This is a short appreciation post for the men who helped me get through a stressful point in my life, because I seriously don’t know what I would do without these people. I didn’t want to write about this while the issue was still ongoing because it’s very sensitive, but now that everything has been settled, I think it’s time that I shared it with everyone.
A few months ago, I had the misfortune of having a weird and creepy guy as my neighbor. At first, everything was calm and normal at home but after inviting this neighbor to my house for a Christmas party1, everything went nuts. I don’t want to elaborate anymore but basically, he was hitting on all the young women in the party and was acting very inappropriately towards everybody, including me. Then, from that point on, he started acting too familiar towards me as if we were close friends. At first I just ignored him and avoided any interaction with him, but things got worse and I started hearing loud, angry screams at times from his unit, to the point that I don’t even want to go out of the house anymore for fear of encountering him.
Those weeks were very, very stressful for me. I was working on my thesis and studying for my final exams, surely I didn’t need another thing to stress me out! Of course, everyone around me really tried their best to help me but these men stand out because they did everything they could to protect me, even if it was inconvenient at times – and most importantly, they helped me feel safe.
From the very start of this fiasco, my dad did everything he could to make sure that my neighbor doesn’t get any opportunity to interact with me. Whenever my housemate wasn’t home and I needed to go out to the hall or to the common areas, he would always take my call and talk to me until I finished everything I needed to do outside my unit. He was very patient throughout everything. He was constantly reminding me of the things I should do to ensure my safety and even gave me advice on how to defend myself just in case I was left alone at night.
When my creepy neighbor was starting to hit on my female guests, he quickly stepped in to prevent any interaction between my neighbor and my friends. He made sure that the guy wouldn’t even get the chance to sit beside the girls, either by forcing the guy into a seat at the very end, or asking the girls to sing in front, making them stand up and leave their seats before he could even get closer. He would also talk to my friends and do his best to entertain them just so that my neighbor will never get the chance to talk to them. My friends still enjoyed the party because he made them feel safe and comfortable.
Even though he wasn’t with me physically, he was my go-to person whenever I needed to vent or express my anxiety over my neighbor’s weird screamfests. He kept me calm and functional during those days. To be honest, without him, I don’t think I would have been able to do anything at all because of the immense amount of anxiety I was feeling. Sometimes you don’t need to be physically present to help. Even moral support helps loads, so I’m immensely thankful that I had him during those times.
P & M
They say you never truly know who your friends are until you need them. I’m glad these two guys went out of their way to help me and make me feel safe during those times when I couldn’t even bear to be alone at home without my housemate. They stayed with me at home on nights when my housemate was away, and they constantly checked on me and called me during the day to make sure I was alright. They also made me feel at ease whenever the crazy neighbor was throwing those scary tantrums late at night.
When they weren’t able to come to my house for several days due to some commitments, P even let me stay at his place, thinking I would be safer and would feel more secure away from home. His gesture lifted so much weight off my shoulders and helped me focus on my final exams.
So guys, thank you very much. I don’t think I’ve said this but thank you for helping me get through this stressful time and you don’t know how much all your effort means to me. I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: I’m very lucky to be surrounded by wonderful male figures and friends who are always there for me when I’m in need. Even though I was too embarrassed to ask for help at first, you stepped in as soon as you noticed something wrong. You found ways to help me even when it was inconvenient or seemingly impossible, and you never left my side until you were sure I was alright. I will forever be grateful for that.
- It’s good manners for Filipinos to invite neighbors to your party, so after some prodding from my family, my antisocial self gave in and invited him. ↩