Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Why Do People Write? Also, #MeToo…

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 started writing Finding Ninee because I felt alone. My son did not have a diagnosis, but was going to Preschool Autism Class while neighbors drove to a local co-op Montessori.

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.

Anyway, I’ve written a lot about that, about special needs, and about inclusion. Tonight, I’m writing because also, #MeToo.

***

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.

#metoo

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.

people write to remember the perfect moments

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.

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  • Dana - People write…”To build a nest for the stories that stick together like magnets and sink to their feet.” Damn, Kristi, sometimes your words take my breath away. I’m glad you didn’t delete this and start over – I always appreciate your insight on social issues, and I thank you for sharing your #metoos. Because none of them are too small, or not important enough, or too long ago.October 19, 2017 – 10:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Damn, Dana. Thank YOU for giving me faith that the bloggers in our worlds still read, sometimes. I so so so so so so sssssssssoooooooo appreciate your comment. And you saying that the #metoos are real. Gah. Love you. October 22, 2017 – 11:15 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - I write about being a Mom of a special needs child too and someone referred me to you. Funny, I do not recall who because that was many years ago.

    And it has been wonderful not being alone. So thank you Kristi. You have brought so much advocacy to families of children with special needs. Thank God you write! For some of us it is just too painful.

    Love you and thank you!!!October 19, 2017 – 11:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Funny to think how long ago that may have been… I’m glad you’re less alone because of HERE, and I understand, that sometimes, it’s too painful. Hugs. October 22, 2017 – 11:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - And thank you too by the way. You’re one of the reasons I stick around. I love your beginning I feel all of that, I like how you were able to write exactly what it feels like to have not written and then how it you write to see how you feel about something. Wow. Anyway sorry I’m late. Who knew it’d be so hard to write about why you write.

    I hadn’t heard about the, “Me too”. I’ve been off facebook for a couple a weeks and that’s where I find out stuff too. Excellent conclusion to your post. Last night I when I was trying to brainstorm I was reading quotes for writers, one quote was “You get to live twice”. That’s a great quote for perfect moments but not so great for so many other reasons people write.October 20, 2017 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m one of the reasons? That’s SUCH a HUGE honor, because I feel the same about you. I’d be so bummed if you just called it quits. Ugh to the “me too” stuff. You’re probably better off, being away from FB with all that crapola. “You get to live twice” is haunting to me, in the best of ways. Thank you HUGE for sharing that with me. I think I needed to read that. It’s really true, right? I mean like REALLY. Wow. Wow wow wow. October 22, 2017 – 11:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sorry, I keep thinking about this… for other reasons, it still seems to matter. It’s like if you live it twice, even if it’s bad, you get to own it or something. October 22, 2017 – 11:40 pmReplyCancel

      • Kenya G. Johnson - For the record it looks like the quote is “Writer’s live twice.” – Natalie Goldberg. I could have sworn I read one that said, “You get to live twice.” Same thing though.October 23, 2017 – 3:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Your words about why you write are so poetic and descriptive…pure beauty! And yeah, it’s amazing how we suppress certain things and yet, the #metoo movement sort of gave us permission to not only speak out, but to let those suppressed memories surface. It hurts to recall those moments (and for others, it’s more than moments and so much worse), but there is some comfort in knowing we are not alone…October 20, 2017 – 8:25 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Emily, SO much comfort in knowing we’re not alone but still… the whole Facebook think gutted me, and I delete “killed” me because too dramatic, even though that’s how it feels, a little. And thank you so much for the kind words about my writing!October 22, 2017 – 11:41 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - Hello, Sweets,

    you forgot one: You write so Kim S. R. can savor and learn from your words!

    I write to “Survive.”

    xxx from MN.October 20, 2017 – 9:41 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love you. Writing to survive is amazing because you know what? Your stories help in a for-real way, to help for-real people survive. And that is huge and beautiful and perfect. October 22, 2017 – 11:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Wow. This:

    Often, one thought leads to another I thought I’d forgotten.

    Brief and so true.

    I am glad you can write about all the things you want here Kristi. Of course, inclusion and special needs children is important and mostly what this blog is, but I am happy you can use your platform here to speak about gender issues and social issues and so much more.

    I have been observing quietly this #MeToo movement. For many it goes so much deeper and not all are able to think about what they have been through, let alone to write about it for anyone to read. I admit I’ve been rather sheltered in my life, but I want society to do better, for my nieces and your son and so many others.

    Thanks for writing this.October 20, 2017 – 1:54 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - SO true, right? About the one thought leading to another, I mean. I do this all the time, and suppose we all do. It’s like we remember one moment and that brings us to another and another and another… Thank you for you kind words about changing what this blog is, and for sharing what this whole #metoo thing means. It’s so hard, for so many, including us who don’t “have it bad,” I guess. But it’s still ugly, and scary… OH AND you ARE doing better. You’re an amazing role model for your nieces and everybody! I know this to be true!BTW ,did you ever see/hear (hear is more important) that video from Facebook? I’d wondered, after your comment, whether you heard anything from it. October 22, 2017 – 11:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi - #MeToo and #youtoo and #hertoo and #mydaughterstoo and #mymothertoo and #yesallofthem. I don’t think there’s a woman’s platform out there that doesn’t include potential for #metoo. I’m just sorry we have to drag these memories into the sunlight for anyone to take the problem seriously.October 20, 2017 – 3:45 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - #metoo to being sorry that we have to drag them into the sunlight, but what a beautiful way to say that. Thank you. October 22, 2017 – 11:57 pmReplyCancel

  • clark - I liked your post. I liked so much that I wrote a FTSF post.

    (damn! that, implied in those two sentences, is a much more succinct expression of what it is about writing that keeps me coming back, no matter how much that ‘they will laugh or scorn’ voice in my world might whisper.)

    as always you have said, in part, what I might have; you have selected the words that shape tangled thoughts into something simple, direct, yet in no way lacking the depth of inference and meaning.October 20, 2017 – 6:54 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I liked. Nope, scratch that, I LOVE that you wrote a FTSF post. And yeah, I get it. This part of it is why I keep coming back, too. The YOU the all of it. Also? I adore you and will never laugh or scorn anything you write. Here’s to showing up, to doing it, to doing it over and over, even when it feels like nobody cares. Love you, by the way. October 23, 2017 – 12:00 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I love the part about the magnets – yeah, that’s definitely what it feels like. I get that.
    I’m so glad that you wrote at first and that you write still and that I’m one of the people who got found in all of it. I can’t imagine not knowing you now and that is definitely one of the best things my own writing has brought me – some wonderful people.
    Keep writing, my friend. Write about it all.October 23, 2017 – 3:20 pmReplyCancel

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