sexual harassment


Before Christmas, my mom said that she had a sinus infection, so I knew that I, at some point, would also have a sinus infection. I know that they aren’t supposed to be contagious, but my immune system has yet to figure that out. Well, a couple of days after Christmas, it finally showed up. It seemed to be really nasty on Tuesday, almost gone on Wednesday, and back by Thursday. But when I woke up on Friday morning, I knew something was horribly off. I was coughing more than I usually do, which is pretty amazing considering that I cough on a daily basis. My left eye was runny. At first I thought it was just tears from the pressure of the infection, until I decided to wipe my eye with a facial tissue.12 It wasn’t tears. It was pus. As the night went on, my eye kept getting more red. My cough was also increasing and I was starting to have trouble breathing.3 I went to bed and was trying to get comfortable but I just couldn’t breathe. Eventually, I called the on-call doctor and she told me to get my butt to the ER for a breathing treatment. Unfortunately, getting to the ER at about 4:30 in the morning is not the best way to get quick treatment. Most of the ER shuts down after midnight until 8 in the morning, even on the last weekend of the year. I was triaged quickly and had an X-ray, blood work, and EKG hours before a bed was available for my butt. I waited around 4 hours for that bed and my breathing just kept feeling like it was getting worse; my eye was also getting more nasty by the minute. Oh, and my infamous cough was starting to scare everyone in the waiting room. When I first got to the ER, one or two people had on masks. By the time I was called back to a room, almost everyone had one on. I honestly started to empathize with Typhoid Mary at that point. It’s odd to be treated like a biohazard when you can’t breathe. After the sun came out and the television had gone from infomercials & overnight news to Saturday morning children’s programs, I was called back to a room. It was another hour before I had my breathing treatment, and another hour after that before the doctor could secure the “eye room” to do a proper examination of my eye. He4 wasn’t sure if the conjunctivitis had caused any lasting damage to my eye, so he wanted to view it under a slit lamp. The room was empty and across the hall, so I’m not totally sure why it took so long or why, after it was over, I wasn’t allowed to just walk right back across the hall to my assigned bed. While I was in the eye room, the nurse brought me three 20mg prednisone tablets. She kept asking later if the steroids were helping. I kept responding that I couldn’t tell if the steroid was working, but that I knew that the breathing treatment had helped. By noon, I was being discharged with a diagnosis of conjunctivitis and bronchitis. I also had a prescription for the ophthalmic version of Neosporin ointment.5 I didn’t have any prescriptions for the bronchitis. I guess that they thought they had done enough to help get that under control.6 Since it was a holiday weekend, I couldn’t get in to see the family doctor until at least Tuesday, so I was trying desperately to make it through without going to the hospital again. There were a few times when I didn’t think I would make it. But I did. Instead of getting a Tuesday appointment, I got a Wednesday one and the family doctor, who I don’t always agree with, agreed with my belief that the Emergency Room doctor should have given me a prescription for another 4 days worth of prednisone. Because it had been five days since the initial dose, he had to start me on a new 5 day course of the drug. He also told me to use my inhaler regularly until I was feeling better. I’ve spent most of the last week just trying to pass the time. I’ve been avoiding social media and anything that required any real energy usage. I became even more of a recluse with a sad, unfulfilling life7 and a penchant for tantrums89 while I was recovering. Kidding.10 Fancy talk for a Kleenex. ↩Really fancy talk for a Kleenex from a Star Wars box. ↩No, I don’t always have trouble breathing when I cough. I cough like healthy people do healthy stuff. Cough variant asthma is the funnest. ↩Yeah, I never got to see the on-call doctor I had talked to on the phone. ↩No, really. ↩They hadn’t. ↩Did I mention that that creep has a reference to me in his Twitter bio? ↩Oh, he had more words for me after I turned down his altruistic offer of a possible book deal: I tried at least. BTW, I’ve been a pro writer since 1983. You have no idea how much damage you’ve done to your writing career before it even got started. No agent, no publisher, will want to deal with someone who intends to damage another writer’s sales over a disagreement on social media. They’d be too worried you would do the same to them if you ever got mad at them. Easier to give you a form rejection and move on. And trust me, this little tantrum you threw on Goodreads is going to be seen by every agent and publisher you submit to when they Google your name. Good luck with your career. I think you’re going to need it. Yep. Now he wants me to be afraid that I will never be published because I didn’t take kindly to his insults and his tacit support of a friend’s outright bigotry. ↩It takes chutzpah to say a woman would be a […]

