About Falon Ballard

Posts by Falon Ballard:

Me Too: My Story

In the wake of all of the Harvey Weinstein allegations coming out of Hollywood, women everywhere have been sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault on social media using the hashtag #metoo. The idea being that if every woman who has suffered from harassment or assault tweets or posts just those two words, we can get at least an idea of how big this problem is. I’m going to be super frank in this post. I’m going to name names, I’m going to give quotes, and I’m going to talk about how the sexual harassment I have faced since the age of twelve has affected me. I’m also going to be totally honest here and say that if you are a woman in America, you have been sexually harassed. It’s impossible not to be. And if you are a woman reading this and thinking that you haven’t, it’s likely because we have been taught to accept the bullshit men give us. And that has got to stop.

But first, my story. The first time I remember being sexually harassed I was twelve. It was during P.E.. One of the popular boys came up to me during class and told me that he and all the other boys would hang out during laps and talk about me because they “liked to watch me run”. It’s safe to say that I was well-developed (for a twelve year old) at that point, and I was one of the few in my group of friends who had boobs. At the time, I didn’t fully grasp the meaning behind his comment, I just knew that it made me feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, and like I had something to apologize for. When I told my friends, one of my more savvy friends explained to me just why the boys liked to get together and stare while we ran around the track. After her explanation, I felt even worse about myself. I honestly don’t remember if I told my mom about the comment and how it made me feel. I definitely didn’t tell my P.E. teacher–a male well-known for ogling his female students–or anyone on campus other than my friends. At the time, I felt like I was the one who had done something wrong, not this boy who had made such an inappropriate comment.

I thought about writing about this incident back after the election when I was so angry that a man like Trump could win the presidency after the things he said. I wasn’t going to name names back then because, though this boy and I are not friends and are in no way connected on social media, I know many of my Facebook friends probably are still connected with him. My instinct was to protect him because in reality, I don’t think he’s a bad person. I think if he read this and knew how much his words still resonated with me–twenty-two years after the fact–he would probably feel bad. But that’s the problem. I’m worried about him feeling bad, when he’s the one who did something wrong. I’m worried about how something like me calling him out could possibly affect him when I am the one who has suffered from his words. And to be fair to him (again), if it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else. But it doesn’t change the fact that he kicked off a long line of sexual harassment in my life, and maybe even more importantly, he kicked off a long line of me not saying anything, to either the perpetrators or anyone in a position of authority. So Evan Anderson, with all that being said, I need it to be out there in the world that you sexually harassed me when we were twelve. And I have never forgotten that moment and how your words made me feel.

I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sexually harassed since that first instance because it happens all. the. time. For the past twenty-two years, I have been harassed, ogled, leered at, and discriminated against by everyone from teachers and bosses to family members and students. I stopped keeping track of the incidents because there were too many to count. When I was in my early twenties and going out to clubs and bars on a regular basis, the harassment escalated to assault. Nothing ever happened that I would have considered serious at the time–lots of groping and uncomfortable dancing with strangers–but it still happened. I got to the point where I didn’t even want to go out without some of my male friends coming along to make sure it never got any worse.

And again, this is part of the problem. Strange men were grabbing me in a club and I didn’t think there was anything to be upset about. I thought it was par for the course. If you’re going to go dancing with your girlfriends, you’re going to get groped. How fucking ridiculous is that? Just typing that sentence is infuriating. I wanted to put on a cute dress and go out dancing with my friends, so my payment for that experience is to allow strange men to put their hands on me. That is such bullshit. How is this something we allow to happen? How are we okay with teaching girls that this is how the world is? And what will it take to make it stop?

As I debated writing this post over the weekend, I had almost convinced myself to let it go and not put my experience out there. And then at my wedding Saturday, a man 25-30 years older than I am came over to me while I was standing in the corner of the reception space, looked down at my bag which had a lighter sticking out of it, and said, “Is that a gun in your bag or are you just happy to see me?”

