Who, What, When, Why and How Love will save Us, Portlandia sidewalk art

Can’t stop researching this week. Since I have to work at a tolerably distressing day job (for which I’m humbly grateful) there never seems to be enough time to finish complete, well rounded thoughts, let alone write whole posts. But this one’s persistent. I’m obeying the voices, sitting in my car in front of the gym typing into my phone. 

The last two weeks I’ve attended back to back trainings. One conference featured all the problems while the other offered promising solutions. Trauma-informed care is a service delivery model being implemented all over the country in part due to the study on Adverse Childhood Experiences. I’ve been researching it for ten years and advocating for its implementation for 5. I’m tired but stubborn. When qualified, white males in power come into understanding of what is, change happens. Change also happens when people speak up, share their experience and ask for what they need, although this process tends to take longer. Just ask ‘non-whites’, differently-abled people, women, children, foreigners and any person who is not our old and dear friend, Social Norm. As such this summer I had the word Patience stitched permanently into my arm. I trace the letters each time I’m sitting in a conference and the phrase ‘culture of poverty’ is uttered. It still feels like bad manners to stand up and say ‘I’ve seen a mailbox used as a weapon. Can I maybe skip this part? Also, for the record, fried Spam is amazing.’

Enter Me Too; a grassroots hashtag movement created by Tarana Burke, recycled this weekend in response to that old Hollywood guy who sexually harassed famous women. Social currency has power which can be used for good or greed depending on who we are. I welcomed the opportunity to join the other Me Too voices and flip the script on shame, silence and this illusion that it’s not happening. Some argue the onus shouldn’t be on ‘victims’ to have to tell our story and advocate for change. I’ve found myself researching the pathology of sex offenders and wondering what we’re doing as a society to essentially breed dysfunction and what we could do to change our course. I often hear the cry for systems, public servants, doctors and other types of providers called into the role of ‘informed party’. As if to say they must take responsibility off trauma survivors to advocate for and protect ourselves from being retraumatized. It reminds me of the expectations we have of parents to be ‘good’. You should do this! You should do that! Cut off my crusts! Love me unconditionally! Get me 110% Ok, that’s nice. But what happens when they don’t, can’t or won’t? Really, who outs themselves for being crap, terrible, hurtful or a criminal? ‘Hi ya! That embezzlement scam? All me.’ Not so much.

I tend to believe it’s both and; we’re all responsible for our part in sorting through our healing needs, contributing to paradigm shifts and at the very least, not being an asshole. If survivors have to take the first steps, so be it. This has been the case with other marginalized or afflicted groups. I coached my mom through our first adult conversations about my sexual trauma. It’s clunky sometimes but overall I’m proud of us. Turns out she’s a Me Too, too. Sometimes we get interrupted by rogue screams to a dog or my stepdad but it adds character. Like salt or chili powder. Our ability to at least try to be honest gives me hope for other families. Doctor Spock’s advice runs out at homemade teething rings. She still thinks I’m too thin. Progress not perfection. I’ve learned to do the same with doctors appointments. I share a quick and tidy version of my trauma history, telling them what I need so I don’t end up on the cieling. A list of santitation ingredients used on that probe sure would be helpful doc. Oh and if I cry it’s involuntary. My safe word is Batman. Humor helps. I disagree that it’s pandering but if you’ve found a more effective form of assertive self-advocacy I’m all ears. Not sure I’d ever expect someone to know those particular needs without explanation. 

Nick Hanauer is a wealthy person who advocates for equality and has an intriguing Facebook page. I took a peek and found this inspiring quote: “we need a politics of class uplift and solidarity to overcome the schisms”. I barely understood the rest of the article but boiled down my thoughts to meat and potatoes for the rest of us. Ya know, in keeping with this theme of ‘me too’.

