Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Aurora DeLucia posing with her medals at the end of the San Fran 1st half marathonHere we go! My new project!

THE BIG IMPORTANT PART:

I’m running 882 race miles in a year to represent the 882 Americans sexually assaulted every *day*. (Statistics from RAINN.) We will get into this more later, but *most importantly:

TO DONATE:
I explain in a moment why there are 3 options, but I want to give you the links first:
1) To donate to Peace Over Violence (a fantastic organization in Los Angeles), go RIGHT HERE! 🙂.
Or text AURORARUNS to 41444.

2) To donate to the Crime Victim’s Treatment Center (a wonderful place in New York City) RIGHT HERE 🙂.

3) To donate to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network – so, as it says in the title, a national organization) go RIGHT HERE! 🙂.

To learn a little more where there are 3 options keep reading.

I am giving 3 options because I know people feel differently about whether they’d rather their money go to a big national organization or a smaller local one.

While I love and believe in RAINN, and I think important things get done at a national level. I also think that smaller local places can sometimes really feel the difference a lot more with this amount of money.

Aurora's Philadelphia Marathon finish picture at the Rocky stepsI do believe in small and local places. And as someone who lives in New York and Los Angeles, I was happy to find places on both coasts I really, really believe in. And if you live on one of those coasts and want to see your money go into your own community, bam! Go for it. (Or even if you don’t live there, still feel free to give to either!).

But not all of you live in New York or Los Angeles. While I believe helping a woman (or any survivor) anywhere is helping women (and other survivors) everywhere, I also could see how you wouldn’t want to put your resources in a local place where you don’t live – where you may not feel them as much. So, I’m happy to give RAINN as an option, because they’re very helpful too.

Now let’s get more into the details of everything!

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  • WHAT: What’s my new project? Well, thank you for asking! I’m running 882 miles in a year to represent the 882 American’s sexually assaulted every *day*. That’s right. It will take a *year* to represent the people sexually assaulted ever *day*. (That’s one every 98 seconds – statistics from RAINN.)

882 miles is the equivalent of running from Los Angeles to El Paso, Texas or from New York City to Milwaukee, WI. (Or it’s running over 33 marathons or over 67 half marathons in one year… That’s an extra 15 half marathons from my last running project (or almost an extra 200 miles).

  • WHO am I raising money for? All 3 organizations are established 501(c)(3) organizations with great track records.

Peace Over Violence (Los Angeles) an organization helping victims of sexual assault and domestic violence for over 46 years. They work on prevention and on helping survivors. You can read more about what they do here.

On a personal level, When I was sexually assaulted last year, and having the hardest time dealing with it, I called a national helpline that happened to route me to Peace Over Violence because of my area code. And the volunteer there was SO helpful.

I had recently moved to New York, and being that this organization is west coast based, she didn’t have resources on hand. But she asked if it would be okay if she called me later. So, she did research and found different options of places that may be able to help me…

Aurora after finishing the 50-mile raceAnd she followed up with me again about a week later to make sure I went and got help. When she called me, I hadn’t yet reached out to any of those places, because quite honestly, I was pretty depressed and even reaching out for help felt like a lot of work. But this sweet volunteer checked in on me and made sure that I got into some good hands and got help and got therapy and all of that.

I’ve read about experiences other women had there. I’ve interacted with them and been helped. I really believe in Peace Over Violence, and am happy to raise money for them.

 

Crime Victim’s Treatment Center (New York)
This place is amazing. It’s New York based and if you know a victim of sexual assault in New York, I can wholeheartedly recommend you send them there.

They offer individual therapy, group therapy, even acupuncture. They have a psychiatrist in case you need to be evaluated for medications. Basically anything you need in your recovery with, they can either help you, or they can help you find it. I would love to see them get tons of money.

You can read more about everything they offer here.

