When I was thinking about founding a blog I planned on writing about things that I thought deserved a little more light than they had gotten in their time. My pen is my gun and like everyone, I have the responsibility of voicing my thoughts so they can be heard. I thank the #metoo campaign for starting the conversation and letting people around the world come out with something they haven't necessarily told anybody before. This is probably the healthiest social media campaign I can remember — and there is undeniable strength in numbers.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the autopilot shame many of us have carried from cradle. I find it amusing in many ways and often laugh at myself for acting like a total idiot when I'm afraid or ashamed to do something. Afraid to talk to somebody. Afraid to show I'm good at something. Ashamed to complain about poor service. Sometimes I’m even afraid to thank people if they do something really nice to me. (That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.) However – the point was we tend to shut up because we're afraid to find out how people would react. We are afraid to shine or to be right, but also afraid to tell when somebody has done us wrong. We even blame ourselves and look for a way to justify their behavior. I think it's healthy to be aware and not always put the blame on everyone else, but it's also ok to know you didn't have anything to do with somebody else's misjudgment.
”You can’t put a flower in an asshole and call it a vase.” Damn right you can’t.
I had a #metoo conversation with two friends over dinner a while ago. Mostly we talked about women having experienced sexual harassment at work and how ladies tend to suck it up rather than tell it to the man’s face it’s not ok. I don’t think anybody really raises their kids to be wussies, but it’s not expected from a woman to speak up when somebody ”grabs them by the pussy”. (Doesn’t get old.)
So what do I know? Well, I’ve been in fairly many bad working environments. There’s been threatening with violence, being repeatedly shamed and humiliated in public in various ways, even calling my colleague during brakes to bully me so I’ll quit. All of this was done by my bosses. And the list does not end there. But what’s been another hard thing to forget have been the times when one company’s highest executive frequently laid his hands on me. Inter alia. I found a no is not a no from an 20-something female employee. Cause what could I do?
And what did I do? I just hoped it wouldn’t ever happen again. It’s hard to tell the man who pays your bills to go fuck himself. There was a lot going on in there anyway and I very much needed him in my corner, so I mostly acted like nothing ever happened. Hugged him back every morning and laughed at his jokes.
If I was being told a similar story by somebody else I would ask what the bibbity bobbity fuck were they thinking, but having it happen to myself I realize it’s not so simple. I don’t mean I didn’t say anything about it though. My 'no' just wasn’t as strong as his 'yes'. Due to my lack of power as a mere employee I figured it’s just best to keep out of the way.
People don’t like to take responsibility in situations like such. Some victimize themselves and twist the story. I’ve been tried to shut up many times for calling people out on their behavior. Never got an apology and usually what I said was labeled as bullshit. It's always that I don't have a sense of humor and I'm too sensitive. No eyebrows could rise high enough, and some people still wouldn't understand. I realize my hurt is not your hurt, but I believe this is the reason why so many people don’t open up about their greatest pains. The feeling overload can be too much to handle on it’s own and the mind isn’t ready for the possibility of being rejected. Seeing no ownership or responsibility from the offender’s side is so hurtful you just rather never tell it to their face, but instead try to conjure the most aggressive prostate cancer ever seen by mankind on them.
Still even now as I’m writing this text I’ve had to erase a lot of apologies and explanations of it and focus on writing things as they were. I don’t know if it’s a Finnish thing, but somehow I am still afraid of being too transparent and saying too much.. though I know that kind of behavior should be exposed and those assholes deserve everything they got coming their way. But still, I feel ashamed. Why?
Not everybody is a good person but if you are, listen. If we were sure we got heard, opening up would be so much easier. And if anyone ever tells you the way you act towards them hurts them, take responsibility. It’s not a compliment. It’s not a mistake. It’s not a joke. And it’s not fucking okay.