Lessons From #MeToo: Part Two

This is a continuation of last week’s post on Lessons From #MeToo. Be sure to check out Part One if you missed it.

3. Listening with Empathy

For a male such as myself to listen to females’ stories and attempt to put myself in their shoes is crucial. I do not know what it is like to appropriately realize I may likely be disregarded if it comes down to my word versus the word of someone with a different gender than my own. I do, however, know what it’s like to be powerless and at the mercy of someone more powerful than myself. And I do know what it is like to be mistreated and going without support. So when I listen to females share their stories of sexual or gender-related injustice I often draw from my own experience in order to imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes.

When I listen with empathy I am led to sadness and anger regarding inequity in our society as well as the powerful preying on others. When Dr. Blasey Ford shared her testimony in court I admired her presence of strength, resilience, assertiveness, passion, and courage, because I am not so sure I would have the same ability. I’m grateful for such a gift and I want to be a part of such a movement, and join along with those who have trusted their guts, voiced their truths, and lead the way to a better world. I am grateful in particular for females in my life who have spoken clearly and refused to be silenced. I have been reminded of the importance of listening because others have insisted upon being heard.

4. Me Too

At some point along the way during the past year I have noticed certain memories, which have always stuck with me but didn’t mean a lot. I have come to see there has always been more going on in those memories than I realized, as is often the case with memories that stick with us for a long time. As I have held these memories with tenderness and curiosity I have

come to acknowledge my own truth. At first I doubted myself. Then over time, as I noticed what my gut was telling me, I began to recall a visceral sense of helplessness around the memory and gained more clarity about what happened. The assault I experienced was subtle and confusing and I could not have addressed it alone.

Having a couple people in my life I trust to sort it out with, including my therapist, has made a big difference. I have found new freedom in speaking the words my childhood self was not able to. I see more truth and I am able to connect more deeply with the stories and the lives of others around me. Thank you, again, to so many for sharing your #MeToo’s and for leading the way.

5. Repeat

Self and collective growth does not come easy. I have meant to bring up a couple important lessons I’ve learned. There are other lessons as well and this format does not leave room to include the nuance or complexity of anything I’ve said here. These lessons act as guiding principles for me in my life and in my practice. I do not intend to claim they are all encompassing or can offer a complete way forward. Additionally, trusting our gut, speaking our truth, and listening deeply to others are practices we need to revisit everyday. Sometimes it goes in the opposite order and sometimes they skip around. It is a complicated and a difficult path to seek justice, acknowledgement, and peace.

So, thank you to those who have spoken out and insisted upon being seen and heard even in the face of rejection, accusations, and pain. Thank you for reminding me to trust myself, speak my truth, and to practice empathic listening. I’m sorry for the harm you have known. I hope for a continued journey forward for us all.

Lindsey Bandy