RAINN (National)
RAINN was how I found out about any of this stuff in the first place. And it’s the immediate place I turned when I needed help. This is a famous organization, so I’m sure you probably know some about them already. But in case you don’t, check them out here.

  • WHY did I choose this running project? Well, I ran 52 half marathons in 52 weeks after open-heart surgery (plus a year in-and-out of the hospital) for a weird congenital heart defect. That was the way I knew how to deal with this life-altering thing that was hard for me to deal with. And now that another life-alerting hard-to-deal-with thing has happened, this is the best way I know how to deal with it… I dream of someday volunteering with survivors of sexual assault. I am not to that point yet. I am still in a therapy program at a local hospital. I am still triggered too often. I *know* that I could not be a rock solid steady volunteer that these people need… So, I can’t help one-on-one *yet*, but I can run for sexual assault survivors. I hope it helps others – and also helps me to feel whole and strong again 🙂
  • As far as I know, that covers everything. If somehow I missed something, please let me know! Write a comment, or send me an email to WriteToAurora [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • Oh, yeah, and WHERE do you donate? (Now that we’ve gotten so far down here):
  • 1) To donate to the Crime Victim’s Treatment Center (a wonderful place in New York City) [link still to come, I’m sorry].
  • 2) To donate to Peace Over Violence (a fantastic organization in Los Angeles), go RIGHT HERE! 🙂.
    Or text AURORARUNS to 41444.
  • 3) To donate to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network – so, as it says in the title, a national organization) go RIGHT HERE! 🙂.
    It would really, really mean a lot to me if you give. Every tiny bit helps. And the more money we get now, hopefully the more people will pay attention… And the more people pay attention, hopefully the more money we get! So, please give right now. Click that button!And tell your friends!(And you can follow along with progress here.) xoxoxo
Friday, January 13th, 2017

There are a few layers to this…

I was afraid nobody would ever find me sexy again because sometimes I get overwhelmed or cry during sex. And That’s not sexy.

I was afraid no one would find me sexy because I feel like there’s some kind of “mark” on me (like an imaginary one), but a mark that I’ve been assaulted. I’m no longer one of the “good” ones.

To skip a dumb side thing (if this post is too long for you), just skip this next part between these lines:

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I was afraid no one would find me sexy because I got a weeeeird insecurity complex in large part (mainly in part) to the fact that on the morning I was assaulted (and sobbing and all that business), that man would not – wooooould. not. – stop getting on me about not having an orgasm. (Would. Not. Let. Up.)
Over and over and over in my head, I hear him making fun of me still – partially because he made fun of me for months about it. So many of the times we spoke about that morning it revolved all around the fact that I did not have an orgasm…
At first, I played along a little, doing my best to laugh it off – trying to be a “good sport,” to keep the situation “light” (too light, for sure) until it was a more appropriate place or time for “serious talk time,” but he was relentless. There’s only so much ribbing someone can take (especially for something so seemingly unfair).

I mean, I shouldn’t have been expected to have an orgasm under those conditions… And I’d orgasmed for him literally hundreds of times before…
But because I didn’t orgasm that morning, I never got to hear the end of it. Seriously. Never.

Literally in the final time we ever spoke, he took one last jab… When I was trying my best to make it wildly clear, “Hey, I felt exceptionally unsafe and you need to know that….” (because even if we weren’t gonna be friends or even acquaintances anymore, I wanted to try my best to make him understand, so that he never treated another woman this way), he said something like, “So, it’s not all about that orgasm you didn’t have… I mean… You didn’t orgasm.” *head explodes*
YES, We all know I didn’t orgasm that one time that one morning when you were not listening to a word I said – the morning I continue to have nightmares about. But please, please continue telling me how inadequate I am as a woman…

Aaaaaaaanyway, I’m tangenting (to something that may or may not come up again, who knows… It does bother me a lot, but it’s bad enough he made it all about an orgasm. I don’t want the sexual assault story to become the orgasm technique, because I really believe it’s basically a diversion. It was bad enough I was gaslit for so long, I don’t want my blog to be gaslighted as well. (I wasn’t sure which was the correct past tense, so I just used them both.)

