Why I bought pepper spray

Monday, October 15, 2012

SABRE RED Compact Pepper Spray with Pink Key Case
At my signing last Saturday, I met one of those creepers who makes you want to wear a puffy coat and baggy sweat pants. It went like this:

Wandering the store handing out bookmarks, I see a guy watching me and stroking his goatee (should have been my first clue). Being that I was at my book singing, I told him about my books. We chatted a few minutes, then it became weird. 

Creeper: I told my friend I was gonna come hit on the hot author. 
Me: *blushes* Well, I'm married so . . .
Creeper: So am I. 
Me (not with a little disdain): How would your wife feel about this?
Creeper: Well, she's not here. 
Me: *blinks* I'm gonna go over there. *jerks thumb over shoulder to where fellow author Heather Frost is sitting with her Dad. Scoots chair closer to Heather's dad. "Can you look mean and scary for me?"

You know why this really infuriates me? Where does he get off thinking he can make me into some kind of object? I am a woman. I am powerful. I am strong. I demand to be treated with respect. If you cannot treat me with respect, I will either 
1. stop interacting with you or 
2. Tell you off. 

I want you all to hear this: People will treat you how you demand to be treated. If you let someone run all over you, call you names, insult you, they will continue to do so. 

Stop them. 

Don't put up with it. 

You deserve to be treated with respect.  

If the person is someone you have to interact with (family member, neighbor, classmate), limit your contact with them. Yes, I mean avoid them. If someone consistently brings you heartache, their involvement in your life needs to decrease in direct proportion to how much damage they're inflicting

Sometimes you can train them. If a family member is always harping on you about how you need to loose weight/live your life/raise your children: leave. Hang up. Change the subject. It might take a few times, but they'll figure out that if they bring it up, pretty soon they're talking to an empty room. 

Sometimes you need to calmly tell them how it makes you feel. Use a lot of "I" statements. When you do _____ it makes me feel ____.

But whatever you do, start on the mild end of things (talking things out if it's someone important to your life or avoiding an acquaintance who's a jerk) and move on to telling them off (just remember to stay in control. Screaming your head off makes you look crazy).

If you're a kid . . . I'm so sorry.  

I know how damaging bullying is. I dealt with it through middle and high school. My teachers didn't stop it ("You need to learn how to deal with this." Right. I'm 12. You're in your 40's. If someone put a fist sized rock in their coat, spun it around their body like a shot-putter, and hit you with it, they'd be in jail right now. But I'm supposed to learn how to deal with it.)

Talk to your parents. Talk to your teachers. If they won't listen, talk to the principal. The superintendent. The cops. Change schools. Be home schooled. Anything is better than spending a decade or two trying to heal the scars left behind from cruelty. Whatever you have to do short of something illegal, do it. 

Might I recommend pepper spray? It comes in pink (that was a joke, don't really use pepper spray on your annoying neighbor).

Also, I have three events this week:
Wednesday the 17: Signing at Rich High School in Randolph, UT from 3-6
Thursday the 18th: Garland Public Library (Utah) from 5-7 pm.
Saturday the 20th: Signing at Serendipity in Evanston WY from 1-3


  1. Chey said...:

    I actually had to buy pepper spray after I was followed nearly all the way home while walking my dog alone. It was frightening and it sickens me that some people have the ability to make me feel unsafe in a neighborhood I've always lived in, walking through a park full of children. I don't know if I'll ever actually use it, but I'm glad it's there if I ever really need it.

  1. Beth W said...:

    Yes, this, 100%.
    (I was bullied in school as well as sexually harassed- seems like we all were- and I got the "ignore them and they'll go away" speech a million times). Ignoring them did nothing. But I have had *some* luck with telling someone calmly that what they're doing is insulting/frightening me/rude because X, Y, Z.

    I think telling someone in no uncertain terms "this is unacceptable" is the first option (in my experience, if you just leave when a creeper is trying to be sexy, they misinterpret it as you being coy). Good for you, sticking up for yourself!

  1. Chey: My SIL's mom was attacked by a man while walking her dog. She got away, but he'd broken into two handicapped women's apartment just before that and raped both of them.

    Beth: I probably could have been more forceful, but I'm pretty sure they got the message. Also, I was sexually harassed a few times too. That's why in Witch Song, when Brusenna is sexually harassed, she immediately reacts. I was trying to show what you should do.

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  1. And this is why I'm glad my work offers self defense training. I may not look it, but I'm a fair avoider if I need to be. That's rough, but I'm glad you stood up for yourself. :)

  1. I need to take some more classes.

  1. Sara Burr said...:

    I'm glad you did what you had to so you would be safe.

    Thank you for sharing your message about bullying. I think kids everywhere need that, and as a YA author, you are a role model to many kids who will find ways to adapt by listening to you.

  1. A creeper at the Hastings? Why does that not surprise me ;)

    I'm glad that you're safe. I hope he gets his comeuppance (hopefully from his WIFE!)

  1. Eee-yew. Pepper spray's too good for that guy.

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