Today I’m taking a memoir writing class. I thought this might help me be a better blog writer. And then maybe people will actually read my blog. To be fair, I don’t tell people it’s here. I don’t post entries to fb or twitter mainly because I don’t think they are very good. This class is my first step to changing that. We’ll see how it goes.
I understand what women are trying to do but thinking about putting ‘Me Too’ in my status and just being one of the many slashes collected makes it feel normal to me. Like the same thing happens to everyone when each story is extremely different. I agree it happens more than people think. I agree change is needed and now is the time. I’ve been more vocal about this on Twitter. But being part of the collection of facebooking victims saying ‘yeah, they got me’ triggered me. That’s why I’m writing here instead.
Each time it happened to me is a vivid memory. (Yes, it happened more than once). And announcing it in a generalized form sells it way short for me. But I will share most of my stories with people who ask me. Stories that I think will help people anyway. Want to know something, ask away. I would love to help make this stop happening. And I think we have begun. Assaulters and harassers are going to think about HW each time they consider trapping a women in an office. Perhaps they will realize that more women tell now that there is a movement and they might stop in their tracks. Yes, I do think we are on our way.
And I honor every women who posts ‘Me Too.’ They are brave and they are doing what they need to do. Every little bit helps. This is just how I needed to do it. It’s a very personal thing for each of us.
Now that the Harvey Weinstein thing has come out right on the heels of the James Woods thing I wrote about in my last post, my head has been spinning a little too much. I follow Rose McGowen and Amber Tamblyn on Twitter and I see guys making comments and shaming women for waiting to come forward. I’m surprised that people don’t understand why women stay silent or delay saying anything for years or decades. The reason is so simple.
Women get attacked or harassed and immediately go into shock. Is this really happening to me right now?? This is not what I thought it was?? Then when they get out of the situation they question themselves first. Why did I go to this place?? Why did I wear this?? Did I smile when I shouldn’t have?? These things all go through her mind even if she knows that these are not reasons or consent for attack. Then the shame and worry. I hope no one finds out. If I tell anyone, no one will believe me. They’ll call me a whore. Our mutual friends/associates will take his side because they won’t want to believe this about him. I know they will take his side. I KNOW it. The friends/associates that believe me will have a rift with the ones that believe him. There will be a rift. I don’t want to cause a rift. I must avoid the rift. Silence. I need to remain silent. No good will come if I don’t remain silent.
All is buried and life goes on fine until she finds out he did it to someone else. Then a new path of guilt emerges. If I would have said something maybe this would not have happened to her. Then she comes forward only to be called a liar and be questioned by the people who ride the “why wait” train.
These are the next attacks. Different ways to attack and shame the victim who did nothing to bring on or deserve the attack from the perp, the attacks from the perp supporters and, of course, the ones from herself. There is absolutely no way to win. That’s why they stay silent. That’s why we stay silent.
(I shook the whole time I wrote this. I’m still shaking and I’m not an actress or any part of the Hollywood machine. I’m nobody and I’m scared so I can’t even imagine the guts it takes for someone with an entire career on the line, I am in awe of your bravery!!)
I have a new pick for the Jez book club. I just finished Dark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn. Now I never knew Ms. Tamblyn was a writer at all. I knew her as the lesbian from Two and a Half Men and the wife of David Cross (who I think is so funny). I came across her books of poetry after I saw a news report saying she came forward with the fact that James Woods tried to get her to go to Las Vegas with him when she was a minor. This was a long time ago. She came out now because Mr. Woods was making a negative comment about a movie Armie Hammer has coming out where someone is in a relationship with a minor. I don’t know much about this movie, it wasn’t what drew my attention.
What drew my attention was the instant bravery of Amber Tamblyn to be all, wait a minute–you are a hypocrite and a dude who’s guilty of this yourself. She had to know there would be backlash, denying and lying, James Woods devotees who would not believe her, others who question her part in it (yes, the part of an innocent minor minding her own business in a restaurant). We all know how these things go nearly 100% of the time. She came forward anyway. I’m in awe because I’m not that brave.
Anyway, I read this and then started following her on twitter. I then got to read her follow up op-ed in The NY Times and her open letter to James Woods after he, of course, denied it. (Both are retweeted onto my twitter wall if you want to read them @JezFever). Anyway, I was moved by both these writings and then found out she has books.
So Dark Sparkler is a poetry book with poems dedicated to famous women who died too young. There are many: Jean Harlow, Brittany Murphy, Sharon Tate, Rebecca Shaeffer, and Dana Plato to name a few. Some I didn’t know were dead, like the girl who played the lead in Savannah Smiles. Some I didn’t know their stories, like Heather O’Rourke (Poltergeist) who had a wrong diagnoses and died at twelve. My favorites were Peg Entwhistle and Frances Farmer.
Peg Entwhistle was an actress who died at 24. She was unhappy about how her career was going so she climbed up to the Hollywoodland sign and hung herself off the H. Fascinating!! Who decides they are so despondent that they need end their life and then takes the time to do something so poetic as to hang themselves off of the Hollywood sign?? No one will ever know what went through her young mind that day but seriously, she is as famous as she wanted to be for it but not around to enjoy it.
Frances Farmer was an actress who spent a majority of her life in and out hospitals because of various psychiatric problems. Tamblyn writes of her:
“Frances opened her mouth to answer
A bug crawled out, fell to the ground
And burrowed right back into a hole in her foot.”
I felt like I, myself had some sort of mental issues when I was reading about someone with mental issues. I liked that. I don’t know why. This was my favorite poem in the book.
Anyway, I’m not going to pretend I knew every name when going though the poems of this book. I had my computer with me so I could google names I didn’t know and google the stories if those I did. It took me back to my college days when I was getting my English degree. A novel was never just a novel back then. And this is not just a book of poems. It’s a collection of tragedy. And I still don’t know if it made me depressed or ready to change my life. Either way it’s totally worth a read.