What You’re Taught and What You Learn

April 12th, 2019.

I was mugged.

Woah. Scary, right? Yes. Traumatizing, right? Hell yes. For almost a month straight, it took me hours to fall asleep in my large and lonesome studio apartment. I needed to sleep with some kind of light on. I forced my cat to snuggle up with me for some sense of protection. I dreaded all the seemingly endless tethered nightmares.

When you grow up as a girl, you’re taught things like, be polite. Don’t fight back and cause trouble. Look over your shoulder for on coming rapists, kidnappers, and killers. You’re taught all the ways you can prevent being kidnapped or raped, but we never teach people not to kidnap or rape or in general just leave people the fuck alone.

I loathe going to bars alone in fear of the constant barrage of “can I sit with you”, “can I buy you a drink”, or “what’s your number”. My skin has always crawled thinking of walking alone to my car after a late class or late night shift.

All my life feels like it has been spent looking over my shoulder instead of looking ahead with a quiet and confident demeanor.

Just a week ago, I was coming back to my apartment. Late. Maybe 230 am?As I was approaching my door, my shadow crept up in a certain way amongst the bushes that made me jump back so far and curse so loudly. My heart literally hurt so badly, I almost thought I was having a heart attack. I thought, god, for a moment there, I really thought my measly shadow was a person crawling out of the bushes to attack me or do me harm.

It’s been 5 months since I was mugged. The memory is simultaneously a bit foggy and the most vivid video in my head.

I wish I was taught better. Differently. But I also wish others were too.

And now how do I move on? I guess the only way you can. A day at a time. And I can only hope that one day I’ll stop walking home with my neck craned the opposition direction that my feet move me.

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