I googled it: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. That is spot on for your standard garden variety fears, but what about fearing for your life, livelihood, or worse — that of your children or loved ones? Straight up gut wrenching, insta-sweating, can not breathe fear. Run, or Don’t Move. That’s where I was at around 2AM this morning when I hit “sell my book” on Blurb.
It felt quite a bit like the fear I can recall from an unwanted ride when I was fourteen, and then a year or two later the fear I felt when I looked up a stairwell to meet eyes with a “stalker at my school.” Both of those are tales for another day, but last night shook me to the core. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everyone and Rally?
If I continue to run from my fear of telling the truth, it is quite likely that I will leave this world in my current state of status quo, in my getting by just fine kinda way. If I face every single one of my assailants, or those I know of who are continually abusing others, can I rally and rise to some level where I can kick back in comfort knowing I did the best I could with what I have been given? I am trying. It is painful and scary and difficult. This Year of Unreasonable Dreams had a few rules:
- more than you think you deserve
- more than you think you can deliver
- more than you think you can handle
She Too is now available in print thanks to Em. I have more than a dozen true friends supporting my efforts, have I said thank you too many times?
During that 3AM special time, I wrote a bit about why She Too is important in my mind.
I’ll post it below here so that you can skip it if you have heard too much already about the darned thing. It is written in haphazard, vomit on the page kind of spewing. The kind of writing where no real author or publisher would be silly enough to put it out there.
For me, it is Step One in conquering my fears. I want to let that horrible experience with that abusive individual go, maybe I’ll burn a print copy. I always burned things that caused me pain when I was younger, in an effort to be rid of the bad jujube.
Come to think of it, here I sit with a fair amount of those hidden and burnt up memories kinking my hose, so fire might not be the best solution.
WHY SHE TOO? We are inundated with stories about sexual assault, predators, abuse of power, she said ~ he said. For as long as I can remember it was UNDERSTOOD that she kept her mouth shut if she wanted the job, needed to keep her job, her position, her reputation intact, her sense of SELF. Not until recently has it become cool to say ME TOO.
I wrote She Too, a vomit on the page self-help book for me. Turned out my therapeutic exercise was actually valuable in getting others to open dialogue about the topics of hazing, sexual assault on college campuses, and young adult suicide. Early readers challenged me to share more broadly, and in the process I realized how incredibly large the collusion and cover ups have become.
I spoke to the director of compliance at NCAA with what I believed would be breaking news of a heinous crime – coaches and athletic staff at a top public university were colluding, covering up, breaking the law. This was hazing, sexual assault and abuse of power; required reporters had a duty under the law no?
Here’s what I learned.
- There is already a book. Many books. I read one by Jessica Luther called Unsportsmanlike Conduct which delivered for me the entire playbook that NCAA and Universities across the country have been colluding under. I found a book dated back to 2000, seventeen years ago, about hazing being a problem on college campuses. Mothers losing children were writing.
- There already are web sites. I found out that ItsOnUs.org spearheaded by Obama and Biden has had about the same amount of success as that book. Have you heard of either? Nor had I.
- There are already dozens of organizations. Entire organizations devoted to ending violence, assault, suicide; wait, way more than dozens. End Rape On Campus EROC is already a dot org. Good folks across this land have already been at this quest to give voice to victims and survivors, provide resources, for years.
- They have already made a documentary. The Hunting Ground in 2015 – you may have missed that one in favor of something a little more upbeat or appealing at your local movie theater.
- There is already a song. Lady Gaga. “Til It Happens To You” is likely the most successful of the components being its something with a surprisingly upbeat melody you can sing along to.
- The news media is already covering plenty of assault, hazing, and criminal acts – not just 60 Minutes folks, but Good Morning America.
What could I possibly bring to the table?
Well here’s my pledge. I know the road traveled, and I can boldly type #MeToo as my status on Facebook. I plan to print and share She Too as my small effort to aid in the Tipping Point on all this bullshit. We have to be nearing it.
If you’d like a free copy of my non-literary genius vomit on the page, so that you can open dialogue with young people in your life, I am happy to send it. We all have to do our part in talking about these big ticket items with our family and friends in order for it to cease. I stood along the sidelines in fear until recently, and I still feel tangible terror sharing my weak prose, but I must do something.