13 Reasons Why

By now you’ve all heard about the new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why” and the praise/awareness it is bringing forward to suicide and the impact of bullying.  Although I haven’t seen the series and I probably won’t watch it, I did read the book when it was first released in 2011. (Personally, I prefer books to movie/tv series remakes.) Anyways, I’m glad that this series is touching so many people, both younger children/adults who may be struggling with similar situations and even older adults who may have gone through this as well.

As for me, it brings back the harsh realities of my experiences throughout elementary to high school.  I began experiencing bullying at an extremely young age when I was about six.  As I go older the bullying got worse.  Especially in middle school, when you’re already self-conscious about yourself and experiencing puberty.  That’s also when I began getting physically assaulted from peers.  My personal life has always been tough, and use academics and art as outlets which made me an easy target – add in the fact I went to new schools every year so I mostly was always a longer.

The bullying became so bad that I did become suicidal.  I was 12 when I first wanted to die.  I cried every night and became incredibly depressed, I started to believe the things other kids said about me or to me.  As 25 yr old me writes this, it breaks my heart to know that I WAS A MERE CHILD AND WANTED TO DIE. I’m so glad I chose not go through with it.  I’m so thankful to be here now and I’m in such a better place, the things I’m accomplishing and will continued to do – I chose to live and love.

Bullying is harmful. It’s dangerous and life changing. Adults used to chalk up my incidents as “kids being kids.” BUT NO, THAT IS WRONG – THAT IS DANGEROUS THINKING. A child shouldn’t tell another child to die,  and a child shouldn’t feel unwanted and self-inflict that pain.  Even if a child doesn’t physically hurt another child, words will stay forever.  As an adult looking back, I can still remember the things that were said and done to me.  I was able to use that negative output to become a better and kinder person.  I was able to resist ending my life and break through barriers of insecurity and pain.  Unfortunately for a lot of children and young adults, they cannot and social media is only amplifying both bullying and suicides.

“13 Reasons Why” is proving to be an impactful series and book of suicide, slut-shaming/bullying.  We need to continue to have these open conversations and realize that being mean to someone else is not going to make you a better person, especially if they end their life over what you say and do to them.

Be a better person and be kind. And you may save a life like someone saved mine.

Advertisements

Mini-Life Update: Where Have I Been?

Hello Love,

Longtime no see… in about 4 1/2 months! No need to worry, I’ve been here all along-just some stuff came up. I’ll keep it short and simple –

Some major life changes are here!

What are they? You may ask! Well…

  1. A baby is on it’s way! I know, I was shocked too when I found out two months ago. My sister will now have THREE KIDS.
  2. I got a new job 🙂 – freelance writing for a lifestyle blog
  3. Ten months ago, I adopted a dog from a kill shelter – I’ll have to tell you about him! He’s great, and his name is Ranger! ♥
  4. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and it’s something I’m working through.
  5. Also, I may or may not be applying to medical school
  6. Love Letter’s will be getting a revamp – still in the works.

That’s all for now. Hopefully, you understand!

Love,

Tiarra

 

 

 

Rules of Dating | Let the Games Begin

The problem with today’s dating society is that everyone is afraid to actually admit how they feel, even to themselves. Heaven forbid you tell the person you like that you actually like them because you don’t wanna seem desperate. It is pathetic.

1. Who wants to commit?

Commitment is a scary word in today’s dating scene. Who would want to commit when you can just play the field? Girls are said to be too complicated, and guys are just defined as fuckboys. I guess girls want too much out of guys and guys don’t want to commit and vice versa. The sad part is that the normal thing these days is to be talking to multiple people at once and not even think twice about it. I mean technically you’re not “dating” so it is fair game right? Wrong. Both girls and boys don’t want to actually put in the time and commitment to actually make a relationship work, but complain when they aren’t in one.

2. Social Media

Social media has ruined the dating world. Now it is all about whether or not they liked your photo on Instagram or “favorited” your tweet. Then it becomes the guessing game, “if they like my picture does that mean they like me?” Social media has allowed everyone to think there is a subtle hint behind every move. Social media has also created a lot of trust issues. How do you know the guy or girl you’re are crazy about isn’t talking to three other people? You don’t. Social media has created this barrier that never used to be there. No one actually communicates anymore, everything is over the internet. Instead of hiding behind a phone or laptop, go ask out the girl. Actually get up and make an effort. Same for you girls.

