Strength of Will

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short essay/memoir on the emotionally trying beginning to my freshman year at college that left me searching for hope.

Submitted: October 16, 2011

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Submitted: October 16, 2011

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September 10, 2010 I went out to a party south of campus at an apartment complex on 13th street. I left the apartment alone in order to catch the bus back to my dorm. I was waiting at the bus stop when a man waiving a sweater was walking towards me asking if it was my sweater. I was not being cautious, and I allowed myself to be caught in a dangerous situation. I was attacked and left in the wooded area. I wound up walking home barefoot. I did not sleep that night. I did not even cry that night. I just sat in my bed somehow detached from myself, completely numb. After an attack there are certain things a woman is supposed to do. You go to the hospital, request a rape kit, have your fingernails swabbed, and have your clothing taken for testing. I knew this. I wanted to do the right thing, to just endure a little more but instead I dragged myself to the bathroom. I turned the faucet as hot as possible and collapsed on the floor sobbing. I relived that nightmare almost daily after that. I fell into a deep depression. I woke up hysterical, frightened, crying, and screaming in the middle of the night. I often had to leave my room to go cry on the stairwell, hoping my roommate did not hear me. Flashbacks of that night were for quite some time a daily occurrence, triggered by the most minuscule of actions. Seeing a man with long strides walking in my direction. Being touched, no matter how briefly or gently. Seeing a man with even the slightest resemblance. I felt mercilessly trapped within myself. I was miserable. I had panic attacks and insomnia. My stomach seemed to be constantly turning and I would be sick to my stomach almost daily. Then one night crying in the stairwell I lost myself. I wanted a way out, some sort of escape. I wanted to overdose on something or walk into traffic, just find a way to end everything. Crying in the stairwell, contemplating how I was going to end my life, I texted my mother. It was late. I knew she would be sleeping. I did not want to call and wake her because I would not have known what to say. I had not told anyone about the attack. I could not. How do you tell someone that you were too weak to do everything in your power or at least something to help catch the man whom attacked you and could potentially attack other women? I was and still am ashamed of my inaction. My mother received the text in the morning and drove up with my father and brother that day. They kept calling and I would not answer. How did I explain how I had gone from happy to suicidal in a few months? I did not want to tell them about the attack. I knew it would hurt them, and I did not want it to hurt anyone else. They asked questions that I would not answer. They cried and held me, and I cried. They said that I should go home with them, withdrawal from the semester and go home. I would not do it. My entrance essay was about strength of will. It was about how I prided myself on my unwillingness to accept defeat. Going home was giving up in my mind, and the night before when I texted my mother I had decided not to give up. I tried desperately to just bottle everything inside and move on. But I could not move on. Over a year has passed and I am just now moving on. This story is my first step. 


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