Daily Archives: October 18, 2016

Sexual Assault, Fault, and What Really Happened That Night

What I’m about to say is something I’ve never told anyone: not my husband, not my best friend, not even my therapist.  I guess a cyberworld of people I don’t know feels safer.  With that said, careful on comments for this post?  Please?  Everyone makes mistakes, and if I’m wrong feel free to tell me, but be nice about it.  I need some nice regarding this topic.

Also, to put it out there up front, I have no jokes in this post.  Sorry…I know most of my posts include at least thin attempts at humor, but I have no jokes in my locker about sexual assault.  I hope none of you do either.

Speaking of lockers…let’s discuss some now internationally known “locker room talk,” shall we?  Our potential (PLEASE NO) next president, Donald Trump, had some truly awful things to say about how he has treated women in the past.  I was so angry when I saw those words that I was concerned I would literally throw up.  I’m not going to repeat them here.  If you’re living under a rock in America or in a country that doesn’t follow American politics (lucky you), then feel free to look it up if you don’t believe me.  It was bad.

One thing that surprised me out of this whole controversy was the accusation that Trump was condoning sexual assault.  “He’s absolute scum,” I thought to myself.  “He’s lower than the algae that feeds on scum, but those actions are not actually assault.”  Assault, I believed, was violent.  It was creepers hiding behind trees and bushes and jumping out of nowhere.  It was rape or at least something really close.  They’re practically the same thing, right?  Everyone always talks about “rape and sexual assault” like “salt and pepper” or “milk and cookies.”  They’re in the same class.  If you weren’t physically injured, if you weren’t bruised and trying to physically fight off an attacker, then you weren’t sexually assaulted.  That’s what I thought, anyway.

I think I was wrong.

After a bit of research (and not just on sites written by women super pissed off at Trump, though there are many of those), I discovered that the definition of sexual assault is a lot broader than I thought.  Also, in studying some of the psychological effects of sexual assault and what falls under that umbrella, I think that term might apply to me.  I’m very hesitant to even consider claiming that term in my case, because I don’t want to cheapen the traumatic experiences of women who were exposed to truly horrific violent crimes.  Mine was not violent.  I didn’t have any broken bones or have to go to the hospital.  I didn’t tell anyone about it (as I said, not even my closest confidantes).  It’s not that I didn’t care about the experience…it’s that I was afraid I was wrong about it.

Let’s call him Z, shall we?  Z and I were on a trip to study the education system in South Korea.  We were with some other American teachers.  We had a lot of meetings, school visits, etc over a two week period.  We became good friends rather quickly, and we started being kind of flirty.  I was worried he might be reading too much into our joking around, so I said, “Hey, I want to make this clear…I’m like, really really married.  I love my husband.  I’m not going to do anything physical with you.”  He acted all defensive: “Obviously.  Geez.  I have a fiancée back home; what kind of guy do you think I am?”  He made me feel guilty for questioning his character.

A day or two later, he was still being flirty.  It seemed like he really liked me, so I told him, “For real – if you try to kiss me or anything, I’m going to be super mad.  Promise me you won’t make a move or try anything.”  He acted annoyed again that I was questioning him, but he promised.  Also, to clarify: there was nothing (NOTHING) flirty when I said those things.  I was dead serious, which is why he got all defensive and annoyed.  Just to be on the safe side, I made sure we were never alone together.  I didn’t want to give him an opportunity.

Unfortunately, we were put in a group to work on a presentation for some Korean teachers.  We had to work together.  He wanted to work in one of our hotel rooms (HA! No), but I insisted that we work in the hotel lobby.  Public place = no opportunities.

Would you believe that there was almost no one in the hotel lobby that night?  Seriously – maybe one person would walk by every ten minutes.  I would have insisted we go to a coffee shop or something, but we were in a foreign country and there were none I could see from the hotel road (I looked).  I didn’t know how to ask for one in a taxi.  Hotel lobby it was.

