In light of the “Me Too” movement and my blog post there arose much compassion and concern. I didn’t anticipate such a response. There were many questions and concerns. I figured I’d answer.
No, I don’t still have nightmares. I have memories. Nightmares painted my childhood and teenage years. I was slicing my wrists by the time I was 12 years old. Cutting quickly ensued. My arms bore the scars and wounds I felt inside. I could at least see them and treat them. It made sense to me, and when I bled I felt momentary relief. Pain and confusion was oozing out of me in all forms; anyway I could self medicate and feel nothing was a goodie in my book.
Honestly, in the past few months I’ve been harassed by someone. It is currently at the point where I have to legitimately consider a restraining order, as suggested to me by the world of professionals advising me in the current situation. These circumstances have absolutely caused me to recall and battle horrific fears of things I’ve experienced at the hands of the opposite sex and in terms of sexual abuse. I’ve taken more vacation days just to stay mentally and emotionally healthy.
So this last week when I caught the “me too” going around, my fierce indignation over sexual abuse and harassment was already at the boiling point, and I decided to speak up and speak out. This is not the first time I’ve done so. I’ve told my story hundreds of times at this point, in private one to one conversations and to roomfuls of men and women. So you may be shocked, but I’m not. And I’m not looking for consolation. I’ve already received it, and it can’t be given merely through man’s words and hands.
This may be news to some of you, what I’ve shared about the childhood sexual abuse I experienced. But the sad news is that was only one instance that I could include in “me too.”
After briefly writing a few words in that blog, I then began to think of the other incidences. I was date raped at sixteen, became pregnant and then had an abortion. I didn’t think twice about what I chose to do, at least not beforehand. Afterwards, a totally different story. I began sifting through that mess with 9 months (interesting number, right?) of intensive counseling at a residential womens center at the age of 22.
I had just graduated bible college and barely made it through my last semester. I was mostly hooked up to heart monitors and couldn’t think straight because I was malnourished. I had decided to plunge headlong back into an eating disorder (ED) that wanted nothing less than a skeleton in the grave, and “ED” had no sympathy. ED had been a familiar friend since I was six years old. But that’s another story for another day.
I had been walking young women through self-hatred, self-harm, and beyond, yet I was slowly unraveling myself behind the scenes. I was completely humiliated but hungry, in more ways than one, for freedom. Wasn’t I supposed to launch into all my plans? I literally had a map and blueprint of the next 20 years I’d planned in a binder. Well, I could go on walking wounded, running a race injured, or I could take the time and actually face the pain, reset bones, and come back stronger and faster than ever. I opted for the latter. I decided I would rather be desperate and honest about where I was than continue dancing in the masquerade I had made.
Truthfully, I wasn’t going to make it 20 days, let alone 20 years, at the state I was in physically so doctors were telling me. But if I tell you I still had joy would you believe me? I’m telling you laughter and joy is medicine. Happiness is based on what’s happening around you, but joy weathers every storm. If I had lost my sense of humor throughout these years I would have died. I don’t doubt it.
You see me now, running and most would note me as joyful. This girl I’m telling you about may sound so foreign to you. But this is my story. I wanted to tell you what you couldn’t see and details to which you weren’t privy.
No I didn’t just sit there quietly, writhing with memories. I was pissed off. There were years it looked like my story would be a complete defeat, but never judge a book by its cover. I was a fire within gaining momentum at every obstacle the wind blew in. This man whose hands had orchestrated and intended destruction for me was not going to have the last word, as far as I was concerned. He wasn’t going to have the starring role in a show he had almost stole.
My “me too” post was not to raise concern or sympathy. Believe me, that’s not satisfactory, nor serves in healing me. It’s not to sound or, worse yet, be ungrateful. I loved each of your hearts. I loved seeing men and women reach out to one another and connect over a stigmatized topic. But clearly this is more than just a topic; this is real life that is messy and punches straight through to our chests and grabs us–hopefully.
I think that’s all for tonight folks. Until next time.