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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The 20 Stages Of Instagram-Stalking Your Crush, As Told By 'Mean Girls'

Whether you love the presence of technology in your dating life or not, it's probably there.

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Far too often we wait for that follow request or Snapchat add to know that a boy is interested. We look to those notifications for validation of that mutual interest.

There is nothing quite like the freaking treasure trove that opens when a crush approves your follow request(or maybe you're silently looking if he is public). There is so much to do. This has now turned into an ~event~

All other priorities do. not. exist.

1. When he doesn't follow you back immediately

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Not mad, just disappointed. Actually, very mad. Seething, if you will. Honestly expected way more from Steve from Intro to Biology.

2. If he follows you first

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Hey! It's a little hard to see you down there since I'm ON CLOUD NINE RIGHT NOW!!! You text all your friends. These days, this is practically a marriage proposal. Time to start picking out wedding china? Can Vera Wang do this on such short notice?

3. If one of your friends also has a crush on him

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Sorry, Becky. Guess you'll just have to live with being a bridesmaid at our wedding.

4. If you don't follow him, but have a mutual friend who does: you ask them for screenshots

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He's private and you want to know what he is like without any consequences. You're just not ready to follow him yet, but you need some screenshots in your arsenal. This is case in point of why I should ABSOLUTELY not be considered a real adult for at least another five years.

5. Reading his bio

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The best thing it could be is just his name or school or maybe his frat. Or nothing if that is indicative of being a real live grownup who has a job(and I don't mean working at an IT start up your daddy found you). We don't really need an inspirational quote or something random that only two people understand. Your name is fine, thanks. Gentlemen, take a page out of Avril Lavigne's book and don't make everything so complicated.

6. Seeing how many followers he has

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This is something I don't really care about, but it can tell you a lot about the person. Like if they are a SoundCloud rapper trying to make it big and have clearly followed a ton of random people to try to get a follow back which has resulted in a sketchy follower-to-following ratio. If not, then they're probably normal.

7. Seeing how many photos he has

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There is nothing worse than thinking you are about to feast your eyes on all his photos only to discover that he has two photos and one is a group shot where his face is practically hidden. This will result in an hour of promising your friends that he is normal and good looking, despite what this feed might suggest.

8. Making sure he is not radiating jerk

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Saying "Saturdays are for the boys" is fine sometimes, but not every weekend. If he has more gym mirror selfies than the amount of Cosmopolitans Carrie Bradshaw has drank in her lifetime, it's time to move on. Unless you're working on a street corner, there is no need for you to be "just out here hustling/grinding."

9. Temptation to comment on a recent picture

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His hair looks really good! Or if he posts a picture of a party you saw him at this can be more tempting than buying cookies from Girl Scouts outside the grocery store. Resist, resist, resist.

10. Discovering you have a shared interest

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Oh my gosh, he went on spring break and you did too!! He went with ten friends to Panama City and you went home and ate Chinese food with your mom, but really, I don't see a difference there.

. 11. Stalking the most recent photo

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Is it with a girl? Is she prettier than you? If she commented an emoji it's freaking over. You sprint immediately to your closest grocery store and buy all the Ben and Jerry's.

12. Gathering of all the information

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Now we go into detective mode. Assuming at this stage that the dude actually had a decent amount of pictures, we now dig like Bob the Builder. We look for hobbies. We judge these hobbies. If you really like him, you concoct a plan to see how you can relate to these hobbies.

"Oh my gosh, I loveeeee fishing! I love it so much! Oh, you fish, you don't say? Look how much we have in common!"

13. Figuring out how close is he with his family

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Looking for how many times his parents surface on the IG. If you see he has siblings then if you are on a date one day you won't be trying to digest their names and ages, you'll already know. He will be blown away by your impeccable memory and interest in them.

14. Seeing something cool he did and becoming obsessed

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Maybe he studied abroad. All the heart eyes for the picture of him volunteering with Habitat for Humanity last April.

15. Pictures that make the world stop

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This might be him in a tux at a wedding with his grandma. It might be a swoon-worthy pic of him shirtless at the beach. It might be a picture of him and his wait for it… DOG and you die and blush and get so excited because you don't know what's cuter: him or the dog. These are the ones you screenshot for your friends.

16. All of a sudden it's been an hour

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You look at the clock, an hour has passed and you're in 2014. Great, now you know exactly what he wore to a middle school dance. Awesome!

17. When going into the tagged photos leads to being 3 people deep

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In tagged photos, you find previous girlfriends, and naturally, you have to stalk. Luckily, her account is public and you see that her best friend could easily be the next contestant on the Bachelor and probably win the whole thing. So you click on her profile and stalk her too. Then you see her boyfriend and look at his profile and feel genuinely hurt that you won't be getting an invite to their wedding.

18. Not blurting out everything the next time you see him

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You know you can absolutely NOT let on that you stalked him at all. Even though there were ten close calls, you did not accidentally like anything. Consider that a success. They should give out trophies for that. He doesn't need to know that you dropped your phone into the Oreo crumbs that were on your face at 2 a.m. As far as he knows, you simply approved his request and moved on with your life. If it comes up you should say "Oh, I didn't even remember we were friends on Instagram."