I would love to be able to tell you that I read this man the riot act, but I didn’t. I was at work, and a huge part of my job is pretending like nothing is wrong when it absolutely is. So I laughed. The man joked  with me again when I went to release his table to the buffet line. I tuned him out, but it was something along the lines of me showing favoritism to his table because of his “joke”. The next day I was angry not only with this man, but with myself. Why didn’t I say anything? Surely there must be a way to rebuke someone’s blatant harassment with something firm yet polite. And again, why am I so concerned about how I am going to look defending myself when he was in the wrong? (And for those of you who read his comment and think there’s nothing wrong with what he said, let me break it down for you: an older man who I have never met before thought it was okay to come up to me in my place of work and ask if the sight of him made me sexually aroused. If you don’t see the harassment behind that, you are part of the problem.)

I wish I could wrap all this up with some kind of solution to the problem, but the truth is there isn’t an easy one. I am going to make a concerted effort to defend myself in these situations in the future, but I know myself, and it’s going to take a lot of work for me to be able to confront someone when I am uncomfortable. I think the best thing that I can do is to raise my son with the awareness that so many of the men in my generation (and those before them) seem to lack. An awareness of how his words affect others, an awareness of what harassment actually is, and an awareness of what consent means.

If you are a man and you’re reading this and if you are having problems determining how far is too far, and what you should or should not say to a woman, use this trick: Would you be okay with a strange man making the same comment to you at a bar? If the answer is no, back the eff off and shut your mouth.

Thanks for reading my story. I’m sure it’s in no way unique, but it’s mine.

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Down to Fangirl Podcast September Show Notes

This post contains affiliate links.

Welcome to the Down to Fangirl podcast show notes! I’m going to try a new format for podcast notes because I suck at getting them done on a weekly basis. That just ain’t gonna happen. So this way there will be 4-5 episodes gathered together with all the links you need to check out our favorite things!

Episode 12, 8/30/17

Reading: I recommended Carry On by Rainbow Rowell while Brianna enjoyed A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen. We also mentioned the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

Listening to: Brianna is obsessed with the new Bleachers album. I binged the Twilight movie episodes of the Yeah it’s That Bad podcast.

Watching: In order to fully appreciate  YITB, I watched some of the Twilight moves. Brianna is a little more refined and has been watching Halt and Catch Fire.

Episode 13, 9/5/17

Reading: We discussed our September Book Club selection, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, which Brianna enjoyed so much she had already moved on to Pretties. I was in the middle of the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee but was struggling to finish (and as of writing this still have not finished it).

Listening to: I was (and still am) listening to the Fansplaining podcast.

Watching: Brianna talked about the baseball drama Brockmire while I binged Reign. And we finished up our season long discussion of Game of Thrones.

Episode 14, 9/1/17

Reading: Brianna rounded out the Uglies series with Specials while I breezed through Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. We also announced our October Book Club selection, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

Listening to: I found a new nerdy podcast called Desi Geek Girls.

Watching: Brianna updated us on Outlander before we both got drunk and watched Zenon Girl of the 21st Century.

Episode 15, 9/18/17

Reading: I loved Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

Listening to: Brianna found a new (to her) podcast called 99% Invisible. I’ve been listening to a lot of Something Rotten to prep for their LA tour.

Watching: We both watched and discussed the 2017 Emmy’s.

Instagramming: This was the first week of our What’s Up Instagram addition. Brianna talked about her favorite @joythebaker while I mentioned the hilarious @overheardla.

Episode 16, 9/28/17

Reading: I mostly enjoyed Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, though it did lead to a YA romantic tropes rant. Brianna had mixed but mostly good feelings about Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Listening to: A whole lot of nothing this week!

Watching: I dominated the watching conversation this week, as I finished Reign, started Veep, and went back to an old favorite, Sex and the City. We also discussed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Instagramming: This week I talked about one of my favorite Disney accounts @mindyjoym and Brianna mentioned one of her many dog accounts @roofusandkilo.

Whew. That’s a lot of info for you! Hope you enjoyed this month’s episodes! As always, please download, subscribe and leave us a review!

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Life Updates and Other Random Shit

Hi friends! I decided to get off my lazy ass and actually write something for once. Everything I have been posting lately has been formulaic, the kind of shit I feel like I NEED to write, and nothing that I actually want to write. So I decided to switch things up a bit and focus on the wants. Which means there will be plenty of swearing and probably a fair amount of hashtagging in this post. #sorrynotsorry

Wedding season is almost over! This has been my busiest year yet, which is good since it’s how I make my money these days. #girlboss I am already starting to book up for 2018 and I’m excited to see where things go from here. As of right now, I will have coordinated 27 weddings by the end of 2017 (though hoping for a few more, I’d like to get to 30!). Loving my job and being my own boss has done wonders for my mental health. I do feel bad when my teacher friends ask me if I miss teaching, because for the most part, that’s a big fat nope. I do miss the kids and many of my colleagues, but being free from the assholes who ruined it for everybody is pretty freeing. October is actually going to be my busiest month with six weddings, and then I get a bit of a break in November and December. And then it’s on to the next!

