you’ve got involved with Dots Pots…. which means you might stand for some of the things I stand for. You may not have CHOSEN to, it may have been through a gift or a suggestion… but I am so so glad you did. Cos I’ve got some truth bombs to drop on ya like a damn bass line at a techno rave. How do you feel about yourself most days? It’s a tricky question to answer, especially if you find it hard to listen to your inner little lady (or not lady). I have connected with a lot of women through @doesmynipppleoffendyou, but never more than the day I shared my story of rape. Recent movements (#metoo mainly) heard many women share their stories of sexual assault which leant strength to millions of women worldwide & the entire issue has become a little more acceptable to talk about. Not easier, AT ALL, but women as a whole felt more empowered & able to stand by one another. Strength in solidarity. Despite knowing & feeling all of this, it felt like a big fat old elephant sat on my chest when I pressed that ‘post’ button. I realised in that moment I wasn’t ashamed (anymore) of the terrible thing that happened to me. More than anything I realised I was worried about worrying others! I’m a whingey lady, I don’t find it too difficult to let my thoughts known & if you are in my inner circle PHWOA you are like a funnel for all insecurities, frustrations & random grunts (yes actual grunts) but this one was tricky. The burden of our pain can feel so strong with the potential to be unimaginatively more heartbreaking to others around you. I mean, I now live with it and am okay in all the ways I can be so I don’t need anyone to be impacted by it. Prior to this, in the years following the assault I just did not process the situation at all. I made a joke out of what happened to me (I’m not kidding, it was a running joke with my close friends) which just ultimately isolated myself into two parts – who everyone saw me as & who I felt I was inside. Some days if my attention turned to my body & the feeling of my own skin make me physically nauseous. Most of my interactions with others were just attempts to validate myself. Not by me, my worth. But by the perception of me that others see. I cared more about the narrative of me than the real me I was living with. I couldn’t be alone with myself for so long that I lost my own connection to my own train of thought. I eventually got to a point where I would sit in a dark room, in a towel for hours, staring at nothing & crying but not hearing any thoughts in my mind. I was so mentally detached from that pain I couldn’t even understand it anymore. I hope to never feel like that again in my life. I became suicidal, my life was brilliant but I didn’t want to live as me. It wasn’t that I wanted to die, it’s that I couldn’t stand being alive so much so that I would half-heartedly attempt some kind of pill episode or I would scratch myself until it hurt. Even in the lowest points, there is a resistance in your humanity that stops you. Its actual survival instinct. What I have now learnt, very surprisingly, is that my suicidal ideation was the exact same thing! It’s impossible to change the thing that happened to me. Literally impossible. There isn’t no DeLorean’s or time turner’s or hot tub time machines around that could take me back to Las Vegas in 2017 and be like ‘hun, don’t talk to this random. put yourself to bed with some nuggets & fries & stop trying to be busy and fun all the time’. It’s been explained to me how half the time these intrusive and dark thoughts of hurting yourself or even ending your life are not only common but an understandable sense of control over a situation that you are not quite sure you can live with. As humans, we NEED to find a solution. At this time, even when isolated I had a front on that kept me around people. I had good caring people, who loved me even when I couldn’t have despised myself more. I also had people around me who began to not like me. It was warranted, trust me. Self-hate doesn’t make you a great person. I reached out to the wrong people and was basically rejected. It happens! People are selfish but that’s okay – selfishness is good. It’s a good thing to find out who can be there for you. I’ve had people need me in my life who I have just been unable to give myself to. It’s not a bad thing. I also didn’t even have to reach out to the right people. They were just there. They saved my life. These are terrible things. These are understandable things. They are things at times I still have to challenge sometimes. A sad truth we know is that a lot of people live in this pain & their need to stop the pain outweighs their need to survive, and they just don’t. I’m not telling you this to make you uncomfortable. My very long and sad story comes to this conclusion. If you think about the lessons I learnt in that worst year of my life, it makes the agenda of Dots Pots & everything I am doing here make a lot of sense. Why on earth. Would I think. That I deserve. To treat myself. Like that. Rape tears you down to the bones & you feel like an object. When I