I talked to my therapist today. It was about making sure that I’m taking up space. Letting people know that I exist, and that I have feelings, emotions, and a right to be. Recently, I had to make a very difficult decision in regard to putting too much of myself forward in order to make life easier for not only me, but hopefully the people who walk in my stead.
You see, there’s something about women leading the charge, and if I dare say, black women leading the charge. We’re often seen as the agitators that get things started, but never the people who have helped others rise. In this particular case, I know that I had to lean on my village in order to grow bigger. My husband took over all social media accounts for two weeks while I sat in quiet retrospection. If you’ve met me, you might realize just how difficult that is for me. Sitting quietly, while deciding what to do with information so heavy, and so path-changing, was essentially making me into a kid again.
Here’s the deal: when you see something say something. I know that it may feel very awkward, and as if you’re being a tattletale, but sitting around waiting for someone to do something awful to you is not the way to change the world. With this entire #metoo movement, I realize that women and men are looking for men and women who are being sexually abusive, and we need to remember that abuse doesn’t always come in the sexual form. Abuse can be emotional, verbal, and physical. Speaking up as SOON as something like that happens is important in cutting these types of people off at the knees so that they can not continue the cycle.
One of the things that I noticed when I was in grade school was how the most popular girl behaved. She had things that other girls in the class wanted. She would loan out some of her items and threaten to take them back if you didn’t do what she said to do, or act the way that she wanted you to. If you didn’t band together with her in everything, you were cut off from the group, to lick your wounds and gaze on from the outskirts of that coveted group, while they seemed to have a great time. I wasn’t ever one of the chosen ones, and I found my way around grade school just fine. Did not being in that group at first hurt my feelings? Sure it did. It will always hurt to be aware of a group that you think you belong in, and be told in no uncertain terms that you don’t belong. It hurts even more to make your way into the group, and then have a carrot held in front of your nose the entire time so that you do exactly what you’re supposed to do in order to make the group leader happy.
I know that growing bigger and getting louder is so implausible, and so weird for so many of us, we freeze. We clam up and just continue to surf under suspicion of even knowing anything was going on. From knowing that a friend of yours is having trouble with your supervisor, or seeing a stranger being hassled on the street, it’s up to us to start the change of things not being okay. I know that we can’t always talk about things like abuse in the homes of our family members, but we can do our best to research ways to remove our loved ones from those situations in a manner that’s safe for all. It’s something that we need to teach our children early on. To speak up, and to show compassion for others. If one person doesn’t listen, find another that will.
I also know that many of you are sitting on the cusp of knowing things, and wondering if you’re the only one dealing with the knowing. You’re not. I bet you, you are not. You’re one of many, and all it’s going to take is you opening the door to let the proper authorities know. If they don’t listen, get louder, grow bigger, let them know that the world will no longer sit idly by as people with power take advantage of those they feel have no power.
Now, I’m going to go right ahead and say that I don’t support mob mentality. Posting pictures online of people and their home address and telephone number so they are harassed, the same way that they harassed others. We need to hold people accountable, without becoming the same type of monsters that they are, and THAT is how you win. That’s how you grow bigger, and get louder without turning into the same people who need checks and balances.
I know that this is scary – but I guarantee you, even if everyone seems to turn their back on you, there will always be that one person to link hands with (in my case, it’s my husband) that will hold you up, and support you, until you can link with another. When you find another person in the crowd growing bigger and getting louder. When the news of the horrid behavior becomes such a cacophony everyone pays attention, and everyone demands change.
Maybe we can start in DC? Just an idea.