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Surviving the News Cycle
This week has been rough for many people. Keep going anyway.
We can’t watch. We can’t look away. We can’t work or focus – and yet throwing ourselves into work is blessedly distracting.
I 1,010 percent (which I know is not a real mathematical thing) don’t care about whether you think Dr. Ford is credible. I don’t care what you think about her timing. I don’t care about your thoughts on Dianne Feinstein. I don’t want to talk about false rape accusations or frat boy culture. I don’t care about Bill Clinton – yes, he was also gross, completely, but no, I don’t want to talk about him right now. I honestly don’t want to talk about anything right now. I kind of just want to stare vacantly into space while stuffing cheese sticks into my mouth.
Whether you believe her or not, the story she is telling – and the way people are responding – is pretty traumatic for a lot of people who did live the story she’s telling.
And we’re struggling. A lot of us are struggling. We’re mad. We’re having flashbacks. We’re shaking. You can lay it at the feet of Feinstein if you want – I don’t care; I really don’t; blame whomever you want – but this is not meant to be political. It’s just a simple statement: What she is saying might not be true (I believe her), but it’s still triggering.
I have my own #metoo stories I’ve shared – and others I don’t even want to share but carry with me nonetheless. My mom has hers. My daughters, just 6 and 11, already have stories. I’m certain my grandmothers had stories they never told me. My friends have stories and have been sharing them with me for years.
Believe me, I know #notallmen. But we’re not talking about men right now.
We’re talking about the questions I asked my mom 27 years ago when I was 10 or 11 about Anita Hill and how Ruby, 11, is now asking me remarkably similar questions.
“But nothing bad has ever happened to you, right, Mama?” she asked – and I couldn’t help it: I burst out laughing, the sort of hysterical unhinged kind of laughter that is pretty unnerving to those around you.
Bad stuff has happened, kid, sorry. It starts, I guess, with the man who came up to me at the grocery store when I was looking at crayons when I was 8 and asked me if I knew what hair on your privates was called – I tried to answer him politely, because girls are supposed to be polite – and then tried to expose himself, laughing while I ran away in terror. And it ends … when? I’m 38 and last month, someone yelled something out of a car window about my ass while I was bending over to buckle my daughter into her booster seat, so. Never? And in between, so much shit happened that I learned to tune out all but the worst of it.
My father, husband, father-in-law, stepson, coworkers, and numerous male friends being good men and allies doesn’t take away the rage and exhaustion I feel as a woman raising daughters right now, it doesn’t take away the trauma of the past or my fear of what the future might hold for my sweet girls.
So. I’m practicing what I guess we call “self-care” today, and no, I don’t mean just drinking a bottle of wine, although there is a chance that will still happen. I encourage anyone struggling to do the same.
For anyone struggling: Be mad. Be brave. Be strong. Be kind to yourselves. Be kind to your families. Do things that make you happy.
For anyone who wants to be supportive: Be patient. Be gentle. Listen more than you talk.
For anyone who wants to yell about politics: Please do it elsewhere.
If you need to talk: (855) 435-STAR or www.rainn.org