I’m tired of feeling “not normal”.

I’m tired of the depression and anxiety cycles that are still too close together.

I keep reminding myself that we’re still in lockdown, that we’re still in a pandemic, and that we’re all still dealing with hyper vigilance and unprecedented levels of stress.

But I don’t think it’s helping.

And I know we’re supposed to just sit with discomfort and not try to change it or fix it and just let it be what it is: uncomfortable.

But that shit is hard, man.

I’m not a person who self-medicates with alcohol or with drugs…

I had a conversation with a close friend recently, where she told me that she is 100% done with both men and feeling hopeful about relationships.

To give a little context, this is not like “I’m never drinking again,” only to hit the bar twelve hours later.

My friend has done her time. This is her third relationship that has turned abusive, coercive and downright hostile.

Her most recent relationship ended just a few weeks ago. Everything is incredibly raw, and she’s trying to process her ex’s patterns of behaviour: but here’s the thing — she can’t.

Not because she…

The first thing that I saw when I checked my Instagram this morning was that my latest post had a comment — yay!

My comment buzz was short lived. The comment was from a person who took umbrage with the content of my post.

She called me salty. And a hypocrite.

She said that my post was doing the opposite of what I had intended: I was “shaming” women for having comfortable periods.

Here’s the post, for context:

An hourglass on a pinkish-red background, alongside the caption “how long does it take to ‘get over’ sexual trauma?”
An hourglass on a pinkish-red background, alongside the caption “how long does it take to ‘get over’ sexual trauma?”

It’s an interesting question.

I have many friends who have been sexually assaulted and/or raped, and I think because I’m very open and honest about my experiences and how I’ve managed the resulting trauma, these friends feel comfortable talking to me about their experiences and trauma.

Without trying to sound too “good vibes only” — I’m genuinely honoured to be considered a safe space. I’m also aware of the need to sometimes protect myself from being re-traumatised by other people’s stories.

The question that I get asked the most often is “how long does this last?”

Full disclosure, I am not a therapist or a counsellor: I can only speak from my own experience.


Getting blackout drunk, not having an internal “stop now” alarm is a serious red flag.

I didn’t think his drinking was too bad.

I knew I found it annoying when he drank until he was sick, mostly because I HATE vomit. I hate hearing it, seeing it, cleaning up after it…

I knew it bothered me that we spent so much money on alcohol. I say we — I mean me, as I was the only one earning any money.

I knew it repulsed me when he drunk vomited. I knew it infuriated me when I had to get up…

I’ve been thinking recently about sex and safety. Not in a “get tested regularly, use protection” kind of safety (although yes, that is very important), but in a more intimate sense.

I think it was maybe the second date/evening with Mapland that I told him he makes me feel incredibly safe.

And he does make me feel safe — woe betide the intruder who tries to break into my house when there’s a 6”2 soldier being my personal radiator, pillow and unofficial bodyguard.

It’s not just physical safety that he offers me, although there is something very, very appealing on…

I like to think that I’m good at being vulnerable. That I’m brave in the way that I wear my heart on my sleeve, that my glass face shows what I’m thinking or feeling, and that I make little to no attempt to hide it…

I share stories of things that have happened to me, or near me. I share them as unflinchingly as I can, even the bad stories full of things that have been said or done to and by me.

But really, those stories are about experiences that I’ve already processed. I know how I feel about…

You can wear emotional armour, but the effect is the same as wearing none: people will break into you either way. It’ll just hurt more if you get cut by the sharp edges of your pierced armour.

Let them see who you are anyway, whether they deserve your vulnerability or not. Your choice to be yourself is not something that can be earned by other people.

It is a gift to yourself.

When we show people who we really are, how we hurt, how we love, we are throwing lifelines to the people who matter, who will mean the most…

Allow me to weave you a tale
Of masculinity so very frail

Tis a telling that will surely haunt
The cautionary tale of Princess Croissant

Our two main characters, fresh from breakups each
For a dating app they both did reach

They swiped left, and sometimes right,
Until ping! A match! What delight!

Some time was spent in texting and flirting
And soon our optimistic heroine ventured a meeting

A date was set, coffee was brewed,
His boy band looks really set the mood

But alas and misery!
You’re great, he said, but I’m not sure of the chemistry


Note: Originally published in The Syndrome Magazine, March 2020

Hey, it’s Awkward Moments Day! If you read my last article for Syndrome, about that time that I passed out on the world’s tallest Oompa Lompa, you might get the impression that — when it comes to awkward moments — my life is somewhat an embarrassment of riches. Well, sorry to disappoint you… Ah, who am I kidding? I was MADE for this article. This is MY day.

I may be the Queen of Awkward Moments — here’s my resume:

Should I tell you about the time I gave my mum my old cell phone, and while we were waiting for phone numbers…

Laura-Anne Williams

Director of Get Social. Marketing and feminism are my bag, baby. And cake. Big fan thereof.

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