Me Too

Dear Reader,

When the #metoo movement began I felt so compelled to share. I thought to myself, I am an empowerment writer, a warrior woman, a independent solo-wanderer, I should be able to take the abuse I have experienced and turn it into healing for others.

So, I posted a Facebook status, with one simple hashtag: #metoo.

And ya’ll, it was way too much. A moment after hitting “post” my head spun, my heart raced, I wasn’t ready.

It had been mere months since I’d finally whispered the words to my therapist, “I was sexually abused.” It had been even fewer months still since the panic attacks had stopped, since the abuse I sustained had stopped replaying itself in my body at random. I wasn’t ready.

To go public, to open myself up to questions, to comments, to judgement, to support, to love, to any and all of it. It was too much.

So, I quickly removed my post.

Instead, I scrolled through Facebook and read of the abuse and assault, the inappropriate touch, the unwanted comments so many women close to me had endured. I read, knowing there were many women, just like me, who were not yet ready to share their own stories.

This week, as more women are moved to share their stories, to grow as a collective community of supporters and survivors, I feel called once again.

Today, I turned again to social media, and I asked, “should I post something vulnerable, do you all need to hear my story too?” and the answer I received was yes.

So, standing in a tiny town I don’t know, in the line of the quaintest restaurant I’ve ever walked into, surrounded by strangers, I asked myself, “Am I ready?”

And my answer: “sort of.”

I’m not ready to lay it all out there, I’m not ready to share each abuse, each assault, each word or action, and although I see such value in doing so, I will leave this to the tribe of women out there who are in fact fully ready.

However, what I do want to say, is this: a few weeks ago I sat with a dear friend and spoke to him about the abuse, the manipulation, and the assault I have withstood. I spoke of it all, from childhood to present. And when he stopped in the middle me to comment, I looked to him with an overwhelming longing and power and said, “Wait! I’d like to finish, I want to tell you.” Without question, he stopped speaking and listened as I rattled on. It was a moment of transformation for me.

While I may not be ready to share in detail here, I reached a moment with my friend when I realized it felt good to share in a safe space. It felt good to claim what had happened to me, it felt good to be heard, to have someone tell me it wasn’t my fault and they believed me.

Saying it all out loud, all at once, in succession, I realized how damn much abuse and assault there was. Honestly… I looked at my friend with disbelief when I finished speaking and took a big gulp of air. “Wow, that’s a lot” I said. And he nodded.

That sounds painful right? Like, here I am retelling, reliving all the shit that happened to me and realizing it’s actually more than I thought. Well, sure it was uncomfortable. But more so, it was enlightening. I realized that by not speaking about, by ignoring it all, I had minimized it for so long. And the abuse we sustain, the nasty come-ons, the unwanted gropes, the forceful encounters, they are not minimal. They matter greatly. And the more we speak to them, the more we report and share; the more we are heard and believed, the more healing and change will unfold.

So, I want to end on this. For a long time, I didn’t believe myself, I didn’t believe the dreams I had, the memories that flashed back, I didn't believe that I had said no and been ignored, or felt like I couldn’t. I didn’t believe I was enough. I didn't believe that pleasure came absent of pain. But I do now. I believe myself, I believe you and I believe her.

May we all come together in this time.

I love you, I am proud of you, I see you, I hear you and I believe you!

With love,

Annalise

For more posts that may bring healing or insight during this time I recommend:

  1. An Open Letter

  2. The Lessons We Learned

  3. Why? (For a little added sass!)

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