Not Feeling Too Good Myself

I’m numb.

I’m not suicidal, but my mental health is not good. I haven’t been eating or sleeping well. I lost five pounds in five days. Even for a fat guy like me, that’s not healthy. I’ve been thinking about drinking. I really want to seek professional help, but circumstances are making that exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

My fiance has been gone for almost eight weeks now. She’s in residential treatment for her PTSD far away from our home. I get to speak with her on the phone for some minutes each day. I’m taking care of our house and our pets entirely by myself, shouldering our combined financial burdens alone. She doesn’t know when she’ll be coming home, but it won’t be at least until the new year.

Her birthday is next week. Her favorite holiday is Christmas. It was on a Christmas night that I first told her I love her. We will be spending these days apart. It hurts, but it’s what is necessary for her (and our) long-term health.

A week ago my co-worker at a group home told me about ANOTHER lewd sexual comment directed at her by a new supervisor. I helped her make a report. The harasser acknowledged that it was all true and was allowed to return immediately to work in the same place and in the same supervisory role over the person he sexually harassed.

I supported my co-worker, advocated for her, and tried to help ease her fears about retaliation. I was fired for standing up for her. The harasser is still employed in the same job, in the same place, and in the same supervisory role over the person he sexually harassed.

Is it any wonder why so many choose not to speak up?

I know I did the right thing. I did what all of my personal heroes would’ve wanted me to do. I stood up for the vulnerable without concern for the price I must pay. That price has been heavy. I’ve been trying to keep a brave face, but it’s cracking.

So if you see me, feel free to hug me. I sure could use that right now.

“Seems I’ve got to have a change of scene
‘Cause every night I have the strangest dream.
Imprisoned by the way it couldn’t be.
Left here on my own or so it seems
I’ve got to leave before I start to scream.
But someone’s locked the door and took the key.

Ya feelin’ alright?
Not feelin’ too good myself.”

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Time’s Person of the Year Is My Personal Hero

Time named Silence Breakers their Person of the Year. They have taken great personal risks and paid steep prices to bring the truth to light. They are my personal heroes.

Sexual abuse and assault have been far too prevalent in my life and in the lives of people I love. I’ve recently been dealing with sexual harassment in an up close and personal manner. The response I’ve seen has been disgustingly familiar.

There are apologies that lack ownership. The survivor is bullied into accepting these “apologies”. She tries to go along to get along and then goes home to vomit and cry and wonder what she did wrong. (NOTHING!!!)

People invested in the status quo wish to silence me. They want me to stop advocating for the survivor. They will try to blame me for creating the hostile environment caused by one person’s harassment (and other people’s enabling). I don’t care what price I pay. I will not be silenced.

People have called me a hero for what I am doing. I am not. I am just a grumpy old man tired of the b.s. from abusers, predators, and enablers.

I am no angel either. I have done bad things with the best of intentions. A couple years ago, for example, I gave a kiss to the forehead of a female friend. I had intended to make her feel loved and appreciated. I caused her distress. I own what I did. I apologized and listened to what she wanted from me to make amends.

Abusers and predators, on the other hand, don’t want to pay that price. They often expect forgiveness without consequences. They want silence. Enablers will join in their efforts. They want to keep the status quo and not do the hard work of truly making things right.

I want no one’s silence. I want to tell my own truth and invite anyone I’ve ever hurt to do the same.

Truth is the enemy of abusers, predators, and enablers. They want the truth to remain forever hidden, but eventually it always emerges.

Truth is every survivor’s greatest ally. And it will help us win in the end. The Silence Breakers are incredibly courageous to bring the truth to light despite the risks and prices they must pay. That is why the people named as Time’s Person of the Year are my personal heroes.