It’s taken me a long time to write this piece. I’m still not certain I should turn it in.
Last year the #MeToo movement hit a lot of people hard; it hit me hard, too. I’m sure it hit many women the same way it did me, in a way that didn’t allow for expression. I can’t name the culprit, I can’t describe all the events, and I can’t get it off my chest without giving away private details of my life I don’t want all over the internet.
But it doesn’t mean it didn’t send me careening down good ol’ memory lane, crashing into the street signs and breaking every heart-bone in my already run down body. I know from speaking to other women, they’re in the same sinking boat. Unable to voice their pain, but feeling it every step of the way.
If I think of what happened, I can directly connect my agoraphobia to that period of time in my life. It’s when I wanted to stop going outside, to stop getting out of bed. But I pushed through it and pretended it was just a phase.
I can also correlate dropping out of UMASS Boston with the guilt I felt because I must have done something wrong, right? With the guilt I still felt, even as an adult, even knowing I did nothing wrong, knowing the person who tormented me was full of shit.
I hadn’t given them a thought in years—truthfully, they had no bearing on my life at all. But after the #MeToo Movement hit the ground running I hit a brick wall. I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it. It colored every thought, every day, and every sweat-filled nightmare.
I was disappointed in myself because I thought my former tormentor had no power over me, and the #MeToo Movement proved me wrong. That person’s power hid inside me like a caged snake, waiting to rear its extremely poisonous head.
For weeks I drank that poison. I couldn’t stop talking about it, even when it hurt people I loved. Couldn’t stop thinking about it, hyper-focusing on events that happened almost thirty years ago. I wrote piece after piece and deleted them, ashamed of what I had to write. But my antidote came from a strange place.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings painted Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, a well-respected professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University, as a liar, Democratic plant, and attention-seeker. She gave a perfect testimony—she was collected, calm, and believable, unlike the defendant, who emoted in ways a woman is never allowed to without being called “distraught” or “hysterical.” For the record, I would be okay with Judge Kavanaugh’s outbursts, if his alleged victim was allowed the same courtesies in the court of public opinion. I got angrier and angrier as I watched, and finally realized it wasn’t the scene on tv that was causing my anger. And I realized that, regardless of anything else, the person I told didn’t hesitate to believe me.
That was my release. The long-term effects of my #metoo moments still hurt; but I don’t have to worry about whether or not they happened, whether or not they were bad, or whether or not the person who perpetrated them was evil. I have that validation. And with that, I let go of all that anger, and those moments, because they have no control over me.
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