Summer of 2008, I lived in Pittsburgh again, for some reason I just kept coming back to this city. Little did I know that 3 years from then, I would be living there and dating my future husband. I moved back in with Julie while completeing an internship. I was so excited to live with Julie again, we were going to have so much fun!! I knew that I had an idea that I wanted to put together and my friends from Pittsburgh would be the perfect people to help me with it. The song “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera always stuck in the back of my mind, especially revolving around the rape. Christina says, “After all you put me through, you think I would despise you but in the end, I want to thank you because you made me that much stronger.” I was at a point in my life where I felt like that. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I was without that happening to me. Christina then goes to say, “Well I thought I knew you, thinking that you were true.” I did think I knew you, my abuser, when really I didn’t. “Cause if it wasn’t for all that you tried to do, I wouldn’t know, Just how capable I am to pull through. So I wanna say thank you ‘Cause it, Makes me that much stronger, Makes me work a little bit harder, It makes me that much wiser, so thanks for making me a fighter.” In honor of the song, I got a tattoo that says “Fighter” across my right rib cage. I wanted it further away from my heart because my fight did not stem from love but from hurt and pain. I also put two dates on it. My birthday because I was a premie, and almost died after being born, and the date I was raped. God made me a fighter from the beginning.
The concept I had in mind was to include some items of the actual incident, particularly when I was left on the side of the road. Filming in a cemetery would be ideal as well. I also thought about a boxing scene, and another scene where I would have words and dates, such as 10/10/04, fly at me, as I hit them with a baseball bat. So I sat down with two of my friends and told them my ideas and they bounced back with their ideas. Ideas began to come to life. They knew some people at a cemetery we could use, and changed the concept with the bat, but I loved it and couldn’t wait to put it together.
The Day of the Shoot
The day of the shoot I was so excited. I had picked out two outfits I was going to wear. We met early in the morning and shot all day long. I remember being so nervous that day too…..when Julie, and I went to get some Starbucks before the shoot, I had gotten a parking ticket….actually I think I got two parking tickets that day. The shoot was a blast. I even got to break some glass with a brick. Once filming was completed, I waited for my one friend to finish editing it. Once he was done and shared the project with me, I was completely floored. I could not believe that was me. It was me symbolizing how tough I truly felt. Some days I didn’t feel that tough, but it truly showed me how strong I could be.
Completion and how this could help someone else
I remember showing the video to my mom, and she cried. I also showed the video to all my managers at work, which at that point I had to share my story with some of them as well. I will say, I did share this on Facebook, and I was partially open to social media aboutwhat had happen to me, but not completely. When I did share the video, I did not share that I was raped……I wasn’t open about it on Facebook until 2014(but that’s another story). This video truly meant the world to me at that point in my life. It really helped me in my healing process and I truly felt I was fighter.