Women’s March

A protest, in cross-stitch

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched with millions of women, men, and children all across the world on all 7 continents to stand in support of women’s rights. Independence Ave in Washington D.C. was so packed with people that the March really began as a shuffle. Everyone there had different, personal reasons for being there. Some were disabled or had children with special needs and wanted the Trump administration to view them and treat them as people of value, worth of respect. Others were marching as part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, demanding to be treated as equal under the law. I saw women proudly wearing colorful head scarves and hijabs, once again reminding our government that they and thousands of refugees are not to be feared, simply because terrorists falsely claim the same religion of Islam. So many women carried signs that declared their bodies to be their own. The decisions made for their bodies should be their own. Having healthcare they choose for their bodies should be a right. Their bodies are not for men to do with what they please. When men do decide to legislate and do what they will with these women’s bodies, they had better believe these women, with their powerful pussies, will fight back!  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
I saw black women and white women. Latina women and Asian women. Palestinian women and Indian women. Gay women. Straight women. Trans women. Married and single women. I saw old women in need of wheelchairs and canes and I saw tiny babies harnessed closely to their mother’s bosoms. I saw Christian women, Muslim women, and women for whom religion did not matter. I encountered some assholes, but for every 1 of them, there were 10 incredibly nice and considerate persons. I saw so many men there, supporting their wives, girlfriends, and friends.  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
So many different people with so many different reasons to march. But we were all unified by one thing: We are nasty women, and we will fight for our rights. We will fight for our rights, even though we shouldn’t have to fight for them- they’re rights most men certainly don’t have to fight for. We will fight for our rights, even as other women try to tear us down by telling us that they don’t feel like their rights are being assaulted, that women in other countries have it worse, that we’re just complaining, and that we’re all in charge of our own destinies. 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 Record scratch– So I have to address the last bit of nonsense up there.
Why do you feel the need to tear down those of us who marched? How does it ruin your life or your day to know that millions of women either feel disenfranchised or are marching in support of disenfranchised women? Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like, perhaps these women are causing you to examine your life and the lives of others and it makes you uncomfortable, so you have to shut it down? Have you tried listening to women outside of your white, upper-middle class, suburban bubble, without pre-judgment or talking points already loaded, waiting to shoot down and invalidate their experiences?

Did you actually give a shit about female genital mutilation before Saturday? What about honor killings- I mean, beyond reading about them, being upset by them, and then pinning a good crock pot recipe on Pinterest? What have you done to address all the horrible injustices perpetrated upon women in other countries? Did you know that child brides and forced marriages in the US are also large problems? Why the need for a false dichotomy? How does the problem of women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia invalidate the problem that women in the US are paid less than men for equal work? Or that the very private and painful decision of a late-term abortion is not accurately characterized so it can be used as a political football?

Tell me, were Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth nothing more than whiners and complainers when they fought for a woman’s right to vote, (which was only afforded to us less than 100 years ago?) What about women who learned to drive during World War I, even though it wasn’t lady-like? Or the women who were so scandalous as to reveal ankles or wear slacks? And the women who demanded to work outside the home and be treated equally there? (Of course poor women have always worked.) Have you asked your husband for permission to have birth control, for whatever reason, lately? No? You can thank the women who fought for that, too. 

It’s pretty easy to forget about all the rights we have as women today because women who came before us were maligned, outcast, jailed, tortured, and killed because they fought, protested, and marched for them, isn’t it? But, in doing so they took their destinies into their own hands, and on Saturday, so did we! 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
By the time I got home, I was hurting. Badly. The only time I sat down from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm was when I sat down for 30 seconds to pee. I hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast, so as I scarfed down my bacon cheeseburger I was cranky, exhausted, and in a fuck ton of pain. The streets were so crowded, (and I must have been a crowd traffic magnet) that I experienced what popcorn in a popper must feel like and my butt got a lot of action. But, as I fell asleep to pictures of the crowds from all over the world, I felt so gratified that I had been a part of it. I felt privileged to have a husband who supports me and that I had the choice and ability to make my voice heard. This is the beginning of me fighting for myself, my girls, and other women. I marched in 2017 with the hope that my daughters won’t have to march for the same things in 2027.
Check out Megan Rei Photography

Carrie Fisher was valuable as Princess Leia


Rachael: Mom, why are you crying?

Me: Carrie Fisher, the woman who played Princess Leia, died. 

Zoë: No more Princess Leia?

Me: No more Princess Leia.

