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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Another #MeToo Story

So many things have been running through my head.

Something happened a while back that had me thinking – wondering really – if I know people as well as I think I do. If I know myself well enough to trust my judgment about things that happened.

Someone I know, someone I trust surprised me by acting in a way that felt a little too touchy-feely for me. Something that I felt uncomfortable with because it felt inappropriate the instant that it happened. I froze immediately, that’s how uncomfortable it was for me. 

Photo by Antonio DiCaterina on Unsplash

Where does one draw the line, what is considered inappropriate? Doesn’t the mere fact that one party is in a relationship with someone else automatically mean that certain gestures of “affection” are not proper expressions of friendship? It’s not even just that gesture that I was uncomfortable with. Something else happened that I felt was too slow for it not to be deliberate, for it to be brushed off as an accidental thing. If I am right about that, this person would know what I am talking about. If it was really accidental, any normal person would apologize, but since I did not get an apology, my head is swaying over to the side of it being deliberate.

My head is like a cache of #MeToo thoughts right now. I have been second guessing myself and doubting myself since Day 1: Did I do something to encourage that kind of behavior? Was it my fault? Does the fact that I froze and tried to offset the situation by shifting the conversation mean that I was OK with it? Am I being too much of a prude? Am I being overly dramatic? Am I reading too much into this? Should I say anything? Should I NOT say anything?

I feel like if I called this person out on what happened, things could blow back at me. I could be made out as a liar – why would someone like him do that to someone like me? I could be made out as bitter since there was a phase of flirtation with the person in the past when we were both single. My feelings could be dismissed as being too “assuming” due to our history. I have talked about this to someone who knows our history, and that person dismissed this as a “boys will be boys" thing; that we were close enough at some point that the behavior he showed is "normal" among friends with that kind of past. Another friend who also knows both of us, on the other hand, said that was happened was harassment already.

I’ve been trying to shut out that moment from my head for a while now. I want things to go back to where I can look at this person as my friend. Someone I’ve trusted since the first time we met. Someone I’ve known for a long time. It breaks my heart to think of that person in that way because this is someone I have always had the utmost respect for. Am I that bad a judge of character or am I just misinterpreting things? Did this person change somewhere along the way and I just did not notice?

It’s been difficult to process my thoughts and feelings about everything. This person is an inevitable part of my life, it’s not like I can just delete the role of this person in it. I’ve told a friend that I will choose to give this person the benefit of the doubt, that I will choose to believe that what happened was not intended to make me feel uncomfortable even if it did. I will choose to look at the years of friendship we have had so far instead of that one brief moment. Easier said than done though.

When I hear this person’s name, when I talk about this person with other people, I get a flashback of that moment. A flashback of that time when I felt that my trust in this person was betrayed. I wish I could just forget and take away the discomfort, but it’s still there. 

The idea is distracting my brain and I haven't been able to think clearly because I am constantly doubting myself and my judgment now. Maybe in time things will get better for me. For now however, I present a fa├žade where I pretend that it never happened even if my brain is screaming at me that it did.

Do I have a point with all this? Not really. I guess I just realized that although I have experienced some #MeToo moments in the past, it never involved someone that I cared about and trusted before. It’s much more difficult to process my feelings about it all because of that.

Thank you to the friends who listened, believed and supported me when I shared my story. You have helped me more than you know.

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