Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Deal with Hatred?

Four coffees for four people
I've come to expect "baby killer." I still haven't gotten used to the whole, "You should have killed yourself" or "You should be sterilized" or "You should have your tongue ripped out." But these attacks are typically on twitter, where people can see my avatar, and not actually me. It's safe to attack people in other states.

This morning, I organized some friends, rounded them up around 8am, and headed south to Portland. From there, we took a small coffee break, a small potty break, and found Planned Parenthood. There were already a few protesters lining the street. The rain was coming down in sheets.

I wasn't there for an abortion this time, but the sight of them crawled into my veins like shards of glass mixed with fire ants. Children, younger than their teen years, were holding signs of what they dubbed "Aborted Fetuses."

I was in the state of Maine. Rain was pouring down my face. Yet, for a split second, I was in Virginia on a sunny day, shaking as a friend wrapped her arm around me and whispered, "Don't listen to them, honey. Don't listen."

The caffeine kicked into my system, and I started shaking. My friends and I pulled out our signs:

"We Support You" "Honk for Choice" and "Planned Parenthood Saved My Life"
Immediately the tension in the air rose like a vibration from an amp that had just been turned on. It was almost tangible. I wasn't sure if we were going to get hurt, assaulted, or just verbally attacked. Cars began to honk for the honk for choice sign. People walked by and high fived us. And then the gentleman to the left of this picture began to call us "Willfully ignorant" even after I explained, "Sorry, actually. I know exactly what happens. I had an abortion, but thanks."

From there, he continued to insult us. Women walked passed us with the greeters while protesters accosted them. A representative from Planned Parenthood stepped out and said that it's hard for women entering the clinic to differentiate signs of support from signs of hate and malice. We decided to move across the street, where more people high fived us and honked.

And the protesters began to yell across the street, "Why did you move? Are you scared of us?!"

"We're not scared," I hollered back. "We just don't want to look like YOU."

She yelled for a few more minutes before finally giving up. Our signs began to run (turns out when Crayola says "Washable paint" they ain't kiddin). When Honk for Choice was no longer visible, and Your Body, Your Choice leaked onto the street, we called it a day.

I've spent all day going over this in my mind. My friends and I weren't there to spread hate, rather an environment of acceptance, and support for women who may be there on the worst day of their lives. It's hard for me to separate the hatred and anger I feel from my abortion experience and protesters, to what's currently happening.

I accept people have freedom of speech. I accept that they may be awful people. But it's one thing to verbally attack someone online. It's an entirely different thing to attack someone as she's walking, with her head down, through doors you may never enter.

So my question is, how do you deal with that kind of hatred?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Stolen Life

I've been kind of giving reviews of books in a mini fashion, not really respecting them enough (or taking the time) to write an entire blog post about a book. It's a good and a bad thing.

However, the book I'm about to tell you about made me sick to my stomach. It made me so angry with the male gender, I didn't want my boyfriend to even put his arm around me. I was left with the staggering question, "Why did this happen?"

With no further ado...

A Stolen Life
By: Jaycee Dugard
Rating on Goodreads: ***** of *****

A Stolen Life is Jaycee Dugard's memoir. She was 11 when she was kidnapped, and held captive for eighteen years. In that time, she endured countless tortures, including repeatedly being raped and told to stop

It's hard for me to fathom how men like that can live. It's also difficult for

It is unacceptable that we live in a culture that looks the other way, or slut shames, or does any other awful thing toward women. This book further reiterated why I'm a feminist, why I'm doing what I'm doing at AbortionChat, and why, above all else, I will fight for women.

This book should be read by every single person out there. I didn't give it a five star rating based on writing quality (her formal education was cut off at 5th grade) but instead, by the sheer ability to recount what she'd gone through, and how she's trying to heal.