Anyway.

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Getting to the actual important part of this post –

I was worried no one might find me sexy again, because I had this incredible fear that instead of guys being able to think of me as a sexy/strong woman who happened to be sexually assaulted – that they’d think of me as the “kind of girl who could be assaulted” – that instead of placing the blame squarely on the man who did it, that they’d think, “Oh, she must not be clear enough about her wishes. It’s risky to have sex with her… I don’t want to become an assaulter” – as if instead of being a girl who was assaulted, I’m someone who can cause a man to become that if he’s with me…

And I know that’s super faulty logic, but there are articles online written by men saying to never sleep with a woman who said she was assaulted because of those reasons… So, what if no one ever wants to sleep with me again?

Thankfully, that has not been true in the least. Men totally still want to sleep with me. Brilliant, hilarious, sweet, kind, super hot, lovely men want to sleep with me. Incredible men. Like, “Why in the world would he want to sleep with me?” type of men.

And I’m like, “Where have these men been all my adult life? Hot damn!”

In fact, side story: (And I am sharing this with the expressed permission… (maybe even a little enthusiasm ;)) of this crazy hot, crazy brilliant man I met last week.

One of those 3 men I met on the street? You bet we spent an amazing night together.

(I know some people are gonna say to be more careful. But I refuse to be afraid of being alone with men, or having sex. I’m not going to stop my life because of something that happened to me.)

And here was the best part – he seemed more and more attracted me the more he learned about my accomplishments. He seemed to think I was pretty and all, but all the running and projects and everything… He seemed to like it. I have a huge project coming up this year (post coming on the 19th) that involves both running and sexual assault. And when I told him about it, he wasn’t like, “Oh god, another one of those women obsessed with sexual assault.” He was like, “Hell yeah! Get it, girl!”

And that’s the kind of man I want to sleep with (and thankfully got to sleep with this weekend).

Smaller side story (I’m gonna say a couple of graphic things about my sex life, so please don’t read if you don’t want to hear that):

Just to show even more about his awesome feminist side – when we were out at 3 in the morning with his friends, one girl was like, “Make sure he licks your pussy. He’s gotta earn you.” (I so don’t ever think of sex as something a man “earns” because I think of it as equal and enjoyable for both of us. But…) I didn’t even have to say anything, because he piped up right away with, “Of course I’m gonna lick her pussy first!” (What?! *surprised/excited face*)

And he did. (He told me he’d read this. (Hey there!) So, I wanted to brag about him a little. (He deserves it. haha :-))

Feminist. Selfless. Giver of Orgasms. Mmm, mmm, mmm, it was nice.

I write all of this just to say to the women who love sex and want to make sure they have sex again – it’s not always easy for me anymore. I do cry sometimes. I do need to take breaks or whatever if I get overwhelmed. That hasn’t gone away. But, I have had some amaaaaaaaazing sex this year. And I believe it is so possible to have a vibrant, beautiful sex life after being assaulted.  (This, I think, is also a post for me for when I get in my head thinking, “Sex will never be the same!” It might be (it will be) frustrating sometimes… But it still has goodness (greatness) (fantastic-ness) (amazing-ness) in there.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Yes.

I mean, look. There’s something to be said for living pretty responsibly, and letting trusted friends know you’re out with strangers and where you’re going and that you’ll check in. I’m not here to argue “be insane and reckless! Yeah!”

However, I was mad back when I was trying to give my kidney to a stranger and the psychologist didn’t understand why I wasn’t afraid to travel by myself.
And I continue to be mad if a random person mentions (after for instance, I tell a story about having sex again after being sexually assaulted, or even merely going out to a bar with men I haven’t known my whole life or something)… I get mad if someone mentions like, “But, Aurora, you were sexually assaulted. So, shouldn’t you be more careful?”

