For the last five years, I have revelled living on my own. I like that my space is my own; I decorate, I’m responsible for it, it’s MINE. But I have to admit that lately, I don’t like living alone.
I chose my house without viewing it. I keep telling myself that it’s just one year & in the summer, I’ll find a place in a better neighbourhood. My commute home has been dangerous sometimes, with me texting friends expressing fear that I was going to get hurt. Then, my teen daughter ran an errand for me (a friend was supposed to go with her) & she was nearly robbed. After we filed the police reports & I asked my friends how to break my lease to find a safer home, my daughter expressed how much she wished we didn’t live alone, because we’d be safer if my boyfriend were here full time. And I won’t lie; there are nights I get home from work & wish he was there because I would feel safer if he were.
I kind of feel like I failed as a parent. Parents protect their kids. My child was in danger & I indirectly put her there by asking her to run an errand. Yes, she did the right things. She called the police. She ran. She screamed for help. Most of her anguish stemmed from the passer by’s ignoring her pleas for help. She didn’t lose anything of value, but she’s lost a little bit of that innocence. Suddenly, she’s felt like every other woman has felt at some point. The police asked her why she didn’t give the muggers her phone, did she call attention to her device? She was being forced to apologize for being victimized. She was forced to learn the reality that women are often forced to explain why they didn’t deserve to be victimized more than why the bad people shouldn’t be attacking people. There was her loss of security. My daughter started looking up dogs on kijiji, big ones (we found this one. We have the perfect name for it!). Despite my firm belief in gun control, I suddenly wanted a gun. Or a husband. Or all three. I just don’t feel safe in my neighbourhood anymore. I don’t feel like my kids are safe & for the first time in five years, I worry if a single mom living alone with three young girls & a cat is a target for stranger danger. I fully intend to move when my lease is up, maybe sublet this place in the interim, but right now, I worry about us going out at night.
*Mama Bear is also in full “let me find these people & cut a bitch” mode, but that’s not constructive & I’ll let the police handle it*
I guess I just hate that my kid had to discover that the world can be a scary place for a woman at the young age of 14. I hate that the police asked if her dad was home, so she & her mom wouldn’t have to be alone in the house, as ladies shouldn’t be left alone. But mostly, I wish neither of us felt like we wanted a man to be here to protect us, but we both do. I have never wanted my boyfriend to be here at night than I do right now, because somehow, the physical nearness of him would make this alright (she insisted on calling him tonight, as he would make this okay somehow).
But instead, tomorrow we will learn the importance of reclaiming control. She is not a victim; she is a bad ass. And she will not hide in her house afraid that someone will hurt her. We will do the shopping. We will live our lives. She will not let anyone who does her harm have power over her & direct her life with fear. Obviously, we have a plan about her going out at night (which is rare), but we’ll need to be more mindful. Her faith in humanity has taken a hit, but hopefully, in time, it’ll be restored. Sadly, every woman has that moment when they realize the world isn’t as safe as they’d hoped it was. She will bounce back.
In the interim, both of us (sadly) feel like damsels in distress, wishing we had someone here to protect us tonight.