So, today I wanted to talk about one of the weirdest experiences that I have had so far on my writing journey. I don’t know how many of you have been in this sort of situation before, but it is really awkward when you are used as the subject of someone else’s writing, especially when you don’t know them very well.
When writing these storytime posts, I tend to focus on the things that happened rather than the person themselves. I usually don’t describe the person unless it is somehow important in relation to what happened in some way. I don’t make up random scenarios that involve someone I actually know, I don’t write about it without changing important details or leaving them out, and I don’t share it in front of everyone at an event where the subject of the writing is known. This will be important later as this incident is part of the reason why.
So, anyway, on with the story.
I was about 14 at the time and my local library was hosting a weekly writing group with a publishing company that supported young writers in my area. My mom showed me a flier for it and I was stoked. Even though I don’t really have a writing group right now, I have noticed that I enjoy them a lot, and talking about new stories with other people is super fun to me. I also love critiques, but I’ll probably talk about that in some other post. So, I was super excited for this group and it was walking distance from my house, so every week I would walk over there, the group would meet for a little over an hour, and then I would go home. One thing that my mom failed to mention to me was that it was mostly for young kids, so I was the second oldest person there other than the staff holding the group. The only other writer there that was close to my age was about two or three years older than me.
He was the only negative part of that group.
I guess for this post, we can call him Jim. At first he was really friendly and we would sit together when we would write and talk about anime and Pokemon before and after the group meetings. It was cool at first, but then he started flirting with me, which I thought was really weird, and he would do it in the grossest way, too. Every week, the group organizers would bring in some crackers that I really liked and he would put one halfway in his mouth and try to convince me to take it from him with my own mouth. Basically like the Pocky game, but with crackers. He would also take the rest of them away from me, so the only one that was available to me was the one in his mouth. I always refused and he would get all sad about it, but I was like, “Dude, I don’t like you like that.”
Well, sometime after that, we were in a writing session and I happened to glance over to see him putting his initials in a heart with someone else’s. He later told me that it was his long-distance girlfriend’s initials, but his behavior toward me didn’t change. Not long after he realized that I would not kiss him for crackers, he decided to straight up ask me after the group ended one day. He said that his girlfriend didn’t mind him seeing other girls as long as he didn’t call them his girlfriend and he also showed me the collection of photos that he had on his 3DS of other girls kissing him. I was shocked because there were a lot and he said he wanted to add me to the collection.
Yikes! I noped out of that one right away and tried distancing myself from him as much as I could. Not long after that, I got into an argument with one of my friends from middle school (she was actually the first girl that I developed a crush on) and I had the writing group that night, so I wrote about it while I was there but didn’t share it or what was going on. I just wanted to blow off steam and I was pretty upset so I didn’t really talk to anyone while I was there that day. I noticed Jim looking at me every once in a while when he was writing, but I didn’t think much of it.
After the group was over, we were told that we would meet up again in six months for a book release party because the company that partnered with the library was going to publish our writing in a short anthology for our friends and family. I was really excited since this was my first experience with publishing and I had a lot of fun writing and working with the editors at the last session. A lot happened in those six months and I didn’t talk to Jim again since I didn’t have a phone or any social media that he could contact me through. I got a boyfriend during that time (the one that shamed me for being bi and tried to change my characters, but that’s a different story) and while I was waiting for the release party, I mostly forgot about Jim and everything that went on.
Well, the day of the release party came and my boyfriend at the time and my immediate family came. All of the other kids in the writing group also brought their families, so the library was pretty full during the party. I had forgotten that Jim would even be there until he walked up to me and said hi. It was really awkward and I excused myself to show my (now ex) boyfriend around the library since he had never been to that particular one before. Jim proceeded to follow us around the library, but not directly behind us. My ex and I both caught him staring at me through the gaps in the book shelves a couple of times and it was really weird. Eventually, it was time for the writers to go up and read one of their pieces to the crowd and we went and sat at the back row of seats with my family while I waited for my turn. For context, I was sitting between my dad and my ex.
Jim went before I did because we were going in alphabetical order. He went up to the mic and started reading a piece that he didn’t share during the group. Basically, it was about him watching a girl writing about something that was hurting her and him trying to comfort her.
As soon as he started describing the girl, I started to turn red. He described my hair, eyes, and face in a way that made it painfully obvious that it was me. I came to the realization that he had to have written that when I was writing about the argument with my friend and that’s why he was looking at me randomly that day. He also threw in some dialogue that didn’t happen in real life because I didn’t talk to him at all during that session and what made it worse was that people were looking back and staring at me, like they realized it was about me because the description fit. My dad then leaned over and asked if what he was reading was about me and all I could really do at that point was nod. I was mortified.
Not only did he clearly write about me, but he made up most of the scenario that took place in his drabble and read it in front of people that knew or recognized me. When it was my turn, I walked up and read one of my pieces, but I was still really upset and embarrassed. I also have trouble with public speaking, so that didn’t help. My knees actually buckled while I was up there and my legs collapsed in on themselves, so I had my knees together trying to hold myself up. If I wasn’t careful, I would have fallen over.
Not long after I read my piece, the party was over. My parents bought some extra copies of the book for some of my other family members and we left. After my ex and I walked out of the library, Jim followed us out and when my ex walked far enough ahead of me, Jim asked me for a hug. I straight up went, “No, I don’t think so,” and walked away without looking back. I never saw Jim again and I’m really glad I haven’t.
Oh, and Jim’s little drabble about me was printed in the final book, right beside the poem that he wrote for his girlfriend.
While writing this post, I realized that a lot of the things he did fall under harassment. I really wish I would have known more about harassment when I was younger, but nobody taught me and I didn’t have the means to educate myself at the time. If anybody is acting like this toward you right now and you want them to stop, please tell somebody that you trust about it and ask for help. This situation could have turned out a lot worse if he had more contact with me outside of the group and I don’t want any of you to get hurt.
Anyway, thank you for reading this random storytime post. It really means a lot to me that people read my blog, so thank you. I hope you all have a wonderful day.