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#MeToo - The Internal War

I've never been part of the military, nor have I had any direct experiences of being in a war or even a combat experience. I've never experienced severe trauma. I've never seen extreme trauma, but I know the anxiety of going out into a world that has hurt you.

I've never spoken publicly about my sexual harassment experiences, but if you're my close friends you know my stories. I don't want to tell you those stories. They make me feel uncomfortable and I'm not willing to be that vulnerable with you. Plus, those experiences don't make me. I'm not those moments and my self worth is not defined by other peoples actions or words.

I do want to tell you about the mental anxiety I feel after having many moments of publicly uncomfortable situations, primarily with men. Before going out into the world, aka leaving my apartment. I cautiously choose my wardrobe, decide how much makeup or no makeup to wear, even think about what undergarments won't draw attention. I wear hats and sunglasses to blend in, not seem wealthy, but also not super low class. I think about how I'm going to walk, are you confident today? Does the confident walk draw unnecessary attention? Would putting the shoulders forward prove less attention seeking? I think about my facial expressions when interacting with other people. Do I smile? Or does that seem too inviting? Do I acknowledge others existence, or is that overly inviting? If I don't acknowledge other peoples existence, am I a straight up bitch? Am I okay with being a labelled a bitch? Will I attract unwanted comments and attention?

It's exhausting.

There were many days this past spring, I rarely left the house or opted to go to places less convenient that seemed safer, where I had no or very little uncomfortable scenarios previously. I've had people elevator eye me in THE CAR! Seriously, coming on to me with their eyes and the position of their vehicle next to mine. ''You're so sensitive.'' This little voice inside my head says.

Fine. But, I think I'm cool. So... if me is sensitive then I'm fucking sensitive! Regardless, this doesn't change how the people of the world, again primarily men make me feel. And make me worry about my safety so much it causes mental paralysis.

(P.s. if you don't know me I'm 5'8'' and I take pride in staying in shape. I'm also willing to kick some major ass if it had to come down to it.)

Wilfred Owen, British Poet and World War I Soldier, wrote:

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

The Latin phrase above is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

To Mr. Wilfred Owen who was killed in action in 1918, at the age of 25. It is not sweet and fitting to go to war for anything. (You can read his poem below.) Although, in my #Metoo experiences my life wasn't necessarily on the line. It is the mental plague and toll of feeling unsafe that I'm relating war to. War, sexual harassment is not sweet, nor should it have a sweet and silenced reaction. Mental and emotional well-being is something we all struggle with. We shouldn't feel ashamed to share our thoughts.

I don't wish the feelings of mental paralysis, fear of going out of your home, fear or being made uncomfortable by strangers, public anxiety on anyone. So, #Metoo to me is a mental and emotional war, where I don't know when the next battle will be, or if I will be prepared. But this time I'm showing up to fight. By pointing it out. Letting them know I feel uncomfortable. It's not flattering. And I won't diminish my own feelings to make you comfortable or feel the need to be polite. Some things I'm prepared to say, next time:

"That statement makes me feel uncomfortable."

"I don't like that comment."

"I don't appreciate that."

"You're making me feel uncomfortable."


"If you're not going to treat me like a human being, don't talk to me."

I believe this is the next step. It's time to change the inner dialog that diminishes sexual harassment instances. Let's not make is nothing. It's time to point out what makes us feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Gone are the days where we need to feel like we need to keep quiet. Let's say more.


Dulce et Decorum Est


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

Notes: Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Source: Poems (Viking Press, 1921)

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