Because can I please just tell you two things about this?

1) The very most super important thing about this… I was not sexually assaulted by a stranger. I was sexually assaulted by someone I knew well – like really well. He was someone I reeeeeeally trusted (and liked).

It wasn’t a man who picked me up at a bar. It wasn’t a stranger on the street. So, no, I don’t think going and meeting new people has anything to do with it (unless you want to make the argument never meet a new person again because then you could trust them and then they could turn on you, but that’s a sad argument to me, because I refuse to lose my faith in humanity as a whole).

2) If someone’s argument is “you were a victim of a crime, therefore you should be more vigilant to make sure that crime never happens to you again,” that’s a form of victim-blaming. And I know terms like “victim-blaming” and “rape culture” and all of that are used a lot, and sometimes our brain powers down a little because it all sounds like white noise. But seriously.

It is not my job to be afraid of men. It is not my job to stop having friends, or adventures, or fun, or even sex, or any of that. Am I afraid sometimes? Yes. Do I stay home sometimes because of that? Yes. But it is time to stop my life to make the trauma any more “real”? Do I have to put ten feet between me and all men for the rest of my life? No. I refuse.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Eeeep!

So, it’s been years since I’ve had meat… And when I first became a vegetarian, it was on a challenge basis. So, I imagined “meat day” after the challenge was over, when I would go on a tour of all my favorite meats and eat them all. (Yum!)

And then I got further and further away and never did it. And it started to seem less and less appealing and important.

Well, as I mentioned, over this insane (lovely) weekend, I went out with these strangers. We ended up at a bar and one of the guys bought this ginormous hamburger.

And the place was partially known for having amazing food. And the guys were all talking about how wonderful the food was. So, I was like, “Am I gonna do this, man? Am I gonna have meat?!”

And then I did.

The guys were wonderful. The ambiance was wonderful. The night was wonderful.
Tasting meat was kind of icky.

(I know! I’m sorry. I don’t wanna be one of “those vegetarians” haha)

I mean, eat your meat, meat-eaters. Eat your meat, enjoy your meat. I’m not here to judge you at all…

But for me, I’ve totally lost my taste for meat. It was like, “Ew. This is what meat tastes like? …I can tell from the thick juicy look of it, and the fact the guys are loving it that I would’ve loved this back in my meat-eating days… But alas. Now it just tastes so weird. And I could totally feel it – in the sense that if there was a little at all anywhere in my mouth between my back teeth, I felt every tiny piece of it.

It felt like it took 1,000 years to eat every last particle of that bite…

But I did it. I tried meat again to see if I was “missing” something and if it would be love at re-first bite… And I don’t think “meat day” is coming any time soon!

Monday, January 9th, 2017

One thing that’s funny to me is that I wasn’t even supposed to be here this weekend. I was gonna go back to Los Angeles. I’m a legacy runner at The New Year’s Race. Last year, they had a 19 mile option (half and 10k). This year, because of construction, they only had a 10k & 5k option… I would’ve still been willing to do it. Originally, I thought I was gonna have the whole week off. So, I’d have a chance to see friends and go to the dentist, and do all that stuff that makes going to LA super worth the trip…

But then thankfully, I kept getting extended at work. So, before you knew it, I was only gonna be in LA I think, basically 24 hours. I was barely gonna get to see anybody. And flying all the way across the country just to do a 9-mile race started to seem so silly.

Of course I would’ve loved to have seen as many people as I can… But it just didn’t make sense. If it were a race I loved and adored – if it were the SF Marathon (of which I do an event every year, because that race is my favorite), I would’ve figured out a way… But to do it just because of stubbornness, or guilt, or whatever it is that made me so worried about losing my legacy status… I was like, “I just have to start letting some of these LA things go. It was great while I was there full-time. I will absolutely hang on to Rock ‘n’ Roll LA for as long as possible…. But this one’s gotta go now.”