3. The romance is gone.

I have heard multiple times how girls wish they were born in the 50’s when guys actually pinned over a girl and would take her to the diner for a milkshake or take her roller skating. These days we have “Netflix and Chill” like seriously that is how you want to woo me? It isn’t bad to want these things and I am not just putting the blame on guys. Guys want romance too, but it is said to be weak to show such desire. Guys are seen as “whipped” if they actually show that they care about their girlfriend, so instead they act like they don’t exist. Every girl (and boy) just want to be swept off their feet into the blissful world of “romance”, but instead we text each other and then turn around and act like we don’t know them in public.

4. We have no “emotions”

If anyone can play this game it is me. Everyone wants to outdo each other for not caring. If you show too much emotion then you’re seen as too needy, if you don’t show enough then why are you “wasting” your time. It is exhausting to keep up with. Since we are in this casual dating world, everyone is supposed to act nonchalant. We no longer have an actual dating scene. No one goes through the effort to actually get the girl (or boy). The new fab thing is to see who can put in the least amount of effort. We want to be adored, but don’t want to do the adoring.

5. Let the games begin.

If you don’t want to play this casual dating game, join the club. However, you don’t have a choice. Girls are said to play hard to get, and boys don’t show they care enough. For example, if a girl isn’t responding to the boy who has been pestering her all day, it is not because she isn’t interested, it is because she wants him to chase her. FALSE. Yea we all play our games, but speaking from experience if I’m not responding to your 8th snap that day it is because I DON’T WANT TO and no you should not try harder. Girls can’t not be interested and guys can’t have too much of an ego. It is no longer “cool” to not play the game unless you wanna sit at home alone, which most do anyways because relationships are all over texts. Which is a whole other topic.

The problem with this casual dating society is that no one actually wants to commit. Everyone wants to play games because they’re afraid of opening up and getting hurt. We all want the attention and affection, but don’t want the label. After all, you can’t play the game if you don’t know the “rules”.

13 Versions of Toxic People

One of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect to be one of the good ones. At some point we’ll all make stupid decisions, hurt the people we love, say things that are hard to take back, and push too hard to get our way. None of that makes us toxic. It makes us human. We mess things up, we grow and we learn. Toxic people are different. They never learn. They never self-reflect and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.

Toxic behavior is a habitual way of responding to the world and the people in it. Toxic people are smart but they have the emotional intelligence of a pen lid. It’s no accident that they choose those who are open-hearted, generous and willing to work hard for a relationship. With two non-toxic people this is the foundation for something wonderful, but when toxic behavior is involved it’s only a matter of time before that open heart becomes a broken one.

If you’re in any sort of relationship with someone who is toxic, chances are you’ve been bending and flexing for a while to try to make it work. Stop. Just stop. You can only change the things that are open to your influence and toxic people will never be one of them. Here are some of the ones to watch out for.

The Controller

Nobody should have to ask for permission or be heavily directed on what to wear, how to look, who to spend time with or how to spend their money. There’s nothing wrong with being open to the influence of the people around you, but ‘the way you do you’ is for you to decide. Your mind is strong and beautiful and shouldn’t be caged. Healthy relationships support independent thought. They don’t crush it.

The Taker

All relationships are about give and take but if you’re with a taker, you’ll be doing all the giving and they’ll be doing all the taking. Think about what you get from the relationship. If it’s nothing, it might be time to question why you’re there. We all have a limited amount of resources (emotional energy, time) to share between our relationships. Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t deserve you, you’re saying ‘no’ to someone who does. Give your energy to the people who deserve it and when you’re drawing up the list of deserving ones, make sure your own name is at the top.

The Absent

These versions of toxic people won’t return texts or phone calls and will only be available when it suits them, usually when they want something. You might find yourself wondering whether they got your message, whether they’re okay, or whether you’ve done something to upset them. No relationship should involve this much guess-work.

The Manipulator

Manipulators will steal your joy as though you made it especially for them. They’ll tell half-truths or straight out lies and when they have enough people squabbling, they’ll be the saviour. ‘Don’t worry. I’m here for you.’ Ugh. They’ll listen, they’ll comfort, and they’ll tell you want you need to hear. And then they’ll ruin you. They’ll change the facts of a situation, take things out of context and use your words against you. They’ll calmly poke you until you crack, then they’ll poke you for cracking. They’ll ‘accidentally’ spill secrets or they’ll hint that there are secrets there to spill, whether there are or not. There’s just no reasoning with a manipulator, so forget trying to explain yourself. The argument will run in circles and there will be no resolution. It’s a black hole. Don’t get sucked in.

