In the last 9 days I have…
stared at the ceiling for so long that I lost track of time
laid my head down on my desk to wait out the wave of pain and fury
twice broken out in the chills until my teeth chattered despite perfectly warm surroundings
had to go lay down because of exhaustion
vomited without cause three times
vomited because binging/purging kicked in after 2+ years without incident
checked the locks, checked the locks, checked the locks
walked home with my keys through my fingers 8 nights in a row (inBerlin…where I’m never afraid)
drank until I felt numb
argued on Facebook…and Twitter…and Instagram with strangers…what a waste of precious time
had 4 nights of terror, another 3 of nightmares, and insomnia
missed my dad mostly because of the words spoken on his death bed…”I believe you. I always believed you. I mess this up between us. I should have done something. I’m sorry.”
Every minute since watching Kavanaugh testify about the accusations from Dr Ford have been fraught with anger, pain, and remembering. Every time someone says “What is wrong with your country?” I feel defensive because I don’t have a good answer except “It’s broken.” I don’t know what else to say.
This week I kept telling one of my best friends…a man who I love as a brother and work closely with…that I was exhausted by male fragility. He sat in my anger with me and tried to understand. He did this because he is one of the good ones. He is a man who loves his wife more than anything and wants to raise his son into a brilliant, kind, respectful man. He, and so many other men in my life, have been my friends, advocates, mentors, and more.
My rage isn’t at men.
My rage is at systems that center them and devalue women. My rage is at the need for ego stroking at every turn that doesn’t diminish their strength or the opinions of others…while the fact that I cry when I’m pissed off makes me look weak and less worthy of trust. My rage is at every single god-damn time I’m asked to do something because men see a version of their mommy instead of the boss. My rage is at business decisions made because “it’ll be easier for the guys to accept if you wait for your promotion/don’t get special recognition/give up your argument.”
And let’s be honest…what I’m mad about is being devalued…unseen…not believed.
Underneath all that anger is the 5 year old who was raped by 4 boys. And the 7 year old who told her mom what her brother was doing and was called a liar. And the 15 year old who’s wrists were held when she said no. And the 25 year old who said “Go home” but wasn’t strong enough to get him to leave or get away. And the 30 year old who made plenty of space in the office kitchen but still had another body pressed against hers because that’s what he wanted and thought was funny. And the 35 year old who told her parents everything, only to have them declare it my fault. And the 36 year old who stood in her sister’s kitchen and heard the words “Mom says he told her it didn’t happen. They believe him.” And the 42 year old who had to wait until the man was dying…until there were only 2 phone calls left…to be believed.
I have no evidence. I have zero DNA. I have no corroboration.
I have dates. I have locations. I know what color shoes I had on when I was laying in that field being raped. I know how my body hurt and I know I hid my bloody clothes in my dresser behind my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas. I know that when my mother told me I shouldn’t lie, it took 25 years for me to speak of it again. I know that the only reason I was baptized at church when I was is because all I wanted in the world at 10 years old was to feel clean after years of being used.
Those are things I know…but they are not the things that define me. I am the person…woman…leader…friend…sister…aunty…lover that I am today because of this journey. I have risen from that dirty field where those boys tried to break me. And I have kicked all 4 of their asses financially, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
This week the broken me came for a visit because she’s hurt and angry. And she gets to have her say in twitter rages, tears, and the chills. But then she will go back to her spot, tucked under the center of my heart, where I take care of her and keep her safe from desolation, defeat, and fear.
She isn’t broken. She just got her clothes a bit dirty and her heart a little bruised. She is me. And I am a gentle, tough, direct, kind, loving, fierce, and dedicated woman who loves her people…her team…and mankind enough to rise from it all and lay down the rage.
Rage becomes action. Anger becomes compassion. Fury becomes movement. And it’s all bathed in hope and peace…because that is the life I choose.
Now we fight.
I believe you Dr. Ford. I always will.
Both Versions of Me…the 5 year old and the 42 year old