Me too. [My story]

As many of you are probably aware,”me too” statuses are appearing all over social media. Women are standing up and standing together with other women that have been sexually assaulted and/or harassed. In order to join these women, I thought I would share my story here.

I was nineteen and in my second year of college when my sexual assault happened. At the time I was so incredibly lonely despite having a boyfriend (who turned out to be emotionally and mentally abusive). I longed to have friendships, but due to my social anxiety it was difficult for me to branch out. Eventually (through my boyfriend) I befriended a lot of international students and never felt more accepted in my life.

I became friends with a girl from Southeast Asia nicknamed Birdy. She was such a wonderful outspoken person with a love for life. In fact, I thought she was one of the coolest people ever. Birdy had a European boyfriend that was on one of the college’s track teams…in fact he was the star. He was outgoing and nice, and he never really treated me any differently than her other friends.

During winter break that year, Birdy and a lot of our mutual friends ended up going overseas to visit their families. Her boyfriend, who lived in the dorms on campus, ended up staying behind while his roommates also drove home for break. One particular morning he asked me if I would come pick him up so he could get his license. I figured it would be no problem so I did.

My boyfriend lived down the street from him, so I opted to walk to the dorms after parking at my boyfriend’s house. He told me that I would be using his roommate’s vehicle to take him to the DMV since that would be the car he would be frequently driving. I got there and off we went. We drove all the way to the DMV, which just so happened to be closed for the holidays. He said since I drove all that way for nothing, we might as well go back and play some Nintendo at his dorm. I thought nothing of it, but maybe I should have…I thought that him having the knowledge that we were both in relationships would be enough. It wasn’t.

We arrived at his dorm and we both sat on his loveseat. He made some excuse that his Nintendo was missing parts and asked me if I’d rather watch a movie instead. I said sure, and we started watching Walking Tall (2004). I remember I was wearing a purple v-neck and skinny jeans that had zipper pockets on the front. As we were watching the movie he started messing with the zippers. I thought he was just being goofy at first. He would zip one zipper down, and when I zipped that up, he’d zip down the other. He stopped for a little bit, but then after that, he went for the zipper on the front of my pants. He would zip it down, and I would zip it back up. Of course after him touching my front zipper I started to get really uncomfortable. I was too scared to know what to do. To be honest, I don’t remember if I said stop at this point. I wonder if it would make any difference…

He ended up scooting closer to me, and then he pulled down the neck of my shirt, pulling my bra down with it and revealing my breast. I was so in shock that I froze. That was when he put his mouth onto my nipple and sucked. I pulled away and pulled up my shirt and told him that I wasn’t comfortable and that this wasn’t okay . He got up and told me to leave, making sure to insult me on the way out. He said that “I was too short and smelled (my boyfriend at the time was a chainsmoker) so I wasn’t his type anyway”. I ended up walking back to my boyfriend’s house as it snowed pretending that nothing happened.

I felt so ashamed and was disappointed in myself. In fact, I blamed myself for such a long time. I thought that I should have seen the signs, that I should have never gone back to his dorm in the first place. For awhile I thought that I was asking for it….which is incredible since I never had that mentality towards other victims. I wish I reported him, but I never did since he was the star of the college’s track team.

The worst part about it all? A few months later he texted me and messaged me, begging me over and over to come have a late night visit with him. When I brought up what he did to me last time, he played dumb. He never admitted what he did…he acted like I imagined it all. I used to wonder if I did.

I no longer blame myself, and have since told people that are close to me about my experience. Having people that actually care listen and support me has helped me heal so much. If any of you are out there think you are alone, you are definitely not. I love you all for your tremendous strength, and you are NOT at fault.

Stand strong.

XOXO,

Kiki ❤

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I don’t understand the rage.

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Earlier today at work (a tourist attraction that costs admission) a man comes in with his two grandchildren and his wife. I said hello to him in my perkiest customer service voice, and he responded with a mumbled “yeah yeah, where’s the bathroom?” As I pointed him in the right direction, he asked his grandkids if they wanted to wait for their grandmother, or also go to the restroom. One of them decided to stay and wait.

~~~

The grandmother walked in and we exchanged pleasantries. We didn’t really have much of an interaction, but I could just tell she was a nice human being. She walked down the hall to where the restrooms were, and awaited her husband. I could hear him yelling at her from my desk.

**The total for all 4 of them to walk through my place of employment would’ve been $20.00 total. Let me just state that MAJORITY of the people that walk in here do not complain.**

[From down the hall]
Him: THIS IS BULLSHIT! $20.00 JUST TO WALK THROUGH HERE?!

                                                                                ~~~

I couldn’t tell if she responded, but as they walked down the hall he turns to me.

Him: WE HAVE TO PAY TO GET IN HERE?!

Me: Yes, we’ve had admission for the past 10 years or so now.

Him: I PAY TAXES!!!! IT’S SHIT! IT’S SHIT THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING! I HAVE TO PAY TO GO TO THE ZOO!!! I HAVE TO PAY TO GO TO THE MUSEUM!! AND NOW I HAVE TO PAY TO GO HERE!!!

Me: I understand your frustrations. Unfortunately we do have an admission now.