19. Crafting your first post with him being a follower

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It has to be hot, but it has to be effortless. You could do a selfie but you want him to know you have friends. But they can't look prettier than you. Should you be mysterious and post an artsy shot? Or post a travel throwback? *Books plane ticket to a cool destination just to take a pic he might like*

20. The first time he likes your post

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You feel like the definition of fabulous. A Snapchat is coming down the pike for sure. Ugh, how can you hate a culture and love it so much at the same time?

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What Your 20's Are All About

Authenticity.

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Being a twenty-something is glorious.

It's easy. It's beautiful. It often looks like a pair of designer cut-offs or a laptop on a beach. It isn't terribly serious.

In fact, it's rarely serious. Yet it makes sense--more sense than any other age because it's newly educated, self-discovered, and hopeful.

Right?

This is what social media tells me. It is what college told me. It is something many of us believe.

I am convinced, however, that there is more to it than this.

Someone or some book neglected to add a few more postscripts to this chapter of the Book of Life. Or maybe they were lodged under the "Recommended Reading" portion of the syllabus (and hence overlooked).

Whatever the case, your real twenties are about something in between the really good vodka and the wandering. That something has the power to shape this decade of your life into a different kind of gem.

(Yes, you can cut your teeth on it.)

Uncertainty

College (or life after high school) somehow perpetuates the myth that graduation precedes a concrete stairway. And that stairway leads clearly to a life path, a career, a vision, and a culmination, all to the tune of Jimmy Hendrix.

A bachelor's or associate's degree initiates many into the world of work and careerdom. But it does not necessarily make things any more certain.

Perhaps you've graduated with a degree in French literature and suddenly feel an impulse to stare at lots of graphs and statistics.

Maybe you have no impulse whatsoever. You have hobbies—fixing bikes, swiping left—but cannot seem to grasp a vision.

If you're like I was in my twenties, perhaps you sense you want to do everything your parents didn't, if only your feet would touch ground sometime soon.

This decade is definitively unknown. Not having a solid sense of what comes next is not an inherent fault of yours; it's part and parcel of life's whimsical years.

Want in on a shinier secret? All decades are uncertain. This one just feels the ripest.

If you wake up every morning and have no answers (or job, or health insurance, or girlfriend, or house), great! You're doing this right. Answers will emerge, but in the meantime, sit with the discomfort of being simply where you are at.

Forgiveness

As the decade of uncertainty unfolds, lean into it. I found that I could get more comfortable with being an unknown entity in my twenties by forgiving myself (and others).

You don't have to go to an ashram to practice forgiveness, although I'm not discouraging you from this path. Nor do you have to start embracing a new religion or giving up red meat and Cheetos.

Forgiveness starts with awareness. Beginning to recognize the difference between personal goals and societal demands is the prelude to following a gentler, more visionary path.

When I forgave myself for being a perfectionist, despairing that I would never find a job, and wondering if I really should have chosen my English major, life became much easier.

Science also tells us that our brains are still firing, forming, and developing in our twenties.

As such, friendships may peel away. Certain kinds of knowledge may dissolve. You may start to realize that holding grudges or avoiding conflict isn't worth it anymore—or is now worth forgiveness.

Forgiveness can also be empowering. It's one of many doors that can shuttle you more effectively into the unknown (with grace and a good pair of heels).

Exchange

Everything we learn in childhood, high school, and beyond is not necessarily the truth. The decade of your twenties is about the conscious and willing abandonment of past ideals, notions, and information.

To some, this may be simple rebellion. To others, it may be part of the self's natural evolution.

To me, it's about an exchange.

Being in your twenties can involve trading in those old ideas for more relevant ones. It's like a consignment store for self.

At this stage in life, a lot of things crumble. A lot of new buildings and scaffolding develop. Sometimes, this is brutal. It may feel unfair. It may feel like a relief.

No one is here to say that you have to be the self of your childhood or the self of eighteen (or last year). Mindfully weeding out the old and heralding in a more graceful, informed you will make that part of your thirties that much easier.

Risk

If you haven't gotten the memo yet, this is all really risky.

I mean, trekking across Mongolia, coming out, changing your name, abandoning your career, or taking up deep water diving isn't easy.

Forgiving yourself and leaning into uncertainty—those are hard, too.

A lot can get lost. A lot more can crack, splinter, and explode. It's a minefield for the mind and heart.

This decade may be the riskiest of your life. But that's how you know you're playing a good hand.

Without risk, the path becomes in danger of getting "too comfortable." That's one thing we millennials can agree on, at least—to be comfortable is to be stagnant.

I say, be risky. Feel imperiled, whether it involves a belief system or relationship or vision. On the other side of risk is knowing.

Authenticity

This decade is yours. It can shimmer, darken, or expand depending on what you do with it. No one can tell you otherwise.

Society may urge you to be free, playful, and exuberant in your twenties. Excellent.

It may also urge you to be driven, focused, and cynical. Also excellent.

But your twenties are really all about authenticity, or what you do with it. The greatest years of your life won't necessarily be college—they may just be the ones in which you chose to live powerfully within the scope of your greatest and truest self.

If no one was there to prep you for your twenties, or if you feel that the ones who were got it all wrong, take these words to heart. Be uncertain and timid. But also be audacious and genuine.

The one who's looking closest is, after all, you.

Note: Another version of this piece appeared on Thought Catalog.

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