What have you done/what are you doing to overcome your toxic relationship?
Lydia: “It was really hard in the beginning, I had to tell myself I matter, and I’m worthy. It really starts with self love. It’s also good to be social, go out a little more, make your own decisions. It was bumpy in the beginning - I felt like I was stuck. I had to overcome it by telling myself I can do this, leave the relationship. Even doing simple things like going on a walk, listening to music - just doing things to help me stay motivated in my day.”
What inspired you to take that first step in leaving?
Lydia: “For me, I didn’t notice the red flags in the beginning, I was emotionally tied to this person. I was always focused on the positives because I really wanted the relationship to work. Talking to friends helped me realize the facts, because they aren’t emotionally tied to this person the same way. Friends would say ‘this isn’t healthy.’ I felt so embarrassed because I loved this person. I ended up calling the hotline number. Even though my friends were telling me this isn’t normal, I had to hear it from someone else, they know, the professionals. I had to write down the facts over and over again, try to detach the emotions.”
What do you do daily to turn your experience into something positive?
Lydia: “Be productive! Of course you can get out your thoughts by doing things like journaling, but if I’m not doing something, I’m stuck in my thoughts. Hangout with friends, go on a walk, take a bath, do things that make you happy!”
Do you think you’d experience this if you were a man?
Lydia: “Both men and women can experience it. Only women being abused by men isn’t always the case. Women on women or even men on men can feel left out at times because it isn’t what abuse is commonly heard as in society. They probably feel more constrained or stuck.”
Amrit: “Yeah also, with men being victims, it’s probably harder for them to speak out about being abused. Men are usually told to hide their feelings, don’t cry, etc.”
Lydia: “Yes definitely.”
What are some sexist things you’ve experienced in life? It can be important to talk about so people can get an idea of who is doing it, why, etc.
Lydia: “Usually if it’s someone around my age, it’s through social media. They always say ‘oh you’re so hot’ or something sexual.”
Amrit: “Since it’s social media they can hide behind it.”
Lydia: “Yeah! Also when I go to work, it’s from older people. They’re very forward with me when I work the register. They start out by saying something like, ‘hey beautiful’ and someone even tried to set me up with their son. I’ve even had comments from my coworkers, saying they should lift things for me because it’s ‘too heavy,’ when I’ve lifted tons of things before.”
Who is an inspirational woman that inspires you?
Lydia: “Ooh well there’s two that come to mind. One is Lady Gaga. I've loved her since the 5th grade because she doesn’t go with what people think is cool, especially with outfits. Some of her stuff I’ve been like ‘what the heck?’ but she doesn’t care. She loves everybody, doesn’t matter who you are, your culture, she just loves everyone. I saw that at such a young age, that I aspired to be like that. Another person who inspires me is Anna Deavere Smith. She’s a playwright and actress. She’s an African-American woman who does a one woman show, and it’s based on real social struggles. Her monologues are from real interviews that she’s had with people. It’s inspiring to me because I feel like as a theater person, it allows me to feel like I don’t have to be stuck playing a female role, because she plays both men and women. People can be anyone they want to be.”