Rejection is a bitch. So if you have been here before, you might know that I self-published my first novel, Casting Call, earlier this year. It’s a book I wrote mostly for fun, and honestly, I published it mostly so I could put it to bed and focus on a YA project that I am obsessed with and trying to put some actual effort into. Well, my draft of said YA book is done and I have been slowly but steadily querying agents for the past two months, and so far it’s a whole lot of “it’s not you, it’s me” form rejection letters. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that was coming, and I was braced for it, but it doesn’t take the sting out of opening those emails. But I will keep on keeping on! I’m also working on a new romance novel that I am having a lot of fun with and will tell you more about later. #chicklit4lyfe

Podcasting is my new favorite thing. If you haven’t listened to Down to Fangirl yet, get your effing ass over to iTunes right this effing minute and download every single episode we have released so far. Seriously, I don’t really care if you listen to it or not, creating this podcast with my cohost Brianna is one of the highlights of my week. I mean, what could be better than drinking and chatting nerdom things with one of my besties? Also, we’re really fucking funny.

Other recent realizations of life: Target $5 wine is bomb. I’m having Game of Thrones withdrawals. Hauloween at Cars Land is the shit. I’m ready for fall. I need new music/podcasts to listen to. Newsies is on Netflix (though I imagine not for much longer as I’m sure it will get pulled when the other Disney titles go away). I miss New York. I want to see Hamilton again.

Instagram sucks right now. I put A LOT of effort into growing my two main IG accounts and for a while, I was having amazing success. But now thanks to whatever bullshit changes they have been making, engagement sucks and I have been losing followers by the thousands (not even exaggerating). So I’m posting a lot more of whatever the eff I want rather than whatever the eff I’m “supposed” to. Also, since you stuck around this long, go follow me on Instagram, I’ve got like eight different accounts and I am lazy AF so I’m not even going to link them, but here are my deets: @falonloveslife, @coffeebookswinerepeat, @girllovesla, @dtfangirlpod, @falonbweddings.

Alright yo. Just a little stream of consciousness for you on this fine Wednesday evening/Thursday morning. Have a great weekend!

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Giveaway: The Ultimate Fangirl Prize Pack

Hopefully by now you have heard about my new podcast I’m co-hosting with my fellow fangirl Brianna called Down to Fangirl. On the podcast, we talk everything fandoms, from Game of Thrones to Harry Potter to Disney (obvs) to Broadway. Basically, if you geek out about it, we dish about it. In order to celebrate Down to Fangirl, I have put together a pretty epic collection of fangirly goodies for you to enter to win. See the entry form at the bottom of this post and make sure you enter! Here’s what you can win:

A Disney Parks official Red Rose Tumbler, a Beauty and the Beast earring set, and a Little Mermaid themed bracelet…

…plus a Wonder Woman mini Funko Pop keychain, Wonder Woman scented candle, Avengers Lip Smacker,and comic themed zipper pull and multi-color pen…

…in addition to this Funko Pop Han Solo and Greedo salt and pepper shaker set, Star Wars sweatbands, Yoda patch, and Han and Leia silhouette earrings…

…PLUS all kinds of other nerdom treats, including a Crookshanks mystery Funko, Wicked inspired necklace, Les Miserables inspired ring, dinosaur earrings, and MORE. I will be adding some other fangirl goodies to the prize pack as added surprises. Guys, this giveaway is HUGE! One person is going to take home all of this awesomeness!

Please see the form at the bottom of this post for official entries, but here are some links that will be helpful for you!

