It’s almost been a year now since my coworker was fired after I reported his harassment and I’m still dealing with the fear and trauma surrounding what happened to me. I didn’t expect it to be in the back of mind still after all this time, but I guess one year really isn’t that much time. If I’m honest, I haven’t thought about this at all until recently. Since my birthday was last week, I feel that is partially contributing to the anxiety I’m feeling about this and why it’s all resurfacing now. This time last year is when everything began to unfold. Everything became so much worse when I turned 18, when I became a legal target.
If you want to know the full story of what happened to me, I shared it on the blog a few months ago and you can find it here, but the things I’m dealing with now are predominantly the emotional aftermath of moving past it.
When I wrote about what happened to me, there were headlines everywhere regarding harassment and assault and there still are. The points I made are still as relevant now as they were when I first wrote about it. Harassment still isn’t being taken seriously and I know that because there are people in my life who blame me for what happened to me and I know I can’t be the only victim being given the blame.
One of my coworkers was good friends with the man who harassed me and believes that I “got him fired.” Even a year later he still resents me for it. We can be civil and professional when we work together, but I know he tries very hard to get under my skin with biting comments to make me feel inferior. It angers me to admit that his tactics work. I’m the kind of person that wants everyone to like me, and even though I knew he felt this way, I never treated him any differently or respected him any less. I knew deep down there was some resentment he had towards me about the whole situation, but we were still pleasant so I didn’t focus on it. It wasn’t until about a month ago one of my coworkers told me he has been talking shit about me to other coworkers for a while now and has made it abundantly clear to them that he does not like me.
This has bothered me more than I thought it would. I knew why he resented me and I tried to be understanding, but it just occurred to me how horribly wrong he is and how messed up his way of thinking about this really is. He doesn’t respect me because he has it in his mind that I was “asking for it” and believes that his friend did nothing wrong, but neither of those statements are even slightly true. I told him “no” several times actually, but history goes to show that when a woman says “no” men still have the tendency to do whatever the fuck they want and that’s a history I’m sick of repeating itself.
I told him “no” several times actually, but history goes to show that when a woman says “no” men still have the tendency to do whatever the fuck they want and that’s a history I’m sick of repeating itself.
If you have a friend, or even know someone that has sexually harassed someone, you can’t stand by them and say nothing of what they’ve done. There is no such thing as “choosing sides” when it comes to sexual harassment. There is only right and wrong.
No means NO. There is no bro code for supporting a friend who harassed someone who did not want it, and I can guarantee you no one wants that. If anything, it’s your responsibility as their bro to let them know what they did was not okay. And under absolutely no circumstances should you EVER blame the victim if your friend ever faces the consequences of their actions. Help them understand what they did wrong, help them learn why it’s an issue, and help them do better. Otherwise you’re only contributing to the problem and are adding just a few more repetitive pages to this never ending history of harassment. Only you can change the narrative.
Let me reiterate: NO ONE wants to be harassed. I feel the need to make that abundantly clear since still many people seem to not understand. Flirting and harassing are two very different things. There is a fine line between these two things, but allow me to enlighten you on the main differences. When someone is flirting, it’s supposed to be a mutual feeling. If you continue to hit on someone and they’re not into it, walk away because you can easily cross the line into harassment. You have to go into flirting with someone by showing them respect. Respect their space, their time, and their right to say “no,” otherwise you’re coming from a place where harassment can be the only result.
Also, I would have thought this would be crystal clear by now, but CONSENT!! You have to have consent. It’s not optional, ever. It’s another seemingly simple concept like respect but yet there are still people out there who don’t seem to get it. Ask them to dance, ask them if you can buy their drink, ask them what they’re comfortable with because you never know. I was violated with a non-consensual hug and kiss, so those are very simple things that make me a bit nervous now, but you wouldn’t know that about me though unless you asked me what I’m comfortable with. If you ask, I know you respect me and then there’s no reason for me to feel the fear I associate with those things anymore when it comes to you. I do realize that it’s also my job to let you know how I’m feeling, I promise that I know girls are complicated enough as is, but it’s a small thing that goes an incredibly long way to make a relationship a million times better.
