Walking with Teal By Erika Wynn


by ASDT Official October 15, 2016

Yesterday I stood in line at the grocery store and my eyes landed on the old man in front of me. His basket was full of old people food. Ya know, like dried fruit, almonds, and saltines. I looked at him and my first thought was how those wrinkles didn't show up all at once. This - pardon the adjective - crusty, old man had once sported a head full of brown hair. His eyes used to shine with a youthful glow. The crevices evident around his eyes started as little cracks and became as deep as the Grand Canyon with time. Like the gray hairs on the old man's head, the change that took place inside of me did not happen over night. The same time that transformed a man from smooth to rugged has worked its magic on me. It was nearly summer and I was approaching the one year anniversary (I hate calling it an anniversary) of the first night I was raped. I had moved from one apartment to another and I remember I anticipated being so close to Historic 25th Street. During the summer a myriad of local grown food vendors filled the blocks of the street I lived. As the first Saturday of the farmer's market approached I had plans to walk peacefully down the street with grocery bags to fill. Although then, I was home to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Things changed abruptly as I walked past the Municipal Building and heard multiple gun shots and a stampede of feet. Apparently Ogden has a history of cowboys. The shots were merely pop guns coming from men with mustaches. They were accompanied by horse drawn carriages where their lovely women sat anxiously aboard. What was a fun, playful, and historic scene for most was very traumatic for me. I remember covering my ears and eyes out of fear. The guns continued popping and quickly my cheeks became tear stained. Just a few days ago I walked down the same street. At nearly the exact spot I had panicked the year before were construction men chopping away at the road with their loud tools like they do. I walked by with ease, even poise! And I thought to myself: Hey, you did that! Things have changed. The effort around healing is hard work. It's talking. It's crying. It's feeling. It's constant triggers and flashbacks. It's getting back up after crashing over and over. It's exhausting. It's digging. It's re-rooting. It's a process that I'm still a part of.  But I think I'm reaping the benefits. maya lou April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. My finger nails are painted teal and so is my heart. Much love to you sweet survivors, Love to those who believe us, And love for the experience time gives us. About Erika: My name is Erika! I’m a girl whose goals in life include seeing the world, loving each day of my life even on the crappy days, and fan-girling Mason Jennings wherever he be. I live among the Wasatch Mountains and will use my voice to promote their coolness any time! The color TEAL became significant in my life during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2014. I found a flyer for events that would run throughout the month, it was plastered in teal ribbons: small symbols of hope for sexual assault survivors. My heart peeled open and I began to share my story. Since then I've created a much needed lifestyle of Self-care and authenticity. On any given day I can be found practicing yoga in my favorite local studio, walking my dog through the intricate Ogden avenues, or sipping chai lattes and mooching Wi-Fi at the coffee shop down the street. I frequent the mountains that hug my city and particularly enjoy any rock debris that are climb-able. My camera roll is full of cats, plants, historic buildings, minimal design, bits and baubles, yoga bodies, and many nature scenes. These things make me happy. To read more of Erika's story, visit her blog at www.walkingwithteal.com.


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