~~~

I honestly debated with myself on whether or not I should explain to him that we are a non-profit and rely on admission to keep us going…but I knew trying to reason with someone like that would lead to nowhere, so I opted not to.

As he yelled at me, I looked to his wife and she looked sad and embarrassed. I also looked to his grandchildren. I think they handled it better than the wife. In fact, they seemed so used to it that they didn’t seem phased at all.

After he was done ranting about things that I cannot and will never be able to change, he went into the gift shop with his family. They were in there for a few minutes, and then when he walked out, asked me how he can go to the back part of our building. I explained to him that it is fenced in and that he would have to pay to go through there. That was when he got incredibly pissed off again.

~~~

He mumbled a few expletives to himself. At this point the wife and kids have already left the building and were waiting out front for him. He pushed the automatic door button and the doors slowly began to open. I think he tried so hard to be some kind of angry, intimidating, rage machine…or he was so blinded by his pointless rage, that he ended up walking into the still opening door….which of course infuriated him further.

I watched from the windows as he screamed at his wife, like it was her fault their day was ruined. I watched as his wife tugged on his sleeve, as she pleaded with him to calm down. I watched as he screamed at her some more. I watched as the kids played away from their fighting grandparents…like this were just another day. It broke my heart.

~~~

Coming from a person that emphasizes with this family, I simply will never be able to understand this kind of anger and hatred. Why ruin the potential of a great day with your loved ones? Especially for something that no one in a situation like that can change? Why yell at your wife? Why risk the loss of respect from your grandchildren? Why instill fear?

I pity these people. I pity these people for thinking that they’re right in every situation like this. I pity them for not being able to see the misery they’re inflicting on their families. I’m simply baffled that people like this tend to think THEY are the victims when they’re unleashing hell on the people they’re supposed to love.

I just don’t understand why people simply can’t be nice. Damn my naive wishful thinking.

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

Stand By Me

Photo Jun 17, 6 32 06 PM.jpg

Leila (right) and I (left) on our first and last out of state trip together. We’re posing in front of a rental car because it was shiny and new. Please excuse my very awkward fashion sense.

When I was in elementary school I had a strange love/hate relationship with a girl named Leila. She was probably the most vile person I ever had to go to school with.

When I was in the first grade, my father ended up finding a better job. From the good fortune we received, we moved from our Habitat for Humanity house on the south side, to a better part of town into a much nicer home. Due to the move, I of course had to change school districts, which led to me going to a completely different school in the first grade. I was always an incredibly shy child. I was so shy, I couldn’t even talk to some of my close relatives. I’m sure you can imagine the horror that I felt on the first day of my new school.

I remember my mom telling me that after she dropped me off and walked me to my classroom, I clung to her crying. I was devastated that my mom had to leave me, but before I knew it this boy Skyler befriended me. We were inseparable…well, until the day he moved away the summer before sixth grade.

Skyler was a quirky outcast, and I was this racially ambiguous shy kid, still unsure of where I belonged in the world. We were a perfect pair, but we were also perfect targets for Leila. There was also a mousey girl in my first grade class named Kelly. Kelly and Leila were best friends. Leila was the stronger of the two personalities, so naturally she bossed Kelly around. The two always reminded me of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall in The Shining. One was a loud, intimidating, person you didn’t want to get angry. The other was so timid, if a pin dropped, it would startle her because she always tried not to not step on any toes.

That being said, Leila was a bully. She wasn’t just awful to Skyler and I, she was a hellion to everyone she’s ever encountered. She knew every soul crushing insult in the book, and she wasn’t afraid to get physical. It was almost as if she fed on causing trouble and loved it when people feared her. Almost as if she relied on that control in her life.

For the most part, Skyler was the only person I played with during recess. I did however, have two other friends that were also in my class. Renee and Bri. They were two feisty girls that that didn’t take crap from anyone. I don’t know why they chose me to be their friend, but they were always my protectors that year, especially at recess.

There was this one particular time where I was on the slide, keeping to my close knit circle. Leila and Kelly approached me, and of course Leila was the instigator. I can’t remember all the details, but I remember her wanting to get in my face. Renee and Bri immediately started yelling at her, screaming at her to leave me alone. Of course, since Leila was outnumbered in extroverts, she backed off. It was like this for quite some time.

