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.

 

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. 

Untitled because I can

This week is drawing to a close and oh my GOD can you believe it’s December? That is just crazy. Really, insane.
I mean December is for Christmas and holidays and Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

Max asked me one year if we could celebrate Kwanzaa. However I wasn’t really sure what all that entailed so I told him we could have a menorah and that seemed to appease him.

I generally despise Christmas.

I love giving gifts, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I just don’t like giving gifts on a strained budget. I want to buy everyone the iPads and iPhones and xboxes they want and I want to watch their faces light up because they got a kickass present from someone who loves them. Me.

I just can’t do that yet. Maybe one day.

Oh, and there’s some exciting happenings with school stuff, maybe I’ll be able to fill you in soon. Yeee!

I am out of sorts with the weather. I love the cooler, but it’s moving a little too quickly into bitter ass cold. And that’s not cool.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Lucy has a permanent marker.

Looking back. Reflection and stupidity

I was doing some reading earlier – reading of old entries and how things have changed and not.

I found this post, and it made me think about a lot of things.

It’s almost exactly a year later, and things are so much different that they’re kind of startlingly the same.

As far as God and purpose and meaning go, I’m still kind of lost. The hit our faith and confidence took during our time in Jackson was severe, and to be honest I’m not sure we’ll ever fully recover.

We were so sure we were doing the right thing.
We were so happy, and then we were miserable.

But now? Not in a million years did I ever think we’d be where we are now.

Well, not really physically “where we are,” because really all of us living together is pretty much an epic adventure and it’s become second nature to us all.

But where we are in the sense of goals and progress and general good will toward humanity.

I was sure when we left Jackson that we’d never fully be happy and fulfilled ever again.

Dramatic, sure, but cut me some slack I WAS GROWING A PERSON.

If I could do and say anything I wanted, I’d say things to those people we left.

I’d say to Ellie, thank you for hiring me. You were more of the face of good in our months in Jackson than anyone else we met. You meant more to me in those days than I can ever say.

I’d say to Michaele, you are me with red hair and better boobs. I miss you more than anything and I would never have made it without you.

I’d say to Jackson commuters – really? Suck it up and put down that bowl of Cheerios when you’re going 80 down the interstate. Eat a damn granola bar if you’re that hungry.

I’d say to Priest 1 – you were the biggest disappointment. When we met, you were awesome and inspiring. You were hip and down to earth and we both loved you immediately. The confidence we both felt in you – as a person, as a priest, as a friend – was completely cracked and really disheartening. You never seemed like a lap dog…until you were.

I’d say to Priest 2 – I reached out to you. I needed you. And when you ignored that? I have never felt that degree of worthlessness. I trusted too much in what I needed you to be.

And to Priest 3? I could fill a book. The level of hypocrisy and disillusion that I equate with you now is staggering. I don’t know what I believe comes after this life – I don’t know if I believe we just end, or if we go on…

But if we go on? If there are saints and angels and streets of gold? I don’t want to be there if you are. Whatever Paradise is supposed to be, you can’t be a part of it and it still be Paradise.

so there it is.

I suppose I’m still bitter (who am I kidding), but I’m also hopeful. I never thought I’d have that again.

I do. We do. And I think that’s the best revenge.

art shamelessly stolen from Natalie Dee

White lies are better than moldy skidmarked truth

I don’t think I know much about my kids.

Wait, that’s not accurate. I know everything about Lucy.

But that won’t last long. The clock is ticking on that one.

My other two are complete mysteries, and I kind of hate it.

My hate has nothing to do with them – I suppose it’s actually all me.

Growing up, I never told my mom all that much about my life. I was always really afraid she’d flip out and tell me I was going to hell or make me go to some special church class or something. I actually did get punished that way once – my mom found out that I’d skipped school, and I had to spend every afternoon for like a month sitting in my room writing bible verses. I was a senior in high school.

So yeah, Mom and I never had girl talks. We talk more openly now, I’m older and she’s older and we can both admit I’ve had sex since I have three kids.

