Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Aurora before Divas TemeculaMy first Divas race! (Finally.)

I’ve been hearing about this race series since the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks. If you do 5 in a year, you get this “Supreme Diva” plaque. And I was like, “yeeeeeeah, I’m not gonna do some if I can’t do 5, because I might as well just get the plaque.”

And alas, now we are in a year where 5 makes sense. I was barely able to fit them all in the schedule with the various Rock ‘n’ Roll races I need to do, but exactly 5 can fit. (Although, now with the cancellation of Queretaro, I actually have 6 available Divas races available. Wiggle room. Cool.)

Anyway, I heard that if you’re gonna do a Divas race, you gotta do Temecula. Apparently it has the coolest medals and nicest swag. (As of now, it’s the only one I’ve done. So, I have nothing to compare it to. Ask me again in October.)

Originally, a friend was going to take me to Temecula, but he was called away on business. So, I posted in this random running Facebook group (that I recently found this year and love), asking if anyone was driving from LA to Temecula. And a sweet girl wrote me back, offering to drive. (Yaaaaay!)

I woke up around 2 am, and we ended up leaving around 3ish. (So. Early.)

You had to get there early to take a shuttle from the parking lot to the vineyard. They were pretty intense in the race instructions about getting there on an early shuttle to be sure you had time to get your packet (if you hadn’t picked it up the day before). So, we obliged.

We had a nice drive talking about future races and goals and all that fun stuff.

When we got our packets, everybody got race jackets (not the thin loud ones, but just like a zip-up warm thing), and pink light-up tutus.

As for the race itself, I was actually wondering how I could talk about it any differently than I did about the races I did in wine country from the 52 half marathons. ‘Cause it felt kind of the same – animals, quiet, scenery.

We had to walk over some wooden things that kept mud away from us, so it was nice those were down. That was something random and different about this race…

And that leads to talking about the weather – which leads to talking about losing my coat! And that’s what’s different about this – the race where I oh so irresponsibly lost my coat.

It rained like craaaaaazy in SoCal the day before this. A video was posted online about how outdoor steps at a parking garage had basically become a waterslide. Sinkholes were happening. It was crazy. People were saying they couldn’t even make it to packet pick-up. Driving seemed too dangerous (or maybe even a little impossible).

Weather forecasts called for all of that the next day too. It was supposed to rain during the whole race. So, I went in my full coat (as I did for the San Antonio Marathon in December – it poured there and that coat kept me going!).

But alas, it just kept not raining. It was so hot.

During the 5k, I whipped my coat off as I could not bear to wear it anymore. I ran across the street (in the lane where people were turning around), and hung it on a fence post – thinking that someday, when I get to that turnaround, I’ll just grab it.

Or not.

It was nowhere to be found at the end of the race. I asked the race people if they had any idea where it could be. I told them I was well aware it was my fault it was gone and I can’t expect to leave something and have it be there. But I was just hoping maybe since it was hung, not thrown, and since it was a big winter coat – just maybe it would be around?

Even if it had been picked up – I hoped maybe clothes wouldn’t have been taken in yet to whatever place they were donating them to… And I could rummage through whatever was there. But alas, my coat was nowhere to be found. So, that was a bummer. It had some stuff in the pocket that would’ve been nice to have (including a little cash and a credit card).

BUT, I’m the idiot who just left my coat there. I see how I could’ve been hopeful, maybe, since there was a turnaround… But, I also see how I was willing to take the gamble because I was so very hot (on this day that was supposed to be miserable with rain).

So, that covers it – ran through dirt, but around leftover mud, got a really cool medal, lost my coat (and the Divas staff was very nice and forgiving about it). Made a new friend randomly through social media.

After the race, we went and ate together. Then when I got home, I jumped in the hot tub and one my best friends in the world came by and joined me and we had dinner together.

California was so very beautiful and I really cannot wait to tell you all about it. But first…

After dinner, I went and got on a redeye. That’s right. I have a race tomorrow in Florida. So, it’s bedtime now!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

(This is sort of a post of me ruminating on my insecurities of any part of my story that isn’t perfect (because no one is, but goodness I wish I could’ve been). Anyway, I think it’s probably skippable if you feel this story’s getting too long and you wanna skip forward.)

