#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.

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.

Internet Trolls & Hateful Critiques

Last week, I watched a live stream on Instagram. A teenage girl named Lilia Buckingham was crying because of the hate she received after tweeting how she’s worried about writing a screenplay because she doesn’t know how she would fund the movie. People came after her for tweeting this because from how it looks through the filter of Instagram, it appears to some that she could just ask her parents for the money to make the film. This is not the case. Yes, it’s first world problems. But that doesn’t make the hate Lilia received any less real to her. Hateful words leave lasting remarks. Constructive criticism and hateful comments are two different things. You can express your criticism in a way that’s not personally attacking someone for sharing their thoughts on something they’re working on. When you put something out into the universe, more than likely someone is going to have an opinion on it. It’s life. I don’t know why Internet trolls attack people for the most mundane things. But they do and words can trigger emotions that can be damaging for a person. Online bullying has become normalized thanks to social media. People write hateful things they would never speak aloud because they’re behind a computer. I don’t know how social media companies should combat the hateful rhetoric shared on their platforms every single day. What I do know is that hating on what people say instead of doing it in a thoughtful, productive way says a lot about humanity and where we are as a society. If the person in the White House can attack people via his tweets and get away with it, what hope does that leave for the rest of us?