You: I feel like you’re not listening to me.
Them: Are you calling me a bad listener
You: No, I’m just saying that you’ve taken what I said the wrong way.
Them: Oh. So now you’re saying I’m stupid. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. Everyone told me to be careful of you.

They’ll only hear things through their negative filter, so the more you talk, the more they’ll twist what you’re saying. They want power, not a relationship. They’ll use your weaknesses against you and they’ll use your strengths – your kindness, your openness, your need for stability in the relationship. If they’re showing tenderness, be careful – there’s something you have that they want. Show them the door, and lock it when they leave.

The Bullshitter

They talk themselves up, they talk others down and they always have a reason for not doing what they say. They’ll lie outright or they’ll give you versions of the truth – not a lie, not the truth, just that feeling in your gut that something is off. You can’t believe a word they say. There’s no honesty, which means there’s no intimacy. At worst bullshitters are heartbreakers. At best they’re raving bores.

The Attention Seeker

It’s nice to be needed. It’s also nice to eat peanut butter, but it doesn’t mean you want it all the time. The attention seeker always has a crisis going on and they always need your support. Be ready for the aggression, passive aggression, angst or a guilt trip if you don’t respond. ‘Oh. You’re going to dinner with friends? It’s just that I’ve had the worst day and I really needed you tonight. Oh well, I suppose I can’t always expect you to be there for me. If it’s that important to you then you should go. I just want you to be happy. I’ll just stay in by myself and watch tv or something (sigh). You go and have fun with your friends. I suppose I’ll be okay.’ See how that works? When there’s always a crisis, it’s only a matter of time before you’re at the centre of one.

The One Who Wants to Change You

It’s one thing to let you know that the adorable snort thing you do when you laugh isn’t so adorable, but when you’re constantly reminded that you aren’t smart enough, good-looking enough, skinny enough, strong enough, you have to start thinking that the only thing that isn’t good enough about you is this loser who keeps pointing these things out. You’ll never be good enough for these people because it’s not about you, it’s about control and insecurity – theirs, not yours. As long as they’re working on changing you, they don’t have to worry about themselves, and as long as they can keep you small, they’ll have a shot at shining brighter.

These people will make you doubt yourself by slowly convincing you that they know best, and that they’re doing it all for you. ‘You’d just be so much prettier if you lost a few pounds, you know? I’m just being honest.’ Ugh. Unless you’re having to be craned through your window, or you’re seriously unhealthy, it’s nobody else’s business how luscious your curves are. If you feel heavy, start by losing the 160 pounds of idiot beside you and you won’t believe how much lighter you’ll feel. These ones aren’t looking out for you, they’re trying to manage you. The people who deserve you will love you because of who you are, not despite it.

The One You Want to Change

People aren’t channels, hairstyles or undies. You can’t change them. Someone who snarls at the waiter will always be the kind of person who snarls at the waiter – whether they’re snarling or not. People can change, but only when they’re ready and usually only when they’ve felt enough pain. It’s normal to fight for the things that are important, but it’s important to know when to stop. When a relationship hurts to be in, the only thing that will change will be you – a sadder, more unhappier version of the person you started out as. Before it gets to this, set a time limit in which you want to see change. Take photos of yourself every day – you’ll see it in your eyes if something isn’t right, or check in at the end of each week and write down how you feel. Have something concrete to look back on. It’s easier to let go if it’s clear over time that nothing has changed. It’s even easier if you can see that the only thing different is that the lights have gone out in you.

The Abuser

The signs might be subtle at first but they’ll be there. Soon, there will be a clear cycle of abuse, but you may or may not recognise it for what it is but this is how it will look:

here will be rising tension. You’ll feel it. You’ll tread carefully and you’ll be scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Eventually, there will be an explosion. A fight. There will be physical or emotional abuse and it will be terrifying. At first you’ll make excuses – ‘I shouldn’t have said that/ did that/ gone out/ had an opinion/ said no.

Then, the honeymoon. The abuser can be wonderfully kind and loving when they need to be, but only when they need to be. You’ll be so desperate for things to get better that you’ll believe the apologies, the tenderness, the declarations of love, the promises.

The tension will start to rise again. Over time, the cycle will get shorter and it will happen more often. The tension will rise quicker, the explosions will be bigger, the honeymoons will be shorter.

If this is familiar, you’re in a cycle of abuse. It’s not love. It’s not stress. It’s not your fault. It’s abuse. The honeymoon will be one of the things that keeps you there. The love will feel real and you’ll crave it, of course you will – that’s completely understandable – but listen to this: Love after abuse isn’t love, it’s manipulation. If the love was real, there would be mountains moved to make sure you were never hurt or scared again.

