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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Had a Stalker for 2 Years

I did a huge no-no a few years back and joined the online dating circuit.  This was after the break-up I had thrust upon me over Facebook (of which you can read here).  I just wanted to date someone else and be completely clear of the jackass moron that I wasted nearly two years of my life on.  Unable to just remain single and free, I began to search the dangerous watering holes of online dating.  I was approached by weirdo's of all sorts but managed to find someone decent for the most part (keywords: for the most part).



Here we go--let's get into another relationship without really catching a breather.  The guy I was dating was on a whole other wavelength.  He was all about me and I just didn't reciprocate that.  (I'm just here pretending I enjoy this.)  Besides, it was one of those relationships where an expiration date was attached since I knew that he wanted children (and we all know how I feel about children).  To make matters worse--he wasn't into Halloween but was obsessed with Football.  This relationship was doomed from the beginning and deep down I just knew it was a waste of my time.  (Sorry-not-sorry).  It's a mystery (to this day) as to why I started dating this person but I blame it on the rebound.


During the course of our relationship, I was slowly realizing that I was unhappy.  He and I had nearly nothing in common so I was practically dating an alien as far as I was concerned.  I was only with him because I didn't want to be alone.  I was used to having someone there with me.  As time went on, I was becoming increasingly annoyed and felt less and less involved in the relationship.  My parents, on the other hand, loved the fact he had his own place and a grown-up job.  My friends thought he was nice but could tell that I was not all there.  To make matters even worse--he would constantly tell me that dating me didn't really require 'an effort'.  (Yeah, he said that.)


As Christmas approached, I became ecstatic.  And it wasn't just because I love this time of the year--it was because he had decided to go back to his hometown  to visit family.  This was my chance to get some much needed distance.  I could figure out if this ship was truly sinking or if I could salvage it.  Through all this contemplation, I would encounter the very thing that I wouldn't be able to shake off for two years...


During my lunch break at work, I was in the middle of ignoring repetitive text messages from my soon to be ex-boyfriend when I was approached by one of the waiters in our restaurant.  I enjoyed eating lunch alone the majority of the time but since my phone kept blowing up, I needed some kind of distraction.  So when he asked if he could sit with me seeing as though the rest of the tables were taken--I decided to take in the company.  Being polite, I told him that he could.  Biggest. Regret. Ever.


He introduced himself as Alan*.  We talked for a good while.  Shifting our conversation from work to tv-shows that we enjoyed, my lunch had run it's course but since we had gotten along so well I figured that we were friends now.  It felt nice to find another coworker who shared the same interests.  So, I did the thing I shouldn't have done--I gave this person my digits.

 
The day of my breakup, I had been texting my boyfriend at the doctors office.  I already hate the doctor's office (it gives me unbelievable amounts of anxiety) so having to deal with anxiety plus my annoying boyfriend--I was pretty much done.  I had realized my answer was staring at me straight in the face.  Once this appointment was over, I would have to end things.  I've always told other's that they shouldn't be a coward and break-up over a text or phone call but at this rate--I was just fed up and over it.  I ended up doing it over a text message while he was still out of state visiting family during Christmas.  I know--I'm a fucking monster.

 


Since my break-up, Alan and I had started hanging out.  And because I was young and stupid, I ended up sleeping with him.  Biggest.  Mistake.  Ever.  I felt vulnerable.  I had wasted another 6 months on someone due to my previous relationship.  Alan had started giving me attention.  And I guess it felt nice to be wanted for a change.  Looking back on it now--I was just a young and dumb single lady.  I was a walking hot mess who was just making horrible decisions without any disregard of the outcome.  But I knew that I didn't want to enter a relationship with Alan.  I was trying to enjoy my freedom for once.  Could you blame me?  Alan and I were just friends with benefits.  I wasn't emotionally attached.  I had zero plans of entering a committed relationship with him.  He was just considered company and nothing more...

 
I've been contemplating on getting a Disneyland Annual Pass for some time now.  I used to have one when I was in high school but now that I could afford it again, I decided to treat myself.  Alan wanted one as well (go figure), so we decided to go and get our passes.  The entire Disney day, I wanted to throw myself off a bridge.  He was extremely hyper active and incredibly annoying.  Alan was worse than some of the children coked out on candy throughout the park.  He was much older than me but acted as if he was a pre-teen.  Needless to say--I couldn't wait for the day to be over.  I half-wished that I would lose him in the crowd and then I could spend the rest of the day by myself and leave his ass there.  From that day forward,  I decided to stop associating myself with Alan. 



He was becoming extremely clingy and made it evidently clear that he wanted me more than just the confines of our 'friendship'. 


No thanks dude...



I'm not particularly vicious (at first) but I will activate my inner raging bitch when provoked.  I had slowly fallen off the radar with Alan.  I was ignoring his texts and I was acting distant so I was hoping he'd eventually get the point.  One rainy Sunday, I was having the cramps from hell (sorry, not sorry).  I was in zero mood to do anything and I wanted to crawl in my bed and let the crimson wave crush me to death.  Alan had been harassing me to go on another (miserable) trip to Disneyland with him and to get  him off my back, I agreed (even though I knew I would just bail on him anyway).  So when bloody Sunday arrived, I had received text messages from Alan asking what time we were leaving.  I explained that it was raining so going to Disneyland was pointless (come on, who wants to ride a coaster with their butt all wet?).  I'm already suffering from cramps, it's raining and I don't want to hang with this dude anymore...

 
Two seconds after I sent my response, Alan called me up screaming in my ear.  He had entered full on rage mode and practically shouted through the phone at me.  Alan was pissed that I was bailing and he even 'bought' me an umbrella.   To make things even more possessive and downright crazy--he claimed that I didn't have a problem going with other people to Disneyland and yet I was bailing on him.  I mean- he wasn't wrong there--I much preferred Disneyland with others than him.  But then again--who cares?  Did you buy my annual pass?  Then feel free to fuck off.  And to top it all off--he called me a selfish bitch.  Remember when I said that I'm a raging bitch when provoked?  Here it comes...

 
With the help of PMS, I screamed right back.  I didn't give a flying fuck about his umbrella or his feelings.  I'm not obligated to go anywhere with him.  I'm allowed to stay home if I'm not feeling well.  Who was he to tell me what to do?  At the end of me shooting fire out of my mouth through the phone, I told him to not call or text me ever again.

 

Spoiler Alert: That wouldn't be the last time I would hear from Alan...




My friend Bradford and I decided to make a ritual to go every Thursday to Disneyland since that's when there were zero crowds and it was easy for our schedules.  Bradford is the fabulous drag queen in my life of whom I absolutely adore.  We enjoyed working together but on our off time, he became my permanent Disney partner.  Throughout the day we would attend shows, enjoy the parade, and ride rides.  And since him and I are active on social media, everyone knew of when we were at Disneyland so it should come to no surprise that Alan caught wind of it...


 

I received a phone call from Alan as Bradford and I were standing in line.  He told me he was on his way to Disneyland to find me...

 
What the actual fuck.


In all reality, I probably should have ignored the phone call--but then again I probably wouldn't have received such a warning if I didn't.  Alan didn't even have a car but told me he was on the bus. This psycho was on his to Disneyland.  But for what?  To go on a trek to find us in the park?  It takes over an hour by bus to get to Disneyland from where he lives.  And even if he did find us--then what?  I was too busy freaking out to answer those questions myself.  It was odd and it was the first time I felt the ping of anxiety.  I was beginning to think that Alan was unstable and unpredictable...

A position had recently opened up within another department.  It paid a little bit more than what I was currently making and it was office based.  I wouldn't have to deal with guests face to face either which made the position all that more appealing.  During that time, I was currently on my parent's phone plan and had begged for them to block Alan's number.  The text messages were relentless.  Some messages were long disturbing paragraphs.  They would occur throughout the day and I was left to feel angry and almost anxious.  The funny thing about cell phone providers is that they can only block a number for a limited amount of time until you have to continue to pay for such a feature.  I didn't have an IPhone which makes it so much easier to block a number, so I was at the mercy of my stupid android phone.  Once Alan was blocked, I felt relieved.






One day after my shift was over, I was sitting in my car unwinding after a stressful day.  I usually do this before hopping on the freeway for my drive home.  Do you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you?  It's as if something is tugging on you to look in a particular direction.  Alan had been watching me, and I'm not even sure how long.  By the time I glanced into my rearview mirror, my body froze.  How long had he been standing there watching me?   





