If you don't read personal rants, it's best you steer clear of this post. I can assure you now, this is lengthy and rather personal.
As an openly friendly person, I've fallen foul of being too kind most of my life. I've attracted the wrong kind of people and I'm too soft to tell them I don't like them when I end up getting embroiled in their lives. As such, I'm still suffering from it now - chronic niceness.
I'm sure we've all had those awkward moments when that kid comes and sits next to you in class and you just don't have the heart to tell them you don't like them. I genuinely thought I'd grown out of it by now, but it turns out I'm still having said awkward moments. At university, there's one guy who comes and sits beside me in every lecture and I haven't the guts to tell him, for want of a better phrase, where to stick it.
I'm not ashamed to speak out about this, particularly here, for many reasons. On returning to university after the summer, the person in question informed me he'd stalked me online and found my blog somehow. I felt instantly nauseous, not because I have anything to hide on here, but that someone would go to that extent to hunt me down over summer.
Now the debate over why I don't tell people I know in real life about my blog is a debate for another day, the essence of the situation is that he searched for me and found me, and doubtless sat back reading each post as they were published.
As such, I have no shame in broadcasting my experiences on here, it makes me physically sick and I'm more than happy to make him aware of that.
I might be an introvert but I'm sure some of you will sympathise with me when I say sometimes, you just want to go down town and shop on your own, keep to your own time, browse without a shadow. The boy in question (I'll use the lexical field of 'boy' to address the fact he does not deserve the title of 'man') has refused to allow me to go down town by myself ever since I unfortunately met him back in the early months of this year. After every lecture, I'd mention I need something from the shops, as a polite way of saying 'I can't stay' but no, that was interpreted as an invitation to join me, follow me on the walk down, shadow me through every shop and persistently moan and groan about being 'dragged' into the likes of Boots and Superdrug.
Well fuck, if you didn't want to go, why did you follow me? I didn't ask you to come. Not in the slightest.
Thinking back on it even makes me feel sick now. My lack of spine is what upsets me most, I wish I could have my time over again and say exactly how I felt the first day I noticed something wrong, but as usual, doormat Ali just lets everyone walk over her.
As if you didn't think it could get much worse, it didn't stop at following and online stalking. Whenever I'd be stood around avoiding eye contact with the child (choice lexical field again), he would stare at my chest, and repeatedly make frankly disgusting comments regarding my boobs being either 'small' or 'great', depending on how confident he wanted to convince me to feel that day. He'd make comments that my zip was done too far up because he couldn't see any cleavage. His hands would wander and I would push them away and try and tell him nicely to give me my personal space, to be shot down with an 'I'm just a touchy feely person, you can't blame me'. Just last week, he sat beside me in a lecture and made numerous comments along the lines of 'you have a beard', 'your wrists are tiny', 'you've got something on your face', 'your nose really is huge' - flippant comments I guess I would take on the (beardy) chin if they were from a best friend, not an infant who assumes an unwelcome role in my life. All along, he's made references to my lack of confidence and that I need to boost my self esteem, but with comments like that being flung at me from every angle, pray tell how am I EVER supposed to hold my head up in public again?
I'll tell you how - I had the confidence to push him away, show him where to get off. As far away from me as possible.
You'd be surprised that all of the above hadn't pushed me to that decision sooner. It was the events of a lecture yesterday that finally made me see what was damaging me. I got into my lecture with my best friend early so she could help me escape him, as he had previously waited on the path I took to uni, we sat down and were soon surrounded by other students including another friend who sat on the corner of the table beside me. We were convinced the imbecile wouldn't be able to get anywhere near me, not this time. The lecture began, and in he came, late but with his usual swagger that made him feel as if he ruled the room. Nevertheless, as he wheedled his way across the lecture, barging past people already in their seats, he proceeded to shove my friend out of his space beside me and got his way in there himself.
Trust me, if my ears could steam like they do in cartoons, I'd have looked like Mt Vesuvius at that moment. Who gave him the right to push someone else out of the way to get to me?
I went outside in the break in the lecture, and like clockwork, he followed, and asked what was wrong. I replied that nothing was wrong, I just wanted to be left alone, to which he responded 'well maybe I WANT to talk to you'. As my friend he'd shoved away came out to join me, the adolescent soon left and I had to apologise profusely for his behaviour.
It didn't stop there, as I'd left the lecture with my best friend and we walked halfway down town with him in tow before he realised he wasn't welcome and left.
Some people just don't get the hint, do they?
I received a text later to ask what was wrong and what he was doing to upset me, seems he still didn't get the message. So maybe now he's read this, he'll see what he's done. It's a shame that some people really do need it spelled out to them, but it's a good feeling for me to have this off my chest now.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is this: if someone is making your life a living hell, if you have to make a detour to get where you're going to avoid them, if you're dreading sitting in class because they're always going to sit beside you, if you're too scared to tell someone in which direction you wish they would fuck - you're not alone. Speak to someone, because if I didn't have my friends to back me up and give me the confidence to hold my head high, I'd still be suffering.
It's taken me almost a year to gain the confidence to tell this infant where to go, but I'm telling you now, this feeling of relief is unlike anything I've ever felt, I physically feel a stone lighter. A weight truly has been lifted.