness wore off, I did speak about it. I had to. There was no way of hiding it. I was angry at myself for not being stronger and not holding it together better. One common thread that kept coming back to me was I needed to speak to someone. I finally made an appointment more so to appease everyone else. I had one session, and it was brutal. I remember driving home after it was over thinking, I can’t go through that again, and I didn’t.
I had started running about a month before the attack but now it became my passion. I can’t explain the peace of mind I got to blasting “California Love” and “Lose Yourself” into my earbuds as I pounded the ground with each step I took. And then the unforeseen happened, I got good at it. I felt like every time I went for a run, I was conquering little more of what was taken away from me, and perhaps a little of that is true but let’s be honest it was a distraction.
Towards the middle of the summer my knee started hurting, but it wasn’t too bad, so I ran through the pain. In late July a week before my next race, I drove up to a new trail to run as I was getting bored on the one I had been on for weeks. I was only a quarter way down, when the pain shot through me like electricity. I fell to the ground, and I could barely catch my breath. The acute pain was so severe I did not know if I would be able to even make it back to my car on my own. Long story short I was out for running for 8 weeks. Eight long weeks of idle time was not good for me. Too much time on my hands, to much time to think.
Write Margot, you love to write, I thought. It had been a while since I had written anything, and I was not sure I wanted to open Pandora’s Box. What would I uncover that I buried down? What I found was something unexpected but what I have learned is priceless. I always had this belief if you put enough goodness out in the world you would get it back. Not that I thought I would be immune to bad things happening, but I had my ass kicked for the past few years and I felt jaded. In the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot of running and writing. Sorting out the good from the bad. I am taking some time to take inventory in the good I have in my life (and there is good). I am also a big believer that every experience, every moment happens for a reason. It has opened my eyes to a new perspective on me. While I had to break myself down a couple of times this year, the rebuilding of Margot is what excites me now. Now its time for me to kick some ass.
Quick facts on assault in the United States
- Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center)
- Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN)
- 1 out of every 3 women experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during her lifetime ( National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention)