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Retired

Y’all, it’s been awhile. And before that it was awhile more.

This space doesn’t fit me anymore. I’m leaving it in search of a place that I hope I will want to cultivate.

🙂

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I had an abortion*

I had an abortion.

I’m not going to tell you how old I was when I had it.

I’m not going to tell you what the circumstances around the pregnancy were.

I’m not going to tell you whether birth control was used or not.

I’m not going to tell you whether it was a wanted or an unwanted pregnancy.

I’m not going to tell you if it was my only, or my fourth.

I’m not going to tell you how far along the pregnancy was.

I’m not going to tell you whether there was a genetic abnormality, or whether my life was endangered by the pregnancy.

I’m not going to tell you any of those things because I think answering those questions, creating the situation from which my experience unfolds offers someone, everyone, anyone, the chance to say, “She deserved to access abortion,” or “How dare she get pregnant and have an abortion,” or find some pity in their heart for whatever piece of my situation offers them the opportunity to justify their judgment, or their sense of false safety.

When I was in high school (so many years ago) we had a speaker come to talk with us about HIV and AIDS. He told us about what living with AIDS was like. What it was like to defecate in his bed at 3am and be unable to move by himself and having to call for his parents to come clean him. To live with the stares that people gave him when they saw the sores on his arms. To be asked, over and over and over, “Well, how did you contract the disease?” He said it was a question he never answered. Because the answer would muddy his message with pity or feelings of false safety. How he contracted the disease was irrelevant to the fact that he had it.

This is how I feel about my abortion. None of the, “How did it happen?” matters. It’s irrelevant.

What matters is that I was able to access abortion when I needed to. When I wanted to. When I was pregnant and had the need to no longer be pregnant. When I was desperate to not be pregnant.

I walked past anti-choice protestors with signs, I heard them shout, “Don’t do this! Think of your baby! We’re praying for you!” I pushed past them as they blocked the sidewalk.

The facility that did the abortion had a wonderful hand-holder. I clutched her, and she asked me if I was okay. If I needed anything. She tucked the stray hairs from my ponytail behind my ear and told me that everything was going to be all right.

When it was over, I threw up.

I do not regret my abortion.

*this post originally was posted in May 2012. I’ve made minor edits to it, and reposted because I believe that it’s necessary to put it back out there. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about who should and should not have access to abortion and I don’t like any of it. I don’t like the hierarchy of acceptability and I will not participate in the stigmatizing and shaming of a neutral medical procedure.

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BIAS: It’s not just a catch word.

There’s this talk being held today, “Must women lead differently than men?” and I wanna talk a little about how this title frames the discussion and enforces status quo.

This title establishes “male” styles of leadership (I use the quotes because I don’t believe there is an innate “male” way of leading. I think anything we ascribe to “male leadership” is probably largely influenced by heavy gender construction throughout a person’s life. We teach boys and girls to behave differently through social conditioning and perpetuating gender essentialism.) as the standard against which leadership is measured. Is that correct? Is it appropriate? Is “male leadership” the bar we should all reach for? According to this title, yes.

What if we reframe the title and ask, “Must men lead differently than women?” Here the standard is set by women, and frames “women’s leadership” styles as the norm. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything other than things related to child rearing framed with women’s action as the standard.

This is bias. This is how we teach people that feminine is bad, or weak and masculine is good, or strong. This title doesn’t use the words, “Women are bad leaders,” but it certainly plants a seed of doubt. Because the title accepts that how men do something is what we consider normal. So if the norm is how men do it, however a woman does it must be wrong. People read this and, without even thinking about it, understand that men must be better leaders. And then figure this is why there aren’t many female presidents of financially powerful companies. And then offer up the “men are just more suited to positions of power than women” because —> leadership styles. 

Bias y’all, it’s a thing. 

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You can totally teach 3.5yos about consent.

I love that when my 3.5yo wants to be tickled he says, “Tickle me mama! When I say “purple” you stop.” And that’s how we play. He picks the word that we’ll use for “stop” and when he says it, I stop. “Now you tickle me,” I say, and when I say, “Purple,” he stops.

I respect the boundaries he sets, and he respects the boundaries I set.

This is how I’m working to stop rape/bully culture.

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Is 3 too young to teach boys not to rape? I don’t think so.

This is a quick hit, because lately all I can think is “ao@*&#dg;9760iuehTAE” when I sit down to write. I’m sure this deserves to be fleshed out.

Last week Zerlina Maxwell went on the Hannity show and tilted the world off it’s axis when she said stop telling me how to not be raped, and start telling men not to rape. (The whole linked clip is worth watching, but she speaks at 2:35.) She followed up today with a piece at Ebony, 5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not To Rape.

I think about this a lot. I think about it more since about 2 years ago when I overheard a dad at the park encouraging his 3/4yo son to go give another little girl a hug, and upon hearing said little girl’s mom say, “She doesn’t like hugs, he better watch out,” continued to encourage his son because, “Oh, she’ll be fine. Someday she’ll like it.”

I am raising a son, and you can damn well believe that I am laying a foundation, at his current pre-school age, so that he doesn’t become a rapist.

He’s being taught to ask his friends if they want hugs from him, and he’s being taught to respect it when they tell him, “No.”

When he gets older he will hear his father and I critically examine sports announcers on our television. He will attend women’s sporting events.

He will be taught that “bitch” is not a word we use in our house.

He will see and hear his parents speak up when we witness rape culture.

He will be taught that all people are valuable, and that listening to the experiences that other people have had, and learning from them, will make him a better person.

We will teach him these things so that, if we do it right, he will be an ally against rape in his chosen community.

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