Monday, 22 July 2013

How to Face Your Fears of Being Vulnerable and Living Alone

When I moved to Calgary in 2004, I was pretty naive. I loved it though, and looking back, I think being naive was the way to make the move. No fear, no worries - just pack up your clothes and do your thing.

Over my years of living there, things did happen though, and as I got older I started to appreciate the simple things that a smaller town, such as Grande Prairie, has to offer. One of them being trust, safety, and security. 

Now, when I go shopping at Superstore, I can leave my purse in the cart and turn my back to it while I look at a Joe blouse. Being raised by a mother who is from Philadelphia and used to make us lock our car doors at red lights, I don't do that often, but I know that when I do, it is generally safe and I don't have to worry about someone snatching it. 

In 2006, when I was on my way home from a night shift at a pub I worked at in Calgary, someone followed me. I don't know what their intentions were, but this man came through my front door barrelling after me. The guy was about 40 years old, Caucasian, and wearing a suit and tie. He was missing a shoe, his tie was loose, and his face was bloody. These are details I will never forget. I will also never forget that I peed my kilt a little bit when I looked up and saw him in my house, waving his arms and grumbling drunk gibberish at me.

Thankfully, the police showed up in exactly six minutes and because he was so intoxicated, I was able to fend him off and pounce around my living room faster than he could. 

I never told my mother that happened until about five years later, and I have never been the same since. After that incident, my fear of being assaulted increased by about one hundred per cent - because guess what? I never had that fear before. 

When I moved back to Grande Prairie about two years ago, I recognized that it was a different city than it was when I moved away. It had grown in size, there were more opportunities, and more culture. Great news for a city gal. 

Until tonight. 

Kody, my amazing boyfriend, is out of town on a fishing trip. He is living the dream and staying at a fishing resort with his father, brother, and friends.

When I came home this evening, my back door was open. 

I freaked, but didn't panic. I grabbed my purse, my car keys, and backed out of the house slowly.

"OMG", I thought. "Someone is waiting in the basement to grab me and murder me."

Yes, I know that sounds dramatic. But every worst-case-scenario-horror-movie went through my mind and I felt like I needed to get out the house as fast as I could.

My neighbours hadn't seen anyone around there all day. Is it possible that I forgot to lock the door? Maybe. But I am already really paranoid and I can't believe that I would leave my door unlocked when my boyfriend is out of town (although we don't live together, we spend almost every night together). But I guess I'll never know. 

From what I could tell, nothing was missing or had been rummaged through at my house.

I'm staying a friends house tonight while I get over this incident. My boyfriend told me that tomorrow I can go to his house and bring his farm dog back to my place to help protect me while he is away (he is a German Shepard RCMP drained dog). I think having him there will help. 

But what I think I've learnt the most from this incident is that eventually, I have to face my fears. 

Yes, someone did follow me home and break into my house seven years ago. Yes, I am female, vulnerable, and don't face the same fears a man does. But what does this mean? Can I temporarily move into my friends house and crash within their safety-net every night until Kody gets home? Can I depend solely on my boyfriend to make me feel safe and protect me from intruders? No. In reality, I can't do that. So what am I going to do? 

I am going to go home tomorrow like a big girl and face my fears. I am going to bring Bari (pronounced Barry), the German Shepard RCMP trained police dog home, register and make sure to triple-check my doors every night.

You have to learn to let things go. Do what you can, but know that if something is going to happen, it is likely going to be out of your control.

If you are reading this, remember to always lock your doors. Be safe. Take precautions to protect yourself, but know that you are not alone. You have friends to call on, a higher power protecting you, and yourself to count on.

Make the right choices and take the precautions you need to protect yourself, and trust life.

Thanks for reading,