Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Quandary

I do not know how to process my feelings. I also don’t know how much it matters right now, given that so many others are reliving attacks and ripping open wounds and exhibiting bravery as I’ve never known.

Until yesterday, I was mostly ambivalent about the patriarchy. It settled into my gut last night, though, that I should have been feeling something a long time ago. I should have been paying closer attention. I should have been helping others more.

I have been looking at everything from one perspective only: mine. I have never been physically assaulted. I don’t even remember when Anita Hill shared her story. It did not impact me directly; therefore, I didn’t invest my time or attention.

It struck me yesterday, too, that believing Dr. Ford doesn’t even seem to be what matters most, politically speaking. I will definitely say I do believe her, because I have to assume it does matter to her. She, personally, needs to know she is heard. What happened to her did happen.

How can anyone - ANYONE - believe for a second that a woman would put herself in such a position of vulnerability, knowing she’s going to be attacked on all sides by thousands of strangers? How is that theater? How can that be dismissed as some kind of strategic move?

You have to be an idiot not to believe her story. Believing her doesn’t seem to be the issue, though. It appears that what matters is whether or not you care what he did to her nearly 40 years ago. It seems like a lot of people just want to give him a pass - roll their eyes and dismiss the whole thing - behave as though it’s something that was foolish and silly.

I’m embarrassed I’m saying things I’ve hearing for years as though they’re epiphanies. Most of my friends have been apoplectic as long as I’ve known them. I’ve taken for granted the number of brilliant people who encircle me, accept me, love me, and show me daily how to be better. My friends are incredible, and it’s a wonder I’ve fallen into company with such amazing humans.

It’s like I’ve been living in a vacuum.

I have struggled tremendously with not instinctively following the “innocent until proven guilty” standard. I’ve also struggled with unlearning that one should blindly respect elders, with no regard as to whether our elders deserve our respect. I’ve always trusted people until I’ve been given a reason not to trust them. The only rage I’ve really felt has been directed at myself for risks I haven’t taken, mistakes I have made, and disgust about my own character.

I’m feeling that rage now, by the way. Am I really that stupid? Have I always been this ridiculously dumb? I’m further angry at myself, by the way, that I’ve written this whole diatribe about me, a girl who has had a pretty decent cake walk so far in life.

What do I do now? Do I dig in deeper? Do I pull apart my own experiences to uncover whether or not I dismissed trauma I didn’t acknowledge I endured? Does my past even matter?

I’m afraid to turn on the television. I’m mired in shame. I’m scared about what happens next in America. I don’t know how to talk to my 11-year old daughter about all of this.

How do you ask for help when you don’t feel you really have the right to ask for it?

PSA: Calling In Sick.

When fall isn't fall.