Crossing the Highway

Just another WordPress.com weblog

My Planned Parenthood July 7, 2011

my Planned Parenthood story is a study in negative space. i’ve never actually been to a Planned Parenthood clinic, but that’s not for lack of needing one in my life.

i grew up in and still live in a VERY pro-life, red, republican, anti-choice, christian supremacist kind of state. i love texas, but it is not kind to women in a lot of ways. i went through the “True Love Waits” program at my church in 10th grade (15 or 16 years old) and pledged in front of a few hundred people and god that i would not have sex until i was married. i could write a whole blog on how damaging this program and others like it are to young people, girls especially, but it’s been written by others before me who are better versed in that kind of thing. needless to say, i was committed to “purity” and was very judgmental of those who didn’t adhere to my standard.

as with a lot of people, college happened. my perspectives began to change as far as how i viewed other people’s choices, but i was still very determined to stay “pure” until i married the man god had chosen for me. i no longer viewed others as hell-bound if they had sex, but it certainly wasn’t in my plans. in my sophomore year of college, my life fell apart. my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before fall semester began, and i spent that entire school year trying anything and everything to avoid my life and responsibilities. i drank myself into oblivion as often as possible and got more and more reckless with my safety and health. as she got sicker, so did i. i was losing my compass and i really didn’t see anything or anyone coming along to save me, the way i’d been taught god would. by the end of the year, i was completely lost, and my mother’s death, 1 week after finals, sent me into a downward spiral that would take several years to fully escape. that summer, deep in a depression i hadn’t yet named as such, i visited friends in lubbock, got falling down drunk, and had sex with a man whose name i couldn’t remember in the morning. it was unprotected and stupid. this moment that i’d been waiting for my entire adolescent life was one of the most horrible nights/days i can recall. i hated myself. i knew all the possible consequences and was absolutely terrified. i had absolutely no idea where to go and i COULD NOT talk to anyone about what happened. in fact, that shame was so deeply ingrained in me that this is the first time i’ve told this story to anyone i wasn’t intimately involved with.

all of this happened on a Friday/Saturday, i believe, because i was stuck trying to find a clinic over a weekend. my knowledge of Planned Parenthood, if i had any at the time, was as an abortion clinic, which i knew i didn’t need, at least not yet. but in my haze of fear and self-loathing, i couldn’t have remembered the name if i even knew it. i don’t recall if i got online or got a phone book (google didn’t quite exist yet), but i found a clinic that would give me a pregnancy test and a morning after pill. they didn’t hassel me or ask anything but the basic questions, which, looking back on it, was a grace i didn’t know not to expect. i was cutting it close by getting in on Monday, but i was within the 72 hours. i wasn’t pregnant. i took the pill and cried to myself for a solid day, and then kept up the self-loathing for several more years.

i didn’t have sex with anyone again for 2 more years, so i didn’t see a reason to go to the doctor, especially since i was uninsured since my mother’s death. (abstinence only education FTW! if you’re not having sex, you have no reason to fear anything! whee!) i had no idea that there was a place i could have gone and gotten free or low cost pap smears and checkups. when i did get into my first real relationship, just after college, it had its issues, but i was with a man who genuinely cared about my health and wanted me to see a doctor for checkups. problem was, my craptastic insurance from waiting tables was, well, craptastic. i was so excited to finally have insurance, that i called and made an appt with an Ob/Gyn a friend recommended. they ran my insurance and told me i wasn’t covered for well-woman, only catastrophic needs. so, i spent that whole relationship scared of broken condoms and drunk, irresponsible nights, never knowing if i was truly “safe”. i still was embarassed to talk with any of my friends about these issues, so no one ever got a chance to tell me i had other options. after that relationship was over, i would swing rather wildly for the next few years between being wild and crazy, and totally scared of sex because i knew i wasn’t in control of the consequences or my needs at the time.

i didn’t start getting regular checkups and get on birth control until i was almost 25. at that point, i had been “sexually active”, at least off and on, for 5 years. i’d never seen a doctor, gotten a pap smear, or had an STD test, and i’d only bought my own condoms once or twice. it is truly a miracle that i never had an unwanted pregnancy, have never had an abnormal pap, and never tested positive for an STD. i’m now married to an amazing woman and am pregnant with our first child now. i have good insurance and a doctor i trust. i can afford to pay full price for my medical care, which is a privilege i try not to take lightly. i do not want my children to grow up in ignorance and fear the way i did. i want them to know that Planned Parenthood exists for them, regardless of their sexuality or gender – that it will support their needs and choices, whatever they are, that it will not shame them for those choices, or make them feel like they should or should not do anything, based on any factors other than their own health and needs. i want my children to feel safe and confident in their own bodies and sexuality, however they express it, and i trust the people at Planned Parenthood to help them with that. i trust Planned Parenthood because they trust me.

