Positive Thinking

Community Poem – Proclaim No Shame

This poem was written by everyone who attended PROCLAIM NO SHAME 2014 at the suggestion of our keynote speaker, poet Tyler Vile. She started by writing two lines, then covering the first one up, and then passing the paper to her right. And it went on and on, so that the next person, who could only see half of what the person before them wrote, wrote their own two lines, covering up the first one each time.

It was fun, and we all stuck around until the end to hear Tyler read it aloud! Thanks everyone!

“There is no shame in the grass,
There is no pain in the pavement.
What was seeping through, evaporated.
What once only pooled has seeped through.
Seeped through, changing and transforming.
I welcome it, but I am scared for the change.
I am trying to learn to trust the Process,
but the Process doesn’t reveal it’s Process so I get stuck
in my heart, mind, and spirit, revelation! It’s time
to accept myself, be OK with the lemons
I’ve been given and make lemonade how I like it.
I’ve been learning to love someone other than myself.
It’s hard, but I’m learning not to fight it.
Let myself close my eyes and feel it and let myself be
and dissipate my particles into the air.
Then at least part of me would escape
the wall I built.
Broke into my mouth
where I couldn’t find the pieces.
I stopped playing with puzzles when I was young.
Something about having to prescribe to someone else’s idea
about how the damn thing should look.
When everything should be covered in glitter.
An artistic collective by Everyone In The World
where science and art are indistinguishable.
The melding of disciplines as it has always been
marks the spaces between lines, where
some people in some places and times realize
the inter-connectivity of All People, All Questions, and All Answers.
I try to tell myself “love me, love me” why do I see
images that make me question my self worth, love, identity?
To these, and all things dishonest, Fuck you very much!
When people tell you you’re worthless and you don’t believe them that’s resistance.
I’m tired of my existence being resistance.
A smile is worth a million words.
Beauty is within a smile.”

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Assault, Groping, Lewd Behavior

“I got away by punching him” – Abby’s story

I was with my friend at the fair about a week or so ago and her friend came up and he started hanging out with us. Soon he had me forced on his lap grabbing my chest and butt. He proceeded to try other things but luckily I got away by punching him in the nose after I got my hand loose from his grip and ran away.

I've got your back!

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Stalking, Uncategorized, Verbal

The Old Influence the Young – LittleApple’s story

My 17 year old cousin and I (25 years old) were walking back to my car after walking around the Inner Harbor all day. We passed by a basketball court, where there was an older man with teenagers and younger boys playing basketball. I was talking to my cousin about something, when I realized the older man was yelling: ‘Sweet heart! Hey sweet heart! SWEET HEART! SWEET HEART!!!!’
Some of the boys and teenagers chimed in, yelling for us to stop and come over, and to look at them since they were ‘talking’ to us. To our left, there were three men sitting on their porch, who also began hollering at us, asking ‘what’re you gonna’ do, ladies? What’re you gonna’ do?’ (Dude, we’re just walking on the sidewalk) I began to feel extremely uneasy, but in response simply took my camera out and shot a picture of the men sitting on their porch.

I noticed that the voices began to get louder, although we had walked by them. I turned my head and noticed that the older man had left the basketball court and was walking toward us, some of the younger boys following. I lifted my hand with my middle finger standing to attention. I held this gesture, looking directly at them, until my cousin and I reach the end of the block.

As soon as I lower my hand the older man begins barking that he will ‘kick our asses, and mess us up real bad’, although he had begun walking back to the basketball court by the time we reached the end of the block.

I was not so much disturbed by what the man was yelling to us, but the fact that some of the younger boys (some of whom couldn’t have been over eight or nine years old) were hollering at us in sexually explicit ways. I see how the mindset of the older man is perpetuated. It’s… Appalling.

I've got your back!

