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Last October

What happens when a person journals? Well, lots of things. But all I can really tell you is what happens to me… Particularly, what happened to me this week.

In October of 2020, I journaled in a writing prompt book. I’m sure co-workers on lunch break with me one year ago saw me scribbling in my blue journal, paying no attention to if my fork full of food was actually going in my mouth, or on my face, or in my lap, because I was so focused on writing. They probably assumed I was writing about how much I love my little man, as always, or whatever else it may have been at the time. But it is safe to say that is not what I was writing about. But rather:

“Please stop, God. Please? Sincerely, - I can’t do this anymore.”

That was the closing line of my journal entry from one year ago, per Timehop. I felt the need to take a picture of it, I guess.

Bad things seem to happen to me in threes. I often write about them (please see: Four Pounds of Pressure). In late July of 2020, my world went dark with a series of three heartaches over the course of one weekend, but I eventually crawled my way out and found the light. In October of 2020, my world went dark again. I recall, on top of being heartbroken, I was so angry that I was physically shaking. My dear co-worker put on some Christmas music, which lifted my spirits and helped tame my rage immensely.

This week, in October of 2021, I was reminded that I had a hell of a time this month last year. Things came up with court regarding the man who raped me and threatened to murder my child and me if I told, significant issues with my co-parenting relationship, as well as another relationship I had at the time.

This week, I was reminded that I got through last October. It was with the help of dear friends, and because I didn’t give up on myself. Relationships come and go. Friends come and go. What did that leave me with? Myself to rely on.

So what are you left with? Yourself. You may have a significant other, a best friend, family, a group of friends, but remember that healing is a conscious decision – you have to want to heal in order to move forward in healing. It is something that you are ultimately responsible for, despite what caused your heartache and your pain and your sorrow to begin with. You are responsible for your own healing.

Last October, I was nearing two years since being attacked in my home. This October, I am nearing three years. Last October was a rollercoaster. This October, I am thankful I made it through the last, just as I will make it through all future Octobers, regardless of what happens.

The season is changing. The sky darkens earlier in the day. It’s getting colder, and there will soon be a light dusting of snow on the ground triggering haunting memories of seeing unwanted footsteps in my driveway. But if God had stopped testing me with these challenging series of threes that happen, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today. I wouldn’t have the experience and knowledge that I hold and now share with others through public speaking and writing. I wouldn’t be in the shoes I’m currently filling, loving my journey and my truth. (Isn’t that what the kids say now days? “Live your truth!”)

Journaling offers us the ability to reflect, and I’ve been reflecting on the things that happened in October of last year. It reminds me of all of the challenging things I’ve faced and conquered, and it reminds me that I did it. And I can do this. But this October, my heart beats a little harder and a little sweeter, my fight is a little mightier, and my resilience sparkles. (You know, while I wear my red sparkly heels, holding my black sparkly bat).

We can do hard things. And sometimes we must manage those hard things while still making it through our days with a smile on our face. And that’s okay. Because we are who we are because of the darkness we have encountered and how we were able to make it through the darkness. Darkness counterbalances with light, right? And damn, as you well know, I have found myself in some dark places. But here in the light, in the bright, bright light, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing: coming out on top, on the other side of darkness.

Dear October 2021,

I CAN do this. And I can't wait to see what you have to offer.

In solidarity,

Danielle Louise Leukam

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