I’ve been losing a ton of sleep over the Harvey Weinstein thing for a couple of weeks now.
Here’s the internal struggle.
Do I have the courage to share what’s in my tormented head?
Putting this blog post together has been one of the most heart-wrenching and challenging things I’ve ever done.
And I’m not exaggerating.
Back and forth and forth and back. What should I say? How far should I go?
There were “things” I furiously typed out, but then fear took hold, and a flurry of backspaces wiped them all out.
I put the post aside for a while, tried to work, make like I was okay.
Even though I wasn’t.
And then I tried to write about it again. And again.
Save, delete, save, delete. Backspace. Take a break.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been flooded with tragic messages from women using #MeToo to acknowledge that they have been a victim.
The victimizing runs the gamut: Unwanted physical contact, lewd come-ons, catcalls, leers, nasty comments, inappropriate flirting, sexual harassment, molestation, abuse, assault, rape.
A plethora of unseemliness.
Reading through thousands of messages has shaken me to the core but also given me courage.
I’ve been terrified to admit that I’m a Me Too.
But there, I said it.
And people knew. “People” who were supposed to protect me.
They said things like:
“Are you still talking about this?”
I’ve been “talking about this” for my entire adult life.
“I think you’re confused.”
They know the truth. They know I’m not confused.
They chose to turn a blind eye, and make excuses, even when my abuser admitted it:
“That’s the way I was back then.”
The family member I trusted the most told me to “get over it.”
Unless you’ve been in “it” you can’t know how it scars and damages who you are.
You don’t think I want to get over it?
To be honest, as hard as this post has been to write, I’ve been writing it for most of my life.
Reams of words in all forms and formats written over decades and then carefully hidden away. I was never looking to reveal. I was looking to write it out of me.
With all this “Me Too” sharing, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I could finally exorcise it.
But it’s always been about protecting others, and not wanting to hurt anyone. And I don’t want to be judged, which is why I have always been so torn apart.
And yet, If I don’t speak up now, when will I?
So here it is.
A harrowing, heartbreaking, unforgivable, and unforgettable series of childhood “events” ruined my chances at any sort of Ozzie-and-Harriett life.
The memories and the continuing flashbacks are deeply and profoundly humiliating and searingly painful.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into the gory details.
But I will say that too early on I learned the hard way, that the world is a dangerous place to live.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
I live in a world in which I’m always on the lookout for weirdos.
They’re everywhere: On the streets, at work, on trains, subways, buses, airplanes.
And they run the gamut: Creepy construction workers, egotistical CEOs, perverted professionals, sloppy drunk guys.
Too close, too touchy-feely, too familiar. Too everything.
Too damn much.
I might sound paranoid, but unsafe is everywhere.
You have your Hollywood, publishing, modeling, banking, advertising, government, and beauty pageant bigwigs…
…in places like restaurants, hotels, offices, schools, churches, daycare centers, and even home sweet home.
The list of suspects and unsafe locales is endless because abuse lurks everywhere.
“You know you want it.”
The careful mental calculations I drum up on a daily basis are exhausting. No matter where I go or what I do, I’m always on high alert.
Getting in and out of my car, walking down a quiet street, or an empty hotel corridor, getting into an elevator, choosing a seat at a bar, taking a cab or an Uber, or having service workers in my home.
The paranoia and possible bad choices are endless, exhausting, and heartbreakingly draining.
A psychologist once told me that children who have been physically or sexually abused often end up sabotaging their lives.
They are their own worst enemy because as children their little brains were overloaded with fear and stress hormones. So they tend to live out their lives in fight or flight mode.
Fight it out or flight it out. That’s me.
I’m done writing about “Me Too” for now.
One day I hope to say what I really want to say.
But not today.