I’m not whispering. I’m screaming

image001 (1)

On Monday a colleague who sits behind me felt it was appropriate to send me an instant message telling me he was bummed that I wouldn’t be sitting in his line of vision anymore.

He basically told me he looks at me from behind while I work. Disgusting. For context, this is NOT a friend of mine. He’s a guy I’ve barely said more than good morning to.

I left the office with tears running down my face. I tried to shield my red eyes with sunglasses, but anyone who encountered me saw me crying. I cried much of the evening and the following day. I felt violated and ashamed. Had I done something to provoke this? Were my heels too high or my jeans too flattering? I have been crushing it at the gym  lately.

The same guy pinged me a couple weeks prior to tell me he noticed that I’m always working really hard. I said thank you and that I appreciated that he noticed. Did that somehow open the door to him—a married man with a baby on the way—feeling it appropriate to let me know he likes looking at me?

Tuesday, I felt so nauseated that I couldn’t bring myself to go to the office. Instead, I played a video my sister-in-law posted of my niece, 4, giggling as she innocently drove her toy car around the yard. All I could think about in that moment was my sweet girl growing up and having a slime bag stare at her ass while she tries to do her job.

Oh, hell no! Not on my watch!

So I fired off an email to the slime bag letting him know that what he said was disgusting and it affected my day. I told him not to bother me again. All I want to do is my job–making healthcare work better. A mission I’m very passionate about.

I also took it to the whisper network at my company. Even without mentioning his name, I got responses of “I know exactly who you’re talking about because he’s done it to me, too.”

Well, that got me really fired up. I’m not going to whisper for another second. I’m going to scream and yell.

There is no reason anyone should feel uncomfortable going to their job or sitting at their desk. There is no reason I should be searching my closet for unflattering articles of clothing to wear. There is no reason a slime bag should feel comfortable telling a coworker he (or she) likes to stare at them from behind. THIS IS NOT OK!

So today I held my head high, and I went to work. Obviously I didn’t sit at my desk in his eye line. But anyone who asked why I wasn’t sitting at my desk was told exactly why I wasn’t sitting at my desk. I even spun my laptop around and let them read the exchange (posted above, in its entirety) for themselves.

And I got a ton of support from my colleagues. Men and women promised to report any inappropriate behavior they see. They offered to have a conversation with him on my behalf. One even put a red rose on my desk. “The color of courage,” she explained.

Tonight I’m so grateful to all the supporters. To every man who asked how to navigate in the #metoo era and all the brave victims who are using their voice– who are turning their whispers into shouts. You all inspire me. And if I go home crying again tomorrow, it’ll be for a completely different reason.

Sharing time

For me, the last four months have been made up of high highs and low lows. I find myself incredibly grateful for the little things:

– Card games with Grandma (even if I’m too old for her to let me win now)
– The fact that both my parents are still kicking
– That I found a job so quickly after getting laid off
– My physical and emotional health
– The wonderful people who are either geographically close or connected via the wwws

Once again, I’m inspired by Nora over at My Husband’s Tumor, who is sharing her abundance with people on the Internet. She links to several worthy recipients who need a little assistance from the people of the world. I followed Nora’s lead and donated to several of them in gratitude for my own blessings, and to show that strangers are supporting and cheering their fights.

I hope you’ll all consider sharing your own extra with people who could really use it. If you can’t at this time, I get it. I’ve been there. No shame in taking care of you.

“Damn I’m Good!”

Do you ever feel not good enough?

Yeah, me too. I’ve worked my ass off, taking classes, putting in 125 percent at work, doing freelance projects, putting together pitch letters to send to magazine editors and reading work by other great writers.

I’m good at what I do. I’ve been told since college when I was chosen from everyone in my senior capstone class to be editor of the special publication we put out. The journalism faculty chose me to represent the department at the annual scholars banquet. I was named editor in chief of the campus newspaper.

Yet, I still didn’t feel good enough. A few months ago, a friend called me out. Asking why I didn’t believe my analytics skills were good enough. I started to wake up. I am just as good if not better than most of the writers whose work I follow. Why not me? Why couldn’t I be the one writing the book, magazine article or ad copy?

No reason. It could be me! And now it is!

I got an email the other day from Amy Pearson, a life coach whose emails I subscribe to. She was giving a talk called The Fraud Factor: How to Go From What if I’m not Good Enough? to Confident, Successful and Damn I’m Good! (You can hear the call tonight. Sign up now!)

This looked like just the thing I needed to hear. Plus, since I’m freelancing this week, I could take the 90 minutes to listen.

The wise women and men in my life have been telling me to trust. Trust in my skills, the network I built for myself and the universe to provide everything I need.

Well, I’ll be. Did it ever deliver.

Now, I hesitate to say the universe provided for me. I feel like that underestimates my hustle – I’m the one who took those classes, wrote tons of pitches, nourished those relationships, practiced my skills and established myself. Whatever it was, though, I’m glad it delivered. And I’m so grateful to my friends, family, managers, yoga teacher and co-workers who supported and encouraged me.

My former company, Aquent, took a chance on me many years ago. My managers there encouraged me to take classes, which the company paid for. They supported me when I wanted to move to New York and do a different job. And they had my back when I wanted to move back to Seattle.

Within a week of being laid off, I was offered a new position. I also have freelance projects in the works and more doors opening every day. I’m bursting excitement to live this life I dreamed of. And dared to say out loud that I want.