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The Blake late show

Laughter was with me all along

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This is the first in a series of stories of my incredible and innovative journey beyond sexual assault. It will hopefully open up healthy dialogues about sexual assault in our LGBT communities.

I was asleep in my loft in downtown Phoenix one night. Three men entered and I was held down and sexually assaulted. I almost lost my life before all the police arrived to help me.

Over time I isolated from society. I had explosive moments of anger often. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD and depression. The symptoms became much more severe.

On May 30, 2015 I tried to take my life. I survived. Things got better and then they got very bad again. On a suicidal night on November 2ndof that same year something unexpected happened. I laughed.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert came on my TV and I laughed during the monologue.

It was a laugh just like any other laugh I had throughout my life. What saved my life is not that I laughed that night…it’s that I recognized I laughed that night.

I paused the TV show for three minutes as I recognized my laughter. I sat quietly.

I had always been looking for the miracle in the distance to save me from PTSD. But to my surprise it was something that had been with me the whole time. Laughter. And this night I recognized it.

Something good was still coming from me. I decided I’d use that laughter and hold on to it.

I stared at the screen and I embraced what I describe as the emotional mindset of an eight year old kid at that moment. There was no thinking involved. I went with pure emotion.

My emotion told me I was getting on The Late Show as a guest. And I was going to share my story with Stephen Colbert and his audience. I had no idea how I would make that happen. It didn’t matter.

I’d figure out the details the next day. I went to bed with hope that night. Hope.

That following morning I woke up and still had that hope. I went out after breakfast to buy paper at a Staples store near my home. For some reason, I ended up in front of a display of giant foam poster boards. An employee approached me and asked if I needed any help.

I asked her if there were more poster boards in the warehouse. But before she entered the warehouse she turned and asked me how many I wanted. I never said I wanted to buy any though. That was my lightbulb moment. I saw it clearly. I bought all of the boards they had at that store.

It was then I realized what I’d do to get on that show. And how I was taking back my life from PTSD from that sexual assault. I was going to meet total strangers each day and I would tell them my story.

And I’d ask them to sign support for all my efforts (to overcome PTSD/sexual assault and get on that show) on those boards with a variety of Sharpie markers I’d buy.

This would be my therapy to re-engage with people again after isolating so badly for years. I wanted this to be larger than life. I wasn’t going to hide anymore from the trauma. I was going to talk.

Somehow I’d have to get the attention of The Late Show and show them the boards. I told myself I’d figure it out with the help of all the people I’d meet. I’d make it happen as I went.

On November 12, 2015 I set out to meet total strangers. I was excited. I was also fearful. It took three attempts to get out of my home that morning. I finally left.

I walked up to the first person on that day with a giant blank poster board and a lot of Sharpie markers. I was utterly unprepared for what was about to happen in my life over the next 1,288 days in a row I’d be on this full time cross country journey!

Editor's note: This article of hope and support is brought to you by that guy with a lot more to share. That guy with more stories than One Kansas City Place is Ron Blake. You can find him on Facebook here.