Me Too

Me Too

“Me too.” Just two words and I waffled over whether to post them for over 24 hours. Not because I didn’t meet the qualifications, but because I felt that I barely met them. On a scale of 1 to 10, harassment to assault, (which should probably be more like a scale or 8 to 10 because it’s all incredibly damaging) I was entry level, at best. And what right did I have to equate myself with women have borne the full brunt of what misogyny can do? Because yes, I have laughed off uncomfortable commentary, I have invoked non-existent boyfriends/fiancés/husbands to escape the advances/offers of men who cannot grasp the concept of an unclaimed woman, I have changed subway cars to avoid being alone with both too many men and too few, and although I never feel particularly unsafe in New York City, I am I never not aware that I need to be very aware of where I am and who’s around me at all times. Because to be caught slipping, is to be caught. Which can almost sound like victim blaming, I know, until you realize that this walk we’re trying to navigate is paved with ice and littered with banana peels and marbles. We are all slipping. All the time. It can’t be helped. The odds are just not in our favor. And the devastating truth is that for me to have lived this long with no major violation is not normal. I have lived an exceptionally lucky life to be able to say that nothing has ever happened to me. So how dare I post, “Me too” when nothing has ever happened to me.

Except… and then I remembered.

I was 20 when my parents divorced and my mom, sister and I moved into a house a few blocks from my grandma. My sister and I brought our bedroom furniture in the move, but my mom left all hers behind, so since she didn’t have a bed, she slept in my room in my bed and I slept on the couch in the den. No problem, no big deal. Until that early early morning when I woke up and felt someone standing over me. I don’t remember what time it was, but it was still dark and all I could see was the outline of a family friend. Someone who had known me since I was child and had been staying with us for a few weeks, sleeping on an air mattress in our living room. But now he was standing over me. And then kneeling next to me. And then jacking off. And I was just laying there. Frozen. Pretending to still be asleep while trying to filter through and regulate so many thoughts… what is he doing here he thinks I’m asleep should I scream I have to still be asleep I don’t know how to scream I’m not breathing I have to breathe so I can scream but it might just make him mad he’s not hurting me stop breathing so hard you’re supposed to be asleep heart slow down he’s gonna hear you and know I’m not asleep and if he knows I’m not asleep breathe don’t breathe scream don’t scream just wait just pray just God please please God please… and then I heard a door open. And I could hear my mom moving down the hall. He heard it too and laid down on the floor. And we were both frozen. Both waiting. Listening. But she didn’t come all the way down the hall, she had just gotten up to use the bathroom. We both listened as the toilet flushed, the bathroom door opened and my mom’s footsteps started retreating back down the hall. She wasn’t coming to save me. So I had to make a break for it. With him still lying on the floor, I sat up, threw myself over the back of the couch and ran down the hall. My mom was just climbing back into bed when I burst into the room, shut the door behind me and collapsed against it, “He… I was… and then he… he…”

He didn’t hurt me. So nothing has ever happened to me. I even remember thinking at the time, “Wow. It took twenty years for something that kind of bad to happen to me… and it wasn’t that bad. I’m so lucky.” And I still am. So damn lucky. That that is the worst thing misogyny has done to me.

Except it’s not. The actual worst thing misogyny has done to me is to make me feel legitimately lucky to have moved through this life relatively unmolested. Because it’s all relative. So fucking relative that not having been physically sexually harmed by a man is not the expectation, but the exception. There is something wrong when I consider myself extremely lucky, fortunate, blessed to have made it safely thus far; when the disrespect, denigration and devaluing of women is so commonplace, so usual, so expected and so extreme, that my experience doesn’t even rate to me. Because I know what’s out there and what’s happening to women everyday. Everywhere. In every industry. And so I know I have a lot of nerve posting “Me too,” when all things considered, nothing has ever really happened to me.

The Cracks

The Cracks

I dropped my phone the other day. Facedown. On the hard, hard floor of Target. So I was zero percent surprised to pick it up and see an array of cracks branching across my formerly unblemished screen. “What luck.” I thought to myself. “What a f*cking curse.” Bonus points to anyone who knows what that quote is actually from because it really wasn’t that serious. In fact, I don’t think my screen is cracked at all. See, I have one of those protective privacy screens that makes it hard for people to see what I’m up to and is supposed to make it hard for gravity and hard surfaces to triumph, so I’m pretty sure the damage is only protective screen deep. But at the same time, I still haven’t removed the screen protector to find out for sure, for sure. Not yet. I’m pacing myself. Because God knows I’ve discovered more than enough cracks in other things lately. Myself included… myself mostly. But it ain’t all bad.

I posted that snippet on instagram two weeks ago, but I wrote it three years ago. A fact one of my friends found hard to believe in light of some of the drama that has been unfolding in and around me in recent times, but it’s true. All this new drama is actually nothing new. It’s just bigger and better. Because so am I. (And so are you!) I remember feeling really deeply about what actually inspired those words three years ago and now, I just find it all deeply amusing. And fast forward three years… I know I’ll probably feel the same about everything swirling around me right now. (Assuming we survive y’alls president. Yeesh.) Because a lot changes in three years.

For example: I started this blog three years ago. And I did really good with it for a good amount of time, but this year… it has been a struggle. Because my struggle with singleness has changed. As a writer, I never want to pretend, I don’t want to try to guess how someone is feeling or (even worse) tell them how they should feel, so anything I’ve written here has always come from the perspective of: This is what’s happening, this is how I feel about it right now and this is what I’m hoping against hope will prove to be true in the end. And the end is still out there, still unwritten, still unknown, but I feel like I’ve said just about all I have to say.

Just about.

I think I’ve got ten more in me. And the reason I think that is because I have decided to write ten more posts and then add “SingularShe” to the list of chapters I closed in 2017. Because I’ve got other work to do and if I’m honest… I have used this blog as a distraction and a shield more than I should have.  It gave me an audience and instant gratification in so many moments when I should have buckled down and done the hard work on the books, the scripts and the scores that have been waiting to see the light of day for years. In some ways, this blog had become a protective screen.

But it’s cracked now. And when so many of my fears about singleness were (and are) actually fears about legacy, my name and what my life will actually be remembered for once it’s all said and done, I realize that I have a lot of work to do. And no more time to waste. Especially when so many of the direct hits I have taken lately have been aimed specifically… some might even say strategically… at my legacy, my name and what (if anything) I’ll be remembered for.

So it ain’t over till it’s over; and it ain’t over yet, but it is wrapping up. Because if I learned anything from dropping my phone (and I probably didn’t), it’s how much my phone means to me. Because (#humblebrag) I drop and/or knock over plenty of things in an average week and none of them come close to recreating the “Dear God have mercy on me!” feeling that an iPhone freefall inspires.  Because few things are as valuable, not just monetarily (shoutout to Verizon and the money they take monthly) but personally – my phone is full of information and memories and conversations, my phone, like my writing is full of me and who I am and what matters to me. And it would be a tragedy to lose that.

Because if everything in the world has taught us anything lately, it’s that anything could happen tomorrow and nothing is guaranteed. And I know that seems like a real dark whomp-whomp kind of thought, but it doesn’t have to be – because it’s also true in the opposite direction: phenomenal things can happen and we can defy all the odds. Those NOs and rejections and denials we’re so afraid to face are not guaranteed. But in trying to protect ourselves from possible hurt, we too often insulate ourselves from great possibilities. But no more. It’s October. The perfect time to be audacious. (#AudaciousOctober)

So let’s take some risks. Let’s start some things… and end some things… let’s think about what we’re keeping protected and why… and what we want to leave behind when it’s all said and done… and let’s get cracking.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen –