Yesterday was one of the hardest days I have had in a very long time. I didn’t feel like I could write about it but I am starting to see that I probably won’t feel better until I do.
Fending off unwanted advances from men is never fun. Fending off unwanted advances by men you consider to be friends is heartbreaking.
I cried for hours yesterday, feeling betrayed and violated and worthless, like the friendship I had to offer was so easy to discard at a chance to try for some easy ass.
I experienced an assault in college that I rarely write or talk about. It isn’t because I am embarrassed or damaged. It is just that it has been done. I got through it. I survived. I came out the other side a stronger and more resilient woman.
I wrote a piece about it that I performed in Los Angeles. When the show was over so was my need to explore this part of my life for my art. I didn’t want to become a Lifetime movie of the week. (And to be fair that was the way but I felt, not a judgement against people who continue to share their stories throughout their lives. It was my feeling not a universal truth.)
I believe that trauma is something we live through not something that defines us. I am a strong woman not just because of one incident but because of a lifetime of experiences and a choice to work on myself. It didn’t define me. No one person or one situation cements who we are. We get to grow and change. That is why life is worth living.
Still from this experience and so many others I am very sensitive to my personal boundaries. It is my right. Unfortunately over the years I have repeatedly found myself in compromising situations that make that scared little voice inside of me ask, “What is wrong with me? Why does this keep happening to me?”
I let myself be my truest most authentic self with my friends and those I love and time after time that gift has been violated. I don’t mean for it to sound as severe as all that but there is a reason why I am guarded with who I let be my friend because on a night when two people are sitting across a dinner table from each other, in no way exchanging any sort of sexual signal, there is a guy who takes this as an opportunity to make a move.
Married men, bosses, colleagues and men in positions of power who in ordinary circumstances could be deemed good men, catch me off guard and try, sometimes demanding, I give them a part of myself that they don’t deserve. It is the most horrible feeling in the entire world. Did you care so little about me that you were willing to treat me like your own personal sexual vending machine? Why would you put me in a position where I have to tell you no and explain to you very inappropriate that is? And the worst part of all is that when the night is over so is our friendship, at least as it was, because never again will I let myself be vulnerable around someone I don’t trust and the moves that these men have seemed to think were innocent enough destroy all trust.
“Is it me?” I cried on my cottage steps to my good friend who happens to be a man and happens to be married and who, if this kind stuff keeps happening would fall into the category of fantastic people I can’t be friends with because I am so scared that on a moment when I am not paying attention, they will try to stick their tongues down my throat. Sometimes I fear I bring this on myself but as quickly as I think that, I get irate. A girl who wears a pretty dress and smiles and laughs doesn’t deserved to be raped just because she is friendly. “What do I do, hide and be stand offish and never let myself care about people because they might think it gives them an “in” to my pants?” I deeply resent when people say that being effusive and loving life means I am flirting. You want me to be a bitch who is cold and doesn’t talk to anyone. Fine we can arrange that.
I feel like I am being punished for something that I didn’t even do. Hoovering a plate of food is not me saying, “Come on sailor.” It is not a complement and if it was a one time instance I suppose I could find away to write it off stupid drunken behavior, someone taking the frivolity a step too far, but this shit has happened my entire life.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I have great men in my life who bring me cupcakes and let me cry, I would probably believe all men are dirt bags. But I don’t. And I am not even angry at the friend who demanded I give it up and tried to guilt me when I said no. I am just disgusted at the situation and for today, I am disgusted at life. It is raining outside. More like a torrential downpour and for now that is how I feel. But it is okay. Soon there will be sun.