A Letter to the Abused

To the abused,
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Yours is a human, normal reaction to a fucked up situation, or a fucked up person. If there is anything wrong with anyone, it’s your abuser, not you. Normal people don’t tear down other people. Normal people don’t destroy a person’s self-confidence or self-esteem. Normal people don’t destroy other people.

We all have damage. Anyone who has lived any amount of time has been hurt somewhere down the line. But we all have to face our damage and deal with it head on, alone. I’m not saying you can’t seek help, you should. I’m just saying you have to come to terms with it in your own head in order to heal. No amount of counseling can do that. You have to do that part yourself. The first step to healing is to first acknowledge that your mistakes are not who you are. Your mistakes are only part of what shapes you. There is so much more to you than that.

You have to stop over-thinking. To over think is to let negative thoughts take hold of you. When you start to feel like that’s where your thoughts are going, redirect your mind to something else. Something your passionate about will help you focus on something much more productive. Or start exercising. I found that walking helps me, especially when that walking is at a local park where nature surrounds you and eases your thoughts into beauty and life.

You will know you have finally healed when you start to recognize the signs and protect yourself form them before they can work their way in. Know when someone is displaying abusive behavior and put a stop to it, or remove yourself from that environment. You don’t deserve to be mistreated. No one does. Demand respect and kindness or walk away.

And whatever you do, don’t inflict your own damage on someone else. Don’t become the person who hurt you.

Love yourself

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She

“She was warned, she was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”
She insisted on being heard
Her opposition put on the record
She was scolded like a child.
Nevertheless she persisted. -Senator Elizabeth Warren

She was going to learn.
Education is important.
Then they shot her in the head.
Nevertheless, she persisted. -Malala

She wrote the Equal Rights Amendment.
She protested, was arrested.
Abused, she went on a hunger strike.
Nevertheless, she persisted. -Alice Paul

She was born blind and deaf.
She was abandoned as a lost cause.
Yet she learned how to communicate.
Nevertheless, she persisted. -Helen Keller

She opened an illegal birth control clinic.
She was shut down in a raid.
She tried again and again, was even evicted.
Nevertheless, she persisted. -Margaret Sanger

The List goes on and will go on, because women who can be silenced don’t make history.

You can try to stop us.
Nevertheless, we will persist.

Chained

Am I chained by gender rules
To this private womb
Made public by morals
Not my own.

Imprisoned in femininity
By a public entity
Poisoned by power
Demanding dominance

Am I to be
Prisoner to pregnancy
Denied choices, living
In forced dependency.

The Rights We’re Fighting For

The Rights We’re Fighting For Are Yours Too
The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have recently made a comment about a meme I saw in which it compared the women at the Million Woman March and sister marches all over the world to women in the military. It was belittling the women of the marches. It struck me as a complete fallacy and I pointed it out, to which the poster completely missed my point. She was one who doesn’t want to hear anything contrary to her own views and got defensive immediately. I wasn’t insulting her; I was merely stating that it was comparing apples to oranges. The reasons for the two groups marching are completely different. The soldiers are sworn to defend the Constitution, yes, but their marching is a part of the job they signed up for. The Million Woman March was about the rights our own government is trying to deny us under this new administration. So the only comparison I see is that they defend the very rights we are exercising. You would think they would feel good about the fact that we’re actually using the rights they defend instead of letting them lie dormant and unused. If we do that, we will most surely lose them. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I will state that no, I don’t understand conservative thought patterns any more than they understand liberal ones. I don’t understand how any woman could support donald trump when he has been very vocally anti-woman and has even bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it. Did you not learn at any point in life that sometimes a man just says what he thinks you want to hear to get you to do what he wants? To listen to what someone says and not pay attention to what he does is putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be taken unfair advantage of. And of course when that happens, you get the blame for putting yourself in that position. That is where rape culture was born. And chalking it up to “locker room talk” encourages the behavior because they got away with it, so they’ll continue to do it. And believing that something never happened because they told you so and ignoring that fact when someone shows you video proof is willful ignorance. You become the victim of gas-lighting when you do that because you’re buying into the illusion of innocence. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I see so much out there that is critical to the protesters in that they are being judged. Another commenter said that half the people out there didn’t even know why they were there. I was there and everyone there except perhaps the little ones knew exactly what they were doing there. Even some of the little ones did. Between signs, conversations, t-shirts, buttons and chants, everyone had a valid reason to address during that march. There were many, but all of them were born of the acidic vitriol that came out of the trump campaign. There is much fear and rage out there over the things that he promised his followers that put us all at risk. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