And most importantly--how did he know where I was parked?


I drove home feeling absolutely nauseous.  I felt on edge.  Had he gotten to know my schedule even after I switched departments?  Was he following me?  This was taking a toll on me mentally and physicallyI started to have the sweats and the shakes for fucks sake.  I had previously blocked him for a limited time but once the 'cellular wall' had gone down, his messages would start to infiltrate my inbox.  Was he texting me everyday to see if I would respond?  I didn't know.  My phone was becoming the permanent dumpster of insane, lengthy and psychotic paragraphs from Alan.  I felt trapped and I just wanted it to stop. 


 When an opportunity for another job came up, I didn't hesitate.  I immediately put in my two weeks (which consisted of me calling out daily).  The new job I had taken was much further away but it was a fresh start for me.  I would be away from the very place I had been trying to get out of for the past two years and more importantly--I'd be away from Alan.  I had already blocked him on social media and had taken extra precautions on revealing my location when it came to checking in to places.  I had to be extra careful.  I know it sounds silly, but I had zero clue who Alan really was at this point.  He was showing his crazy colors.  Messages from Alan had stopped and I thought that maybe , just maybe it would finally be put to rest... 
 
My new job had taken a lot out of me.  My schedule consisted of waking up at 5:00am just to get on the freeway before 6:00am to avoid traffic.  I'd pull up to the parking lot nestled near the beach, throw on my makeup and clock in for my shift.  Once my shift was over at 4:30pm, I'd make the long drive home through heaps of traffic only to finally step into my house at 6:00pm.  I'd repeat this five days a week.  It was extremely difficult to maintain this schedule at first, but eventually I got the hang of it.  After a long week of work, I had taken the advantage of sleeping in one Saturday morning.  Waking up with disheveled hair and dry drool on my face, I wandered into the kitchen seeking coffee.  My mom who had been awake for several hours approached me while I was pouring a fresh cup;


"Your friend Alan stopped by when you were sleeping.."
My skin felt as if bugs were crawling on it.  At first I thought I may have been hallucinating (of which I would have preferred).  Unable to absorb what was happening, my brow lifted itself in confusion...

Was this a nightmare?  I must have been dreaming right?

Sadly, I wasn't.












"I told him you were sleeping.  He dropped off some stuff." 



My world was spinning.  My stomach felt like someone had taken it and squeezed it to death.  What the fuck was happening?  How had he remembered where I lived?  And then it hit me.  One evening, I had to stop by my house to get my jacket before we hung out.  And to make matters worse--I drove us!  I had unknowingly let a deranged wing-ding know where I lived.  He must of scribbled my address down or he had an incredible memory.  Either way, I was terrifiedHe had dropped off a notebook and an umbrella.  The notebook was filled with scribbles of things he wanted to do with me, trips he wanted to take me on, etc.  And the umbrella was from the Disney excursion I bailed on... 

 

I couldn't leave my house.  I refused.  My anxiety was off the charts.  He had stopped by unannounced after I had made it incredibly clear that I didn't want him near me.  And to make it extra weird with a dash of creepy, he had dropped off items that weren't even mine!  It was just an excuse to stop by my house in a last ditch effort to see me since I no longer worked where he worked.  

   
I do this thing where I immediately jump to insane hypotheticals.  I do it a lot and I end up going down this insane rabbit hole.  But once Alan had came to my house, I immediately hopped on the red-eye to my land of insane hypotheticals.  I mean--could you blame me?  What if he was waiting down the street?  What if he was waiting for the opportunity to take me against my will?  What if I was trying to get into my car and he snuck up behind me put a rag over my mouth rendering me unconscious?  I was only thinking this shit because this type of thing happens to people even in broad daylight.  I was extremely paranoid that I was going to be another victim of kidnapping.  I stayed home the entire day feeling trapped and nauseous.  I told my mom that Alan was not a friend and that if he ever stepped foot on our property again that she needed to call the police. 


I was a mix of emotions.  I was anxious, nervous, and nauseous.  But above all else, I was absolutely furious.  I've told this person repeatedly to leave me alone and he continued to harass me.  He would call me to see if I picked up.  He would text me short sentences or long deranged paragraphs.  And now--he had come to my house--uninvited.  I decided to make things evidently clear as a form of documentation...


