People write for a lot of reasons. I write because when I don’t, my histories gather together and stick like magnets inside of me. Combined, they’re heavy and awkward and fall down to my feet and then climb back up to churn my stomach, clog my lungs, and hunch my shoulders.
I write because while today’s memories give me ideas, yesterday’s memories churn. When they’re not let out, the whispers inside create restless noise, and I don’t know any of the words.
I write because the unwritten infiltrates dreams and casts shadows on moments in the sun.
I write because typing memories and stories gives them escape, one by one.
Often, one thought leads to another I thought I’d forgotten.
Their release lets me think about each story, and love it in a way that’s impossible when they’re all stuck together and I’m not even sure how to feel.
Sometimes, I write to just know how I feel about something. It’s like I can’t make sense of it until I read it, say “that’s not quite it,” edit it, and know something new about who I’ve been.
I wrote because I wanted to find you. My community.
It took a while, and I wondered why I bothered writing at all, but I hung in there. And I did. I found you, I mean.
Thank you, by the way.
You’ve likely seen the rounds on social media about the “Me, too” campaign. The one I saw stated “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
According to this article, Alyssa Milano began the trend on Twitter, but the original movement began more than ten years ago when Tarana Burke started it as a way to raise awareness about sexual assault in underprivileged communities of color.
I only learned of it because somebody on Facebook posted it, and at first, I thought how lucky I am to have not experienced the violent sexual assaults that too many people I know have.
But then, I thought “me, too.”
#metoo Me, too. ME TOO.
I write, because also, #metoo.
When I was 16, working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, I went to put my time card away in the office. It was maybe 2:00pm on a Saturday, and the manager’s brother came in, shut the door, and groped and pulled at me. I had nowhere to go, flailed and ended up shattering the tiny window with my elbow.
“He’s harmless,” they said. “Just a little crush. Can you stay and finish your shift?”
When I was 22, and worked at Colorado Free University, I thought I was special, having been promoted from delivering catalogues to Student Services Manager with my own business cards and everything in a matter of months.
One day, the owner said my pants “did my ass justice,” and invited me to Chicago. I said no, and was fired, er, I mean “let go” shortly after.
When I rode the bus to work at a manufacturing plant instead of riding my bike 13-miles each way because it was too snowy, and too dark to ride. The guy who followed me to the wrong home because I was too afraid for him to know where my real home was.
I hid behind a dumpster for 45 minutes to be sure he was gone, and never took the same bus home, adding an hour to my daily commute.
When a guy in a bar said I was too pretty to not have a boyfriend, and I told him my roommate was with me. He assumed I was gay, and was even more interested.
He didn’t leave us alone until a male friend came to get us. Then, that friend grabbed my roommate’s boob. For a thank you, maybe.
When a woman I admire told me Trump saying “grab ‘em by the pussy” is “just how men talk.”
When I was over 40, with my boss behind closed doors. When he said his wife probably wouldn’t like it that the door was closed. We were talking about firing somebody who would’ve heard us, had the door been open.
When I almost deleted this entire blog post to start over and instead write about special needs and the land of empathy and wonder because my #metoo stories are so normal, and #metoo isn’t why I started this blog.
We write for many reasons.
Mostly, people write to build a nest for the stories that stick together like magnets and sink to their feet. Writing gives our memories a nest to fly from. Away from us, finally.
I started it to say we write because sometimes, there are perfect moments, and we want to share them.
But perfect moments are only perfect for a moment.
Memories of trauma and sexual harassment last forever. Gather within us like magnets, buzzing in our stomachs, churning our days.
So I write for many reasons. It seems though, that tonight, I write because I’m nearing an age that’s closer to 1/2 of 100 than anything else, and it took seeing #metoo on Facebook to think about all the times and all the ways I’ve felt unsafe, embarrassed, and dismissed.
I write today because if you feel alone, you’re not. I promise.
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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “Why I write…” brought to you by the super-fabulous Kenya Johnson of Sporadically Yours.