#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.

Believe Women & Believe Survivors

I’ve been trying to think about how to write this post all day. Last week, this country went through a roller coaster of emotions with the Senate Hearings. Watching Dr. Ford give her testimony and answer questions was emotional for me and many women around the country. She’s an amazing woman for being brave and sharing her story. I cried several times because I, along with a lot of America, could see how the traumatic events she suffered many years ago has impacted her life. It was evident that she did experience a tragic event, whether or not it was by the man she claims is decided from whatever “side” you’re on. I believe what Dr. Ford said. I believe any woman or man who comes forward because it’s a very difficult thing to reveal. It’s not easy and everyone who has experienced a sexual assault or harassment gets to decide whether or not they want to share their stories. The fact that women are being heard and beginning to be taken seriously is a baby step on the long road we still have to go on. Believe women when they speak out. Believe survivors when they speak up. They deserve to be heard and believed.

Crisp in the Air

It’s been fall for two days and I can already feel

the crisp in the air. It makes the hair on my arms

stand up. I breathe in deep breaths to take as much

as this magic in as I can. This is my favorite time of

year because it’s gone in a blink of an eye. It’s delicate,

for this beauty comes from the change of leaving the

earth. Orange leaves stay on the grass until they

get raked up on the weekend.

Autumn Leaves in Later Summer

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Walking through the woods, I admire the changing leaves

on the aspen trees. It looks like fall but feels like summer.

I take off my sweater and look at the view that’s similar to

the moon. Wide open space with very little human life

equates to the feeling of being on another planet. The leaves

look like their on fire as the orange color burns the naked

eye. When I reach the top, I look out to see hills and mountains

filled with fire leaves. The hills are alive with the sound of

music plays in my head while I catch my breath.

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945 Miles

Nebraska feels longer than Iowa

and Iowa felt like forever

while I was fast asleep.

I watch the miles drop

as I fly by green signs on the

highway traveling west.

Listening to a podcast,

my father sleeping in the passenger seat,

I wonder how long it will take

until I see something new.

Green fields and pastures filled

with cows, semi trucks too large

to fit on the road.

75 mph for almost two hours,

no stopping or terrible weather,

I watch the low clouds drift east as

I slowly wish to be lost in a dream.

My Essay Is Now Published!!

I won’t be posting a review today. Instead, I have some very exciting news. One of my essays is published!! I wrote this essay for a class in the spring of 2017. It’s about my journey to beginning to acknowledge my stutter and how that coincided with finding my passion for writing.

For almost a year, I had submitted this piece to different publications and received one rejection after another. I had gotten a DM from Z Publishing on Twitter in late April, asking if I was interested in submitting a piece for their upcoming emerging writers from Colorado anthology. I decided that this was going to be the last piece I would submit this piece to before completely rewriting it. I had submitted my essay in early May and forgot about it for about a month.

In the middle of June, I thought I didn’t get it because I hadn’t heard from them. But, by the end of the month, I got an email congratulating me on having my essay being accepted for publication. I’m still on cloud nine and can’t believe this is happening. This is only the beginning!

If you want to read my entire essay, “Finding My Voice,” you can purchase Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction on Amazon or Z Publishing.

#HowDemiHasHelpedMe

Yesterday, it was reported Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital because of an overdose. Some were reporting it was a heroin overdose. No matter what it was, hearing this news broke my heart. I’ve been a fan of Demi’s for over a decade and her music has really helped in times where I didn’t have strength. Through her songs, I found a place where I could be vulnerable and acknowledge some of my problems I was facing at the time. She gave strength when I needed it. She was a friend when it felt like I didn’t have anyone else. Demi really helped me through some difficult times.

Last month, Demi released a song called Sober. The chorus and the last few lines left me in tears. 

Momma, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me
We’ve been down this road before
I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore

I’m sorry that I’m here again
I promise I’ll get help
It wasn’t my intention
I’m sorry to myself

I remember where I was when I first heard this song. I was driving south, the Rocky Mountains to my right. It was a hot summer day in June and the blue sky was almost a teal color with tiny clouds scattered above me. It was a moment where I didn’t feel as though I was focused on what was ahead. I was too busy playing the song on repeat, trying to remember the moment, thinking I would one day write about it. I don’t know why I thought this. And I never thought I’d be sharing this story now.

No one knows what someone else is going through. No one knows just how deep people’s demons can drag them. No one knows what’s going on internally. It’s scary to work through your problems. It’s difficult to ask for help. Sometimes it takes going to the bottom, where you think no one can see you in order to want to begin working your way back to the light. Inner demons can do a lot of harm. Reach out to the people you love and make sure they’re okay. If you see someone struggling, ask if they’re okay or go and find someone that can help. Look out for one another.

Demi’s family released a statement saying how thankful they are for all the love and support Demi has been getting. Life is a long road that can end sooner than you think. Fortunately, Demi is still alive. My heart goes out to her and anyone who is struggling with addiction.

You’re not alone.

 

Suicide: 1-800-273-TALK

Self Harm: 1-800-366-8288

Addiction: 1-800-662-4357

Eating Disorders: 1-800-931-2237

Domestic Violence: 1-800-799-SAFE

Grief: 1-800-395-5755