The Jealous One

Your partner is important and so are other people in your life. If you act in a trustworthy way, you deserve to be trusted. We all get insecure now and then and sometimes we could all do with a little more loving and reassurance, but when the questions, accusations and demands are consistent and without reason, it will only be a matter of time before your phone is checked, your movements are questioned, and your friends are closed out. Misplaced jealousy isn’t love, it’s a lack of trust in you.

The Worse-Off One

These people will always have problems that are bigger than yours. You’re sick, they’re sicker; you’re exhausted from working late every night this week, they’re shattered – from the gym; you’ve just lost your job, they’re ‘devastated because it’s really hard when you know someone who’s lost their job’. You’ll always be the supporter, never the supported. There’s only so long that you can keep drawing on your emotional well if there’s nothing coming back.

The Sideways Glancer

Ok. So the human form is beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with admiring it, but when it’s done constantly in your company – in your face – it’s tiring, and it feels bad. You deserve to be first and you deserve to feel noticed. That doesn’t mean you have to be first all the time, but certainly you shouldn’t have to fight strangers for your share of attention. Some things will never be adorable.

The Cheater

Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship – that depends on the circumstances and the people involved and it’s not for anyone else to judge whether or not you should stay. It’s a deeply personal decision and one you can make in strength either way, but when infidelity happens more than once, or when it happens without remorse or commitment to the future of the relationship, it will cause breakage. When people show you over and over that they aren’t capable of loving you the way you want to be loved, believe them. Move them out of the damn way so that better things can find you.

The Liar.
Let’s be realistic – little white lies happen. In fact, research has found that when lying is done for the right reasons (such as to protect someone’s feelings) it can actually strengthen a relationship. ‘So that’s the orange cocktail dress you’ve spent a month’s pay on? Wow – you weren’t kidding when you said it was bright. Oh, it has pandas on it. And they’re smiling. And the shop doesn’t take returns. And you love it. Well keep smiling gorgeous. You look amazing!’. However, when lies are told with malicious intent and for personal gain, it will always weaken relationships. Relationships are meant to be fun, but none of us are meant to be played.

The One Who Laughs at Your Dreams

Whether it’s being a merchant banker, a belly dancer, or the inventor of tiny slippers for cats, the people who deserve you are those who support your dreams, not those who laugh at them. The people who tell you that you won’t succeed are usually the ones who are scared that you will. If they’re not cheering you on, they’re holding you back. If they’re not directly impacted by your dreams, (which, for example, your partner might be if your dream is to sell everything you both own, move to Rome, and sell fake sunglasses to the tourists) then you would have to question what they’re getting out of dampening you.

Being human is complicated. Being open to the world is a great thing to be – it’s wonderful – but when you’re open to the world you’re also open to the poison that spills from it. One of the things that makes a difference is the people you hold close. Whether it’s one, two or squadron-sized bunch, let the people around you be ones who are worthy of you. It’s one of the greatest acts of self-love. Good people are what great lives are made of.

Nice Guys

“You’ve been treated badly for so long that when someone tries to give you the love you deserve,  you don’t know what the hell to do.”

Dear Future Husband,

This is probably one of the saddest things to admit to, but it’s true. This is something I continuously struggle with when dating – I don’t know that I actually deserve a good guy and I end up pushing him away.

I tell myself that in the end he will leave and hurt me, so I stop myself from embarking into a relationship.  The very few times I’ve met a nice guy, I will second guess everything he says or does. It’s hard to believe and trust that I actually deserve it. I become insecure and retreat when I feel vulnerable. I’ve been badly let down in the past and experienced an acrimonious separation. Alternatively, I’ve been subjected to physical/emotional abuse as well as witnessing this happening to my own mother.

So the only attention I’ve received from a man was to be treated badly. Though this isn’t what I wanted, sadly it’s the only thing I seem to know. And although this is what I’m used to in relationships, I’m doing my best to learn from my mistakes and have been on journey of self-love.  In doing so, I’ve recognized this is a problem that needs to break this destructive behavior to move forward into healthy relationships.

I don’t expect anyone to love me when I’m still learning to love myself. Which is part of the reason as to why I don’t really date. But what I guess what I want you to know and understand is if we do happen to meet, that I’m a work in progress and I just need someone willing to put in the effort.

I need you to be loyal. I want to trust you as much as you want to trust me. I want to trust that you will always come back to me. I want to trust with my heart. I want to trust you with everything I have, and I want to trust that you will never hurt me.

I need you to be patient. Sometimes I get upset and I need you to have patience with me. I will forgive whatever and whoever, but I need you to be there for me and wait for me to be OK again. You also need to be patient when trying to get to know me; I will only tell you pieces and parts at a time, you have to be patient with me until I know you can handle all of me.

When loving me, you need to hold on tight. When things get complicated I need to know that I have you to turn to. When life starts pulling us different directions I need to know that you will always come back. I need to know that you are with me for the long run, and you won’t give up on me whenever life makes you question everything. I need to know you will hold on to us.

It’s not hard loving me, but it takes work. You need patience, trust and a whole lot of love. But I can promise this will be the purest love you will ever experience. My heart is in this for the long run, just as you put in the effort so will I.

Love,

Your Future Wife

How Girls With Anxiety Love Differently

You will never regret us.

You’re swimming in an ocean, and without notice or warning you begin slipping under the surface. You kick and kick, slowly losing your breath. You can’t breathe, but you keep kicking. No matter how hard you kick, how hard you try to scream, no one can hear you or help you. Your lungs are burning from the lack of oxygen; you can’t reach the surface. You keep reaching toward the sunlight; you see the surface, but you can’t get there. You’re stuck 10 feet under. You’re without air; you’re without your breath; you black out.

That’s anxiety. Anxiety consumes you; anxiety becomes you, and for hours you’re alone. You’re drowning, and no one can save you, no matter how loudly you yell.

As a result of constantly feeling like this, girls with anxiety have their guard up. We handle almost everything with worry, and we are on edge, wondering what will set off our anxiety next, and just like that, we’re back feeling like we’re in that ocean.

Girls with anxiety love differently. But I promise you, we will love you like no one else ever will. We will love you like you are our one and only, you’re our safe space, you’re the person we know we can trust, and our love for you and our appreciation for you will never go unnoticed.

We need reassurance.

Please be patient when we ask you for the tenth time if you’re leaving. We are not in control of our anxiety most of time, so we always want to know what you are thinking, so we are not blindsided because we want to be in control of something in our life. Even though we make you repeat yourself, do not ever think we are ever doubting you. The feeling we get when you know you aren’t leaving is so calming. We will love you for it, forever.

We need to feel safe.

Overprotective? Yes, please. Girls with anxiety need to feel safe in their relationships. We are independent, so don’t get confused. We just need a little more safety. We need to know you are there, and you care. When we are out in public, we really don’t like randoms hitting on us or making us feel uncomfortable, and we’d really like for you to step in and handle it calmly. Because we need to feel safe, girls with anxiety will never go out of their way to converse with randoms. You are our safety net, and you are the only one we will ever want. Please always remember that forever.

We form close bonds.

We lean on you a little more than normal girlfriends. When we’re happy, we’re happy; when we’re sad, we’re a mess. If we feel an ounce of anxiety, you are the first person we need. You are the only person we trust to handle us when we’re shaking, and when we are gasping for breath. Because you see us so vulnerable, we form a bond with you that you won’t ever have again, I promise you.

We will love you like no one else.

We tend to be a little much at times, yes. However, we trust you with our entire lives. Anxiety is real; what we feel is real, and knowing we have someone there who is attempting to understand and not leaving no matter how many times we question it. We love you because you are our protector, our lover and our calmer. You are so much more to us than a significant other. You are our world, and we are so incredibly thankful for it, and we will tell you 10 million times a day.

We will never let you go to sleep without feeling loved. No matter how many times you ask if we are OK, we always say yes because your happiness is more important than our own, even though you always know when something is wrong. We will hold you like no other woman will, and we will appreciate all the small things you do.

Anxiety controls your body. Anxiety controls your heart. The simple “we need to talk” throws our body in flight-or-fight mode, and we lose feeling. The simple “I don’t know anymore” turns our hearts inside out. Breakups are hard, but girls with anxiety will struggle to find themselves again because they put so much faith into you. They love you more than you can ever comprehend, and once you love like that, it’s almost impossible to ever love like that again.

So, if you are dating a girl with anxiety, she is not a mess; she is not a prisoner; she is not a burden like she always thinks she is. She is a gift that should be treasured. We tend to need a little more TLC, but we will cherish you for it. Girls with anxiety love differently. But I promise you, we will love you like no one else ever will.

Story Time: Job Interview From Hell

Eight months ago after sitting in my boss’s office while he told me that I had two weeks to look for a new job before I was laid from cushy career of two years,  I (unwillingly) but immediately began a man hunt for a new job. I did have the security in knowing that I would receive a severance package for one month and I could cash in another month of PTO. And if I still hadn’t found a job after 2 months, and desperately needed money, I could dip into my savings which could hold me over for another six months. Also, I would be eligible to receive unemployment benefits but the maximum amount that I could receive would still be well below what my actual salary was and still not enough to help support me and my family.

The news couldn’t have been at a worse time. I was going through a tough breakup, I was in the middle of house hunting, a friend’s upcoming nuptials, among other things. But I didn’t let any of this affect my search. In fact, it motivated me to start looking for job more aligned with my type of dream career.

At the time, I was an assistant to a C-level executive working for a top firm with an office in a high rise in downtown. I was overpaid, underworked, had a flexible work schedule with all paid company benefits. It was the crème de la crème job of college graduates. I was very lucky to have a great job that paid for my boutique gym membership and a macro manager boss who was hardly in the office. I absolutely loved my job, I had no worries and it allowed me to live a better lifestyle than I was accustomed too. I had no reason or want to quit, maybe not ever.

The work itself was not at all what I wanted to do. I had dreams of becoming a writer and/or working in marketing in the fashion industry. I wanted to travel, write and get paid to post on social media. (Just like other naïve millennials.) BUT IT WAS EASY AND I WAS PAID A LOT OF MONEY TO DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

So why ever look for a new job?!

Fast-forward two years later and I had no choice. So I decided to look for jobs that matched with my future career goals.

I spent my days “working”… on getting a new job. Interviews were scheduled on my lunchbreaks.

On the Friday, of my last week to get a new job I jammed multiple interviews desperate to not be left on the street with my cliché white box of corporate let-go’s.

It was on this day that I had the scariest and worst interview that I hopefully will ever have.

It was for a marketing position with a very small firm but in the same field I was currently in at the time. The job entailed handling all social media accounts, graphic design, blogging, and marketing.  There was also a very slim chance the position would require minimal traveling as the direct report would be the owner who was constantly traveling.

I was excited and crossing my fingers as this seemed to be the more promising job interview I may have had.

On paper, I knew I was a strong candidate with my background and education.  But I also needed to be sure I would impress! So I wore my most business outfit that I wear only to important business related functions: a black pencil skirt, matching black blazer, white button up blouse, diamond stud earrings, and black heels, minimal makeup of just concealer and mascara, and my hair was straightened into a slicked-back ponytail.  I also prepared a portfolio of my writing, design work, and successful projects while also lightly rehearsing possible interview questions/scenarios.

But nothing prepared me for what actually happened!

The firm was in a small building uptown of where I worked. I was very familiar with the area as it was in a nicer and popular part of town that I had formerly grew up in. Inside, the office space was surprisingly converted into looking like it was a downtown studio with modern fixtures and a loft design style.  I walked up to the receptionist desk, but she blatantly ignored me as I stood directly in front of her. So I said, “Hi, I’m here for an interview with Mr. Big. I’m a little early though.” She looked up at me then back down at her computer.  I stood there awkwardly for few seconds confused and unsure of what to do…?! So I just walked to the sitting chair and sat and waited.  After a few minutes she got up and walked to the back. I started reading my resume and going over my portfolio, when a few minutes later she came back to her desk when she mumbled that asfkla would come get me. Because I didn’t hear her and she didn’t acknowledge me when she first started talking I replied, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” But she just went back to ignoring me.

So I just sat there awkwardly, confused at what was happening. She started watching YouTube videos loudly and laughing obnoxiously. Already, I knew that if I got the job I probably would have a hard time working with her and hoped something panned out with the other two interviews I had after.

A few minutes later, the whitest girl I had ever seen came to the front desk. I was caught off guard with the way this girl looked. The receptionist was wearing a crop top with her cleavage out and low-waist jeans that showed her back tattoos with a nose piercing. This girl was wearing a long, loose pencil skirt that went passed her knees and a really baggy sweater with her blonde hair in the longest braid. She also looked scared for some reason. Which scared me! And maybe was a warning for what I was about to endure.

The receptionist looked up and said to follow the blonde girl, so I got up with my stuff and went around to the back following.  We went through the hallway passing a conference room, an office and an open cubicle space. She stopped and said I could go into the vault. Confused, I quickly turned around and a giant bank vault door that locked as his office door. I got scared for a few seconds at the thought of being alone in a vaulted room with a guy. But she showed me the glass doors to go through and maybe my fear showed because she just said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right out here.” And sat down at a cubicle inches away from the glass doors with a bird’s eye view into his office.

