Strange how things come full circle in our personal worlds. Several weeks ago, my FHB and I were having a somewhat intense conversation about an event about 42 years ago that I had put away in the back of my mind. It had to do with a #metoo experience when I was in graduate school. One of my professors had “invited” me for a drink after class ended for the semester. I was pretty uncomfortable with the idea as I was married, I was in my mid-twenties, and he was a lot older and I didn’t drink. Somehow there was a certain amount of pressure to discuss my studies and his interest in my studies, and we ended up going to the Ratskeller (as every college seems to have). I agreed to have a soda and listened to him wax on and on about himself (first clue). I told him that I needed to leave and go home to my husband, and he said he would walk me to the car. What a gentleman (second clue). He was parked in the faculty lot and I was in the student lot. He took my arm and “directed” me toward his car. He offered to give me a ride in his shiny black Corvette (third clue). I mustered up the courage to tell him that I had no interest, and that I was going to my car. He shrugged and gave me a creepy smile and got in his car. As I hurried to my car, he appeared to come up on my side as I walked. He lowered his window and said in a angry tone “You are an ‘A’ student, you know…but you’re only getting a ‘B’ or ‘B-‘ because you are not very cooperative. You still could change my mind”. He revved his engine and pulled away. I was shaken and disgusted. I never told. The memory was long forgotten until recently.
It was actually one of several moments that happened during my growing up years from childhood into adulthood. Ironically, about a week ago, in the local paper, there was an article about a man who had been a professor, and was now a sculptor and was being recognized for casting a bronze statue of someone of some prominence. He was pictured and named, and I was stunned to remember and see that the son of a bitch was still alive, and apparently well and almost ninety years old. That would make him about twenty-six years my senior, then and now.
I think about those #metoo moments that I endured and survived with anger and regrets of not having a voice, or a person to hear me, were I to have found my voice. I don’t believe that I was naive but rather innocent and foolishly trusting that I was in control. I was not, but now I am. I am a grandmother of two amazing and vibrant grandgirls. They give me perspective of hope and joy. What I want for them and all the females of their generation and future generations is the power to understand and define who they are, and that they are forces to be reckoned with. In total, my grandgirls need to be respected by all people. Kindness and trust in oneself and others, needs to be the prevailing element in human relationships. The past year defined the voices of women as becoming stronger and more powerful. There is a new freedom to grant to all of us that says NO never means YES! It becomes a new declaration of independence.
I look at my relationship with my FHB and know that we are together because we are kind toward one another and respectful and it is safe for us both. That is what I want for those girls of mine. It is the change that is happening now. What exciting times. What hope!