Me Too

In light of all the “me too” posts and the degree of women in my life who have been affected by sexual harassment and assault, I decided that I would share my story.

Well…one of them.

Originally I didn’t plan on saying anything. I guess in some ways I’ve been conditioned to keep this stuff to myself. But I realised that maybe my story would help someone else speak out or get help or even feel on some level that they aren’t alone.

Some won’t find my story important or impactful but it affected me and regardless of the magnitude, it still isn’t something that should have happened.

One of the most prominent memories I have of a me too moment happened 3 years ago. I was working an event with celebrity talent and one of the guests who I knew was troubled, decided I was his new best friend. Little did I know that that meant he would not only unload his issues of addiction and relationship drama on to me, it meant I would be a victim of his behavior when dealing with his issues.

It all started out seemingly innocent. He would vent to me, tell me his troubles, overshare about his demons and then it would start all over again in a vicious cycle. It wasn’t the first time a guest had opened up to me and told me things I shouldn’t know, it comes with the territory, so I listened and leant an ear when needed.

But on the last night of the first weekend of the event, I found myself trapped by him in a room full of people. The fact that he could behave the way he did in front of so many spoke volumes and also shows how rampant and unapologetic some are when it comes to this kind of behavior.

I was sitting in my seat which was against a short wall at the hotel bar with friends and that’s when he came over and boxed me in.

He sat in front of me, legs on either side of my seat so I had nowhere to go.

He leaned over, took my drink out of my hands and started drinking it.

I wasn’t sure what to think at first as he had behaved somewhat erratically over the weekend.

I didn’t think much until he said “We’re going to play that game.”

He had mentioned earlier in the night he wanted to play a game where I had to agree to everything he said and I wasn’t allowed to speak or object but just do whatever he suggested. I brushed it off at the time and told him no because I wasn’t agreeing to anything and I walked away and went to join my friends.

So here he was, blocking my way out, leaning over me and alarm bells began to ring in my head.

I started to speak and he raised his hand and went “Ah ah ahh! No talking. If you do, I’ll go tell **** you want to fuck him.”

The colour drained from my face because in that moment all I wanted was for him to leave me alone but it was clear he was adamant to play his game and I didn’t want him telling anyone that I wanted to do anything to them.

I had my phone in my hand and when he noticed, he tried to pry it from me saying “You can’t call anyone for help”.

Luckily I managed to sit on my phone and all but shout at him that I wasn’t going to touch it so could he stop.

He then started badgering me, asking me if I’d speak and then would berate me with threats if I tried to answer because remember! No talking!

He was asking if I was ready to do anything and if any of my friends who at this stage realised something was very wrong, tried to interject, he made it clear they couldn’t help me.

It wasn’t part of “the game”.

This went on for what felt like forever and all the while he kept taunting me with things I don’t want to repeat and saying that he would go tell this other person that I wanted to do all sorts of things to him and the threats felt like they kept coming.

Luckily he was distracted long enough for me to get my phone out from under me to text someone who I knew could help and they came over. What I didn’t bargain for was him turning to me once they interjected, looking at me dead on and saying “Well you know what happens now.” And he disappeared in the direction of the person he threatened to tell all those things to.

My friends then kept apologizing to me saying they didn’t know what to do, they knew he was harassing me but they just didn’t know how to handle the situation.

During this exchange with them and my internal panic at what he was potentially doing and saying, I felt someone grab me around the shoulders and front of my chest from behind over the short wall I was sitting in front of. I didn’t know what to think at this point as I was being pulled back towards them so I stiffened up as I couldn’t see who grabbed me.

That’s when he whispered in my ear “I’d never let him do anything to you. I’d never let anything happen to you. I promise. It was just a game.” I felt sick.

How could someone get their kicks from basically tormenting someone like that and then feeling it was justified because they were just “playing”.

At the time I smiled and nodded and tried to laugh it off because he was so unpredictable I didn’t want to risk a repeat of it all. I gathered my stuff and headed straight to my room, closing the lift doors in his face when he tried to follow me.

The next weekend at the next event on the first night, he stormed through a room full of people who were attending to meet him and the other guests and got right in my face saying “We need to talk.”

I don’t know if it was the anger that had built up inside me or that I recognized he was so damaged that his threats didn’t scare me anymore, so I said fine.

He demanded we speak in private.

My friend who intervened the week before heard this and instantly shot me a look to see if I was okay and I nodded because this time I felt in control.

We walked out of the room to where nobody was and that’s when he unloaded a torrent of complaints at me.

“The way you treated me last week! The way you shut those elevator doors in my face! You treated me like I was just some guy who wanted to fuck you. Like I was some asshole. Well maybe I will. Maybe I will fuck you. Yup this weekend. I’m going to.”

I don’t know what possessed me, maybe it was stupid of me, but I burst out laughing at him because who was he to decide that he would just have at me. And the way he was spinning the story to paint himself as the victim the week before was beyond comical.

There was sheer shock on his face as I kept laughing at him and I don’t think he expected that reaction but by this stage I’d had enough.

I looked at him and bluntly said “Are you done? Do you feel better?”

