Heretic in the House

joanstilkestake

Remember, Val, that only 60 years ago, that same argument would have been used to shut YOU up? Because what you believe now is mainstream, but would have been heresy to the mainstream back then.

The above is a quoted from a comment I received recently on another post I wrote. I had to sit back and consider the context, the person and the content of my post. I will grant the commenter is very much on the other side of the political aisle from me on nearly all subjects. I had to wonder though, did they listen to the video or simply take for granted there was nothing fundamentally wrong only that I disagreed with it and thus it was fine except it represented ideals I disagreed with.

So then I thought about my political positions, my social positions and wondered am I really that radical are my positions which are more accepted today than 60 years ago, would they have been heresy 60 years ago as my commenter suggests. I wondered about this the entire day, thought I would take some of my more ‘radical’ positions, compare them to 60 years ago, and see.


tumblr_mj4iy9ckaL1rpj3m6o1_500Civil Rightsyes, I believe strongly every single citizen of the United States of America should enjoy the same exact rights. This includes access to jobs, education, voting, housing and all the other ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’ of being a citizen. I believe strongly there should be no impediments to these rights. I include in these rights the freedom to marry, which I believe is a civil right and requires only recognition by the state and federal government, the issue of Church is not relevant and is independent of Civil Rights.

I suppose there might be some legitimacy to the argument of my heresy. Certainly, I do not support the suppression of any person or group of people and sixty years ago, it was the norm to do so.  Hell, today it is the norm to continue to do so. Pile on the kindling and get the stake ready, there might be a bonfire in my future.

Women’s Rights – this is likely part of the Civil Rights issue, but yes, I am a supporter of Women and their rights. I am a feminist, I believe women should be able to work and be paid equally to men. I believe women should be able to choose Suffragette Float, New York 1913 Courtesy Wikipediawhether to marry, where and how to work and even more importantly that we should be equally represented. Today, we are not it is my hope someday we are since we are slightly more than 50% of the population.

Well there is another one where I am a heretic and would have been 60 years ago too. In fact, I have been a feminist since my early teen years.

Pro-Choice – I am and don’t equivocate about it. No woman should ever be forced, as I was to have an abortion. No woman should ever be forced to carry a pregnancy to term. I am not Pro-Abortion; I think most women approach this choice as a last resort and with heartbreak. Nevertheless, it is no other persons business. It is the pregnant woman and her medical provider, sometimes it is also her partner but most of the time it is her and her alone that images (3)must make this choice. You, me, the state and certainly the church going throng of ijits attempting to shove their ‘beliefs’ down her throat and up her uterus; they have no place in her decision. Beyond the issue of abortion is the very real issue of women and their ability to access preventive care, this is also necessary and constantly at risk. I am a proponent of birth control, a proponent of women and men receiving education and the means to prevent pregnancy and I am perfectly willing to have my tax dollars pay for it.

Alrighty then, another heretical soapbox I stand on. I stand firmly on this one too. Boy oh boy, that kindling is getting piled higher the bonfire is going to burn bright soon.

Freedom of and from Religion – big one here but my belief that I should be free from religion within my government is supported by the US Constitution. The very first amendment of the US Constitution, the very first sentence: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; could it be any clearer than this. We are not now nor have we ever been a theocracy. We are not now, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation. What we are now and have always been a nation with a population of primarily Christians of different denomination who are unable to agree even among themselves. The founding fathers of this nation understood the problems of nations ruled by the Church, whether it be the Catholic Church or the Church of England, they built into our Constitution protections to prevent this from happening here. This nation was intended to be a Democratic Republic, without Church interference; one that allowed representation of all people whether Christian or other. It was not until the 1950’s that God was inserted into our Pledge and onto our currency, previous to this God was not there we stayed true to our founding principles.