But I’ve always wanted to be a friend to my kids. To answer their questions and be honest with them, and be able to have a relationship with them that ensures that, in the future, they’ll come to me for advice. A ride when everyone is drunk. Clarity when their hearts are broken.

And I do try.

But I fail. For lots of reasons.

Max is just so…awkward. I love him dearly, to bits and pieces. Truly. But talking to him is like talking to a miniature Michael Scott. It’s painfully uncomfortable at times, even though I realize his mind is very different than mine. I need to work on understanding him more. I’m sure it’s fascinating to go through life as Max.

Ava is, I think, a lot like I was when I was little.

And that. Terrifies. Me.

I was sneaky. I was dishonest. I had terrible judgement. I had such a hard time.

I want to make it easier for her, but I don’t have any clue how. So I think I subconsciously pull away. Which is the very opposite, I know, of what I should be doing.

Wow. Writing all this stuff and seeing it in the light of reality makes it sound….awful. Which I guess it is.

I ache to be good at being a mom, especially since I legit suspect that I love my kids way more than is normal. I’m just terrible at showing it. I mean really, awful.

Maybe I should take some sort of class. My child psychology class came with a virtual child (yes, it did. So not only to I get to suck at raising three kids with a pulse, I get to have another one to go all A.I. Haley Joel Osment). Think that’ll help?

You may hate me after this

I had something else scheduled to talk about today.

But I need to tell you about yesterday.

First you should know about my two oldest kids, though. They are beautiful lovely lights of my life, but they are loud as hell. They also have this uncanny knack for choosing the MOST inopportune times to interject themselves.

Prime example:

The entire family went to see UP (minus Lucy, of course. Also, if you haven’t seen that movie, do it immediately. Don’t even finish reading). We sat, left to right, thus: Josh, me, Max, Dan, and Ava.

Dan and the kids had already seen this particular movie once, but they’d come again for the 3D.

The movie commences, and we reach the part of the touching intro where a weeping Ellie is slumped over on an exam table while the doctor looks sad and Carl looks lost and helpless.

The entire theater was quiet, soft.

The lady in front of me was sniffling.

I lost a few tears. My throat was thick.

And in the wake of that beautifully sad, artfully conveyed, wordless moment that tore every adult’s heart right out of its’ casing, my daughter leaned over her dad’s lap, 3D glasses all akimbo, and stage whispered,

Mom? MOM? SHE’S CRYING BECAUSE THE DOCTOR SAID SHE CAN’T HAVE A BABY AND SO SHE’S SUPER SAD.”

Yeah. We pretty much have a repeat of that on an hourly basis.

That’s why yesterday morning, when I heard a timid knock on my bedroom door, I did little but roll my eyes emphatically. Lucy had had an awful night (molars are a bitch) and she was finally sleeping, and I was not about to call out to answer whoever was at the door.

So I was quiet.

Ten minutes later, knockknockknockKNOCKKNOCK.

Again, I was quiet. Surely they would get the message.

Nope.

knockKNOCKknock

So I did a stage whisper of my own: “what???”

The door opened, and in walked a child. I didn’t have my glasses on at that point, so I only halfway thought it might be Max. While I fumbled around for my glasses, I told him how it was.

“My lord, Max, that was three times, can you not TAKE a HINT that maybe some people are still resting and don’t need you being all loud and…”

Glasses on. And then I saw him. Standing awkwardly in the doorway, not sure if he should leave or stay, balancing a perilously flimsy paper plate full of something.

“I…I realized that we haven’t really given you a day off since it’s the summer and so I brought you breakfast.”

Hello, world? It’s nice to meet you. In case you don’t know, my name is TOTAL DOUCHEBAG.

He quickly forgave me when I gushed apologies and told him how wonderful he is, but the guilt will live on healthily in my heart for a long, long time.

Could’ve, should’ve, shut your mouth

I have a thing for tattoos of touching and meaningful phrases. They move me.

