February 25, 2018, is a date that will always bring pain and strength to my heart. It is almost a year since I was shot in the back. My boyfriend was taking me home, and someone came out from a hidden place, stood behind the car and shot straight towards the car. The bullet went through the back light, back seat, passenger seat and in my back. In my body, the bullet hit my pericardium, diaphragm, spleen and stomach. It also collapsed my left lung. I went through surgery, hospital stay, hospital visits and recovery. I still go through trauma, anxiety, depression and physical pain. I also have the shattered bullet in my body. I was only 19. I just turned 20 last month, and I know it is a long road to overcome all of this, but God is my strength.
Now, I try to get involved in advocating for gun safety with Everytown. I joined my local Moms and hoping to start Students Demand Action in my school. I also have amazing love and support from my mom, family, boyfriend, friends and community.
It is impossible to share my entire story, but I never should have been in critical condition because of a bullet. My life almost ended at 19. Now, I do what I do to help those who are no longer here. That could have been me, and I am not taking my second chance for granted. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for God’s love, giving me strength to fight for those of us who have been affected. I struggle every day with flashbacks and trauma, but I know I’ll be okay. I remember reading an article where someone said that after getting shot, they felt half alive and half dead. That stuck with me because the young woman I was at 19 passed away that night. I am nothing like I was before. Sometimes I fight hard to try to go back to how I was. I just can’t. That is when I feel like I’m half dead. I’m half alive when I spread awareness, go to marches, go to Moms’ meetings and get involved. I’m alive and I’m so grateful. I accept anything that comes my way because I know that it is not only my fight; it’s all of ours.
I pray for the healing of those who have been affected by gun violence. We are strong and in this together. I hope you feel my love, condolences and sympathy.
I pray for the healing of the man who shot directly at me. I wish my boyfriend’s car was not the one you confused that night. I just thank you anyway because I’d rather it be me than anyone else, and thank you for making me the strongest woman I would have never thought I would be.
I am so grateful to be alive.