Being happy isn’t something that others can do for you; it’s something that you need to find for yourself. Sometimes, or maybe too often, happiness is a battle. People have always described me as a bubbly and positive person. I excel at helping others and trying to put a smile on their faces to brighten their days. I’m that person that smiles at strangers on the street.
You cannot understand unless you have gone through the pain. I wish no one did understand. I wish no one understood the physical agony, the depression, the flashbacks, the anxiety, or the fear. How do you get back to yourself? How can someone who has always believed in fairy tales possibly conquer the pure evil that took so much from her?
Sometimes a person can change your life without even knowing how much they have impacted you. I want to talk about one such person who kept me calm as I was rushed to the emergency room with my arm bleeding and my body and dress splattered with red. When my friends called 911 after I tried to commit suicide, there was one EMT responder, a woman, who I will be forever be grateful towards. She doesn’t know the effect her words had on me, but I wish I could tell her. As I was being transported to the hospital, I told her what had happened to me and about my flashbacks.
I struggle to go to Cornell. It is an ongoing battle, and while I have made leaps and bounds, sometimes I can only wish that I had transferred. Freshman year, I wasn’t strong enough to ask for help and just wanted to push myself through the pain, through the memories and just get on with my life. I wish that after everything that happened – after the charges were pressed after my first year – I had moved away. Instead, I deal with the pain of walking to campus and passing by the three houses where I saw the monster in Collegetown the first time my friends convinced me to go out freshman year: he saw me and just stared.
Last Wednesday I gave a speech at the Every1 Campaign’s event, Cornell Cares. I talked about what happened to me: the sexual assault, my suicide attempt and my traumatic brain injury. Our purpose for the event was to educate and show that Cornell is a caring community and we support those who are survivors/victims of sexual assault/rape. In my speech I was brutally honest about how alone I felt even though I had friends and family around; I was alone because I felt humiliated and ashamed to talk about what happened to me. No one talked about the difficult issues, no one really spoke out, so I didn’t either.