When I started thinking about moments I have survived, I started thinking about my childhood, to see what traumatic experiences I could use to write about.
In grade 1, in the middle of winter, I stuck out my tongue and licked the metal fence in the school yard. Yeah, you know what that means, right? Well, it hurt like hell to remove it. But I survived.
Once, I was chased by a dog on the way home from school, and when I was a few steps from home, the dog jumped on top of me, just staring into my eyes as I lay there, thinking I would surely die. It was a big black dog and I think this is why I'm still scared of dogs today. I survived that episode, and ran home, crying, to my mom. I remember I was wearing a sweater with 3 boxes on it - in red, yellow, and blue - a birthday gift from a friend, such vivid is that memory in my mind, still.
I remember the time I did not run fast enough in grade 8 track and field, and a big mean girl beat me up after for making her lose the relay. After the cops (yes, the school actually got the cops involoved) talked to her, she wanted to be my best friend. I survived her shoving me against a locker, and I certainly never let her be my friend after that. I was nice to her, though. She was such a suck-up after that.
I survived drinking Jack Daniel's behind my high school before a dance. Multiple times.
I survived white water rafting, and falling out of the boat two times, having to be rescued. (Before we got in the water, I was sure I wasn't even going to get wet at all!)
I survived living in a very small town where I fast-tracked my broadcast journalism degree after I had graduated from University.
I survived being almost kidnapped in D.C. when I was waiting for the bus. A man in an orange truck asked me to get in his truck. I ignored him, and he drove off... and then came back again. Told me again to get in with him. I ignored him, and started wondering if I should run back to my house, or if that would be far worse, considering (in my head) I was thinking he'd follow me home and kill me there. Eventually, after asking me again to get in his orange truck, he left. I was on a quiet street, and no one else was around.
I survived having my hair played with by a complete stranger on the subway at 4 a.m. in Queens, New York, after a night out with friends. I did not move. I was totally scared. My two friends were just staring at me, not knowing what to do.
I have survived many turbulance filled flights.
I have survived dealing with and lying to Canadian Customs officials after shopping trips south of the border.
I survived 45 minutes of poking as someone tried to give me my epidural - 8 puncture wounds could clearly be seen on my lower back for days after. If you so much as say the word 'epidural' to me, I get numb in my lower back just thinking about that experience.
These are just some of the things - none too significant - that I've survived. But the one thing I can say I'm a true survivor of is motherhood. I have survived days like the ones when my baby, only 12 weeks old, had to be rushed to the hospital with a high fever due to a urinary tract infection. Having to watch him get an iv into his baby hand was traumatizing, to say the least. I survived two weeks of staying at his side in the children's hospital, and again when he was 6 months old.
I felt like a survivor when my son got pneumonia and I had to watch him go for countless x-rays, and I survived waiting for him to get out of surgery. I can't truly explain the pain and worry and fear I went through those days, but: I survived all that.
I survive the daily worry of being a mom, and I know that no matter what, this worry will never go away. Each time one of my children gets sick, I go into survivor mode.
I am a survivor of motherhood... most days, it's easy and fun, but some days - the days you are worried and scared, and feel so alone - those are days I consider myself a survivor the most.
This post was written as part of a writing assignment from Mama Kat's blog.