I went through the doors as she slid them closed.  As I went into the office, Mr. Big apologized for keeping me waiting as he spun around in his chair to face me. I took a seat on one of the chairs across his desk. I was caught off guard with how big he was! I had looked up him and his company when applying so I knew what he would like but honestly, his photos were made him a lot more attractive than he was. He sat slumped in his chair and was just huge! He looked like he weighed about 400 lbs. Also, his shoulder length hair I expected was really just short of a toupe.  He didn’t shake hands but just stayed seated and started looking for my resume that he couldn’t find. So I just gave him a copy that I had. It was then he realized that I worked at the same firm a prior assistant of his did. She left his firm and had also been the assistant to my current boss. He bizarrely started trying to get me to speak negatively about my company and boss.

He also wanted to know if the company had done anything illegal. (At the time, my company was in the news, both local and nationally, and because the field in my city was relatively small, it was well known knowledge at what was going on. So it was normal for me to go on interviews and people ask about the current state of my company. I did speak to my boss about this and he gave me some answers that I could use in interviews that were appropriate but also didn’t divulge information.) So I just replied with a response that was general but didn’t directly ask his questions. He kept pushing for me to say something bad about anything related to my firm. I wouldn’t and just said that I love my company, boss, and co-workers and that I honestly have nothing bad to say and even if I did I wouldn’t say anything negative about it.

Also, I heard scratching noises on the carpet near and looked down. To my horror his BARE feet stretched passed his desk near mine and he was scratching them against the carpet. I was pretty grossed out and scooted back into the chair while trying to push it and myself a little further from his desk.

All of that started to make me uncomfortable and I guess he finally realized he wouldn’t get anything out of me because he started talking about the position and the job requirements. He asked if I had any experience with social media and writing. I explained my background, a few projects I had worked on and showed him my portfolio. I was getting excited again about the job and he seemed impressed with my work.  He was making comments that I seemed to be a top candidate and all. Also, he explained that the office was three persons instead of the small practice I thought it was. He was looking to hire more assistants to help with the workload.

He started getting texts and calls in the middle of our interview.  While he didn’t answer his calls he started replying to texts while in the middle of me talking which began to become awkward since I could tell he wasn’t listening anymore and I started to trail off in my answers. At one moment, I just sat there in silence as he kept going at it with his texts. It seemed like he was fighting with someone as he began texting faster and harder, so I just started letting my eyes wander around the office.  Above his desk, were huge portraits of children that I started to look aimlessly at. He caught me staring at them and said those were his kids. He explained how he had a hobby in photography and had taken photos of his kids and wife. Then he started going on in expletives that his wife was no longer his wife but an ex whom he was currently texting. Because she wanted more child support. It became even more awkward as he started talking about her new husband and how she wasn’t a good mother. Then he started talking about how he wasn’t a millionaire but he made a generous amount of money ($500k+). He started bragging about how he was a shark and so good at what he did. People feared him! He talked about things he did that to me seemed questionably unethical and probably shouldn’t brag about.  But hey, to him I was a young, naïve 20-something year in desperate need of a job and he was a wealthy man who could help me out!

I guess he got tired of talking about himself and decided to end the interview. “Thanks so much! It was great meeting you, I look forward to hearing back from you,” I lied through my teeth ready to walk out.

He said he would show me around the office on the way out. I was a little confused why because I saw all of it coming in (it was a really small office space) but whatever. A lot of companies did that anyways, so it didn’t seem questionable to me. I would humor him and let him brag one last time.

I got up straightening my skirt out and getting my stuff as he got up. It was then I saw about how big this guy really was.  He stood tall about 6’5 and maybe even weighed more than I initially thought. He limped to get his bejeweled cane to walk and slid on some dirty house slippers on.  His assistant peeked her head into the office and he just waved her off saying he was going to show me the office. I walked out as he limped behind me and let him lead the way.  I looked back at the girl to say by but again she had the look of horror upon her face which started to creep me out at this point.

Before going through the hallway, he explained this was the cubicle space and then walked to the conference room where he said this is the conference room. We then went to the clear, glass office and again he obviously stated it was the office. Rolling my eyes behind him, I let him lead the way to the reception desk where he said it was the reception area. Glad to finally be out of this weird place, I put my hand out to shake and again started to say thanks. But nope, we were not done!

