Being legitimate

Someone had to know I would broach this. It was inevitable.

 

In an interview aired this past Sunday, Todd Akin, a Republican candidate for Senate in the great state of Missouri, made this statement when asked about his feelings on abortions resulting from rape circumstances.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

He really said that. Really and truly.

 

Now, let me start by saying, as a woman – he has no right to an opinion. Really. I don’t get all up in his scrote and he’s never carried a baby, so we should just agree to keep our politics out of each others’ crotches.

And secondly, as a rape victim – fuck you, Mr. Akin.

Legitimate rape?

What are the other kinds? Illegitimate? Imagined? Maybe she didn’t say no loudly enough? Maybe she was “asking” for it?

I realize that people are falsely accused of rape. I know that happens, and it is a sad thing to know that someone would abuse such a delicate area for whatever reason.

But the majority of rapes (60-68%, according to a quick Googling) go unreported, and do you know why? Because of douchebags like Todd Akin. Because the first thing asked of anyone claiming rape is not, “What can I do?” not “How can I help?” it’s…..”Well, what happened?”

Because its not enough to be taken advantage of. It’s not enough to be violated. It’s not enough to matter so little that you don’t even get a choice in what happens to you.

You have to justify. You have to prove what you’ve claimed. It’s no wonder that women and men in staggering amounts just choose to opt out. Why prolong things and expose yourself to embarrassment…criticism…shame?

It happened to me. And just because it wasn’t a stranger in a dark alley doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. It doesn’t mean I deserved it. It doesn’t mean I hurt any less. It doesn’t make it any less legitimate.

 

So while Mr. Akin sits in Missouri with whatever opinions he wants to have about situations he will never face, I will try with all my might to let everyone know that things like this are not okay. It’s not okay to trivialize someone else’s hurt. It’s not okay to make blanket statements when you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

Help a little more, talk a little less. I think that’d do some good for everybody.

 

Confessions of a crazy woman

I had made the decision not to write about how terribly I handle certain things.

But I think I’ve gotten away from the point of why I started this blog in the first place…or why I used to spend hours on Xanga so many years ago.

So I’m going to tell you and hope that in doing so I don’t embarrass myself or my husband or anyone else.

It’s taken me a long time to finish this post.

Valentine’s day was, as I’ve said, fantastic. I spent time with the person I love the most in this world. We got a new car.

We also went out on Valentine’s night with every intention of getting tattoos. We didn’t get there in time, though, so we just made an appointment for later in the week.

The next day we started second guessing the design we’d chosen.

We designed and redesigned and googled and doodled and wondered.

By the time the day of the appointment came around, we’d changed our minds sixty times and still weren’t firmly set on a design.

Josh mentioned, after much bickery banter, that he just didn’t want to do it. It was partially done because he was frustrated and just wanted to shut me up, and partially because he was thinking like a sensible adult and knew we shouldn’t go into something like that with any uncertainty.

I know this now. I suppose I even knew it then, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain. But I completely flipped right the fuck on out. Every insecurity I’ve ever had, every problem I’d dealt with, and every doubt I’ve ignored came rushing to the surface and I was in pieces.

He didn’t want to get a tattoo with me because he didn’t love me. Because it would embarrass him. Because he wasn’t sure. Because for some reason an inky scar carried more weight than a sworn vow and he didn’t want to have to explain something away in a few years.

Looking back now, I see how ridiculous I was being.

But it was real then, and not because I’d skipped medicine or gotten into the cough syrup.

One of the things we’ve talked about when I’m in therapy is that I just want my life to feel normal.

Normal for me – what is that? Being secure in my relationship, secure in myself, not caring so much about how other people perceive me?

Something.

 

In progress.

I’ve found that it’s easiest to be frustrated with change when it’s disappointing.

 

I had, like everyone does, a picture of what I expected from my life at whatever point. This point. Three years from now.

 

I wouldn’t be upset if, say, I were a millionaire this time next year. That’s not in my plan, but I think I could handle it.

 

(On a completely separate note, I’m watching the State of the Union and DAMN MY PRESIDENT HAS BALLS. Just saying.)

 

It’s when things go wrong that I don’t handle things well. 

 

When there’s less money than I need.

When a little girl looks at me to make it feel better and I can’t.

When I’m presented with a fourth grade math problem and I have no clue ho to begin it.

When the house looks like a cotillion of hobos took it over the night before.

 

I know I sound like a whiny brat. A pampered little simp. I suppose I am, but that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes I am totally at a loss. A loss of drive and fervor, a loss of confidence and security.

 

I suppose I need to buck up. Have a backbone.

 

I’m working on it.

From a random act

I had promised myself I wouldn’t write about this. It seems…exploitative. Wrong.
 
But for some reason it keeps presenting itself.
 
Let me preface things by saying I’m not claiming to be some big mournful friend. I am not that, to the point that I wasn’t even Facebook friends with these people. I don’t really know why – there was no ill will. It’s just not something I ever did – hunt them down and friend them.
 
Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
 
Tuesday morning, Josh was getting up and dressed for his day. He was up and about like always, and on one of his trips in and out of the bedroom, I heard him catch his breath. I turned over to see him standing in the doorway, his phone glowing in his eyes.
 
“Amanda Cossey was shot. She’s dead.”
 
