Emma Shopp, for the Lorian
On Tuesday night, I prayed with a particular passage in the Bible, Luke 8: 18-22. In this passage Jesus poses a question to Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” As a woman who tries to imitate Jesus in all things, I had to ask Him that question in return, “Jesus, who do you say that I am?” In this article I hope to address a few things: the recent “me too” campaign sweeping across social media, a little bit of my own story, and the age-old question: Who am I?
There are aspects of #metoo that I think are great. For example, women who have been victims of rape, sexual harassment, inappropriate comments, and abuse are being reassured they are not alone. Women feel the freedom they need to seek help, help that is necessary in healing. However, I think this campaign is lacking, which I will go into detail about in a bit.
I cannot say that I had the same story as many of the women sharing the hashtag me too. I was fortunate to grow up in a loving two-parent family. I understood quickly, as most children do, that bad actions were punished and good actions were rewarded. However, somewhere in my childhood, certain lines of what was good and what was bad became blurred. This quickly turned into getting good at manipulating a situation to get what I wanted out of it. What I desired was to feel loved and wanted. So when I got into high school, my romantic relationships reflected this, my friendships reflected this, and the way I viewed myself reflected this as well. In my eyes, I was only as good as what I could give. The older I got, the more extreme this mentality became. If I was only as good as what I could give, then what I could give had to be perfect. Well, this led to an eating disorder and one very disordered relationship with a guy (that looked perfect on Facebook).
If I was writing a “me too” post this is where it would end, without resolution or healing. This is the primary reason I feel that #metoo is lacking. My story did not end there. After this relationship with the guy I was dating ended, I felt empty and alone. I missed him and I missed feeling like I knew who I was. I had shaped my entire identity around this guy.
It would be cliché for me to say I met another guy, and His name is Jesus, but that is exactly what happened. Now don’t get me wrong, I was angry. I was so angry at God because blaming all of my life’s problems on Him was easier than taking ownership of my mistakes. But eventually when I started to let my walls back down, it was through His people’s arms that I was welcomed back into the Church. It was in the presence of the most Holy Eucharist that I heard him say, “Emma, my beloved daughter, YOU ARE MINE.” And it was in His sacrament of confession where Jesus Christ said to me, “Emma, your sins are forgiven, go in peace.” Jesus comes to bring us mercy. Jesus comes to give us love. Jesus came so we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10: 10).
In my favorite movie, “What A Girl Wants,” Amanda Bynes’ character leaves everything she knows in search of a father she’s never met. Before she leaves, she says these words to her mother, “I feel like half of me is missing, and without the other half, how am I supposed to know who I really am?” My message to you is this: Jesus is not the other half, He is EVERYTHING. In Him you live, and move, and have your being (Acts 17:28). Please, never let your past dictate who you are. Be more than #metoo. Who am I? My name is Emma and #IamHis.