One of the few valuable tools that I learned from my mother is the tool of documentation.  Whether it's for personal or professional purposes, documenting secures a time-stamp and evidence of events.  Over the course of two years, I had compiled a series of text messages and dated events.  If I had enough information documented, I would have more proof to provide authorities if necessary.  All in all--I just wanted it to stop. 


I needed to have a final, lengthy and rather serious written message that could potentially be used as documentation.  I told him to stay away from me and my home.  I emphasized that he was not welcome on my property.  He had come uninvited and proceeded to engage in conversation with one of my family members.  His behavior was unwelcome, unwanted and inappropriate.


A few months had passed by without word from Alan.  My anxiety was still there from time to time but was more manageable.  To clear my head after a long day at work and the overwhelming stressful shit that was happening at my house, I would go jogging.  Jogging allowed me to release all this pressure that had been mounting.  My phone has the majority of my music on it and so I would bring it with me.  As I began to run on my way back to my house, I received a message.  Alan had began to text me once more.  I responded telling him to leave me alone and that I wasn't going to tell him to do so again.



Alan was going to be this parasitic tick that would continue to feast on my anxiety and fear. 


With all the information I had in regards to his behavior, there was nothing I could do.  Law enforcement told me that I was unable to proceed with a restraining order seeing as though he had yet to 'threaten' my life.  I felt incredibly alone.  There was nothing I could do.  I would have to continue to play this mind-fuck of a game with Alan until he threatened my life?  It all seemed like a ticking time bomb.  I thought this shit was never going to end.  Alan was going to keep harassing me and stalking me until it was too late.

Exactly two years later from the time I had met Alan, I received another creepy 'Hello Megan' message on my phone. I hesitated on my usual fuck off response. I decided to approach this situation differently.  I pretended that I was someone else.  I told him that he had the wrong number.  And he believed me.  Anyone with a brain would know to call my phone and listen to my voicemail but since he lacked intelligence, he believed what I said.  He believed that he had the wrong number and he no longer had access to communicate with Megan anymore.  I outsmarted him.  I had put a stop to it.  I only wish I could have done it sooner...

 
For the past two years, Alan had stalked me at work and when I no longer worked there, he would harass me on the phone through social media, voicemails and text messages.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  It was finally over.  At first I was hesitant and I waited for his usual response to cross my screen once more--but it's been two whole years since I've heard from him. 









My situation was mild and it could have been much, much worse.  There are many people out there who are not as fortunate.  Some have been stalked and harassed for years often ending in tragedy.  I got curious once more and I turned to Twitter to create a poll.  Was I alone in this?  Was there more victims out there that have dealt with stalkers in their life?





80% said Yes80% have been stalked and harassed by someone. 
That. is. fucking. crazy.


  What happened to me has left a stain.  I'm very attentive when I am out in public and I'm cautious when it comes to meeting new people.  I hate that what I went through has done this to me but it's a valuable lesson that I've learned.  The world isn't a safe place.  It's filled with wing-ding Alan's who don't know when to leave you the fuck alone. 






 Be careful who you become vulnerable with.  Be careful who you let into your life. 





*Names have been changed*









xx
Meg






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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Is Sexual Harassment STILL a Thing?

I used to watch a lot of Lifetime movies.  Their storylines were average and the acting was piss poor but I couldn't help it.  When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time watching those films with my mother.  Since I already struggled so much when it came to bonding with her, I jumped at the opportunity whenever she was parked on the couch watching those cliche films.  (Read all about my relationship with her, here.)  Each film had some kind of moral woven into it combined with a 'this could happen to you' storyline.  Those Lifetime plots were either about the estranged ex-girlfriend, the guy who stalked you that you shouldn't have befriended or sexual harassment from the football team.

My mother had taken these films almost too seriously.  She would always put an emphasis on whatever crazy scenario was being shown on screen; 'see?  that's why you have to be careful who you date and who you associate yourself with'.  I'd sit there baffled, confused and almost annoyed.  As if I'd be that dumb to get wound up in these kinds of situations.  It just didn't seem possible in my eyes.  Wouldn't I see that shit coming and know to shut that shit down with the quickness?  So I'd blow it off and reassure the same thing, over and over again; 

"I would never let that happen to me.  I'm not stupid."



