‘Right now is not your time. You’re meant to help other people.’ A 10-minute reign of terror broke out: Shooting survivor recalls ‘resources’ she’s learned from past trauma that helped keep her alive

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“Let’s start by saying that I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, this can sometimes sound a bit cliché, however for me it’s been a soul saver and a way back to remembering who I am.

To take things back to the beginning, I want to tell a piece of my story, I learned in my early teens that I was conceived in one of the most unique and craziest ways I had ever heard of and that still applies to this day (I would love to hear others unique stories). My mother who lived a bit of a colorful youth, was in a coed federal prison in 1977 and, well let’s just say and to put it as mildly as I can, I was conceived after the one and only time they had a chance for that even take place.

Courtesy Summer Leann

This is not something I have every been ashamed of because this is part of my story and without, I wouldn’t be here. Learning this planted the seed in my mind of everything having its purpose/reason, a seed that would continue to grow and blossom over the years. I mean think about it, how many things had to play out for that chance encounter to even happen! The thought still blows my mind to this day.

My life has never been ‘easy’ or ideal, though as a child I didn’t know any different. My childhood was filled with many things that most of the kids around me seemed clueless to, I was a child growing up in a very ‘adult’ world. During this time, I leaned on my imagination and my innate ability to visualize myself living outside of the life I was in, living in a world of possibilities was something that allowed my life to feel normal.

Though I truly never felt ‘normal’, I always felt like I was different, never quite feeling like I fit in and for the longest time I allowed that to hold me back. I allowed myself to hold my light inside even though I felt it bursting to get out. I tried different avenues as a kid to push myself, to open up and eventually I would retreat back into myself essentially hiding, only showing what I felt I could to people I truly trusted. Took me a long to understand the whys for that, more on that in a bit.

I was always the positive kid, the glass empty type YET, I was also the biggest worrier you would ever meet. I was always the kid who would worry about everything and everyone. Not realizing until way later in life that I am an empath, as well as being highly sensitive & intuitive, so you can imagine that as a kid this held its challenges. I wanted to help everyone and never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings. This also posed its challenges.

Courtesy Summer Leann

Around my 18th birthday, I endured my first major trauma. About two weeks before my 18th birthday I was forced to ‘grow up’ really quick, forced into an adult world that life had long been preparing me for. This would mark the first of three traumatic sexual assaults that I would go through.

To cope with the first, I relied on coping the only way I truly knew how and that was to find the growth, to find my reason why this happened and to allow for it to help me grow. At the time I used this to guide me to take steps in life that were at times reckless and yet always profound in the knowledge that I would gain. About a year after my jolt into the life of bills, full time work, being on my own and essentially trying to figure out how that adult life was really supposed to go… I made a decision to abruptly move to Las Vegas, away from my hometown of San Diego, the only area that felt stable to me was that city. Yet, I chose to follow my young, naive heart, I had met a guy, and nothing was going to stop me from being closer to him (I was living life by a very co-dependent path to come). About 4 months after I moved to Las Vegas at the age of 19, I found out I was pregnant. Excited, scared and lost would be a few words to describe the feelings I felt during that time.

In 1998, I became a mother for the first of three times and from the moment I saw her I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be in life. That moment really helped me put my life up to that moment in a different perspective, once again allowing me to look back and recognize that without the events that had transpired to that point, I would not be where I was. Therefore, allowing me to see that even if I had the chance to that I would not take back that trauma I had experienced because I needed it. I needed it to be able to be exactly where I was at that very moment. My daughter was born and she was perfect, therefore making everything else from my past perfect aligned for this little bundle of a miracle to be staring back at me.

About a year and two months after she was born, would mark the second trauma to open up parts of me that I didn’t know existed. My daughter’s dad had spent a long day at work, and I was itching to get out of the house, so while he napped, we headed out for a stroll through our typically quiet neighborhood. From the moment we got around the corner, things felt off. Things felt eerie, as if someone could grab us, pull us into their house and that would be the last anyone would hear from us. I brushed the feeling off as ‘crazy’, little did I know that it was more of a premonition of what was to come.

I proceeded on the walk with her did my best to shake the feeling, went to the store and headed back towards our house. As we were headed back, I rounded a corner and coming towards me was a guy that I had seen twice prior on my short walk. He was headed towards me, as he came close to me, I realized something was very wrong. As he got to me he turned and put his left arm around me and used his right arm to put a knife to my side and said the words that would become forever etched in my memory. ‘

You’re going to come with me and do what I say or I am going to slit your kid’s throat.’

Well as a mother my instinct turned directly to her and I knew I would do whatever it took to keep her safe. I will not go into to the full details of what happened, I will say that I found a way to talk myself out of things and after he let me go, he tried this on two other women. He was arrested, pled guilty and I was the only victim of terror to speak at his hearing. This marked a place of taking my power back, I knew instinctively that it was something I had to do. It was something that terrified me, yet I knew I had to make my voice known and I wanted him to hear how his actions were not going to take me down, they were going to make me stronger. And they did, his actions that day would allow me to have memories to pull from almost two decades later that would help save my life.

