Halloweenies

Howdy. Time for an update, I suppose. I went back to therapy for a few weeks, but I’m done again; part of me feels like this round was a waste of time… some of it was helpful, yes, but in the past few sessions I was bored and that is normally a sign that I feel that I’ve gotten all the help I can.

In the meantime, I’ve been taking ASL lessons from a wonderful and funny human who is actually from my city, but they are currently studying in Korea. I learned the ASL alphabet when I was in elementary school (not in school, but from books I found on my own in library). A few years later, my sister was very close with a girl who was hard-of-hearing, so me and her learned more ASL then. Like many people, I was hooked on the show Switched at Birth and picked up what I could from the ASL used. When I joined AmeriCorps NCCC in 2018, I had a deaf supervisor and learned even more. Now, I believe I would like to be fluent in ASL and use it in my HR career.

Speaking of my career, I have also been considering getting my SHRM-CP certification. Because I have a Bachelor’s degree, plus 2.5 years of HR experience, I can take it next spring for about $475 (cheaper, if I do the “early-bird” option and if I become a member… which I have been considering doing anyway). I think I am going to take the certification in early May of next year; that will give me plenty of time to prepare.

I baked a carrot cake yesterday, and I’ve made one before, but this one did not turn out very good. Taste-wise, it is fine, but the density is that of a block of cheese. I slapped some icing on the top and ate it, but I will do better next time. I also made some flax cookies that are repeats, but those turned out bad as well. I hope that my next recipe, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, turns out better.

June 19, 2018

On this day, at about 4am, I began my 6.5 hour drive to Vicksburg, Mississippi to start my Field Team Leader training with AmeriCorps NCCC.

I stopped twice and I’m writing this article to talk about my final stop. I stopped in Cuba, Alabama with a population of 303.

The reason for my stopping was that my gas tank was on E and the next exit was 40 miles away, so it was this exit or the side of the road for me.

I pulled into a gas station- the only gas station at this exit. There was one other truck in the lot. It was about 10am, so it was light outside.

I tried to insert my credit card, but the machine kept saying see cashier, so I walked inside. I was wearing tennis shoes, basketball shorts, and a loose tank top with a sports bra underneath. My hair was in a ponytail.

I walked inside the gas station and noticed that it was quite dark and dirty. I looked for the cashier, but there was no one. Suddenly, a 30something year old man came out. He was short, skinny, and looked to be Asian- I couldn’t say exactly from where.

He said, “Hi! How are you?” I responded with, “Hi, I’m doing well, how are you? Can I get $20 on pump 1?” I held out a twenty dollar bill and waited.

Instead of walking past me and to the register, he walked directly towards me, stopped inches from my face, and said, “How about you give me a hug?” Shocked, I said, “No, I don’t think so.” He moved his hands to my waist and I jumped back. I threw the $20 and said, “Pump 1, now, thank you.”

I turned around, walked back to my car, and prayed to God that I would able to fill my fucking tank because I needed to leave. Finally, I did see that he inputted the amount and I started filling my tank. My eyes frantically darted around me, making sure that he or anyone else didn’t approach me. I let the meter hit about $15- I didn’t care about the money, I just needed to leave. So I left.

I will never forget that feeling. I’ll never forget the disbelief I felt. I’ll never forget the fear I felt when he came so close to my face. I’ll never forget the feeling of disgust I felt when his hands touched me. I’ll never forget thinking, “What if he had been taller, stronger, bigger?” I remember thinking, “Oh my god, what do I do? Do I run? But I need gas. Fuck.”

As I drove the remaining miles to the Southern Region AmeriCorps NCCC campus, I cried. I called my mom. I cried some more.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to say that that is the most physical a man has ever gotten with me. I can’t imagine what other women feel who have gone through worse. My day to day with men has always been limited to cat-calling and inappropriate comments (mostly when I used to work at an auto parts shop). I wrote about this experience in my journal. I will try to find that entry and share what I wrote that day.