Sunday June 12th was a fucking shitty day. I woke up feeling awful. I had closed four nights in a row at the bar I work at. The countries biggest mass shooting had just taken place the night before. Which I can’t even really discuss that here because then you would be reading this for an hour. All I’ll say is not only was I super fucking upset about what happen for so many reasons, a person I care deeply about was directly affected. She has deep roots in that specific community and you can read all her feelings here. We spoke at 5am my time after I got home from work and I tried to get some sleep after.
I woke up that morning around 9:30-10amish. I took forever to get up but I also couldn’t fall back asleep. My legs were soar, my body was soar. I was texting with some close friends about the day and explaining my difficulties in getting myself up. It was pride, a friend was hosting an event, the god damn Tony’s were that night and it’s the year of Hamilton. I had such a great, full day planned yet I couldn’t get my self up. I laid in bed until the last possible moment.
I was going to take my dog to daycare for the day so I would just walk her around out front over there. I popped a breakfast bar in my mouth as I pulled on my “Squeeze fruit for Anita Bryent” shirt on, slipped into my high wasted light blue jeans, threw my hair in a base ball cap, no make up, and to top it all off I wore my hot pink doc martins and a rainbow jacket. BECAUSE IT’S PRIDE. Brushed my teeth, gathered my things and Babe’s things and was on my way. I still didn’t feel good about the day, about everything, about life but I got up and I went out.
I climbed in my car with Babe. Started it up and put on Alessia Cara’s “Wild Things” because I’m obsessed and it reminds me of some women I truly love. As I start up my car I realize just how hungry I am and I remember in a moment of weakness I had ordered a pizza the evening before. I sat in my car a debated. “I should just go grab the pizza” for some reason a part of my brain said “no just leave. Grab something on the way.” But this other part said “No don’t be silly, just pop back into your apartment and grab a fucking slice of pizza”. So I did. I left my phone and my dog in my car and I zipped back into my apartment.
It didn’t feel right immediately. There are three steps that lead up to the gate of my apartment. This gate locks behind you and while you can see out of it you can’t see into it. As I walked up my steps and closed the door behind me a man walked up. I had never seen him before in my life and he was just so strange. I paused to watch him. He was Hispanic and with everything that happened with my Lyft driver I started to think “Maybe I’m raciest.” Which made me feel truly horrific. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t even really DO anything. He just stood their kind of trying to see in. So I looked up my hallway to see if it seemed like anyone was home. They weren’t. Who could he be there for? That’s when it hit me. This man was here for me.
I quickly entered my apartment and dead bolted the door behind me. I watched to see if he would walk away and I kind of thought he had. Something started to happen to my body though. It started to violently shake. I thought I was going to pass out because my legs were moving so much. My brain was clear. I thought to myself “FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!! I’m all alone, phone and dog (child that I love in an unhealthy way) are in my car. I need to eat and I need to get to them.” Poor babe she’s never been a lone in a car for over a minute she must be loosing her goddamn mind. I tried to make myself eat a slice of the pizza. I walked to fridge and thought I was going to pass out on the way, again. I opened it and reached for the pizza box that I then almost dropped all over the floor. The whole time my dog in my car was running through my brain. I put the box back in the fridge and took a bite. I couldn’t chew. That bite stayed in my mouth for all of what followed next.
I walked back to my door, not sure if he had left yet or not. Told my body to calm the fuck down and hold it together just a little longer. I opened it up and I stepped back into my hallway at that moment he made his way back up the stairs. I decided to really look at this person then. Note everything I could about him. He was mid to late thirties, spiked in the front black hair, grey ribbed tank top, and light blue jeans. He was slightly over weight, mostly in his gut and the kind of sweaty and dirty you are when you work with your hands for a living. I literally thought to myself “I have never been raped and you are not going to change that. Not today, not you, not me, not here, not now, not this way.”