I know that I still live with the fear of what happened to me. Affection isn’t as easy for me to show, I’m a lot more cynical, I keep all my thoughts bottled up inside, and I am definitely a lot more apprehensive of men in general. I find myself struggling to tell people who are closest to me how much they mean to me, and most days I can’t even show it.
I used to be a touchy-feely person but this has made me more reserved which probably comes off as standoffish, but that’s not how I feel inside. I’m just now starting to work myself out of that. I still blame myself for not seeing how he would manipulate me and coax affection out of me. Its so obvious to me now and I know it wasn’t easy to see then, but I have a hard time reminding myself that. I think that is why it’s so hard for me to be affectionate with people. It may not make perfect sense but I feel like he stole the goodness, that feeling you’re supposed to feel when you’re touched by someone you love, from me when he crossed the line and I’m just now trying to take that feeling back.
At this exact moment I feel a kind of numbness I haven’t felt since the summer. I don’t want to feel numb anymore I want to feel again. I’m sick of being annoyed with the world, feeling uninspired, and blaming myself for things out of my control, so it’s time to get it all off my chest. This whole thing has been haunting me recently more now than ever for at least a hundred different reasons, but the one that really got the ball rolling was when I saw him for the first time in almost a year, and it was as I was leaving a date.
I felt the date went extremely well, and I was really happy afterward. We were sitting outside at a coffee shop and during the date one of my friends went through the drive thru and saw me sitting there and rolled down her window and said hi. This of course was no big deal and actually kind of funny, but when I was pulling out of the shop I saw the man who harassed me pulling into the drive thru and my heart just stopped.
First just due to the immediate reaction of seeing him for the first time in almost a year, but then my mind jumped to what could have happened if I’d still been sitting there on my date when he’d gone through the drive thru. Just thinking about how possessive he had been over me and the million things he could have said or done if he’d seen me there filled me with so much dread and anxiety. It’s definitely shifted more into anger now, only because this fear of him and what he did is still there and controls me more than I thought it did.
It’s something I’m still working through and growing through. Trust has never come easy for me just because it can be so easily broken. I’ve never had the best experiences when I open up to people, but I’ve never lost hope that I will meet people who won’t abuse my trust. I’ve definitely just made it a lot harder on myself to let them in. I’m not good at vocalizing these fears and being vulnerable because that implies trust.
I have a hard time getting out of my own head sometimes, so trusting people is more difficult than it needs to be. My brain has a tendency to overthink, even more so now than it did a year ago. I think that’s partially why I blame myself, for not realizing what was happening to me sooner. Trusting someone is an uphill battle, but one I don’t plan on giving up on any time soon. I believe there are good people out there, but it may take a while for them to find their way to you and into your heart. We live in a world where we can’t afford to give up on finding real, meaningful connections with people. I’ve built up a ginormous wall, but I think I’m finally ready for it to start coming down.
I believe there are good people out there, but it may take a while for them to find their way to you and into your heart.
Step one of this process has been the hardest for me and that is forgiving yourself. What happened to me was not my fault and I know that, but it takes a lot to convince myself of that sometimes. Everything I’ve felt is valid and I know that too, but most days I don’t believe it. But that’s why healing is a process, not something that happens overnight. For me, writing about it, putting my feelings into words, is how I’m able to get myself to a place where I can be vulnerable and grow. By putting my story out there I can only hope someone else benefits from my experience. Whether it maybe helps someone come to terms with their own struggles or allows someone else to create a better understanding of why these issues matter makes it worth it to publish. Everything is about perspective.
You know what harassment looks like and feels like, so what can you do? How can you advocate or be an ally to someone who has been harassed? Talk about it. Saying nothing helps no one. Letting it happen just makes things worse. Speak up and stand by the victims because they are not alone but I promise you it sure does feel like it sometimes.
