On this day, and on this hour, almost two decades ago, I was being bustled into a car, my head pushed down. I felt the cessation of life as I understood it. An event out of my control was going to slap me hard, and I would fall to my knees. Today is the anniversary of my being kidnapped. The bitter cold always reminds me, before I acknowledge the date. It was so cold… Life inside the old hospital-where I neither belonged nor felt at home- was contracting in. Within a few hours, the large ward and long staircases were replaced by a tiny bedsit, bars on the sealed windows. A butterfly already held in a glass jar was having her wings pinched by tweezers. Pins were about to be put in.
Tomorrow heralds the night I fell. I couldn’t fly, as my wings were pinned down. “I am embarking on the last adventure,” I reassured myself when my pleading was ignored. “This bastard has merely sped up my departure by sixty or so years. God speed to you, kiddo!” He hated the bemused smirk which spread across my face. I was holding my own. He hadn’t taken my power. He had tortured me in every way possible for several months, day in and out, but he couldn’t take my spirit. I was terrified, but even as I acknowledged my fear of heights, of pain and death, I kept my own counsel. July 25th is White Ribbon Night. I will commemorate those I have lost to violence. I will celebrate survival and hug my little girl. I will be haunted by memories and recall what it felt like to have soft rain tap my face on the way to the Catscan machine the morning of the 26th. I wept and I smiled. It is possible to have great sorrow and great joy coursing through your body at the same time. There is nothing like the anniversary of your kidnapping and attempted murder to inspire both. If you see me over the next few days, I will be the wild creature hugging everyone and throwing back her head in laughter. I will be the sorrowful girl keeping her own counsel and shedding private tears. I am both, and that’s okay.