Every day, I read the news and stories. I am not numb to break-ins or robberies, in fact, I am a bit of a hypochondriac. To put things into perspective, when we were looking for our new home, it took at least 11 house viewings, before I found one where crime wasn’t a primary concern. Yep, I was the annoying potential rentee who looked up each and every complex, street name and area on local neighborhood watch pages and crime watch channels. I am cautious because I have seen enough to know better.
A week after we moved from our old house, I read at least 3 or 4 news reports that were commenting on the crime in our old area. One read that a young couple were held hostage, along with their baby, until the criminals tried to make a getaway in the couple’s car but ended up crashing it. Another one, was a stabbing of a kid who we know, he was walking back from the local shop that we visited nearly every day. Crime got too close, so we moved away.
The street that we live in hasn’t had a break in for the last 15 years. That’s more than half my age! But of course, not even 2 months since we’ve moved in, our yard (which has electric fencing) gets broken into, and our car gets ransacked. They didn’t get anything and by pure luck, I had emptied the car of all of our personal belongings, the previous day. They literally unpacked Axl’s pram (and left it at the gate), went through all our papers, took a phone charger, cheap sunglasses and old house keys for my inlaws’ house. The funny part is that in our road, there are about 12 cars who do not park inside a yard, including my neighbors across the road, who just so happens to have the dodgiest-looking people coming and going from their house in the early hours of every morning. These are the same guys who party every day (yes, weekdays too) until 3/4 am, or until the cops arrive.
Earlier that day, our water pump filled with oil, so instead of parking our car under the usual parkade (which is right by our bedroom window and kitchen door), we parked on the grass inside our yard, while we worked on the car. It was the FIRST time ever that we did not park under our parkade, but it was not even 2 meters from it’s usual parking space. I find it SUPER strange that the ONE night we don’t park in our usual spot, a person chooses to ignore all 12 cars, risks the electric fence and breaks into our car.
All things aside, there’s a lesson to this. I refuse to give them any power. This action and violation does not prompt me to irrationally wanting to leave the country, it does not steal the hope and faith that I have for our country either. I do not fear resting my head at night and I will continue to live my best life. Why?
When I was 16, I gave up all my power to one man. This man, let’s call him A, was in his fifties and was originally a friend of my family’s until… he wasn’t. He started becoming obsessed with my mom, and knew that Luis (my dad) lived out of town for business. A would stalk us, showing up at my school, watching us through our windows while we slept, breaking into our house to steal underwear and then later sending photos of himself wearing said underwear. For 8 months, I lived in complete fear of one man, never knowing when or where he would show up. On two ocassions, my mom lied and then later revealed that the bruises I had seen on her body was from him, breaking into our car and hiding there until my mom got in from her trip to gym. Curtains and blinds would no longer do, so I slept with a matress in my window. My school called my parents warning that I was absent too often but when I had reached out to my guidance teacher she had seen it as a ploy to get out of class. My life became a living hell – something that you only ever hear of in the news. Only this, this never made it to the news. This was OUR life. OUR reality. OUR fears.
My mom and I moved to Jo”burg but shortly after, I returned to live with my dad, where I completed high school. One night, while updating my highschool’s Facebook page. HIS name appeared. He liked the one and only status that mentioned me by name and within minutes, the last 3 years of peace and quiet came crumbling down. My dad never fully grasped the depths of A’s control or what I lived through, so when I came to him with my concerns and that this person now knew where I attended high school, he had no idea the fear that went through me.
I ended up taking off two or three days from school, but by the second day, my mom and aunt decided that I couldn’t stay at home, it was just fueling my fear and that would mean giving him power again. So I ended up volunteering to work at the Top Billing Auditions, which just so happened to be the place where I met my future sister-in-law, who later introduced me to my future-husband. I continued going to school after that, and I haven’t given A a thought, ever since. I have seen him once, in the shops, but I didn’t stop in fear. I continued knowing that he wouldn’t recognize me, because I am confident, grown up and I no longer give him power over my happiness.
S0, to the man who broke into my car, violating the little paradise that I had created in my head, you sir are a giant a-hole. But I will go on. I will be smarter. I will go over and beyond to keep my family safe because I am momma bear. But above all, I will not give you the pleasure of having any power over me. I will still walk my dog and will continue playing in our huge yard, with childlike delight. You do not get to take that away from me. I am stronger now. I know better now.