I try not to rock the boat much. That sounds strange since I’m loud and I like to laugh a lot. But the thing is, when something happens to me, really happens and gets me to my core…I try to bury it. I will talk about whatever it was to certain people, but most of it I bury. Deep.
I’ve had a couple of #metoo moments. I think most every woman does. I’m not gorgeous and I wasn’t the kind of girl to bring attention to myself.
When I was in high school, there was a guy I liked. He never paid me much attention because well, I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t the girl everyone wanted to know. I knew most everyone, but they didn’t pay me any mind. But I was smart. Not Mayim Bialik smart, but I was in the AP classes. One day, this guy–who paid me almost no attention other than to deface my yearbook as he labeled girls in our grade with derogatory terms–asked me for help in math. Me, being naive and happy to help, decided to go to his house. I had no idea his parents weren’t home. We were freshmen in high school. Nothing bad would come of it. Right? Except something bad happened. We worked on two math problems, then he told me to come with him to the living room. I did. He kissed me. I was shocked he did. I wasn’t cool, popular or even pretty. I hadn’t come into my own. But I was a body. He kept kissing me and eventually stuck his hands down my shorts. It felt wrong, but I didn’t say anything. I kept my mouth shut, but once I got a chance to go, I did. I got on my bike and rode the hell out of there. I ended up taking a shower and wishing it had never happened. I didn’t say anything to anyone. I stayed away from him at school and tried to not be seen. I was ashamed. Still am, to be honest. I hadn’t wanted anyone to know I didn’t stop him. I should’ve.
Needless to say, I didn’t let myself be alone with anyone male for a long time. I went to college and sorted my life out. The shame I felt and still feel is real. I hope by telling my story it helps someone else feel a little less shame. I still struggle with it. I still think about that day and how I felt. I still wonder why I didn’t stop him. My only answer is that it was 1995 and talking about this kind of thing wasn’t popular. You didn’t do talk or make waves–at least you didn’t where I came from.
I can talk about it now. I wish I hadn’t gone through that incident, but I did. It made me stronger and more cautious. Made me look at people through a different filter.
It’s probably why I decided to follow my heart and write romance. I wanted to give the characters a happy ending–one without the memories I have. I’d like to think I’ve healed a little and grown. After all, I’ve got hope.