Why I Wont Post ‘Me Too’

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 I will share most of my stories with people I know who ask me.  Stories that I think will help people anyway.  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.


The Waiting is the Hardest Part

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.  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 is triggered. Someone else is attacked or a girl comes forward and is called a lair, or a girl comes forward and is shamed for waiting to come forward.

Once someone comes forward, the next round of attacks begin. 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.  And there are her own friends who are mad that they weren’t told immediately and that she didn’t do what they think she should have done in that situation that they were not in. And, of course, all the others who question why she waited to come forward. There is absolutely no way to win.  That’s why they stay silent.  That’s why we stay silent. Staying silent is simple. Speaking up is this complicated mess I just tried to explain.


Book Two

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 from Two and a Half Men and as 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 acting 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 of 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.


The Warped Wall

So a few days back I went to downtown Cleveland to watch a taping of American Ninja Warrior.  I was very excited to go as I am a huge fan of that show.  (Fun fact:  the qualifying round and the finals round are taped ONE DAY apart.  The announcers say “it’s been six weeks since the qualifying round in Cleveland”.  Which is–what’s the word for it??  Oh yeah, a LIE.  Why exactly??  They could just say we are back in Cleveland.  Which they are.  One day later.  Unnecessary lie.  In my opinion.)

Anyway, I got a great spot in the audience.  I was standing next to The Warped Wall.  I could see nearly every obstacle and then the wall close up.  I was also standing in front of the “green room” where the ninjas were hanging out.  Some of the most famous ninjas were standing right behind me.  And running up the wall in front of me.  I also had a 20 minute conversation with one of the ninjas who was giving me the scoop!!  So awesome!!

So to the point.  It made me want muscles.  I’ve never had muscles before.  I’m not a spring chicken really and I’ve been dancing with this soft body for 20 years but I want to see what it’s like to have muscles.  So this is me, printing my goal for the purpose of using the possible humiliation of failure as my driving force.  Taunt me about my no muscles, blog.  Drive me!!  I want a six pack and arm muscles large enough that crazy women dancers think twice before tossing their abuse my way.

I’ll just add —if you get a chance, go to a taping of ANW.  It’s a blast!!


Winterson is Coming

I’m not a watcher of Games of Thrones.  I’m sure it’s as great as everyone says and I love Peter Dinkledge but I can’t watch anything violent.  I’m too sensitive so I tend to gravitate towards weird books and independent movies.  I like suggesting awesomely odd books to people so I think I’ll start a book club like the Oprah book club.  Except instead of Oprah it’s me making the suggestions.  And instead of great life changing novels it’s great offbeat stories that entertain me and readers who are like me.  It’s the Jez book club.

First up:  Lighthousekeeping by Jeannette Winterson.  Winterson is a great author for weird awesome stories.  This one is about a girl, Silver who becomes an orphan and ends up being raised in a lighthouse.  Pew is the loner who raises her and tells her stories and teaches her to be a great story teller because according to him, that is the job of a lighthouse keeper.

As with other Winterson tales, time does not seem to exist.  It leaves me a little sad and wishing it were like that in this real world where the clock seems to be ticking faster and faster.

My favorite passage in this book comes from a character in love:

“I never wanted to wake.  I had no use for the day.  The light was a lie.  Only here, the sun killed, and time’s hands bound, we were free.  Imprisoned in each other, we were free.”

It just makes me want to feel like that.  And have someone else feel like that.  I want to be in that moment dreading the light with someone just once.  “The light was a lie” is my “The cake is a lie” for a different type of nerd.

Anyway, read it.  Love it.  And if you would like to, tell me what you think.  The Jez Book Club might be fun!!


Bleeding Love

We had a show Sunday at the Akron Oddmall.  At the show I somehow cut open my left heel.  A seriously deep, bloody cut.  How??  I don’t know.  I was dancing in a sword piece with two other dancers and I felt something going on with my heel.  I brushed it off because what could I do??  There was a sword on my head and I was in the middle of a routine.  And everyone knows I only leave the stage when my top falls off (happened once), or when I’m going to pass out (happened once).

So I must list things I did not leave the stage for so I don’t seem weak.  I did not leave the stage:  when I broke my toe mid-routine, when I stepped on glass and it was trapped in my foot, when I had food poisoning (miserable), and now when I cut my heel open.

Anyway, I didn’t know about my bloody heel until the next routine when another dancer, Nikki, was standing behind me and said, “Oh, Jez.  Your foot.”  I looked at it.  Bloody mess.  But again what could I do.  I finished the show with bloodiness added to our visual appeal and went home to treat my foot.  It wasn’t so bad.  You don’t feel much mid-show.  My broken toe was worse pain.  That was mid-show too and again, what could I do??

Belly dancing is hard on feet.  But it’s awesome.  Totally worth dancing through the pain of an occasional injury.  I’m no football player.  I only got a concussion from a show once.  But that’s another story.


Girl Fight

I recently watched the show Feud:  Bette and Joan.  It was the story of the real life feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Hollywood.  I gotta say I was shocked.  You think I would stop being shocked at how cruel women can be after all these years of working with women but I haven’t hit that insensitive point yet.

If the show was accurate, the reason they hated one another was because back in their heyday Joan was the prettier one and Bette was the more talented one.  That’s why they took turns doing nasty, terrible things to one another for years.  Here is a quote from Bette Davis about Joan Crawford on the day she died, “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good.  Joan Crawford is dead.  Good.”

Here’s my question:  Did the cruel things they did change the fact that one was prettier and the other was a better actress??  After an evil revenge deed, did the executer of the deed go home and feel good and peaceful about the pain and humiliation she caused??  I guess I don’t understand the point.  I’m the type of person that if I did something cruel and clever (because it would be very clever) I would go home after I was done and feel guilty and horrible about it.  Hate myself.  And try to fix it the next day.

How many others would feel the same??  Being a belly dancer, teacher, event planner, etc. I can say with all honesty that in my experience there is no shortage of women who have that mean streak inside them.  When they want something they can’t have or don’t want someone else to have something, they can do and say some unkind things.  I’ve seen it more than I would have thought back when I was a young hopeful.

I also read a book recently called Behind the Burly-Q by Leslie Zemeckis.  In it there was a chapter devoted to the mean things burlesque dancers would do to one another backstage during shows.  The thing that stuck out in my mind was itching power being put in costumes.  Then the dancer would go on stage and be in agony while trying to perform.  And why would someone do that to a fellow performer??  Well, said performer got more applause and made others JEALOUS!!  Jealousy is often the culprit.  Once in awhile it’s power.  I have had a few problems with the “I do what I want” crowd myself.  Still jealousy is a rampant problem in the arts.

So what do we do??  Easy answer:  you can’t do anything.  Bette and Joan were decades ago and the Burly-Q was a different time as well.  This is just how it was, is, and will be.  And if you were like me before I read the book and saw the show, you might still be hoping people will chill out and be nice.  Allow this to be part of the research that helps you to realize they won’t.

But it’s ok!!  The positives outweigh the negatives in the arts.  Throw it into your creativity and maybe bank some good comebacks to put the nasty girls in their place.  That’s my recommendation.  I’m not telling you what to do though. 😉