We need solidarity whether those schisms be race, wealth, health, adversity, gender, sexual orientation or which way we reload the roll of toilet paper. I’m an ‘over’ roller myself but if you happen to prefer ‘under’, more power to ya friend. Perceived threats to primal safety feed fears which foster division. Whatever resource we have access to grounds us in a stance of protective defense. These defenses become our weapons. For some the weapon is hatred, for others it’s wealth, achievement and socially normative privileges like being white, having legs and all 5 senses. For many others we’ve been taught to use our victim-status or dis-ability as a source for being loved, having a voice and feeling powerful. Remember the show Queen for a Day? The woman with the very worst/best sad story won all the prizes. We’re essentially encultured to be either codependent saviors or bully addicts whose soul-mission is obtaining the ultimate and blameless cry of The Hurt Person. Poor Joseph Campbell tried to tell us, but man refuses to be parted from his leading roles and symbols. “But dad, I’m Jesus Christ.” (Remember that Bill?) The truth is we all inherently possess gifts and abilities which, within the right context, could allow us to obtain self-actualization. Many people with monetary wealth fail to achieve realization of their whole potential due to the same fears which might be a barrier for someone without money; fear of losing the love or approval of family or ‘tribe’, fear of the risks involved, complacency, ambivalence and general existential crisis. Jamie Johnson’s documentary Born Rich does a great job portraying this but many refuse to watch it because who wants to feel empathy for wealthy, young heirs? I did, believing that compassionate understanding is the answer to bridging all the divisions. When we see hatred or division we need to begin asking: What are they/I afraid of losing?Who or what is their/my hatred or greed protecting? What changes could we make as a community or nation to replace fear with love?

Me too is all of us. Ego is the root of evil. Love is the answer. xo

16 thoughts on “Me Too

  1. I’m an over roller myself, and will change one if it is under, I don’t care if it’s my house or not πŸ˜‰ just one of those things :):) Hate hate hate. I hate her because she’s got the shoes I wanted, I hate him because he is rich, I hate her because she is poor, Christian, older, younger, different. It takes so…much…energy to hate. It doesn’t feel good. It makes one miserable. It is an empty conclusion. So much easier to love, feels good too. Although the end result might be painful, it’s not certain that it will. Hate will always end in emptiness, therefore the need to find something else to focus the hate on to. Vicious cycle, like a virus that spreads from one person to another, one belief to another. Hampster wheel.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Over roll allows better hygiene. I like how many of your posts have a sardonic tone or twist. ”When we see hatred or division we need to begin asking: What are they/I afraid of losing?Who or what is their/my hatred or greed protecting? What changes could we make as a community or nation to replace fear with love?” – is going up on my wall.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Initially I wasn’t going to do post ME TOO on fb, but I did. – I don’t see myself as a victim in ANY way shape or form anymore. There was a whole lot of healing to do to get to this place. The magnitude of the problem is great Most of the women I know have been assaulted in some way.
    YES it terrible and YES the perpetrator’s actions are deplorable but I will NEVER let that define who I am.I AM SO MUCH MORE than that.
    Violent acts leave scars but scars heal and I am stronger because of all that has happened to me. I have forgiven them and I don’t give this a second thought in my day to day life.
    Men in general are kind caring and loving. Also even nice people make mistakes, mistakes they have to live with. We HAVE to try not see things in such black and white terms. The saint and the sinner is part of the same coin. I am not minimising this, I am saying that part of the healing is totally forgiving. Understanding that the man who did this wasn’t ever taught respect for women. We need to teach our son’s, that is all we have any control over. Chaging the culture we live in from the inside out.
    Ego is the root of Evil and Love is the answer, I couldn’t agree more.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m all ears, open heart and open mind. Yes! The saint and sinner are two sides of the same coin and there are good men in the world. So can I say preach on and amen! Here’s the truth in the grey places. I’m sorry to learn you’re a me too, too but as you said, this shared experience is grossly common. Forgiveness is much easier, though I do tend to struggle with the scars. All the hypochondria and a bowl of nightmare soup. Meh. Could worse, haha. I’ll come read your latest for more healing inspiration. Good to hear from you πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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