On May 1, 1994, something happened that would change my life from that moment on.
And I have no proof.
Sure, I have the adolescent scribblings of a 15-year-old future writer on some paper somewhere. Because that’s how writers deal with things. But that could have all been made up, right? I have one or two people over the years that I may have mentioned it to. But what does that prove?
And even worse, I have tons of “evidence” that shows that what happened on May 1, 1994, didn’t even really happen. I have friends who are still friends with the person who hurt me even now. Twenty-five years later.
What’s even worse?
“I” stayed friends with the guy. Yep. Me. After a year break of not speaking to him, I even eventually dated him. Oh yes, you read that right. I dated him. Because I truly believed he was sorry. I believed that I made it into a bigger deal than it was. I believed that he was a changed person and that it was the “drugs that made him do it.”
I believed that I had the power to let what happened to me turn him into a better person. I believed I had changed him. I was a martyr.
What happened wasn’t really as bad as I thought it was, right? These things happen. Mistakes are made. He was a good person – just a little misguided.
Just look around – everyone thought so. Everyone loved him.
Everyone still loves him.
So it couldn’t have really happened, right?
I couldn’t have really said No and cried my way through something that ripped me apart – emotionally and physically. I couldn’t have really crossed from childhood into adulthood in one defining moment that would forever color my world into the “before” and the “after.” I couldn’t have really let that moment lower my self-esteem to the point that I thought I deserved no better. I couldn’t still be talking about that lack of self-esteem to my marriage counselor trying to hold onto yet another relationship that runs the risk of disappearing because of my twisted view of myself.
None of this is really happening, right?
Because I have no proof.
Only what I carry around inside me. And that doesn’t count.
Just ask the Supreme Court. I do not matter. My memories do not matter. My pain does not matter.
My government just confirmed that for me and for millions like me.
So I better just be quiet.
“Sometimes the only proof is silence.”
– Melissa Edmondson
My heart breaks for you. No. No more silence.
I will tell my story, too, soon. The Blasey Ford story has brought back details that I’d forgotten. She nailed it. Some bits are indelibly seared in one’s brain, others “drift away.”
I was not physically hurt, like her, like you, I was not afraid to die, like her, yet that man, with his unwanted, unsolicited touch, took away something: my trust.
Yes, soon I will tell that story, one my Mom sensed years before I told her, the first person I ever told.
No more silence.
There are never any words to help you heal, except “I believe you. I believe in you.”
I started therapy in my mid 30’s, so low I could not tell the therapist one good thing about myself. He challenged me to come back the next week with one good thing to say about myself in each of 6 categories. I had to tell myself those things daily in the mirror. A miracle happened. Over time I started to believe those original attributes, and many more. The journey to self acceptance is quite the adventure.
You are a hell of a woman. And so am I. And Dr. Ford, and Anita Hill. Women who show us how to be brave. Thank you for sharing.
I’m so sorry, Melissa, that this event happened. Thank you for your bravery to share.
I believe you.