Almost to the day, 1.5 years ago, I wrote a piece that touched a million plus. I was sent love mail, I was sent hate mail, and was entrusted with stories that shook me to my core.
And it wasn’t because I was some kind of savant or brilliant writer, it was because what I wrote was truth. The terrifying female experience I laid out as my 6 year olds possible future spread like wildfire, and the hordes of messages I received after were 1.5 years ahead of their time.
Women weren’t speaking then. They are now. #metoo
Let me break this down for you AGAIN.
I have a daughter. She’s now 8 years old. She has the loudest laugh, and the spazziest dance moves, and I’m STILL not scared of a transgender bathroom.
My daughter is 8. I hear her and the neighbor girls laughing in her room as they make up choreographed dance moves to Taylor Swift. Their giggles sound like wind chimes, bursts of unexpected gorgeous noise. I stir the macaroni I am making for them, and wait for them to bounce down the stairs to perform their latest.
A DJ grabbed Taylor Swift by the ass at a meet and greet. Smiled widely for the camera. Then, he sued HER. And the defense?!? Why did Taylor smile in that photo? Why did she not look uncomfortable ENOUGH!?!
My daughter is 8. Every Thursday she puts on a leotard and runs to the gymnastic mats, pulling her hair into a messy pony on the way in. She shoots us a smile, cheekily making sure we are watching from the balcony, as she wants to show off her backbend. Her cartwheel. Her leaps and dives. I nod and smile, give her a thumbs up and wave.
Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, both Olympic Gymnasts, have come forward and accused their team doctor of repeated sexual assault. 22 counts against Larry Nassar. The man who their families entrusted these young girls health and safety to for years- cared less about their welfare, and more about using their bodies for his filthy needs. And it was never ENOUGH.
My daughter is 8. She reads me chapter books about Dancing, Party Bears and their home in the Grumpy Woods. She trips up as she sounds out the harder words, and I remind her that sometimes there are letters that are silent. That they sort of hide secretly, and just to remember that O is U’s secret friend, and that G is H’s. Like in the word through. We giggle about silly hiding letters, and how weird that is.
And then I say, casually, “We don’t have secret friends in real life though. You know that right?!” And she doesn’t hear or see the sirens or flashing lights in my head or eyes, but her Daddy catches my gaze over the table and he does. And we listen.
My daughter is 8. She tries on my heels, her little ankles wobbly and unsure as a baby gazelle. My makeup brushes have started to go missing on Saturdays, the only day she’s allowed to makeup play. She watches with increasing interest as I prepare myself, enamored with potions and powders. In love with the beauty of it all, the magic of being a girl.
Roy Moore, Judge and Republican candidate for Alabama senate, has been accused of sexual assault by three woman, who were as young as 14 at the time of crime. FOURTEEN. A man who has sat in a position of power for decades and used that position as a grown man in his 30’s to exploit young girls. A man who is now being considered for the SENATE.
And when asked to comment, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA stated “We don’t need a liberal person in there.” We are now at a place and time in our society where pedophilia is being excused for the sake of party alignment. Predators excusing predators.
Absolutely Disgusting and Terrifying.
My daughter is 8. In a world with animals like Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Larry Nassar, Roger Ailes, Michael Oreskes, Roy Moore, and Donald Trump. Men who will sexualize her, take advantage of her, exploit her, and when they are satiated- throw what’s left of her to the pack to be devoured by the others.
My daughter is 8. She has 6 years until men like Moore look at her with a hungry glint. Lions love Gazelles. They love the chase and the kill. The feast. If he, and men like him have his way, she has only 6 years to dance, sing, giggle, and share stories with me. After that, if they have their way, she’ll be a shell.
Because here’s the thing about prey. They freeze. Believing that if there is no movement, no tremor, no give, they will not be harmed. Swift, her wary smile that was suspect to so many, was NOT to me or any woman who’s ever been in a similar situation.
She froze. Believing she would not be harmed.
These Olympians. They froze. Believing one of their own surely wouldn’t traumatize them.
These woman who don’t report. Sometimes for decades. They froze. Believing they would not be harmed. If only they could just stay still maybe it would all go away.
But it doesn’t, because here’s the scariest part. The predators never freeze. They will keep hunting with an insatiable hunger. And they will find their prey. Generation after generation. Young girl after young girl. Daughter after Daughter.
Not mine. I told you then, and I’ll tell you now, my daughter is now 8 and I am raising a warrior. A lioness. To save her. From you.
Enough. Look, there’s another word where “OU” is secret friends with “GH.” I’ll show her later and she’ll chuckle, but also perplex on why “through” doesn’t sound like “enough” but is spelled the same way. And I’ll explain that the devil is in the details, and to always look for hidden little secrets. Once they’re uncovered and sounded out, it’s rare they can go skitter under rocks again. And that’s not just with letters.
Because she is ENOUGH, and I have had ENOUGH.