Me Too.

Me too.

I’ve watched these words being splashed across social media for days now. The voices of women and men that I know who have been sexually harassed and abused by others, joining together to raise awareness that, we too, have had this experience.

When events like the one surrounding Harvey Weinstein and the allegations being brought against him by dozens of women come to light, they shake us and rock us to our core. We know we have to do something about it. Because we know this: It’s not a Hollywood problem. It’s a human problem.

As humans we’re really good at harming and hurting others to get our own needs met. There is a desperation that forms inside of us and in the moment we think that the only way to find relief is by taking actions that harm or hurt another. It happens with words and with actions. It’s the cycle of abuse.

What fills my heart with hope and my eyes with tears though is that humans are even better at doing something else: healing. We were created to be creators. Every single one of us. We create solidarity. We surround the wounded to provide protection. We create safe spaces for people to share their stories and be heard. We create healing.

Friends of mine have been sharing the post “Me too” on social media and encouraging others to add their voice in the comments if they’ve been abused or harassed too. Forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven. I watched those two little words,”Me too”, up-tick in the comments in a few short moments on one post. I added my name to that list.

Physicians in the ICU telling me that if I had shown them my thong, they would have come to help me sooner with a patient.

Solicitous pastors.

Abusive marriages.

I saw interesting posts coming from some cautioning that sharing painful stories like these can push those who are currently being abused away from help and coming into the light.

But I know better. I know when I was in abusive situations, I felt shame. Shame that turned my face red-hot. Shame that made me want to hide from God. I needed someone to tell me that I wasn’t the only one. I needed someone to tell me that my experiences weren’t normal. Hearing others say, “Me too” gave me the strength and courage to understand I wasn’t alone and that I could come out of the darkness of shame.

What completely destroyed that wall of shame, though, was a very strong woman who had herself been abused looking me in the eyes and telling me, “It wasn’t your fault.” I crumpled to the floor in relief. That’s when my healing began.

So I want to say this to every man, woman and child who has ever been abused or harassed, “It’s not your fault. Not for one second was this ever your burden to carry. You didn’t do anything to deserve it.”

You see, my friends, abuse is cyclical. The only way to create change and stop the cycle is awareness. Awareness comes through noticing. And sometimes we only notice things because people speak up. That’s why God gave us voices; to speak up.

So let’s speak up. What drives men (and women) to harass and abuse others? What is at the root of the problem? I can guarantee you it’s not because of the outfits or because “boys will be boys”. No. We need to look deeper into our culture of patriarchy and find out where the roots are. We need to have courageous discussions. Even when the truth hurts. That’s where the healing will start.

Massive kudos to the men on social media that I’ve seen admitting that they’ve been part of the problem. What a vulnerable, bad-ass step to take. Thank you. You are strong and courageous.

I know this: because so many have raised their voices to say, “Me too”, the next generation will find the strength to say, “Not me.” Our boys will be raised to value the entire human race. Because when we value someone, we treat them well.

Our girls will be raised to cherish their bodies and use their voices loud and strong.

Raising our voices is what love looks like. Valuing everyone no matter what. And at the end of the day, when we all raise our voices on social media in a chorus of solidarity, it’s because we’re all valuable and we all need to be reminded of that. Me too.

The amazing Me Too graphic that I used on this blog post is the artistry of my beautiful friend Lizzy Spohr Russinko. You can also follow her on Facebook . Her Instagram handle is: @this_unscripted_life


Somewhere In-Between

This is going to be a super vulnerable post for me. Kind of like one of those times when you needed to tell your parents something but you were really shy so you backed yourself into a corner, put your head down, and whispered what you needed to say.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram at all, you would have seen a post I made yesterday about not having my shi*t together. I wanted to take the opportunity to share why. Not because I want you to think better of me, but maybe there is something you identify with in my story. Maybe it will give you encouragement and hope.

So here’s the thing, I’ve been in a learning curve over the past six months where I’ve been observing how most things in life follow a cyclical pattern. I eluded to this cyclical pattern in my recent series  “Your Period is Amazing“.  There is a circle dance to life; Fr. Richard Rohr tackles this subject in depth in his book “The Divine Dance”. I highly encourage the read!

There is a breathing in and breathing out pattern to life. We inhale; we exhale. Something new comes in; something old must leave. This is the mystery of life.

Take a deep breath in. Before you let it out, hold it. Hold it right there. Feel what that feels like to hold your breath. You finally get to a point where you feel like you’re going to explode, right? Your body forces the exhale or you’re going to have problems. You took in that new, life giving oxygen and your body needed to exhale that carbon dioxide, that waste. The things that are no longer serving us need to exit.

That’s where I’m at, you guys. A few months ago, I took a massive deep breath in and inhaled a new way of being and living. I’m a little bit private about some of the details of my life, but let’s just say I committed to following some of my dreams. Inhale taken in. But the exhale hasn’t happened.

So right there. When we decide to grow and expand as humans, we take in that new way of thinking and living. And it’s life giving and exciting. Until our systems start to use that new oxygen, that new way of living. Our life metabolizes that newness and at some point we have to get rid of the waste. And what is the waste? It’s the old way of thinking and being. Eventually those old things have to go. That’s the exhale.

But I strongly believe there is a divine tension that occurs between the inhale and exhale that has to build, and build, and build until we are forced to exhale. We won’t survive unless we exhale.

And I’m about to exhale. The tension has been mounting for weeks now. It’s getting to the point where my dreams won’t survive if I don’t exhale. And here’s a side note. This is where most of our dreams die. We know we are going to have to exhale and let get of those things that don’t serve us any longer; we’re going to have to get healing. But it’s uncomfortable. Sisters and brothers, gather in for a minute. This is precisely the moment that we can’t give up.

This is the time that you need to open yourself up to the depths of change and healing that you need. Let go of those things that don’t serve you any longer. Open yourself up to God and ask for that next step if you’re stuck. Ask for help. You can’t do this on your own.

It’s uncomfortable, this somewhere in-between. We aren’t what we were, but we aren’t yet what we are going to be. It’s like a caterpillar in a cocoon. It goes through a highly barbaric process to become a butterfly. Their bodies are enzymatically digested as the essence of who they are (think stem cells here) is turned into something completely new. Come on now. Isn’t that what happens with us?

And once that new life is formed, it must go through a birthing process. You can destroy a butterfly if you pull it out of it’s cocoon too soon. It’s painful but they need to go through that teeny tiny opening to have the water squeezed out of their lungs and wings so they can fly when they’re revealed.

It’s the same with us. If we rush that “somewhere in-between” process, our dreams may die. Stay with it, my friends. Stay with it. Stay with the pain and tension and discomfort. Open yourself up to the healing that you need.

And I believe, I truly believe, we’ll all see a miracle in our lives.

Love and beauty as you start a new week.