On my Questionable Decision-Making (April 25, 2015)

Some fun facts about me:

  1. I often write more when I'm sleep deprived. 
  2. I'm impulsive when I'm tired.
  3. These two often mix in awkward ways (for example, resulting in a Huffington Post article).

I've been asked why on earth I consented to put my name on that piece. I've been reminded multiple times that it could hurt my career options (so I guess I'll be a slightly-more-starving writer/teacher? Fine ...), destroy my friendships (it didn't to my knowledge), make the universe collapse, etc.

Okay, I'm going overboard with the last one, but the point is: the consensus was that I should've stayed anonymous, or not written the piece at all.

I struggled with the decision to put my name on it. I was given the option to publish the piece anonymously, and thought I'd do that. I know from the unfortunate times I've scrolled through comment sections underneath articles about assault that public reactions are often negative. Negativity is not even confined to comments sections — I've had someone joke about it to my face, leave an intimidating note in my locker, and gossip about it when I was standing right behind them (yes, my painful personal experience is apparently on the same level as the other gossiped-about topics like prom asks and seniors ditching). And some people now look at me strangely. Overnight, I crossed the threshold in people's minds from strong to fragile, like something changed in the one second between the article not being online and being online.

But despite knowing these things would happen, I put my name on the piece because I felt like it needed a name. It is completely valid (and arguably far more intelligent) to remain anonymous when talking about personal histories with violence. However, I always feel an obligation to do my characters justice when I'm writing their stories, and I didn't feel like I was doing myself justice by leaving my name out.

Could this article make more people avoid me, not want to work with me, and treat me differently? Yes. But as someone pointed out to me, the kind of people who'd treat me with any less dignity and respect because I'm a survivor are not the kind of people I want to be around. I'm no less an activist, writer, bad joke teller, or friend than I was a week ago.