trigger warning: harassment
My way of purging an infatuation is to overromanticize the relationship and write about it until it becomes a distant, fond memory. Over the years, my private blogs have been a haven for cinematic missed connections and too-good-to-be-true flings.
Meanwhile, in the deepest, darkest corners of my mind, there lies stories that I choose to forget. Encounters which, if I try hard enough, cease to exist. Some of these tales have third-party witnesses, so it’s harder to omit from memory. But most of them happened in alternate realities; hidden universes that I migrated from, as far away and as quickly as possible.
Much like my romanticized stories, these tales vary – from quick encounters on a public utility vehicle, to a drunken night with a friend who took advantage of a situation.
How do women recognize an ally? Studying mass communication at a liberal university, you take comfort in the assumption that you are surrounded by allies. You form liberal beliefs and seek refuge within like-minded peers.
I trusted you.
You knew I didn’t want to come home with you that night, yet you persuaded me to. You were aggressive; I was tired and sleepy. I can lie and say I don’t remember much, but how could I forget how dirty I felt? The instant wave of regret, and the self-blame.
I know what we did after — act like nothing happened because that’s what I asked of you. Thinking it would be easier that way but, looking back now, how come it hasn’t occurred to you to apologize? Didn’t you know what you were doing?
I trusted you.
In another realm, I’m a young professional full of ideals and ambition. I met you during a panel. I spoke about a campaign and you talked about your testimonial. You’ve been here before.
I mustered up the guts to set up an informational interview and you took me to a fancy hotel buffet. I did not expect the night to end that way.
How many times did you try to convince me to go out drinking with you and your friend? How many times did you place your hand just a little too low down my back? I came to you looking for inspiration, but you’ve been here before. I can tell.
If we travel back way further, I’m an international student far far away from my home country. I live alone at a studio unit within a secured dormitory.
I’ve never met you before but you beg for a place to stay for the night and I’m not heartless. Was it my fault?
It hurt and I tried pushing you off. I remember saying “no.” But the fact remains that I opened my door for you and let you in. Was it my fault?
I bury these stories with my guilt and shame. I made decisions that put me in vulnerable positions. Hansel and Gretel went inside a stranger’s house so what were they expecting?
What was I expecting?