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In truth, my views are not so different from others of 60 years ago and even further back. They saw this coming; they saw the problems of allowing the Christian crazies get hold of the government. So no I don’t think I will get any additional kindling for my views on this one. Get your church out of the government. The churches already receive tax exemptions, I already pay for your views to be heard I should not also have live with your views through legislation in my bedroom and elsewhere in my life.

Guns and Violenceobviously I am not mainstream on this one and never will be. I believe strongly I and my children, my grandchildren and all the generations to come should be safe from violence in the streets. I believe guns do not make us safe but instead create a society where we are more prone to violence not less so. The Constitution does not promote individual ownership of arsenals; it promotes a well-regulated militia, which has only recently been interpreted to mean children-guns-nraindividual ownership. Historically, it was much different. That this nation turns its back on the death and mayhem created by guns and gun ownership simply saddens me.

Interestingly through the first part of the 20th century, most of the legislation passed regarding guns and gun control fell firmly in what I would consider my camp. In fact, all of it, at both the federal and state level placed restrictions on the types of guns that could be sold, who could sell and transport them and who could own them and for what purpose. It wasn’t until the rise of the Right-Wing Anti-Government lunatic fringe and the true shift of the NRA in the mid 1990’s things changed dramatically. Ruby Ridge and Waco are the two defining moments that brought the fringe to the front. Since the mid 90’s the swing to the Right on the issue of guns has been dramatic and with horrifying results.

Call me a heretic, call my views heresy I am good with that. When any of you lay in the street with three bullets in you and wonder if you will survive, talk to me about how good guns are. When any of you bury a child due to violence, please give me a call and let’s discuss the need for more guns on the street I will be happy to debate this with you. Pile up the kindling boys and girls I am ready for the fire. On this one though, I was aligned with those in positions of authority, hell me and the NRA agreed 60 years ago now that is damned frightening.

Linda1I just picked a few of the key issue; I could likely do this for many other key issues of the day. Tell you what though, ask me anything and let’s see if I am truly a heretic. I am guessing I am only a heretic if you compare me to the other side of the aisle, not necessarily to 60 years ago. I will do my best to answer in context of both today and the 60-year mark though.

Pro Ugly

soapboxpileThe announcement by Chelsea Clinton of her impending motherhood later this year brought out the hate, we should have known it would. As I read some of the twits tweeting, I thought to myself, is there nothing, nothing at all off-limits or out of bounds. My other thought was, ‘God people are mean-spirited and ugly’.

How did we get this way?

The argument surrounding abortion is a nasty one. Full of spite, religious rhetoric, name-calling, slut shaming and vitriol.  There is no one, not a single person I know who is Pro-Abortion, only those who are pro-choice; thinking human beings, mature adults who have found the wherewithal to understand there are reasons, sometimes emotional and other times physical a woman may choose to end a pregnancy.

I told my own very personal abortion story in three parts:

Part I is No Bastards No Choice

Part II is Never Again, I Will Hate You

Part III is History isn’t Mutable, But We Are

It isn’t a pretty story, no hearts and flowers there is no happy ending. My personal story doesn’t put a positive spin on choice. It does however; reinforce the need for choice to exist for every woman in this nation, no matter her age, socio-economic or marital status.

This fight, it truly isn’t over ‘babies’, were it over ‘babies’ we would not see children living on the streets, living in cars without enough to eat, without enough to wear in the winter, without clean water. Were this truly about the ‘babies’ we would not be fighting to keep intact programs to provide for born children, for healthcare, education and their overall welfare and well-being.

No this is not about ‘babies’ or children. This fight is about slut shaming and it is about religious imposition. This fight is about smashing a great big red A or S depending on which you prefer on the breast of every woman who demands a life of her own, including the freedom to choose how, when and with whom she will have sex.

