The Day My Life Changed

by: Ashley Roman

July 7th, 2013. Just an ordinary day. If I remember correctly, it was extremely hot. We were in the middle of a summer scorcher. I woke up, refused to get out of bed for the usual 7am Wednesday morning yoga class. Snoozed my alarm for almost 2 hours. Ate some toast. Then went to work.

I was a waitress at the time. Being a waitress is a great job; and it's a horrible job. You see the best of humanity - happy families on vacation, birthday celebrations, couples celebrating 50 years of marriage. Then, you see the worse of humanity - hot tourists who are so 'hangry' you can never bring the food fast enough, people who complain about the prices even though it was free-will to dine at that restaurant, toddlers who can't seem to get it together, and servers when they are pissed off at the world.

There are a certain type of people who work at restaurants. Some even make a career out of it. Know what I'm talking about? I've worked in a couple different places, and most of the employees have similar traits. I never quite fit in. I don't swear, I don't sleep with coworkers, I don't have nipple piercings (that was a real thing I encountered), and I don't go to strip clubs.

On July 7th, 2013 my coworkers were talking about their latest endeavor. They were planning on 'initiating' an 18 year old bus boy into adulthood by taking him to a 'refined' strip club. They asked me, sorta halfheartedly if I would like to join them. I said no. And for once I stood up for myself and I told them why. Always, I stay quiet. I was the 'good girl'. I never joined in on the party but I never stopped it either. So this time I shared my opinion and that was the last moment I ever felt "normal".

I told them how I believe the sex industry is out-of-control. I don't remember the exact words I used but I know I talked about human trafficking and how it's a REAL ISSUE in the United States. And I said that by going to a strip club, I would feel like I was participating in that and contributing money. No can do.

Nobody wants to think about morals when it comes to having a good time. Nobody likes the party crasher who is over-religious and making people feel bad for a decision that I believe deep down inside, they agreed with. Those were the thoughts going through my head at the time. At least something like that because all I remember after that is sitting down on the floor right where I stood because I swore I was going to pass out.

I was so hot. My hands were shaking. I was light headed. I thought I was having some sort of allergic reaction to a muffin I just ate. I asked my coworkers for some Benadryl, no luck. They got me orange juice- said I must have low blood sugar. That was a possibility, I suppose.

I stood up and moved from the floor to a chair. Then the tears came streaming down. Endless tears. It's like I had no control of my body. I remember feeling intense fear, I had no idea what was going on with me. Was I going to pass out? Was I dying? I felt like I was short of breath. My throat had to be closing in on itself because my inhales weren't quite what they should be.

No body knew how to respond so they called security. A man picked me up and drove me to the closest urgent care in town. On the way there he asked, "You aren't going to pass out on me or anything are you?" Umm, I don't freakin' know. Aren't you prepared for this type of thing?

After waiting for what seemed like forever at the urgent care and being hit on by the creepy doctor, he diagnosed me with low blood sugar. Then proceeded to tell me how I was destined to be a nurse so I didn't have to 'rely on any man'.

Urgent care took me back to work, I drove home in a daze, andunknowingly set out on a journey that would produce countless sleepless nights, panic attacks, and fear. Just a lot of fear.

Needless to say, July 7th is a big anniversary for me. Not the kind with chocolates and flowers (although that's not a bad idea Jacob...); but it's a reminder for me of where I am and where I came from. It's a reminder that I am a fragile human being whose only true source of strength is from the Lord. It's a reminder that I need to take care of myself and take my feelings seriously.

We all have those days in our lives that we can remember so vividly. If you asked me to tell you what I did on July 6th, couldn't tell you. But the 7th, I even remember exactly what I was wearing.

Painful experiences stick with us but eventually they don't sting as much and we are able to reflect and learn.

I spoke with a Pastor friend and he encouraged me to read the book of Philippians. I would repeat this verse over and over again in my mind until I could sleep. One night I think it was close to three hours of repetition.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Thanks for reading,