I nearly spit out my coffee. Savvy’s pixelated face nods at me over Skype.
“I blogged about it,” she says.
“I DIDN’T KNOW THIS…which post?” I ask.
“The one about #MeToo,” Savvy says. “It was called—”
But my mind is already traveling back, way back, way before the #MeToo movement, like three years back…
When I first met Savvy, I was like, oh, I know exactly what this chick is like.
Home-schooled. Angel face. Pastor’s kid. Yeah, I know this girl without even talking to her.
She’s probably never had a guy drunk-call her at 2 a.m. She’s probably never had to live with strangers, or had to comfort a close friend who fears that she’s pregnant.
I know the type. This chick’s Sheltered with a capital S.
I judged Savvy when I met her. Big time. And believe it or not, my assumptions followed me even after we became friends.
In a way, she confirmed my thoughts.
“I know I’m sheltered,” she told me over tea one time. “I don’t pretend I’m not.”
But my assessment of Savvy made me doubt she ever experienced any hardship in life. Even though I knew she moved to a different country when she was a pre-teen. Even though I knew she grew up in the church and has witnessed the good and the absolute bad.
Still, like, has she ever had any hardship in her life at all?
But as soon as we end our Skype call, I pull up Savvy’s blog post ‘Me Too: Why Speaking Up is Important.’
Trigger warning: sexual assault.
How did I miss this?
As I read, her words tug the breath out of my lungs:
I felt someone grope me from behind. I turned around and recognised someone that I knew. I hissed at him to let go. He chuckled. My shock was beginning to turn into panic. Then he went away and I stood there shaking.
Savvy, I had no idea.
Here’s something that has followed me throughout my entire friendship with Savvy—it’s something that I remind myself of every time I speak with her, every time I approach a customer at a coffee shop, every time I make a new friend, every time I listen to a Lorde song and internally moan about how melodramatic Lorde is:
You don’t know what somebody’s gone through.
You can’t make assumptions about people. Whether they’re strangers or friends. You just don’t know what fires they’ve walked through. I have to remind myself of this on daily basis.
Savvy, I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through. I know it still causes you pain.
I’m sorry for judging you. I see now that you’ve gone through quite a lot.
Know that I am always here for you and that I love you very much.
Aww Rachel…please know that despite the pain (I won’t pretend that there isn’t any pain), I am in a healing process. This isn’t to belittle the things that I have gone through and these kind of things that I know that others have gone through and worse, but simply to give out a little hope. You don’t know what somebody has gone through, yes, but this isn’t the defining feature of myself or our friendship (and I have to remind myself of that). I’m still the sheltered and home-schooled literary nerd. Our friendship is still rooted in Jesus, in writing, in deep chats about human nature, in books, and in silliness. Our friendship has grown through difficult times but that is not what defines it.
Thanks for the internet hug, gurrl. I love you too, I’m here for you too, and gosh I miss you loads.