I had the laptop on my lap.  He was in the chair next to me and looking over my shoulder.  At one point, after making some joke, he reached over and grabbed my chest.

“Hey!” I said. “I said no!  Seriously, don’t do that.”  He said fine and put his hands up defensively, but laughed it off like it was no big deal.  I wasn’t laughing.  I was freaking out.  I thought, “Oh my word, what just happened?  Can I tell my husband about this?  He would be so mad. I didn’t want that to happen, but I can’t undo it now.  What if he tries again?”  Then, seeing Z’s joking demeanor, I felt guilty and thought, “Maybe I’m making too big a deal out of this.”  I turned back to my laptop.

A few minutes later we were talking about something else.  He put his arm around me and then dropped it low, resting it on my ass.  “Cut it out,” I said, getting annoyed.  “Don’t touch me there either.  I’m not joking.  Stop it.”

“You look so good in that dress,” he told me.  “It’s tough not to.”  So then I figured that really this was all my fault, because if I was wearing sweats and heavy sweaters (a little rough in the summer, but whatever), then this wouldn’t have happened.  You can bet that for the rest of the trip I wore my baggiest clothes and scarves every day.  I didn’t want to be the cause of him “not being able to help himself.”

After he grabbed my ass, he tried kissing my neck.  I pushed him away.  I said things were getting too weird and I didn’t want to hang out with him anymore.  He said I was being a naiive, innocent, “doe-eyed little girl,” and that I needed to stop freaking out about nothing.  I wondered if he was right, but I knew I wasn’t comfortable.

And the other thing is, this guy was my friend.  He was a close friend (as much as one can be friends in only a couple of weeks).  I didn’t want to make him mad.  I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  I really liked him, and I didn’t want to make things super weird between us for the rest of the trip by making a huge deal out of nothing.  As long as I had the self-control to keep saying no to his advances (which I did), then we should be fine.  Maybe.  I was getting a little worried at this point, but I wasn’t sure what to do.  I’d never hung out with a guy who wouldn’t accept “no.”

I decided to go upstairs, and he rode the elevator with me.  In the elevator, he took me by the shoulders and pushed me up against the side of the elevator.  He tried to kiss me.  I pushed him off and said, “I said no!  I said no a million times!”  He said, “Really?  Are you sure?  I wanted to give a chance for something to happen if it was meant to happen.”

It wasn’t meant to happen.

He walked me to my room.  I was a little nervous he might try to come in even though I said no.  At my door, he said, “Last chance – are you sure?”  Yes, I was.  Good night.

Then I took the first Xanax I had taken in months, because I was so confused and scared about what just  happened, but I felt so stupid about being upset.  After all, he never kissed me on the mouth.  He didn’t try to forcibly have sex with me.  We just joked around and had fun, but in the process he did some things I told him not to.  Repeatedly.  But that’s not assault, right?

Now I’m not so sure.

I immediately changed the way I started dressing.  As I said, the rest of the trip I started wearing the baggiest clothes I packed.  Even when I got home, I started really freaking out if my shirts or pants were too tight (and I know you don’t know me, dear reader, but I really don’t wear clothes that are that tight in the first place.  I just don’t).  I’ve bought a lot more sweatpants and hoodies.  I only wear “cute” clothes when I’m around my girlfriends and we won’t be with guys.  I told my husband that it was weird how women pay a lot of money to get fake boobs, and now I spend half my time trying to make sure they’re covered so no one will notice them.

Also, since I’m over here disclosing all my secrets, sex with my husband was sporadically weird for months after that.  I would be randomly very afraid.  We would start kissing, and I would say, “Wait.  Ummm…If I don’t want to have sex with you right now, that’s okay, right?  Like, you’re not going to make me or anything?”  And he would look really surprised and hurt and say, “I’ve never asked you to do anything you don’t want to do…why would you even think that?”  Which, he’s right.  I couldn’t figure out why I felt nervous.  And I can honest to goodness say that I never connected that irrational fear with that event in Korea until I started thinking about this whole assault issue.