I always liked Kelly, even though she was friends with the person that harassed me almost daily. Since Leila wasn’t in our first grade class, that gave Kelly and I the chance to bond. Somehow, during my elementary school years, Leila warmed up to me and we became friends. I suspect it was Kelly’s doing. Even though Kelly and Leila were now my friends, Leila was still unpleasant to us. We put up with it though. Most likely due to fear and our lack of a backbone.

[FF >> to the 4th/5th grade]

It was a sweltering summer day during Memorial Day weekend. Leila invited me to spend the night at her house, which I was very much looking forward to. Her house was less strict than my house was (and they had cable!). Her dad was never really home, which was fine by me because whenever he was around, the atmosphere changed and made the house feel uneasy. Her mother however, was always around and I absolutely adored her.

The company Leila’s dad worked for always rented out a section of one of the facilities on the property of the local swimming pool/park. They had live music, free food, and employees got to invite their friends and families to come swim for free. This particular year Leila invited me, so I was beyond stoked to go.

Throughout that day we swam at every single pool (there were three), went on the bumper boats, and went down various slides. Eventually we went to reapply our sunscreen. We saw her mother frantically walking towards us. She approached us as calmly as possible, and told us that we had to get into the car immediately. I think Leila already suspected what was going on. I on the other hand was completely oblivious.

We rushed outside, and I noticed all four tires on their maroon 1980s Buick had been slashed. Even with the now four useless tires, we got into the car and Leila’s mother drove slowly back to their house (which was close by). Much of that day is a blur, but I remember Leila and I rushing into her room. She had a white metal framed day bed in front of one of her bedroom windows that faced the backyard next to their garage. We were crouched by her bed, peeking out the bedroom window. Her mother was waiting outside.

Leila revealed to me that her dad must’ve been drunk again, and when he gets drunk he sometimes gets violent. Part of me wasn’t completely surprised. When her dad was home he wasn’t always sober. If ever. I will never forget the concern in her eyes, not for herself, but for me. I think it was the first time she was genuinely kind to me.

She told me,

“Keisha, if my dad comes into the room I want you to crawl through the window and run to the garage. Grab my bicycle and ride it to the church down the street and get help. Have the police come”.

The fact that she was willing to put herself in harm’s way, is one of the most incredible things anyone has ever done for me. Especially someone at such a young age. It is one of the truest acts of kindness that I’ve experienced that I will genuinely never forget.

Thankfully, that scenario never had to happen. Unfortunately, a terrible situation did arise. While her mom waited outside for what seemed like hours, (but was most likely 30 minutes maximum) her dad showed up. He was visibly drunk. From here it gets hazy, but I’m pretty sure Leila’s parents were arguing in the driveway next to the garage. That’s when I witnessed her father punch Leila’s mother in the mouth. I was horrified, and I’m positive Leila was too…even though it’s likely she has witnessed domestic violence in her household before.

She grabbed the pink Pocahontas blanket that laid on her bed, and we hid under it.

We sat in silence.


From that moment on I saw Leila in a different light. I no longer saw her as a bully, or as Jack from The Shining. I saw her as a person that was so angry because of the home life she endured. Being so young, children don’t really think they can talk to anyone about it. I don’t think she had any other outlet than to just explode. Granted, it wasn’t an outlet she should’ve chosen, but I no longer blamed her. In fact, I understood her better. My heart hurt for her.

Even though I wished she didn’t have to endure that life, I’m grateful that I could be there for her that day and she didn’t have to go it alone.

I guess my point in telling this story about a childhood friend, is that even the meanest of people can have their layers washed away. They have their reasons, and I think it’s important that we as people try to understand one another. Even if a person is incredibly angry and rude, there must be a reason, and I believe there’s always hope for people.

If anyone is wondering about Leila, sometime during the sixth grade she moved to a different part of the state with her mother. I got to see her the summer after, and she was a completely different person. She was happier, made a lot of friends, and joined a lot of extracurriculars. Since then, I only got to see her once more a few years ago. She’s happily married and has a great job. She has even traveled abroad quite a bit. Her mother is also doing quite well.

There is always light within the darkness, and I’m glad she found hers.

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

Always mourning.

Photo credit: Wikicommons: A.Miskovsk

I’m in a constant state of mourning, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I’m not mourning over the loss of a person. I’m mourning the loss of time, mourning for the past. There are so many things that I miss…people, experiences, the way people lived in certain periods of my life (the 90s). It might sound like I’m afraid of change, but I can guarantee you that I’m not. I just miss those blissful nostalgic feelings that I can’t relive.

I have my photos and my home videos that I can look back on. I just wish I could physically…or completely mentally live it all again. As if I’m an outsider looking in, watching my memories as if I were in some kind of virtual reality world.