please see the rest of the My Planned Parenthood blogs at the Carnival Host – What Tami Said

 

Working himself into a lather March 31, 2011

Filed under: life in general — InfamousQBert @ 7:42 am
Tags:

wow, the fact that i haven’t been to my dashboard to post his comments has REALLY pissed off SavoryDish.

http://savorydish.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/abusing-the-victim-card/

 

Issues, he has them March 24, 2011

Left this as a comment on my last post, and then decided it should be a brief post of its own.

@SavoryDish (aka the man who asked a touchy question and didn’t like the answer), the comments i DON’T post are the ones implying that talking about mental illness should be shameful. depression != borderline personality disorder, now matter how many times you say or imply it does.

continually harrassing an unknown blogger because she had the gall to call you out on your bullshit, however, DOES indicate severe misogynistic and bullying tendencies. maybe you should have that checked.

 

Feeling Melancholy March 14, 2011

Filed under: family,mental illness — InfamousQBert @ 8:29 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.

saw this on a friend’s blog and it hit home. i wonder what my life would have been like had this definition not been taken away from me so early. would i be a happier* person? would i have the issues with depression and self-disdain i’ve had? or are those hard-wired into my brain, via my grandmother and father? i don’t know. but on this grey, darker than usual because of daylight savings, monday morning, it made me think a little. and sent my blogging tendencies back to the 2004ish era. i’ll not write a dissertation on my angst like i would have back then, but those thoughts and quandaries are still here. i just feel like i’ve finally made a place in my brain where they can rest more comfortably now than they used to, instead of always feeling like they have to run out and scream at the world to be heard.

*i’m very happy with my life, but still have bouts of depression. not questioning my choices or current life circumstances, just to clarify.

 

Feminist Coming Out Day March 8, 2011

3 years and a couple of weeks ago, i discovered feminism. it changed my mind and my life. it gave me the words to express the feelings i’d had for years, about why i didn’t like certain movies, or felt uncomfortable playing into certain roles/stereotypes, even when i knew it would get me what i wanted. i had been the “exceptional woman/girl” in a group of men/boys – the one who wasn’t like most women, and thus was allowed into the boy’s club. and, while it was fun to be in the club, i always knew i wasn’t a full member. i was always someone’s girlfriend, or someone’s crush, or someone’s kid sister. i never thought too hard about it, but my hackles went up sometimes, and i got tired of listening to these men bash “women” when i knew most of the women in their lives and knew that they were all incredibly supportive and wonderful.

it wasn’t until the 2008 election season, when i had to listen to a horrible co-worker call hillary clinton “her thighness” and defend horrible emails about the pretty republican women vs the ugly democratic women, that i started looking for something to support my strong feelings that this wasn’t right. i googled “hillary clinton sexism”, or something, similar, and ran smack dab into a wall of evidence via melissa mcewan’s sexism watch*. it was mind-blowing. finding her blog was like finding water in the desert, to overuse a simile. i didn’t know how badly i needed it until i started devouring every post and following her blog roll to other blogs, full of other young women saying that the fight i thought the old women had fought and won was still going.

i can’t overestimate how important this discovery has been. it’s given me a renewed sense of purpose in my entire life. my friends will tell you that i’ve always been able to find a reason to argue, but i’ve never felt like my reasons were GOOD until now. i’m sure that i sound like the stereotypical feminazi, always looking for something to be angry about, and i’m PROUD of that. fuck people thinking that being angry about inequality is somehow not cool or not worthy of my emotion. HALF the world’s population is regularly treated as less than, in ways ranging from 1st world slights, such as every god damned rom-com hollywood puts out, to virtual and literal slavery for women and girls in both developed and developing countries.

anger can be a positive thing, when you use to make a difference, which is what i, and millions of other women in this country and the rest of the world are trying to do today. today, we declare, in public, that we are feminists – that we claim that word and all of the positive and negative imagery and controversies that come with it. we are not perfect. our forerunners in the fight were not perfect, and fucked up a lot, especially with regards to intersectionality of race and queer issues. but we are still fighting. we’re fighting for ourselves and for you. it does not matter if you identify as a woman or not. we are fighting for you. because, above all things, feminism is about making sure that EVERYONE is treated as a human being, with full and equal access to all the opportunities that every other human being has. we start with women, because they are overwhelmingly mistreated, but our efforts affect everyone who comes in contact with a woman.

i know what it’s like to fear labels. but this is a label i wear with pride, and i hope a few more people become aware of its power today. 