He wanted to show me where his assistant’s office and the office I’d have if I got the job.  Again this being nothing out of the ordinary, I said ok and started walking back into the hallway from the reception area. He laughed and said the office wasn’t there so I stood confused. I had seen the entire office space so where were the other offices…?!

“Over here,” he pointed and limped behind the 2/3 built wall behind the reception desk. I had thought the black wall was just there as a focal point for the room, not realizing behind it was a small hallway that led to another door. He explained he owned the whole building, instead of the 1/3 I thought he owned.

The hallway was dim because of the black wall but not dark. He opened the door and limped inside. I waited in the doorway for him to turn on the lights because it was completely and utterly pitch black.

A few seconds passed, and he still hadn’t turned on any lights on. I heard him say to come in.

That was when I started to panic.

I still didn’t move. Why? I don’t know. I was probably beginning to shut down because I’m not stupid and had a feeling something was about to happen.

He kept saying to come in but he still hadn’t turned the lights on. I wasn’t about to walk into a room that’s pitch black with a guy who weighs 400-500lbs more than me and a foot taller. My eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and that’s when I realized the room was in full construction with tarps, tools and wood thrown all over. I stayed standing in the middle of the doorway while trying to figure what to do. Every time he said to go in, I said turn the lights on. But he stayed standing in the middle of the room in the dark.

Then I saw him next to me towering over and reached over across me and grabbed to door handle. He was trying to close the door with me against to make me come into the room! I wanted to cry, my stomach was in a ball of nerves and I was on the verge of a panic attack. I quickly scanned the room and saw a wood board nearest me that I could run to and try to use as a weapon.  I wanted to scream and maybe the receptionist would hear me but I wasn’t sure if she’d ignore it or if that would aggravate him into doing something to me. As he tried to close the door, I slammed my heel hard against it and pushed back with my body against the door. I made a loud banging noise by doing that and he let go of the doorknob and jumped back.

“What was that?” he asked.

I stood shaking backing away from the doorway.

“I’m not going in there.”

He seemed agitated and turned on the lights saying, “This is all I wanted to show you. I don’t know why you wouldn’t come in.”

With the lights on, I saw there were no offices. It was all construction like I had seen in the dark.  I was sure of what he would have done if I had gone in there. I was mad and scared.

Maybe sensing that I was questioning his motives, he tried to explain the offices were under construction as he was expanding but they would be in here.

I wobbled my way out of there still scared at what just happened. I told my boss and other colleagues what happened, I wanted advice and maybe did I somehow overreact that he would have tried to do something to me had I gone in that dark room. But everyone agreed that he probably was going to try to do something. I asked if I could report him but it was recommended that I didn’t because he didn’t actually do anything to harm me and it was my word against his and also, may potentially harm my job search in the relatively small career field.

I was pretty sure I would never hear back from his since I seemed to have ruined his ploy. But nope, the next day he text me saying he had a job offer for me. Which I thought was extremely weird as I have NEVER been texted by a potential employer. Although I wasn’t going to take the job, I emailed him saying he can contact me via email, to send over the information, and I would review and contact him accordingly. Again, he text me saying if I could go in during lunch as no one would be in the office and we could talk about a job position he has for me. This also made me leary of him as the job I applied for was an assistant position and he was saying “a job position”, as if speaking of another position than the one I applied and interviewed for. And also, why would I go talk to him when no one would be in the office after what he tried to do the previous day?!

I replied via email saying I was no longer interested in the position. I blocked his email and his phone number. I ended up getting random numbers calling and leaving voicemails which were him. But I just blocked those.

I was already laid off and before my firm permanently closed, I went to visit my boss in which he told me that Mr. Big contacted him via LinkedIn saying he was trying to contact me but I wouldn’t answer his calls, emails or texts. And all he wanted was to take me out for drinks. And I also found out from another girl who was an assistant at my firm that she had gone in for an interview with Mr. Big and he did the same thing to her too. Except she went into that room and he closed and locked the door so she couldn’t leave. She said she was in there for 1 ½ hours and they just talked. I kept telling her if something happened she should report him and we could together but she denies anything happened and that they just sat in that furniture-less room and talked in the dark.  I find that extremely hard to believe but she won’t say otherwise.

I’ve seen the position posted at various times since then and I’ve warned people in the field about my experience and letting them know who this guy is because I’m scared he will actually do something to someone if hasn’t already.  I’m lucky that he didn’t do anything to me and since then am more careful about situations I put myself in. If I’m questioning something, now I’ll walk away even if it seems silly.