When I joined the Girl Scouts (against my free will) I made one friend who would always let me sit next to her during snack time.  She made time within the Girl Scouts bearable (for the most part).  As a raging tomboy--I wanted to play freeze tag instead of playing with makeup.  I was immediately thought of as a weirdo by the other girls which resulted in me being an outcast, so when Deb* invited me into her tiny circle, I was thankful.  Although I had literally one dependable friend in the cookie-peddlers-from-hell troop, I was relieved when it came time to quit.  When it came time to start high school, my mom thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea if I hitched a ride to and from school with Deb's mom since they lived just around the corner from us. 

Sometimes I'd hang out with Deb outside of school.  We'd do the usual.  And by usual, watch stupid YouTube clips, play video games or watch a movie.  We did normal teenager things since neither one of us had any money to do much else.  Her brother Chris* would sometimes tag along which I found to be quite odd seeing as though he was older and about to graduate high school.  He had been quite nice to me and her friends although you could tell he enjoyed picking on Deb from time to time.  I didn't think much else of Chris since he was either forced to help out with Girl Scout crap or rode with us on the way to school.  He was just there like some light fixture or dust in a forgotten corner...

One afternoon during the weekend, I was hanging out with Deb in her room.  We had found some pretty hilarious cartoon clips that we couldn't stop giggling over.  During our bursts of laughter, Chris came into the room just to see why we were being so loud.  As I was sitting on the bed, Deb decided to go into the kitchen to grab a soda.  As I stared at the screen watching this comic, Chris put his hand on my leg.  Unaware of what was happening at first, I sat there as he stood awkwardly close to me with his puffy sausage hand on my leg.  When she came back, Chris yanked his hand away.


I know what you must be thinking right now;


"Yo Meg, why the fuck didn't you bite this guy's hand off?  Why didn't you call out for Deb?  Why didn't you tell Chris that he's a creepy, disgusting pervert?  Why Meg? Why?"


I'll tell you why--I was in a state of shock.  The second he placed his hand on my leg, I felt that my whole body was just frozen in time.  I just sat there not knowing what to do even though those stupid Lifetime films had taught me otherwise.  I felt like I could see everything happening right before me, but I was too paralyzed to stop it.  And it's weird because I kept wondering why I didn't do anything.  I knew this was wrong and besides, it was just downright creepyChris had crossed a line.  He was attempting something (I'm  not sure what) and it sent a pretty clear message.



I was young, afraid, confused and unaware that because I didn't say something at the time (frozen or not)--I was going to pay for it later...

Puberty was in full swing for me in my junior year which (I believed) landed me one of my first short-term relationships.  I had met Tom* through Deb.  Tom was a geeky nerd and all around nice guy.  He had accepted my tomboy nature and (for some odd reason beyond scientific explanations) thought I was smoking hot.  Some weekends when we were all available, our giant nerdy band of friends would gather at Tom's house and play endless hours of Super Smash Brothers.  And since Deb was there--guess who tagged along?  Yep--Chris.

It felt awkward having Chris around.  I was already catching a ride with Deb on the way to school.  And now he was associating himself in our little gatherings.  I would always make it a point to sit near Tom on the other side of the room.  I felt safer that way.  As long as I was with other people while Chris was nearby then everything would be fine.  I could just swipe shit under the rug like I always did and I would forget that he put his hand on me.

The neighborhood that I grew up in was pleasant for the most part.  Down the street from my home was the park and built right next to it was my elementary school.  The country club was nestled just up the hill which was packed with elegant homes of the yester year.  From an outside observer, my neighborhood appears to be a 'whole-some, white-picket fence' community.  Just on the opposite side of the park was Tom's house.  Walking distance it takes about 10 to 15 minutes tops to get from Tom's house to mine.  So, when it came time for me to go home because of curfew--I assumed Tom who was a college freshman at the time would drive me home in his shiny Volvo.  Chris objected to the idea saying that because I lived so close to him that he would drive me home. 

