(NOTE: Please be advised that the following article deals with #MeToo sensitive subjects that some may find triggering. Please take care of your hearts lovely ones and call a friend or a crisis hotline if you need to reach out. Your heart is beautiful, and tender, and deserves loving care. You are not alone.)
Finding Love in a #MeToo Watershed Moment
By Michèle Duquet
There is something happening… An energetic shift is taking over our collective consciousness. This is it… we think. The moment everything changes… we hope. Each story, opening our hearts a little bit more. Each shared memory, a reminder of how sensitive, breakable and beautiful the human heart truly is.
The dam finally broke under pressure, and the painful truth of days gone by is now bursting through our carefully constructed version of reality.
What we couldn’t feel then, we are feeling now.
Navigating anxious sleepless nights however, waking up at 2:00 am filled with triggered emotions surfacing from long forgotten memories… this is not the #MeToo watershed moment I had in mind.
It’s 2:00am. I wake up in a panic, blood rushing through my veins, my heart pounding in my chest and throat. A memory resurfaces. I’m a 22-year-old model on a location shoot for a big magazine and I’m being groped by the photographer. Out of nowhere he sneaked up on me from behind and shoved both of his hands in my front pockets, reaching down to grope me, uninvited. Unwanted.
But tonight, I’m not shocked or frozen. I am furious. This isn’t the first time I remember this… so why am I so angry tonight, and scared…? I feel panic rising, I feel myself resisting looking at a snapshot emerging from the shadows of my past…
Suddenly I’m 16 and this same photographer rips open my blouse in front of everyone as I stand posing for a jeans ad campaign alongside a lineup of young women also forced to reveal too much cleavage. Click-click-click goes the camera, freeze-framing us in our low-cut blouses and tight jeans for the sheer sexiness of it, the shock of it: the selling of it. I say nothing. I smile for the camera. We all do. I was paid a lot of money to stand there, unbuttoned, in a big jeans billboard campaign. But I was 16. Only 16. I had been violated and thought nothing of it, thought it would seem too prudish of me to say something. I was very successful, had been on many magazine covers. I could’ve said something, but I didn’t. I went into survivor mode. I went into shock. I froze. At other times I’d stood up for myself, was assertive, strong, vocal, but not then. Not at 16. And until this mid-night #MeToo moment, I’d completely forgotten that it was the same photographer who had assaulted me 6 years later.
Yet here it is decades later, click-click-click the photographs of my past streaming by, landing in my pounding heart for the very first time… as I feel now what I couldn’t feel then. I was violated at 16, and then again at 22 by the same man, both moments now flashing back before me in the dead of night.
Many more photographs stream by, a picture-show telling the same story, over and over again. But none affect me in quite the same way. After the age of 22, I began speaking up. I became tough and very vocal. I often wondered why that was… now I know. My 16 and 22-year-old selves had somehow formed an alliance in the dark corners of my subconscious that let me know, “it’s not you. It’s him.”
That is when, unexpectedly, tenderly, love shined its light on the past. I love that 16-year-old. That 22-year-old. That 35-year-old. That 41-year-old. They all live in me and I love them all. I love them for braving to come out of the dark, for breaking through my resistance, my suppression, to let me know that “It’s not you. It’s not yours.”
As I embrace what travels through me during this mid night slideshow, I awaken to the profound recognition of just how beautiful and sensitive the human heart is. We’ve all been hurt. We all carry within us our own version of that 16-year-old who went into hiding, not to resurface again for decades. I can love my anger, my pain, my fear and my silence because I know I am not alone. I have my sisters and my brothers standing with me, side-by-side, feeling and healing what has been reawakened through this collective shift in our heart-consciousness.
Those of us reliving our #MeToo memories are waking up to a new reality, where we can see ourselves and our human condition with new depth, clarity and love; where accepting and loving our anger, fear, panic and silence becomes possible because this is our healing moment.
It’s 3:00 am… I can hear my spirit’s wisdom as I listen to my heart. “Your feelings are beautiful” it tells me. “It’s safe to feel now” it whispers.
And I know. In my heart, I know. This is our moment, the moment we stand together for love… and together, we heal.
©Michèle Duquet, all rights reserved.