#MeToo, One Year Later

One year ago, I was in a hotel room in New York City, about to leave and take the N train from 42nd street to 23rd street to see the Flatiron building, when I got a notification on my phone from CNN. There was a breaking story on Harvey Weinstein in the New Yorker. The story was by Ronan Farrow and it broke down many tricks and avenues he would take to manipulate and take advantage of women. I showed my mom the headline and she shrugged, continuing to get ready for the day. I sat down on the bed and scrolled through the story, getting chills on my arm from every account I read.

One year ago, I didn’t know the magnitude this story would have on our society. No one did. After so many years in power of Hollywood, no one knew the significant impact the fall of Harvey Weinstein would have our society. No one had seen a man fall from grace this hard and this fast. No one realized that he was the first of many who would follow in his footsteps. I was too preoccupied with seeing the Flatiron building before the remnants of Hurricane Nate rolling through New York to focus on our society breaking into two. A few hours after receiving the notification, I became overly preoccupied with trying to get home through the shitty weather.

It wasn’t until the next day when I was sitting in the hallway, waiting to go into my last class of the day that I understood how this Weinstein story hit a spark in the universe, creating an explosion of women sharing their stories. I was seeing people using the #MeToo on Twitter and Facebook. The more stories I read, the more I felt less alone while at the same time becoming angry by the fact of how common this is and how it took a hashtag for so many women to share their stories public. I was hesitant about sharing my story and after lots of trepidation, I wrote two poems about how the actions of careless boys have impacted my life.

One year has passed since #MeToo spoke to the zeitgeist in a way no one could have ever predicted. We have opened a door we can never close again. One year later, we’re listening to women’s stories and believing what they share, yet we don’t believe them enough to change the old patterns of human history.

A Letter to Myself at 15

Dear 15-year-old Kelly,

Ten years from now, you’ll be finishing up your bachelor’s degree in English after years of trying to figure out what you want to do. You will be a published writer. You don’t realize this now but writing will become one of the most important parts of your life. Writing will help you grapple with your stutter. Writing will help you stop running away from the parts of yourself that you don’t like and refuse to accept now. Writing will help you figure out feelings you’re currently pushing down.

You’re about to embark on a journey that will last until you’re 20. Its already begun but you don’t know how it will skyrocket when you choose not to encounter your authentic self, your stutter, your sexuality, and other things. You unknowingly decide to run away from yourself because your scared of being more different than you already feel you are. You’re already feeling anxiety linger beneath the surface of your skin. When you begin running away from yourself, your anxiety will increase to an overwhelming level. You will wake up every morning, terrified to face the day. Your heightened anxiety will stay with you for the remainder for your teenage years. You know you’re different but you choose to see yourself as normal in aspects that you’re now experiencing because of medication. You still stutter even though you’re fluent. Just because you decide to look the other way doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But it’s how you’re coping with all that has happened to you.

The stories you choose to tell yourself now will shift as you get older. It’s only when you begin to tell yourself stories with truth in them five years from now will you stop running away yourself. You will realize how tired you are jumping from one thing to another and running around in circles for so many years. You will also realize how much of your teenage years you were mentally absent because of fear and anxiety. Fear to embrace all the parts of yourself that aren’t considered normal by societal standards. But your normal always has been and always will be a little different from everyone else’s normal.

You will be okay. I promise.

Love,

25-year-old Kelly

Pros & Cons of the Internet

Internet culture has its pros and cons. With sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, you can interact with like minded people without leaving the comfort of your couch or putting on clothes. You can stay up to date with friends and family with the click of a button. You can spend too much money when shopping online for items you don’t need but are 86% off. There are also major downsides for spending anytime on the Internet. Sharing your opinion or life can become personal when someone decides to threaten you over what you’ve chosen to post. People don’t realize that just because their anonymous doesn’t mean anyone won’t take the threat personally. I’ve often seen people say whatever they like, not thinking about what their words mean or say about them. Words words still sting, no matter how they get to you. Words hurt more than people realize. There are ups and downs to everything. Learning how to protect yourself online by blocking trolls and listening to your gut reaction when something doesn’t feel right is key when being involved with Internet culture.

You Can’t Box Millennials Together

Like previous generations, millennials contain all different kinds of people.

Passionate people. Lazy people. Stupid people. Thinkers. Scientists. Writers. Makers. Creators.

Yet people, specifically the media, consistently box us together.

I saw a headline a couple of weeks ago about a teacher who said she couldn’t teach millennials because they aren’t willing to learn.

This is both untrue and unfair.

Yes, some millennials are unfocused.

Yes, some millennials are lazy.

Yes, some millennials don’t want to learn.

But making a statement specifically stating all millennials are untraceable is an insult to those of us who have gone to school and more school because we dream of doing what we love.

You can’t box hardworking young adults with lazy, entitled ones.

Old generations put the blame on us while forgetting who raised us.

This isn’t meant to be hurtful, I’m tired of being grouped with labels I cannot relate to.

Every generation has a variety of different people. Stop putting the bales on millennials. We are ALL responsible for the constructs of the society we’re currently living in and it’s important to take responsibility for all of our actions in order to teach future generations to learn from all of us.

Every generation has people who aren’t great. Just because some millennials aren’t willing to be taught doesn’t mean it applies to people born in the early 80s to the late 90s.