Also, it’s so weird how life works out in the sense that this time around, a lot of my friends were super busy, or sick, or out-of-town, etc. – so I wouldn’t have had a super fruitful trip to LA. AND I heard from some people who did the race and apparently it wasn’t anything to write home about. (Sorry. Not trying to hate on the run.) I’m just saying, from everything I can tell, I really didn’t miss anything at all by not going. (Of course, who knows. I might’ve had the adventure of a lifetime. We don’t know.)

But the point is, it’s amazing how different the same situation can be. In that, this weekend, I was supposed to go to LA and didn’t, and I had an increeeedible adventure that I loved so much. It was awesome that I did not go to LA.

But last year, in this wintertime, there was a weekend I was supposed to go to LA and didn’t, and that was the beginning of something really terrible (and pretty horrific) that happened to me… And I ask all the time, “Why didn’t I just go to LA like I planned?” (Even though there were totally valid reasons not to.) But it’s just so interesting to me that I’ve asked that question so many times. And yet, here I am a year later and the same premise happened, but the result was amazing.

You just never know what’s gonna happen…

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

This weekend was so weird and awesome.

My phone is crazy super broken and I took it to a place which is keeping it over the weekend. So, I’ve been surviving without my phone…

Which meant that instead of mobile depositing my check I got Friday, I walked down to the ATM to do it.

On my way there (around probably 1am-ish Friday night/Saturday morning), I passed 3 nice looking guys on the street.

I gave them a smile or whatever, and we passed each other. Then, they said something like, “Hey girl hey! And I turned around and smiled and they were still looking at me. So, I yelled out, “Are you tourists, or from here?” And they said tourists.

So, I walked over to them. And we became fast friends. They walked me to the ATM. Then, we went out to eat and drink together and stayed out until 4am when the Times Square bar closed.

They asked if I wanted to hang out with them the next day after their Broadway matinee.

Do I?!

It was so funny – it was like the tourists were my tour guide 🙂

They told me about this place – Basta Pasta where they serve you pasta out of this gigantic cheese wheel. We went and it was glorious.

Then, we just kept hopping all around the city.

Wall Street Bull? We went there. We went to some secret bar I’d never heard of. (It’s not even secret in the slightest. I just don’t know anything about bars. Apparently, it was listed as one of the best bars in the country. Dead Rabbit. It. was. dope.)

And I was actually super happy that I didn’t have my phone… We jumped any hurdles pretty easily about finding each other when I didn’t have my phone. And I felt more present with then than when I have my phone to check every time a night gets a tiny bit quiet.

I ended up hanging out with them all Saturday night and we even had brunch on Sunday.

It was such a sweet, wonderful, random, perfect weekend with lovely new friends! (Yay!)

Also, just a random little side note here. One of my friends told me that now I lived in Times Square, I could make brand new friends every weekend and have tons of adventures with new people… I wasn’t purposefully trying to start that train. But bam! He was right. Times Square kinda seems like maybe the place to be.

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

This Is Us BannerI don’t know how I feel about the word “problematic,” but hopefully it’s not bothersome up there in the post header.

Anyway, first off, *spoiler alert.*

Secondly, I don’t want to be the “big, mad media police.” I don’t want to be constantly critiquing people’s creative ideas and television shows and stuff… Like, I still want life to be fun and everything…

Also, I’m a fan of the show. Overall, I like it more and more as it goes on. (And Sterling K. Brown is a gift to television. I don’t know where he was before this, I just know I’m sorry I wasn’t there.)

Anyway.

The point is, even in the midst of all this love I have for the show, there was one episode that stood out as kind of upsetting to me…

There’s a couple on the show – Kate and Toby who are falling pretty quickly for each other. And there’s a scene where he asks her what she wants to do Sunday night. And she says she can’t hang out because Sunday night is when she watches football.

