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.