So this isn’t one of my typical uplifting and inspiring weight loss journey blog posts. If that’s what you were looking for today, sorry to disappoint but this post is a little different and I’m really hoping that it’s going to help me heal. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself…it’s just really fu*king hard. Plan and simple. You truly think of your biggest fear and convince yourself that it can’t possibly happen to you but then it does and you’re forever changed….
This past Wednesday morning, if you had told me that later that night there would be 7 police officers in my apartment, I wouldn’t believe you BUT unfortunately that’s what happened…
I went to bed Tuesday night with the window open as it has been unusually warm for Buffalo, NY in March. I mean don’t we all enjoy fresh air once in awhile after being closed in all winter?! Well Wednesday morning I awoke and got ready with my bedroom window still open and decided to open a window out in the living room. (I recently moved into this apartment last September and thought to myself that in my previous apartment since I lived upstairs I could leave the windows open during the day and didn’t have to worry about anything.) I have chills as I type this because I literally thought to myself, “I wonder how it’s going to be living on the first floor. I should close and lock the windows any time I leave.” So before I left and went about my day. I closed and locked the windows (so I thought) little did I know later that night I would have a real CLEAR answer to this pondered thought….
It was about 10:20pm, I was laying on my bed in a towel, my back to the (what I thought was locked) window, WITH THE LIGHT ON–just texting a friend (I had been putting off a shower since about 10) and I heard what I thought was the wind against my window. I thought, “Hmm..that sounds a bit more forceful than normal and it’s only on one window. Let’s not stress yet.” Now, I watch enough Dateline and 48 Hours mystery to scare myself to the point that I run upstairs from doing laundry in the dark basement on a weekly basis fearful someone is going to grab my ankles from under the stairs. (I wish I was joking) I figured I was just hearing things because I can really get myself worked up over nothing but once I started to hear the air outside suddenly on the inside–I began to question myself. “Did I really shut and lock the window this morning? Well if you didn’t, you’ve been laying here for twenty minutes and you would have certainly heard the wind before that.” My gut told me to run.
I grabbed my phone and ran out into the living room near the door as the noise got worse and louder. I kept my eyes locked on that window and as soon as I saw three of the blind panels move towards the bottom, something I KNOW the wind could not possibly do–I screamed “HELLO?!” then I called 911 on speakerphone without even flinching. It seemed like forever trying to spit out my address and explain what was going on. I don’t even know what I talked to the dispatcher about. He asked me where they were coming in and what window of what room and you know basic things but in a panic stricken state those questions were SO DAMN HARD. Spoiler alert-I freeze in traumatic situations. I can not tell a lie. If you need help in an emergency I’m seriously the last person to call. Well I think it’s only when I’m involved so you maybe okay BUT it’s like everything shuts down. Now, ask me why I screamed “HELLO” to said burglar of all things, I’m not really sure. Like was I inviting him in for some tea? Seeing if he wanted to come in? I mean clearly I was feeling some Adele in the moment. (but for real, no idea) Why I didn’t just let them come in so they could get caught and then run into the basement, I don’t know either-oh yeah maybe because we don’t let burglars in?! (I think it also had something to do with me being in a towel)
Pretty soon after the dispatcher walked me through how to go get the clothes out of my bedroom and get dressed through my hysterical sobs, the police showed up. There were about 7 officers, no lie. They came flying in–checking closets, opening doors, flashlights everywhere. I assured them I had been home for about 3 hours and I knew there was nobody else inside (I get protocol, I do.) At this point I hadn’t touched the blinds or window. However, as soon as an officer opened the blinds and revealed that the screen was up as well as the window–I KNEW for sure I did NOT do that and that’s when I truly felt violated. It’s like I knew there was something on the other side of the window when I was laying on my bed but as soon as that blind was lifted and I saw it–I truly felt the world crashing down on me.
That validation of actually SEEING the window was two fold-it told me I wasn’t crazy as I knew I didn’t touch the window while at the same time I felt so very hurt and angry I left the window open but mostly scared. The officers asked me if I had any crazy ex-boyfriends or knew anyone involved with drugs. Nope and nope. I truly believe someone had to be on drugs to try and break in with a light on in the living room AND in my bedroom. I think my favorite question was when the police asked me if I saw who it was–LIKE FOR REAL–running towards the window to find out who the burglar was–NOT on my top list of priorities right now. #sorrynotsorry Again, I know there are certain questions they need to ask but I’m actually super glad the blinds were down so I couldn’t see!
