Home > Love, Personal, Safety, Youth > Boo YOU, motherfucker.

Boo YOU, motherfucker.

Last week I wrote a post that’s left me feeling wrecked.

I’ve written about predators from my childhood before. But never, ever before have I written–or even thought–about them all together. Doing so was so devastating, even thinking about this blog has since left me trembling and queasy.

I think I might know the cure. It comes in the form of reposting an October 2011 post I accidentally deleted with hundreds of others.

I want it to have a place here again. I want it here as my reminder I am more than broken.

I am a force greater than fear.

Boo YOU, motherfucker.
Originally posted October 14, 2011

I felt confident and sure as I strode down the hallway in my new pantsuit.

I knew the case. I enjoyed pushing my comfort boundaries. Best of all, on the other side of the mock trial, I’d be closer to finishing my hated first year of law school.

All was well as I set foot in the classroom setting of my mock trial.

Then I was in the room, and I remembered.

I remembered being told, “No one is going to believe you. They’re especially not going to believe you if you’re angry. You need to cry. You need to show how much you hurt. That’s what jurors want to see.”

I remembered sitting in the children’s room of the courthouse, playing with toys not intended for an eleven-year-old. Terrified but trying to distract myself.

I remembered being led to the stand, and coming to sit fewer than a dozen feet away from an unspeakably evil man. Wanting to leap over the low wall separating me from him, dive across the table, and strangle him. I wanted to eat his studiously sad face straight off of him so everyone would know he was a monster. Then, too, I would have a “real” reason for feeling so sick to my stomach.

I remembered answering attorneys’ questions through gritted teeth as I fought my urge to strike this perpetrator. This criminal.

I remembered the hung jury, and my attorney’s disappointment as he shook his head and said, “You were too angry, Deborah.”

I remembered it all.

I froze.

In that moment, I was stripped to the barest me there ever is or will be. The world was silent and still as I realized everyone saw me not attired in a gorgeous suit but naked, raw and wounded.

Silence and seconds stretched into eternity.

I was alone. Helpless. Weak.

And yet, uncertain what else to do, I lifted my chin and continued my journey toward my chair.

I trembled, but I smiled at the jury as brightly as if I’d just won a million dollars. I organized my papers and tried to organize my thoughts as well. In the margins of my notepad, I wrote a note explaining to my partner how devastated I was, and why.

I was shocked when he looked at me stunned before writing, “No way. It doesn’t show at all.”

When it was my turn to argue, I imagined the jury was but two people: my sister and her fiancee, smiling and urging me onward. I’d done so much before despite abundant obstacles, after all; was there really any chance I wouldn’t overcome this one, too?

When I finished speaking, I sat down to find my partner had jotted on my notepad, “You rocked.”

After the mock trial concluded, the volunteer jurors praised not only my pantsuit, but also my poise and confidence. One said, “You’re so intimidating! The way you sit and assess something without feeling the need to reply instantly is so daunting!”

I maintained the façade until I was out in the hallway. Then I excused myself to a dark side room and wept.

And wept.

And wept.

But as I walked across the UCLA quad on that bright, beautiful afternoon, my heart sang. I’d not only faced a ghost I hadn’t realized continued to haunt me, I’d looked it squarely in the face and said, “Boo you, motherfucker.”

I’d sent it scrambling.

Years later I would read the words, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” And yet it was that afternoon, many moons before I’d meet them so baldly stated, that I understood them.

As I wrote in response to the Life in the Boomer Lane entry that prompted this one:

After I left the law school that afternoon, I remember walking through the sunlit quad and feeling utterly, absolutely unstoppable. That’s been a profound lesson to me ever since: the things that feel the shittiest to get through are the ones that make us understand just how strong we really are. It’s what I always think of when I ask folks to speak their mind even if their voice shakes. Fear is just a feeling; “self” a tangible, concrete, limitless force to be reckoned with, when we embrace and act on that fact.

Thank you, Renee, for coaxing me to write this. Thank you, Rachael and Nick, for urging me through so many tribulations I can feel your support through all of them, whether or not you stand with me physically through each.

