Rose McGowan, the actor and activist, implored women to fight sexual harassment and assault by calling out harassers and naming names when she spoke at the Women’s Convention in downtown Detroit this past week. Yet she refused to do the very thing she asked her female audience to do. I found her rally cry to be disingenuous to say the least (even if she had a prior written agreement with her abuser not to do so), but I do believe women must begin to fight the shaming whether it is calling out the abusers and harassers or not.
Owning my story has been difficult but not quite as difficult as spending my entire life running from it.
“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it – it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy… When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.” – Brene’ Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection.
Sheer panic proceeded pressing the publish button when I posted last week, Dear Alyssa Milano. In fact, I had tried for hours to bring myself to press that damn button on my blog publishing site. My paralyzing fear was what category would this hurricane of personal information become.
Since that blog post went live, I have heard words like courage, bravery, transparency, genuine honesty, and even the word, heroine. What I have heard most, however, is awkward silence. And in my anxiety-trapped mind means that this uncomfortable truth with all its’ vulnerability means that many have gasped in horror and are stifled in their own discomfort, “What was she thinking?”
Embracing my vulnerability was risky… and still is.
I’ll be honest again. Those words – courage, bravery, transparency, genuine honesty, heroine – they were given to me in a spirit of empathy, compassion, a sisterhood for a lack of a better word made me cringe even while saying, ‘thank you, it means a lot to me.’
I now must face the truth, my truth, every day because others now know it too.
“How horrifying for you.”
“Oh, you poor thing!”
“Who was it? What happened?”
“You rock. Everybody loves you.”
“Well, let me tell you what happened to me….”
Or simply…. silence. The silence of judgment, disappointment, or denial as a result of my sharing my story.
I will not speak of my #MeToo experiences ever again… not to anyone.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot
Exploring that darkness was necessary so that I could discover the infinite power of light and purpose to live my truth. I don’t need to call anyone out. I will leave that to God’s day of judgment.
Over the last several years, I did toy with the idea of writing a book. I wrote countless beginnings, renaming the file and pushing it around on my computer hard drive just as many times. However, this #MeToo revolution convinced me there is no benefit in writing it. There isn’t a benefit in my reclamation of wholeness because an individual’s story is rarely just the individual’s story. I don’t give a damn about the abusers or harassers or their story’s side of it. I have no pity, however damaged and screwed up their story. They had NO right to do what they did. But there isn’t any righting the wreckage for the collateral damage in telling my story, past or present.
Let me be clear on this point, however. I am not condemning anyone who chooses to call out as Rose McGowan advocates for abuses that occurred long ago or just yesterday. Nor do I advocate burying their story, but to gather the courage to seek professional assistance in revealing and rooting out shame caused by their abuser.
Nothing I say or write can be as inspiring as living my life in “genuine honesty.”
Imperfectly transparent as I may be, I know I am worthy. It’s been a long arduous journey and one I am still traveling. Embracing my vulnerabilities was risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, belonging, joy and the peace that comes with it.
I am who I am. I have all that I need in the loving eyes of my God, my husband, and my sons. And if there is anything worthwhile to dig up, discuss or to write about it, it is the danger of living in the shadows of secrecy and giving up on living my truth, each and every day.