Monday, March 12, 2018


I learned the word #persisterhood today.  I saw it on a post by @WhenWeSpoke (Instagram) and it just struck me.  Actually, I learned a lot today… I was privileged enough to have my application accepted to the #BEConference in Austin, and spent the day surrounded by and listening to powerful, hilarious, brilliant, beautiful women from all walks of life.  I could go on and on about the impact of the idea sharing, motivation, and professional aspects from today, and probably will in another post, but that’s not what’s on my heart right now…

One of the sessions was centered on the #MeToo Movement; we were trusted with the privilege of hearing from two of the #SilenceBreakers from the Harvey Weinstein nightmare.  By anyone’s standards, these two women are intelligent, successful, ambitious, empathetic, hilarious, strong, determined, focused, and beautiful.  I found myself catatonically awed by the conviction in their words, and strength in their presence.  It takes A LOT to leave this opinionated, Italian-NYer speechless.  The catatonic response was short-lived, however.  I found my typically-measured emotional state quickly slipping out of my control. 

My breathing was shallow.  My fists were clenched.  I had to keep shifting positions to give my stiffened muscles a reason to release.  I could practically feel my blood boiling as it coursed through my veins.  But my body and my heart weren’t satisfied with the fierce rage… simultaneous to the anger, a visceral sense of sadness and empathy settled.  My hands were shaking, and I legitimately debated if I needed to puke or not.  It took every ounce of my strength to not fall apart in my seat, just 10 feet from the stage.  Meanwhile, these two women whom were both put in such horrific, infuriating positions by some monster, spoke with raw emotion, but held their space with a grace and strength I can’t begin to conceptualize.

This wasn’t my first experience in talking to or reading about victims of sexual assault and rape, or even my first time really learning the depth of these #HorridHarvey experiences.  Not to mention, I’m a 35-year-old woman; I’ve had many personal encounters that fall under the heading of sexual assault.  I’m honestly not sure why my emotions slammed me with such intensity this afternoon… I have read tweet after tweet on the #MeToo thread, jumped off my couch cheering for Oprah as she SLAYED THE SHIT out of her acceptance speech to a sea of supporters dressed in black displaying their unity for #TimesUp, replayed my own experiences, listened to countless friends tell their stories and question their fault in the situation...  Today still felt different. 

It’s been hours since our last session together, and that dichotomous emotional bubble is still sitting right on my heart.  When I boarded my flight, I could feel the emotions threatening to take over again, so I did what I always do when I feel overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts: I started writing.  Not soon after I started writing, did the tears finally start to fall…

Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I am *not* a cryer. I can honestly count on one hand how many people have truly seen me cry in my entire adult life… in a feeble attempt to maintain some sense of control, I jumped up and ran to the bathroom the second that little light went off.  

The tears wouldn’t stop falling...

There were angry tears for the two amazing women I had the privilege of listening to and being so real with today, and every other woman who has had to endure such horrors.

There were tears of sadness and relief for openly discussing my own list of #MeToo experiences (including one that I didn’t realize truly is under the heading of “sexual assault” until this whole movement started #PatriarchyDefined #RapeCultureDefined).

There were tears of pride for the strength of everyone who has shared their stories… over, and over, and over again…

And then came the best tears… the tears of pure love for every member of the #persisterhood – survivor, supporter, or both – and the UNIMAGINABLE sense of safety, unity, hope, and POWER of the moment, and within ALL of us, especially collectively.

I pulled myself together, thanked the universe that it’s a night flight and the plane was dark, stumbled back to my seat and picked my pen back up.  (Yes, pen.  I was writing to myself in a notebook; some people call that journaling haha.  This blog came after I had at least some sense of logic and order to the writing.  You can be the judge of that though. #trainderailing #backtothepoint)

Today, listening to Jess and Sarah, I finally felt my own personal veil of helplessness start to lift. 

It’s easy to live day after day in our own little bubbles.  It’s easy to jump on a trending topic, read some tweets, post your own thoughts, and then go about your day.  Sadly, it’s also easy to push your own experiences out of mind, and only let them bubble up when you’re supporting someone who trusts you.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to detach the moment a tag drops from that trending list.  We can’t let that be the way anymore…

Pun completely intended, TIMES. UP! 
Speak out.
Step up.
Stand up.
Defend others.
Learn the true lines and trust your gut.
Don't let the #patriarchy blur those lines.
Own the truth that ONLY YES means yes.
Educate others.
Empower others.

This is the BEGINNING of a movement.  This is the true end to our terrifying, disgusting #RapeCulture.  The future of girlhood and womanhood IS truly in our hands right now.  I can’t wait to see how far we run with this and the enhanced version of the world we’re creating for our daughters and generations to come.  Do something.  #TimesUp

For Jess and Sarah: I cannot thank you enough for your strength, openness, honesty, and trust – especially in the small group setting, with moments of raw honesty balanced by complete silence.  😉  I absolutely hate it for you that you had to endure such infuriating, demoralizing experiences, but you are both clearly pure BAD ASS!  I love that you’re turning #AwfulIntoAction!  I look forward to reconnecting soon and hearing how I can volunteer or contribute to the non-profit, and any other idea that comes to mind.  You are ROCKING this and you're AhMAZING!  😊  With SO much love and admiration, Jen

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