He just stared at me blankly.

I then said “How about you get back inside and do your job, now that you’ve got that off your chest.”

I turned and walked away from him and he quietly followed and went back to mingling through the room.

Granted the drama didn’t end there. There was a lot that went on around him and because of him over the course of the event and to this day my memories are far from fond and I never want to be made to feel like I did that night when he played his game.

And even though he didn’t touch me or force himself onto me, being made to feel like I couldn’t escape and having words said to me that made me feel frightened and helpless was enough.

Because that’s just it.

Sometimes sexual harassment and abuse comes in the form of words.

It isn’t always physical.

But either way it’s lasting.

It all leaves a mark.

And too many women in my life have battle scars.

xoxo Natalie

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Under Construction

I’ve always been a private person.
I don’t air my problems or talk openly about the things causing me grief. I never have and I don’t think I ever will. I know some people find comfort in sharing but for me it is the opposite.

However, just because I don’t openly talk about it doesn’t mean these issues don’t exist and I am therefore devoid of all troubles so can make way for taking on the troubles of others. I am tired and I am spent and to be completely honest I have no energy for it some days.

Maybe that makes me a sh*tty person, but in all honesty I think it makes me human.
I’m not saying I won’t be there for others, but some days I have enough on my own plate that is draining enough, that I can’t detach myself from it and ignore my own feelings to protect someone else’s. In a perfect world I would love for there to be a happy medium, but sometimes the scales tip in the wrong direction.
Hopefully one day I will have someone I can tell anything to without fear of judgement or opinion or the necessity to turn my situation into something about them. Until then, I will avoid the “Don’t do that again” and the “You know you should” and especially the “You know I….” And more than anything I will avoid that there are some who revel in others misfortune. I don’t want that for myself and I would never wish it upon anyone else. Nobody deserves that.

All of us have troubles.
All of us sin.
All of us make mistakes.
All of us don’t always shine in our best light and most of all, all of us have things go wrong in life that completely derail us.
We do these things and have these things happen in different shades of grey.
Nobody is pure. Nobody is perfect. And nobody is without fault.
We all make mistakes. We all do things we should not be proud of. We all stumble and fall along the way and we all end up with obstacles in front of us that cause heartache or frustration.

What we should do for ourselves though is be accountable for the things we do. We should know when we are crossing that fine line or when we are creating our own thunderstorms. It’s shouldn’t be someone getting on their soapbox making you feel less than because in their eyes you’re no good. I bet real soon those roles could be reversed. We all have our own moral compass and our own set of values and not everyone’s opinion on these things will align. Nor should they.

Moral high ground is having roadwork completed. It’s being able to have that path you’re on tarred over to create a freeway because everything is perfect and sound and there’s nothing you need to work on. You’re free.
Truth of the matter though is we are never truly free. We are never going to be perfect enough to have that freeway or to have that roadwork complete because we will stumble, we will fall and we will crack and we will always have things within ourselves and within our lives to work on.

To err is to be human and oh boy am I human….and so are you.
Some people just forget that from time to time.

xoxo Natalie

Heart Songs & Soul Serenades

I’m embarking on a project that completely takes me out of my comfort zone. 

Ever since I can remember I have been writing and a big part of that creative outlet was poetry. I never dared tell a soul I wrote it because to show it to anyone would mean showing them parts of me and parts of those who inspired the work. Real bare raw parts that I was always too afraid to let out. It would have been like handing over the key to my diary and saying “Have at it.”

Well….I decided to face that fear. 

I’m publishing on Wattpad (and Tablo in the near future) a selection of poems, and if all goes well, I will continue with another volume or two. I’ve also created a platform on Instagram where I will share as well. 

I hope those who choose to read them find them relatable, and if not, can at least appreciate the creative outlet. 

So here is the link to the first volume of Heart Songs & Soul Serenades

If you wish to follow along on Instagram, you can do so by following the account misssisyphus. 

Here’s to taking the leap….

xoxo Natalie 

A Birthday Wish For Me

Today I turn another year older and I say goodbye to one of the most challenging years of my life.

I learnt a lesson for the third time with the same person and realised that some people just don’t have the best intentions for your heart. 

I resigned from a job that was a significant yet stagnant portion of my life for ten years and it walked me right out the door which was heartbreaking and disrespectful. 

I also had the struggles of watching things go badly with my grandparents health. There’s a certain numbness you feel when there’s nothing you can do and all you can do is get up each day and keep going because you don’t know what’s around the corner. 

Yet despite these things which made my 34th year a not so great time to remember, I also made choices which while difficult, were right. 

I was careful with who I shared my time, my voice and my thoughts. I withdrew where necessary and spoke up where needed. And even though there were times things felt hopeless and I couldn’t see the light, I never stopped believing that there was some magic in the air every now and then. 

I believed this when I connected with people who surprised me, who I didn’t know at all, but who let me in and loved me. I believed this when I held the strongest hands and had eyes I wish were mine, look so far beyond the surface it killed me to walk away. And I believed this when I had the kindest words uttered to me and knew I deserved more. 

So that’s what being 35 is going to be. 

It’s going to me more. 