“Can you let me in?” He mumbled quietly under his breath. “Who are you?” I said as loudly and directly as I could. “I’m here for the massage.” He replied. “No, that’s not us, you have the wrong place. Go away.” I snapped back. “I want you to let me in. I like you, now let me in.” I think I might have yelled now but I know I said “NO. YOU NEED TO GO AWAY NOW AND I AM CALLING THE POLICE.” Then he sort of quietly said “ok” and then he walked across the street and left. I almost didn’t believe it happened. It felt so small, I felt so small. He spoke so quietly, no one was around, no one else had seen him. This moment had no impact on the greater humanity but it had heavily impacted me.
Suddenly you were all with me. All of the women I know and don’t know. My friend who was molested at work, or the friend who was raped by her long term boyfriend often through out there relationship, or the woman I look up to who was raped by her husband in a hotel bathroom while her children were in the room, or the multiple women I know who were raped by their “friends” in college. The letter to Brock Turner was playing in my head. Girls who are too young to know how to say no, women who have been followed for just walking, all of you were with me. I had a panic attack in the middle of my hallway.
I tried to run up the stairs to knock on my neighbors doors and they weren’t home. I just kept thinking of Babe in my car. So I began to pound on my neighbor’s door who live across the hall. They have separate access to outside so the door to this hallway is basically a wall. They had to move their couch and unstick the door before they could get to me. I was screaming and crying about how I needed to be let in meanwhile… the pizza in my mouth was now flying everywhere in small pieces. So now I’m screaming because I’m terrified, crying because I can’t control myself, and laughing hysterically because the whole thing must look insane. They flung open their door and I just started yelling you have to call the police.
They called the police, gave them my report, and went to grab Babe and my phone for me. When I saw her I grabbed her but then I had to set her down because I was so afraid I was going to drop her. My neighbors brought me into their apartment to wait for the police. The panic attacks started rolling in. I didn’t know what to do so I started texting and calling all my recent contacts. I ended up getting through to my boss first. He was already at the event I had been heading to. As soon as he heard my voice he was on his way. So I sat panicking and waiting.
Then the phone calls started coming in. The first person I really talked to said everything a person going through what I was going through needed. Honestly everyone should get to talk to someone like that when these incidents take place. He believed me, he was worried for me. He told me I did everything right, that I was smart, and that he was proud of me. When I brought up that I was stupid for leaving my phone and dog in the car he reminded me I shouldn’t have to walk EVERYWHERE with my phone, though it would be a good idea. He reminded me I can call 911 on my computer in the future and encouraged me to get pepper spray.
My boss arrived and I collapsed into his arms and cried so hard. He walked Babe with me and we called the police again to see if they were coming. We waited for thirty minutes to get through. They informed me the police had already come and searched the area. They had not found him. When I asked why they hadn’t seen me I was informed you have to tell them specifically that you want to meet with them. I asked them to add a report about my lyft driver just to have it on paper. They also provided me with my closest police station’s disbatch phone number. The officer I spoke to was very kind and her apologized to me for having to deal with what I dealt with.
I didn’t stay at my place for a few nights and just didn’t go home alone in general. I asked my close friends to spend time with me and to reach out when they think of it. They have. My girlfriends gave me pepper spray and my coworkers started driving me home. I had therapy and acupuncture the day after. My acupuncturist gave me Gabacore which she described as an herbal Xanax which helped me sleep. I drank more this week than I have in a long time and I let myself off the hook. I worked out and hung out with people I love. I allowed myself a week of healing. I asked for help and I received it.
I am so lucky. I am so lucky he couldn’t touch me. I am so lucky I knew what to do. I am so lucky my neighbors were home. I am so lucky I have surrounded myself with amazing friends who are really more like family. I am so lucky I could call my actual family and tell them what happened. I am so lucky I’m not in a deep depressive state I have found myself in in the past. But I shouldn’t have to be lucky. I should just be able to be.