August 28, 2020

Hello Again, World

For those reading this who have been following my story for awhile, hello again! I took a hiatus from writing for a time, but I'm back to continue what I started.

Hello Again, World

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my story, in 2014 I was drugged and violently raped in my apartment by someone I thought was a friend. Please don't gasp at that knowledge and allow it to change how you view me, because that event, though horrific, was a catalyst for me to discover who I truly am.

When writing and talking about those early days, post assault, I've often shared that I attempted suicide, but, due in part to the stigmas associated with suicide, I have always kept that part of my story very vague. I've allowed people to assume that there was only ever one attempt. What I've never shared publicly, until this moment, was that after that initial attempt, there was one more. That last attempt would have been successful, were it not for you, the person reading this....

I stood there that night ready to end everything. I felt alone, sad, and a myriad of other emotions so intense, even my best attempts at describing the level of hopelessness in my heart would fall spectacularly short. But as the moment came to carry out the deed, a statistic from one of my psychology classes came to my mind: "one out of three women experiences some form of sexual assault in their lifetime." I froze. One out of three....that meant I knew women who had experienced exactly what I was going through. The faces of the women in my classes, and the women I worked with flashed through my brain; I wondered just how many could relate to me on this terrible level.

All I had wanted since my assault was someone, anyone, to talk to that would understand what I was feeling and give me hope that life would get better. But I didn't know anyone. I knew statistically I must know someone who had been through what I had, but I had no clue who he or she might be, or if they would even be open to discussing something so heavy with me. In that moment, my perspective on both my assault and my life changed. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of why God had sent me to this earth and why I had to endure what I did.

"I need to be her," I said aloud "I need to find a way not to let this destroy me. I need to build a beautiful life for myself, and be open about what happened to me so that when this darkness finds others, they'll know about me and my story, and know they can come talk to me. I will do my best to give them hope...."

As the gravity of my realization and new life goal began to sink in, I sat down and sobbed. I had no idea, in that pivotal moment how my life would proceed. I had no way of knowing that in just a few short months, I would find myself telling the first person ever what happened to me, that he would help me find a therapist, how perfect that therapist would be to help me begin the healing process, or how in less than two years from that night, I would compete for the title of Miss Montana America, share my story with the world, and walk away with the People's Choice award.

Life got heavy again following the pageant. Medical problems that were result of the rape cropped up in 2017, serving as a constant, painful reminder of the assault, and that was when I gave up writing my old blog for a time to devote my energy to wrestling my demons and finding peace again. Healing is not linear, and last August was one of the hardest ones since 2014. I was slightly toxic, I was depressed the entire month, I was hurting, but I was still pushing forward, trying to see the positive wherever I could.

But, just as I never would have guessed how quickly my life would improve the night I chose not to end my life all those years ago, I couldn't have guessed that this August would be almost a cake walk in comparison to a year ago. I now have a wonderful job working for a fantastic company where I make more money than I imagined would be possible for me in my 20's, I have 2 beautiful, sassy dogs, a gorgeous house with a fenced in backyard for the puppies to play, and a handsome fiancé (who I'm marrying in October) who loves me through both my ups and my downs, and supports my goals and dreams, and built this site for me.

Two years ago, I started a tradition of taking a trip on the anniversary of my assault to celebrate just how far I've come since that day; I've begun shifting the focus from what happened that night to how much I've grown and accomplished since that night. In 2017, my wonderful mother took me to Universal Studios California and I spent the day at Hogwarts. The following year, my fiancé (then boyfriend) Josh, took me home to Montana, and we spent August 30th in Glacier National Park. This year, with the wedding coming up, we're opting for something more lowkey and budget friendly and taking a trip to a hot springs resort for the weekend.

Celebrating How Far I'd Come at Hogwarts

It is possible to live a beautiful life, even after something as horrific as rape. Life won't be beautiful all the time, and thank goodness for that, because if it was always sunshine and rainbows, we would stop noticing and appreciating the beauty  around us. In a lot of ways, I appreciate life more now; I believe you can't truly appreciate the high unless you've seen the lowest you can go.

I'm back, I'm doing well, and with as many exciting things I have coming my way, I'm excited to share a candid look at what life can be if you choose to not give up.

Love, Samantha

P.S. if you want to check out my old blog, you can do so here: http://theallamericanprincess.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-r-word.html but be wary, those posts are a lot more raw as my wounds were newer than than they are now.