A and S extended

The fight over abortion has been ugly; it is about more than abortion though and none of us should ever forget this salient truth. It is about access to healthcare for women and children, as well as, access to birth control for all women and young men too. This fight has extended well beyond the fight over access to safe abortion, it is about whether women have the right to control their lives, not just their reproductive lives, their entire lives including economic, educational and even whom they choose as partners. This fight is about our future as women in this nation, thus it is also about the future of men.

I will not get into the science of when a pregnancy represents a viable human life, we honestly could argue this issue day in and day out and it would break down into name calling and ideology within no more than five comments. I tend to believe what those who have studied human development, embryology and medical science tell me, for a view of the entire process I quite like Visible Embryo I think this site does a superior job of showing and telling the story.

We use conventions to identify the sides of this battle over women, their bodies and their choices. Naming the one side Pro Life is inaccurate and poorly defines them. I do not want to spend time defining the contradiction of the Pro-Life platform with some of their other ideologies, suffice to say it is impossible to align them, at least for me.

This isn’t to say all those who are ‘Pro-Life’ fall into the vehement and ugly ideologies some are truly well meaning with sincerely held beliefs. Arguing with these folks regarding ensoulment is a waste of breath. My preference is simply to accept their beliefs and explain gently I have a different belief and am entitled to it, Constitutionally. I then ask, if you are truly Pro-Life do you support the following and if so how do you align that support:

  • Reduction of SNAP
  • Reduction of Education programs, for adults and children
  • Reduction in funding for after school programs and Head Start
  • Reduction in funding for Free Lunch programs
  • Reduction in WIC
  • Reduction to programs to help disadvantaged neighborhoods and youth
  • Reduction to Planned Parenthood funding, which is sometimes the only source of healthcare for women
  • Reduced access to Birth Control for women
  • Abstinence only education

I have likely missed several programs; these were the ones I could think of off the top of my head that directly affected women and children already born, in this world and needing our help every day.

Getting back to what spurred this entire rant though, poor Chelsea. She no sooner announces the happy and momentous news that she will be delivering her first child later this year the ugly begins. What is it with the The Ninth Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards - Inside Arrivalsopposition; nothing can simply be a happy announcement of a new stage of a young woman’s life. This nation is all turned in and upside down when Kim Kardashian delivers a child or when the royal family has another prince. For these events, we spend hours of bandwidth. But for the daughter of a President, we have nothing but scorn?

All I can say at this point, there is no one I know who is Pro-Abortion. Many I know who are Pro-Choice, without qualification or question. Should there be limitations in the later stages of pregnancy, yes of course, however these are well known and accepted by all right thinking human beings. The ugliness of this argument and how it leaks into everything, even the happy announcement of a young women who is not in the public eye except infrequently is simply another indication of how very ugly this nation has become. It makes me sad.

A good read (short).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-aaron-alexander/stop-calling-it-a-pro-life-movement_b_3577440.html

Shot Across the Blow

It certainly was a week and it only seems to get better, earth shaking and eye opening. If we didn’t know what some elements thought before about power and their ‘right’ to it, we do now. We also know in no uncertain terms just how myopic, scared and ignorant it is possible for a broad swath of this nation to be about the following:

  • Women, our place in society, our rights and privileges
  • Sex, no not gender but SEX

This is what I think of this past week and what some of those who hold high public office should do.

My friend Elyse over at FiftyFourandAHalf wrote a scathing and somewhat tongue-in-cheek assessment of the latest attack on women, the mandatory Vaginal Ultrasound as a pre-condition to abortion. Several states have now adopted this particular strategy, one that in normal circumstances would get you charged with felony rape. Yes, I said it under normal circumstances when a woman is penetrated against her will with a foreign object it is considered rape, at least this use to be true.

So far since 2012 several states have passed regressive draconian new laws taking women back to a time of back alley abortions, a time before ‘don’t worry baby I got rhythm’ or holding an aspirin between our knees was the only means of preventing pregnancy, most times it didn’t work. Some of these new laws have been buried deeply in budgets or other bills; they have been passed without debate or even discussion. Others, such as the one in Texas took two special sessions of the legislature to pass, despite clear protest on the steps of the capital by thousands of men and women.