Then they do this whole back and forth. Of like, “I’ll watch with you.” “Oh, no thanks, I watch alone,” and then back and forth about why, or if that’s weird, etc.

They go back and forth of her declining to watch football with him four times.

Now, I see how maybe he thinks it’s a little odd that his significant other doesn’t want to watch football with him. I would think there was nothing at all wrong with him having questions (if she was willing to answer them).

We want to know the people in our lives. And we want things to make sense to us when we don’t understand them. I get that.

So, I’m not trying to say that I personally believe in the idea that if someone says they don’t want to do something (and that confuses you, or hurts your feelings), that you can’t at least just ask, “Okay, I respect that, but if you’re willing to share, may I ask why you don’t want to watch football with me?”

Nothing blaming. Nothing judgemental. Not starting a fight of angrily yelling, “Well, why the hell wouldn’t you want to watch football with me? You’re supposed to like me!”

Other people may feel differently than me – that a no is a no and you drop and move on… But to me, I think nos should be respected, but that in an attempt to better understand your partner (or to not have your feelings hurt thinking it’s something about you that makes them not want to watch football)… I personally think it’s fine to ask and understand…

But that’s not what happened.

They go back and forth of him trying to be cutesy about how boring it will be without him and how she should watch it. FOUR rounds. And on the last one, she was stern that “Hey, I watch football alone.” And she walked out of the room.

Okay, then, phew. Conversation over?

Nope.

He wrote out this glittery invitation and had someone pass it to her during their meeting. (They’re in a support group together.) So, I think it was supposed to be very adorable, this whole handmade card (awwwww), and kind of reminiscent of this adorable middle school love (like, ooooh passing it in class, look at us).

So, he invites her to watch football at his house. And she looks up, not happy… It’s written all over her face, like, “Seriously? Did we not already talk about this?”

And then he mouths words begging her, like please or whatever.

At this point, I am hoping beyond hope she’s not gonna go over there. She’s been exceptionally clear. And she was annoyed at the gesture that was supposed to be “cute,” but was totally disrespectful…

So, Kate, please don’t go.

But of course she goes. (How can she not after all this, right?)

And then she has a terrible time (of course), and (respectfully) leaves early. Then when he sees her later, he is a little annoyed that she left. And when they’re talking about it he asks why she came if she didn’t want to be there.

And it’s like, “Are you kidding? Why did she go? Why did she go when you judged her decision so hard to watch alone? Why did she go when you *would not* give up on the idea that you wanted to watch with her? Why did she go when she felt like she’d be hurting the feelings of someone she cared about if she didn’t? She was backed into a corner. How does she not go?”

And *instead of* it becoming a nice conversation about boundaries and such, it becomes a conversation about how her dad had died, and she used to watch football with him… And in the very next act, we see her and this guy watching football together with her dad’s urn.

What did we learn from this? She had a silly boundary and a man came in and was able to fix it – in one episode. We do not talk about his total lack of respect for her very clear wishes.

And it just felt problematic to me because this is the kind of thing we are fed over and over and over and over. “Woman doesn’t want to do something? Man swoops in and saves her. She should definitely do that thing with him.” And he’s painted as the hero for ‘breaking down a wall’ or whatever, not the villain for disrespecting her wishes.

And I will say that there’s some nuance to this (as there is everything in life), in the sense that earlier in the show, he actually had kind of pushed her a little, and it seemed helpful to her… The way it *appeared* to me (but of course, I could be wrong), is that with this other stuff, she *wanted* to do it, but was afraid… She *wanted* to go to the Hollywood party, but she didn’t feel very confident, so it was more of a “okay, well, then grab my hand and let’s go together.” Whereas, with this, she was very clear she wanted to watch football alone.

To me, it kind of goes back to this idea of there being two different types of nervous. And, while I respect the people making This Is Us… I really think, in this scenario, they showed us (and normalized) the wrong one.