I wasn’t going to do this.
Sometimes, there are things you just don’t share. There’s only so much people should know about you. If I downplay or ignore the memories, maybe I can pretend the events never happened.
When Christine Blasey Ford accused Judge Kavanaugh, people saw her as a victim. Someone to pity. Even if it was years ago, she was still frozen, still hampered by it in the present tense. I don’t want that. I’m strong, immovable. I’m past all of it. I don’t want to walk down that road. I don’t want to relive it. I don’t want to be restricted or immobilized by fear anymore. I don’t want people to look at me with pity. It won’t thwart my future.
So when I was scanning my work email account and I thought I saw his face flash at me on one of the educational messages, I made a decision. I was going to let go. But trying to ignore that it ever happened hadn’t been effective. The fact that he and I have similar professions means that someday I may run into him. And the fact that something else happened with another person I’m forced to interact with regularly compels me into exhaustion just to nullify the truth. If I have to connect with the world — and them — on a routine basis without overlooking chunks of reality, how long will I last?
I chastised the #metoo movement. Why were all of these people sharing events that were private? Especially when nothing legally could be accomplished? Why did I want to know so many malicious events took place around the earth, even practically in my backyard?
Listening to the accused, I began to question my own reality. I mean, did all of those #metoo’s really happen? Is it truly just how you interpret or view the events?
There were times when my memory is hazy; could I be wrong? My mental illness created distorted thinking in my mind and progressed to some atypical behavior on my part. Though I had some unacceptable or in appropriate conduct at times, were my truths any less than others?
If I share my story, will I be seen as a victim? Will it release me from my fear? Will I become a statistic? Will I be criticized or my experience renounced as something I brought on myself? Will it bring up painful memories that rip open old wounds, or heal the undercurrent of unseen pain hemorrhaging within me?
As for the #metoo movement, could it be that others sharing their stories wasn’t about pointing fingers or justification for their fear? Maybe it wasn’t for sympathy or a “poor me” mentality. Could they have shared for closure, for feeling less isolated? Did letting go of the victim mentality allow room for forgiveness — not for benefit of the offender, but to lessen the emotional “rocks” in the backpacks of their own minds? Perhaps the focus wasn’t on pointing fingers or attracting attention, but gathering sorrow in a form that can be diluted or alleviated somehow.
Julie S. Paschold
May 30, 2019