If you or someone you know is being harassed, please speak up or encourage the person you know to say something. If you have witnessed harassment, report it. You have the power to stop it. If you have been harassed, you are worthy of respect and love. No one deserves the emotional turmoil of harassment. 2019 is almost over and people still don’t know that this isn’t okay. It’s affected my relationships, it’s affected my life, and it’s affected how I see myself. I wouldn’t wish the way this has made me feel on even my worst enemies. No one deserves to feel like this.
Speak up, share your story, advocate for yourself (Even though I know that’s not always easy, believe me), and don’t ever forget your own personal worth. You matter so freaking much. I know from experience for a fact you probably don’t believe that right now, but I promise you it’s true.
You matter so freaking much. I know from experience for a fact that you probably don’t believe that right now, but I promise you it’s true.
I honestly can’t say it any better than I did in my first post on this: It doesn’t matter if you think you’re overreacting, or that maybe you’re just reading too far into it. That’s how I felt, and once I put all the pieces together, I realized what was happening to me. It’s hard to admit, and it’s scary, but if you feel violated or uncomfortable, speak up. Your feelings are valid and you can’t ignore them. You deserve better. Please don’t be afraid to be heard.
Stay safe out there and don’t be afraid to get angry. Turn that spark into a light and use that fire to share your story. You deserve to be heard.
I’d like to start by saying I feel old. Like really old.
I can’t even imagine what my grandparents must feel like. I kinda feel like I’ve already done this whole life thing for a bit too long already and I haven’t even been on this earth for two decades let alone SEVEN. It’s been a wild ride.
Honestly, I really do feel like a grandma. I’m always cold and somedays I think I might be dying. Continuing on with this grandmother energy, I want to share a few things I’ve learned from circling the sun the last few years, since with age comes wisdom, or at least that’s how it’s supposed to go. I’m not saying I know everything because that’s just not possible at this stage in the game, but man oh man I’ve learned a lot . . .
ONE – People can be the absolute worst, but I’m a firm believer that for every horrible person out there, there’s at last five more beautiful and amazing people out there to help add more light and love to the world. Be one of those people.
TWO – You’re not being dramatic if you feel trapped by your past. You’re just being human. It takes time to learn how to live with pain, don’t lose faith you’ll get there.
THREE – Some of the greatest things are waiting for you right outside your comfort zone, but you’ll never know unless you take the chances. Take the chances. Sometimes high risk means high reward, but you’ll never know unless you make the jump 😉
FOUR – Make time to read good books. It’s a constant regret that I don’t make more time to read. I’m really busy, but when I’m not I spend all my time on my phone and I wish I read more, so it’s about time to do something about it.
FIVE – Read the news. It can be scary, it can be depressing, some days it can really make you fear going outside, but it’s important to not ignore the realities of the world we live in. Ignorance is bliss, but not to those who don’t have the privilege to ignore the truth. Educate yourself and quit saying things aren’t issues simply because they don’t affect you.
SIX – To my writers, never stop writing. Especially to my female writers, don’t stop sharing your stories and speaking your truth. There’s unfortunately not enough of us getting published and there’s definitely not enough people paying attention, but we can’t be ignored if we take on the world by storm. Please empower one another and write, write, write.
SEVEN – Pursue your passions and don’t ever give up, no matter how hard it gets. If you truly love it, it really will all work out somehow. It’s like, a rule of the universe or something.
EIGHT – You don’t always have to agree with others, but you do always have to show them respect. Everyone has a right to their own opinion including yourself so please just treat everyone with respect otherwise there is no way for us to coexist.
NINE – Be a good person. It may not seem that simple, but if you’re kind (EVEN WHEN people don’t technically deserve it), you show people respect regardless of the situation, and spread love any way you can, you’re doing it right. So in reality, it really is that simple.
Live in such a way that if someone were to speak poorly of you, no one would believe it.
TEN – It’s okay to ask for help. You can be vulnerable and tell someone you’re struggling , ask for a hug, emotional support, or even just to help you work on something you’re passionate about. There are people out there who care about you and will always have your back. You’re not a burden to people who willingly make time for you. Reach out.
ELEVEN – Not sure if you want to use your voice to make a change? It can be scary, but I try to remember this:
“May today be the day you courageously pursue every opportunity to make a difference for something so much greater than you” – MHN
TWELVE – “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even if you do not see it yourself.” Quote Credit.
