Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why is choice important? still thinking...

I've been wondering about why I get so nuts when I hear about anti-choice legislation & talk.  I think I've figured it out pretty well. 

Why is Choice important?

Well, first, I think that everyone's life is different.  Like the saying, "if everyone you knew put their problems in a pile and each was given the chance to choose someone else's, you'd see what others were dealing with and pick up your own problems again."  For the most part, I think people try to do their best with their lives.  Trying harder in some areas over others, of course.  I know there have been times in my own life when I have made choices that were the best at the time, but that I wouldn't make if the same thing happened to me today. But how can I judge my past self harshly?  Can't and won't.  So I won't judge another life harshly either.  Do your best and I'm okay with you.  (Don't do your best and I'm all up in your face, just makin' that clear.)

Second, I think that the status of women and the societal support of women have been declining lately.  I can't put an exact moment when I started feeling like this (again) but I just have.  Maybe it's come up with all the crap that's happening with politics - everyone in the GOP doing their macho 'hoo-rah' mating dance for the nation and all the politicos nit-picking every inflection, mistake and position they make.  Guh.  All the grandstanding about how conservative a person is - saying that they think the Bible should determine the laws of our land (and that being the Old Testament or the Torah).  And along with all that, a push to remove the laws (or support laws that deny rights) that allow men and women to make many personal choices about what their family will look like.  Maybe it's the shift in the economy where so many able bodied, educated men are out of gainful employment.  Who knows.  Maybe it's just me being the age and stage I am at in life.  But I don't think it's just that simple.

Now I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember.  I grew up with an older brother, whom I love very much, but who made it very clear to me that being a girl/woman was a "less-than" quality.  My wonderful grandparents had very distinctive ideas (and ideaLs) for what girls should do or be.  My own amazing dad was great to talk the talk about supporting women, but did very little toward walking that walk.  (Okay, he has always supported me as my chearleader.  So that's awesome.  But ask him how many diapers he's changed in his life or what a schedule for a child's day might look like, or how things went the last time he babysat my kids, and he'd have to get back to you while he checked on that.)  When I was a child, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  They were always so sweet to me when I told them I wanted to be a Mom and a teacher (both of which I am today).  When my mom asked me, I remember her giving an audible sigh of defeat, and her saying, "You know you could do ANYTHING right?"  My mom wasn't/isn't always the kind of mom I wanted, but she's a great feminist educator.  :) 

Third, I find it really disconcerting that there is both a push to "limit government" (a Republican platform) AND a push to limit personal freedoms.  I don't think it's possible to have both.  You either limit the role the government plays in a citizen's daily life, or your are thinking that a corporation counts as a 'citizen' and then we all understand where your 'family values' are coming from, thank-you-very-much.  Figure out how to REALLY balance the budget, limit threats to our nation's natural resources, work on developing strong and vibrant pre-elementary education and family/community bonds to keep almost grown kids out of prisons, work with other nations to encourage and support peace, and limit yourselves in your ridiculous paychecks - why the incredible interest in procreation? 

Parenthood should only be asked of those adults who really want to take on the challenge.  Parenthood is a twenty-four hour experience: imbalanced, frustrating, humbling, awe-inspiring, joyous, infuriating, boring, expensive, time-consuming, sleep-depriving, and mentally taxing.  Just like my own choice not to take up marathon running, I don't expect everyone I meet to think that being a parent is as incredible as I do.

On a financial front - kids are expensive.  Just the simple acts of feeding, clothing and caring for a child takes big chunk of change out of the "fun time fund".  Not having any extra money causes a great deal of stress and strain.  And for society, raising a new generation of children is a huge expense.  Granted, on both fronts, a very lucrative investment, but also one with some real amounts of risk.  For people to say that a woman (or a couple) should always choose to carry a pregnancy full term, I say, mind your business.  I figure if a woman or a couple decides that today is not the day to take on that long-term marathon of parenthood, then I figure they've probably thought it out and are right. 

But for families who feel like every menstruation is an opportunity for a new life to join them, I celebrate your bravery.  I applaud your sense of adventure and sincere force of positivity.  You Go!!  I love that the Duggars are sharing their lives with the world.  I've got a husband, two kids, a messy house and two dogs that live to drive me nuts (but are so durn cute), and I would NEVER willingly invite a camera crew into my home at any point.  I don't watch the show, though I have seen parts of it, and I celebrate the families that are so large they need a school bus.  They've figured out how to feed, clothe, educate and love all of them - raising those kids to be as self-sufficient as their parents.  That is fantastic. 

But for either crowd, I've gotta say, the choice is yours.  Not mine.  But making sure our government is NOT a part of that choice, for anyone, that's MY CHOICE.  And I will never sit idly by and allow a group where the majority are privileged white men decide the fertility rights of the women in our nation.  I trust women, and I vote.  I hope you do, too.

and as an afterthought - i want people to ask questions and wonder.  here are some quotes and links about choice in America:


Not sure how unbiased this is, but it's worth a look -


“Let's never stop asking questions. Questions give us a harbor to remember where we once lived mentally. They remind us of the possibilities that can be born out of thoughts and musings, and they link together pattern that define our lives.” ...
“It's daring to be curious about the unknown, to dream big dreams, to live outside prescribed boxes, to take risks, and above all, daring to investigate the way we live until we discover the deepest treasured purpose of why we are here.”
Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure

a letter to my high school boyfriend...