Picking up from last time –

It’s hard to say, “Well, I left because of this guy” for a couple of reasons. The main one is because I can practically hear people yelling, “Didn’t you leave because you weren’t doing well? Are you going to use sexual assault as an excuse to make up for your poor ‘grades’?” (I put grades in quotes there because you don’t get actual letter grades at BMI…)

And I don’t know what to say to that. Because it is true that I was not doing well.

I am not using, nor did I use, sexual assault as anything other than what it was  – a terrible life event/obstacle that I needed help getting over.

It did, I suppose, potentially (that remains to be seen) “help” me (I guess, kinda, if you want to look at it that way), in the sense that I now get to repeat BMI, and I wasn’t doing well (and I wouldn’t have asked had that not happened to me), and I might do better next time… But, that wording of “help” still feels very off… I mean, there are no words that I can think of that can accurately be used to describe this situation, because it’s not like sexual assault could ever be a “happy accident,” or “good timing,” or a “blessing in disguise.” It did push me to ask for something I wanted (to repeat) and wouldn’t have otherwise. But it’s not a happy thing.

And, aside from picking the “correct” words, even if you do think that I gained something (deferment) because of it, I didn’t “use” sexual assault for a second chance at the class. I did not mention, not even allude to it in my email to the co-moderator of the class… He was giving me a second chance because I wasn’t doing well. I only took that second chance/asked for it because I couldn’t stand to be around the perpetrator so frequently anymore.

And I also think the idea that things turned out better because of sexual assault is not true… As much as I would not want to be failing out of BMI, quite honestly, if that was the only other option, I think I would happily take that instead of the nightmares, and having trouble connecting with other people, and all of that business….

I wish I would’ve been doing well (obviously – both because that would’ve been nice, and because anyone reading this could definitively know without any doubt that the reason I left was because of being sexual assaulted… There’s already so much self-blame and societal blame when you’re assaulted that I just wish everything were perfect and I wish I were perfect… So, there didn’t have to be any questions of what was my fault or wasn’t – or whether it “benefited” me in any humanly possible way…)

But it’s also almost nice (for me) to know I wasn’t doing well… It is already devastatingly heartbreaking enough that I had to leave…. But having to leave a program where I’m floundering has to be easier than disappearing from one in which I’m thriving as the queen… (Or at least, I think it must be easier… I wouldn’t know, really.)

And I know this also might feel a little like, “Hey girl, how defensive do you have to be? When people are so defensive, it usually means they know they’re in the wrong [or something like that].” And to that, I just say, I think people can also be defensive when they’re defending the truth. Stuff matters. And this matters to me. And people blame women all the time for sexual assault – they look for all the reasons why it’s her fault. No matter how open and shut the case is, it still often comes back to “but why was she wearing that?” “Why did she drink” “Why wasn’t she paying more attention?” And a litany of other questions. So, I know that an inevitable question (or statement) will be, “But she wasn’t doing well in the class anyway, so what does it matter?”

And I guess maybe to some extent that’s a tiny bit true, in that does it “matter” if I wasn’t doing well? What was going to come of that class for me if I wasn’t doing well? …But I just feel like even if I’m failing, I should still have the right to fail wildly and feel at least safe while doing so. I technically could’ve maybe, perhaps, maybe, just a little, turned things around. Maybe.

It’s just not fair…

Oh and that second reason at the top that it’s hard to say “I left because of this guy” that I mentioned at the top? I felt very very weird about making a decision basically based on a man. These same thoughts will come up again when I decide to not go back the following school year. So, I will get more into them in the next post. But for now, suffice it to say I never thought I would make any decision off some boy. And I know it’s so much more complicated than that. But uuuugh.

And we’ll get into that next time.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
Aurora selfie tired after the New Orleans marathon

(I only have selfies because I was so tired and barely anyone was around to take photos haha)

Picking up from last time –

Just as I was about to the final bit – At the white barriers that lead you into the finish line, I heard “I hear we have our last finisher coming in!” – about the person right in front of the race vehicle (the race vehicle driven by the woman who’s mad at me – all other race vehicles are still tailing me).

