Why I Say #MeToo

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with voices.

I would perform, sing and dance, and I loved to socialize. At the same time, my parents were fighting a lot—and even though their divorce was horrendous, it showed me that you can choose something different when things don’t work, and that was a gift. Especially with what happened after that.

Chicago activist protested in solidarity with survivors during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. (Charles Edward Miller / Creative Commons)

After my parents divorced, my sister and I would spend alternating weekends with one of them. When I was with my dad, my uncle would babysit. He was a man with a lot of authority in the family, and everybody loved him. I did, too. He took care of me and brought me comfort in difficult times—until the night he laid next to me, and the other night and the other night. I was asleep; when I wasn’t, I pretended to be.

I never dared to speak up.

As the years went by, I blocked it from my memory—all the while not seeing myself as anything valuable or knowing what I desired in life. But I knew that I wanted to help people. I came across speech therapy and realized that how people speak reveals so much about how they function in the world. It’s the things you don’t say that makes it interesting. I started singing again—even though being on stage, being in the spotlight and being seen was terrifying. For a long time, I wasn’t able to give myself the voice I desired, but I was determined to help people find their voice in the world.

How do you voice out what’s true for you? How do you even know what is true for you? One idea that changed a lot for me is that anything that brightens your world is true for you: that anything that is heavy isn’t true, that there is a different possibility. As you can imagine, the abuse was quite heavy. I started wondering: if this wasn’t true, what would be possible?

It didn’t mean it didn’t happen. It meant I wasn’t going to live a life based on what had happened.

If something is not changing, and you’ve tried everything, my advice is to flip it upside down and look at it from a complete different point of view. I had so many reasons not to create the life I desired: I had a terrible childhood; my parents divorced; I was sexually abused. But holding onto those things didn’t make me happier. 

When I tell people about the abuse, they go into the devastation of it. They make me, in that split second, a victim again. It’s not something they’re doing on purpose—it’s how we are programmed. I started wondering: What other choice can I make? How much fun could I have? If I was no longer a victim of my uncle, what would that give me? Ultimately, I found the answer: It made me the strong woman I am today.

To me, not being a victim means being willing to give up the stories I told myself about why I couldn’t. It meant asking myself: What would happen if I could? We don’t have to be victims of the past. I now know what’s true for me. I can even see how it contributed to my life. I’m willing to speak up and create a difference.

Your voice has value, too. If you don’t recognize that yet, it’s not too late to change what’s true to you.

Crystel Poetiray is a speech therapist and a life coach specializing in vocal and authentic messaging problems, an authorized Complete Vocal Technique teacher and a certified facilitator for Right Voice For You, a specialty program from personal development organization Access Consciousness.

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