me too

~

Because it is a sense of community that makes the good times sweeter for the sharing and the hard times more bearable for knowing that we’re not alone. ~ Diary’s About Page

The background:

I Promise

It’s Time: The Story of my Rape — 23 Years Later

*

I sent the rough draft of the post to a friend. Once it was written, I needed to share it. And I needed her feedback. She’s gentle, and God bless her, she loves me; but I trust her most because she holds nothing back.

The re line of the e-mail read ‘Tomorrow’s post. I’m scared.”

I needed to know if I was insane to do this. If there was an angle that I was missing. If I should rethink it.

She wrote back immediately.

Oh God … Jess…

Are you sure?

I’m going to be totally completely honest here. This post is extremely powerful, brave, and important. But are you sure?

And then she told me HER story. What SHE remembers. What SHE has carried all these years too.

These are the Stories you are going to get. You already get the painful stories from families. Are you sure you want to take this on emotionally too?

I love you for sharing this and I love you so much for your bravery and your need to get this out so others understand.

But just be sure.

Love you.

Reading her words, hearing HER story, I knew. I just knew. Unqualified conviction is rare around these parts, but suddenly I was doing the backstroke in a pool of it. I KNEW it was time.

I wrote back.

Oh love. That’s exactly why. Yes, I’m sure.

The only fear I have is of having to tell my parents. And them having to process it.

That’s it. The rest, the pulling back the curtain so that this isn’t OUR shame? Yes. I couldn’t be more sure.

I’m so sorry.

Her story would be the first of many. Far, far too many. Once the post was out, stories like ours began to fill my inbox. The pain of years of guilt and shame hit the ground with thunderous BOOM after thunderous BOOM. The Me Too’s piled up in towers all around me.

This morning, Brooke came into my room and snuggled up with me – and her iPad – in my bed. It’s what we do on Sundays now. Daddy goes out for a run; Katie stays in bed to read; and Brooke and I cuddle. It’s become one of my favorite times of the week.

She curled into the crook of my arm and watched Blue’s Clue’s on the iPad while I attempted to catch up on e-mail, one-handed.

There was a comment waiting for approval on I Promise. It was yet another one. Another Me Too. Another ‘confession’. Another story from another woman who had walked through this particular brand of fire.

You are now the second person I have shared this with. Your message resonated with me. It has prompted me to contact a therapist with a plan to begin unraveling my feelings and address the negative effects the experience has had on my life. I have never felt so overwhelmed and lonely as I do at this moment but I am empowered by your strength inspired by the amazing woman you so clearly are.

With my free hand, I went digging. I had to find it.

I was sure that the letter would say it all. The one that I’d written to my friend when she was hurting last year. Really, really hurting.

I began to read it.

And there it was. All of it, in black and white. The demons. The baggage. The shame. It was all there.

We all have moments that flatten us, my friend. And sometimes those moments are days and sometimes those days are weeks. But when the weeks turn to months and the rocks are piling up so high that they are threatening to destroy us, it’s time to get some help. Some REAL help.

And I know that there’s no easy fix. I know what it means to ‘get help.’ It means sifting through the rubble. It means facing down the demons that you’ve worked so hard and for so long to stuff away. And it’s terrifying.

I get that. Far more than I’d like to admit. I get that.

But here’s the thing. You’re facing down those demons every day whether you acknowledge them or not. They’re riding shotgun, sister. Always. And they’re sucking the life out of you.

Saying their name doesn’t make them real. They’re already plenty real. So say their name. Stare them down. Take back the power that you’ve given them. Release yourself from their strangle hold. It’s time.

You can do this.

First thing – Step out of the shoes that are stuck to the ground. Walk away from the guilt and the shame. You don’t need them anymore. You never did.

Ask for help. REAL help.

Walk in and say, “I’m ready.” If you don’t feel it, LIE.

Because the rocks don’t stop falling. The business of life simply doesn’t cease. The boulder has to be rolled up the hill. Our kids demand that we be whole and healthy and present.

And we deserve a life. A life with joy. A life with manageable demons.

That letter had nothing to do with autism. It never did.

I sent off the e-mail and sat with my thoughts for a moment. Brooke sang along with Joe, “We sat on down, figured it out, what Blue’s Clue’s were all about. Wow. You know what? We’re really smart!”

Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he’s pretty damn blunt.

I had to find the words. The message I’d just sent wasn’t meant for one person. It was meant for all of us.