Oh my gosh. I am SO close! I can literally see the finish. I bet I can get in before the timing mat comes up…

Then, just as I’m about to pass the guys pulling up the “New Orleans 2017 sticker off the ground” (like, I am SO ridiculously close at this point), a woman’s like “you gotta get out of here”

She’s very firm about it, basically literally blocking my path with her body telling me I can’t be in there.

And I’m thinking “wow, they were not kidding about that forfeit thing. I *barely* didn’t beat the van and they are cloooosing down the finish line”

But then the guys taking up the sticker (and someone else by the barrier) are all like “she’s fine. She’s fine.”

And so I say thanks and start to move forward, but the woman’s like “you can’t go that way!”

And then I’m asking how I leave the barriers (still hoping to figure out a way to run over the timing mat before they take it up). And it’s very confusing ’cause I’m getting down to crawl out from the barriers and keep moving forward. But she seems to be suggesting I turn around and leave the area completely, just not going toward the finish.

And I don’t 100% understand why she’s acting like not only closing down the finish line, but not letting a runner go anywhere near it would be totally normal and not frustrating for a runner… Like, she seems to not understand why I want to keep going forward… So, it’s this whole bru-ha-ha of confusion that no one really understands is happening until…

Someone (I think one of the guys taking the sticker off the ground) says something like “she’s fine. She’s right here. Just let her finish.”

And the woman says emphatically, “she’s not a runner!”

And I yell out “I am!” Weirdly enough some people around me also yell out “she is,” even though I guess they don’t actually know any more than she would. So, I don’t understand why they know or why they’re so caring, but I’m glad they are.

Anyway, she’s like “where’s your bib?”
TA-DA!

Thank goodness I was able to pull it out of my pocket. And I went on.

And I could hear that woman behind me saying “I heard them say the last runner was crossing, and she didn’t have her bib. How was I supposed to know?”

And I felt really bad that she seemed to feel bad like she messed up or something, because her point was very valid.

Anyway, I went on down that last little stretch, and then I saw Annie. And she was like “wait! One more runner! I know you.” And she was saying nice things about me in the mic. And she came to greet me. And I said, “The timing’s mat’s still down, right?! I’m gonna get to finish?!”

And she was like “we got you!”

She said into the mic, “Keep the timing mat down for one more!” And I ran on through and got my medal and the remix medal and the jacket – oh that illustrious marathon jacket…

(And the woman in the van did not have a happy face on that I refused her orders *and* still got to finish, for anyone who’s wondering.)

If it had  truly come down to it, I suppose I would’ve rather finished the actual distance and not gotten a medal (if that really had to happen – even though that would’ve had some dire consequences on the year-long-plan, oof…) than the other way around… but thankfully, I got both! (Yay!)

(By the way, I know I was being a little selfish, and I did take longer than I should have. So, while this is sort of a story of persistence and stubbornness and finishing, it’s also possible the story of an entitled girl who expected bent rules. So, I am sorry to the extra strain I put on the people around me. And THANK YOU so much for letting me finish! And onward we go!! :-))

(We’re now 45.5 miles in to this project! :-))

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Aurora with her New Orleans marathon medalPicking up from last time –

So, once I got to the halfway point, I was around 3 hours and 30 minutes – not ideal, but close enough that I thought, “I can do this. I’ve gotta do this.” So, forget that out I gave myself to just do the half if I wanted. I kept on going on the full course.

Between mile 23 and 24, a woman slowed down beside me in the race vehicle and started to tell me she was gonna “give me a little bump,” and I was like “nope.”

And she seemed really taken aback – like apparently no one else had fought with her (or at least her reaction would’ve made you think that).

I felt if I could get to mile 23, I’d be safe – because we were back in the park. They weren’t holding up major streets anymore. So, I felt safer in the idea that if I fell behind, it might not be the end of the world.

When she tried to convince me, I was like “I’ll just walk on the sidewalk. I’m a pedestrian now.”