The one person that knows part of the story, and not even the worst parts, was completely shocked and said, “Wow, you must have been sending him some seriously mixed signals.”  Then I once again was certain that this was my fault.  I had been flirty with the guy earlier in the day.  Sure I had told him no, multiple times, in a completely serious tone, but maybe earlier flirtation overrides a present “no”?   I probably shouldn’t have talked to him at all.    I worried that telling the full story to anyone would cause them to say, “Well, if he felt comfortable making a move like that, you must have done something to make him think you wanted it.”  Except I didn’t.  I can promise until I’m blue in the face that I didn’t want it and that it upset me immediately, but I’m afraid no one would believe me.

I do think that flirting with him was a bad idea.  Flirting with anyone not-your-spouse is a bad idea.  I own that.  Also, I should have cut contact as much as possible on a trip where you’re with the same people 24/7, but I don’t think that excuses him doing directly what I asked him not to.  It wasn’t okay.  It made me feel like a complete sluttress, because I must have been sending some “seriously mixed signals,” and my dress must have been too tight, and really I should have kicked him in the balls in that elevator.  I was angry, and the next day I told him so in no uncertain terms, but he once again minimized it and said I was being a total drama queen.  No one wants to be a drama queen.  Also, I didn’t have anyone to tell, so I couldn’t find out if it was okay for me to be upset.  I ended up believing him because he seemed very, very certain that he was right.

I’m still unsure if I can call that assault, but what I call it doesn’t matter.  Again, it wasn’t violent.  It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  But you know what?  It was bad.  I didn’t like it.  I was uncomfortable, I made sure he knew it, and he didn’t stop.  If I can’t call it assault, I can at least say that it’s okay that I was(am) angry about it.  I wasn’t overreacting. All of the “we hate Trump for those comments” blogs and news stories have made that clear to me.

So thanks, Mr. Trump.  Your imbecilic behavior has helped me see some of my experiences in a new light.  It has validated a fear that I’ve wondered about for months, and it has made my vote for the 2016 election crystal clear.


I Guess I’ll Just Admit It

I seem to be in a depressive state.  I’m sleeping a lot and not being very productive the time that I’m awake. I did find out something amazing this week–I googled myself and saw where the W has put up how often  the MFA students are publishing and I was the most published in the past year –right up there with the very successful playwright in Chicago who is always reporting new successes.  So I suppose I need to stop griping about being rejected.  But I do need some new news in that department soon–I’ve got some high hopes out there but will have to just wait and see.

I don’t feel depressed and I certainly don’t have anything to really be depressed about. Maybe I’m starting a new pattern of drooping in the fall.  It would certainly fit in with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  But we will see.

I’m going to talk to the LifeGroup Pastor at church this afternoon exploring more the idea of having a LifeGroup  for people with mood disorders.  I think we need to limit to that since that is all that I have experience with. But I’m sincerely hoping that this can come to pass so that I really will be using my condition to bring people to GOd and to minister to them the way I’d like to be ministered to.   So that is another”we will see” proposition.

 

 


Facebook Junkie

Genesis Sunday, May 11 2008 at 10:47 p.m. is the exact date and time that I first logged in to Facebook and created an account. I didn’t have much interest in Facebook and I thought Twitter was ludicrous. I have no idea why I chose to join both of them. Let’s just leave it that I had a bout of…

The post Facebook Junkie appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

The Ghost Town

jeromeWed:

Yesterday I was proud of myself. Instead of just sitting at home, I went to my bipolar group and found some support. We had a nice crowd of people and it was a really good discussion. I didn’t drive but that was okay. I still feel sort of fragile.

I went with my daughter yesterday and saw Girl on the Train. I had read the book and so had my daughter. I thought it was a pretty good movie, but I thought it was sort of geared to women. I think my husband would have rolled his eyes.