From My Sinuses, With Love


To say that I’m a Kate Winslet fan would be putting it mildly. After Titanic‘s release, I began one of my first full-on obsessions where I’d buy or rent all the movies she had been in and watch every interview. It’s something I’ve done with a lot of celebs, though most I eventually get over. Kate is one of the few who I still adore. I feel similarly about her costar in Wonder Wheel, Justin Timberlake. I was (and still am) a huge fan of his. I loved him on MMC. I favored *NSYNC to the Backstreet Boys. I bought his first album, his second album, etc. I contemplated using Napster to get some of his music back before he played Sean Parker in The Social Network. I’ve seen most of his movies. At different points in my life, I’ve had fan sites for both Justin and Kate. I used to write RPF1 about Justin and *NSYNC. These are individuals I adore. The writer and director for their latest movie isn’t. To steal a term from the BDSM world, Woody Allen is a hard limit for me. I’ve seen one of his films,2 which I hadn’t noticed was his before I watched it.3 I can’t separate Allen’s work from the child sexual abuse allegations and from his bizarre choice to marry his former girlfriend’s adopted daughter. These are not actions I want to endorse, which is what I would feel I was doing if I watched the films. I can’t watch my all-time favorite actress or one of my favorite musicians act together because the person making the film is a schmuck. And a part of me is kinda fucking pissed that they’ve both acted like working with him was not wrong or completely disgusting. I’ve felt that outrage with other faves, i.e. when Kristen Stewart not only acted in his film, but tried to excuse the behavior. I can’t condemn people like Roy Moore or Donald Trump for being sexual predators if I’m not going to condemn people like Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, etc. I can’t pretend to have an ethical standard then abandon it when following the standard gets a little difficult. I have to apply it to the people who I like it I apply it to the ones I don’t. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. Wait. No, it isn’t meaningless. It just doesn’t mean what I want it to mean. It warps that standard into something tragic, vicious, and crude. It becomes hypocrisy.  I cannot be part of a system that gives abusers and racists a slap on the wrist, then wring my hands over what message is sent by that lack of punishment. I cannot pretend that it is okay to be watching a movie by a person I know is abusive. I can’t act like my money and my time aren’t essentially endorsing rape or abuse if I watch Wonder Wheel or any other movie or television show, so I won’t try to do so.  Photo by GabboT on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA real people fiction ↩Match Point ↩I still feel guilty over watching it years later. ↩

The Ethical Standards of a Fangirl



The past week has been rough. Seeing political leaders in my state make excuse after excuse for Roy Moore has made me want to scream. Seeing people I know in real life dismiss the claims has made me want to cry. Seeing “conservatives” attack the character of victims has been disgusting. Seeing “liberals” talk about how my state is a festering limb ready to be amputated or how we should be targeted with nuclear strikes because of the reactions by some residents has been infuriating. It’s just been overwhelming.  I believe the accusers.1 That should not be shocking. I try to always believe the accusers, even if it’s someone I (once) adored or respected.2 I’m not going to go into specifics, but the whole idea that it’s a conspiracy against Moore is just pretty irrational. There is no conspiracy by the left or by the “GOP establishment” to malign him. If anyone just wanted to discredit the man, they needn’t make up sexual abuse allegations. His career is enough for most reasonable people to determine he’s not qualified.   I don’t like Roy Moore. I never have. I never will. He’s not someone I think deserves respect. He definitely shouldn’t hold a public office of any sort. I thought that before these allegations because I’m familiar with how abusive he can be when holding office. I don’t believe people who have a history of violating constitutional rights and who want to turn the country into a theocracy are fit for public office. I don’t really understand why there have been so many concern trolls from out of state trying to tell me how wonderful Moore is. They don’t even know the first thing about him. They just view this as an attack on their principles. And I just cringe because I know how horrific his principles are, so I have to hope they really don’t share them because the alternative is, well, horrific.  This is not a left vs right issue. It’s an issue of wrong vs right. Most people understand this. Many of Moore’s biggest critics have been Republicans, as have the accusers, so this idea that it’s Democrats plotting against him just underscores how out of touch his supporters are when it comes to politics and to acceptable human behavior. How can it be controversial or overtly political to oppose child abuse?  I don’t know how anyone could think a person accused of sexually abusing, harassing, and stalking teenage girls belongs in the Senate. That just completely baffles me. And I can’t see any political issue being important enough that it would justify a vote for someone so vile. What issue could make it okay to vote for someone accused of abusing kids?  Listening to the stories of the women and hearing the reactions by people across the aisle has just made it difficult as a child sexual abuse survivor to deal. It’s everywhere I look, and it triggers my obsessive tendencies to seek out more about the story. That just leads to more stress which leads to unhealthy coping techniques. I had gone a week-and-a-half without chocolate when the story broke. Within two days, I had started on a chocolate binge and I’ll have to work myself back off the candy. I know that sounds like a ridiculous thing to blame on this story, but it’s the reality.  And when I see people choosing to dismiss the allegations because they were from decades ago, it makes me think that they would not believe me or any of other survivors that wait years before talking about it—if they ever do. It makes the world feel more frightening and foreign. It makes me feel alone. Every time they tear down an accuser because she’s not perfect, it makes me feel like they won’t believe any survivor. It’s just a lot to deal with and sometimes I just want to scream until my throat is raw because I know these reactions by his defenders are harmful and wrong, and I hate them for making recovering from the trauma of sexual violence that much harder. I just have to figure out how to deal with this story and allo its dredging up. I don’t see it going away any time soon. I have to hope that my state will do the right thing in the end.  Have I just agreed with Mirch McConnell? The end must be nigh. ↩Al Franken. ↩

#NoMoore