Live Action Sexual Harassment

Dear Internet,

It started out innocently enough.

I was standing outside of a karaoke bar with some friends, when an obviously drunk guy invades my personal space, got into my face and said, “Can I ask you a question?” I said sure and he asked how I liked his football jersey. I replied I had no comment on it. He said he liked my shirt and wanted to know if I would take it off for him. I said no. He said how much would it take for me to take it off. I replied a million dollars. He said he didn’t have that much and wouldn’t I just want to take it off for him? Again I said no, and as I was speaking started inching closer to a male friend of mine who was near me. A girlfriend who was also with me interjected and said I wouldn’t have anything to wear if I took off my shirt. Drunk guy gestured to his jersey and said I could have his jersey in trade if I wanted. I again replied in the negative while by this time, standing so close to my male friend I could feel the fabric of his clothes on my bare arms. Mr. Drunk got distracted for a brief moment and I took this as my opportunity to get the fuck inside. Bouncers figured out what was going on and started steering the guy into a waiting cab.

This all took place under the span of five minutes. Probably even less.

I’m in California for a conference; presenting on sexual harassment with the emphasis on being a woman in technology, a primarily male dominated profession. The irony of the exchange above is not lost on me.

The rest of the evening took a dark turn in my head. I’ve been in a really great space for a few weeks now and I’ve been enjoying this conference immensely. While this is the first conference I’ve attended in a long time solo, meaning I had no obvious conference buddy or TheHusband with me, I’ve not been alone. I’m seeing a lot of old friends while meeting new. I am pissed that out of all the obvious places for this could have happened, it had to be here.

Getting sexually harassed is not a new thing to me and I would argue it’s not a new thing for any woman. But in that scant amount of time, this jerkoffs attitude towards me stripped me emotionally naked and for that I am angry. I was made to feel like an object of someone’s whim, someone who could have hurt me, someone who felt I could have been bought for a few dollars. Someone who took away my power as a person.

In the beginning of the evening, the hours had flown by but now, the rest of the evening slowed to a crawl. Several of us were game on closing the bar down but all I wanted was to get back to my hotel room and protect myself. I tried to shake off the fact perhaps I was overreacting – I continued with the facade of happy go lucky: Guinness was still consumed, I still sang at karaoke, and to the world it seemed like nothing had happened but internally, I no longer felt like me but a piece of meat being appraised, valued, and reappraised again. To Mr. Drunk, who will have forgotten it by the morning, it was probably nothing. He was drunk. He didn’t mean it. He was not that type of person. He’s a married man.

Excuses will be made, by him. By me.

Once I made it safely to my room, I stripped down and took the hottest shower possible. I scrubbed myself several times over and brushed my teeth so hard, my gums were almost bleeding. When I get back to Michigan, I’ll probably throw the shirt away.

Being overly self-aware, this stripping of power by Mr. Drunk has accelerated the feeling of fragility. I’m clawing to not feel anxious, to not feel exposed, to not feel sub-human. He obviously doesn’t know my story – because why would he? I was just a random woman who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But I know my back story, I know how I struggle with my own emotional boundaries, and all of the protection I have worked so hard has now been weakened, my borders are compromised. I start to question how even my most benign of clothing choices became the object of his attention, his needs, his wants.

Some are going to read this and think,”What’s the big fucking deal? You were at a bar, some drunk asshole was a dick, you weren’t hurt physically. Get over it.” But that’s my fucking point, it IS a big deal. This has NOT been the only instance of sexual harassment that’s happened since I’ve been here. Shortly after I presented on my panel, I was out with a group of people, many who were at my panel. Without fucking fail, several of those in our group spent longer than necessary staring at my rack. Yes, I do have a nice rack. It’s pretty apparent I have a nice rack. But when I’m sitting there having a conversation with you and I’m watching your eyes flick from my tits to my face and back again CONSTANTLY as we’re talking; when it becomes clear you’re not really paying attention to “me” but the aforementioned nice rack, then any respect I’ve ever had happened for you has been stripped.

As it was, so it will be; this will be fodder for future panels, for examples and illustration purposes. The cycle continues.

xoxo,
Lisa

Of broken bricks and forgotten combs

 

My view of the ocean from the Monterey Marriott.

