Thank You, & Goodbye (Sort Of)

Hi lovely reader,

I hope you’re having a really great weekend and getting some sunshine and rest. Today I’m posting about something bitter-sweet; I’m not going to be using this blog anymore. Since I started Two Girls and a Calico Cat, I have accumulated so many wonderful followers, and read so many comments that moved me beyond what I am capable of expressing in written word. I feel like I genuinely know some of you, of course only partially based on what you guys have commented in response to my posts, but many of you said some very vulnerable things that made me feel as though, for one, I am less alone in the multitude of aspects of my life that are challenging and complex and upsetting and beautiful, and gave me the sense that my writing was important at least in terms of helping create a safe space for my readers to communicate how they related to my posts and to discuss things that are really stigmatized. One commenter in particular who chose to remain anonymous frequently made me tearful when she shared the impact being able to follow along on my blog had on her experience of life. And the encouragement and kindness I was given and shown by many of you is unlike, really, anything I’ve ever had in ‘the real world’. Thank you so much, lovely reader, for taking an interest in my experiences and my limited advice, and for showing me such compassion and support for years, now.

I started this blog at a time in my life when I was not doing well, in terms of my addiction or my mental health, and in terms of how I was coping with an ongoing traumatic experience. I found great solace in posting about just about anything, but in the beginning I did not feel comfortable enough to say much about mental health or addictions or trauma though they were so relevant to my life even then. But with time and a lot of help in my life offline, I began to get better, and it occurred to me as I was learning a variety of coping skills, having realizations about the medical treatment aspects of mental health, and finding the things that got and kept me sober, that perhaps it could be of use to others to hear someone talk about these things openly (because I rarely did and it was isolating), and to perhaps find things they related to and from there, things they could implement or change in their lives to make them healthier, happier, and/or more manageable. And the responses I received were kind, informative, and comforting beyond what I ever could have imagined.

I would really like to continue here, with this domain name and with the incredible readers I have gained since starting my blog, but part of why I haven’t been posting much at all is that something haunts me every time I do, metaphorically and very literally. For one, there is someone from my very distant past who, briefly, after I ended the very minimal friendship because we were using friends, and I was quitting drugs, and perhaps more importantly because his behaviour was erratic and abusive out of the blue, continues to read and comment on most of my posts. He’s done so for about 2 years and while most of his responses make very little sense, I still have to read them in order to delete them and make sure they aren’t approved such that they aren’t visible to other readers.

There’s also someone I’ve posted about before who I have a no contact order against and who I am filing for a restraining order against, also from my past of using drugs, who, in his unwanted emails and texts references what I’ve written here. In my heart, I get a bit of an ache knowing that even if neither this person nor the last one I mentioned don’t comment anything, he’s likely read something I’ve written that is very vulnerable and important to me, and it takes so much of the joy from it. Which is such a deeply sad experience, I have to say.

Sometimes people I’ve met or who know me online comment that they can’t believe how many bad people I’ve met or that my life has been ‘unreal’ or ‘crazy’; though I will say that usually it is men who say that, not women and certainly not women who I know have mental health or addictions struggles. My response is that it is a silent privilege to not know what happens when you’re not only a woman, which is already a vulnerable minority, but you also have what are categorized as ‘severe’ mental illnesses, and a history of drug addiction. You meet a lot of people in the pursuit of your drug of choice, whether it be a dealer you found through an acquaintance or ‘using friend’, or people who are also addicted to drugs who you do them with, or people who are in the same treatments as you are but whose intentions are not the same as your own… and those people take note of the fact that a young woman with low self esteem, perhaps poor judgement or irrational judgement, and an addiction that they have to sustain to cope or even stay alive, and they immediately jump on their ability to coerce that woman into unwanted sexual contact, to, ideally for them, frighten her into doing what they want or saying what they want, or even just to make feel more small, worthless, fearful, and sad, such that maybe someday they’ll give in and see themselves as being a match for their abuser. Sometimes, people note that a woman is intoxicated past the point of being able to consent and that is when a vulnerable woman is traumatized; from what I know this is the most common form of abuse amongst women like me.

What I’m getting at here is: it’s not crazy, or surreal, or bizarre – it’s really common. If you think it is, then lucky you. Those whose voices carry the most weight and who are given the spotlight to speak at all, are those for whom these experiences are foreign. Even men who suffer from mental health and addictions challenges are so significantly less unlikely to be taken advantage of, especially by someone of the opposite gender. Absolutely there are men who feel they cannot report incidences of sexual harassment or assault because they believe they’d be ignored or laughed at. But, the reality is, amongst women it is incredibly common, as in 1/5 common (and that’s just what is reported), and it’s still not okay to talk about it, and women who do feel strong enough to pursue legal help are still met with denial for a multitude of reasons, but primarily it comes down to victim-blaming and patriarchal privilege.

This isn’t a statistic I googled and am detached from aside from my own experiences – I have ONE female friend who hasn’t been, at least once, taken advantage of when she was intoxicated at some point. That is out of around 20 women who I’m close with and 50 who I know on a friendly but not very intimate basis. If you think my experiences are so great in number, so heavy in content, and so outlandish they couldn’t be true, then I ask you to step outside of your comfort zone and to look into it yourself, and to ask what it is about your life, your gender, your background, your diagnoses or lack thereof, your history, that would mean you haven’t found yourself a victim of a sexual, traumatic experience. And, ideally, I would ask that you not only feel gratitude for not having that affect you every day as it does people who’ve had to cope since the day their abuser decided to acted upon urges to hurt vulnerable people, but that you also use your privilege in a meaningful way to vocalize the injustice you now know exists.

I digress.

It is really sad for me to have to move onto another url, one which I cannot share in my instagram stories or posts for fear of having accidentally accepted a follower I haven’t met face-to-face to be sure that they aren’t someone who’s hurt/continues to hurt me, and one which I cannot post here because that would defeat the purpose. I love this blog and it means so much to me I find myself crying a bit as I write this. And I want to feel more angry than I do that something I love and have worked really hard on is being taken away again, like so many accounts I’ve had on various sites and phone numbers I’ve had to change repeatedly and give, feeling extremely embarrassed though it shouldn’t be, to family and friends, and emails. But mostly I just feel a loss and a pit in my stomach. I know in my heart this isn’t them winning, because I am going to create something new, fresh, and where I can always be as open and honest and free as I once felt here, and because I am going to share with those I can confirm I should my new url (more about this in a moment), but it is still something I’m going to grieve in a way. And I am a bit stuck on feeling really… sorry, apologetic, that I am unable to continue to share with everyone I have connected with positively here.

If you’d like to read my new blog, please send me a message on any platform you’d like including here, and I’ll check out your account to the degree I can and I’ll send you the new link :). Of course, if you’re just stopping by or you’ve lost interest in reading my posts that’s completely fine too, and I’d still like to thank you for having been here at all.

There is so much love in my heart for you, lovely reader, that it is overwhelming for me. I honestly think there are some periods in my life I might not have made it through without this outlet and without the small community I have on here. I don’t know how to repay you or thank you sufficiently. But please just know how much you mean to me and will always mean to me. There is a new chapter beginning but this last one was really remarkably special.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Liz

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