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25 September 2019

The Reason I Was Quiet On Here *TW*


A couple of months ago, I was walking to meet a friend in the local town, when a man in a car pulled up alongside me, and started trying to talk to me.

The road was extremely desolate and surrounded by forest, but I knew it well. And as a confident, self-aware woman, I smiled politely at the man and told him no, I did not want a lift, and started concentrating on texting my friend until I heard him drive off.

A couple of cars passed by, but when I looked up from my phone, there was just me and a car pulled up a little further up the road which I hadn't noticed before.

Immediately, I wondered if it could possibly be the man who had pulled up next to me, but I didn't want to let my imagination run away with me, when I couldn't even remember what his car had looked like.

So I crossed over to the other side of the road, and as I approached, saw the man from before, staring at me from his wing-mirror.

Immediately, I turned around and started to head back towards my campsite. Feeling relieved when I hear the car pull out and away, down the road. However, the man went around the roundabout at the end of the road, and followed me, who was running, all the way into the campsite, until I passed the barriers.

I ran back to my colleagues and friends, who were pre-drinking for a night out, and who all happened to be male, and broke down in the kitchen, trying to explain what happened.

Despite being a hot mess, it was my friend's final night in France, so I agreed to go on a night out with everyone, knowing I'd be walking into the town as a group of seven.

On that night out, two friendly British guys approached me, and I introduced them to our group. It wasn't until a little later, that I realised one of the men's intentions.

His hands were all over me. Up my skirt, on my chest, around my waist. And I was on a night out with a group who were all enjoying themselves too much to realise what was happening to me.

I felt invisible, relentlessly telling this man to get off me. Eventually, he grabbed my inner thigh so hard, I knew I would wake up with bruises, and I ran off to get help from two of my friends stood outside. Still, the man followed me, and didn't leave me alone until one of them told him I was his girlfriend.

Writing all of this out, it feels obvious that these two events would trigger some sort of reaction. But it's taken me this long to figure out the root cause.

I wholeheartedly believe it was categorically, not the fault of any of the guys I was with on the night out, but being in such a vulnerable position, yet surrounded by people, made me feel as if I wasn't a human being.

Being surrounded by male friends - some of the loveliest, most kind-hearted I know - and still feeling as if I had no self-worth, highlighted the fact they didn't recognise I needed help, because they've never had to think about that for themselves, the way a girl would.

The next morning, I woke up with a bruise in the shape of four fingertips on my thigh. And seeing it every time I changed, every time I used the toilet, made me feel as if my body wasn't my own.

It didn't belong to me anymore, and I didn't want it to.

For the first time in two years, I had panic attacks before work, and despite being surrounded by a lot of great people, I just wanted to give up.

I combatted this with trying to prove myself. Trying too hard, becoming louder, being more insistent, and I would go to bed both over-analysing myself, and every single person around me, yet also, somehow, not actually giving a shit.

I felt like the person I portrayed on the outside, was the most extreme 'other' to how I felt on the inside.

And for the first time in nearly 10 years, I stopped writing.

Silence on Alice's Antics may have become a bit of a norm, what with the lack of wifi and hectic travelling about over the last couple of years.  But for the first time in nearly ten years, I stopped writing altogether.

No diary entries, no short stories, no chapters, no poems. Nothing.

Writing has always been my outlet. Someone once told me and my sister to start diaries after our mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I've never looked back. It's always been my go-to form of meditation.

But I didn't feel like I could write, because I didn't know who was writing. I didn't know how she felt, or who she was. I felt like I had no worth.

My return to Alice's Antics wasn't just a return to this blog, it was recognition of recovering from one of the darkest places I've been in a very long time.

It's my way of reminding myself of who I am, of what I've achieved and that I'm a human being, not just a vessel, not just a body, not just a piece of meat to be chased and touched and cat-called.

I really ummed and ahhed about posting this, and sharing my experience. Knowing a lot of people would read it and a lot of people wouldn't understand.

But I decided it was a necessity. For me, for all of the women reading this, and for all of the men.

I may just be coming back to myself, but one of the things I'm most sure about right now, is that I am so, SO done with being silent.

Love, Alice x


2 comments:

  1. I've been following your blog for years and reading this broke my heart. I always kind of hope other people are immune from this kind of thing but it really does happen absolutely everywhere. I'm so sorry this happened to you and I hope you're getting every ounce of support you need. The world is so cruel but you're so right, we all should be SO done with being silent. Sending positivity your way.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you having read my blog for so long and supporting it! I know exactly what you mean about hoping others are immune from it - it’s crazy how many people do have experiences similar though, which is why I wanted to write about it. All my love!

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