Have you ever tried to communicate to someone using your eyes but they miss your non-verbal and subtle hints that you end up internally screaming?  Yep.  That was me.  I was standing there with this odd look in my eyes that read; 'please drive me home, please get off your ass and drive me home for the love of god.'  Chris had offered to take me home.  Tom missed my communication.  And now I had to climb into Chris' mustang only to have the longest ride home in my life.

As a teenager, I hated having a curfew to begin with.  I wanted to be able to hang out with the rest of my friends who didn't really have an early curfew like I did.  I could have grabbed a ride home with my mom.  She was one call away.   But I didn't want to be that girl who had to have her parents come and pick her up.  And to be honest, I was hoping Tom would offer to take me home and decline Chris' offer.  But Tom didn't know what was happening and what I was going through.  He was just as blind to it as everyone else.  He was too trusting just like I was before all this bullshit came to be... 

I fucked up.  I climbed into the car with this slime ball.  As I sat there, I stared out the dirty window locking eyes with Tom's house.  I felt so trapped in that dirty red mustang that wreaked of stinky feet.  I began shaking with anxiety.  I was plagued with fear.  This wolf had cleverly disguised himself as an innocent sheep.  I was his target.  And he succeeded in getting us alone.  I couldn't make eye-contact-in fact-I refused.  As we approached our first stop light, Chris began to rub my left shoulder with his right hand.  It was happening all over again.  I could hear myself screaming inside hoping that this light would hurry up and turn green.  But he continued, he began to rub both of my shoulders.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I felt violated



Have you ever been thrown into a situation and you didn't know how you got there?  Or maybe you knew how you got there but you just didn't know how to get out of it?  It's as if you're having this out of body experience.  You can see everything around you, you anticipate what's about to happen, you know that you desperately want out, but you fall short?  You choke.  You freeze...


I have this knack of overanalyzing shit until it's dead and buried.  There have been countless times where I tried to figure out how I got myself into this mess.  Why was I there just letting some creep massage my shoulders?  How the fuck he was able to start touching me feeling like he was allowed to do so in the first place?  Why did he think it was okay to just invade my space?  Why wasn't I fighting back?  I always told myself that I would never end up in this kind of situation.  I had become that stupid Lifetime girl who wound up in a situation that she herself had seen coming but didn't avoid it better...


Every light was turning red, and Chris had taken every stop as this 'opportunity' to repeat the same shit he had been doing since the start of that miserable car ride from hell.  I was screaming on the inside.  I just wanted his sexual advances to stop...

When the car pulled up to my house, I didn't wait for the car to come to a complete stop.  I threw the door open and ran for my front door.  I couldn't wait to get inside my house.  Racing into my room, I closed the door.  I broke down and cried.


Days later, I came clean to Deb.  She had invited me to another session of video games and chill.  I asked who else was going and when Chris' name came up, I immediately declined.  There were more invitations to other social gatherings but Chris' name would always appear and I declined every-fucking-time.  I wasn't going to put myself into another miserable situation.  I mean--what if he didn't turn the car down my street?  What if he parked it somewhere else and took things to another level?  These kind of gestures start out small as a pre-game to the real deal.  I have all these what if's circling my brain like a hula-hoop on steroids.  What I endured was minor to what could have been.  But who's to say that it couldn't have been a possibility.  His hand resting on my shoulders, massaging me as I screamed inside wanting to burst into flames in his car.  I was done.  I wasn't going to give Chris the opportunity to touch me ever again...

Deb had become upset and bothered by my lack of appearance.  I had practically cut all ties with everyone and since Tom and I broke up anyway--it made my disappearance that much easier.  I realized that she had to know what was going on.  I decided to rip this shit off like a Band-Aid.  In a sudden moment of courage over our online chat, I came clean.  I told her what Chris had been doing to me.  And it felt incredible.  It felt so good to bring that slimy shit to the surface.  But her response was far slimier.  In fact--it was like a giant slap to the face... 

She called me a liar...




 This wasn't the response that I was hoping to receive.  I thought I'd receive an apology, but I was dead wrong.  Deb--someone who I thought was my friend--called me a liar.  She accused me of lying just like Tiffany* did.  Tiffany who had also been a close friend of her had made claims as well so naturally she thought I was just another Tiffany.  But then I realized something--what if Tiffany wasn't lying?  She was judged for being promiscuous but was she lying about Chris?  What if she had been telling the truth? I suppose I'll never know but for some odd reason--I can't help but think that maybe she too had been sexually harassed...

