#MeToo – sharing my story at open mic night in Chicago

My intention for the night was simply to take a break from my writing. To be invisible amongst a crowd of strangers. Take a break from my journey by supporting others… I hesitantly joined an event in the city with a trusted friend. A few months ago, I made myself vulnerable by publishing my story of abuse. I was still impressionable and struggling to find my voice. I don’t consider myself a victim so sharing from an empowered perspective has been a challenge. What is the focus? What do I share? How do I share? What if they give me that look? I needed a break so supporting a friend at open mic seemed like the right thing to do…

As you know it, the Universe presented me with a challenge. Despite my effort to show up late, I was still invited to jump on stage. Topic: Darkness. Time: 8 minutes.

I tend to thrive in uncomfortable situations. This was different. This was making myself emotionally vulnerable. I was still licking my wounds from an event a few days before. I did not think I was brave enough to speak but my name is called. I’m invited to the stage. The lights go off, the clock starts… With a shaky voice, I begin…

“Hi, my name is Jessica M Corvo. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I spent 11 years in Asia. This is my story.

#MeToo

#Victim

Holding me by the neck. My feet are dangling. Loaded gun up against my cheek. “I wonder if you taste as sweet as you sound?” “what are you willing to do [for this job]?” “I’ll float you $50k if you have sex with me & Lucy?” “I paid for dinner, you are putting out for dessert.” “I’d like to put a bun in that oven” I deal with the comments by telling myself that it’s just #prettygirlproblems . I don’t have time to deal with this, I have goals to focus on. Maybe I’m not as smart as I think. Maybe I am just a body. “You are the reason for my anger” “I was joking, where is your sense of humor?” “Jess, why are you so angry?” “You make me suicidal” “It’s nothing to worry about, it’s not herpes, it’s chickenpox” “You are nothing but trouble” Anything to get me to question myself. I can handle the physical stuff, it’s the emotional and mental warfare that gives me pause.

#Survivor

I start having panic attacks. It takes me longer to rebound. My life is a constant experiment. I book last-minute flights. I lose my Heroes. Strong is the only option. I will not be defeated. Professionally surrounded by malignant narcissists (I know how to navigate this sea. Just don’t let it get personal). Life kept simple. Meditation. Physical activity – rock climbing and hiking. Compartmentalize the fu*k out of my life. Dating is not an option. Alcohol is not an option. I cannot trust anything with a penis. Say no to drugs (mostly). My inner thoughts shouldn’t be shared. My heart is broken. My spirit is strong. Throw myself into service – cleaning houses. Escapism is my way of life. Bury the pain. Accomplishing goals fill my hole. Strangers are kinder than friends. Galavanting around the world and being places where no one knows my past. Life is surface level.

#Thriver #BAMFThriver

I am named #13 for a Fortune 500 company. I had that figurative corner office with a view. I was untouchable (professionally) because I was the ‘clean up girl’ for the #1. I crushed Ironman. 12hrs 18mins on my first try. I launched a business. I started dating. I was proposed to within 4 months. Letters of Gratitude reinforced my faith in humanity. I accepted a truth – I became lazy with boundaries. Time to get savage – add value or go away. The people who are supposed to protect me are the ones I need to be protected from. I will share my story. I was never a victim. I used those bricks and built my fu*king castle…

[The alarm sounds. 8 minutes]

Thank you.”

 

 

#PublicSpeaking #Chicago

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