I have spent the last few years fighting to take my life back. It was stolen from me when a six-inch blade was held against my stomach.
Three years ago, I was walking home from Tim Hortons. I have never really been afraid of strangers. So when I saw two men pondering by a path I frequently used, I never even batted an eye – but they stepped out towards me. They demanded my phone.
I remember everything vividly like a scene in a movie I’ve watched a thousand times.
The guy in front of me wore a baseball cap with a camouflage jacket. His hair was curly and he wielded a six-inch blade with a green handle. His voice was deep but young. He was 19.
The boy off to my right was harder to see, glancing around in a shadow. He was the lookout. I thought I was a tough girl so I laughed when he asked for my phone. Things got a little more serious when he pulled a knife and pushed it against my stomach, not enough to hurt, but enough to shake me up. My nonchalant demeanour turned into one that pleaded for safety and mercy.
I ended up throwing my phone away from me, a tactic I learned on the internet that would push his attention to going after the phone, and not after me. Naturally, they ran off in different directions as fast as they could.
I was accompanied home by someone who saw what was going on from a bus that had just passed by. Getting home was easy, but getting through the phone call with the police was timely and hard. I remember seeing police cruisers drive up in front of my house, and some neighbours peeking out the windows.
I can’t tell you how embarrassing it was to continuously vomit out of stress and fear in front of eight disgusted officers on my lawn. The night may have been over, but the effects of this problem would last quite a long time.
My dreams and aspirations were to be a police officer or an air combat systems operator. But a few months after the attack, I had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
I still can’t walk alone outside at night. I am afraid of people dressed a certain way, or people who look a certain way.
Tall men bother me, and I don’t like to talk about it.
I couldn’t be a police officer or see myself flying an airplane. It was not just my phone that had been taken, it was my life, my goals. Gone.
To this day, I don’t know who I am anymore, who I want to be.
My future is questionable. Sometimes I wish those men had pushed that blade into my stomach or into my chest. There is not a day that goes by where I’m not sitting in my car or in my bathtub, feeling like there isn’t anyone around me in a thousand-mile radius.
For years, I had to go through intense counseling with my high school psychologist after being found in the hallway loaded up on prescription pills. I had to deal with questions from my teachers asking why I had bruises around my eyes and forehead from my own fists, and school resource officers lecturing me on the mental health act when I refused to be escorted to the hospital.
Three years ago, two men stole my life, and I am still fighting to regain it.
To find a new path, a new future. I still don’t know where I’ll go, what I’ll do, how long this rut will last.
I couldn’t tell you that I learned something from this experience, or that it ended on a happy note with rainbows and butterflies because it didn’t.
I have had a rough few years, and I will wear it like armour until I can find a personal conclusion or happy ending to tell. For now, I will walk on the brighter side of the street at night and hope I can find forgiveness for the people who did this to me.
This is my new path.