“I don’t actually know a woman in my life who has not experienced some type of unwanted sexual encounter, at some point in her life. I literally am sitting here trying to think of someone. Maybe there is, but right now, I can’t.” In the last few weeks since Cody and I sat around a fireplace with friends discussing politics, justice, work and religion, I thought of two women in my life, that I know for sure, have not experienced this.
I don’t know the stories of every woman in my life; maybe I never will, and it’s possible there are women I am not thinking of, but two tells a story. A story women have always known, because we have and are living it. I am thankful for the “me too” movement that has made room for stories, and thankful for the work of Tarana Burke that preceded the hashtag. I have learned that we are consistently building on the work of the women before us, and whatever revelation we discover, we are not the first, and I pray this knowledge keeps us humble as we join the fight for freedom.
We could fill a book talking about this, but for now, I’m in it with you, sister, and we are not alone. We are surrounded by the women who have gone before us, those with the megaphones, microphones, ink pens, and camera crews who inspire us, and the ones we watch every day up close and personal, the friends we call in the middle of the night, and, the men who did not, do not and will not assault, abuse, ridicule or belittle us, but instead, champion us, advocate for change, and speak up, when it would have been easier to say nothing.
This is the heart of “me too”: You are not the only one, and you are not alone. Me too. One of the first times I shared my story, I was met with those words, and they tugged a string in my soul that caused shame to begin unraveling in my life.
No movement is perfect; an opinion on every side, from every angle, can be found, but I for one, am grateful and honored to be part of this one. And I don’t even know how to thank God, after all I’ve gone through, to give me a man like Cody, and to bless me with the honor of raising sons. That I have found safety and security in our relationship, that I am privileged to walk out of woundedness in the presence of a man who loves and serves me with courage and strength is a miracle. That together, we can teach our children to respect boundaries, that no means no (our body, our rights), that we can honor our boys, listen to them, and model these things for them, in real time, on a daily basis, is a vulnerable, difficult, wonderful joy. We are living our lives, and raising them, with the future in mind.
Love them so. Photo by With Love By Georgie
I had tears in my eyes watching Oprah’s speech from the Golden Globes. (Anyone else? I mean, all the tears at that goodness.) May God grant each of us the wisdom and grace to use our platform for the benefit of others, to speak up for those who cannot, for those who are watching, nameless and faceless, with a story, they might otherwise never tell until we go first. May our past inform, but not hinder or determine our future, and may we always remember those who are still bound up in the thing we are free from.
I had the chance to sit down with a friend and mentor, Dawn Sadler, as a guest on her podcast. We had an incredible discussion – this movement came up – and I would love to share it with you. It’s called “Loving Well in Turbulent Times”, and I hope you’ll take the time to listen, and glean from the wisdom. I so long to bless you, and encourage you, as you live your wild and glorious, beautiful life. You are powerful, and there’s no hell you’ve gone through, that you can’t get through. You’re a survivor, and you will overcome.
I’d love to leave you with most of Oprah’s speech. She inspires me toward hope, toward a brighter morning, and sister, so do you. Thank you for all the space you occupy, and all those gorgeous stories inside. #metoo
“But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies… I wanna say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: What I know for sure, is that speaking your truth, is the most powerful tool we all have. And I am especially proud and inspired by all the women who felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories we tell. And this year, we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry, it’s one that transcends any culture geography race religion politics or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know… For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But there time is up. Their time is UP… And I just hope that Recy Taylor knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Park’s heart almost 11 years later when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say Me too, and every man, who chooses to listen. In my career, what i’ve always tried my best to do whether through television or through film, to say something about how men and women really behave to say how we experience shame, how we love, how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I have interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you , but the one quality they all seem to share, is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here and ow to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “me too” again.”