finally sought help for what happened to me, I realised I had in some ways treated myself like that forever. My legs. My chubby little legs. I not only have hated them, but have thought about the way they look on nights out more than I thought about having fun. I have deleted photos of myself because I of how ugly I looked – photos that I didn’t realise were sacred & special until people in my life passed away. I have let negativity eat me up until I justify treating people nastily. I’ve also let it let be an excuse for people to treat me terribly as well. I’ve let superficial reasons outweigh kind ones. I have convinced myself I am horrible or not worthy of love. This all happened before that stupid thing happened to me, and that happens constantly and consistently to women and girls all around the world. So, who do you think you are? How do you talk to yourself? How do you see yourself? It’s been proven that if you were to ask someone close to draw a sketch of you & you did it too, yours would be full of criticisms and improperly scaled facial features. I think the same thing applies to our self-worth. Ask the people around you to tell you what you’re like. It’s okay to do that if you can’t do it yourself. Try to believe them, and then eventually do the same thing for yourself. Criticism is necessary in life, like we need to grow otherwise were just a bunch of sheltered assholes. It just shouldn’t be a given or a prerogative of someone in your life to consistently add to the quite capable ability you might already have to tear yourself down. If the people in your life make you feel bad, in any way, you remove them from your life. You take a step back. Are there parts of your body you don’t like? Acknowledge it and think about why. Is it because other people have nicer legs than you? That’s a good enough reason. Some people do have really nice legs. but I don’t put a piece of garlic bread next to a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise and tell myself the garlic bread is ugly cos it’s not as good as the pasta. Why can’t you be beautiful too? Whats wrong with someone being beautiful in this way, and you being beautiful in your way. I am fucking beautiful! You are fucking beautiful! It’s not a hard thing to be! We’ve just been trained to think it needs to look like ‘abc’ or ‘xyz’ but really it can be ‘iek’ or ‘abn’ or ‘wtf’ or my favourite ‘saldfkaajdhfa’. A long long time ago, society decided power had to go to one group of people. So, they took down all the other groups of people in ways that were ridiculous but super effective. One sex felt a slave to the other especially. To counteract it, they took their power away so that THEY could define the other groups worth. It’s just a distraction. The way we speak to ourselves matter. You are better than the way you have been trained. If you look at your life as an ‘abc’ and you think ‘you know what maybe I would prefer to be a ‘xyz’ then BECOME A XYZ! IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE IN THE PROCESS. A lot of people still die or are hated for the need to be who they are. It’ll never make sense to me that some people in society would prefer others to live a life by their rules, even if that life has nothing to do with theirs. There is so much to take out of this. I could write a million pages on what I’ve learnt about the reality of self-love & esteem. I just really wanted to impress a few things that get lost in today’s culture of ‘love yourself BUT STILL LIVE BY THESE SPECIFIC RULES or u fail’. So, this is my trick. Even if you don’t feel worthy (because unfortunately half of us can’t automatically summon self-love just because a meme on Facebook told us to) you just have to fake it. - You deserve to love yourself. If you can’t, it’s okay. You just deserve it. - You deserve to be surrounded by people who love you. If you can’t, it’s okay. You just deserve it. - Others deserve the same from you. If you can’t, it’s okay. You just deserve it. Baby steps. Just trust me when I say that you are worthy enough to make this decision for yourself. Maybe you might start to believe it? I had to have a psychologist & my boyfriend sit me down a million times & tell me I was a good person until I realised ‘you know I just don’t feel that way, but it doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Could it be for the first time in this entire relationship my boyfriend is actually right and I am wrong? No surely not. Well… nahhhhhhhhhhh he a stinky boy he knows nothing. hold on now my psychologist is telling me too. And I guess everyone at work thinks im nice. And my friends love me and I make them laugh all the time. But no I am rotten in side…. Because of this – this – and this. Actually they know all of those faults. But the dumbies still love me. So why cant I do that? okay MAYBE my boyfriends kind of right. I shall never tell him he was right but might give him a blowjob or something later’. Seriously, I make boob pots & give money to charity… I’m basically a fairy godmother & definitely, definitely right about this one. Love you.