CTRL + ALT + DEL

I recently took a break from social media.

Technically I’m still on this break but a few experiences I’ve had whilst keeping myself on the social media down low have got me thinking and even taking action.

I decided to minimize my use of social due to having some major things going on in my family life. I won’t explain or divulge what these things are, purely because my family is my business, and if you hadn’t noticed my absence or lack of interactions of late and asked if I’m okay, then you really don’t need to know because simply, you don’t care 🤷🏼‍♀️

I haven’t been posting at the rate I normally do and I don’t check my social media feeds as much. I’ve been too exhausted in the real world to deal with the virtual world.

What I found though, was that only a select few people noticed it was out of character for me to be so absent and they reached out to check in and even offered a helping hand if things became too much to handle. I was grateful for this and it made me appreciate these friendships more ♥️

The flip side of this though is being taught who my surface friends are. The ones who want to show up for a good time only and don’t actually have any investment in me or our friendship. I have no qualms with surface friends in general, we all have them and they’re fun to be around, but I do have qualms with people who shout from rooftops they love me and have my best interest at heart, but don’t pick up the phone to text or call to see if I’m okay since I’ve basically gone MIA.

In turn, I’ve become a bit savage in my approach to my social media going forward. An example of this is last night, for the first time in a month, I posted something to social because it was the anniversary of one of the happiest points in my life. Anyone who knows me well knows what that period meant to me and how it touched me.

Well, one person decided to make a remark that, to put it simply, offended me.

It doesn’t matter what they said, but it proved that if this person knew me even remotely, they wouldn’t have sought cruel humor in a situation that was clearly very dear to me, especially during a difficult time.

So to cut a long story short, I deleted the comment and I deleted them.

Why? You may ask.

Seems a bit rash?

The older I get, I’ve become less tolerant of behaviors I don’t want to be exposed to and if you only pop up in my life when you need something or to make a jibe at my expense, Bye Felicia! 🙋🏼‍♀️

I don’t want to be that person who writes essays for someone who can’t even string two sentences together for me. I don’t want to be that person who lets someone be disrespectful and continue to have access to me and my life. And I certainly don’t want to be that person who cultivates relationships that really aren’t good for me.

So I’m taking the CTRL + ALT + DEL approach.

I’m taking control of what I want.

I’m altering my focus and in turn, hoping those who maybe weren’t so thoughtful or nice in the past can alter their behavior.

And if in turn these things I want to alter only bring me negativity and pain; delete.

Remember that detachment isn’t selfish when rooted in self care. Every single one of us is worthy of everything good in life and we all deserve to be happy. This sometimes means letting go.

xoxo Natalie

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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

If you didn’t tweet it, did it really happen?

Recently I heard from someone I had lost touch with some years ago. I met her when she was around 18 and we became fast friends and were super close. I used to help sneak her out of the house so she could go out (bad Nat!) and we’d go clubbing and have laughs and it was such fun times. She disappeared from my life for a while and even though I wasn’t sure why, I let it be. I realised she needed space or time or she stepped away to grow and so I gave her that space. I didn’t hate her for it or feel like it was aimed at me, I just knew that it was her time to do for her what she needed to.

Hearing from her out of the blue was nice. It was like all those years not talking, not being connected on social media and not seeing each other never happened. Even though we didn’t delve into anything too personal, it was nice to catch up and to find out she was okay. She’s happy and healthy and looking wonderful and I’m happy for her and the woman she’s become.

In hindsight I’m glad I didn’t make her absence from my life about me because if I did, I’m sure my feelings towards her and the distance would have been different. I took the time to think about it and I am glad I didn’t encourage any negative feelings because I don’t want to be consumed with those kind of thoughts…period.

It got me thinking on the reactions I have received to social decisions I have made over the past year, whether it be limiting what I post online or removing myself from certain groups or just not sharing much about myself at all at times and I realised people weren’t looking at my decisions from my perspective but from their own and some had gotten quite pissed at me for it.

At the end of the day, a persons decisions are theirs and they make them for them. Sometimes people need to do things for their own health, well being and mental space.
Let them be.
It’s why I made the decisions I did and it’s why I continue to make them. I won’t cultivate myself in any environment that brings out qualities in me that I don’t like. Distancing myself from what brings out the worst in me is going to bring a happier and more positive future my way. If doing that makes you pissed at me, well……..*shrugs*

A very good friend of mine told me a story from before he knew me, about how he disabled his Facebook account because he needed a break from it and for months nobody noticed. Nobody said a single thing until the day someone went actively looking for him on there to ask a favour.
Not to check in.
Not to see if he was okay.
But to ask him for something.

That person, when discovering they couldn’t contact him on there, proceeded to attack him via messages because they were offended he ‘blocked’ them and it was all about how they had been hard done by. The hilarity of the assumption had my friend bluntly tell this person that they didn’t notice his absence until they needed something and instead of asking what was actually going on with his Facebook, making the assumption of it being all about them was easier. He pointed out that in the grand scheme of things, his absence from Facebook really wasn’t missed, so how was it truly so bad when they didn’t care prior to them needing something.

Long story short, this person made a situation that had nothing to do with them about them and proved my friends point exactly – well the outburst they had certainly did.

People get so worked up over the world of social media and truth is 80% of my life I don’t post or comment about on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat because it’s nobodies business. Plus the thought of anyone reveling in my misfortunes, hard times or scandals has certainly made me a more private person, and some of my scandals are juicy AF! (note to self: you could write a book)

When it comes down to it, being true to yourself and the person you want to be doesn’t always make you friends or help you keep them but it does help you keep the right ones. It also makes you feel better within your skin because you are being who you want to be, not what someone else needs you to be.

Being truly happy and surrounding yourself with what and who makes you a better person is the best end game. It’s what I am working towards.
It isn’t an easy road, but it is worth the trek.
Find you and you will find your happy….the rest is just details.

xoxo Natalie

Thought of the day…

‪If your generosity comes with a price tag, you don’t understand the purpose of giving.
It is selfless, not selfish.
It is paid in thanks & that is reward enough.
When you start expecting more, that is when what you are doing becomes about your gain and not what you can do to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Generosity isn’t about power.
Generosity is about giving hope & comfort & strength to someone else.
It is from a place of love, not from a place driven by motive.
It is safe & it is pure.

You don’t have to be rich to be generous, you just need to understand that it stems from the heart.

“The heart that gives, gathers.” – Tao Te Ching

xoxo Natalie

2016 has taught me….

That sometimes broken hearts stay broken. 

That ten years of loyalty means nothing to some people. 

That you can try and put yourself first but still come out second best. 

That waiting three years for the right time doesn’t mean the time is right or ever will be. 

That even those closest to you don’t really see you. 

That it’s ok to miss and still love those who hurt us the most. 

And that not every cloud has a silver lining, but even when it’s storming, try and dance in the rain. 

Here’s to a 2017 that is happier, brighter and lighter. May it bring the things our hearts wish for the most and I hope it’s kinder to my loved ones….it’s been a difficult twelve months. 

I’m wishing with all my might for a happier time…a time for all things right….the right time for all things yet to come…

Much love from me to you….all the best for the New Year….

xoxo Natalie