THE DAY I BECAME A WARRIOR
THIS IS THE STORY OF THE DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE.
Let me explain a little something about the “old” me.
I am an Enneagram 8 (SO) with a wing tendency in 7, I am a first born child, and I am a Capricorn, I am a Generator in Human Design, a 6 in Numerology (the Mama), a DI in the DISC, an INFJ in the MBTI, and a Wood Rabbit with my work in Ox in the Chinese Zodiac.
Maybe you know something about one of these tools or theories. If you know any of these schools of thought, you can understand that I am built for resilience, I am used to working very hard, I am innovative, productive, and far before I was a biological mother, I was everyone’s caregiver.
And I have suffered some losses over my life and had some traumatic experiences.
But the day I became a warrior was the day that I had an experience that converted me from what felt like a pretty high-grade but normal life. I owned my own business, I was self-reliant, I had a loving partnership and healthy kids, and everything seemed to be heading in the right direction.
I was “Instagram happy”. And when old Facebook posts pop up in my memories, I see clearly now how different my perspective was and how much I was putting on a good show, but not really living in a state that thoroughly embraced joy, passion, courageous authenticity, and self-love.
I was an Organizational Development Consultant in the early days of becoming a Professional Certified Coach, and under these banners, it was my job to guide people out of burnout, help them with self-awareness, and assist them with changing their mindset while believing they could create change and a more dynamic beautiful future with this new emotional intelligence.
I was good at it.
But while I was teaching people how to heal, how to be hopeful, and how to stay strong, my mental health was slowly disintegrating, because I had never really actualized the changes I needed to feel whole, and I hadn’t prioritized my connection to self (first), my connection to others (next, and with boundaries), and to the natural world (a high priority for me spiritually and biologically).
As a young woman, I traveled the world. I grew up in a smaller city that felt like a town. Before I returned to live there as an adult, I lived in Seattle in a neighborhood that was sometimes less than safe at night. As a visitor, I walked on streets at night in cities from New York to London, and Rome to Chicago without fearing for my safety. I walked with purpose and confidence. I always kept minimal things on my person to reduce the risk of being targeted. I traveled with friends or colleagues whenever I could. But I felt I was safe – in body, in heart, and in mind.
Today, for the first time outside of a courtroom, I am offering this story candidly and in detail. This time I am offering more than I offered in court because I am explaining the spiritual experience too. Some of this is part of the victim impact statement I read at the sentencing of the man who approached me on that day. Most of my friends have still never heard my story told like this.
It seems perfect that as I walk into the first day of the sixth year after this experience, knowing that when I come to this day next year, my body will have generated 100% new cells at the seven-year mark, and I will literally be a different person.
I already know that I am.
On that day, August 26, 2016, the day was warm with sun and a gentle breeze. I’d had a long and busy work week and I chose to return home for quiet and rest while I waited for my family to come home and start the weekend. I had made arrangements for my kids to be picked up by someone else so that I could have a little bit of time on my own to unwind and enjoy the comfort and protection of my home. I was actually scheduled to go to a yoga class, but something was compelling me to go home.
I was in my driveway, sitting in my car, finishing a call with my friend on my hands-free connection to the car. Out of the blue, my car door was opened, and there he was. For the rest of my life, I’ll remember his glassy, wild, clear green eyes and how bright the color of them was because they were bloodshot. He demanded I get out of the car. I heard myself begin to scream, but it didn’t feel like it was me.
I was outside of myself, watching the whole thing unfold from above. I wondered if he would flee when I fought back, or if someone in the neighborhood would hear me and interrupt.
He didn’t. They didn’t.
The me that was screaming was getting hoarse. The out-of-body me was observing and waiting. I felt a deep settling and knowing come over me, and I experienced the presence of three protective ancestral warriors, and they spoke to me.
“Notice the details.”
“No matter what happens, keep fighting.”
“You’ve done this before and you are able.”
“You are protected and you are protecting others.”
“You are where you are supposed to be.”
I listened. I believed them. And I complied.
My mind told me to keep track of the details.
My body told me to survive.
At one point, I grabbed the barrel of the revolver and felt its cold metal in my right hand – I successfully turned it away from me, but when I pulled to try to take it out of his hands, it was clear that in his drug-induced state he was much stronger than I was. I started to worry about the gun going off in my hand.