Brace yourselves. This is NOT a pretty story.
me to have any sympathy towards rapists. Personally, I feel like they should have a "One and Done" mentality, where if it happens, even once, they get dismembered, slowly. Jaycee's rapist had raped a woman before. He was on parole. His parole officer came to the house she was kept at. He went to jail for a month was she was captive. And yet no one discovered her.
crying because it was ruining her rapists fantasies.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sometimes I Feel Invincible

...And then my computer goes forever without wanting to work...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This is how we do
This Christmas was spent in a basement of crazy folk, sipping hot chocolate and peppermint Kahlua. I bought and watched Rudolph, and Frostie the Snowman (terrifying now that I'm 25). I was the only person who volunteered to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Moments before settling into spiked hot chocolate, I'd stopped over my Partner in Crime's to witness family life; his parents, girlfriend, and sister gathered around a beautiful tree exchanging gifts. I felt like an unwanted alien. Something to pick at and dissect. I didn't mean to intrude. I just wanted to drop off a present for him and a card for his parents.

An hour or so later, as I watched the animated cartoons, from time to time, I spurted a few tears, but after a long while, Baxter and I cuddled, said Merry Christmas, and went to sleep. It was over for another year.

Father's Day kind of feels like that.

At work, the cash register faces a pretty display of cards. Right now, the hot sellers are Father's Day cards. They're witty, and clever, and everything I'd want if I were buying a F-Day card. But I'd have no one to send it to.

At work today, a man came in who strikingly resembled my father. My hands started shaking as I imagined him grabbing the back of my head and bouncing it off the counter top, or worse, calling me by my first name. Or worse yet, rendering me unmovable, and telling me to go outside and being trapped, and kidnapped, and helpless...again.

I imagined him saying he missed me, or he loved me, or any of those things my father had repeatedly said before he'd hurt my sisters or me. Even after I realized the balding gentleman in front of me was not my father, I couldn't stop shaking.

Not all little girls grow up with Fathers. Not all little girls grow up with Mothers. But some of us grow up with Sisters, or kickass friends, or amazing teachers. Never underestimate who you're influencing when you interact with the youth. Many people kept me from becoming my parents. Many people kept me from throwing my life away, several times over.
Kind of like an empty dinner table...all the time

I'm not saying it's easy to not have family. It's not. Christmas is never fun. Thanksgiving is lonely. I don't get to imagine my wedding and my father (or anyone's father) giving me away. Growing up without parents isn't easy. But people can do it. And people can turn out okay.

So for those of you who having loving husbands, hug them. For those who've had loving fathers, love them, too. Celebrate the strong men in your life, let them know what they mean to you, because there are some people in the world cringing on this day, wishing for the chance to give a strong man a hug. Instead, settling for cuddling with a large dog.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hiking and Healing

It's hard to put into words what today has always been like for me. June 10th marks the birthday of my best friend.

October 1st marks the day she died, ten years ago this Fall. Both dates are always hard for me.

She would be 27 today. I scheduled the day off from work for a "mental health" day, and went off on an adventure. Because I love nature and being outside, I figured hiking would be the best way to honor Kellie's birthday. So I packed up the pups, and Damien, and we went to Sunday River.

The drive there, I couldn't stop talking about Kellie. The fact that she'd driven a stick shift car. The way she'd learned to drive in her yard. The fact I don't have a single picture of us together.

We stopped at the first chair lift for a water break. Damien cupped his hands while I poured water into them so the pups could drink. Then we shared the 3 liter bottle (it still was NOT enough water for two people and two pups).

There were bugs everywhere, and the grass was so tall, Baxter frequently disappeared. My knees hurt. My back was tired. Baxter kept rolling in mud puddles. We were all being attacked by bugs. But we kept on.

Sunday River has eight peaks to choose from with many trails to hike up or snowboard down. Last summer, I'd hiked with a friend on one side. Today, I'd decided to hike some of my favorite trails. When I got to the top, I sat on a stationary chair lift and looked out across the scenery in front of me. There was a gondola car directly ahead, and the number on the window nearly knocked the wind out of me.


Kellie's favorite number.

I could have picked any peak to hike up. I could have taken any other trail. But I chose this one. It was like she was waiting for me at the top.

People say that time heals all wounds, but it's a lie. Time numbs wounds, turns scabs into scars. They don't bleed out, but you still see them, feel them, remember how you got them.

I miss Kellie every single day. Some days, like her birthday, or her death day, I miss her more. But it's nice to know that when I get to the top of a mountain, she's missing me, too.
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