I thought about what I’d say. I tried to put the words in order – to sew them into a quilt that would offer some kind of comfort to all of the Me Too’s.

And then it hit me. I already knew what to say. In fact, I’d already written every word.

I googled Diary of a Mom Me Too.

And there it was. Exactly what I wanted – no, needed – to tell you.

~

Me Too – Diary, January, 2012

for when we dig the deepest

reach and reach to the farthest corners

to unearth the darkest treasures

give words to the whispers

lend them a loud, clear voice

then

and only then

do we take steps toward the light

and when we take that treasure, dark and cold as it may seem

solitary

precious

heavy

so god damned heavy

and ours

ours alone

how could anyone possibly understand this thing?

and plop it down

in the middle of the village square

defiant

here it is, damn it

this thing i’ve found

here it is

it drops with a thud

shakes the earth

kicks up the dust

yes, here it is

quiet

deafening silence

and then

a voice in the distance says

wait

i have one of those too

and with a thud

another drops to the ground

then another

me too!

THUD

and me!

THUD

yes, and me!

and suddenly it’s not so precious anymore

so heavy

no, it’s just one of hundreds

thousands

millions

unique perhaps

but not solitary

not alone

never to be alone again

-

Thank you.

To everyone who said Me too.

To everyone who dropped their treasure in the village square.

You – WE – are not alone.

Thank you.

~

22 thoughts on “me too

  1. I didn’t want to “me too” – but how could I not after this post? Me too, and perhaps we can all dance some day in that village square, in defiance of the dark and the demons. Thank you, so very much.

  2. Oh, Jess, you’ve done it again, touched everyone so deeply and with your heart and soul wide open. Brave, brave friend. My heart salutes yours. And my cyber-arms are always here for you. This isn’t my story, but it is of so many whom I know and love. you light a candle in the dark, always. A thousand thank-yous.

  3. Another “me too” here. Your posts have always hit me in the heart as an autism mom, but now they have hit me in the heart as a woman. I lack the writing skills you have to fully express the weight of the impact you have made… All I can say is I love you and your whole family. It amazes me that someone I have never met can feel so important to me.

  4. Me too! I didn’t scream, I didn’t fight back all of those comments used to go through my head. You are such a beautiful soul thank you for sharing so that more women know that there is no illegitimate rape

  5. Thank you for the safe “me too” space. It’s your gentle and beautiful soul that allows us all to feel comfortable sharing our innermost secrets, even ones buried down deep for 25 years. This village you’ve created – We are each other’s safety nets. Proud to be a part of it.

  6. I don’t know that what happened to me was really a ‘me too’. I try not to think of it that way….because of the circumstances, because he was a best friend. Because we had done this before, and at the time there was nothing that I wanted more. It wasn’t violent. I didn’t scream. I silently gave in, agreed. But I didn’t want to. I was caught, and felt I had no choice. I’ve often thought back and questioned it. I never wanted to think of it in those terms…but in the end, I guess that’s what it was. Me too.

  7. I also did not want to be another “me too”…but if I wasn’t I would be lying. First, from 7 – 14…then again at 17. I believed I “deserved” the one at 17 because I had allowed and kept quiet the years before. Someone I should have loved and adored took my childhood from me and distorted my view of life and love until just 5 years ago when I finally found the courage to seek help…to help sort out my thoughts and feelings and anger…to allow me to be the person I KNEW I could be. Somewhere in there I became a “people pleaser” and I would do anything I possibly could to make sure that everyone else was happy and believing I was too. How wrong I was. After I met an amazing therapist and worked through my past, I can now say that I truly, honestly, COMPLETELY love ME for the first time since I was a small child. There are still very few people who know my story…because I don’t want to be pitied, I don’t want to break my family’s heart…the perpetrator is gone now (another guilt I had to deal with, being thankful for that and not going to the funeral to continue to charade).
    Thank you, AGAIN, Jess for your courage, your honesty, you ability to bring a community together and remind us all that we are not alone…although we would never wish this on anyone else.
    Much love to you and yours as always.

  8. Me too – as a child – which I had to learn that it was NOT my fault.

    I have also learned that everything in life has both yin and yang aspects as light could not be understood if darkness didn’t exist, and shadow cannot exist without light. Jess thank you for shining your light – you touch so many.

    “Because my scars, they are your scars
    And your world is mine

    You and I, we all bleed red, we all taste rain
    All fall down, lose our way”

    Bleed Red by Ronnie Dunn

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