Month: February 2016

Learning My Boundaries

Alright. Fair warning- this is a really dark post and I’m a little bit afraid of posting it but I don’t think some men understand how shitty they are and I don’t think some people understand how hard it is to live after sexual trauma.

Trigger warning- rape, sexual assault, suicide

Fuck, why am I writing this?

Why am I about to tell you the actual thoughts bopping about in my head?

Right now I very literally want to die. I want to crawl into a ball and shrink and shrink until nothing exists anymore. I want to find any possible way to end the feelings and the thoughts in my head.

Because of one asshole.

Let me tell you a story. It should be pretty short but I’m sure I’ll make it longer than it needs to be.

I work at like 30 million restaurants. A good thing for this particular blog post because I’m about to talk to you about a coworker at one of my jobs.

I recently met this individual at work. On Valentine’s day, while we were working he and I had our first real conversation.

He got my number in that conversation. No big deal because we work together and that info is readily available.

That night, after I had worked a double, he asks me to hang out. I tell him I’m tired but he gets pushy and weird. Sending me hella texts and emojis and whatever- my housemate, E, told me to stop talking to this guy because he’s weird and coming on way too strong. I had to agree with E.

Fast forward to tonight. Between V-day and tonight he has probably asked me to hang out 15-20 times. And every time I say no- whether I’m working, tired, or just don’t want to- he makes it about himself. “Oh, so you don’t want to talk to me.” “Oh, so you don’t actually want to hang out you just gave me your number for no reason.” blah blah.

Clearly this guy is a dick. Also clearly (in everything I ever do….ever) I am tooooo nice.

So tonight I had to go back to job #1 to get my coat ’cause I forgot it when I left for job #2. Guy I Work With happened to just be getting off of work, so he told me to come out for a drink with him.

He told me to come out for a drink with him.

There was no opportunity to say no. It wasn’t a question.

Yes, guys. I know logically that whenever I don’t want to do something that is all the “explanation” I need to give. Just. No. Fuck you. I want to go home. I am tired and I don’t want to go out with you. All of those things could have been said. But I didn’t want to be mean.

Because fuck me, right? I never want to be mean. I never want to hurt peoples’ feelings. And this guy had been sort of annoying- but he had yet to give me any reason to be mean to him or to not give him a chance. He’s cute and seemed nice from what I knew of him from working with him every weekend.

But, dude. I had a bad night tonight- I was stressed out and soooooo tired from working all freaking day long. And then I felt pressured into spending time with this dude because even though I’ve recently learned how to say no- I am still learning when and how and with how much force I need to say it. I got into his car and we drove to the bar. He touched my thigh and I took his hand off and told him “no, thank you.” He still touched my thigh two times after that.

I still went to the bar with him. Because he’s just a guy, right? And he hasn’t done anything to hurt me. I’m just pretty and he wants to touch me- that’s okay, right?

So we went to a bar. A bar very conveniently located around the corner from my best friend and just a mile away from my house. Uber-friendly, yaknow?

While at this bar all my head is screaming is “get out- you’re uncomfortable and don’t want to be here. Leave! Leave! Fucking LEAVE! ALERT, RED FLAGS!” But I am calmly talking to this guy. And I am apologizing for being mean to him. Because he said I’m mean to him. And I’m drinking a drink that he bought me. And I decided to come to the bar with him so that means I’m obligated to stay, right?

He is all shitty because I pulled his hand off me in the car. “Oh, I’ll just sit far away from you, then. I’ll leave you alone, then. Sorry I touched you and made you uncomfortable, I’ll just never look at you- how’s that?”

So we talk. And I tell him that I don’t know what I want with my life and I’m in a tough transition and I tell him that  I am uncomfortable because I have been assaulted many times in the past and I don’t trust men whose first instinct is to rub my thigh before getting to know me.

He tells me he’ll never pressure me into doing something I don’t want.

He kisses me.

I tell him I don’t want to kiss him.

He gets mad and asks me why I am at a bar with him if I’m not interested.

I say I just wanted to try and get to know him outside of work.

He grabs my head and kisses me again. Tells me to kiss him back.

I look at the bartender and he thankfully comes over to ask if we need anything- gets Guy I Work With to order some food.

I realize that I am uncomfortable and suddenly feel very, very unsafe. Fight or flight has kicked in. AND I FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT.

GIWW gets a phone call and excuses himself. I text my roommates and my bff that I don’t know what to do or how to leave. They all suggest a sudden emergency. But I didn’t feel comfortable lying to the dude. I start to panic because I feel super vulnerable and scared and worried and all of those things that lead to anxiety.

I start to cry. And Guy I Work With asks why. I tell him I feel uncomfortable and I want to go home. He immediately begins to apologize. Not for anything in particular. Just “I’m sorry, stay. I want you to stay. I don’t want you to go. Please stay, I’m sorry.”

But I want to go home. And he says “fine, you just want me to ignore you at work and never talk to you again.” And I tell him that’s stupid and to go from one extreme to another is unfair and bullshit to me. And he says “please stay.”

At this point, I could have stayed. Which would have spiraled into more drinks and more anxiety and more “feeling obligated.” Which is often followed by worse things.

But for the first time in my  life I left because I needed to. (also because alll of my housemates were telling me to leave and stop giving a shit about this guy)

Regardless, I left. I called an Uber. Guy I Work With said “can I at least walk you to the car?” …. I said yes. Because to say no would be rude, right? (God, I am so fucked up)

He walks me to the car and makes me kiss him goodnight. I go to get into the Uber and he pulls me back, pulls me very close to him, grabs my ass, and says “wouldn’t you rather come home with me?”

I looked at him, pulled myself away, and said no- I want to go home.

I closed the door and broke the fuck down in the car. Thankfully my Uber driver was the best freakin woman in the world and she let me cry and talked to me and gave me tissues and her personal card- told me to call her if any man ever made me feel this way again. Because I’m pretty and I’m young and I need to learn how to “leave they asses on the street.” I think she and I will be friends.

Thankfully my housemates were here when I got home. Thankfully E just walked to me and hugged me and told me I was safe. Thankfully S made me some tea and told me she was proud of me for leaving.

Because had they not been home I don’t know what would have happened.

Because, the thing is, I know logically that this guy gave me approximately ONE BILLION red flags for “asshole” before we even made it to the bar. And I know that I owe nobody anything ever for anything they do for me. Whether they’re nice to me or buy me a drink or anything. I know this.

But knowing and feeling are two very different things. And I always feel like I always owe everyone everything just for dealing with my existence. Because I am fucked up. And I am a lot to handle. And I know how stupid it was for me to hang out with this guy. I know that I need to listen to my inner alarm bells and not give a shit if I am “upsetting” or “hurting” or “offending” the other party. Because myself and my safety come first.

But I can’t help but trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt. I just trust people. Which could be part of the reason I have been repeatedly assaulted in my life.

It could also just be a character trait. I refuse to say flaw because, even though it brings me a lot of trouble, being able to trust people(men) after being raped is not common. I somehow manage to hold on to some strange innocence and I always see people for their best intentions.

And I keep getting let down, guys. I keep finding myself in terrible, painful situations where had I just been a little bit more selfish I could have avoided. But I really don’t think I can change that.

Should I change that? Should I try harder to not trust people? Or to actually be mean? I don’t know. All I know is that being too kind/nice/trusting has translated into “being in ridiculously awkward/uncomfortable situations” too often for me.

I started writing this post thinking I wanted to kill myself tonight because it is so hard to feel as if you can’t make your own decisions. It is so painful to feel as if you’re stuck in your body without a say in the world. That you are just there for someone else to have fun with. It is sickening and painful and oh my dear lord almost impossible to describe.While he was kissing me tonight, all I felt was a hot, heavy weight in my stomach as if I were stuck there. I felt dirty and sick and lost and scared.

And I told him I was uncomfortable. And he kissed me again and told me to kiss him back- if I was at a bar with him I was interested and that means I should kiss him back.

But after writing all of this out I realize that I did make a decision for me tonight. It was fucking hard- and it took me long enough… but I left because I didn’t want to be there anymore.

I told him no. I took his hand off of my thigh two times. Yes, two times out of like twenty. But two more than zero.

I am slowly (and so very painfully) learning how to assert my boundaries. And although I feel so small and useless and unworthy of love right now I know that I performed an act of self-love tonight. And I should be proud of that.

This blog post has very seriously helped me from hurting myself tonight.

I am too honest. I am too nice. I don’t think about myself enough. And I am disclosing way too much personal information on the internet.

And I don’t fucking care. Because that is who I am. I am too nice. And I am probably letting you see way too far into my head. But I’m still here. And I will continue to trust people too easily and to love people too unconditionally because that’s how I know how to live.

I am learning my boundaries. It’s a hard process but I’m learning them. And I am proud of leaving tonight. I am in a much better place now than I was when I left that bar this evening. But even as I left the bar, I had a million times more respect for myself and my feelings than I did a year ago.

So…there’s that.

Thanks for reading.

Serving is a “Real Job”

This one goes out to all the haters.

It goes out to all of the “professionals”- the office workers, executives, teachers, doctors, etc.

This goes out to the people who can make their six-month internship look like gold on a resume by marketing all of the transferable skills they learned.

This goes out to the employers who don’t see 3 years of serving as “professional experience.”

But mostly, this goes out to all of the people who scoff, roll their eyes, and/or ask the infuriating question “okay, but when are you going to get a real job?”

Serving. Is. A. Real. Job.

A “job” is not confined to a 9-5, desk-working, high-salary occupation. A job is a place or trade where one can go in and exchange labor for dollars. That’s basically it. Obviously serving falls into that category.

But beyond the basic “job” definition, let me explain a little bit further.

Servers are expected to have a near-complete grasp of company policies and procedures as well as menu descriptions in as little as 5 days, with a total of roughly 15-20 hours of training. Servers are legitimately tested on their menu and restaurant knowledge throughout their training. Like actual sit-down-and-write tests.

Both during and after training, servers hone their hospitality, math, communication, prioritization, and organization skills. In one six-hour shift a server can take on as many as five different roles in a restaurant, from host to busser to food runner, even occasionally to bartender depending on the restaurant. They are the kings and queens of wearing many hats at work.

Restaurants are fast-paced places. Impeccable timing is necessary to make a restaurant run efficiently. Servers have to be sure to greet your table within 60 seconds, deliver drinks within 2-4 minutes, and keep an eye on the kitchen to make sure your appetizers, entrees, and desserts all come out at the right times. But servers don’t just have one table to take care of. Remember, you are not a server’s only guest. Prioritization is key in a server’s life. They must quickly learn how to delegate tasks to bussers and/or other servers with a few free minutes so that they do not get stuck “in the weeds,” a term for being overwhelmed.

Beyond the logistical hell that can be a restaurant work environment, servers also have to interact with up to (and sometimes over!) a hundred people each shift. And you know what? So many of these people are assholes. 

And servers can’t just make the assholes leave. They have to smile, bear with it, and even apologize for doing absolutely nothing wrong because their fucking hourly wage depends on their guests liking them. Servers have to connect with their tables and develop a working rapport within 60 seconds. They have to calculate how often they think you’ll want them to check back at the table, how much you’ll want to chat with them, and dear lord they have to learn very quickly how to gracefully excuse themselves from your conversation because they just got sat or they need to run drinks at the bar.

Talk about transferable skills, yo.

Full-time servers work anywhere between 35 and 60 hours a week. They have the potential to make more money than those who work in an office full-time and definitely often make more than teachers or other professionals.

“But there’s no room for professional growth as a server! Once you’re a server you’re stuck there!” Ha! Or not. Restaurants often hire from within. A great server can quickly climb the ladder to General Manager. GMs can further climb up the ladder. Seriously. Work hard and don’t suck at your job as a server and you can do a lot in the hospitality industry.

Just because servers work in an environment without a fixed schedule or salary and have flexible, creative job descriptions does not, in any way, mean that serving isn’t a real job.

Check yourself the next time you’re about to ask your friend or family member when they’re going to quit waiting tables and “get a real job.” Because you are shaming them for having a great job. You are saying that because they choose to be in a position that provides incredible service that they are somehow subordinate and/or less of a person than you. And that is hella silly. Because when you go to a restaurant you want a good server, don’t you? And what kind of a person is going to be a great server if they show up to work thinking they don’t have a real job?

And don’t forget, folks- always tip your server. You can fuck up at your job and still get paid the same salary, so don’t take it out on you waiter if they’ve had a bad day or forgot to bring you your ranch.