Before there was Harvey Weinstein in his sordid bathrobe, before a different Hollywood star posted a confession of assault or perversion each week, before a hashtag became a rebel yell, before women were bashed and doubted, emboldened, and empowered—long before all that, C. S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one. ’”
A few months ago, I started an informal movie club with Kaitlyn, a delightful coworker about my age who sits one cubicle over. In Google Hangouts messages we considered Adam Driver’s movie Paterson, we shared our dissenting views on The Greatest Showman, and somewhere along the way we started swapping movies just so we could discuss them.
When I found out she had never experienced Rocky, it was clear that I needed to invite her and her husband, Ben, over to remedy this deficit in her life.
There was just one problem: I have a phobia of hosting people in my home.
Though I had no reason to, my mind reviewed all that could go wrong. What if they won’t like Dudley or what if they are allergic to dogs? What if they don’t like the food we serve or what if they are allergic to it? What if we don’t have enough chairs? (Spoiler: we do.) What if our TV screen is too small? What if we run out of things to talk about? What if they judge us for . . . whatever?
I quickly talked myself out of the idea, but my timidity bothered me. So I did what I always do—I told my coworker and friend Kelli, my Hangouts high priest to whom I confess my struggles.
A few days after Kelli started working in my office in 2016, I sent her an email detailing how I like things to be done. We were best pals pretty much right away.
Kelli and I are uncannily similar in our preferences and processes. We like things done decently and in order. We both love country music. We both think in terms of worst-case scenario. We regularly read each other’s minds. We predict how the other will respond. We finish each other’s words and share the same opinions. Where it counts, we’ve been snipped from the same cloth (probably yoga pant material).
So I don’t know why, but after I confessed my hosting fears, it shocked me to see her response appear: “Me too! I’m the same way. Same. Exact. Way.”
My shock revealed just how isolated I had been in my fear of judgment or pride or inhospitality. Foolishly, I had thought I was the only one. To know that someone else battled the same fears gave me courage to overcome.
Me too! You too?
These exclamations hold the voltage of an electrical switch, illuminating our lonely world and solitary thoughts. When Tarana Burke first typed #metoo in October of 2017, she meant for it to raise awareness of the wide-reaching scourge of sexual abuse. She used it to connect people, thereby strengthening them.
I guess that’s what the phrase me too has always been about: making us braver and stronger than we are alone. But it doesn’t take a crowd chanting “me too”—it only takes one empathetic person to make us feel a little less freakish.
The phrase “me too” has always been about making us braver and stronger than we are alone.
Quite frankly, #metoo is a remarkable movement in a world that worships exclusivity and champions being your own unique person.
I don’t believe we were made to be unique.
I do believe we were made to fill a unique purpose and part of that purpose is to embrace our experiences; to have the courage to say “me too!” and “you too?” as often as possible; to share joy and shoulder burdens; and to be to others what Christ is to us—a comforter and encourager (2 Corinthians 1:4). According to Hebrews 4:15, Jesus says the ultimate #metoo: “For we do not have a high Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are.”
Kaitlyn and Ben came over a few weeks ago. I had a slight nervous breakdown when their truck pulled up. I counted the seats one more time just to make sure there were enough. They didn’t break out in hives from our chocolate mousse. Our TV didn’t seem to bother them. And, rather than run out of things to talk about, we ran out of time to talk about all the things we had to say. In fact, throughout the evening, we shared a lot of me too moments.
The next day, Kelli asked, “How did last night go?”
And though I reported our lovely time, the truth is, whether the evening had gone swimmingly or up in smoke, I would have told Kelli about it—and like always, I imagine, she would have understood.