Lose Yourself

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 ControlDivision of Violence Prevention)

A Family That Throws Up Together Stays Together

It all started last Wednesday night I got home late and Liam and Ava were already in bed. I was standing in the kitchen with my husband talking, when I noticed that there was an eerie silence. I can’t explain it, but something was not right. I checked on Ava and she was sound asleep. I then went down to Liam’s room and in the dimly lit room I could see he was sitting up. I went over to his bed and placed my hands on his covers and right away realized they were wet. That was when I saw that Liam’s body was heaving and the horror washed over me. He was throwing up. In his almost four years he has never thrown up. When he was he finished he looked at me and said, “I can’t make it stop.” It broke my heart and thus we began the stomach bug that ripped through our house.

That night my husband and I did not get much sleep every half hour Liam got sick and we constantly were stripping his bed and changing his clothes. However, by morning it had subsided and he was now just a weak, tired little boy. Throughout his stomach upsetness Liam made mention to the fact that he had “the throw ups”. I felt so bad seeing him like that, but I thought the worse was over. Until early Friday morning…. I woke to hear my husband violently sick in the bathroom and right away realized another man down. At 4:00 in the morning I knew I wanted to get out of the house as early as possible for many reasons. One being it would be best for my husband to be able to recover in a quiet, kid free zone; but two maybe if I left I could escape the germs. Having already done 16 weeks of morning sickness and now finally at 20 weeks feeling good I did not want to go back to hanging over a toilet. Besides this stomach bug although short term (lasted about 6 hours) was intense making you sick every half hour. It took days for Liam to even start eating and moving about again, and I feared being pregnant getting dehydrated. I stayed at my parents all day on Friday. Liam still was less energetic and spent most of the day lounging about, but Ava played lively all day. We ate dinner with my parents and as we were cleaning up Ava was running about. All of the sudden she stopped and right there in my parent’s living room, she began her six hour tour of the stomach bug. Fear crept over me as I tried to comfort her. I could see in her face she was scared as she did not understand what was going on. I live 40 minutes away from my parents and knowing the past two experiAva ence, she was inevitable going to get sick in the car. My mother had an ingenious idea and took a huge plastic shopping bag and cut holes to fit over her head and arms to protect her coat in case my fears were realized. Twenty minutes from home as I was trying to make my best attempt to make it before the next episode occurred, Liam announced that Ava had the “throw ups” again. I quickly moved to the shoulder where I cleaned her up the best I could and prayed there would not be another incident before I got home. By the time I got home my recovering husband helped me get the kids inside and Ava situated. Ava finally finished her round of the “throw ups” around midnight. My house was silent and still. My poor husband and kids lay in their beds as their bodies were trying to heal and rest. I was wide awake. Exhausted but terrified. I had come to the realization at this point that I was the only standing survivor and it was not likely I would stay that way. I believe I related it to on Facebook like a game of Russian Roulette. The trigger was going to be pulled and it was only a matter of time to find out whether it was a blank or not.

Bang! 2:00 AM I awoke and knew immediately my time had come. Paranoid of the dehydration after each round I sipped cautiously Gatorade. Funny thing is that maybe it was the sugar or the electrolytes in the Gatorade, but throughout my bout I could feel the baby kick, which gave me peace at mind. By 8:00 in the morning it was over but I was weak, achy and very tired. It isn’t an easy position to be in in general, but when you know your family Mommy and Ava Recoveringisn’t at its best either it’s hard not to feel bad. Luckily my husband who certainly wasn’t completely better rallied and took care of the kids and me. I slept most of the day. Liam and Ava using their doctor kit they got from Santa, periodically checked my temperature and gave me shots to feel better. There something so soothing about the innocence and kindheartedness of a child. Liam repeatedly said that day, “Mommy I just want to make you happy and feel better.” And you know what, he did. Those four days were a rough time for our household and I hope we may never have to go through that again. We had to lean on each other, take care of each other, and in our own ways did what we could to make the other person feel better. However, I am convinced a family that throws ups together stays together.