I was 16.
We went out to celebrate my sister’s 22nd birthday, but at the end of the night I feared I wouldn’t make it back home.
There were four of us in the car, including a 2-year-old. We were caught in the crossfire. I was shot with an AK-47.
They said it was the “wrong place at the wrong time” and to be glad we were alive. The bullets went through the bumper, trunk and backseat before entering my hip and ripping through everything in its path — damaging my hips, small intestines, bladder, and severing nerves.
The bullets never exited.
It took 35 units of blood & platelets to resuscitate me.
It’s been six years and I still don’t know who did it.
Wanna talk about scars?
Deeper than the physical, I’ve had to forgive people who probably weren’t sorry. I’ve worn headphones for the past six Independence Day celebrations because fireworks are a trigger.
I’ve had flashbacks of that night to the point I was once afraid to go to sleep.
Yet, in a world where people expect you to simply get over it, resilience is praised but the truth about where you are in your recovery is only praised when it’s positive. When everyone is desensitized and emotions are often not validated because in my community, surviving through suppression is how we were taught to cope.
I feel pain with each step I take but to feel pain is better than to not feel at all, so above all things I am grateful.
I will always remember EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of the night I almost died and how far I’ve come since April 2012. I am a survivor of gun violence in America and these are the painful moments that survive.