I make it a point to never present myself as a victim.  I make my own choices, I take the cards that I have been dealt in my life, and I try my best to play them as well as I can.  I know that on blogs like these, the ones that we use to try to get our names or books or photography out there, a certain level of anonymity and aloofness is a good thing.  Here, on my blog, I am a bright, spunky, somewhat off-beat yet optimistic young author.  I love Harry Potter and Benedict Cumberbatch and I like writing ghost stories.  I try to present the very best of myself on this blog.  The heavy stuff, the stuff that gets me down or that weighs on my mind, I normally don’t discuss on here, because, in a way, it’s better not to acknowledge them.  After all, this blog is about trying to spread the word about my books, not the heavy stuff.

However, this #YesAllWomen movement has got me thinking.  Maybe it’s okay to be open about the personal stuff, the serious stuff, every once in a while.  In past trending topics, I haven’t had a whole lot to contribute.  This time, I just might have a few things to say.

I’ve never been what one would call a hardcore feminist.  Do I believe in equal rights for all in spite of gender, race, or orientation?  Of course.  But do I still like it when guys hold doors for me?  Duh.  I don’t like misogyny, but I don’t have a problem with little girls wearing pink or idolizing Cinderella.  If a little girl (or boy for that matter) would rather be a Princess than a scientist, well then let the kid dream! But then again, this isn’t really a discussion about feminism.  This is a discussion about what it’s like to be a woman in a society in which being a woman isn’t always safe.

I’ve never felt safe walking by myself at night.  It’s just a fact.  And it’s always been my normal.  Whenever I have to walk somewhere alone after dark, I always call someone to talk to until I reach my destination.  Always.  I walk with my keys in hand.  I’m constantly glancing around to make sure no one is following me or watching me.  Overactive imagination?  Paranoia?  Perhaps.  But when I was in grad school, a young girl was attacked on my campus one night.  Her throat was slit.  She was alone.  It happens in real life.  It’s not just a scary story.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve never been attacked.  I’ve never been raped.

I have been harassed.  It was terrifying, but it’s not something I talk about very often, because, to be honest, I’m ashamed of it.  It embarrasses me.  I tell myself, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.  Nothing happened.  You got out fine.  Besides, it makes you sound like a slut.”

How messed up is that?  I was cornered by a man that I don’t know, who was twice my size, who touched my hair and my shoulder and told me to come back with him to his hotel room, and yet I’m the one who ends up feeling like it was my fault, that I’m the sleazy one because of it.  It’s just something that’s been engraved in our minds.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  It must have been something I was doing, or I did, and I don’t want people to find out about it or else they’ll think I’m dirty somehow.  If these are the thoughts that come from being unwillingly cornered, I can’t even imagine what other young women who have been raped or attacked feel.

I do believe that most men are good.  I don’t blame them.  I love all the guys I know and I know I can trust them.  I’m not sure how men feel walking to their cars at night, if they ever feel apprehensive or that they have to run or talk to someone on the phone in order to feel safe.  But that’s just how it is for us.

Love to all.