I exited my attorney's office a strong and confident woman but within the confines of that elevator, I melted into the victim of sexual assault from 15 years ago. As I reached the Chicago city streets, behind my facemask and sunglasses as my security blanket, I sobbed as I made my way back to my car. Along side commuters and tourists, stopping for selfies on the State Street Bridge, my commanding walk was in sharp contrast with the vulnerability I was wearing on my face.
I thought of the hundreds of thousands of conversations I have had about the events of that one night. I thought of how small I felt for so many years until finally meeting an attorney who got me; a man who saw me. Then the perfect thought crossed my mind: the images of someday telling my children all that we have been through and all that mommy did to find healing and seek justice.
The truth is that this journey is more important than the destination. The fight along the way, the protest for my dignity, is what I hope my children remember of me as they will eventually know the journey I have taken us on. We will all face adversity and life isn't fair but how we respond to that adversity is the true message and proof of character.
The sobs faded as I found my car and made my way home. I was back to my real life, my suburban, stay-at-home-mom life which I adore.
The contrast between the strong powerful woman in that attorney's office and the soft, comforting mother who is normally willing to cut the crusts off your sandwiches is intense, while I wear them both well. And for a moment, I shed both and allowed myself to be the wounded girl I carry with me. She too can do hard things.