When all this started — I was quite resentful and even slightly annoyed. It forced me to guilt-trip myself into the notion that I had waited far too long to address my own issues. I didn’t want to be confronted with the horrors of what happened to me when I was far too young to comprehend what was unfolding — or too naive to grasp how the lifelong consequences would forever alter my trajectory.
I certainly wasn’t at all inspired to detail the occurrences as I remember them — in a quest to join the ongoing climate of solidarity — or encourage others to publicly divulge the epicenter of their pain. For those who were and are able to embark on such a mission — I’m always humbled by their bravery and sincerely wish that by doing so — they’re truly able to heal through a healthy sense of closure.
As the pressure mounts and more revelations from Hollywood’s elite continue to blast through the newsfeed with the blessing of the #MeToo and Time’s Up initiatives — there’s the hope that the messaging doesn’t get distorted by the bedazzlement of an industry that was basically activated by the very culture that is now being dramatically dismantled.
For instance — wearing black ball gowns and designer suits to the Globes as a form of protest doesn’t quite give victims stationed in “shithole” countries a whole lot to hope for when it comes to their ability to escape dire circumstances — that they don’t even have the power to confess. The sentiment was sweet, but overall it might’ve been ineffective — in the grand scope of things.
The reportage of sexual assault and harassment is taking on various forms that are honestly quite frightening — and it’s not only because of the graphic nature of these incidents — but more about my reaction to them.
I don’t know what the hell to do when it comes to the trigger points and how I unfairly compare what I’m internalizing to the status of the paralyzed child in me who is quite sickly from the experience that still holds us both hostage.
There aren’t many personal accounts that make me feel like a bitch after I read them and compel me to begin visualizing how and why I would’ve endured a very different outcome. But the ones that make me feel that way — definitely challenge my integrity, womanhood and erratic nature when it comes to the commitment of engaging without the pitfalls of pre-judgment.
I’m definitely a work in progress and even admitting this is scary because as we all know — you can pretty much lose everything you’ve ever accomplished if you dare share hints of vulnerability or reservations about a relentlessly fiery topic. In order to remain safely visible and verified — you must sync your thoughts and opinions with the popular vote.
This is why I have refrained from writing about this torturously layered subject (although to most of you, it’s simple AF) — until now.
If you read the piece about recent Golden Globe winner and star/co-creator of Netflix’s Master of None — Aziz Ansari — that was plastered on an online women’s publication — called “babe” — I’m almost certain you were freaked the fuck out afterwards.
That “freak out” session is about the only thing that connects all of us because when you get into the nitty gritty of why it was such a terrifying offering — the detours begin to manifest — and then it becomes solidly clear how very lost we are.
I’m definitely not going to do what others have done since the piece scorched the web — by attempting to prove why the anonymous victim really isn’t a casualty of assault or why she has every right to feel violated by a celebrity who ended up not being “the nice guy” he embodies on screen.
I just need to voice how incredibly confusing it is to navigate these times without being completely submerged under the weight of the maddening crowd — and the versions of truth that formulate to produce uneven bits of a puzzle that don’t quite fit.
The lines are blurry and many disagree because to them it’s crystal clear what “abuse,” “assault” and “harassment” look like or how it should be presented.
For you —it’s more than just the physical approach — it’s the captivity and turmoil of being dismissed and misinterpreted — to the point of mental exhaustion and ultimate surrender. For others — it’s the violence afflicted on a body that struggled to get away or just vacantly endured the brutality out of bone-chilling fear or the vacuum of innocence.
Either way — it has to be said that we are heading down a long and winding road without headlights or a coherent map that is diligent enough to guarantee our safe delivery.
We all want to be validated when it comes to self-expression and the personalized summary of events — and any contribution that doesn’t highlight what we’ve formulated is swiftly condemned — the enemy vanquished — without fail. The conversation is more like a competition with no winners or losers — just a body count that piles up to reveal the treacherous complexity of individualism.
There’s also the varying degrees of victimhood and how they dictate our responses to the tales of woe. Can adults who were molested as little kids empathize with a twenty-something woman who alleges that she was assaulted by a man — who made her feel deeply uncomfortable during a painfully awkward encounter?
You can absolutely be offended by that and render me callous and inconceivably wretched for posing such a question — but the point is that we need to have these pending discussions without rejecting the privilege of thoroughly doing so — with an absorbent mindset.
At the end of the day — there’s no mistaking the fact that most of us want to align with a movement that will hopefully shift the narrative towards a more progressive path — with tentacles that will cling to far reaching places across the globe.
But in order to prepare for the beauty ahead — we have to get down and ugly by examining the shades of gray that hamper our vision to the point of blindness. It’s the exercise of dealing with your shit so you can generously support — even when it doesn’t appeal to your defined labels of choice.
It’s also the responsibility of realizing that this will take longer than you imagined — which means speeding up the process won’t ensure that we’re all going to be registered under the same vault of societal reckoning.
The darker times will persist until we’re willing and able to walk around with the grossness of transparency — devoid of filters that illuminate airbrushed ideals that save us in crowded spaces — but suffocate in private.
And that quite frankly, is nothing to freak out about.