And she said “if you get in, you’ll still get a medal. If you don’t, we’re not responsible for you. You forfeit your right to be in the race”

And I was like “okay. I’m not getting in.” (‘Cause that’s not a marathon if I ride part of the way.)

Then she was like “well, I have to take your bib if you’re forfeiting…”

I’d read that if someone chooses not to board the van, they had to give up their bib.

Well, I want to keep all of my race bibs. Plus, I was still preeeeetty certain that I was gonna get to the finish before they’d totally torn it down – even if they had torn some stuff down… it was a gamble, but I know they don’t just snap their fingers and all of the sudden the timing mat is up – and I wasn’t *that* far behind…

So I took a gamble…

And I wanted to make *sure* I still had my bib on me, in case I could pass the van (or even come in after it, before the finish line is down).

So, knowing I was falling behind, I put my bib in my pocket when nobody was looking. And when that woman told me I had to give it up, I was like “a friend came by and took it for me,” which doesn’t really make sense any sense at all, and also I was a big liar, and I’m 99.999% certain she knew I was lying. (Go listen to my appearance on the Runner of a Certain Age Podcast, and you’ll hear more. :-)) But even though she knew I was lying, since she couldn’t see my bib, and I guess maybe felt she couldn’t ask to see my pockets, she angrily passed me by.

I tried to stay out of the way, and on the shoulder and sidewalks and stuff, but, even still, a huge caravan of vehicles followed me.

I almost made a wrong turn at some point, and the cop told me I had to turn right to stay on course. And this wave of gratitude and hope washed over me. “He’s helping me to stay on course? He wants to help me and make sure I finish?”

“Are they gonna let me finish,” I asked full of hope. And he told me yes!

As I said, originally, the race vehicles were trying to convince me to board the shuttle. (It’s funny because after refusing, I later caught up to (and passed) a spot where they were boarding a ton of people – but then I fell behind again when they drove right passed me, ’cause you know… they were in a vehicle, and I was not.)

And the one woman was not happy that I was refusing. (I get it. I’m sure it was annoying for her.) But the other sweeping race vehicle, just joined on board with my pursuit and even asked me if I wanted water. (Isn’t that sweet? :-))

And I’ll finish here next time.

Sunday, February 5th, 2017
A sign at a marathon that says "alternative fact: You're almost there"

(My favorite sign. This was taken at mile 7 of 26.2 hahahaha)

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, baby!

I remember loving this one from the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks. And it was just as lovely as I remember it…

I mean… I’m pretty sure the route had to be different, because I remember some streets that were something that wasn’t normal road – cobblestone maybe or something like that?

Anyway, the point is, I don’t remember seeing that this time around. I know my last Nola race was 5 years ago, so what would I know really about the route? But I think there was a change and somebody can tell me if I was right – if they want. 🙂

Aaaaaaaaanyway, the gist was the same though – all those fantastic jazz bands. Horns everywhere. I love the vibe.

I also forgot how much New Orleans wants to eff you up – even early in the morning. The alcohol is always flowing. There was a stop with vodka martinis. There was a stop with a sign that said “Beer free, water $5.” There was a stop with mimosas. (All unofficial race stops, just for the record.) But if you wanted to be drunk while you did your marathon… New Orleans had your back!

The crowd was great. Bands were great. Everything was great.

Since I did the half last time (and wanted to do something more/new/exciting), and since I’ve gotta get 882 miles in this year, I was going after the marathon!

I did mentally give myself a *bit* of an out. I knew that if I switched down to the half, I could still make up those miles. (I’ve got room in my schedule.) Also, I’m trying to do 3 Rock ‘n’ Roll full marathons this year (because they have a sweeeet new heavy medal for doing 3 in one year). And I knew I had 3 other marathons that were possible…

But that meant, if I didn’t do this one, I was painting myself into a corner. I’m leaving no space for a bad day or a sick day or what have you in any of the three possible ones in the future (the ones that have the long time limit – San Diego, Savannah, and San Antonio). And quite honestly, I’m kinda hoping I get the three marathons in before San Antonio so I can switch down to the half (since I’ve already done the full), and have more time to enjoy the city.

