Today is a big day.
8 years ago, on June 27, 2001, I was raped. It was an unimaginable nightmare physically and emotionally that I spent years recovering from. Last year I spent this day rejoicing because I was able to against all odds have a beautiful, healthy, textbook pregnancy and have an incredible daughter to show for it... something that I was told at a tender age wouldn't be a possibility because of the damage caused that horrible night. I was in a bad place last year though... my marriage was falling to pieces, I was just officially starting my design firm, and I had just finished remodeling my house. I was stressed, exhausted emotionally and physically, and I spent this day crying. I sat for hours watching Marti Pearl sleep thinking about how lucky I was despite what I'd been through, and I resolved never to do that again.
In fact, it was the first year that I actually cried... every other year I was entirely too busy celebrating. In 2002, I had just graduated from high school. I had great friends who were very concerned about me, knowing the first anniversary of the rape would be difficult. They picked me up from my house, and threw me a lovely surprise party complete with a bonfire, copious amounts of alcohol (not that I endorse underage drinking of course!) and lots of dancing. It became my very favorite tradition... an unconventional one, but what's common about this mama anyhow?
I've gone on trips, thrown dinner parties, had sleepovers, and each time I've eaten too many cupcakes and completely enjoyed myself. I love celebrating this day because it makes something that was in every way negative a very positive thing. I celebrate because I made it through, because it didn't break me. I celebrate because when I had Marti Pearl I was able to overcome this in the greatest way. This day reminds me that I am strong... much stronger than I normally give myself credit for.
Tonight I'll be celebrating. Two of my favorite bands, Cletus Got Shot & Damn Bullets (my clients, I just finished their website today!) will be playing at my favorite bar The Smoke & Barrel Tavern, which my friends and family jokingly call my office. I spend all of my baby-free time there working (free wireless, air conditioning, and cheap drinks!) or dancing... tonight I'll definitely be dancing. The three owners are so near to my heart, and the timing of tonight's show couldn't possibly be more perfect. Thank you boys, for tonight. There's nowhere else I'd rather be.
If you see me out tonight give me a hug. We'll toast to 8 years of kicking ass, taking names, and being healthy, happy, and strong.
Also, a side note: did you know that Mayor Jordan proclaimed June 27th Gay Pride day in Fayeteville, AR? He's a good man and an excellent mayor. I'm thrilled to know him. I spent a few hours at the pride picnic promoting The Lighter Side and handing out rainbow popsicles... a wonderful way to spend the day. Thanks to the NWA Center for Equality for giving me an excellent reason to celebrate this day all day long.