I have two tattoos (well, one and 1/3. My first one is really small. I was terrified.) and neither of them say anything. Not even really symbolically.

Stupid, right?

My first tattoo I got during my freshman year at college. I was very into Jesus and spent most of my time praying and swaying at the Baptist Student Union, so I got an icthus, which, according to the explanation I’ve given for over ten years, is the symbol of Christianity and would serve as a reminder that “God is with me,” no matter what.

These days it serves as more of a reminder that people change, but they are never too far from being who they once were. Cryptic.

The second tattoo is bigger, and Josh (I like to think lovingly) refers to it as my “tramp stamp.” It’s a silhouette of a sparrow in flight.


Whatever, it was a definite time of change in my life and I totally deserved to do something stupid. I’d gotten divorced, I’d lost a job I’d had for years, and Josh and I had decided to get married and start our life together. It was transition.

(By the way, we saw a commercial for those Transitions lenses the other day, and Max was all about it. “Mom! They’re glasses AND sunglasses. That’s amazing!” I couldn’t think of a way to tell him that they always look dingy and that he’d definitely look weird with color changing lenses on the playground. I remember a kid in 6th grade had those, and his always had this yellowish tinge that was off just enough to give him a nice air of truck driver/pedophilia.)

MY POINT IS that I have two tattoos and neither is of the thought provoking literary flavor. And that’s not because they are so meaningful in and of themselves.

It’s because I never thought of the fact that I could do anything so cool.

I have a book of awesome word tattoos, and I had it when I got my second tattoo. But it never occurred to me to do something that I loved so much. I never put those two things together – that I could get a tattoo and that there were awesome phrases just aching to be inked.

As a matter of fact, that I could have gotten one of those smart tattoos didn’t occur to me…until yesterday.

Yeah. Years of admiring pithy and wise inkings only to realize I could have had one all along.

Once I realized that, I had a few very odd hours of almost mourning. It was like I’d missed the coolest body ink lottery by just one number.

I’m over it now.

I think, though, that it probably says something about me that out of all the things in my life I could change or erase or redo, the one that bothers me most is my tattoo.

Or maybe that I’ve just now realized my oversight says more.

What do you do with a BA in English?

Lately, perhaps spurred by rewatching season one of Teen Mom (Gary and Amber could make anyone feel better about their relationship) and seeing all the online classes they withdrew from, I’ve been severely jonesing to further my education.

I never finished my degree. High school, yes. Further education…nah.

It embarrasses me that I don’t have a degree.

Everyone else was hitting the books, and I had babies.

I like my babies more than a BA, no doubt. But a part of me feels like kind of a loser. Less of a person.

I’ve been looking into degree programs and online classes. I filed my FAFSA today (even though actually applying to school takes money that I’m not sure we have) and it felt kind of surreal. Still does.

I don’t know what I want to pursue. I could focus on English and have a worthless degree that got stage time in Avenue Q, or I could do Psychology and have a degree that is useless without even more degrees. I could be sensible and do something like Business Administration or Paralegal.

Perhaps this is why I was no good at college – because I get overwhelmed by all the choices. I know it’s why I’m no good at any sort of design or styling…because I LIKE IT ALL.

I feel like I’m standing on the edge looking forward at a life I could have, but I’m really nervous to take it. I mean, I can’t fail at college a third time.

Oh yeah – I went back to school after Max was born. I didn’t last a semester. Probably because my dumb ass was majoring in Theatre.

Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

I just really want to stop feeling subpar. At the risk of sounding cocky, I know I’m not dumb. I know I could do great things if I had the drive. And there, that? See? The drive? I sound like an ass. Since when is it okay to laze around and not pursue goals just because I don’t feel “driven?”

Not that I laze around. I didn’t mean it like that.

Hi, I’m Emily. Have I mentioned my kids? Lazing is not part of the drill.

I’m tired of being embarrassed of how little I’ve accomplished. Yeah I know, my kids are accomplishments and I’m not denying that – my kids are the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s just that I want to be proud of me and not just them.

