Archives for posts with tag: women’s lives matter

I woke in a sweat, uncomfortable and shaking, tearing my consciousness from a nightmare that I had gotten pregnant – at 60, post-menopause – and unable to terminate my terribly risky and thoroughly unwanted pregnancy because the law had changed, and my bodily autonomy as a human being was utterly lost. My heart was pounding. I paced restlessly for a moment or two, feeling vaguely unsettled and with a persistent “uncomfortable” feeling in my guts.

I laid back down, fighting sensations very much at odds with each other; the sweats and discomfort, the fatigue and sleepiness. I felt peculiarly averse to going back to sleep. I wasn’t exactly nauseous… but I felt suspiciously as if I might feel better if I got sick and got past it.

Predictably enough, I was quite sick moments later. Something I ate apparently did not agree with me. The stressful nightmare was likely a byproduct of the combination of physical and emotional discomfort – one from whatever I ate that did not agree with me, the other from the recently leaked not-quite-official-yet Supreme Court document regarding the likely end of Roe v Wade. My physical discomfort was greatly eased by vomiting. My emotional discomfort… well, it’s no surprise that it persists.

…Tell me again why someone besides me, myself, has anything to say about whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term? I’ve chosen to be childless. Period. Seriously. I did not want to be a mother. Why would my choice be out of my hands? When I hear people spouting bullshit talking points about the sacredness of life from the moment of conception, I reliably find myself wondering how they are so easily able to overlook the sacredness of the life of the pregnant person, herself? How do they justify what is fundamentally a position that states women should be coercively required – forced – to bear a child? Forced to bring a pregnancy to term that they do not want. Forced to endure a potentially life-threatening pregnancy for months. Forced, potentially, to go through all that and the trauma of giving up a child for adoption in order to avoid motherhood? How is that acceptable?

I hear a lot of religious arguments against abortion. My thoughts on that are basically… by all means, if your faith restricts you from terminating a pregnancy, definitely do not do that, then. I get it. Your religious freedoms absolutely permit that choice for you. My religious beliefs do not in any way restrict me from choosing to end a pregnancy. My religious freedoms should ensure that I continue to have access to a full measure of reproductive medical services – including abortion. I know, it probably sounds like I am taking this damned personally for a woman on the other side of menopause… doesn’t even affect me, directly, right? I am taking this personally. Having abortion available to me ensured I was able to choose to be childless by intent. My choice. I was able to graduate high school. I was able to join the Army once I did. Both of those would have been beyond my reach, without having been able to terminate a pregnancy while I was in high school. I had birth control measures available. I used them. My birth control failed – which is not uncommon. I was fortunate to live at a time when abortion was available to me, when I needed it.

I needed to get that off my mind. Thank you. If I’ve upset you, I regret the distress I’ve caused you. Not enough to change (or withhold) my thoughts on this topic, but it isn’t my intention to cause you suffering if we disagree.

…But… can anyone tell me why it seems acceptable to tell someone that they must be forced to bear a child against their will, or potentially under life-threatening circumstances? Why is the not-yet-viable-outside-the-womb fetus “life” worthy of respect and value – but the living breathing human person with that fetus in their body is less so? I don’t get it. Like it or not, that’s really what is being proposed; forcing people who do not want to bear a child to go through that process because someone else is not okay with an abortion that they have nothing to do with at all. Yes, I’m unreasonably angry about this, and taking it personally. It feels personal.

It’s late. My guts are no longer churned up. I’m no longer sweating. My breathing is relaxed and even. It’s quiet in these wee hours, and I am alone with my thoughts in the night. I’m okay, though. No despair. Just quiet. There’s no stress to these sleepless hours; tomorrow I return home to the welcoming embrace of my Traveling Partner. I’m definitely homesick. I’m eager to be at home all through the month of June.

