#MeToo Many Damn Times

A year ago people questioned the efficacy of the Me Too hashtag that spread virally in October 2017. Since then, it has been used by survivors to reveal the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. We live in stirring times— tea stirring times, indeed!

We’ve also been watching our country live through an abusive relationship with it’s narcissist president… which means America is destined to rediscover her self-worth and truly begin practicing self-love through far-reaching reformations, mental health care, and redressing systemic injustice. Here’s why.

Going through a long-lasting and intense period of low self-esteem made me susceptible to walk straight into an abusive relationship. I had been able to successfully steer clear from men who would disrespect me or otherwise act against me until then.

It was during this time that, by trying to help the world (a characteristic of Empaths, which I now realize I am), any protective boundary I had enough self-respect to uphold vanished and with it the last of my confidence.

All of this happened subconsciously, over time. On the outside, I was being love bombed (overwhelming someone with adoration and attraction early on) by a talented manipulator who knew that reflecting my own positive traits back to me (like idealism, a strong sense of justice, and creativity) would create a bond that would endear me to them. I thought they were real traits this person possessed. That love bombing attention would change to multiple forms of devaluation like gaslighting, smear and slander campaigning behind my back, lying, cheating, insulting, blaming… and get much worse from there.

Disrespecting me became normalized, as well as the emotional rollercoaster of breakups and makeups. I stepped onto a rat wheel of ongoing abuse with a convincing liar. Trauma-bonding in a ubiquitous cycle of pain.

Don’t believe half-hearted progress or any short-lived peace. They’re constructed lies to keep you hopeful and idealistic about change and improvements they never intend on actually making.

<insert the breaking point, revolution, escape, & healing here>

It broke my heart to see with open eyes the lack of regard I had for myself, because allowing anyone to hurt me is not who I am.

I was a woman who stood up for themselves every single instance of trespass against her. Who fought bullies, empowered women, marched rallies, and fearlessly defended the marginalized— and I STILL succumbed to an abusive relationship! I was temporarily weak and that’s when it happened. It could happen to you if you’re not vigilant about how you want to be treated.

It doesn’t matter if you’re plain Jane or Halle Berry, they’re out there waiting for bright lights like us to doubt our luminosity so they can take what they’ll never be able to make.

Wisdom costs pain. But as bad as it was, I’ve promised to myself and in this post to not pay the same lessons twice. The lessons that truly test you in the fight for your life.

America is about to learn them too.

Please write: Natalee@NataleeArteaga.com