In everyone’s office lives a shredding machine of some sort. We sort through documents and shred proprietary information and even sometimes we shred personal documents that we don’t want others to see and know about.
We do it so often that we can believe anything that we feed into the shredder no longer exists, but the harsh reality is that anything you’ve shredded still exists in some capacity.
The last few months have consisted of beautiful moments of laughter and love but the balance of them is that I have also had to face Lupus in addition to my attempts to manage Crohn’s. Yes, I have both… lucky me. I type that and smile because sometimes The universe will hand you so much good and sometimes bad, but there’s nothing you can do but embrace it. So I’m embracing it as if it were a cuddly blanket on my office chair because this is something I have to deal with so I might as well do it with grace.
I was in my office yesterday shredding documents for work and I had a stack of old photographs that I no longer wanted in my house just sitting there staring at me waiting for me to do something with them.
I couldn’t have them staring and the piercing impact any longer, and so I shred pictures from over 20 years ago.
And some of these photographs, correction, majority of them, held a man who I didn’t want to see anymore. Without diving into the who, what, when, where, and why to keep myself grounded, I’ll say that an action he did placed me into the #metoo category.
I told my mentor about him this past year after I felt less shame about it. I finally felt safe enough to say it happened because women have come together to collectively share their stories of pain, humiliation, and shame.
How did I hold the photos so long in a book in my office in the corner of the closet? I think I thought the dark corner could be the container for the instance and that if it was out of sight it would stay out of my mind.
I purged my office and closet this last month and I couldn’t just throw the photographs away, I had to shred them. What if someone else saw them? What if my daughter ever asked me about the man in a photo book? What would I say? How could I hide the emotion?
I couldn’t. I’m strong but I have my limitations just as others do. Thus, I shred them.
It’s ironic that today of all days I see a “joke” about rape and I just had an overcoming moment that no one knows of except a dear family friend that was in the house when I was shredding. She didn’t know what I was doing but it felt safe to do it when I knew my husband and kids weren’t in the house. It’s just too much to bear if they were.
If you know me, you know I’m a horrible liar. So much so that I avoid people if there’s something I can’t say to them. It feels safer that way.
So this shredder and I know the face. The shredder helped me get rid of the physical reminder. If only humans could erase things from our brain in the same fashion. That would be a remarkable invention. But since it doesn’t exist yet.
Since it isn’t something that the universe can take away, I’m going to embrace my office blanket as I type this and glance at the rain as it hits the window in front of my desk and just breathe knowing that the one thing someone can’t take from you is your spirit.
May my spirit and yours be lifted in the same light that the #metoo conversation started. We’re never alone in the world as our parallel lives exist, the variances make them our experiences individually but the constant that exists is in solidarity and strive to push forward.