To assume that the marchers were all out there for the same reason is to make an assumption with no facts. Try a Google search of the protest. There are literally hundreds of signs posted on Facebook alone that were at the actual protests that address a multitude of reasons for protest. All of those signs all boil down to one thing. The protesters fear that they’re losing rights under this administration. More than just reproductive rights. More than just equality. More than just one issue. I alone made signs for multiple reasons. All of our concerns should be addressed. All of our voices should be heard. Not just by the new administration but by the supporters of it as well. Pay attention. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too. You might think we’re fighting for something we already have but you’re not paying attention if you think there is no threat to them. The truth is, trump has threatened the first amendment multiple times already. If we allow him to attack a primary constitutional right specifically mentioned first in the Bill of Rights, they will slowly pick away at the others as well. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I know the first argument will be that his threat to the media is only those reporting lies, but the ones reporting lies are not the ones he’s attacking. He is attacking the respected media outlets that have earned their place as respectable reporting entities. He is attacking those who report anything he dislikes, even if there is documented proof of it. And 6 reporters have been arrested and charged with a felony for rioting because they were on protest sights reporting on those protests. We can’t allow this to happen. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0) that’s the NEW YORK TIMES ladies and gentlemen, not just some fly by night organization that just popped up over the last few years. Not just some tabloid on tv organization. The New York Times….The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

The first amendment gives us the right to free speech, free press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. All of these things are involved in our protests. To arrest people for exercising our first amendment rights is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. Yet there are states that have bills on their agenda trying to criminalize the right to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances. (http://www.snopes.com/lawmakers-criminalize-peaceful-protest/) Yes, Snopes is a legitimate source. They are a fact checking organization. And the article does say they are definitely on the agenda, but that none have passed into law. These are the things we need to pay attention to. This is a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT they’re trying to criminalize. They’re trying to chip away at the foundation of the Constitution ladies and gentlemen. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Yes, we have a problem with the right trying to criminalize and ban abortion. You can’t legislate morality because morality is subject to individual interpretation and some of us believe it to be more moral to spare our offspring a short and extremely painful death than to force it to feel that pain. YOU DO NOT KNOW what leads a woman to the decision to have an abortion. You don’t even know when you see a pregnant woman going to a Planned Parenthood office if her fetus is even viable. A D & C is also performed at Planned Parenthood. This is done after a fetal demise, yet people who insist on judging these women stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and brutalize these women for their decisions without knowing the first thing about them. Stop judging when you don’t know what’s going on. And stop supporting legislators who want to force these women to risk their lives to carry out a pregnancy without knowing the circumstances either. These decisions need to remain between a woman and her doctor, NOT her legislator. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Stop trying to force your beliefs on everyone else. Science is real. Scientists have made a career of studying their choice of scientific field. They have devoted their lives to it. Just because you don’t know the difference between a theory and a scientific theory does not give you the right to discredit their research and make assumptions about it, much less to allow lawmakers to make laws governing it. Science is responsible for every advance to improve human life. Open a book. Not just any book. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly don’t know anything but their right wing propaganda. Open a book by A SCIENTIST. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Open a medical Journal. Learn about genetics. Explore how genetics works and learn that there are genetic variations that people might find to be odd but they recur in nature more commonly than you might think. Like genetic mutations that cause a human being to be born with more than one set of reproductive organs. If that can happen, then being born with a male identity in a female body and vice versa is also not only feasible but occurs often. Quit making assumptions and do some research. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Ask yourself this question. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you think everyone you meet sees you the same way you see yourself. If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you know that they don’t. So do you want people that don’t know you making assumptions about you and condemning you for it and stripping you of your rights based on an assumption? That is exactly what is happening. Pay attention. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Stop assuming that because it gets cold, Global Warming is not real. ALL scientists agree it’s real. The only people that say it’s not are politicians. And if we let it go and continue in the direction we’re going, we will kill ourselves when we kill our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Multiple species of animals are dying due to the actions of humans. This is not natural selection; this is human beings becoming the cancer that is killing the whole planet. We have to do the right thing for all of us, for our children and future generations. The Bible doesn’t defend your denying what’s happening. We’re supposed to be stewards of our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Start paying attention….before it’s too late.