*when i found it in February, it was in part 60-something. by the end of the election, it was well into the 100s and was still going strong.

 

Man asks touchy question, doesn’t like answers February 4, 2011

so, garland grey posted this on his tumblr* and, since my comment was deleted without posting and lumped in with the “Rose and Other Angry Survivors” reply (which, GAWD, could you get more condescending and man-splainy? if he didn’t get a bingo, i’ll eat something inedible, like your hat.), i’ve decided to post both my original comment and my follow up. i just hope every woman he knows reads that post and sees this trackback. maybe then they can avoid one of the questionable people he thinks i should work harder to warn women about.

ETA: *garland posted ABOUT this other guy’s asshattery.  sorry for bad syntaxing.

Original Post is here.

My first comment

i want you to take every question you just asked and apply it to a murder victim. would you ever ask if a murder victim felt guilty about their drunken behavior? would you question a murder victim’s story because he/she was mentally ill? would you question whether a murder should be reported, or if it was only reported to gain your sympathy? would you assume that something that murder victim did or said somehow increased his/her chances of being murdered and therefore we should think about whether or not it really counted as murder?

if you balked at any of those scenarios, maybe you should re-think your approach to rape and rape victims. rape is one of the most under-reported crimes because of this exact situation. the minute a victim opens her (or 1 in 33 his) mouth, they are questioned. they are rarely assumed to be telling the truth and, even when they are, they are asked what they were wearing, doing, drinking, who they were hanging out with, how soon after did they report it, why did they wait so long, did they fight back, did they scream, why not, why aren’t they more visibly injured, are they sure? all of these and more are asked, almost without fail, by the police/security/parents/friends/whomever the trusted person is that she reports it to. and, in the rare situations where the victim is believed and the evidence available is strong enough to even get taken to court, all of these questions are asked again, along with things like how many people have you had sex with, did you ever have sex with that person before, did you flirt with him, did you go with him willingly, anything and everything to prove that she was not a good enough victim.

if you ex indeed has a mental illness that makes it hard for her to remember things correctly, then it’s just that much more likely that she either wouldn’t report it, because she knew her story wouldn’t track fully, or that she wouldn’t even be believed if she did report it. so she told you, in a moment of weakness. and now you find it okay to tell the entire internet that you just don’t really believe her. well, thanks for being such a maverick and a free-thinker. you’ve just joined the vast majority of people in the world who just don’t think rape is really what any victim says it is.

My follow up after he deleted it without posting (and likely, without reading):

well, you’ve proven how much you care about starting an actual dialogue. refusing to post a comment that stated facts/statistics, had no curse words, bad names, or even indicated my status as a survivor or not (way to assume the only people who care are those who were assaulted) isn’t exactly the act of someone who actually wants an answer to his question or cares about the opinions of anyone other than himself. your response is condescending at best, and proof of the misogyny others are reading in your words. don’t open up a touchy subject if your unwilling to hear the words of those who disagree with you. and don’t tell women & victim’s advocates what to do, or how better they could be spending their time, no matter how much you think you’re helping. we can help ourselves just fine.

Whoops! More refusal to acknowledge his critics and more calling of names while accusing us of being assholes! Whee!

what exactly constitutes an “asshole” to you? because honestly, it sounds like you just don’t like disagreement. i haven’t used a single foul word, or called you a single name. but you’ve called me a crying baby, irrational, and an asshole, all without giving me a chance to even be heard by your readers.

related: We’re being careful. What are YOU doing?

 

Quick Hit: Spirit Day October 20, 2010

Filed under: Active-Isms,things i would twitter if i twittered — InfamousQBert @ 9:38 am
Tags: , , ,

for those who might not know otherwise, today is Spirit Day. A day to remember those who have taken their own lives, been killed, or been hurt by homophobia. hopefully, you will see an unusual number of people wearing purple today. if, like me, you live or work in a conservative area, you can be the voice of support. if you can’t wear it yourself, for any reason, you can also show your support by changing your facebook or twitter profile pics to a purple version. and if you can’t do that, for any reason, you can know that there are people doing these things in the hope of making this world one where you CAN show your support for the queer community without fearing for your own safety.

http://www.glaad.org/SpiritDay

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.