This photo was taken in East Vancouver. The artwork really drew me in – it’s very talented if not ominous.
To Write Is An Adventure (Pt 1)
Writing In The Mountains (Pt 2)
Balancing Writing & Travel (Pt 3)
Living The Dream In Banff (Pt 4)
When Traveling Gets Dark (Pt 5)
A Romance In The Mountains (Pt 6)
The Grass Is Always Green (Pt 8)
Knowing What It’s Like To Thrive (Pt 9)
Having The Time Of My Life (Pt 13)
After a lay off at the fundraising job, I thought it would be a good idea to find another job before I got canned, too. I’d stayed at the position for almost a year and a half and something told me it was time to move on. With that new counseling diploma under my belt, I realized it was time to consider looking into a suitable career. I wanted to volunteer at a few places, but the training hours always seemed to be in the middle of the day or conflicted with my current work schedule. I needed to get volunteer client hours in before I could become a certified counselor, so I still needed a paid job to support myself.
I remember a dark feeling rushing over me when I walked into a new call center for an interview and looked at the cubicles. Maybe the subconscious knows more than we give it credit for. I ignored it, telling myself that a cubicle job isn’t something to fear – sure, I always hoped to write full time or have some other glamorous career, but phone work was enjoyable for me. It couldn’t be that bad. I always preferred phone work over retail and I’m pretty good at it, too. I took the job.
A photo of me on a hike in Lynn Valley. Yes, I’d hike in mini skirts during the summer!
I got a part-time job at a women’s shelter in the downtown east side. I loved that place so much and what they did for women. The issue was that the workers lowest on the totem pole had to work midnight shifts and I kept getting sick. I hate that it sounds like I’m creating barriers for myself when it comes to finding meaningful work, but I didn’t want to get a fourth virus in one summer. My health is very dependent on how well I sleep, how stressed I am, and how well I’m eating. I had to let that opportunity go, as painful as it was, and I put more of my attention on the call center job. My manager told me she wanted to promote me to a supervisor. It seemed like a place I could grow in and maybe I could try volunteering somewhere to get my counseling hours in.
After getting settled into the job, Sven (my new coworker) and I started to talk when we’d leave together after our shift. It was close to the Game Of Thrones finale and we were relating what happened in recent episodes. I recall mentioning how cool it is that Arya became like a god after all her training and hardships. It amazed me how both of the Stark sisters – Sansa and Arya – had grown as people, especially in such a male-dominated society.
Sven said, “I like what Arya told the many-faced god.”
“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I’m going home,” we said together.
I couldn’t relate to her sentiment, but there was so much power in Arya’s choice to claim her name and go home. She’d become her own person after years of training and overcoming obstacles.
I originally wrote a detailed account of what happened with Sven, but I’m not ready to tell the entire story. Maybe the way he shows up in two of my stories is enough. No one is obligated to share their trauma with the world, however, I thought I would share a piece that I wrote surrounding the situation. It has bled into two of my more recent works – both Inspiration and Write To Survive.
I work, I write, I walk
Life takes on a rhythm I like
Some say you meet the right one when you’re not looking
Blue eyes and a boyish face greet me across the room
We are slow to talk, but when we do our connection soars
Both far from home, we share a bond
I am a princess, but he is something of a ruffian
We both travelled to the west coast from the same province
I can’t help but want to be close to him
Every time we part ways, he tells me to get home safe
He seems like a friend, universe knows I could use one
He loses his wallet one day and I help him look for it
He says he owes me a tea for helping him
His gaze looks a bit wolf-like, but it must be my imagination
Gentle doe, do you not see I am a wolf?
Of course, you don’t
You see a nice boy from the same place as you
Oh, how you mistrust me
It’s hilarious how easy you are to fool
You, idealistic girl, are ripe for the taking
Long legs, round ass, golden hair
You’re asking for it, bitch
I love when you look at me with those brown eyes
The wolf in me salivates
I am not the innocent boy your rosy vision sees
I am a violent criminal, a taker
You’re not a giver, either, you’re a dreamer
Dreamers are the most satisfying ones to take
I will build you up and push you down
The sky’s afire with magic as the sun sets
I walk with my new friend to his home on the hill
Inside, he pours me a drink
His blue eyes stare into mine as we talk of our travels
The room sways, my limbs feel heavy
I stand, but can barely walk
He has drugged me
I can’t run as he stares coldly
I lie down on the couch, struggling to stay awake
His friend arrives and two sets of eyes mock my helplessness
As I sink into unconsciousness, they watch
I look tiredly at the ceiling, longing to see the sky
Euphoria floods my veins as I think of the novel I finished
No one can take my creative works away from me
Like wolves, they encircle their fallen prey – me
(A poem from my book Write To Survive)
Being betrayed by someone you considered to be a friend is a difficult thing to process in addition to the actual acts that were committed. Sven had skillfully won my trust so he could get what he wanted. I was supposed to be like Kati Morton – after graduating from my counseling program, I’d get a dream job and meet my life partner.
The day after the incident, I sat in my room and felt like a failure. I knew it wasn’t my fault. In fact, I was disturbed at how well I’d been tricked. My waning confidence in my ability to be a counselor dwindled down to nothing. I’d been duped and discarded. I thought I was supposed to be better than this. In truth, he knew very well who I was – he saw that I was healthy, thriving, and happy. The problem is people like that don’t care. Being vulnerable to an attack is not the same as being responsible for it.
I hate those trite posts that say things like “You’ll meet the right one when you’re not looking.” Let me tell you: There have been many phases of my life where I wasn’t prioritizing dating, yet that was often when I met the opportunistic types of guys. Of course, you can meet wonderful people by chance, but you need to be careful not to idealize someone just because you met them organically. You don’t know someone until you know them.
Sven thought I was weak, but the only thing he saw when he looked at me was his own insecurities. The strong never seek to trample or trick others. Only the weak do that. He didn’t take a thing away from me nor did he make me stronger. The resiliency and strength in me already existed and none of my good qualities were lost because of him. Survivors are and always will be so much stronger than the abusers who target them. He did knock me off my game for awhile, though. The decisions I’d make for the next year were overshadowed by the trauma.
How awful. I am so sorry this happened to you.
It feels like a long time ago, yet 2019 was only a few years ago. Thanks for your kind words. I still moved on and found happiness again. Someone like him will never be happy.
It’s tragic that this happened to you… It’s good that you’ve moved on. I have no other words, this kind of thing just shouldn’t happen.
Thank you for reading, Simon. 😊 Yes you’re right I’ve moved on & I’m glad you recognized that. And true – I wish this didn’t happen.