Something has been on my mind as of late and I felt it was time to share, in hopes that maybe someone else out there needs to hear it so they don’t think they are the only one thinking it.
With the never-ending stories of sexual abuse and assault cases dominating the news these days, it was a topic that I always seemed to be thinking about and I actually had a moment the other week when I said to my husband, is something wrong with me, I don’t have a #metoo story. His response was, no, you have always had me, and he is right, as much as he meant it to be funny and cute, it got me to think even more about my situation/the life I have had or not had.
I met my husband when I was 21-years-old and never looked at another man again, he was it for me, the last 13 years it has always been him, but even before we got married he was a perfect gentleman. Something that is shocking to many to learn is that on our very first date my husband didn’t even kiss me goodnight, this was after, he had already taken semi nude photos of me for a photography class earlier that day – the life of two poor colleges kids, you work with what you have around you for free. (Also, sorry no pictures of those days on the internet but the above is as close as anyone will ever get to seeing stuff that was taken on that day unless you visit our house or were privileged to be in his class over a decade ago). It annoyed me at the moment, but my respect for him multiplied by a thousand that day when I realized just how amazing and caring of a person he was and is. And I only have ONE person to thank for that – my mother-in-law.
I am pretty confident when I say that most people may have taken advantage of a situation like that, you had already seen it all and soon the entire class would see those photos, but asking permission to take photos for a class, from a fairly confident young female is very different from assuming more could come of that day/date.
I was still thinking though, aside from that one situation, where I ended up marrying that man and the pictures of me are hanging in his home office still to this day, WHY NOT ME? Why do I not have a me-too story to share and to relate to others? And then I realized it, I had just two people to thank for never having to retell a horrific story, never having to worry about having an unhealthy relationship with a man, and never having to share something horrible with so many.
I didn’t realize it until I started thinking about it, but my parents taught me to have respect for everyone, no questions asked, just do it, which also meant having to have respect for myself, and I did just that.
My heart breaks for those who have had to suffer and relive a nightmare daily because of all the talk in the news, but it is okay if you don’t have a story to tell. I am glad I don’t have one to share, for once I am extremely happy to not be part of the norm that seems to be our world right now.
I am glad that I met a man who saw my confidence and respect for myself as a 21-year-old, even if he was taking questionable pictures of me for a project, I am glad that because of that day I never had to date another man again.
I am by no means saying that women who have had to go through what they have had to go through are not strong, independent women. I am not saying that they put themselves in a situation to warrant what happened to them. I am glad that conversations have been able to be started recently over having respect for each other, but it is not okay to shame people because they don’t have “a story” to share. It is not okay for men in positions of power to suddenly worry about everything they say or don’t say to those who work for them. It is not okay for men to be grouped in a category together because of a few disrespectful human beings.
I married a strong man who respects women. I married a man who is worried about being in a position of power because of the current state of our country. I married a man who would bend over backward to help any and everyone that asked for his help.
Good men do still exist and the world isn’t only about strong females. We should all be able to be equal, work together, and be strong human beings who support each other – not shame people because of what their story is or isn’t.
These are the days and the conversations that really do make me question why we don’t have children. If you learn anything from the state of our union these days, please let it be that you will set a goal to raise confident, strong, independent, honest humans – girls or boys, the world needs more good in it, and we have to raise them, just like my in-laws and my parents raised some pretty amazing humans!