the title of my post is a loose translation in a way, since i don't know if anyone would have ever given the title of boyfriend/girlfriend to the relationship i had in high school.  this guy was a sweet guy, but we had almost zero chemistry.  which was pretty amazing since, at the time, i was ready to have some sort of chemistry with anyone.  but guy one was a good start. 

we hung out in the same social group, and since the girls to guys ratio worked out in our favor, and we thought the other person was interesting, i guess we started "dating".  i don't really know how he felt about me physically.  the only physical contact he had with me was giving me light punches in the upper arm.  they didn't hurt (hey, i've always been a feminist, and no matter the level of desperation, i would never have agreed to abuse) but i found them really annoying.  i told him so, but i guess he thought i was playing coy.  or maybe that was his slow, methodical try at foreplay.  not sure.  we never kissed, so his plan must have been REALLY REALLY slow. 

but i was in high school during the era of real notes.  on paper.  written while you were supposed to be paying attention to whatever the teacher was blathering on about.  (so being on the plastic honor roll doesn't impress you so much?  ah, well, sometimes the lessons of life take precedence.) 

this guy wrote the BEST notes.  for a girl who reads constantly; who seeks out spoken word & poetry; whose all time favorite movie is "Amelie" - this was an ultimate catch of a guy.  he would share what was going on in his home life.  what he was struggling with emotionally.  he cracked jokes.  he gave the sweetest compliments. he wrote to me e-v-e-r-y single day.

the only drawback, he didn't do the same in person. 

so we didn't last long as a 'couple' and he was a person with much more conviction than i and he left school (instead of just floating through till the end like i did).  so i only saw him one time after we 'broke up' and he seemed afraid to talk to me, so i didn't say anything either. 

so, for the record, guy one - thanks for showing me what it's like to have a guy move slowly (even if it was way too slowly).  thanks for the extravagant gift of the perfume (i still feel guilty giving you the box of crap i gave you.  forgive my sixteen-year-old stupid self.)  thanks for helping me understand what i really needed and wanted in a guy.  (i'm happy to say that i found all that stuff.  he doesn't write me the kind of notes you did all the time, but he does often enough.  he's kind of busy being the guy blathering on in the front of the class :)  he does a much better job with the rest of the relationship stuff though, and doesn't move quite as slow as you did.) 

every once in awhile, when i see someone from high school, or i catch my 15-second tolerance level of Glee, i think of you.  i wish you well.  i hope you are happy, and i hope you are sharing your life with someone who loves you back.  i hope you know that you were a gift to me.  you were a gentleman, which is a pretty tough thing to be in high school.  and a pretty amazing thing to be with someone who isn't sure she wants you to be. 


your girl number ?

Friday, January 20, 2012

f cancer

Right at this moment, I personally know three women who are dealing with the crapfest that is cancer.  All with different kinds, all with different treatments, all with different expectations for life beyond their diagnosis. 

This post is a response to the Breast Cancer 3-day commercials.  The people featured in them; I'm assuming actors performing the written text from the very helpful and supportive Susan G. Komen foundation; they repeat lines like "we will eradicate breast cancer, once and for all."  My response, No we won't.  We will better learn how to find cancer.  We will better learn how to treat it once it is found.  We will better learn how to deal with the diagnosis once it is given.  We will always, always, always have cancer in our lives. 

I have always had cancer in my family.  As a child in the late '70's or early '80's, my great-aunt died of breast cancer.  (I think that's what area the cancer was, since at that time, and in my family, we didn't talk about it.)  We talk about it now only briefly.  My grandparents both had colon cancer.  They both found it early on, and had treatment and surgery and finished out their long lives to die of other causes.  My aunt was diagnosed with a late stage cancer when she couldn't figure out why she felt so sick and wasn't getting any better.  She died in the hospital five days later. 

Especially in the U.S., we surround ourselves with so many chemicals that knowingly cause cancers that we no longer even think about it.  Pesticides, plastics, cleaning products, lotions, cosmetics, tanning beds, fabric protectants, exhaust, smog... these are just the things I can think of as I write this.  We seem to taunt cancer with how much bad crap is allowed to wash over us and into us. 

And even people who are working hard to keep these carcinogens away seem to be fighting a useless fight, since the laws that are on the books are surely not there to help them out.  I am currently burnt out on politics.  I can't contact even one more politician to share my hopes for what things should be passed or whatever.  Gah.  So many politicians are useless bags of flesh. 

So instead of supporting groups that prey on the hurt of loss and the desperate need for hope by presenting the message that cancer can be like polio - a faint memory, I am supporting a charity that promotes education. 

Fuck Cancer (or the cleaner name F Cancer) reverberates with my own reaction to all this fucking cancer.  If it was a person, my 5 foot 1 3/4 inch self would totally kick it's ass.  But because it is an incideous, hidden, cruel disease that robs entire sections of the population of it's innocence, I can only hope to become better educated and support organizations that also educate. 

I am awash daily with all kinds of crap that might just be feeding a tumor to kill me.  But if I find that shit early, I can work with medical magicians to kick it the hell out.  I want to know more.  I want to help more.  I want to have a good long time from today when I truly don't know any lovely, joyful, crass, aggressive, funny, insightful, strong, sweet, calm, magical women & men who have had that crapfest talk with the doctor telling them they have cancer. 

If you feel a similar distaste for this disease, please check out the Letsfcancer.com website and decide if it's the place to share your funds.  Or just head over to learn more.  Knowledge is so nice.  Hopefully helpful too.