THIRTEEN – People really can change, however, it is completely up to them, and them alone, if it is for better or worse.
FOURTEEN – People may walk right out of your life and sometimes you have to just let it happen. You can always leave the door unlocked, but it needs to be up to them if they want to open it.
FIFTEEN – Don’t ever lose faith that you are worthy of love. It’s human to feel worthless sometimes, but please don’t ever believe you deserve to feel that way because no one does.
SIXTEEN – The things you say can come back to haunt you, so be the bigger person and don’t spread the negative energy. You never know what a person is going through, so spread more love and light. Quit investing energy into killing other people’s vibes. Life is too damn short.
SEVENTEEN – Positivity is so valuable. Make people laugh and smile, don’t take yourself too seriously. Make people happy and I promise you will be happy too.
EIGHTEEN – Having a nonverbal sister has taught me to advocate for others, but one thing I’m still working on is advocating for myself. Stand up for people you love, but don’t forget to include yourself.
NINETEEN – My best tip for living a good life? Learn to let that shit go. You don’t need to carry the weight of any past trauma with you everywhere you go. Better yet, you don’t deserve to carry that weight. Only you can choose to free yourself from it. Believe me it’s not any easy task, but you deserve to be the happiest version of yourself. Treat yo self and free yo self. That’s the best kind of self care out there ❤️
18 was unbelievably tough and quite possibly one of the worst years I’ve ever lived through. I stopped reaching out to people I care about (I still struggle with that but please know you mean the world to me), I made it impossible on myself to open up to people, and I spent most of it stuck in my own head. If I’m honest I deserve a second to let that sink in and to appreciate the fact that I survived it all. 18 was awful but I MADE IT! Hell yeah, once again she persisted and she doesn’t plan on stopping. I’m ready for a year of new adventures, new relationships, and new inspiration. I have faith that 19 is the new beginning I’ve been needing. Let’s get started.
I’m officially a college student.
I started college a couple weeks ago!! I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous (and excited, but like REALLLY nervous) I was to start this next chapter of my life. So to any future college freshman out there, I wanted to walk you through my thoughts going into college, and also my first week.
My Thoughts Before School Started
Things I’m kinda nervous about…
- I’m nervous I’m not going to fit in and meeting new people will be hard.
- I’m scared that past demons will come back to haunt me as some people from my high school will be on the same campus as me.
- I’m worried I will struggle to keep up with course work because I’m taking 17 credit hours this semester.
- I’m nervous I’m going to be overwhelmed by the new experience of college as a whole, like being on campus and balancing everything.
- I’m worried about the drive to school everyday since I’m commuting and there is TONS of construction happening right now.
Things I’m kinda hype about…
- I’m so excited to join new clubs and organizations and meet new people who have the same interests and passions as I do and to get more involved.
- I’m so ready to take classes I actually care about, minus my ONE math class I have to take, but otherwise I’m excited to finally be more interest focused.
- I’m excited to be more independent, even though I’ll still be at home, I’m ready to have new experiences and try new things out in the real world for myself.
My Top 3 Back to School Goals
- BREATHE. It’s all going to be okay, just take it one day at a time.
- Write, write, WRITE, and don’t ever stop writing. It’s important to you, it’s your escape from stress, and using your creativity as a stress-reliever and healthy distraction is how you’re going to survive college.
- Get your shit together and keep it together, no matter how long it takes to get there.
My First Week
My first day as a commuting college student started off with a smoking vehicle. I had never seen my car smoke before, but we were fairly certain there was a small oil leak somewhere. Luckily I only live about 30 minutes away from campus so my parents were able to come get my car and get it to the shop. This also meant that my mother would return to campus and pick me up from my first day of college. I felt kind of like I was back in high school all over again.
Also did I mention the massive amounts of rain??? There was a full on torrential downpour on my first day of school and I happened to have to walk the farthest distance to my classes on the first day. After parking my car and heading to the campus center to meet a friend, I was soaked. Needless to say I was unprepared for the weather and promptly took my waterlogged self to Target that evening to better prepare myself for future rainy days.