It’s going to be better. 

It’s going to be enough. 

It’s going to be the year I keep believing. 

It’s going to be me being all I can be. 

It’s going to BE…..

xoxo Natalie 

Birthday…ixnay on the appyhay

Growing up I remember the countdown to my birthday being this huge novelty. It was so exciting and fun and I just couldn’t wait to become that one year older. I don’t have that feeling anymore. 

And not because of aging, but because there seems to be a lack of reason to celebrate. 

Last year I cancelled my birthday. I basically treated it like it didn’t exist. I was nursing a broken heart, so as it was it wasn’t off to a good start, and when left with the prospect of choosing something to do in celebration of it, I realised my idea of fun and what would make my heart happy was not something those in my life would indulge me in. 

So I chose not to acknowledge that I turned 34 at all. 
Now I’m about to turn 35. 

And what….

Has anything changed. 

I guess my attitude has changed. This year I’m being positive. I’m actually organizing an outing with friends. I figure if I put good vibes out into the universe maybe this year will grace me with some love and light. But I’m not putting all my eggs into the happy basket. Why?

You see over the years I’ve learnt that sometimes the one thing that gives you the most happiness actually is the same thing that hurts you the most. It hurts because you invest all that you feel in it. You give your everything and you put all your hope out there that it’s going to be all you wished for and more because you want to believe that for a sliver of time things will be perfect. 

But they rarely are and that’s normal because what is perfect anyways?

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m just going to accept the day and this new year of life as it comes. I won’t place expectations on it. Instead I’ll just have a little faith…that maybe…somewhere along the way…there’ll be some magic in the air and I’ll get that sliver of perfect when I least expect it.

xoxo Natalie 

Dear Customer…..

I am not in customer service to be abused. 

I am not in customer service to be yelled at. 

I am not in customer service to be treated incapable.

I am not in customer service for you to be aggressive towards me.

I am a person.

I am doing a job.

I am not a punching bag.

I am here to manage a store.

I am here to roster staff on to be here to assist you with your purchase.

I am here to ensure we have stock on the floor for you to buy.

I am here to ensure the store is running to the needs of head office.

I am not here to be your monkey. I will not dance.

We have a store policy, read it.

We have a customer service team, call them.

We have capable staff members, ask them.

But do not yell, do not snatch items and do not tower over us. Intimidation isn’t welcome, it isn’t right. We are here to help as best we can. We are not here to be treated less than. 

We are human.

Thank you and have a nice day….

xoxo Natalie 

A Good Heart These Days….

Sometimes all it takes is someone not having the decency to show some respect and treat you like a person to remind you that the things we thought were a good idea were rotten after all.

Not everyone will keep your feelings in mind when they need to the most. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t and you can’t expect an a**hole to be anything but….no matter the thoughtful things said when nobody is around.

All these things were brought to mind as I:

  • Was walked from my job
  • Decided after 3 years to let someone in who I was afraid to allow past the wall I’d built around my feelings
  • Saw someone who could have been all of my yeses but who pushed me away and turned into all of the noes

Whilst each situation is totally different, they all came back to one thing – a good heart these days is hard to find (bless you Feargal Sharkey).

Have you ever had someone completely break your heart and yet you wish it was them who would put it back together? I battled with that feeling through each of those moments mentioned above even though I knew it wouldn’t/won’t happen. My ex workplace treated me like a pariah when I handed my resignation in, the person who I allowed in after 3 years has taken to ignoring me and the one who could’ve been all of my yeses continues to exist on a different planet to me where I’m but a mere tumbleweed in the background.

I’ve come to terms with the thought that I don’t hate those who have broken my heart, I don’t think I ever could. I’m disappointed and hurt and can’t comprehend some of what happened, but if I spent my energy hating, the emotion would consume me and I would be broken to a point where I would be accepting less. This way I am letting go and trying to just be. I’m doing things for me, I’m keeping my heart in mind and this way it gets better…in time. I can walk away knowing I didn’t tear others down going tit for tat and I was kind to my own heart and to theirs in the process.

The ex-work drama, whilst it still burns, is easier to accept as done and dusted. The feeling of betrayal and unresolved issues has dwindled because I know there will always be another job…a better job…a more fulfilling job.

As for the 3 year itch and the yay turned to nay….that’s harder to bear. Matters of the emotional heart often linger and I think always will.

However…..when you give your heart to a boy…more than likely he will crush it…why???

The difference between a boy and a man:

A man will look what he is facing in the eye. He won’t shy away from a challenge and he approaches what he wants head on. He’s willing to pick up the pieces and try and fix what may be broken. He’s not afraid because he’s secure in himself.

A boy will run and hide. He will take a crayon out of the box and press it so hard while he colors that he breaks it. He’ll then toss the crayon aside because he thinks it’s no use to him anymore.

If some boy has broken you, don’t despair. Always remember, broken crayons still color the same. A boy just doesn’t appreciate that the broken parts of us are what make us who we are. Never let some boy dull your vibrancy. He doesn’t know what he’s holding in his hands because he doesn’t understand…he’s still unsure of himself, therefore how can he be sure of you.

xoxo Natalie