Please, Let's Not Give Up on the #MeToo movement

Please, Let's Not Give Up on the #MeToo movement

It's not over yet.

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The last calendar year has been the year of the survivor.

The #metoo movement was a digital crumbling of Troy. I kept news sites perpetually open at work so I could glimpse the daily—even hourly—revelations, accusations, and triumphs.

It was satisfying and empowering. At last, the world was recognizing what has needed to be recognized for so long.

It was also sad. I feared, as I was watching those streaming headlines, that this could not last forever, like college or a doomed relationship. I still have this fear.

That's why I'm urging everyone—men, women, and non-binary individuals—to not give up on the #metoo movement. Your eyes, hearts, and voices are needed now more than ever before.

#metoo isn't over. It's just begun.

This is not a whim.

Time and again we see these labor contractions of social issues.

For a whirlwind week, month, or year, society looks long and hard at its underbelly. We breathe sighs of relief and take to the streets when this happens for race, for love, and for citizen safety and well-being.

Eventually, time eases the sharp corners. Protests taper off. Legislation does not pass. Politicians and family members turn their heads. What happens to all of those narratives? What happened to the fight?

The #metoo movement is not a false contraction. It is not a spasm without a birth. It revealed the terrifying prevalence of sexual, emotional, and biased abuse that threatens more men and women than have been commonly accepted.

How can this spotlighting be a whim? This is not a mere feminist movement, a temporary pushback on morés that tell us we should be skinnier or count more calories or Weight Watcher points. This is the start of global change. Let's take the whimsy out of the headlines and see it as such.

#MeToo has community. Now let's do something about that.

Social media marketers know the power of hashtags. Now we all know the power of small words to bring people together.

The #metoo hashtag is concise and devastating. It doesn't need to say anything else, although we value, cherish, and support survivors' stories, experiences, and healing. Within the span of a week, women united in a shared narrative.

This is where the #metoo movement has brought us. We are standing on the top of a mountain as a force. It's heart-breaking and empowering to see how many are a part of this community.

Change begins with community. Nations go to war once they have mobilized their resources.

There is always time and space for claiming a #metoo. But there is greater urgency in taking steps with that community for palpable change.

Hollywood isn't everything.

I respect and honor the women in Hollywood and prominent media who have claimed their voices and sought justice. I am proud to see these women still making the most of the #metoo movement.

But Hollywood isn't everything. It's not the full story.

We need plebeian voices too. What about my best friend? What about my grandmother? What about my future daughter, my neighbor, the high school girl down the street?

Women who do not have the luxury of social status and a red carpet also deserve to be on the front lines.

Their voices are just as valuable. To move forward, the #metoo movement needs to walk the suburbs, the ghettos, the offices, the airports, without discrimination.

Let's commit to becoming aware.

So how do we keep the #metoo movement going? Some people say more rallies. Let's mobilize, let's march, let's call Congress.

Yes, let's keep doing all of those things. Political activism is alive and it is fierce and worthy.

But the power of this hashtag is fully expressed in the most intimate, private places. I'm talking our homes. I'm talking our closets and cars.

We need to commit to becoming aware of sexism, harassment, abuse, and assault—and cultivating this awareness in others. Let's keep talking to our daughters, wives, mothers, and nieces, and let's not shy away from honesty.

Let's not shield them from the news either. Let's show them what is out there.

We need to keep the dialogue open between all genders and all geographies. Most importantly, we need to create more safe spaces for survivors to share their stories and feel heard.

Committing to being stewards of the #metoos around us is the vital task.

The stories matter most.

The #metoo movement has been sensationalized. It has been alternately dismissed and revered. It has been generalized.

I'm here to remind everyone that the survivors' and victims' stories still matter. No matter where this movement heads—and I hope it keeps heading up this current hill—we cannot neglect the voices within this movement itself.

Active listening and safe, frank, nurturing dialogue are all imperatives. If you are a survivor (or if you know a survivor), commit to validating your experience. Don't let it get lost in the headway.

The future of the #metoo movement lies in the nature of our commitment to what it has to say, and who composes it. It is my hope that even though the future is uncertain and the stakes are daunting, we can make that commitment unflinchingly.

#metoo.

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As you start packing to go home for winter break, there are obviously many things that you cannot leave without. Everyone brings home the shoes they always wear or their favorite hoodie. Well, there are many other things a sorority girl brings home that the average person does not.

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I think I packed every game day T-shirt and every T-shirt that has my letters on it.

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The Simple Words You Need to Hear This Fall Equinox

Lean in.

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In the past, I haven't paid too much attention to seasonal equinoxes. I barely managed to recall their actual passing, let alone their relation to the stretches of light and dark in our days.

Now, I've developed a keener eye to these momentary days. While this fall may be "just another season," its arrival deserves our notice. This fall equinox, after all, has been marked by the famed Harvest Moon, a moon so vivid and immediate its light aided the ancient harvesting of crops for three straight nights.

We are also now losing a little smidge of light every day, tilting closer to winter.

You don't have to believe in astrology or any meaning held by the stars to acknowledge this equinox. I do hope, however, you take a moment to hear these few inspirational words as we move more closely towards dark and cold.

Lean in.

It's natural to want to resist any motion that urges us into darkness. I tend to particularly resist winter and any premonition of it, including the snow that currently tips the mountains where I live. I find the early dark of winter days to be unbearable, the sliding into depression inevitable.

Resisting this irrevocable change, however, isn't helping anyone—least of all yourself. This recent full moon may have brought impulses of change and transition with it; lean into these. Let them occur and trust that what emerges on the other side of the change is meant for your greater good.

Why not now?

We're so good at saying we don't deserve things. We're so good at closing off opportunities, shutting down channels. We mention tomorrows and future years without acknowledging the potential of the present.

If you're nurturing any ideas about anything, whether it's a creative project, what to do after graduation, where to travel, how to dress—why not now? Identify what's holding you back and then, maybe, choose now.

Self-care starts when you want it to.

Easing into colder months often means reaching more for hot drinks, fuzzy socks, and indoors. But don't let the weather alone give you permission to indulge in some self-care.

Caring for your needs—identifying them and consciously meeting them—can happen at any time, provided you give yourself permission to care for them. These bright fall days and crisp air may have more energy in your step, often a productive energy, but don't let the anxiety of production and cold mornings keep you away from what you long to do, whether that's taking a soothing bath or turn off your phone for a hot minute.

Relish possibility.

There's always potential wrapping its arms around you, even when you are most blind to it. Take this equinox—this deliberate turning away from the sun—to seek out the most unexpected potential in your life.

Where are there holes of possibility? Where can you fill them? How might you be closing yourself off to newness and change?

To hell with it.

Fall is not the time for convention or giving in to others' desires. Nor is it the time for perfection. Fall is the time of kicking up leaves and watching a favorite series on Netflix. It's the time of lingering longer than you feel you should.

Don't get caught up in the monkey mind—let loose. Your heart will thank you.

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