I did well at not feeling paranoid during the movie. I didn’t have this feeling of dread that something bad was happening out in the world, while I was “locked” in a movie. A strange feeling and I assume means something is off with my meds.

I have a new job around the house. Cleaning the litter boxes! (We have two.) No one else wanted this job, so I volunteered. Frankly, I think it beats washing dishes.

Today we have to drop my daughter’s car off for some recall repairs. We thought we might have breakfast out. That’s it for me until yoga at 2. I sure hope I feel like going and can drag myself there. I saw myself in a store window the other day and noticed how slumped I looked. Yoga really does help with my posture.

And yes it’s early. Only 5:00. I hate this early morning wakening.

Thurs:

Well, my husband has some sort of cold thing, so we are sort of stuck in the house for the day. I was supposed to get weighed in at the diet doctor’s, but it is quite a bit away and of course, I don’t drive on the freeway. We also had some plans to go out for breakfast and go visit a friend of mine at her work…a department store. So now I guess my day will be not much…maybe going to yoga.

At least all of the cars are repaired and back. We juggle five cars around here and somebody’s always needs a repair, an oil change, or a recall notice fixed. Danny’s car is a 95!…it was my mother’s….so that poor thing always needs a repair. But we have a good cheap repair guy and he keeps it going. It’s a lot cheaper than a new car at this point.

Danny has been pretty polite and decently friendly since our visit to the therapist. He goes again on October 27th to see her alone. I see her alone tomorrow. I wonder if seeing an outside person sort of gave Danny a jolt of reality…in that I am not a bad mother to have. I CERTAINLY have my flaws but I do an awful lot for Danny and so does his dad.

I feel better today emotionally, but still have a sore back. I think yoga and walking would help this. I’m still just beyond lazy and seriously hopeless about exercise. It’s sad.

Fri:

So I got up at four and already decided I wanted to waste the day. I have furiously trying to think of how I can get out of a couple of appointments.

My back is still awfully sore and my husband suggested the doctor. But in the past, they offer Vicodin and an expensive MRI and then the thing usually resolves itself. So I am determined to wait it out for a while. I can’t imagine taking Vicodin or some pain pill with my current psych meds.

We are supposed to go on a little day trip tomorrow. It will be everyone but Danny as he is likely working. Good news: he got TWO shifts this week. It had been so slow at the theater they are all getting just a couple and the new people were getting one. But I imagine some have quit…and the bigger new movies are coming out. It would be ideal if he’d work 3-4 shifts per week. That would give him plenty of cash and still some free time.

I am supposed to see my therapist today. I’m going to see if we can do a phone appointment. She’s usually pretty good about that.

My daughter and I have gone on a “no buy” binge till the first of the year. So  we can’t buy any clothes, shoes, or make-up. This is good for me as I am losing some weight and shouldn’t be buying clothes anyway right now. It’s good for her as it will help her pay her credit card off. So we’ll see how it goes.

I think I told you my daughter is on Match.com to see if she can meet a guy. Oh boy! She has four dates for coffee set up this week! Apparently there are more guys than girls on there. I really hope she meets some people. My daughter can be a little socially quiet. She’s the kind that has two or three good friends rather than a crowd. But they are getting married and having kids, so she’s a little lonesome. Plus, she works long hours and tends to come home and collapse.

I’m feeling good mentally but just worn out with the back thing. It’s an improvement over last week.

Sat:

Well, the family is heading out for a road trip in the state. We are going to a little town that has ghost tours. We originally didn’t plan to take Danny, but now he is making noises like he wants to go. Sigh.

Anyway, I have a sore throat…I think I have caught my husband’s cold. Our house must be really dirty or something, because we pass colds around like crazy! Mostly they start with my daughter who teaches first grade and then move on from there.

Sun:

We had a good time at the ghost town. It was absolutely jam packed with people! Some kind of motorcycle rally and then a festival of people who used to live there back in the day.