Anyway, I knew a marathon was preferable, but a half was possible. And of course, as I keep saying lately, work had been busy, life had been busy, whatever. My sleep schedule was a bit messed up (as per usual).

I’d heard from a number of people that you the New Orleans full is awful – that you split off so close to the half finishers that you can *hear* them finishing and all the cheering and everything… and that the back half is lonely and boring – many spectators aren’t around, etc.

I mean, I heard it over and over and over from so many people. “That’s the worst half of the series. Don’t do it.”

But I thought, “It cannot be that bad.” And in my opinion, it really wasn’t. I don’t know if it’s because I was told to expect the worst of what. But I didn’t think it was so bad.

I mean, yes. I did hear the half finishers. But that happens in other marathons. That tooooootally happens at my favorite marathon (the San Francisco marathon). You know. It’s whatever. And yes, technically, it did feel like there were fewer spectators in the second half. But there was this out and back that had awesome blaring upbeat pop music. I felt they were really making a party, as much as they could, out of those back miles.

I actually felt I really found my stride around mile 19. I saw runners coming back from the other way, so I felt their energy. The music was great. I got a jolt of energy!

That super energy did not last though…  As we will get into next time.

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Picking up from yesterday –

I quit because of sexual assault guy.

I said in my BMI story that I sent a co-moderator of my class an email asking what to do as I was struggling so much I basically felt like I was drowning.

I sent it on March 11th (late at night).

I could’ve sent it after my comedy song was a bust (you know, after I said I “knew” (ish) BMI was kind of over for me) – a song which was performed on February 1st, almost 6 weeks earlier. But I didn’t. Because while I might’ve felt that was my nail in the coffin – that I did not know how to come back from that – I was not actually giving up until someone dragged me out… Or, until, well, this whole mess you’ve been reading about.

I don’t think there’s any level a song could’ve bombed that would’ve made me send that email. I remember the first day of BMI – the talk we got. I knew we weren’t supposed to reach out for anything. I knew we were supposed to tough it through, and on and on, no matter what happened. (They didn’t want to hear about collaborator fights and all that.) There was no bad performance, no bad song, no bad collaboration – nothing with a song that I can possibly have imagined that would’ve been so bad that I would’ve felt comfortable sending that email.

Nope.

Instead, I kept fighting through.

And then.

February 21st happened – the day of the second assault.

I went to class on the 22nd – still thinking at the time that it was just a bad misunderstanding for which he’d apologize and everything would be fine… I was so sure that after time passed, and that guy and I had the opportunity to sit and calmly talk about what happened, outside of that crazy time in the morning when everything seemed to get so awful so quickly and tensions were high – that things would be okay. But early the next day I got that eviscerating email.

“Okay… Well… After he takes a hot second to cool down, we’ll talk and things will be okay,” I still thought (or at least desperately hoped). (It’s like I’m freaking Homer Simpson with that pig. “It’s just a little airborne! It’s still good. It’s still good!”)

Anyway, that was a crazy week – my first day as an editor, and practically feeling like I was gonna have a meltdown from all this (and some craziness at work that we never talked about here – you’re gonna have to take me to Denny’s if you want that part), and then getting the pep talk to end all pep talks from someone I really admired, as it felt like my life was falling apart. So, the week moved forward. And I somehow survived the next class. (That pep talk really made me re-think how to re-tackle BMI.)

Yet, even after another week of class, still no talk with sexual assault guy. Tension was building, but I’ll be okay. I mean, hey, the following weekend, I got to go home! 🙂

So, the weekend of March 5, I was in LA, baby! I had a paid acting gig, I was booked for a stand-up set, and even got to have sex with someone I had a long history with, and missed dearly, and was so thankful to be with – the first time I had sex after that second assault. (But that’s for a different post on a different day.)

Anyway. So… I’m working. I’m performing. I’m having some healthy fun sex again, maybe. Everything is better now, right?

