A few weeks ago, on a nice wet rainy Saturday afternoon, I walked into my house to find someone there. Someone I didn't know. Someone trashing my house and stealing my stuff.
There were a few seconds where all I did was stand dead-still and not even dare to breathe. Then I pulled myself together and got the hell out of there, hurting my leg in the process. (I really do need to get fit again!)
The guy ended up stealing my camera. Irreplaceable. I say this because I have no home insurance at the moment, and because of the sentimental value of it. He also stole my brush, heel balm, body lotion and jewellery... (was I burglarised by a cross-dresser perhaps? As fascinating as the subject is, it's perhaps a blog for another day.)
We live in a country where everyone I know has been affected in some or other way by crime. If it didn't happen to us, it happened to someone we know. So how do we cope? How do you move on after such an incident? I know that a break-in is nothing on the scale of crime that is being perpetrated daily, but it still shook me because my home is my refuge and safe place. A place I can let my guard down and just relax. Well, at least it was up to now.
For a while now, I have been barricading myself in my room in fear but I have come to the conclusion that by doing that, and by allowing fear to dictate what time of day I can go out or come home, I have given up my power. To someone who was in all probability more scared of me than I was of him. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night, too scared to go to the bathroom. I don't want to be scared to go home after work, or be too afraid to go out at night in case I come home to another uninvited guest. But that's not the life I want.
In the aftermath, I have allowed someone to steal so much more than just my camera. I have allowed someone to steal my peace, my joy, my social life. I have allowed someone who is really not worth thinking about, a place in my head and a place of fear in my soul.
I think the trick is to refuse to let fear influence my quality of life. The trick is to stand up and decide (rationally) to refuse to bow to it. Looking back I realise how lucky I was. I wasn't raped, wasn't attacked, I am still alive to tell the tale when in so many cases people don't always live to tell the tale.
Looking back I appreciate that there is a thing called grace. It was grace that I am unhurt. It was grace that I got home when I did, interrupting him before he could steal more of my things. It was grace that kicked in and had me get out the house that fast. The incident also dragged up a few things from the past that I realised, needed looking at again, and so I have been doing just that.
At the end of the day it is a process, as are most things in life that we deal with, but I am getting there. There is light at the end of the tunnel... and no, it’s not a train this time!