There’s a Twitter hashtag today, #WhyIDidntReport with lots of women coming out about being sexually abused.
I’ve thought daily about when R pinched my right butt cheek. I was 19 and wearing tight baby blue pants. It was in the kitchen of his apartment when I was home visiting from college.
The sky is clearing, clouds are forming where the rainbow was and the rainbow is fading, almost gone now.
I got validation as a writer early on-some-but it was passion and long term steady habits that gave me confidence, and eventually more consistent validation over a longer period of time.
Now the sky is clear where the rainbow was big and bright 5 minutes ago. It’s like that with sexual abuse. One minute it’s happening and the next it’s not-the sky is clear-and you remember it so vividly but no one else can see it if you don’t describe it to them. And describing a terrible thing is just as hard as describing a wonderful thing-you need photos, you need video, or you need to be a writer with the very right words, but even then they are your words, so they only count if they are counted.
Writing has always given me a place to count myself first, even if I didn’t count to anyone else.
If I was known and knew I counted for who I was, I probably never would have bothered to start writing so much, to bring notebooks with me everywhere as a kid, teenager, young adult, now adult.
I’ve decided to count my own voice and it’s made every bit of difference in my life, is one of the few things that has, consistently.
Nothing counts more than a dream except a memory-because memories birth dreams-we remember what has happened and dream of what could be.
Though many times the words write me, like life breathes through me and paints through artists and sings through the chorus. The best is when nothing else matters-when the dream, the memory, and the moment of connecting them are one, like a union. I think this is what we call a state of “genius” or “mastery” but it only comes through facing what we were told not to face, what we were told faded 5 minutes ago and therefore may not have happened.
It only comes when we team up with the colors of the rainbow and tell all of the stories, of the things that have happened to the diversity of us.
It only comes when there’s a pathway for it to be received, and a receptacle of some kind.
It only comes when its memory is stimulated in the right fashion, with the framework to hold its outpouring without shame.
It only comes when there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the gold to gather.
This is why we are all telling stories, telling stories, painting the rainbow with our multifaceted lives.
This is why we are eager to shoot across space in our splendor, in a huge arc that encompasses our whole field of vision. We’ve seen it behind our eyelids long enough-we need it to be vivid out there
once again. We need our boldness seen, even if we lost it long ago. It still lives as potential where the sun and the rain can meet, and proudly share what happens when they do.
None of this is abstract really. Life hands us something tangible, like clay in the palm of our hand. We pinch it.
We scream, even if silently 99% of the time.
A slimy thing arrives suddenly, like a salamander-it moves fast-darts around and wakes up parts of us we’d forgotten, and it’s in those places our dreams too have gotten folded up,
put at the bottom of some drawer we rarely look at the back of.
We don’t swim around everywhere, but when we find a dark spot, or a bunch of little nails and tacks in that drawer, it’s time to nail something to the wall,
something new or old or whatever.
It doesn’t matter. What matters is we found it back there-we looked-
We had the courage to move a few things aside, and next to all those things, a hammer-exactly what we needed. The wall, once pounded with our nail, never looked the same again. And we each have those stories, we each have those nails, we each have those hammers. We each have those long unopened drawers. The sound of people working in unison never sounded so good.
Each hashtag is a nail. Each story is a hammer. Each rainbow is a sign we are visible, connected, remembering, speaking, in unison.