AFRAID OF THE DARK

I awoke this morning around 4:30a.  Yes, it is still dark, at least in Southern California.  In my ‘old’ life, BTA (before the attack), I would have gotten up, put on my workout clothes, left my house by 4:50 or so  and gone out to do my daily walk.  I would have done between 6 and 8 miles and would have been home, at the latest, by 6:30 or 6:45, if I had chosen to walk 8 miles.  These days I am unable to do that.  I have had to relearn how to operate in the morning.  I am a natural early bird and I have had some difficulty adjusting to not being able to go out in the dark.  Realistically, I know it’s not the dark that attacked me; I know that the odds of another attack are ridiculously low; I think I would probably be perfectly safe; BUT I cannot do it.  Unless I am with someone else.  I do have one friend that gets up as early as I do and we try to walk once a week at 4:30.  The difference now is he has to come to my front door because I can’t walk the 4 blocks alone in the dark to meet at the corner we used to meet on.

BTA, I walked between 60 and 90 miles a week.  I live on a small island and I walk or ride my bike  everywhere.  I rarely drive my car unless I am leaving the island.   Not only did I do a fitness-type walk early each morning, I also walked all my errands.  It adds up.  (You should put a pedometer on and see just how many miles you walk in a day.  You might surprise yourself.)  So, I went from 60-90 miles a week to ZERO.  As you might imagine it was a huge loss for me.  Luckily, I had just started to do yoga, had been to one or two classes before the attack.  I continued to go to yoga each week.  I was able to walk there because the class I attended didn’t start until 7a.  Even in the winter, it was light by the time I needed to leave my house to get there.  (I know I could drive, but, to me, it seems silly to get in the car and drive to workout, especially when I can walk there.)  Over the course of this last year, I have continued to do yoga and now do it 2 or 3 times a week.  I feel like it was very important in the entire process of my healing.  For one thing, it was exercise and since I basically was not walking, it was my only outlet.  For another, in spite of the men in my class, I felt safe in the yoga studio.

 I definitely mourn my walks in the dark.  The truth is I loved walking alone in the dark.  That was my meditating, praying time.   I could talk (quietly, of course) out loud and no one could see my lips moving.  I would listen to inspiring books.  I saw the sunrise every single day.  Not anymore.  I think I have only seen it once since then and that’s only because I was taking a friend to the airport just as the sun was coming up.  I understand that in the scheme of things this is relatively minor, but it was something I loved to do, something I looked forward to each day.  It would be one thing if I had decided to stop getting up early, but I didn’t.  The option of beginning my day with a walk alone in the dark is gone.  Chances are I will never do it again and that makes me sad.

These days I wait until it is light to walk.  And if I go to the 6a yoga class, I do drive.  This morning, for instance, I will go to the 10:15a class, so I still got up early, but I will do work until it is time to leave to walk to the class.

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5 thoughts on “AFRAID OF THE DARK

  1. Your title caught my attention as I had a post titled very similar to yours. I understand being afraid of the dark and could never go out early for a walk either. I think to some people it would be considered minor in the scheme of things, but I don’t see it that way. It was a part of your life and that’s a big deal. I’m mostly afraid of the dark in my house at night. I have to have lights on, sometimes at night even, if my boyfriend is out of town. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you and I hope that you can work through this. I never imagined being afraid of the dark at my age but it’s amazing how some things can change. You are not alone in this. I apologize for the lengthy reply. This post really struck me.

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  2. Thank you, Sarah. I do feel lucky that I am not afraid of the dark in my house. Maybe because the attack happened outside, my fear is more about being alone outside in the dark. Who knows? It is definitely a process and it takes as long as it takes.

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  3. This path we tread.Sometimes it is as if our feet are being led and our mind has said no.And others times we never see the danger until it is behind aside and upon us. Having been raped as a child, I am terrified of the darkenss as well..Public restrooms are always growliing monster mouthes for me as well..I only enter if I just “must” go.
    Tamerie, thank you for making this place for others to come.It is also good to see that it is all just women who come forward about assault..Peace and love .Joyand empowerment.James

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  4. I am glad you can feel comfortable, without shame, to talk bout your experiences. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter if it happened yesterday or 50 or more years ago. I feel like we NEED to talk about it to, if nothing else, know we are not alone. And thank you, James, for helping me to get the message out by posting on your Facebook wall when I do another post here.

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