Friday, December 4, 2015

So Fed Up.

It's late, and I am tired.

Tired from a day of reading recaps of another mass shooting.  Tired of reading reports of Planned Parenthood's defunding.  Tired of everything.

Sometimes, I censor myself when posting a blog or a social media comment.  There are people in my life who may disagree with my views, or business colleagues who may have a second thought about meeting with me when they know where I stand on some issues.

But here are the facts.  I'm not dancing around them to please or protect people any longer.

I support Planned Parenthood.

In my 20's, I relied on PP for affordable women's healthcare and birth control.  I was able, without insurance, to go to one of their offices get a yearly gynocological exam, and leave with birth control pills at a reasonable price.  Though I didn't always remember to take them.

At age 23, I had an abortion.  I had an affair with a married man, got pregnant, and terminating the pregnancy was the right choice at the time.  In hindsight, it was STILL the right choice.  I sometimes think (though not often) of how old that child would be now, how my life would be different, and I always- ALWAYS- come back with the same resolution: terminating that pregnancy was the right thing for me at the time.  The life I have now would not have been possible if I'd made a different choice.

When I knew I was pregnant and didn't want to be, I went to the PP in my college town, and was yelled at by pro-lifers on my way in to the clinic.  At the time, I fancied myself an "alternative" girl, wearing a black leather biker's jacket, wise cracking, and generally being a badass.  I shouted back at the protesters, and felt like I was providing a great service when, inside the clinic, I rallied the other women together who were in my same predicament, and boosted their confidence and gave them strength.

Though Planned Parenthood would not perform my abortion.

Turns out, college girls are terrible at timing and responsibility, and my pregnancy was a week past the PP cut off date.  I was referred to another clinic in Atlanta to perform the procedure.  My good friend Mary and I went to Atlanta for a weekend, and I was beautifully cared for by the women of the Feminist Women's Health Center.  At this writing, I am happy to see their doors are still open, and they are still helping women take control of their lives.

My point is this: Planned Parenthood is just that.  PLANNED.  PARENTHOOD.  For both men and women.  Planning your family.  Family planning.  Birth control. Education.  Physical Exams.  Cancer screenings.  STD testing.  All of it.  If they were solely about terminating pregnancies, they'd have a different name.  Something yucky sounding, I'm sure.

But their name is PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

And don't our children deserve to enter into a world where they are wanted and planned for?

I think so.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Date Night and Terrorism in NYC

My husband and I spent the weekend away recently, and left our three year old son in the care of his very capable, much loved babysitter.

Although our sitter has our numbers programmed into her phone, has keys to our home, and knows the friends we were with that weekend, we still had a few extra details to iron out- the darkest of which was leaving my own parents’ contact information in North Carolina, should anything happen to me and my husband while we were away.   (And if you’re like me, you believe that the mere act of passing along the information will be exactly what keeps a fiery crash from happening.)

But today, I’m wondering if this is something we should start doing every time we walk out the door.

Apparently, ISIS has shared a video wherein they name Times Square as a target, showing photos of The Gap and TGIFriday’s.  Thankfully, we never eat at Friday’s, and our Gap is two blocks away.  But joking aside, has it come time to consider what will happen to our child if, out on a date night, we are obliterated by a suicide bomber?  Or worse.  What will happen to US if our child and his sitter are enjoying the Museum of Natural History, and something horrible happens there?

I exaggerate this fear.  I’m not afraid, and I won’t change the way we live- or WHERE we live- to please some xenophobes or Really Bad People.  I won’t be looking sideways at people with backpacks or long beards, and I won’t steer clear of Times Square any more than I already do.  And believe me, I do- it’s an armpit down there.

On the other hand, there’s a new line to the SITTER INFORMATION sheet we have in our kitchen.  It says, “Grandparents.”

I almost went with “In Case We are Blown Up by Terrorists,” but that seemed a little much. 

And very unlikely.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Speechless and Helpless

This morning we woke to news of a shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, SC- a town that is like a home to our family, having gone to college there, and returning often to visit our dear friends.

Things like this are happening far too often.  And with each event, each news story, each blog post, the same phrases pop up over and over.  Senseless.  Tragic.  Horrific.  Prayers.  Victims.  Hate.  

There really aren't other words that work in this situation.  No words that make a difference.  That make us feel more in control or more at peace or more angry or more sad.  It's always the same.

Where are the words that will change any part of these events?  The words that will reach the people who commit these crimes?  Reach the lawmakers?  The mental health professionals?  The guidance counselors? The parents?  The preachers?

As sick and heartbroken as I am over these events becoming too common, I'm realizing I'm also sick of not having a better vocabulary, a better arsenal of words, to use to make something change.  I feel helpless.

Because the words we keep using aren't doing the job.