Day two I felt more prepared for the weather, but luckily I didn’t need it! Also I met an amazing girl at my orientation that lives in my city and we have the same classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I didn’t have to worry about my car because we decided to be carpool buddies.
It was my first day in my learning community and so I got to spend the whole day with a huge group of amazing people. I feel like by the end of the semester we are going to feel like a family, and I’m actually pretty excited about that.
I was finally reunited with my car and I never thought I would be so excited but as a car-less college student I was spooked. She’s no longer smoking and all the leaks have been fixed so she’s safe for me to drive to school (at least for now, pls hang in there Luna).
My Mondays and Wednesdays are going to be a lot shorter now because I realized I needed to drop one of my classes because I didn’t have the necessary prerequisite. My first adviser from when I was a Communications major thought one of my classes from high school would count, but it turns out it does not. So I’m taking the prereq’ next semester and will take the class I was really excited about next year. It’s all okay because I was stressing about my 17 credit hours anyway so now I’m down to 14, which seems a lot more manageable for me, at least for my first semester of college.
For the last day of my first week of college, my new LC squad and I decided to head down to the ice cream social. It’s amazing to me how I had lunch with one person on the first day of school, but by the end of the week I was having lunch with four new people. Little did I know by the end of my second week I’d be up to six new friends. My new college family is growing fast and I’m so excited about it.
I’m finally feeling more confident about school and I’m very excited for what the rest of this semester holds! Stay tuned for more creative content and college stories. I think I’m finally ready to commit to creativity again.
Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin.
Hi. I’ve been gone for a few months and I feel like I owe you all an explanation before I get back to business as usual.
My senior year was great until it wasn’t. I had fun, a made a lot of memories, and then I hit rock bottom.
It all began when one of my two best friends, the girls I’d spent almost every moment with the last two years, seemingly decided she didn’t like me anymore. Even now I really don’t understand why she suddenly had a problem with me, and why she felt the need to take it to such extremes. I found myself in the middle of a battle I was never really fighting. I only wanted things to be like they were before, the three of us together and happy. But I soon realized that wouldn’t be possible because my presence was no longer wanted. By the beginning of summer they still had each other, but I was left completely alone to fight a new kind of battle.
My mental health declined as my social life seemingly fell to pieces. I’d never felt more lost and alone. Part of me wished I wasn’t here anymore. I had no strength left, and no positive way to spin this situation. I had been completely blindsided by my closest friends and I had no idea what to do with myself. All I wanted to do was sleep, and for everything to stop hurting.
My mother raised me to believe that all things happen for a reason, so I knew I was meant to get through this. The things that saved me were my family, my childhood bestie, and a newfound spontaneity to say yes to new adventures because I was determined to overcome this and come out a better person on the other side.
I went to Spain with my school and made some new friends and lots of memories. I also went to my college orientation anxious, a little depressed, but determined to make new friends, which thankfully I did and for the first time in months I can say with confidence I’m excited for college. I’m not scared about seeing the girls who hurt me on campus anymore now that I have found people who care about me and support me. I know that even when my bestie goes away for college, that if that sadness I felt before ever resurfaces, my new friends will have my back and I’m so immensely greatly for that.
Honestly, I’m not sure what was said about me, but all I know is that it turned the girl who I thought was my best friend away from me. Even after it was all over, when I showed up at grad parties alone and was asked why they weren’t with me, I never once had a bad thing to say about them. I just said we are no longer close but they are still good people. I knew deep in my heart at that moment I didn’t believe the words that were rolling off my tongue, but talking shit would have made me no better than them. I really do wish them the best and I hope they get everything they want out of life.
It is so incredibly hard to be the bigger person, but I promise you will never regret it.
The only person I blamed for all this was myself and it wasn’t even my fault. I knew it only would have made me feel worse to tell people about the emotional minefield they dragged me through. There is still a part of me that so badly wants to hate them for everything they put me through, but it’s against my nature. I know someday I will find it in my heart to forgive them for making me feel as terrible as I did leaving high school as I did entering it.
