Locker Room Talk and Trauma

This post isn't about Donald Trump. It's about Women. It's about you, and it's about me, and it's about sexual assault.

I don't give Donald Trump credit for much. I'm still in a place of holding out for someone to say "Haha, j/k, Trump's not really running." I know it's not going to happen. He's definitely running. I do my best not to get riled up by anything he says because I don't take him seriously as a candidate. I was not surprised when his "Locker room talk" video was released. To me, it's par for the course for him.

What I was surprised about was my emotional response. I've been writing this post in my head since it became the number one topic of conversation. For anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault, myself included, these words burn. Despite reliving the trauma, I'm really glad that it's opening up a dialogue. The amount of women who have been sexually assaulted is staggering; in fact, I don't know any women who haven't been verbally assaulted at the very least. But here's the deal: NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT IT.

Let's talk about it.

I've addressed verbal assaults twice on my blog. You can read them here [Enough is Enough] and here [What I wish I would have said]

I'm not going to go into any detail of the times I've been physically sexually assaulted. My social media accounts, including this blog, are all public, and there are too many pervs who would get off on the details.

When it happened when I was younger, I thought it was my fault. I used to try and rationalize it away - "He didn't really mean to." "I could have done something more to stop it." "What did I say/do that allowed this to happen?" I've come to terms with those things - I came to a place where I could say with a surety that I had been assaulted (even claiming abuse was difficult for me). I'm not angry about those times anymore.

What I am angry about is the most recent time it happened.

It was in June of this year. I was a thirty-one-year-old woman riding a bus home from UCLA where I'd spent several hours in Powell Library writing comments for my students' final progress reports. A man got on a few stops after UCLA and ended up right next to me. As the situation unfolded, I felt the blood drain from my face. I kept thinking over and over again, "Is this really happening?" The bus driver kept telling people to move back because the bus was filling up. He didn't move. He was the one who needed to move because he was blocking the aisle with plenty of room behind him. I kept waiting for him to move. He never did.

I'm angry because I said nothing. I didn't know what to say. Have you heard about assuming positive intent? Sometimes that's the wrong thing to assume. When I realized there was nothing mistaken about what was going on, when what was happening really sank in, I removed myself from the situation. I went to the back of the bus and waited for my stop. I was shaking. I was scared. I was embarrassed. I was furious.

WHY DIDN'T I SAY ANYTHING?!?! Why didn't I yell at him or push him away? I'm a strong, confident, intelligent, independent woman. But in that moment, I was paralyzed.

Is this really happening?

Is this really happening?

Is this really happening?

Yes. It really happened. It happens all the time. And perpetrators get away with it all the time. It catches us so off guard. There is shame, even though victims shouldn't be the ones who carry the shame. Why would anyone ever think that violating the comfort and safety of someone is okay? That's what's shameful. But I still can't shake the shame of losing my voice when I most needed it - losing my voice when using it might have meant saving someone else from an assault.

While I hope there isn't a next time, the likelihood is that there will be. The way we talk about women is deplorable. All over the world. The way some women talk about themselves is devastating.

"Locker Room Talk" is NEVER okay. "Boys will be boys" is not okay. For the most part, people can't control their thoughts, but they can certainly control their words, and especially their actions. I am the mother of two daughters, and I know that the odds of them facing some form of sexual assault is just about 100%. It makes me sick. It has to stop. We have to stop giving perpetrators passes.

Nearly every woman in the world carries trauma from sexual assault. I'm reliving that trauma right now. Many are. Please, please, please, let's not stop talking about it. Let's stand up for one another. Let's take the shame away from victims and put it where it belongs.  

It's the Little Things

This is a fitted sheet. I folded it. First time ever. It only took four YouTube videos and a little cussing in my head.

[Please pardon the wrinkles; it spent much of its life wadded up in the linen closet.]


Today is a day we will celebrate forever in our family. August 26, 2016. You can celebrate it too. 

On this day, Cora said "Cora" clear as a bell for the first time ever. 

Cora, not Coe-wuh. I fell over, literally. And then I cried, and laughed and cried and laughed and cried. We had a big celebratory hug. And then I cried all the way to work. 

She did it!!! SHE DID IT!!! 

The weird weight of naming her a name she couldn't say was instantly lifted. 


And in writing this, after she's tucked into bed on this new celebration day, I'm crying again. This is superstar, ultimate, highest achieving status.



Cora, Cora Cora!

I still need to check in to see how "Grace" is coming along (her full name is Cora Adeline Grace), but dang it, she can say Cora!!


When I was in high school, I remember thinking it kind of strange when my friends started passing their mothers in height. I don't know why, it was just one of those surreal moments of growing up. I never passed my mom, but while I was still growing, I had high hopes that I would. 

I was going to be 5'11". One inch taller than my tallest aunt. 6' would have been okay too, but I knew I was going to be 5'11". And while it's hard to believe now, I used to be taller than average. In fourth and fifth grade, I was occasionally called Long Legs Lund. 

Long legs. Ha!

I stopped growing in seventh grade. Most of my friends passed me in 8th grade, almost all the rest did so in 9th grade. I think it's more normal to go from being short to tall. I went the opposite direction. I was tall, and I ended up being short. I remember feeling self-conscious in the locker room at the conclusion of our weigh-in at the end of seventh grade. I crossed the hundred pound mark - a feat that was ahead of many of my peers. Why is that such an impactful number? Why do 7th graders care how much they weigh? Why did we used to get weighed in gym class? I came in at 5'2 3/4". 

My grand total height came that summer. 5'3 1/4".

I grew up only knowing my mom's family, and so many people are really tall. I ended up shorter than everyone. I have 38 cousins on that side. I am number 39 in height. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel cheated. ;) 

Meeting my biological paternal grandmother earlier this year gave me a new perspective. She's 5'4". I come by it naturally. 

Cora is tall. I keep waiting for her to slow down, but she hasn't even a little bit. Today she took off from the park in my shoes, leaving me her flip-flops. When I put them on, they were so close to my size. I couldn't believe it! 

Because I had such a funny awareness of mothers outgrowing their daughters, it seems crazy that my daughter is outgrowing me so quickly! She's just above my shoulder now, and her feet are 2-2.5 sizes smaller than mine still. There's still time. 

When I was 10, I got my first pair of "heels." They were a baby 2 inches, with a block heel. They were size 4. (I felt so grown up!) Cora is a size 4-5 depending on the shoe. At 8. I used to wonder if she would be tall and then just stop like I did. But even if she just stop in 7th grade, I think she'll have me beat.

Until she does pass me, though, there is something nice about being able to kiss her on the top of the head without bending over.


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