Dear Internet,

Despite all the scrupulous packing (and re-packing) and organizing, I discovered upon my arrival in Monterrey I had forgotten a comb. Now granted my hair is short and doesn’t really need a good brushing, but as the gods willed, if you forget something that may not have been that big of deal now it becomes a massive big deal later. Thankfully I was able to make my way to Walgreens before my world collapsed from 3″ strands of hair not being properly sorted out, which could have proved disasterous.

I’m in Monterrey, sitting in a Starbucks around the corner from my hotel on my one day off this week. Tomorrow kicks off the conference in full gear, and I wanted this day to be one of me time and relaxation as I knew as the week wore on, the conference would wear me down. While my energy levels have reappeared since I came off the lithium, I’m more conscious of personal space and needing to escape into my own world for awhile before any major social interactions are going to occur, even more importantly when there are large groups of people I do not know.

I arrived in Monterey after a very full day of traveling, which started at 8AM EDT and ended at 5PM PDT, which mainly included my hopscotching my way around the US.  As I was checking in and getting sorted, I ran into one the panelists who will be presenting with me, and his partner, both whom graciously invited me out to dinner.  After the hopscotching around various airports, I was delighted to get a chance to get a bit of a stretch around the area before heading to bed. We had dinner on the wharf and I was so determined to have my bit of vodka and Guinness, which I made happen, before anything else occurred. By the time the evening wore down, combined with jet lag, travel lag, and other wordly lags, I was hoping to fall asleep when I got back to the hotel and make it a fairly early night.

But nothing is ever really that easy as the fates again decided I had not sacrificed the correct amount of virgins to satiate them as not only was I not able to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, I was wide eye awake starting at 7AM local time despite the alcohol consumed the night before and coupled with jet lag meant I was running on 5-6 hours of sleep.

I laid in bed most of the morning, pondering what I was going to do for the day while watching terrible reality television that I seem to only care about when I’m not at home. I caught  an episode of SECRET PRINCES, which turned out to be the pilot of the second season. Later, I gleefully regaled my breakfast companions the background stories of four unlucky in love royals who came to America, Austin specifically, to find love while undercover from their true identities. The whole show is a bit daft, of course, but there is some kind of glee about these bumbling fish out of water experiences that I can view like Margaret Mead, except all virtual and not with binoculars in the grass.

The rest of the day has been lazy, walking around the downtown core and grabbing coffee to keep the energy going. The weather, and as one must always talk about the weather when travelling, turned for the worse, I ended up back in the hotel earlier than anticipated because sitting in a coffee shop with my back against the drafty window is neither noble or smart and the outcast seemed to huddle on rain for the rest of the day. It was like I had never left home.

I decided to use the rest of my time to work on personal and work projects, only to discover my charging brick for my MacBook Air is dead, which explained why some of my other devices were not charged this morning when I grabbed them on the go. Here I thought the problem was with the room outlets but that is turned out to not be the case. Even with next day shipping, I missed the window to get a new brick to me via Amazon tomorrow as it won’t show up until Tuesday and I’m leaving ungodly early (4:30AM) Thrusday morning fot the airport.  Thankfully I brought along my iPad, so the laptop will only get used in extreme emergancies while I mainlined everything else elsewhere.

I had some cause of worry for this trip, not of the conference or the people I was going to see, but the worry of my own behavior the further I get from my last dose of lithium. The same week I was first drug free, I was hit with PMS enough to cripple me and the mood swings enough to remind of all the 100s of reasons I wanted to be on mood stablizing drugs. Once that was over, and my inner world was smooth again, I’m finding myself feeling much more of myself than ever before.

I am desperate to not let this be a manic episode stemming from coming off the drugs, but it’s difficult when I’m only sleeping on 4-6 hours a night, I don’t get catch up sleep when I can sleep in, and I seem to exist on zoom the entire day with very little caffeine. The crash will come, there is almost always the certainy with that, but I’m praying to whatever will listen to not let it be so terrible that it is crippling and more importantly, I can have the forsight to be self-aware of it as it happens. It seems like a lot to ask, but if the drugs are not helping then I need something to guide me through the uncharted spaces to get me back on track again.

x0x0,

Lisa

 

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: October 26, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

Writing

Ephemera – Prose Companion to The Lisa Chronicles

Short Fiction

  • in stereo

Watching

Weekly watching: AtlantisHomelandMasters of SexElementaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky BlindersThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010