The whole thing made my brain melt.  It left a pit in my soul.  It bothered me to my core.  Nothing was going to get resolved.  Chris would never be punished for what he did.  He would never be reprimanded for his actions.  He would continue to walk around thinking it was okay to violate someone else's space.  And his sister would defend him till the end of time by taking the side of a snake.



Do you know what makes shit even more awkward?  I still had to catch a ride with her on the way to school.  Pretending that nothing happened was infuriating.  I bit my tongue just so I could catch a ride with her to school.  The thing about Deb is that she has two volumes; loud and louder.  Everyone would sit in the car as she'd talk all our ears off on the way to school.  Normally I would tolerate her obnoxious conversations about pointless shit, but I had enough at this point.  To be honest, I wanted to choke the life out of her.  I'd sit there in complete silence as I ignored everything that she was saying.  She was nothing and no one to me.










































As I sit here recalling the first time my boundaries were violated, I have to remember that I was just a child.  I was innocent and unaware.  It was perfectly normal to enter a state of shock the way I did.  Those memories still give me the chills.  I can't even tell you how it feels to be at a loss of words when you're faced with that situation for the first time especially when you trusted that individual.  Especially when you can't predict it.  Especially when you thought that you'd never see yourself being faced with that type of situation...  




Over the years, I've encountered similar situations in the work place.  I've received it from men who were married and who were my superiors.   The majority of it had been verbal which is equally as creepy and violating.  Looking back on these moments, the amount of instances that I've endured sexual harassment were a combination of verbal and non-verbal actions.

A few days ago, I decided to try a little experiment.  On my Twitter feed, I posted a poll.  I asked if anyone had been sexually harassed before and the results made my heart hurt...



I've also been contacted by two other's who have mentioned of their run in with sexual harassment.  That mean's that 69% voted yes.  Holy. Shit.

Is Sexual Harassment STILL a Thing? Yes.  Yes it is.  And it's sad to think that those responses are the way they are.  I keep looking at those totals trying to shake the reality.  But in all honesty--this subject will always be that dark, looming cloud that we have to learn to fight off and be aware of...


This topic wasn't easy to write about.  I struggled with it.  But I brought those painful memories to the surface despite how upset they made me feel.  And I realized that if I didn't write about it--how would all the young, innocently unaware Meg's of the world know about the gruesome reality of being sexually harassed?  The reality is that someone will always test your boundaries.  The reality is someone out there will always seek an opportunity to touch you because they feel as if they can...




And the reality is if it does happen to you--you need to tell that person to keep their hands to their fucking selves...










xx


Meg
 

*Names have been changed*






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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Do I Have the Ugly Duckling Syndrome?

If there's one thing in particular that I'm very horrible at is accepting a compliment.  When I am confronted with a positive anecdote on my looks or anything else positively redeeming about myself--I immediately enter this long pause.  I don't take it and run with it.  I don't absorb it.  I become insanely awkward.

A few days ago, I had left the house in a disheveled state to run a few errands.  Who was I going to impress anyway?  I visited Target to grab a few things (and to eyeball their Halloween section).  Once I was done grabbing what I needed, I approached the cashier with my items for purchase.  As she began to ring my items up, she stopped, stared at me square in the face and said...


"I love your makeup.  Just know--I'm going to replicate it when I get home."


I did probably the worst/most awkward thing I could have done in that moment--I began to babble how warm tones complimented my skin and that she should go for the gold...


I told this girl to 'go for the gold.'


Realizing that I had transformed a nice conversation into an anxiety induced situation from hell, I kept my head down as I tried to quicken the transaction.  It was so incredibly awkward and strange as I hurried out of Target.  I had never walked so fast to my car in my life.  It was as if someone turned on a giant spotlight and decided to follow me with it.  And not to mention--it felt as if everyone was watching me as I left.  I sat in my car as the situation seemed to repeat itself over and over again.  Go for the Gold?  Really?  What the hell does that even mean?  Why couldn't I just have accepted the compliment like a normal person?  Why did I have to make it go from normal to awkward in 3.5 seconds?  Well--I'll tell you why...