A yawn unexpectedly splits my face. I’m tired and sleepy. Time to try that sleep thing, again. Tomorrow is a new day, and plenty soon enough for new beginnings. 🙂

The week finishes with the work day ahead, and then it’s the weekend. The clock seems to tick at a much faster rate working this particular job… Wasn’t it just Monday morning a couple days ago? There is so much in my subjective human experience of life that is so very relative.

Monday already seems so long ago...

Monday already seems so long ago…

I had a delightful lunch conversation with a departing colleague yesterday. I’ll miss her greatly though we’ve really only just begun to get to know each other; she has a “quality of mind” I find engaging and nurturing even to be around. She has a studious gentle wit I greatly enjoy.  Lunch was excellent.

The delights of lunching with a friend were followed by spending the evening with my Traveling Partner. He was waiting for me when I got home, and coming home to his warm smile and his embrace felt so… oh damn. Words fail me. I love coming home to his smile. I don’t know what made last night specifically so special… somehow it was. I’m still smiling. I have a weekend ahead of house-hunting, he has a trip away coming up early next week. Chances are, we won’t see each other again for some days… I’ll probably still be smiling, thinking about last night. lol

Life can be very simple, seemingly effortless, coasting on what is enough, enjoying what feels best, avoiding what is uncomfortable… I like those moments. I cherish them. There is, however, so much more to learn from the hurts, from what is uncomfortable: awkward moments, real talk, hard choices, tough times, books… and each other. I’m enjoying the morning and the week, and it truly seems filled with delights – I’m also aware that life has more to teach me, and that there is more to know. Have I finally grown enough to move beyond crashing on sharp rocky shores of disappointing moments? Will I no longer feel devastated and bereft to face losses? If I catch myself expecting that to be easy, I know I am not paying attention at all. Change is. Tough times occur. There will be losses to face. Disappointments to bear. Moments of struggle. Feelings. There will be all the feelings. All of them.

I smile for a moment, thinking about my 20-something self of long ago, and her unyielding rage and cynicism, wrapping herself in emptiness saying “I feel nothing.” I laugh gently to myself from a perspective of greater understanding, years of experience, and think kindly “Oh, baby girl, you only feel too much. You’re drowning in the feelings. Stop fighting them. Just let go.” Her tears well up in my eyes and spill down my face many years too late for her to heal. I feel the feelings now – and that’s okay, too. It’s even more than okay; it’s enough. What a powerful thing, to feel. Healing takes time. I didn’t understand then how very much time that might be… a lifetime. A life of time. All the minutes I spent on healing – and all the minutes I spent fighting the work involved in that process – and all of the other minutes, too.

I’m still not done growing and learning. There always seems some bit more, just out ahead…  How did I end up here, this morning? Thinking about Women’s History Month, actually. For Black History Month I read about black lives, in the words of black authors, about black life experiences I cannot fathom from my vantage point mired in white privilege.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

I do my best to learn and to grow and to be kind and to be understanding – which means learning some things, and exposing myself to discomfort. I read James Baldwin. I read Martin Luther King Jr. I read Malcolm X, which I first read at the tender age of 9; I understand it all quite differently at 53. Now here it is Women’s History Month and I caught myself giving it the brush off “I’m a woman myself… I already read books about women, by women… Nothing to see here…”.  It isn’t the truth of my experience though, in a very important respect; I am only one women, living only one woman’s experience. (And by percentages, I don’t actually read that many books by women.) What about black women? What about Muslim women? What about immigrant women? What about women in science? What about incarcerated women? What about trans women? What about women living in dire poverty? What about women from countries and cultures I know nothing about at all? What about the meta and the metaphor of other women’s lives, experiences, and voices? How dare I look into the eyes of the woman in the mirror and assert a claim that I know enough – even about her?

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

There is more to learn. Always more to learn. At no point as it ever been demonstrated that there is an end point to learning. 🙂

This weekend I’ll make a short reading list for March reading. Women’s words. Women’s lives. Women’s greatness. I’m eager to get farther along in our stories – will we change the world?