Declaration

To be free is to be able to live as I choose;
To decide who I am;
To decide who to love and be allowed
To marry my choice.

To be free is to be able to plan
How to build my future;
To educate myself where I choose
And in what field without restriction;
To choose when, how and how many
Children to bear.

To be free is to do as I please
And go where I will
Regardless of the color of my skin,
The religion I choose or lack thereof,
Or the origin of my heritage;
To not be judged and restricted for these choices.

If we allow regulation of our personal choices
We are not free.

Do You Speak the Language?

abortion [uh-bawr-shuh n] • Examples • Word Origin noun

1. Also called voluntary abortion. the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy.

2. any of various surgical methods for terminating a pregnancy, especially during the first six months.

3. Also called spontaneous abortion. miscarriage (def 1).

4. an immature and nonviable fetus.

5. abortus (def 2).

6. any malformed or monstrous person, thing, etc.

7. Biology. the arrested development of an embryo or an organ at a more or less early stage. –

8. the stopping of an illness, infection, etc., at a very early stage.

9. Informal.

1. shambles; mess.

2. anything that fails to develop, progress, or mature, as a design or project.

We’ve addressed before that often the lawmakers writing laws for this country do so with a misunderstanding or misuse or even just an overly broad use of the language in writing these laws. I have stressed that they often don’t consider the broad definitions these laws can reach in legal terms that could be detrimental to the people they govern. I understand that when I’ve said this both in conversation and in blog statements, people often either don’t associate this to their own situations or they don’t fully appreciate what the laws being written mean.

In writing today, I intend to help clarify what’s going on here. Politically, when we hear the term abortion, most anti-choice persons automatically jump to the understanding they have of the term as defined in the first definition line above, a voluntary abortion. A woman goes into a clinic and says I’m pregnant and I don’t want to have this baby and has the pregnancy terminated. Needless to say, they’re all for ending that choice. However, they fail to take into consideration the other definitions listed above from dictionary.com which outline the other meanings of the term. As you can see by that definition however, abortions are not always voluntary. And they don’t always go well. A woman’s body does not always work the way we expect it to. A fetus is not always viable.

Viability is important. It means the ability of the fetus to survive and thrive outside the body of the mother. Often, the body recognizes the lack of viability and spontaneously aborts the fetus. This is the process more commonly known as a miscarriage. It’s amazing to me that SO MANY people do not know that a spontaneous abortion is the medical term for a miscarriage. While working in a hospital, I encountered an angry woman who was there to demand we correct her medical record to say she had a miscarriage because she DID NOT have an abortion. I could not get through to her that the term in her record was correct and that this was the medical term for a miscarriage. I had to send her to Medical Records so they could explain it to her. Finally, they sent her to her doctor to get a full explanation. So therein lies the problem. If people don’t understand that the term they hate and stand staunchly against also applies to something devastating that they can have sympathy for, they don’t fully grasp the meaning of the bills being put forth. They’re supporting the passage of a law they do not fully understand. And by doing so, often supporting it to their own detriment. They don’t understand that the laws they’re supporting and even demanding affect them in a very negative way that could be life threatening.

I often hear stories of women who have had abortions but who are aggressively against them. They generally do not associate the term with what they experienced. When asked about their own abortion, they will often tell you “well my situation was different”. They don’t understand that in the eyes of the law as the anti-abortion laws are written, they are not different. These laws categorize all women with all situations into one category and outlaw abortion for all of them, regardless of circumstances.