Thank you, beloved TMiYC reader, for reading these words and understanding that I stand with you when you speak with trembling voice. The people you speak against will come and go. The people who push you to speak because they understand you will be stronger for it, on the other hand, are with you always—in your heart, in your spirit, in your memory. They’re a part of your strength, though you are the greatest part.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, I thank you, misguided perpetrator, for helping me understand just how powerful I am. Though that was not your intent, that has been for me the most enduring result of your sins.

My fear is finite; my strength, in a way I could never have understood without these experiences, boundless.

feeling of fear

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  1. OneHotMess
    February 13, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Boo you, motherfucker, indeed!

    • February 13, 2015 at 5:49 am

      I am so grateful to Elyse for putting me on the path to finding this … and feeling it all, beautifully, anew! 😀 😀 😀

  2. nicciattfield
    February 13, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Boo you! I admire your courage.

    • February 13, 2015 at 5:55 am

      Thank you! ♥

      (Rereading and reposting this was the best thing I could have done this morning. This month?!)

      • nicciattfield
        February 13, 2015 at 6:01 am

        The post on all the different perpetrators was so hard hitting, I didn’t know what to say. I felt shaken too. But this one is a celebration of what it means to survive and thrive. It’s lovely to read, and to me, it brought hope.

        • February 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

          I arranged to move that post elsewhere, to a site where I think it’ll be useful … while allowing me to focus here on having survived and learned to thrive, with care and compassion from loving folks such as yourself. ♥

  3. February 13, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Boo you! Indeed. Though you may never have sought revenge for the wrongs done, I see clearly that you have achieved the greatest revenge of all…you not only survived, but you thrived. Thank you.

    • February 14, 2015 at 8:49 am

      I dreamed of it for a long while, as well as imagining being a superhero to protect other kids. But with time and lots of love from some tremendous people, I came to understand (most the time, with lots of headaches!) the truth that thriving really is the best revenge. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  4. February 13, 2015 at 6:55 am

    This is really powerful – I definitely identify with that feeling of reliving trauma when writing about it. Even though writing about it helps you process and heal, it’s still painful and emotionally messy.

    Hugs to you.

    • February 14, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I used to think everyone had this physical response to writing about past events. I scoffed when a friend talked about her own PTSD and how what I described experiencing was just like her symptoms.

      I scoffed, but I thought about what she said and read further. Now when I feel my fingers trembling as I try to type something, I understand and know what’s happening. It doesn’t always help me prevent it, but it reminds me there’s a reason I have the reaction I do. It’s not silly or some individual quirk. And it often helps remind me of my friends and others who’ve struggled … and yet thrive.

      Big hugs, and thanks.

  5. February 13, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Good for you, Deborah. Well said and well done.

  6. February 13, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Brilliant!

    • February 14, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Many, many thanks! (I suspect you’ll hear that from me at least a few more times the next week or two. :))

  7. February 13, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  8. February 13, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Boo you, indeed.
    You are an inspiration.
    Thank you for writing. Always.

    • February 14, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Thank you for reading, commenting, and thus reminding me … I do not walk alone. That is a powerful and lovely thing.

  9. February 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Powerful! So powerful. I’m a bit speechless right now, but what I can say is that your words are inspiring and empowering. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us.

    • February 14, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thank you so much. Revisiting this post yesterday morning was just what I needed to jar me out of my funk. There’s still work to do, clearly, but it’s much easier done from a place of light.

  10. February 13, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I am so glad you found this, read it and re-posted it. Boo You MotherFucker, indeed.

    • February 14, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Reading it was such a load off my shoulders! I could feel the load lifting as I read. Then, when I got to the end, I felt like running through the streets shouting at the goodness of seeing again. Really seeing.

      I wouldn’t have gotten there without a suggestion from Elyse, either. So very good to be reminded the joy of community.

      Much, much love. ♥

  11. March 29, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Reblogged this on enchantedface.

  1. February 17, 2015 at 7:00 am
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