A couple weeks ago I was on my LinkedIn account and checked “people you may know” to see if there was anyone new in there. Right at the top was a guy who used to sexually harass me at work long ago. Hadn’t seen his face in close to 20 years so it was a bit of a startle.

If you remember a few months back, it was one of my dating websites where my rapist popped up. That was fun.

A couple weeks ago I went to a wake for friends in the old neighborhood and one of the guys who came to pay respects is the same kid who used to call me “pink porker,” egged my house, prank called my house many times and shaving creamed our front door with “pink porker.” I have rested easy over the years knowing he has only daughters so there would be high likelihood he would experience as a father some of the things my parents experienced as they watched their daughter get bullied and their home defaced. I certainly don’t wish these things on his children. I just know the odds of karma getting him are very good should one of his daughters not be skinny or pretty enough….or, heaven forbid she is creative instead of an athlete.

When I talked to my mom the day after the wake I told her I saw him. She vividly remembered him. She also easily recollected the time she used *69 to call him back and threaten him. I mean really, descriptively threaten him. She was no joke back then. Although I did joke with her and say “see, that’s why no one wanted to play at our house.” She laughed but then asked me if I would have had her do anything differently. Absolutely not, Mom. You were flawless in that moment. You scared the shit out of him because that phone never rang again from his house. Then I told her that, while I may still not be skinny, he is little, overly skinny with a big nose and his head is too big for his body. I am far more attractive than he will ever be. He married his high school girlfriend which makes him lucky because he wouldn’t have done that well on his own down the road. Like my mom always said when I was a kid “you are pretty and you can always change your weight. There are plenty of thin people who are ugly and you can’t fix ugly.”

Today, someone doubted my honesty or thought I was overreacting to something. Whichever one it is upsets me equally. I have many dents in my personality. I have been eating tuna casserole for dinner for the last 4 nights and there is a box of Russell Stover valentine’s candy in the food cabinet….for the 4th week in a row. I harass the guy who runs my townhouse association to tell him when it’s going to snow and when I will be home from work so that he digs out my parking spot and walkway since it wouldn’t get done otherwise. I am ridiculously direct in the way I speak and sometimes don’t think of how that feels on the receiving end. I have hurt a lot of feelings. I fell in a bathroom stall once and cracked my skull open on a toilet – ambulance to the ER and 14 stitches on my scalp. And yes, I was drinking heavily which would have been explanation enough but based on how I fell, I really know I was sticking my fingers down my throat trying to throw up bar peanuts.

I pick at my zits even though I am 43 years old. Honestly, I don’t even know why I have zits at this age. I can’t get the dog to stop licking the floors constantly and giving himself hairballs. I watch Real Housewives on Bravo – just OC, BH and NYC. I watch Vanderpump Rules. I have even started watching Married at First Sight. I drove into my parents’ mailbox last year and fled the scene. I embarrass my mother a lot still, I think. I wear the same sweatpants in my house for a couple weeks before washing them. I shop at Market Basket…but not in my dirty sweatpants. I don’t actually leave the house in them.

I have PTSD. Sometimes I can’t control my reactions to things in the moment. I get angry quickly which wouldn’t happen if I had time to think things through. I frequently have to double back with people to apologize or clarify myself. I was in a 1 hour active shooter training last week and had to pinch my finger under the table for a good chunk of it to keep from throwing up. Everyone else was trying to imagine how awful it would be to experience a bombing or active shooter situation. I was actually reliving it. It’s embarrassing to not have control over that. I proceeded to wake myself and the dog up the next few nights because I was yelling in my sleep.

I have to take medication so I can get out of bed every day. I sometimes have to take medication to sleep at night. I have to take medication to keep from over eating. I lost 80 pounds having surgery because I failed at 30 years of dieting. I’m still afraid to wear the color pink.

I orate stories and throw a little flair and humor into the telling of them. I guess that makes people think I am making things up which is definitely a misconception because that I don’t do. I find colorful ways to share but what I share is truthful. I have a weird life, I don’t need to embellish. It speaks for itself. I value my integrity and honesty above everything. For the most part, my reputation is those 2 things. Most people know they can trust me and that I will bust my ass to do the right thing even if it causes me criticism or difficulty. If you tell me something really personal, it does actually stay with just me. I’ve always got your back and everything I do is done with consideration of what’s best for others…even when I make mistakes in my approach. This world doesn’t build that many people like me. When it does, they are usually broken down. I have people coming from every direction always trying to break me down and I am still solid. That’s really rare.

Driving home tonight I couldn’t understand why I started to tear up today when I realized someone thought I was either lying or being overly dramatic. I didn’t cry when looking at online photos of my harasser or rapist. I didn’t cry after I saw my bully at the wake. I started to cry when I realized there could be a perception of me as a liar or exaggerator. And then it became clear. Being harassed and assaulted were both stories where I was thought to be lying or overreacting. I wasn’t in either case. But everyone thought I was. There were times in court when that concept was more painful than the attack itself. It was a secondary attack.

I have spent my life under attack. “You are too sensitive…too lazy…too fat.” “Why can’t you be more like so and so…why don’t you sign up for soccer like so and so?” Every family issue that happened when I was a kid was my fault, never my parents. Because I am a writer and was an English major in college, I must had been making up my rape because that’s what creative writers do. I was an extra talented, trained, workshopped, college published liar because I knew how to use my words. Funny…. I remember using my words when I said “no” but I guess that’s an exception.

Sarcasm, creativity, good vocabulary, a writing hobby and story telling personality do not equate to dishonesty or overreaction. They are just personality traits I happen to have. For some reason, they are considered bad and things I am supposed to apologize for all the time. Fine. But to equate them to anything other than what they are – someone who can be interesting at a party once she overcomes her shyness; someone who can express herself in writing without the fright of making eye contact – is wrong. I should not have to accept anyone’s perception of me being dishonest or overreacting. Those are not fair leaps to make.

What I share so openly with so many people is a bit of a privilege, I think. I am comfortable letting people into my world and being vulnerable because I trust the people in my world to understand the heart of me is pretty pure and if I am willing to share my stuff, it’s safe for you to do the same. I’m the friend who makes it ok for you to be you including all your flaws and bad television choices. I can feel your soul when I am talking to you. That’s a nice thing.

So yeah, this one got inside the armor today. I don’t lie and I don’t overreact to important things which impact outcomes to others. I don’t fuck around with making decisions that impact the lives of others. I fuck around with myself but never with others. And a liar doesn’t tell you she was trying to vomit purposely when she split her head open. She also doesn’t put herself through 2 rape trials because she is experimenting with creativity. That’s what blogging is for.