I know your heartfelt intentions are to bring wider attention and acknowledgement to a dark, disgusting fact with the #MeToo campaign. Women (and men) of all ages, and from all backgrounds have courageously come forward to speak the truth about their sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
For me, all the Harvey Weinsteins, the Donald Trump pussy grabbers, the Woody Allen defenders, and yes, even the men AND women who will casually pass it off as, ‘boys will be boys, shake it off,’ or “he was drunk and he didn’t know what he was doing” put me back in a place I have fought very hard to break free. The abusers have no idea the lifelong trauma they inflict.
I cannot read anymore #MeToo stories. I won’t.
You see, my stream of Harvey’s started when I was seven by someone who I thought was to love and protect me unconditionally…
Then it was a boss who was constantly just a little too touchy, feely…
Then the guy who came to install the cable box in my first apartment who I somehow summoned enough strength to get off me and out my apartment door….
The client who I was introduced for the first time by his sales supervisor whose first words to me were, “Have you fucked her yet?” (He wouldn’t be the last one who felt he could make such comments or take liberties.)
Or the brute who followed me into a darkened hotel parking garage at 5:30 in the afternoon after a seminar, grabbing me from behind and shoving me into a concrete column and hearing him say… “you think you’re too pretty in your fancy car…”
NO! I won’t!
An unwinnable war
“The toxicity of your repressed memories” my therapist would say, “is the root of your anxiety.” Toxic shame syndrome I think is what she called it and something about manifesting itself in perfectionism and anxiety. I was too numb by the revelations to fully comprehend her diagnosis.
Gratefully, I haven’t always lost
This unwinnable war has taken a toll emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Trust doesn’t come easily for me, but thank God, I eventually found love with my husband and soul mate, Vinny Sal. My blessings, our two sons and my faith have kept me alive (literally). It hasn’t been easy for them either.
My greatest fear, besides encountering another Harvey, however, has always been what people would think of me if they knew my #MeToo experiences. My husband, my sons, my friends and colleagues… Would they think differently of me? Would they be disgusted? Would they think I am too weak? Would they still respect me? Would they still love me? Would they….
This is what Harveys do to the people they abuse. They shame them.
There are reasons for sharing, I guess. Maybe my family and friends would finally understand my many quirks and anxieties… Like why I will keep circling to find surface parking rather than park in a parking garage unless someone is with me… why must I insist the garage door at home be always down… Or why it was always necessary that either Vinny Sal or I be at home with the boys when either of us traveled … Or why I don’t like to visit my childhood town… why I am easy to piss off at odd times… and so on… and when I say, “please be safe,” a sentiment that is normal for a wife or mom to say but for me has a deeper meaning.
All I know is that I am tired of dragging all this shame baggage around with me trying to out-run all this anxiety shit. I need to live my truth.
I’m sorry. I cannot read anyone more #MeToo stories. I have too many of my own.
I thought as I grew older it would be easier. Forgiveness and all that stuff, you know??
But it isn’t easier because there are too many Harvey stories out there reminding me of it day after day. Too many #MeToo stories that tell me I am not alone.
I’m sorry, Alyssa Milano, and I’m sorry to all the #MeToo women (and men) out there.
P.S. To my mentor and confidante, may you rest in peace, I’m still writing my way through it.