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Expect the unexpected, and don’t expect to be fully prepared for the expected. Life has its highs and lows that are usually far from predictable. Although you may not fully be prepared to deal with the circumstance itself, when the time comes, you must find a way to handle and cope with the outcome. No one ever thinks a traumatic incident will happen to them, but when it does—take it from experience—you are left with no other choice but to find a way to pick yourself back up, no matter how hard you fell.
I transferred here this year. My first weekend out, my new friends and I were walking toward the Hill to go to a party. As we were walking, a man and two of his friends approached us and started screaming at us, calling us “whores” and other similar names you can imagine. Personally, I would rather die and say I stuck up for myself than not stick up for myself because “I’m a woman” and “I’m vulnerable.” So I turned around and asked the scrawny drunk idiot, “Excuse me, what did you just say to me?” He continued to scream in my face and ended up hitting me multiple times. He ran away and ended up coming back. My “friends” had all walked away without noticing that I was gone. I was on a dark path at the side of campus. He came back and threw me to the ground on a bunch of rocks. My shoes broke and my hands, knees and feet ended up bruised for at least the next week. One of his friends stayed back and reiterated, “He’s really drunk, I’m really sorry.” I was in hysterics. I just got beat up by a guy. I asked his friend, “What kind of friends do you have? I would never hang out with guys who hit girls! I don’t care how drunk they are!” I begged his friend to just give me his name because he can’t get away with doing such a thing. His friend apologized to me sincerely multiple times and ended up giving me his name. I told the friend that he had good karma coming his way.
I reported it to the police right after. When I first told the CU Police what happened, they both looked at each other and smirked. It was pretty offensive, but eventually they ended up taking it seriously. The guy has been prosecuted, although I haven’t heard an update on the case in a while. I never wanted to ruin the guy’s life. I just want his mom, his sister, his grandma, his aunt, whoever, to know that he beat up a woman.
After that, I had never felt so alone in my entire life. I called my “friends” after I was assaulted, but they were too drunk to comprehend what I was saying. I was left in this pathway, hurt, both emotionally and physically. I was literally and metaphorically alone. I had just transferred here from across the country, and this happened my first weekend here.
The next morning, I took my bike and rode far, far down Boulder Creek. I found a little nook in the rocks on the creek and laid there in the sun for at least an hour. I let myself cry—feel the pain. Finally I felt like I got it all out and returned back home, forcing myself to stay strong and pick myself up, to move forward.
You have to find a way to be grateful for your bad days. Without bad days, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good ones. Whenever something upsetting happens, let yourself feel it. Let yourself cry. Crying cleanses your eyes for a new perspective. Once you cry, you’ve allowed yourself to truly feel the pain you’re enduring and you can only move on from there. If you try to numb your sadness, you’re also numbing your happiness. You can’t numb one without the other.
It does not bother me to talk about what happened because holding it in does nothing. The first step in moving away from the habit of bottling things up is to create and implement healthy coping skills. For some, simply talking and venting to someone they trust and confide in will help them organize their emotions and get their feelings out. For those who are more private, some quiet time alone, either listening to music, writing in a journal, or even creating original music, is a healthy way to let oneself feel and eventually let go of pain. No two people are exactly the same. Different coping skills will work better with different people. Stay open-minded and explore your options, because you can’t say a coping skill won’t work for you if you haven’t tried it first-hand. What you definitely shouldn’t do is let yourself sulk and hold in things that have bothered you in the past. Give yourself one option—to be present.
Contact Opinion Section Staff Writer Domna Dali at email@example.com.