In response to #MeToo.
In recent months I’ve spent some time writing what I hope will be my first book. It seems timely, as it’s based on an abusive relationship I went through when I was a teenager. I don’t want to give too much away, but I do want to share the thoughts that went through my head and made me decide to finally put this down on paper. Now, more than ever, the inspiration behind this book seems like a message that needs to be heard.
Over the past few days I’ve heard women share stories that have brought me to tears. Not only because they’re so painful to hear, but because they bring up memories of my own, ones I tried to bury for many years. I’m proud and inspired and touched to see women coming together in this way, supporting each other, reminding each other that we’re not alone. I wish that I had know other women were going through these things as a teen or a young adult. So many of the situations I found myself in shook my confidence in myself and left me feeling like there was something wrong with me.
So, I wanted to share what will likely be the end of my book. Maybe I shouldn’t share it, but I feel it’s important and this writing process could take a while. I want others to know I’m here to talk about it if you need an ear.
In keeping with how much music inspires me daily, this specific inspiration was brought to the surface by this song. You know, if you’d like a soundtrack as you read.
At some point I took a step back at all the neurosis I had in my life and I had to ask myself one questions.
Is it in my blood? Is this the way I was made?
Was it inevitable that I would have these predispositions to hate and demean and distrust everything I am?
Too fat. Too thin. Not pretty enough. Too over the top. Too much make-up. Not enough make-up. Overly confident. Too shy. Not smiling enough. Smiling too much. Way too chipper. Probably anorexic. Maybe on cocaine. Eating way too much. Not eating enough. Such a slut. Such a prude. Too emotional. Incredibly cold. One of the guys. So girly. Such a bitch. A know it all. A ditz. Overly educated. Bossy. Single. Married. Forever alone.
All women, every single one, fit into these categories. They’ve had it thrust on them as if it’s normal. Like it’s life, to be one— or a lot— of these things.
Constantly questioning if we’re good enough. Waiting for the moment when we don’t feel too this or not enough of that. Our self worth is determined by a categorial reflection of what and who we should be.
Not enough. Not enough. Not enough to satisfy a man. Not enough to demand respect. Not enough to get a raise. Not enough to get a promotion.
Too much to handle. Too much of a bitch. Too much to be taken seriously. Too much to love. Too much to stick around for.
So we change ourselves constantly. We fit a mold. We try and be what we think we’re supposed to be and we carry these neurosis on our shoulders. And we ask ourselves that constant question.
Is this just who I am? Is this in my blood? Is this how I was born?
And one day I realized it’s not in my blood, it’s what I was made into. By every single person that told me I wasn’t good enough to demand respect. That I was overly confident and should pull back. That I would look a little better if I just showed off more skin. That I should smile more because it looks better on a woman. That even though it’s not my job, somehow it is my job to clean up after everyone. That I should really be more nurturing. That I should be careful not to offend the man with the ego. That I do not have control over what part of myself I want to give away and what part I don’t. That I should just sit back and allow myself to be disrespected because that’s just how the world is. That because I’m a woman, I need to fit into this box or I’m not good enough for anyone. That I am not good enough even for myself.
It’s not in my blood it’s how I allowed the world to tell me how to feel. It’s how family and politicians and boyfriends and girlfriends and strangers and classmates and coworkers have all made me feel I need to be. It’s how I took what each and every one of them said over the course of my life and started to chip away at myself.
It is not who I am. It’s what I was made to feel was wrong with me. And I’m not going to let that control me anymore.
Let’s keep the dialogue open for each other. Let’s remember that we can change the world and how we see ourselves. Most importantly, we can change how we treat each other. It is not in our blood.