Down to Fangirl Podcast on iTunes  *****  @dtfangirlpod on Instagram  *****  @falonloveslife on Instagram

@coffeebookswinerepeat on Instagram  *****  @falonloveslife on Twitter  *****  Down to Fangirl on Facebook

If you are into any of the items featured in this prize pack, you are probably going to love our podcast! We hope you’ll check it out! And don’t forget to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Life Right Now

Hi friends! It felt like a good time for a check in, and I love doing these posts because they remind me of all the great stuff I have going on in life!

Making buttons! I am obsessed, and even bought a button maker, though I haven’t had time to try it yet. Tutorial coming soon!
Drinking lots of rose. And I’m totally cool with my basic life.
Reading so. many. amazing. books. I have almost reached my reading goal for 2017!
Wanting to find a literary agent!
Playing Hamilton! I just saw it for the second time last week and I love it even more now!


Wishing for a weekend off!
Enjoying bingeing Reign.
Waiting for foooootbaaaaallll!
Liking being able to have real conversations with Squirt.
Wondering if I am going to be able to find a literary agent this year.
Loving the Red Queen book series.
Hoping my podcast Down to Fangirl continues to grow!
Needing some sleep. As always.
Wearing shorts and tees and flip flops. But ready to be done with summer clothes!

 

Following lots of pretty bookstagram accounts, find mine @coffeebookswinerepeat!
Noticing why the term “threenager” was coined.
Knowing that as busy as I am with weddings, it’s going to be a bummer when the season is over.
Thinking about how to revamp my query letter.
Anticipating FALL. Bring on the boots and sweaters and holidays!
Celebrating a successful summer.
Laughing at Squirt (as usual). His personality is really coming out these days and he is constantly amusing me.
Feeling happy, excited, hopeful, and accomplished.

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Down to Fangirl Show Notes: Episodes 8, 9, and 10

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Okay, I know that I have really been sucking at keeping up with the show notes, but I’m going to try to do better, I promise! I have three episodes worth of goodies for you, so hopefully that will make up for the major delay. And if you haven’t already listened to the most recent episodes of Down to Fangirl, check them out!

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about our August book club book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Check out Episode 8 of the podcast for all of our thoughts, but suffice to say, Brianna and I both loved it. We also celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday with some HP themed games, because you can never have too much HP.

                              

On Episode 9, we talked about A LOT of books, all of which are pictured and linked below. Check out the episode for specifics on what we thought of each one!

              

We also gave shout outs to two of our favorite podcasts, So Many Damn Books (Brianna) and Bitch Sesh (Falon).

We also announced our book club pick for September, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, which we’ll be discussing on our September 5th episode.

On our most recent episode, I talked about the fun read One of Us is Lying, and we talked about two new shows we’ve been watching: Friends from College (B) and Bachelorette (me). If you see a theme with our podcast/TV show choices, you’re beginning to catch on. And I of course have to mention the highbrow musical stylings we’ve been taking in: Biggie’s Greatest Hits and “Perm” by Bruno Mars.

             

Thank you for checking in to see our show notes! Don’t forget to download, subscribe, and leave us a review!

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Owl Crate Subscription Box: July

Guys, I am soooooo behind on my monthly posts it’s not even funny. But I’m still going to post them anyway because that’s how I roll. So I received my July Owl Crate more than two weeks ago, and I had some high expectations for this box because the theme was Wanderlust, which I love. For the most part, I liked everything in the box, though it maybe wasn’t as pretty or cutesy as I expected it to be. But that’s okay, because I still scored some cool loot! Here’s what I got:

The book for this month is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. I have to say, this is maybe the best author letter I’ve ever seen in an Owl Crate. So cute and fun and it made me want to dive into the book. Which I haven’t yet, but hopefully will soon!

Two of the items I was kind of eh about were this owl luggage tag from Mudpuppy and this pocket mirror from Miss Phi. I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic yet (it’s on my miles long list) so that one didn’t resonate with me personally. I did love this little notebook from Ooly. It reminds me of one of my favorite places, New York, and I am a sucker for tiny journals.

By far, my favorite item this month is the Newt Scamander Funko Pop keychain. I already have the Niffler one, so they make the perfect pair! I also really like the Lord of the Rings inspired backpack from the Owl Crate team, though it is probably not something I will use myself.

 

The book and the Newt keychain sold this month’s box for me because they are both so cool. The theme for next month is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which just happens to be one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite plays, so suffice to say, I’m stoked for it! If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself, please use my affiliate link! Happy reading!

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