You know how sometimes you have the best sleep of your life, and in those moments you have some of the greatest dreams? Sometimes I wish I could re-visit these moments in my dreams…have my own version of San Junipero. There are so many things I remember and my friends and family don’t, and vice versa. I wish I could remember it all. The good and the bad.

I think that’s why I’m so passionate about photography and filmography. I want to document my life so I can remember things in the future. I love journaling my memories as they happen too. It’s always nice to read back on them. Even long after I die, my memories will in a way live on. Maybe be passed on from generations to generations. That’s something I’m very grateful for the technology we have no. It’s easier to preserve memories for other people. We have more than just stories now. I’ll get more into how times have changed in another post.

Before any of you worry, I’m here to assure you that I’m okay. I just think too much.

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

 

 

A Re-Brand of Sorts

I’ve had so many thoughts on my mind lately. Naturally I went to talk to my best friend Mikayla. The major thing that has been eating at my soul lately is that I’ve been letting a lot of my passions go. This goes against everything I believe in…ESPECIALLY because I think that having a fire burning within your soul is one of the only things that matters in life. After all, without passion you’re essentially just a shell of what is supposed to be a human being.

Writing is one of those passions for me.

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed (or maybe not) that I haven’t written a blog in quite some time. This breaks my heart a bit because I remember being in high school and just having so many ideas run from my brain to my fingers. I don’t want to give this up. Same with my video making and my photography. All of these things used to be my number one priority, and they just one day kinda stopped.

I don’t like it. Not at all.

Moving on to the point. Mikayla is a passionate person as well. We always have a wide range of conversations. I think that if we worked together she and I could keep the inspiration for writing continuously flowing. I mean, we do share a YouTube channel (that we’ve been neglecting) together. We might as well blog together too.

This blog will continue to stay the same, just with one added person. Consider Whimsical Escapes to be more entertaining, and hopefully more thought provoking too.

Talk to you again soon!

 

Xoxo,

Kiki ❤

 

Has the universe cursed me?

It feels like no matter how hard I try, the universe wants to take a big shi* on my life. I AM STILL, looking for a full-time job and either no one wants me, or the ridiculousness that I’m about to tell you happens.

A couple weeks ago, I found out that this new hotel in my city was finally constructed and they needed to hire people by the end of next month. Naturally they held a job fair at this employment agency in town. My friend and I decided, why not? We need new jobs, so let’s do this. The job fair was last week, and my friend and I both went. We dress super professionally, and realize..we’re literally the only ones there that look presentable. Not to trash talk anyone…but everyone else didn’t look up to par..some probably were even on something. With that in mind, my friend and I are feeling super confident.

I get a call back last week and think, “Finally, something in my life is going right. Maybe I’ll even snag this job and be able to sustain myself and travel like I’ve been dreaming of my entire life”.

                                                                       NOPE! WRONG!

This past week, I went into my interview with high hopes. I thought the interview was going well, and then the person interviewing me says “actually…since you currently work at ____ it’s a conflict of interest so we might not be able to hire you”. UM EXCUSE ME?

So now, here I am…wondering if I’ll be hired. Wondering if I’ll ever find a full-time job. I mean…how awful is that though? Literally, the ONE job that called me back and gave me the time of day said they might not be able to hire me because I work at one of my jobs that give me 4 days out of the month. FML.

If I don’t get hired, I’m not going to be angry at the company or the place I work at. I understand that it’s a policy. It’s not their fault, that’s just the way things go. I’m just so frustrated and depressed. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, and I want to hang in there. It’s just so difficult when it seems every single day, nothing goes right.

If you’re having a shi*ty month like I am. You’re not suffering alone. Something will go right eventually. Hang in there and hold your head up high.

*hugs from me to you*

X0x0,

Kiki ❤

 

Waiting

If it weren’t already obvious, waiting is one of the most awful things to an impatient person. It’s even worse when you’re waiting on possibly the most life changing news you could ever receive.

***

It’s been three weeks since I finished my seminar in Chicago in hopes of being one of the lucky chosen ones to teach in Japan. Ironically (or maybe not), I’ve been in a mental battle with myself wondering if I can truly leave all of my friends and family behind for x amount of years.

***

As one of the many people cursed with the hell of overthinking, I can’t tell if it’s my anxiety or my instincts that I’m battling with. On one hand, this is a great opportunity that will most definitely be life changing…but then there’s the part of me that gets homesick quite easily. But of course I’m a traveler at heart that hasn’t had many chances to travel to great distant lands which is torturous. Add in the what ifs and it’s even more of a muddled up mess in this nonsensical brain of mine.

***

All of this would be resolved of course if I could just get that email that I’ve been waiting on for almost a full three weeks. Actually that is a lie because that’s when saving up for the trip (if accepted) or the alternative, finding a sustainable job if denied…but that’s a rant for another time.

Anyway, talk to you later guys!

XOXO ❤

Kiki