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A Personal Post

This is going to be a personal post. I don’t know why I’m writing it, I just woke up and felt the need to write it. It’s going to be messy, so please bear with me. I’m not going to name anyone, I’m not even going to name the event. I don’t know why, maybe I’ll change my mind about the latter. As some of you see me at events, you’ve probably noticed the change, noticed I no longer come and join conversations. I sit on my own or with people I know well until it’s time to get books signed or leave. Some of you already know why.

The book community is meant to be a welcoming and fun place to be, and on the whole it is. I love being a part of it most of the time, even now. It’s last place you’d expect your drink to be spiked. To some this isn’t a big deal, just sweep.it under the rug and move on. That’s easier said than done. Do you tell someone, don’t you? If you do you’re faced with “oh no, I’m sorry that happened” at best, “You were just drunk” or “I’m sure it wasn’t malicious” or not even acknowledging it at worst. I get it, there’s nothing that can be done, it leaves your system before you can get a blood test, not that it would make any difference. It’s made worse as I was left alone to figure out how to get home, I know I’m no one’s responsibility, I also know I’d never leave someone on their own in that state. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. I have no idea how I managed to get home that night, my only memory of that night is wandering the streets trying to find a tube station.

what people don’t realise is the lasting impact it has. It’s not just the sickness that lingers for days after, it’s the upset, anxiety and complete humiliation when people start reminding you about the things you said or did. When they make a joke of it when you’re standing in front of them, clearly uncomfortable. You start to dread every event, worry about every drink that’s offered to you, not finishing drinks because you’ve turned away for just a moment, turning down anything with alcohol in it so people can’t use the “you were just drunk” excuse against you. I’ve heard that more than I would like to admit.

It wasn’t that long ago I suddenly realised that it’s been over a year and I’m still avoiding an author, because I was later told how I was with them and it’s mortifying, knowing they probably think you’re an awful and embarrassing drunk rather than drugged. I returned tickets to one of their events because I was too embarrassed to show my face and that was four months later. I’m still doing this now and probably will for awhile. The worst thing is they’ve probably forgotten about it by now, I can’t though.

This isn’t the only reason I struggle being in the book community, the other one is a completely different story though and probably one I won’t write about.

9 thoughts on “A Personal Post”

  1. Nicola I have no words for this. I am so, so sorry that this happened to you. I admire your bravery for speaking about this so much. Thank you so much for sharing it. You have all my love and support.

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  2. Being drugged is never your fault. Although I understand why you feel the shame of it. My friend was once drugged by an athlete and her friends thank god were able to get her to safety but she never told anyone else what happened and feels the same way you do. I think it is horrid that you both have to live with people having false perceptions of you as a person.

    You are very brave for bringing this out into the open. And I agree with what was says. If this is an author you love than maybe you should think about writing a personal note to them or to their publicist. Even if nothing comes of it, you know you did what you could for you. And then it is up to them to do the right thing.

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  3. Aw, honey, I’m so sorry about your horrible and frightening experience; I can’t believe someone spiked your drink – that is beyond scary, as is having no memory of certain events, especially a whole night.

    I’ve had my own struggles in the book community and was pretty vocal about it on my earlier blogs. I felt shunned by the community for political opinions back in 2016 and I’m still scared to follow people or like their stuff on Twitter, just in case the person was someone who attacked me all those years ago. It feels like yesterday though.

    Then, there was definitely an undertone of bullying, judgment, and ostracizing actions in our mostly wonderful bookish community. I admit that there are some people out there, in the community just like in the real world, who are two-faced jerks.

    I know it’s easier said than done, but keep your chin up, even when you don’t feel like it. But, I want your feelings to be validated and they certainly are. I just hate that you aren’t able to enjoy bookish events like you could before.

    Jorie is right – what happened is totally NOT YOUR FAULT – but my heart goes out to you. I’m so glad nothing even worse happened to you on that horrible night.

    I’m just now getting re-acclimated to the community and kind of remember who to avoid; hell, they have me blocked on Twitter, so it’s not too hard to figure out! LOL!

    People can be SO PETTY and malicious – that’s not your fault either – that’s their problem!

    I hope this comment helps you feel even a tiny bit better – thank you for sharing your story. What happened to you is a tale that needed to be told. You are very brave to post about your experience and I’m sending you all the good vibes I can muster! ❤

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  4. Sending you a heap of supportive *hugs!* I have no idea why people would not understand and respect what happened to you. This is one of the worst situations – not because of the immediate judgements and uncalled for harassment (which in of itself is super horrid and wrong!) *but!* really is more concerning is how this is part of the cultural acceptance that is wrong in this world, in our society and why women are constantly ‘at risk’. Why people get kicks off doing this to drinks is beyond me!

    I attended a wedding when I was 18 – I was close friends with the bride, and they took us out to clubs – my first time – but I had those awful stamps all over my hands? I had to trust our driver to carry my id as I had no pockets and the worst bit? The first bartender I met to get some soda told me the hard truths about girls in clubs irregardless of age — never leave your drink, abandon it if you even lose sight of it for a nanosecond and avoid the washrooms at all costs. I didn’t even want to know the reasons for that one… though years of watching Law & Order: SVU filled in the blanks!!

    Sadly, the worst of all of this is like you said – if something were to happen, the girl is blamed. Its even trending on Twitter today – a girl was assaulted and because alcohol was involved she’s immediate at fault. I have no idea what will turn the tides – why women can’t be seen as the victims of actions taken against them rather than putting women in this category of blame and then shaming them forever for what happened. There are circumstances outside our control and yet, the world chooses to see it from a nefariously twisted POV.

    If the author in question is one you enjoy reading — maybe write them a personal note and explain the situation? If its just an author you know in passing – let it go. Realise you can’t change what happened and that it wasn’t your fault.

    The hardest part of moving on is reconciling our past and the situations where we felt vulnerable and alone. You’re not alone and you are stronger than you realise.

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