I did very well on the drive up…no fear. But on the way home in the dark, I got quite nervous. But I did not cry and I stayed calm on the outside. My son drove home and he was very careful to stay to the speed limit. I’ve figured out that it’s speed that scares me. I can go around mountain roads and be okay, or sit in a pile of traffic….but when people are going 75-80 miles an hour I get overwhelmed. I hate going around big trucks and I hate people that change lanes while speeding.

We had a really nice lunch at the town and then went on our ghost tour. It was really more a historical tour of the town. My husband loved the history and the kids were good sports about not chasing ghosts up and down hotel hallways.

I had a little harder time. My throat was really sore, my back hurt, there were a lot of bees around, (I am allergic), and I was just generally tired. But I was proud of myself. I hung in there and did the whole thing. We made a nice day of family memories and I was “normal”.

No church for me today. My throat is raw and my cold is worse.

Our little dachshund, Sophie, is going in for minor surgery tomorrow morning. She somehow injured a toenail and it grows out like a strange double nail. It grows so fast we can’t keep up with getting it trimmed. (It’s too thick and hard for us to do it.) So we are having it removed. Sophie gets so panicked at being away from home…I feel sorry for her. I know how she feels…I prefer home too.

So today looks like a day on the couch getting through this cold.

Mon:

Yep, it’s four o’clock and I am up watching the news. I woke up a little while ago really choking and having sort of a hard time breathing. So I’m sitting up typing and drinking a ton of fluid. This cold is nasty! Good news however, all we have to do today is get the dog down to the vet and back for her toe surgery. I’m sure we can do that.

Tues:

Wow! Slept in till six! Pretty good. Sophie came through her toe surgery well, but had to wear the “cone of shame” so she would not chew her foot. It was great entertainment watching her try to get it off.

My throat is downright raw from this cold. Glad I rearranged my schedule so I can rest today.

Much better this week than last.

hugs, lily

 

Mania Haikus: Using the Heightened Creativity to Process My Episode

This is Part 2 in a 5-Part Series: 
"When the World is Too Bright: An Intensive View of Mania from On the Ground"

(Read Part 1 Here)

I recently came across the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed. I follow her on Instagram and she posts beautiful, bite-sized poetry. Reading her work makes me want to write poetry, too.

At the beginning of the month (September 2016), I felt the stirrings of mania. There were no spending sprees, nor hypersexuality, or racing thoughts. Those are my typical symptoms. This time I only noticed two changes: disturbances in my sleep and heightened creativity and productivity.

When I was manic in 2015, I incorporated a life coaching company and a social justice curricular consulting company. I was so excited to go into business for myself. I mean, why not? I had all these great ideas until the mania dissipated. After I came down in 2015, I spent months recovering and settling back into my homeostasis. The two businesses were the last things on my mind.

Yet here I find myself, in September 2016, dusting off the life coaching company and developing curricula for workshop presentations. For the first week of September 2016, I feverishly researched and wrote, and consulted, and designed. At first, I thought it was normal creative frenzy, but when I didn’t sleep one night, I knew I was teetering into familiar territory. Mania is defined by excess. I was doing too much.

Here are five haikus I wrote to process the mania.

I
Spano excited.
Just like Spano? Yup, Jessie.*
#ManiaBeLike

*Jessie Spano from Saved By The Bell

II
Wrote a business plan.
Conducted a survey too:
self-care consulting.

III
I’m intentional
about self-care coping skills.
Sleep. Breathe. Eat. Shower.

IV
Be in the moment.
Try to calm the energy.
Breathe, breathe, breathe deeply.

V
Sleep escapes me, {sigh}.
Too many creative thoughts.
Can I just press “pause”?

Tune in tomorrow for part three in the series...

A Sentence

A sentence is a good start to having something to write. All I have is that sentence though.

I did some laundry yesterday but did nothing today but chill. I figure my mom will keep me busy over the next month after she gets here.

Chilling is OK. Sometimes you just have to smoke and relax and not worry about everything else going on. I’m still depressed really need to start the new meds.