But I Will Take the Space I Need.

I don’t want to write this.*

I don’t want to write this because it’s my story and truthfully, there are those who state that I ought to be comfortable with the story - my story - but I am not. I am not comfortable. And frankly, I don't think anyone should be.

I am twelve, you see.                                                                                                               I am twelve, shocked by a recent transplant and giving signs of distress. My doc tells me to be quiet, to not be a girl and to stop crying. I need to stop crying all the time. But I do. And I can’t. My mom - my poor, overwhelmed and distraught mom. She tries to help - here, have a calendar. We will put it on your wall, next to the bed. Everyday you can draw a line on it, stating your emotional state. Maybe that way you won’t cry so much?

Please don’t cry so much. You are scaring the other kids.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Later. Please don’t move, miss. There. That’s better. This ultrasound? It  won’t take a minute. He smiles. He smiles at me and already I do not feel comfortable. But what do I do? I am on this table, in a hospital gown, with my belly -- my belly! - exposed. I am on the table. There is an assistant. Phew. There is an assistant.

But she too, looks uncomfortable. What is with this guy? Why do I not like him? I need to get over myself. I need to have this ultrasound. There is an assistant.

She looks away. And him, sitting close next to me, looks at me and pulls a rubber sheath over the ultrasound wand. He rolls it open, covering the device. He looks at me. I do not feel comfortable. I am laying on a table. He tells me that it looks like a big condom, doesn’t it? He looks at me. I am uncomfortable. My belly exposed. I am forty-one.

He too, looks at me. I am at Food Fare. I have a loaf of bread in my hands. I want to make grilled cheese for supper. He looks at me up and down and now I am naked I guess. I just wanted to buy bread for supper. I wanted to make grilled cheese. I am forty-three.

 

*this has been written in response to the “me too” movement currently happening on Facebook. I have wanted to write “me too” for a few days now, but have hesitated. I have hesitated because, like many social media movements, a simple “me too”  - while perhaps effective in displaying the (gross)** magnitude of the problem - does not (for me) relay enough of the complexity of the issue. Yes, I have been assaulted. And yes, it was a one time incident many years ago. And while this does not discount its long-lasting impact, at least the actions were concrete in nature. This happened, then this and then this.

But there is another type of assault, the kind that isn’t so concrete, that defies the ability to have proof; that too easily can be moved into the realm of “oh, you’re just being oversensitive”. I am speaking of the looks, smiles, the underhand comments, the dismissing.

This is the kind of daily, ongoing "assaults" that I wish to put my "me too" towards. In the church, the hospital, while at the local grocery store, purchasing a damn loaf of bread to make my family grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.

**word chosen with intention.