I Have the Ugly Duckling Syndrome.
 

There is a children's book that many are familiar with which is titled; the Ugly Duckling.  The story as told by Hans Christian Anderson recalls of a small ugly duckling, whom much to everyone's surprise, transforms into a beautiful swan which is the most beautiful bird of them all.  The Ugly Duckling is supposed to be a humbling story about personal transformation...


I have the same issue.


If you're a film junkie like myself, you may be familiar with the movie; Shallow Hal.  There is a scene in this film where they explain this particular syndrome.  And it has never resonated with me so hard...


"Ugly Duckling Syndrome, she probably didn't get pretty until high school, thus the personality had to develop out of necessity… sometimes they're ugly so long, when they finally turn pretty, they don't even realize it! The ugly self-image is so well engraved, that's a real find!" --Shallow Hal (2001)


I know this quote seems a little fucked up, but I found it to be extremely honest.  It made so much sense.  I didn't truly develop into my 'looks' till later in life.  I wasn't exactly noticed till much later on.  And I doubt myself a lot because I'm still stuck in my youth where acne, baby-fat, messy hair and braces made up my overall appearance.  I was this nerdy tomboy walking around that developed a personality out of necessity.  I know that sounds fucked up--but again-- it's true.


Here's something that'll make your brain hurt--I can't accept a compliment even if I tried.  In fact--sometimes--I'd prefer that I didn't receive any compliment whatsoever because of the awkward, anxious shit that follows.  It's as if I'm up at bat and the pitcher throws an insane curveball that's on fire.  But sadly I can't evade a compliment like it's the plague.  I reply with a thank you and then I start having a Beautiful Mind moment in my head where I'm scribbling jibberrish in an attempt to rationalize that this compliment isn't really a compliment towards me.  This person has got to be lying right?  And if anything this person probably isn't wearing their contacts today.  I probably look like shit right now, fuck...



x+y=I never should have left the fucking house/stop staring at me+please make this moment stop.







The one thing that terrifies me even more than receiving a compliment is when I walk into a room and everyone is staring at me.  Immediately reverting back to my youth of horrible snickering and mediocre taunts, I automatically think that all this staring is negative.  Then this snowball effect begins to take place.  I start to think of all the horrible scenarios that could explain why everyone is looking at me... 

Do I have something on my pants? 
Does my hair look like shit? 
Oh fuck--is my shirt inside out again? 





I've never once walked into a room, and had this notion that I was the hottest woman in the room.  To be honest--I keep my eyes glued to the floor at all times until I'm out of the room.  And maybe that could partially explain why I have such a resting bitch face all the time.  I'm keeping that guard up that I've had up for so long.  Nobody is getting passed this pissed off exterior.




If you have to know one embarrassing yet truthful fact about me--I didn't receive boobs until I was a sophomore in high school.  I always referred to my equipment as a 'late shipment'.  It's on its way but it's delayed due to weather and traffic.  So, in middle school when it came time to get dressed into my clothes for Physical Education, my locker neighbors with breasts the size of watermelons wondered why I was going to play flag football braless.  Feeling embarrassed and almost upset with myself, I had to deal with the fact that I wasn't like my female peers.  What I lacked in features that were labeled as 'beautiful' or 'gorgeous', I made up for in athletics, academics, and humor.  I joined the swim team and cycling club.  I pursued my passion for writing.  I made friends where I could that enjoyed my interests.  And although I wasn't like many of my female peers, I knew that I wanted to one day have those features that made them beautiful or desirable.  I always questioned if I would ever get there.  They were blossoming into women and I was just this awkward mesh of two genders.  Fast forward (years later) I got the most womanly figure imaginable.  I'm equipped with curves, long hair, and much to my surprise--clear skin (sometimes).  I've gotten noticed more now than I ever have. 










As I sit here thinking of all the things that my younger self dreamed of having--boobs the size of watermelons, curves, long hair, clear skin--I've realized that those physical attributes don't last forever.  Boobs eventually becoming saggy and hair eventually gets damaged and falls out.  And honestly--nobody ever really has clear skin anyway.  My personality makes all my physical attributes pale in comparison.   






Beauty isn't just an exterior feature.  And maybe--just maybe--I've been this majestic swan this entire time...








xx


Meg






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