It gets worse, these very same ignorant mostly men who want to crawl back inside the uterus and rule with an iron fist, yes these ill-informed assbackward misogynistic twits also want to refuse women access to birth control. Can you wrap your head around this one? Some of these ignoramus’s have actually gone so far as to state the IUD and the Pill ‘kill’ babies. These are the same asshats who refuse sex education in our schools of course, demanding we rely entirely upon abstinence education. Yeah that has proven effective.

I wonder did he ever consider it worked for him because he is an asshole.

Finally, just to regress just a little bit further and name names I give you Ken Cuccinelli (and his 7 children) on the GOP ticket for Governor of Virginia. All I can say run fast all you normal people of VA. This idiot wants to overturn a 2003 ruling on Lawrence v. Texas that found any sex, including oral and anal between consenting adults was no one’s business but those consenting adults. Virginia, never changed their Crimes Against Nature law to bring it into compliance, mostly due to Mr. Cuccinelli’s ardent protests while a newly elected state Senator. Now, as the State AG, well he is pursuing charges against a man who solicited a blowjob from a 17-year old (not condoning this act). Here is the wording of the law:

18.2-361. Crimes against nature; penalty.

  1. If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

He could pursue many other charges, but nope this is the one he wants. The Virginia court has rejected the charge. He has appealed and is pursuing this all the way up to the Supreme Court if he can, this is his ultimate goal.

This is where he wants to go, both Lawrence v. Texas and Roe v. Wade were decided on one prevailing principle, the right to privacy.

This is my thought, with what is happening on the abortion front and with Mr. Cuccinelli’ Crimes Against Nature ploy, as well as, all the other fucktards of the extreme Right. The GOP has its best opportunity, right now with this court; they may not get another chance to strip women of their freedom. The freedom to choose their future and control their bodies. This isn’t just about abortion, this is about women’s access to education, to healthcare, to our ability to lift ourselves out of poverty, to access to birth control, to access to true equality in what is supposed to be a nation of the Free.

As to the rest, they may not get another chance to criminalize homosexuality; this is especially true with the recent rulings from SCOTUS. The GOP is swimming upstream against what the majority of this nation thinks. Their tent continues to get smaller and smaller.

With all the big issues, we continue to face as a nation;

  • Failing Infrastructure
  • Economy
  • War

Don’t you think the GOP could find something better to do than attack women and how people choose to have sex in the privacy of their own homes?

Brain Farts aka Gaffes

It has been an interesting week in the political arena, a week of revelation and frank nastiness. Stupidity on the part of some of our national figures seems to run rampant doesn’t it? Without fail some members of the GOP simply can’t help but open their mouths and thoughtless statements flow out from between their lips without any restraint. Shall we look at the blatant ideological stances and “oops I made a gaffe” of the week?

Please, keep in mind my personal opinion of a gaffe is simply the lips moved before the brain engaged. The speaker said what they thought before they could think of a plausible lie.

Representative Todd Akin, R-Missouri

“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

We all know this just started a storm swirling around every circle, Left, Right and Center. There were few who didn’t jump on the bandwagon to denounce poor Todd and demand he quit the race immediately. The GOP pulled funding for his Senate race and disinvited him from Tampa.

Bad Todd, bad indeed. But it wasn’t because he was taking a position so far out of the mainstream from his party, no indeed not. The fact is they were simply mad that he gave voice to their platform. Todd Akin let the cat out of the bag!

While all the controversy is swirling the GOP is hammering out their platform. Mitt and Paul are there, hammers in hand knowing this will be the soapbox they stand upon leading up to November. Oh, look at that there is that pesky language…..what’s that you say?

“Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

There is more, you can read it here: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/23/full-gop-platform-statement-on-abortion/comment-page-2/

Next we have Mitt, the top of the GOP ticket who believes he can pretend to ignore the Platform he will be standing upon. Can we all say what a chump, you Mr. Romney courted the Wingnut Right and you will owe everything to them should you by some slim chance make it all the way to the White House. Your boy wonder VP supports Personhood Amendments to the Constitution and should he have a deciding vote in the Senate women will die in your new America, but let’s take a look at the statements of the GOP ticket shall we?

In an interview on August 20, with the National Review Online Mitt said the following:

 “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”

Love how he refers to himself as ‘we’, wonder if that is the royal ‘we’, he certainly isn’t talking about he and his running mate who had this to say.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

From an interview with WJHL this week, see more here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/24/ryan-on-abortion-exceptions-rape-is-just-another-method-of-conception/

Just one more little bit of humor from he who would be king, yes that’s right the Mitt, good old Mittens. I wonder if he aspired to a career as a failed stand-up comedian in his younger days, do you think this is might be the reason for his board stiff stage presence. Also do you think he is taking advice from the Donald?

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” he added. “They know that this the place that we were born and raised.”

Next we have a few of the reasons why we all need to make certain we are getting out to the polls and voting this year. Here is Iowa Representative Steve King discussing his knowledge, or should I say lack thereof, regarding the incidence of young rape and incest victims (specifically twelve year old girls) who might need abortions.

“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter,” he said.

Unaware of one of the more famous Tea Party Gaffes, teen mother Bristol Palin with baby daddy

Steve King is a staunch supporter of Personhood legislation and came out in support of Ted Akins. This is a Republican who last year refused to debate his female Democratic challenger, offering instead to debate her husband former Governor Tom Vilsack in her place. Want to see more, http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/08/21/kings-no-pregnant-12-year-old-rape-victims-just-latest-his-anti-choice-diatribes

Finally on the hit parade for the week we have this piece of awe-inspiring stupidity from my home state. This judge from Lubbock County is a real winner in judiciary prudence I tell you, or as we say down here this is one dumazzed sumbitch. Judge Tom Head, well he indeed had a full head in an interview broadcast on a local Fox station talking about what will happen if President Obama is re-elected, he had the following to say:

“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head said. “I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations. We’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”

“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here’.”

Of course, everyone in Lubbock, Right and Left are attempting to disavow his statements. Judge Head is an elected official and there are no real rules to remove him from the bench unless he can be shown to be just outright starkers. Currently the Judge is the head of the Emergency Management Plans for the county, he also presides over mental competency hearings (how scary is that).

Through all this the GOP has been pointing to the single statement by VP Joe Biden regarding Wall Street made in Virginia to a mixed crowd. The statement was as follows:

 “He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. He is going to put y’all back in chains.” 

For the past two weeks, since the VP made this statement the Right and even some of those on the Left have been furiously hammering away at the Dog Whistle of race baiting this statement blows. But does it? I would say no, indeed we are not only defined by a single form of slavery and that being the horrific slavery of the African traded and abused on these shores for hundreds of years. While this was a terrible part of our history that continues to define a society even today, it is not the only slavery and not the only form of chains we endure.

The statement by Joe Biden, in my mind was not a gaffe at all but a very clear and truthful statement of where we are as a nation if we do not get back to some basic truths and basic facts. One of those is we must regulate Wall Street and Banking. How much clearer can we be than this?

So we all need to get over it. We are slaves to political correctness in this regard. We need to unchain our minds and allow ourselves to use the English language to express ourselves properly and with intent!

Rape is Rape. Force is Force.

Living breathing women must never be slaves to the moral choices of others who have no interest in their lives or futures.

Stand up, be counted.

Enough Already

Another medical provider, one focused on women’s health has fallen victim to Operation Rescue and the inaptly named “Right-to-Life”. These are the same people who cheered at the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009. It seems it will never end, women’s health and those who provide healthcare will continue to be under assault until we throw up our hands in surrender.