As I tried to push past him and the gun and get out of the car, he held it to my head, and then my chest at my heart and told me he was going to kill me.
He mercilessly beat me with that gun trying to force me out of the car – at my forehead, on the left side of my head. I still have a dent in my forehead and a large jagged scar on the side of my head where I had 10 staples to close the wound.
Blood flowed hot and rapidly from the wound in my head. Eventually, he physically pulled me out of the car, by my arm and my shirt, tearing through my shirt, ripping it in half, open to my waist. He threw me to the ground and my forehead hit the pavement hard, almost causing me to faint, and definitely causing me not to be able to move. By that evening I had two black eyes.
When I could move enough to get to my front porch, I watched him struggle to maneuver down my long driveway, hitting my gate with the car on the way out.
As I backed up to my front porch and watched him go, I could see my kids’ booster seats sitting empty in the car behind him. He left, still wild-eyed, with my car, my keys, my identification, my garage door opener, my bank and credit information, my computer, and products from my natural skincare line. Everything that identified me and let him into my home, my family, and my world. I frantically tried to open my front door without turning my back because I was afraid he was going to shoot me in the back as he drove away. We had talked. I had seen his face and his eyes and what he was wearing. I had scratched at his arms and had blood under my fingernails, and he had left marks on me with his bare hands. I was evidence.
Within about 10 minutes, dozens of police and fire vehicles and an ambulance descended on my home and I had about 20 other people watching the street and loading me into an ambulance on the way to the ER.
In the ambulance, it all came rushing back. I was back in my body. I remembered the ancestors’ voices and their words.
Two thoughts crossed my mind at the most illogical time, with paramedics bustling to stop the bleeding from my head and putting ice on my forehead and eyes.
“You can’t save anyone but yourself.”
“You are the person you’ve been waiting for.”
These felt like the last messages from the ancestors. Again, I listened. And I believed.
He was on the move without being caught by the police for about a week. When he was found, he was immediately put in prison with $1M bail bond. But I didn’t feel better.
I didn’t know how to reconcile the old me with the new me.
I began to suffer attacks of severe PTSD. I work alone in a home office and my effectiveness at that dimmed dramatically. My safe home had been violated. I stayed up night after night, vigilant, checking locks, and I felt safer when I could keep vigil over my family who had done nothing to deserve this.
My appetite plummeted and my ability to sleep was minimal. We were thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket and fighting with the insurance company to total my car that had been found damaged beyond repair, buying a new car before we could afford it, fighting for partial compensation for work equipment and other things in the car to be replaced, and our mailbox was full of claims from ambulance, hospital, radiology, and ER and bills that needed to be paid.
After most of the insurance battles were done, I entered trauma counseling, and attended multiple times a week for a long time, and later every two weeks, and finally once a month. The court battle took 18 months. In the end, he was given a life sentence with no chance of parole until 15 years had been served.
After court was completed, most of the support faded to the background. This makes sense. People have lives and they had made more than a year’s worth of time to be there for me and for my family.
Slowly, slowly, I rebuilt myself.
I set strong boundaries which become stronger all of the time.
I prioritized self-care, which honestly, has been a massive journey and I have really only found the “keys” to my own safety and self-care, this year, in 2022. I understood the concept but couldn’t find the source. I’ve found it.
Steadily, I built a practice to revive myself and be the person my ancestors believed in and rooted for. I studied the indigenous tradition of the Scandinavian Samí people, Celtic Shamans, and Mayan Curanderos. I launched a new natural skincare line called SLOANE MARLEY with a different name and products. I grew and wildcrafted plants and made tinctures, teas and tonics.
I learned neuroscience and somatics and how to work with trauma, and I became a well-known and sought-after Executive Coach for C-Suite executives and Senior Leaders and teams. I formed a facilitating and coaching method around the Ancient Enneagram and the Sacred Four Directions. And they listened and responded and asked for more.
I have worked with companies like Kraft-Heinz, Mars, Inc., and Chobani. I’ve worked with schools like Dartmouth College, University of Southern California, and the University of Toronto.
I’ve been a contributor to Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. I regularly contribute to Thrive Global. I published a book in 2017. I’m working on a second one.
I slowly and methodically became whole.
I followed my ancestors.
And I wrote everything down.
And the day I became a warrior, was also the day I became the First Wild Human.