Sunday, 19 November 2017
My story about that hashtag.
The recent #MeToo has brought up a whole load of feelings and memories which have been churning inside me for years. For those who may not know about it, the hashtag followed by MeToo was being used all over social media to mean that person had been harrassed or sexually abused. The idea was to show the magnitude of the problem across the world.
I feel sadness, a real deep sadness for those millions of men who are respectful, warm, caring and loving - I can't imagine how horrible they must feel at the unraveling and exposure of men who have behaved abominably and in a way that leaves those decent men baffled, uncomfortable and angry. I am lucky enough to be married to one of those good men today, and I never take my meeting him nearly 12 years ago for granted.
I haven't used #MeToo on any of my social media platforms... this is not because I've not been harassed or indeed sexually assaulted - sadly the latter on more than one occasion.
For me the first half of the 1980's was turbulent, confusing, sad and filled with excruciating inexplicable emotional and physical pain.
Some, though not all of this was as a result of a few opportunistic predatory men who made me feel worthless at a time when I was incredibly vulnerable, fragile and an emotional mess. The sudden accidental death of my big brother had catapulted me into a life where my decisions were based around my thoughts which were, "What's the point?" "I'll be dead soon!" "Who cares? I don't!"
Despite those thoughts the desire to survive and my ability to see there was the potential for a happier life beyond abuse became bigger than all the awfulness. By 1984 I was on a mission to stop allowing conscious-less men to stop assisting me on my path of self destruction and I applied to Nursing Colleges all over Scotland and chose to go to Foresterhill College (West).
My interview happened, I was offered a place and as soon as I was old enough I left my home town and moved 103 miles north to Moray.
Sometimes I still feel like I was part of the problem. Then I remind myself that they were adults. I was a young teenager. They know who they are. I know who they are. I am back living in my home town. That's not always easy as I see the faces of those same men, older, fatter, uglier. Have they managed to re-frame their memories of those events so well that they think saying "Hello!" to me in the street is okay?!
If you see me.
Look to the ground and walk on by.
Posting this blog is not going to be easy for me, as there will be people who wish I hadn't.
Sometimes silence is too dark and hides more darkness. I hope that by sharing this it creates at least a crack wide enough to let in the smallest shaft of light to brighten those corners so abuse starts to be seen wherever it is and has literally nowhere to hide.
To end on a more positive note..
After 10 years of nursing I re-trained at Regent's College, London in Solution Focused Psychotherapy and Reverse Therapy. Over 14 years on I remain as passionate as ever about helping people live their best possible life free from pain. Today I understand clearer than ever that some of that passion is driven by my own experiences in early life. I can't say I'm grateful for that, of course I'd rather none of that happened - but it showed me the strength of my resolve and for that I am glad.
I have a loving husband, 3 grown up kids, two daughters and a son. They are truly inspirational.
Love yourself, love your family and friends, and keep speaking and sharing your stories.
"Don't judge yourself by what others did to you" - C. Kennedy