Dr. Ann Neuhaus will lose her license if Kansas has their way. The years she spent in school will be lost. The years she spent serving women in her community, lost.

If you read the article, the deck was stacked against her before she ever stepped before the board that would judge her; one seeded by an Anti-Abortion Governor with past members of Operation Rescue. The outcome was decided before Dr. Neuhaus presented a single piece of evidence or answered a single question.

Is this the America any of us want? Whether you support a woman’s right to choose, or not. Is this truly the America you want?

READ THE ARTICLE BELOW

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In a continuing effort to both curb access to abortion and reiterate their own opinion that there is never any situation where abortion could be necessary for a patient’s well-being, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts has decided in favor of revoking Dr. Ann Neuhaus’s medical license. Neuhaus, a colleague of Dr. George Tiller, assisted him by providing second opinions for mental health exceptions for late abortions.

According to the Associated Press, Neuhaus was hoping to have her full medical license restored after spending years only allowed to provide limited medical care for charity work.  Instead, an ongoing investigation into 11 patient cases obtained by Operation Rescue became the center of a movement to have her license stripped all together.

Read More at Reality Check by Robin Marty

History isn’t Mutable, But we are

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 22 January 1973

It is an important date, the reason this is date is important? It was nearly a one year after I lay on that cold table begging a doctor and two nurses not to perform an Instillation Abortion, while my mother waited impatiently in the waiting room. They did not have my agreement or permission, they apparently did not need it, they had what they needed, hers.

Forty years, that is how long it has been, forty years and some months. Until this weekend, I haven’t really thought about the reality that I had an illegal abortion. I guess in the back of my mind I have always known, always had in one of the boxes I kept safe from examination, but until Friday when I first started writing this trilogy in Broken Chains, I hadn’t really put the pieces together. I had always wondered why even when I begged them to stop, they didn’t; I knew the law yet they didn’t stop. I had always wondered why, what amounted to induced labor and then a D&C was performed well past my first trimester, I knew the law even in the early days of Roe v. Wade, this wasn’t the norm. I sometimes wondered how this happened, why my pediatrician the doctor who had cared for me my entire life did this to me with only my mother’s signature and why that little hospital allowed it, never reported it just turned a blind eye.

By the time I returned to and thought to ask, my doctor was dead. His practice had been taken over by two other doctors, two young and enthusiastic doctors and all new nurses who were more than willing to answer my questions. I asked for my files, they weren’t so happy to hand those over, this was 1979 and there was nothing to force their compliance with my requests. I explained my request though, what I was looking for and why I was looking. I just wanted answers; I wanted my mother’s signature and the explanation. I would have done anything, begged, crawled across fire, walked on glass, offered my body as a sex slave for those answers. I was so raw and I believed I deserved to understand why two people who should have cared for me brutalized me so terribly. Finally, one of those young doctors took pity after listening to my story, he told me I could read the file in his office but I couldn’t have copies and I couldn’t take anything with me.

There was nothing there!

Oh, there was a positive pregnancy test and a sad note, because he had known me all my life. The next entry was the night I was admitted to the hospital, February 11, 1972, it said I spontaneously aborted (this means I miscarried) a Male Fetus, there were measurements in the file, I don’t remember them anymore precisely; he was nearly 5 inches and nearly 3 ounces. I never knew, actually I always imagined, but I didn’t know they documented this information or even cared, now I had another nightmare, did he draw one breath?

Next I went to the hospital, I asked for the records. They told me the same thing, they didn’t exist I was never there for an abortion. I was never there. I gave up. I had an illegal abortion but there was no proof, only that I had spontaneously miscarried, that was all it would ever say. Perhaps only I would know the truth. No one else, only me.

Choice is being able to say NO

Over the years I had hardened my heart against the empty place in my homes, my marriages and my life called childlessness. At some point I became a misopedist; putting it out convincingly I did not want children and was not unhappy with the turn of my life. This was not the truth, not my inner truth but it was the only truth I had that would stop people from handing me their children.