So much was running through my head, so many questions, so few answers. What I do know is that I was shaking and the police probably thought I was nuts when I apologized for my messy apartment. I mean we don’t all prepare our apartments for a burglary? I was mortified with my dirty gym clothes all over the floor and other items a stray. However, they assured me that my apartment was one of the cleanest they have seen so I figured if it got the Buffalo police stamp of approval, I passed with flying colors, ha!
When the police officers were outside doing their thing, my neighbors came down from upstairs with a glass of water and offered me some chocolate, that was super sweet. (Them offering, not the chocolate. I couldn’t even eat if you paid me.) I was shaking so bad I couldn’t even drink it. I took a few sips, choked because I couldn’t calm down and then dumped the rest. I couldn’t even wash their dish, I apologized I was like “I would wash this but I’m shaking so bad, I’d probably break it.” They chuckled but I was being serious.
The officers shared that there were a string of these in the area and the detective was going to come out. Great. This was good and bad. I really wanted a shower which was my goal about an hour ago. I was starving because #adrenaline. So the officers and I waited about 45 minutes for the detective to come and do the fingerprints. An officer came back to the door and asked me if I ever saw a 5 gallon bucket outside before–I asked him “like the garbage cans?!” I couldn’t find any shoes so I ran outside barefoot and I was at first upset when I saw the screen opened and the window opened. The thought of someone else’s fingers wrapped around my window and entering my bedroom was nauseating enough. BUT I was REAL upset when I saw that someone KNEW they had to obtain a bucket in order to reach the window. I mean they have to put effort into finding a bucket. I really hope their fingerprints are all over that. The police told me it would take a few weeks for the fingerprints to come back but I truly don’t think I will hear anything.
I am forever changed because of this. I will truly never be the same. Once someone invades your space, in such an unwelcoming and violating way, it’s pretty impossible to let it go. The sting burns a little less each day but I just keep telling myself that it could always have been worse. It doesn’t negate what happened. It just makes it hurt just a little bit less and that’s what I need right now. I tell myself I could have been in the shower. I could have came out and found someone in my bedroom while I was in a towel and they could have had a weapon and freaked out and shot me. I could have seen who it was and been left with that image in my mind forever as now I really have no idea who it was. I could have not been home. I could have been sleeping. I could have been in the basement switching laundry. There are one million “could haves.” Thus, there is always something to be thankful for, regardless of how it happened. I’m just feeling blessed to be alive.
Unfortunately, at the same time when something like this happens at home, there is no escape. You truly never think it could happen to you. You see it on TV. You never know how to handle it when it happens to you… If you’re in a car accident, you can get a new car or drive home a different way, choose to not return to the scene. My traumatic kayaking accident (few posts back)–I can CHOOSE not to go kayaking ever again (which I have) I am removed from the location of where that happened. I never have to go back to Churchville, again if I don’t want to. But when you live WHERE it happened, there is no escaping that–especially in your bedroom. You replay the sounds, what you saw and it’s right THERE. I sleep with my back towards the window. I flinch at every noise. My own heartbeat and breathing almost startles me. The TV/radio/audiobook are almost constantly on. Sirens make me flinch. I can’t even look at the window that was opened. Showering home alone exhausts me. It’s my toughest chore, takes all of my emotional energy. I can’t even close my eyes when washing my face and rinsing my hair. There is also a window in my shower (super cool idea, right?) I used to open it from the top for steam purposes because I don’t have a fan in my bathroom. FORGET THAT. I have always had to shower the the door and window a jar but now I just use the door. Any shadowy figures outside, I can see through the window. It really screws with me. I may get another shower curtain just to cover the damn thing. Also, forget going in the basement when it’s dark out. I can’t even bring myself to do laundry at night. I sleep with the lights on. Not that that deters anyone now a days or anything…
This morning while listening to “You Are A Badass” there was a chapter about not letting fear control us. (How perfect) So I’m working super hard on that and not letting my brain win. Last week I didn’t workout ONCE in the morning, are a bunch of bad shit and threw myself a pity party. I’m not proud if that. I have to talk myself down from jumping to conclusions about a lot of sounds, obsessively locking things before I leave, fearful, racing thoughts before bed, fearful thoughts first walking in my apartment, etc. However, only a week after the incident it is much easier said than done.
A huge, huge thank you to first the police officers who took me seriously. If I could kiss you, I would! Second to those who have opened their hearts and told me about their own experiences. My heart breaks for those who have been held at gun point or their houses actually torn apart. I am super thankful I was able to stop it in time. I also appreciate those who offered for me to stay with them and to come stay with me. To those who have allowed me to vent, tell my story, listen, cry and help in this healing process–you are all beautiful people and you’ve helped more than you know. Always lock your windows and listen to your gut. ❤