Courtesy Summer Leann

The third sexual trauma came a little over 5 years later, I also won’t go into full detail on this but I will tell you that the effects have been long felt and it pushed me to go so far within myself to find healing that I wasn’t sure what I would find. I was not broken; however, I was lost, I wanted to find healing. I wanted to find a reason as to why and that reason wouldn’t truly come until years later.

Around 2012, I had decided that I wanted to become a health coach, this came about after my youngest daughter was born with many health complications and I started seeing the connections at that point to how stress and food effect our physical and mental health. This shift opened up a rabbit hole for me, one that I continue to get deeper in as I progress in life. Thus, pushing me more into a world of ‘mindset’ coaching than that of a health coach. Many things happened in between 2004 and now, many things that continued to push boundaries and push me to find growth over just finding the lessons. I believe that lessons sound fleeting and something that tends to get brushed off. Growth though, growth is a stepping stone into change. It’s what makes us stepped into the next version of ourselves. It’s where my story goes next, into the depths of a place that I can only hope no one has to experience.

I had been on a deep spiritual and self-development journey for a few years by the time the night of October 2017 rolled around. This journey allowed me to open my intuition to a place where, unlike earlier in my life, I no longer brushed things off as crazy. If I get a feeling, I listen. This particular day was filled will lots of brushes of thoughts that seemed a bit outlandish, however I followed them. At 10:05, that night a 10-minute reign of terror broke out on what would become the largest mass shooting in modern day US history.

Courtesy Summer Leann

Again, I will not go into full details here, though I want to share a profound moment, the moment that brought so many pieces of my life together at once, as I was running to find cover from the rounds of bullets that felt endless, I heard a voice in my head so clear yet it’s full magnitude wouldn’t be felt within me until several days later, the voice said ‘Right now is not your time, you’re meant to help other people’. That night so many things came into play, my past trauma acting as roadmap for my subconscious to use to help navigate me to find a way out, my spiritual and self-development inner work gave me the inner tools to grab when I needed them the most. See, what I had been building over the entire course of my life has been a tool-bag of resources that I could use when I needed them most.

I sought out therapy within about a week of the event. I met with the therapist about once a week for a little over two months and on what would be our last session, she looked at me with a smile and said, ‘I believe this our last session’ I agreed and responded with ‘I was going to say the same thing’…

She said, ‘you are at a place that we call Post-Traumatic Growth, you see the growth that has come to you from have experienced this event and you know the effect that it has had on your life’. Essentially saying that this, like every other event in my life I CHOSE to see that my life would not be the same without it.

Since this event I have pushed myself to listen to that voice, that voice was so extremely clear that I knew it was a message. Helping other people through the power of story is one of many purposes I feel my soul chose for me. Becoming vulnerable and opening up that piece that I held dormant for so long because I was too scared to truly put myself out there was what I wasn’t just what I was missing from my coaching, it what I was missing from me.

Courtesy Summer Leann

I realized that me holding myself back was not just doing a disservice to myself, it was doing a disservice to anyone who may need to hear my story, to anyone that may be looking for an avenue for growth in their own life. Anyone who is looking to give a new outlook to a long-told story of their life. Those thoughts push me and drive me. I do everything I can to push my limits daily, to break free of the shackles of the comfortable habit loop and to dive head first as much as possible in to the uncharted, uncomfortable waters that is life!

Courtesy Summer Leann

I feel my soul chose these things because it knew I was capable of going through them and that the experiences would give me a place to go deeper within, find the growth and be able to share that story of strength and resilience with others. It’s something I feel we all have within us.

Our minds, can either control us based on our past or we can take that conscious control back! Everyone has trauma and I believe that everyone has the power within to take that control back. The control that may have felt as though it was lost, by putting the power back into our own hands, we are able to use it to empower ourselves as well as those around them. To be the warrior and not the victim to unleash the version of ourselves that can overcome anything. The power we have is so great and yet we barely tap into it. I want to be able to help as many people as I absolutely can to up that up, to break that seal and watch the magic flow out.

Courtesy Summer Leann

I absolutely love watching others come into their power uses the resources they have simply by unlocking them. My story is not one of tragedy, it is one that shows me that I have the ability to use pain to my advantage. It shows me that absolutely nothing has the power to break me unless I let it! We are made up of energy and I feel that connection to everything around me. Choosing to consistently look forward, be open and only use the past as place where growth came from allows me to stay present and keep focused. If I find myself falling backwards, I remember where I came from return to my power and pick myself up again. Life is an open world of possibility and hope, a place where our choices can define us, or they can lift us up to the next level. I choose to level up and always embrace the new version of me.

I with end this with one of my favorites quotes, which is also forever marked as a tattoo on my skin.

Courtesy Summer Leann

‘Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it’ – from Disney’s Pixar movie ‘Brave’”

Courtesy Summer Leann

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Summer Leann, 41, of Las Vegas Nevada.  You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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