I have been told many times, we are never given more than we can bear, never more than we can survive. I suspect this might be true, I even suspect there are reasons why some are forged in much hotter fires. What we do with the wreckage determines who we become and how we will live our lives. It is rare that anyone has an epiphany changes direction and turns their life around entirely. Letting go of every injury, releasing every painful memory and creating a new person to stand in the place of the old one, victim to survivor is much slower and harder.

There are many vigils we sit as we mourn our lost innocence, lost childhoods and then finally kicking in the doors protecting memories. I write these as trilogies to show clear paths not just of terror, pain, suffering or horror; but of growth, recovering and even sometimes joy (I promise). I will get there, I will write them. This was the worst of it, the hardest to write the hardest to remember. This short interval, just over 1 year of my life set my feet on a path towards so many other life choices I all too often look back at this single year and ask;

What if?

The truth of what happened, it created in me some beliefs and truths that to this day I believe, they have never changed they are immutable.

‘Forgiveness isn’t free, I don’t owe it.’

‘Choice isn’t just about Yes, it is also about No.’

‘I will never do to anyone what was done to me, that is a choice that I have.’

‘Survival is not for those without compassion, you can never live entirely inside yourself or for yourself.’

I built strong walls and I was fortunate to have a good mind. I was able to escape behind the persona I built without much challenge. Much of that person was the true me; strong, smart, hardworking, driven even and sometimes funny. Unfortunately, that person was also guarded, stubborn, quick to cut a person out of my life, quick to walk away, unforgiving even. There are many things I grew to like about myself over the years; many things though remained hidden even from my friends, there were also many things I never loved, things I believed did not deserve to be loved. Now, as I explore my history I am learning that just maybe I was wrong in my judgment.

So now I am walking down the hallways of my mind, shaking the locks and rattling the doors. I didn’t get here all alone I know that. It wasn’t all bad, it couldn’t have been. These are just those pivotal moments, those points of darkness that I decided to finally shine light into. With that I leave trilogy II in Broken Chains with this quote which I think is apt:

‘Our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us.’

William James (1842 – 1910),  pioneering American psychologist and philosopher

Trilogy II – Broken Chains

Part I – No Bastards No Choice

Part II – Never Again, I will hate you

Broken Chains – Start at Part I

No Bastards No Choice

I have circled this memory so often, shaken this box more than once to determine if it rattled or if finally what was inside had turned to dust. Close hold, this is one I keep buried in the back of the closet and under lock and key, rarely even considering taking it out for closer examination, I know how these skeletons dance. Truth, I know how hot the firestorm will burn when I finally unwrap the chains, release the padlocks and set a match to the dried tinder, I know what is in this box.

I was fourteen the first time I understood what bastard meant. I had heard the term a few times; my second (adoptive) mother had used it in reference to me on more than one occasion, truthfully though I was never that

Florence Crittenton, Courtesy HistoryLink.org

curious as to its literal meaning. In January of 1972, I was sitting in the offices of Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers aka “The House of Another Chance” and my mother was explaining to the woman behind the desk “I would not be bringing another Bastard like me home”. Surprisingly, she also told the woman this was where my ‘slut’ mother was when she was pregnant with me, ‘like mother like daughter’. She made clear one of two things would happen, I would agree to a closed adoption or the state would strip my rights from me with her help. The ‘nice’ lady behind the desk helped explain that as a child myself, I would have no say in this matter, I had no rights and could not prevent this from happening to me or my child.

Did I mention I had hidden my pregnancy? By this time, I was just past my twelfth week and already had a small bump. I sat in that office arms wrapped around myself rocking and stunned by what was happening to me.