Does that make sense?



Things I’d say

I’m really not sure why I am so afraid of saying what I think sometimes. I know I have a tendency to spill my TMI all over the web, but in reality there’s so much rattling around this bean brain of mine. And I can’t say it.

I’m not sure why. I’ve always held tightly to the notion that you have to be who you are, and those who don’t like it can either kiss your ass or learn to love you. But as much as I believe that, it’s not doable.

It’d be the easiest way to live, no doubt. Saying what you mean, meaning what you say. Living without fear of getting caught in double talk or accidentally seen rolling your eyes.

To say to the insufferable brat, “Someday you’ll have your righteous rant only to realize what a dumbass you look like,” and then to go on like nothing because after all, being an insufferable brat doesn’t make me not love you. It just means you suck sometimes. We all do.

Wouldn’t that be great? Total, unencumbered honesty. Like The Invention of Lying, right?

That’s not how it works, and so I’ve become pretty adept sometimes at just going along.

Except I’m not, not really.

I ache inside to say things I should never say.

you’re crazy as hell.
how are you able to live two lives?
do you realize what a hypocrite you are? because everyone else does.

I know thoughts like this only breed negativity and sour your soul. It’s why it’s hard for me to admit I constantly harbor shit like this in my brain.

But I do. And now you know.

I don’t feel any better, because I feel like everyone else has some secret that I missed. Does everyone think all this and just ignore it? Because I can’t.

It’s why I think I’m so antisocial, because I suck at hiding my feelings. If I hate you (my mom never let me use the word hate. Never say hate, never say never), I just can’t pretend I like you. It’s a mental block and it’s probably why I never made it to broadway (that, and the chub. And getting married at 20).

I feel really alone (except for Josh, and that’s why we’re married. We are both completely inappropriate. I just hide it better than he does). If you harbor similar inappropriate thoughts, please tell me. Even if it’s anonymously.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to hide from my thoughts.

Fourth of Porkly

My dad makes barbecue. Well, I say “makes” but I guess really he just puts the components together. Composes barbecue. My dad composes barbecue.

He’s always made barbecue for as long as I can remember.

There was even this one hotasshit summer where all we did every night was cook barbecue to sell the next day. I heard the phrase “pork butt” so often that it lost its giggle-worthiness, and I was like 9 or 10 so that’s saying a lot.

He built this tow-along contraption with a smoker and attached bar thing so that we could park and sell barbecues pretty much out of the back of his Bronco. We did that every day. All summer. My pores oozed pork grease.

I haven’t really eaten much barbecue since that summer, except for once, and I’ve kind of kept that story under my hat. It’s kind of shameful because I apparently can’t really hold my meat.

The fourth of July is a big deal for my dad. He breaks out all the old tricks and there are ribs and chicken and pork and burgers and slaw and beans and whatever he thinks to throw on the grill.

One 4th, about 10 years ago, I was on the Atkins diet. I thought the celebration would be pretty miserable because gathering + diet usually = ugh, but to my shock and awe it was actually super nice.

In case you don’t know because you live in a box, Atkins pretty much means you can eat any greasy meatful thing your heart desires with impunity. Just stay away from carbs.

I love carbs. Mac and cheese, rolls, and oh my god the desserts. None of which I could consume that year, in the name of my *cough* health, so I determined to make up for it with as much meat and fat as I could.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I definitely did what I set out to do.

Ribs, chicken. The dreaded pulled pork. I wanted some French fries so badly, so instead I ate some weird butter and cheese concoction.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The day ended, and I shit you not (haha, how apropos) I must have eaten an entire drawer of meat.

That night, whilst everyone I knew was watching fireworks and celebrating our nation’s birthday, I was on the toilet. It felt like I’d eaten a football and it got stuck in my lower intestine.

I definitely do not recommend a meatful diet.

How am I not a vegetarian?

Happy 4th.

This post is part of the 4th July carnival at: www.inthepowderroom.com