Wrong. I get back to New York, and even if I got to escape for the weekend, nothing has been resolved here. I go to class again. And of course at some point on that class day (whether it’s before, during, or after my class since I’m still trying to keep his identity safe here), of course I see the face of that man. And it’s… I mean, traumatizing is a dramatic but probably correct word – I was feeling traumatized a lot in that time period…

And I very much struggle paying attention in class that day. Instead of being aware of what’s going on in class, I sit in the back and try to make a list of stuff I’m thankful for… That’s gotta help, right? Maybe? *sigh* Who knows?

And during that week, after my class, tension continues to build. And this fight/uncomfortable-ness/traumatizing event/everything that I hoped was all just going to be one big awful misunderstanding that I thought was going to blow over in the matter of a few days – it doesn’t go away or feel any better. Sexual assault guy is still giving me the silent treatment.

And as the weekend draws nearer (and so does class), and I still can’t sleep, and I had that super weird half-interaction with the guy in the midst of trying to figure out how to make a “comeback” at BMI, and he’s still super mad, I just can no longer take this overbearing stress/trauma. (I’m sorry for potentially overusing the word “trauma.” I just don’t know how to get across how serious and how overbearing and how awful these few weeks were – seeing him while I was still having nightmares, not being “allowed” to talk to him because he’s mad at me, feeling like I have to make things right even though I’ve been really, really wronged.

I hate how “dramatic” it sounds. But it was awful, and I’m unsure how to totally get that across… Anyway, back to the that time –

I’m feeling very pushed out of BMI. I’m exceptionally tired and broken down, exhausted, stressed. I’m even dealing with some PTSD-type symptoms (even if I don’t quite yet, at the time, realize how serious this all really is, and that it’s time for help and therapy and such).

I do not know what else to do at this point. I am (figuratively) very much drowning. So, I finally reach out for some base level help (just at BMI, not thinking about the bigger picture of therapy and all that jazz).

I reach out to one of the co-moderators in the most innocuous way I can. ‘Cause I don’t want to start “drama.” And I don’t want to get in “trouble.” So, I write an email just focusing on how I’m obviously struggling in class (which I am). And the co-moderator writes back being helpful, giving me an option to quit, and saying we can talk about it in person.

And the next BMI thing I went to was the one where the room was practically overflowing with people (it was so full, it was obviously more than just my class for those keeping score at home), and I ended up sitting next to sexual assault dude because I came late from work and there was literally no other place to sit anywhere in sight. (Of course.)

And even though that interaction was “fine,” and he was shockingly nice for someone who’d been so staunchly adamant that I do not speak to him… It was *exceptionally* stressful.

Yet again, I had the hardest time concentrating on what was going on in the room or who was talking about what. I just like felt his energy next to me. Was he mad? Was he going to yell at me later? And just a general uncomfortability in that the last time I’d been that close to him, he was climbing on top of me while I had tears in my eyes – completely ignoring me when I told him (out loud) that I was crying because he made me uncomfortable.

And weirdly enough, even though the situation was actually “fine,” and we made small talk afterward and everybody survived, having to sit by him at a BMI event was actually sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. And that, serendipitously, was the night I got to talk to the co-moderator of my class about quitting.

And I (kinda) knew I needed to quit indeed.

Of course I still had hopes that ultimately things would get “resolved” between me and sexual assault guy. And I worked at that for months (unfortunately, as you know). But separating it from BMI was helpful for me. Getting out of a situation where I often had to see him in exchange for going on our timetable (and feeling at least slightly freer of having to see him) was important and necessary – even if it was kind of crummy to feel like my only option out was quitting BMI.

But, BMI as an institution was as nice about it as they could be (even when they had no idea about everything that was going on – they just knew I was struggling, and they were still kind and understanding).

And this is where I’ll pick up after we talk about the New Orleans race weekend 🙂

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Picking up from last time –

Anyway, so after the second assault occurred (and getting away from sexual assault for a second and focusing on my BMI life outside of sexual assault guy) –

A few weeks after my comedy song that was a complete and total mess – I met with a person who sort of, kind of, became my my mentor (ish) (someone who knows a ton about BMI and is someone I really trust). He gave me a super inspiring talk. And part of that inspiring talk was him, very gently and wonderfully, giving me fantastic ideas on how to try to make my BMI comeback (if I wanted to) – how to really give it one last huge push.