I’ve been reading posts and tributes to Carrie Fisher on social media, and I’ve noticed something that’s beginning to bother me. 
There seem to be 3 types of posts:

1) Remembering her as Princess Leia

2) Remembering Carrie Fisher as a whole person, including her writing and battle with mental illness

3) Posts which imply that, if Princess Leia is the only reason Carrie Fisher is important to you, then you are a shallow fan who doesn’t really understand how important she was 

Even when something this serious happens, it seems geeks feel the need to engage in one-upsmanship- to be the supreme, everlasting know-it-all. For those not in the know, it’s the way geeks establish social hierarchy and feel better about themselves after being put down and excluded from other social groups for so long.  While Carrie hated being relegated to sex symbol status, she had no problem with fans loving her for being a badass space princess. In fact, I have a feeling that if Carrie were to witness the dumbfuckery people are engaging in on her behalf, she’d tell them to fuck off and go suck on a bag of dicks in a corner. 

Look, I think the openness with which Carrie lived her life helped so many people. She made it okay to be honest and fucked up and mentally ill. She made it okay to laugh, both in spite of your pain and because of it. Anyone familiar with her work and life beyond Star Wars should absolutely share it and how it has been important to them, just so long as it is not at the expense of how Carrie Fisher was important to others. You don’t get to decide how someone impacts another person’s life. You also don’t get to assign value to that impact.

I don’t really remember the first time I saw Princess Leia Organa on screen and how her character affected me. I was around 8, and a lot of my memories are inaccessible to me because of repression. Thanks childhood abuse!  But I do remember the first time I had an incredibly strong reaction to Leia. Return of the Jedi, rescuing Han, and Leia is all alone in that “Gee, I wonder which man made that creepy costume decision” bikini, with space slug mobster, Jabba. Once stuff started going down at the sarlacc pit, bitch didn’t wait around for someone to come get her. She jumped up and strangled that slug to death with the very chain that made her captive. I remember thinking, “Holy shit!  That is so badass!”  

For a long time, until rather recently, that’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. She was the actress who didn’t wait for anyone to come save her and was every bit as important as the boys. I also feel fortunate to have seen Wishful Drinking and to hear her speak candidly, with all the acerbic wit she could muster, about living with Bipolar disorder. And of course her service dog, Gary, is a gift to the world.

Via radiotimes.com

My girls, 5 and 8, still only know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. At age 4, she was the first princess that Rachael really saw take matters into her own hands. She inspired for Rachael a love of independent, kickass women, which led to the radical notion that women are just as strong and valuable as men.  Just the other night as I read the introduction from her new Women in Science book, and how horribly and unequally they were treated, Rachael declared that when she grows up, she wants to do something to make sure that everyone knows men and women are equal and that women are able to enjoy equal rights. If that’s what comes of only knowing Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, I’d say that’s pretty fucking valuable.

Let’s Talk About My Uterus

The Wonder Years

I mean, everyone else is talking about my uterus.  Well, not mine specifically.  But what happens inside, outside, and around the uteruses of our nation’s women is deemed so important that they get their own special laws and Supreme Court rulings!  Hooray!  Don’t you just feel like there are so many legislators and jurists out there who are super concerned for women’s health and just want to protect us from ourselves?  I sure do!

For years, Republican state governments have been trying to weasel their way around Roe v. Wade, passing laws which make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to good healthcare and safe abortions.  The vitriolic pushback that met President Obama’s Obamacare rule for birth control coverage in insurance policies was astounding.  I wasn’t aware that we had time traveled back to the 60s and 70s, when only married women with permission from their husbands could gain access to birth control.  Eventually, after hard fought legal battles, the birth control provision went into effect, (with a few notable exceptions, (I’m looking at you, religious zealots!)  Now that President-elect Trump has a Republican House and Senate, who knows what sort of laws will be passed which strip women of their autonomy? And with Trump’s potential to fill more than one vacancy in the Supreme Court, will Roe v. Wade be relegated, a Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “…to the ash heap of history.”

I used to believe that birth control was the gateway to parenthood.  What do you call people who use birth control?  Parents!  I used to believe that abortion was the easy way out and you were being selfish after being a slutty slut.  I even had a t-shirt from the Christian bookstore that said “Endangered Species” at the top and the Earth surrounded by animals, including elephants and panda bears.  But smack dab in the middle, with the Earth as its amniotic sac, was a white fetus.  Yeah.  I was that asshole.  I calmed down significantly during college, (you know, because those ungodly liberals exposed me to dangerous things like “ideas” and “critical thinking” and “other points of view”) but I remember when I had my lightbulb moment on abortion.  It was after my rape-adjacent experience.  In the morning light, he noticed that the condom had broken.  Shit!  So not only did I get to feel gross and guilty and ashamed of allowing someone to have sex with me, even though I didn’t want it, because it didn’t seem like my consent really mattered to him anyway, but I had to worry about whether or not I’d be knocked up with this shit-for-brains’ kid.  I don’t remember why I didn’t just go get Plan B* at the Health Center.  I remember thinking, There is no way I’m going to have the rest of my life ruined because of this.  If I end up pregnant, I’ll need an abortion.  