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Leering, Verbal

No mistaking, that was street harassment… – Kelsey’s story

I was at a restaurant … in Washington, D.C. getting brunch this morning with my boyfriend. Behind us, a man wearing headphones who was a worker at the restaurant and kept walking around randomly. He sat down at a table in front of us and was staring at me. I could feel him staring at me and tried to avoid eye contact but finally looked at him and he was mouthing something at me. It was making me so uncomfortable that I told the manager and she said “I assure you it was a mistake”

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“I wanted to throw up” – phone app submission

I work in a naturopathic store that sells vitamins, organic food and the like. We sell a variety of herbal male enhancement pills including herbal Viagra. The man who owns the barber shop next to us is in his late 50s and always comes over just to talk to me… The other day he asked if a guy has ever tried the pills out on me. I literally wanted to throw up.


I've got your back!

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Assault, Groping

Groped On a Plane! – Dorothy’s story

Return flight on SW Air with friend from West Palm Beach FL to Baltimore I was sitting at the window & she was in the isle hoping to keep middle empty. A 40 something male came up & simply shifted his thumb up as if to say get up so he could sit. I gave him the window & sat in the middle next to my friend. He pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes & pretended to sleep the entire flight. My friend caught him once try to see down her blouse when she bent down to get something out of her purse by her feet. He never took service with the flight attendant & I knew he was pretending to sleep because it felt like he was pressing his knee against mine & I figured either his leg was heavy or he was trying to take my space so I held my leg firm. We landed in BWI & lights on & announcements & the gate wasn’t available yet so we had to wait, cell phones turned on, etc. Still, he’s asleep. Finally we pulled to gate & people stand & get luggage to get off the plane. My friend stood in the isle & I lifted the center arm rest & turned my back to the man “sleeping” at the window. Chatting with my friend I felt my jacket move slightly & I thought it was him sitting up, moving the arm rest, whatever. The next thing I know his hand is fully in the back of my pants!! I whip my head around because I didn’t know what it was & I see him pulling his hand out of my pants!! I was shocked!! I said, What are you doing?!” & He said, “Sorry, I thought you were my wife”, as he’s rubbing his eyes as if to be just waking up. I didn’t know what to do! I mouthed to my friend, “OMG”! & turned back around & said, “I hope you’re really married”! We got off the plane & I rushed out looking over my shoulder wondering if he was following us. He wasn’t. She went to get her luggage & I only had carry on so I met my attorney husband at the curb & immediately told him what happened. He said, “That’s a sexual assault! Call your friend & see if he’s in baggage”! I did & he was. My husband said, “Wait here”! & went in to confront the man. The man, not knowing who he was, admitted to it so my husband asked him to tell the police in the airport & the guy did, again admitting it. I had to park, go in, & I pressed charges as he was locked in a cell (never seeing him again). The FBI was there too. They wanted to know if the plane door was opened or closed. If it was opened it’s state & if closed Federal. We guessed it was opened because we couldn’t tell. The police strongly believed this wasn’t his first time although he didn’t have a record. He went to court & got community service, had to take a drinking class (he said he’d been drinking & golfing earlier). I then sued him & got about seven thousand dollars! I was so bothered by it & wanted to make him pay! Had I punched him in the face in the moment it happened he probably would have denied it & sued me so in the end I’m glad it worked out the way it did but I wish I had told the airline so they could possibly ban the guy. It’s all public record & happened exactly as described.

I've got your back!

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Homophobic, Transphobic, Verbal

“…loud enough for me to hear…” – Kris’s story

I was on the Charm City Circulator (Baltimore’s free bus service) catching it back home after running in the harbor. I was standing and behind me were two teenage boys. They were probably in their early teen years, maybe 13 and 15 or even younger. Loud enough for me to hear, they said, “Is that a bitch or a n****r?” and proceeded to comment on my body and call me derogatory terms associated with being lesbian. The funny thing is, I may have short hair and I may wear baggy clothes (to go running of all things, how strange) but that doesn’t mean that I am a lesbian or a trans person or that being either of those things is a negative and means I am deserving of bullying by people who don’t even know me.

I've got your back!

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“He put his arm around my waist” – phone app submission

The other day I was along around with my friend. We’re both teenage girls and we were mid-conversation in a large space that was crowded but not immediately around us. All of a sudden a guy walks up right next to me from behind, put his arm around my waist, pulled me CLOSER and said “Excuse me” then walked off. It was incredibly horrifying/upsetting for several reasons.

I've got your back!

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