And I did try for a hot millisecond. But it was impossible to do it without crossing paths way too often with sexual assault dude. (You know? …I tried to throw a party for some BMI people and had a super weird exchange with sexual assault dude… And then that whole party kind of fell apart and didn’t happen – in large part because I ultimately decided I’d quit BMI before the party would’ve happened.)

And maybe I didn’t even have to throw my own shindig! I could’ve gone to other stuff… But it was stuff where I knew that guy would be. One thing available to go to, he was even helping to organize… So, could I go to that, or not? If I had taken a break from BMI stuff before (which I had) and now I started going (after this guy wrote an email saying he didn’t want to talk to me), was that going to look bad – like I was purposefully trying to get closer to him and ignore his wishes?

But also, should he be allowed to make me feel like I need to slink away from my own school activities because I said something on social media (that didn’t even mention him) that made him feel bad? Like, yes. That was wrong and I feel bad. And I hate comparing wrongs and being like “but what I did wasn’t as bad!” That leads to ridiculous fights and to not taking responsibility for things… But. Objectively… He assaulted me – twice. And I reached out to friends online when someone hurt my feelings. And I’m the one who has to feel pushed out?

(Also, I know he didn’t actually say, “Don’t come to BMI stuff.” But I also know that he was incredibly angry with me, and the less he could see me the better… And some BMI things are big, but many are small. So, we would’ve been in close quarters. And I was so freaking worried about his comfort and his timetable and all of that….)

Ugh. Anyway, back to the comeback speech I just wanted to roll with those ideas. And had it not been for sexual assault guy, and the “optics” of whether I was “trying to be around him,” (ugh) and had I not had my super worry that maybe just by being around I’d make him uncomfortable – I potentially could’ve tried harder.

I don’t know if you’re yelling at me – but I am.

Even writing this now, I’m thinking, “Aurora. Are you kidding me? A man physically assaults you not once, but twice(!)… And then you write a very innocuous (and very anonymous) social media post that happens to be about him, in which you’re partially asking for opinions of whether you’re overreacting to having your feelings hurt by something he did (when I don’t even mention sex in the post), and I even try to partially give his point of view (and why I might be overreacting)…

And then I think that what I did was wrong enough that now I need to just let him be king of BMI? I have to just hand it to him? He physically assaults me twice and now I have to stay away from him to make him more comfortable?”

It seems ludicrous when I’m reading it.

And I don’t really know what to say to that…. I mean, I know I never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. So, while I did have my own education to worry about, I wanted to kind of try to give him the space he wanted. I realize he did the “worse” thing, I guess… But that doesn’t mean I felt good about doing a bad thing – about making him feel like his privacy was violated (no matter anonymous my post on social media was)… And I didn’t think the silence would last 30 days… I kept thinking maybe if we work this out, things will return to normal… Focus on the problem at hand, then worry about BMI. I think that was kind of sort of part of my mindset back then as I somehow try to explain not just to you – but to me – why I’d so easily fall away.

I do also understand at the time that I was under a tremendous amount of stress and just trying to get through. It was hard to imagining thriving when I just had an eye on surviving, basically.

I know that when talking to him is making me physically ill to the point of vomiting that that’s not gonna make me excited to go to places where he is. I know that when getting flashbacks, or even taking a shower (because of how he touched me in the shower), is causing me to having panic attacks for the first time in my life that I’m not gonna be excited to see his face… When nightmares of him wake me in a sweat with a racing heart… Is seeing his face in person gonna seem fun in any way? Or potentially even palatable?I get why – even if I wasn’t thinking about him or his comfort level – even if I was only thinking about me and mine – why I wouldn’t want to go to a place where he was.

Would I have made a play for my big giant comeback had it not been for him? I like to believe I would’ve. Again, I cannot 100% know for sure. Because that’s not how it happened.

And had I made a play for that comeback, would it have worked?

I do not know. It is possible I was too far gone from connecting with the group about BMI at that time… But will I ever have the opportunity to know with certainty that regardless of being assaulted those results would’ve been the same? No. I can’t know that. And that hurts a lot.

And I have one more post in this series tomorrow.