It was the most bizarre thing I could imagine being said. He might as well have been talking about goats with purple horns and allergies.
 
I saw faces, names, confusion of memories and high school and passing acquaintances.
 
Amanda had been in school with me for years. I remember her as bubbly and popular, but one of the rare kinds of bubbly and popular where she actually seemed sincere. I remembered basketball games and cheerleading.
 
And then it was just there, like something raw in my belly. I felt completely useless, and the kind of pretentious that makes you feel dirty. 
 
This sounds awful – but she wasn’t my friend. She was a remembered presence, someone I thought of fondly.  I hadn’t seen her since high school. I didn’t know when she got married or when her baby was born.
 
To feel the way I felt was somehow misplaced.
 
I’m still not sure why.
 
The day passed, the requisite Facebook statuses were posted. News stories
 
I know it’s normal to be confused when something like this happens. 
 
Except, dammit all, it’s not. Nothing about this is normal. And it doesn’t matter if we were friends or not. 
 
The fact is that a girl I knew is dead. Not because she was sick or because a car crashed. Because someone saw her as an obstacle instead of what she was…

 
A wife.
A mother.
A friend.
A sister.
A daughter. 
 
She wasn’t these things to me. 
But it doesn’t seem to matter. 
 
I don’t want to be one of those people who immediately jumps on any tragedy to talk about how great the person was and how close we were. 
 
I have good memories of Amanda. She didn’t deserve this kind of end. 
 
I hope one day we understand things like this. 

Today

Today is Election Day.

People all over will go and vote yea or nay or red or blue.

And I live in Mississippi, where the only time we make national news is because we gave birth to Elvis/Oprah/Britney/a million fantastic southern writers or because we’re the fattest state.

Well, now we have a new claim to fame – today we vote on Initiative 26, and if it passes, it’s a big deal. It’s a precedent for the whole country.

Now, I have opinions about this. Of course I do.

For just a minute, though, let’s not talk about what I think. Let’s talk about what this will mean.

Less birth control, in a state with the highest number of counties (17) featuring 40+% infant poverty. Not to mention the infant mortality rate (10.5 infant deaths out of every 1,000 live births), or the scads of children waiting in foster homes or institutions so they can be placed.

Fertility treatments….sure, as long as they don’t involve selective implantation or frozen embryos.

Raped? Pregnant? You carry that asshole’s baby because the law says so.

There are far reaching consequences regarding ectopic and molar pregnancies that I don’t even have the stomach to research (this is not hard hitting reporting, people).

Under this law, the miscarriage I suffered in January of 2008 may well have been the death of me, because only an abortion stopped the bleeding and saved my life.

The thing that bothers me about this is not that people disagree with my sentiment that this is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation I’ve ever heard. People disagree with me all the time.

No, what bothers me is that there are fifty bintillion churches who – over and over and over – have pounded into the hearts and minds of their faithful followers that this initiative is penned directly from the heavens. That by voting yes, they are personally winging their way into each Mississippi womb and cuddling thousands of fertilized eggs that may or may not become people.

It bothers me that if my preteen niece gets assaulted and molested, there won’t be a morning-after pill just in case. Her life could change and it wouldn’t have been her choice at all.

I respect the right of everyone to believe what they want. I do not respect anyone telling me how I have to believe and behave. Especially when they do it simply because a pulpit told them that was the right thing.

So go vote. If you live in Mississippi, please know what you’re voting for.

On a lighter note, tomorrow we’ll have a guest post from Lindsey at Campfire Song. This will be totally fun, you’ll see. She even mentions maxipads.

Things I am (irrationally or not) afraid of

I generally don’t think of myself as a skittish person.

I don’t think I do, anyway. I think I’m a pretty ballsy gal.

But there are a few things, hard as it may be to admit, that I am and will always be terrified of. I shall list them.

1. Being blind. Legally I technically already am blind, but I’m talking serious, no-light-no-dark blind. Just thinking about it kind of gives me the wooblies.

2. One of my children growing up to be a murderer.
I’ve mentioned before (here I think) that I like to read true crime stuff. I’ve been known to waste unmentionable amounts of time in the True Crime Library online, reading about legendary and famous murders. I have no idea why it fascinates me so.

3. A razor blade (like a Bic) somehow making contact with either my eyeball or my gums. Think about that for a second and tell me you don’t squirm a little.

4. Snakes. I know it’s cliche, but holy shit those things are scary. I’m fine with them until I start thinking about it too hard….and if I do, then suddenly there are snakes in the bedsheets and in the driveway and stuck in the airbags of the car, thank you Bryan Essary for that image.

5. Something – anything – biting my ass when I sit down on the toilet. No explanation needed.

6. Being caught unawares by something lying behind me when I’m laying on my side (see what I did there? I used both laying and lying for the same thing because I wasn’t sure which one was correct). I think I have Ernest Scared Stupid to thank for that one.

7. Having my ankle tendons (or whatever important musculature lies in that area) slashed by someone hiding under my car.
I think that was some sort of urban legend when I was in high school? I don’t know where I got it, but it’s terrifying.

8. Being spied on through dark nighttime windows.

9. Car wrecks.

10. Losing my teeth. Whether by accident or by nature. It worries me.

 

I’m sure if I thought more about this, I could go on for days.

I’ll leave you with that. I think that’s plenty of evidence that I am a little too imaginative sometimes.