Preventing Trauma Some Day
a tricky topic. a tricky topic indeed.
do you ever reminisce about how close you could have come to being someone else?
I do. I often think about how one action could have led to me being another hashtag, another social justice protest, another example of the corrupt and disruptive "system".
some days I regret not taking them to court. some days I regret not harassing them the way they harassed me. some days I wish they understood the anxiety and insecurities they left. some days I wish they would have taken me. some days I wish it was all a dream. some days it is literally the only dream I have. some days I have no idea what happened. and some days the movie just won't stop playing.
every time we lose another one of us... I feel humiliated all over again. I think about how disgusting and distraught I felt. I think about all of the "what ifs" and the "because ofs". I think about all of the people, like me, who probably reminisce in silence... about how lucky we are.
I reminisce in silence because then I don‘t have to confront the harsh truth that it happened. I don't have to explain Survivor's Guilt when hearing the latest news. I don’t have to acknowledge that no matter how hard I try to leave it behind, it follows me everywhere I go.
I’m usually so careful with my words. I try to think of every possible outcome. I try to think about every person involved that will have to deal with the repercussions of this retelling. Then, out of neglect disguised as bravery, I hold it in. Today, I need to try and release another way.
In October 2018, I was abruptly approached, in my bedroom, by a rifle in my face. The rifle was accompanied by an officer, whose name and face I do not recall. As a 7-month pregnant Black Woman, I was scared for my life. I had no idea what was happening, why it was happening, or where My Heart was. Within 30 seconds I was stripped of all dignity and power.
Coming around the corner with a pregnant belly and flat hands covering myself with a thin woven blanket, I startled the intruding officers. I posed a threat to their safety. The fear on my face, told them that I would keep them from going home to their families.
The officer shouted, "put your hands up!" and I thought, "But my clothes....Just comply." My voiced concerns about the lack of undergarments were met with more fear.
"THAT'S FINE! JUST PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE WALL!"
I began to quietly hyperventilate. With a rifle trained on my back and panic ensuing, all I could think about was, "Where is Lurtle?"
As two other officers cleared the Master Suite, my new guard assured me that I could relax because, just like his weapon, I was in "safe" hands. While this was already enough of a humiliating experience, it did not stop here. The officers forcibly escorted me into the grand hallway in full view of the other 6-8 officers searching the house and wide open front door.
My heart dropped as I walked out and saw Him...facing the wall, with a rifle pointed at his head. The moment he noticed me walking out he began to shout in anger and disgust.
"SHE DOESN'T HAVE ON ANY CLOTHES! SHE IS PREGNANT! WHERE ARE HER CLOTHES?!" As he justifiably exclaimed his anger, all I could do was calmly reassure him.
"Babe, We are okay. Everything is fine. We are okay." I just kept saying it, over and over, and over again. I hoped to reassure him so that he didn't become a memory. I wanted him to meet his daughter. I had seen this story play out time and time again. "It never ends well...it has to end well," I thought.
After a logical consideration, an officer agreed that I should be covered and I had the blanket I started with...
Everything after that moment is a blur... I just remember trying to maintain my composure so that I did not need medical assistance. I wanted them gone, as quickly as possible. I needed them gone, as quickly as possible. Once they realized that they had just wasted time, energy, and resources searching for something that was never there, they were gone. They left behind broken furniture, tossed rooms, and most importantly, crippling fear and anxiety. We weren't law-abiding, tax-paying citizens in that encounter. We were threats, criminals.
Once they were gone, I could only sit - and wrap my mind around what happened. One of our friend's came over and once I knew that my Mr. was able to 'relax and release', I stepped outside to do the same thing. I knew that his first concern was the safety of myself and our daughter. I could not, did not, want to continue to elevate his concerns. I sat in the car for a moment and then called my sister.
When I say that I cannot recall anything else from that day I mean that. It's not just the fact that it happened 2 1/2 years ago, but more so that it was a traumatic event. I block out traumatic events...always have.
In 2021, as I reread my account of the event, I am taken aback. I wrote the statement in an attempt to file a report. Those closest wanted to, but I just couldn't. Why? Here are some words from 2018...
"While I understand that the officers were “just doing their job”, I also believe the manner in which they conducted themselves could have been more respectful towards an unarmed, 7-month pregnant, young woman. I struggled with whether or not to file a complaint because I was not; and truthfully am still not, convinced it would be taken seriously. From the disrespectful acts of the officers to the tone of dismissal from the office employees and Major, it seemed as though these words would be falling in deaf ears."
The aftermath was just as traumatizing as the event itself. The dismissal of my feelings while having to tell the story over and over again was truly something straight off Law & Order. You never know how you will respond in these types of situations. You never know whether or not you will walk away unscathed. What you do know is that you will never forget it. And more often than not, you understand that had you looked a little different, the probability of this even happening to you is significantly lower.
I told one of my friends this story for the first time yesterday. It made me realize that I had only shared it with a few. Sharing also showed me that the trauma still exists. A few months back, I was experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Everything was fresh. Present. New.
I encourage our community to continue to be graceful and understanding of one another. Everyone deals in different ways. As a community I know we are tired. We are stressed. We feel like we are running out of time. Fight for justice in any way you can...in any way that you see fit. The only right answer is to keep going, no matter what.
I genuinely hope that some day soon, Preventing Trauma will be the common initiative; not just Healing from it.
Read with love and understanding. Caution and awareness. Remember the fallen, Support the wounded.