Tuesday Morning Harassment

Tuesday Morning Harassment

A creative non-fiction story about my experience with casual street-level harassment.

An hour before I'm scheduled to begin, I am walking to work. I want some time to myself to sit, write, drink my coffee, and prepare for my day.

Headphones in, I am cognizant of my surroundings as I make my way down the street.

I am tired. I need coffee. I want to go to sleep.

A block from the office, I pass a man to whom I give no thought.

Half a block from the office, that same man confronts me, tapping me on the shoulder.

It's 8am. What could he possibly want?

I'm startled. I don't expect someone I don't know to come talk to me, let alone touch me to get my attention. When I look his way, he is smiling a friendly, unassuming smile and holding a folded napkin in front of me.

Thinking I can hear him, he speaks.

I see his lips moving, but can't hear him over the sound of my music.

"What?" I ask, taking a headphone out of my ear.

"I don't mean to startle you," he says, "but I saw you walking down the street and wanted to let you know that I think you're very beautiful. This is for you."

I confusedly take the napkin, thanking him, wondering if I had dropped it at some point while I walked, still not registering what's going on.

"What is this?" I ask. He smiles.

"It's my number," he says, still smiling.

"Oh," I say, "well, thank you."

Then he asks my name.

Dumbfounded, I tell him. He tells me his, too, and I shake his hand like I would with any other stranger I was just meeting.

I don't remember his name.

As I'm getting ready to walk away, he playfully asks me if I'll be calling him, to which I nervously laugh and say, "Maybe." He gives me the old, "Aw, come on now," but I don't respond.

I keep walking down the sidewalk past the office entrance.

I don't want him to know where I work.

I don't know what else to say or do, but no matter how nice this guy seems, all I want to do is get into the office and be left alone.

I tell him to "have a good day!" as I walk away - a method of ending the conversation. I make out that he says "you too!" while continuing to talk after me.

I am no longer listening.

I swiftly walk until I reach the corner of the block, turn right, and go to the side of the alley behind the office. I figured I'd wait about 5 minutes until he walked down the block and out of sight so I could unlock the doors and get inside.

I look down at my phone to check the time and coincidentally see the napkin with his number on it.

Why did I stop to talk to him?

Suddenly, I hear a car horn honk. It's the man.

He followed me where I walked to get away from him.

He watched me as I walked away.

Scared, I look up and see him with his window unrolled.

He speaks at me.

"Don't forget about me," he coyly says with a mischievous smile.

Not even two minutes had passed from our first interaction.

He followed me.

He idles in his car, blocking the right lane, waiting for a response.

"I won't," I stupidly reply, nervous he is going to come closer.

He smiles and keeps speaking, but I quickly walk back towards the office, looking over my shoulder with every second step I take.

My breathing has become shallow. My heart is in my throat. My small hands are clammy as I reach for the door.

I am fumbling with the keys, shaking - afraid he is watching me again.

Gold key first, then silver. Or is it silver, and then gold?

I am worried he's going to circle the block and come back around.

I couldn't get the key in.

He followed me once; he'll do it again.

I couldn't get the key in.

He knows my name.

I couldn't get the key in.

But he doesn't know my number.

I got the key in.

Cover Image Credit: Getty

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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