I know they may think they have done right by me, and I guess more power to them, but I don’t think there was anything right they could have done other than leave me alone and let me move on, but instead they decided to drop off grad cards in my mailbox while I was in Spain. My mother told me when I returned from my trip. She waited a few days because she was nervous about how I’d react since I was so elated and excited about my newfound friendships and all the memories from the trip. Once she told me, a huge knot formed in my stomach and all those horrible feelings I felt when school ended rushed right back.
If I’m honest, I’d hardly thought about them while I was gone, so those cards sent me over the edge. My first reaction was anger. I just wanted them to leave me alone. I wanted to move on. I even took it out on my mom, the one person who has been my rock and here for me through absolutely everything. She sat with me in my car while I cried before my senior prom, she wiped away my tears when I told her how everything they’d done had made me feel, and was there to remind me I was loved when I felt completely alone. I was angry because I wished she had just thrown them away, but I know now if she had, I never would’ve gotten to write back and say what I needed to say in order to actually move on.
One of the cards was extremely specific, and told me that my best friend still didn’t understand the complexity of the situation and the other was nothing more than a grad card, which honestly upset me more than if I would’ve never heard from her again.
After reading them I decided I needed to end this once and for all. They were once my friends, so maybe they might care about what I had to say. I wrote them each a note explaining myself, even though I knew in reality I owed them nothing, and mailed it to them. I did it for me. I have never felt more of an emotional release than I did dropping those letters in the mailbox. That was my closure.
For me, it was finally over. Well, sort of. The last piece was securing my sanity, which required me to take the final step and unfollow the girls on social media because mentally, it was hard for me to watch them still be there for each other when they didn’t want to do so for me anymore. I know it may seem shallow or petty, but I’m doing it for my own sanity so I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong in doing so. I’m not doing it to be hateful, I’m doing it to protect myself.
For whatever reason this was maybe the hardest part for me. I couldn’t even bring myself the push the unfollow button. I’m sure they thought it was me being petty or rude, but some of things they had posted on social media during this whole ordeal were things that hurt me. I didn’t do it to be mean or to say I didn’t care about them anymore because that just wouldn’t be true. I just needed to detach myself.
I didn’t block them, because to me, that wouldn’t accomplish anything. I just needed to not see their content anymore because it only gave me negative energy. I decided to do what was best for me and to not apologize for it. So after several persuasive texts from my bestie and a talk with my mom, we decided it was what was best. I handed her my phone, she pushed the buttons and it was done.
So now it is over. I’m officially done with high school drama.
Things are going to get better, unless rock bottom really does have a basement like some say it does, but I believe it has to get better.
Needless to say, I haven’t felt that inspired this summer, which is why blog content has been hard to come by. I have a million ideas I want to see through, and now that I’m starting to get my groove back, I promise it’ll be coming soon. I just needed time to heal emotionally, and put what I went through into words. I finally feel like I have achieved that, so I can get back to being me.
I’m anxious, but also excited about starting college in the fall. I’m not the same scared little girl I was when I started high school. All I know is that I need a new start; a fresh clean page. I wanted to rip out the last few pages of this chapter of my life, but I couldn’t until the final paragraphs were complete. I consider this post, this explanation of my emotions, my journey through the final months of my senior year, the final paragraphs.
The story of my high school career is now done, and I’m never looking back.
Summer has offered me time to grow. Reconnecting with my childhood bestie who always has my back when life goes to shit has been one of the greatest things I’ve done this summer. I am beyond grateful for her and my wonderful family. If you haven’t found a best friend yet, I promise you will someday and they will always have your back and love you like family. Turns out I’ve known mine since literally her birth, but I promise you can find them at any point in your life. I’m surrounding myself with my new friends and positive people and honestly, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Finally the world doesn’t seem as lonely as it did for me a couple months ago.
I’m so ready to leave the past behind me, but mostly I’m hopeful for the future. I’m ready to be creative again, I’m ready to continue becoming a better person, I’m ready to meet new people and try new things, and make new memories that I’ll have forever.