About 15 years ago, I married my second husband. Soon after we married, I was admitted to the hospital. I had abdominal pain on the left side that was a deep concern to doctors in the Emergency Department of Shands Hospital in Jacksonville. I was taken to xray to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound to see what was going on. I was pregnant. I had had a tubal ligation 5 years before that so the fetus was not implanted in the wall of my uterus as per the normal process. Instead, it was growing in my left fallopian tube. It had grown to the point that it was too big for the fallopian tube and had ruptured it. I was bleeding internally. There was nothing wrong with the fetus. The problem was with my body. According to the current wording of the current bills proposed the emergency surgery I underwent to save my life would be rendered illegal. They would put the life of the fetus that could not survive outside my body over my own life. They would have required the hospital to allow me to bleed to death rather than perform procedures that saved my life. They would have left my two daughters without their mother for the rest of their lives. TECHNICALLY, I had an abortion.

Last year, my daughter got pregnant. She came to me excited to tell me I was going to be a grandmother. We were very much looking forward to it, but something was nagging at me. Call it instincts. Something wasn’t right. When she reached four and a half months, the doctor scheduled an ultrasound to determine fetal age and possibly find out the sex of the baby. My daughter, being who she is, did not ask any questions. She heard ultrasound and got excited. My warning bells went off….it’s a bit early and if they’re determining fetal age at this stage, something’s wrong.

When we went for the ultrasound, I watched the screen, knowing what it’s supposed to look like and had my suspicions confirmed. There was no fetal movement, nor heartbeat. When the tech stepped out to call the doctor, I asked my daughter if she was even paying attention. She had not so I told her to pay attention when she came back because something is wrong. When the tech came back, she looked again, made notes and I said “something’s wrong, isn’t it”. She said that she was waiting for a call back from the doctor but that she would likely be sending us to the ER. And so it began. Fetal demise; something no woman wants to hear. So we went there to the ER and spent hours there awaiting the OB/GYN on call to notify the ER physicians what their instructions were. We ended up being sent home that night. We were back in the ER twice before it was over; one visit in which her water broke and she had some contractions which stopped before long. For nearly a week, we awaited the spontaneous abortion to complete itself. They would not do a D & C because her insurance, a Georgia Medicaid variation would not cover it unless the life of the mother was in danger. They checked her each time for signs of infection which were the only signs she could have shown that would have allowed them to proceed with the D & C that would have relieved her pain and stress. Because, you see….a D & C is also an abortion.

So for four days, she had to live with the fact that she was carrying a deceased fetus in her body and that it would come out eventually. When it finally did, it did so in her home. She was transported, with the fetus back to the Emergency Room where they checked her to make sure there was nothing else that would have to be done. This horrific story and experience were brought to you by current abortion laws. My experience, and my daughters make us no different than some “trashy woman” the anti-choice movement portrays in their fight to end all abortion. In the eyes of the law, they are all abortions and all will be ended by the language commonly used in these laws. There is no way to separate our experiences from the myth because the term Abortion is a medical term, not a political one. So when those anti-choice activists say they had an abortion but their situation was different, know that it’s not. It’s exactly the same as anyone else’s in the word of law. And if these extremists get their way, healthcare for women will get ugly. There is no other way around it because the authors of these laws are so uninformed that they write them under the assumption that everyone who seeks an abortion is the same and that its ‘killing babies’. It often is not.

Also know that if a woman is seeking abortion after the 20 week mark, only 1.4% of all abortions according to the CDC, there’s a very good chance that it’s because of fetal demise or because the mother cannot survive to full term. Because the chance of complications increases as the gestational age does, doctors are more likely to discourage abortion after that time and offer other alternatives if there are better ones for the issue at hand. That being said, no woman has an abortion no questions asked. They go through a medical interview at every appointment, even an abortion appointment. Doctors want to keep their licenses to practice so they’re not likely going to put the woman’s life at risk unnecessarily. This significantly decreases the number of women having abortions after 20 weeks without there being serious medical issues. If you feel the need to question this, I’d advise you to find yourself some reputable sources.

Protecting One from Oneself

I’ve had many people say to me that some people should not be allowed to reproduce. And while sometimes I’d agree with some of the reasoning, I recognize the slippery slope this line of thought would lead to. Generally speaking, this idea has been presented to me as stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce. And it’s usually presented by, for the most part, intelligent people. That being said, are we really to put into the hands of a few people the right to define stupid? This is where the slippery slope begins, is it not?