SeaDruNar – Seattle Drugs & Narcotics

Don’t let their glossy new look fool you, back in the early 1970’s they met in the basement of an old house in a not so nice part of Seattle. They were ‘famous’ for their approach to dealing with drug addicts and ‘bad-assed’ teenagers; addict-to-addict mentoring and complete immersion techniques that stripped you of your soul, your will, your entire self and then filled the empty spaces left with something new and presumably better. Don’t get me wrong, my badass at this stage of my life included a bit of inhaling now and again, but I was far from any addictions, certainly, I wasn’t in need of hardcore intervention. I was simply a scared fourteen-year-old, with a baby bump. My mother wasn’t having this, she had her heart set on a disappearing act and SeaDruNar was the ticket. After the first session the ex-addict who ran the teenage group told her it wasn’t the right place for me, I didn’t relate to their problems and issues and didn’t ‘share’ with the group.

A few days later, we were back, this time I was shoved into the adult group. These were grown people with grown people problems, led by two ex-addicts. This is where I learned some of my mother’s story, but as part of her sharing with the group she also shared what an ungrateful and wretched child I was. She threw her head back and howled her own pain, instead of chewing off her own leg to release the trap; she gnawed at mine drawing blood as she shred me in front of her willing audience. I resisted their demands I beg for her forgiveness; I should given them what they claimed as due.

Three days of Hell – You Win

For those truly hard cases, those unrepentant hard to crack nuts SeaDruNar use to run ‘camps’. Three-day away camps, where you sit in rooms on the floor with little to eat, infrequent breaks and are verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abused until you are broken. Sounds fun, right? Back in the early 1970’s, this was common treatment for addicts and hard-cases. There were no real medical doctors, no trained psychologists or addiction specialists present; just ex-addicts, ex-convicts and us the hard-cases who they hadn’t gotten through yet and whose parents signed permission slips for them to abuse.

Did this treatment work? I don’t know, this would be my last experience with SeaDruNar, my mother certainly got what she wanted from it.

I walked into this thinking I would sit for three days and survive. I would ignore the screaming, crying and sob stories. I did not have to give in, I didn’t have to talk to them, didn’t have to answer their questions; I knew the rules. They could scream at me, I could sit silent and there was nothing they could do. They didn’t scare me. I only had to get through three days. This wasn’t quite the truth of the ‘camp’; I didn’t quite understand the rules.

I didn’t know about lack of sleep.

Really me 1971 School Picture

I didn’t know what pressure on your bladder could do to you, or urinating on yourself can do to your ego. I didn’t know about public shaming, or being forced to sit in your own filth for hours before being allowed to change and bath.

I didn’t know. I didn’t know what fear could do under those conditions.

By day three of this hell I was destroyed. My heart, my soul, my fight was gone. There was nothing left of me. I was convinced I was unworthy to nurture life, let alone consider trying to care for it. I was shown pictures of deformed children and they were mine, because I had smoked pot, I had smoked hash and this is what drugs do I was told. I was an addict, I was a slut I was nothing, I was beneath contempt; I believed, but then I had been hanging on by a thread anyway it didn’t take much for me to believe.

“Yes, you win. You win, how could I have ever thought to want to keep my baby, that I might be worthy. You win.”

By now, I was at my sixteenth week of pregnancy. My mother was running out of time, soon my father would find out and she would be out of options.

The Abortion I never wanted was arranged. I was picked up from the “camp” house by mother dear. No time to change my mind to gather back my soul, to rethink or re-feel. No time to beg, though I begged the doctor and the nurses;

“NO, Please, NO. Please don’t do this. Please I don’t want this No.”

I curled on the table on my side. They strapped me down to keep me supine, to stop me from moving.

“No, please don’t please don’t.”

“There will be a slight pinch this won’t hurt,” someone said that just before they stuck needles into my womb.

I was given an Instillation abortion and sent home to wait.

What happens when choice is not choice and waiting is all we can do, the next box I will unlock in Breaking Chains. 

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