I am a liberal. I’m not ashamed of that fact. It is something I see as the way I should be. And yes, I do consider some people stupid for seeing things the way they do. I’m not trying to be insulting, I’m just lamenting on the fact that its human nature to make judgment calls on some things and that when one does, they’re often perceived as arrogant. Yes, I own that. However, I also see the flipside of that very ideal. I have a distant relative by marriage who thinks I’m an idiot because of how I see the world. In turn, I see her as an idiot because she doesn’t see things the way I do. Maybe neither of us is wrong, but maybe both of us are. I have another friend I’ve referenced in my commentary before who just thinks I’m naïve and don’t see the real world. I also see him the same way.

I find that the more educated one gets, the more they see other people differently. They tend to see a person’s reaction to any given topic as “I use to see it that way too, but now that I’ve experienced things, I see it differently”. Personally, I feel the need in these instances to share my experiences and education with that person but they are often not receptive. I find that lack of receptiveness frustrating because by nature, I’m open minded. But my friend thinks I’m close minded because I refuse to back step on what I’ve learned in order to “see things his way”. I don’t see this as close minded because I was there before and once we learn different, we never go back to what we believed before. We grow and evolve with knowledge. I find it unacceptable to devolve.

That being said, the more some people are educated, the more they think they know what is best for not only themselves but for their loved ones and yes, even strangers. But they often make these assumptions on their own perceptions of other people, and not on what the circumstances those people face are. I’m not saying all well educated people are arrogant and of the mind that anyone less educated is just ignorant, just that some are incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. They are unable to imagine a world that is different from the way they perceive it. And if anyone tries to educate them on that alternate view, they see them as the same. They discount the fact that everyone perceives the world in a way that’s based on their experiences. And once you go through those experiences, you cannot unlearn what you learned from them.

Take me and my friend for instance. I lived in what some would call a ghetto for a few years; a neighborhood where gunshots could be heard at night on most weekends and occasionally during the day and on weekdays. I saw all kinds of struggles that I’d have never seen in any of the neighborhoods I grew up in. My friend, on the other hand has never lived in that kind of circumstances. Therefore, he believes in the idea that there are welfare queens and people that get rich off the system. Having seen it for myself, I know that it’s nearly impossible. I realize that these well put together people who use food stamps are usually doing much of their ‘maintenance’ themselves. They purchase their well-manicured nails at the dollar store and put them on themselves. They do each other’s hair. They buy their name brand clothing at the Goodwill and clean it up themselves. Either that or they have someone in the drug trade taking care of them which also does happen. A man three levels up from a street dealer will make sure his lady has a decent phone and always has service so he can reach her when he wishes but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t really qualify for welfare. It just means he wants to make sure he can reach her. Keep in mind that he may have three other ladies so he likely isn’t paying rent for all of them. They still need the help to put food on the table as well. Just because they have a smart phone doesn’t mean they’re cheating the system. My friend assumes this is exactly what it means.

I’m not saying this is the story for all of them. There could be any number of reasons they don’t look like they qualify for help but do. And it’s not predominantly black people either. There are a lot more white families that qualify and get help than most people that haven’t seen it realize. And all the other races and ethnic groups also have members who need help and qualify for it. The point is, you don’t have to LOOK poor for it to be a fact. And we can’t assume that the reason they got to the point of needing help was because they’re lazy. Most of those who qualify hate the fact that they do and they search for jobs that pay enough to support their families. Anyone who has looked for a job knows those that pay well enough to support a family are few and far between. This is also something I’ve seen for myself.

So when we go allowing lawmakers to make laws that take our freedom to make our own decisions and put them in the hands of others, thereby removing freedoms from the average citizen, we are allowing decisions that affect the lives of others to be made by people that do not know all the facts. Do we really want to do that? My friend thinks I am naïve because I don’t believe in the welfare queen myth. I certainly wouldn’t want him or his peers deciding whether or not I am smart enough to reproduce. For the record, I am college educated and he is not. But I doubt being educated would change his view, because it didn’t change his father’s view. He, also, has never lived in a ghetto. And HE is WELL educated. Hell, look at George W. Bush. He has a college degree and look what his decisions did to our country.