Oh.  It hit me.  What was apparent to plenty of other people had finally broken through the life-long pro-life programming- This was my body and my decision.  Whatever I thought was best for myself and my life wasn’t anyone else’s business.  And if something like this was happening in my life and I wanted this access to abortion and proper healthcare, without interference from outside forces who know nothing about me nor my body, then who the hell was I to limit other women in their choices?  I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those hypocritical people who justified their own abortion, but denied that choice for someone else.

Fortunately, I did not get pregnant.  Thanks to access to good healthcare, education, and a dose of good luck, I’ve only ever been pregnant on purpose.  (Tell a non-OB doctor some time that you might be pregnant because you’re trying to get pregnant.  It will confuse the hell out of them!)  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to make that choice.  But I’ve thought about what Mike and I would do if I were to accidentally get pregnant now.  He and I have talked about it, and the reality for us right now is that another pregnancy and baby would be a catastrophe.  Both of my pregnancies with the girls were miserable; Rachael had me barfing until I delivered her and Zoë caused me to have a horrible case of PUPPPS for 20 weeks.  After experiencing pregnancy, I don’t think anyone should be forced to go through it, especially if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. Add that to fibromyalgia, which includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.  Now add one child with ADD and an executive functioning disorder and another with ADHD and Oppsitional Defiant Disorder.  Yeah, no.  We’re barely coping now.  So we take precautions.  I have a hormonal IUD which, not only prevents pregnancy, but also regulates a very painful uterine condition called adenomyosis.  Of course, now that I think about it, there are scientists people who feel the IUD is an abortifacient.  It’s not true, but that’s how they feel, so laws and mandates need to be changed so women don’t have access to not just medical and surgical abortions, but different forms of birth control.  But let’s not pay attention to the nitty gritty details of women’s healthcare.  That ruins all the fun, fun, fun!

Last night, I watched the most recent episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.  

Main character, Rebecca’s, paralegal and best friend, Paula, has been accepted into law school.  At the same time, she discovers that the rekindling the passion in her marriage has led to her accidental pregnancy.  Paula has a full-time career, two children who are the worst, and a husband who, (bless his heart) is trying to pick up the slack at home so she can have the baby and go to law school.  But their family just isn’t in the right place to add another child, even without law school.  So, after agonizing over the decision, Paula makes a choice.  She chooses to have an abortion, not because she’s selfish or a bad person, but because it’s the best choice for her, her family, and their future.  Given the taboo nature of the subject, I was heartened to see it talked about in this context.  

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


We see her, after having been to the doctor, lying in bed.  She’s not a devastated mess, but you can see the sadness in her eyes.  It wasn’t a decision she wanted to make, but she made that decision with her husband and her doctor.  Thank goodness no one was standing in her way, presuming to know what was best for her.

*I did end up using Plan B twice during college.  Again, thank goodness for access to healthcare.  And, no, those don’t cause abortions either, because science. 

A Hot Mic Was in the Room Where It Happened

A former colleague of mine grew up in Chicago.  She would sometimes tell me stories about what it was like living in the city decades ago.  I remember being horrified by one story in particular- a story about walking to and from school.  Apparently, she needed to avoid shortcuts through alleyways because of the men who hung around on her route; they liked to prey on girls.  But even if she stuck to broad daylight, these men would still grab breasts, bottoms, and anything else they could get their hands on for a quick attack and run.  One thing that still makes me inwardly cringe when I think about it, is that these disgusting men would walk up to girls, including her, and grabbed their crotches.  I couldn’t fathom the sick, twisted audacity that would compel men to rob girls and young women of their sense of power, safety, and dignity.  I was appalled that no one would do anything to protect those girls, including the police.

Talk less.
Never did I think I would hear about something like this again, especially in the context of a presidential campaign.  Unless you’ve lost power from Hurricane Matthew or are over at Fox News with your fingers in your ears, yelling, “LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA,” you’ve heard or read the transcript from the vile Access Hollywood video in which Donald Trump and Billy Bush engage in locker room banter misogynistic conversation about Trump’s methods for committing sexual assault against whomever he pleases.  Before yesterday, Trump was able to get away with his misogynistic, (and racist and xenophobic and bigoted) behavior and speech because it was only alleged, as in the case with statements made by former cast and crew members from The Apprentice, or it wasn’t bad enough for major Republicans to throw up their hands and say, “I’m out!”  (“But he’s not a polished politician and speaks from the heart!”  BLORCH!)  But now it’s on tape.  It’s undeniably Trump.  And it’s an admission of repeated sexual assault.  

He’s ne’er gonna be President now!
In any other year, in any other not bizarre reality, Donald Trump would never have been the nominee, let alone be in a tight Presidential race.  A good portion of his supporters are angry, die-hard Republicans who probably feel like they have nothing to lose; everything else seems to have failed them.  Then there’s the portion who are like the drunk guy at a party screaming, Wooooooo!  Most of the politicians who have gotten behind him feel they have no choice if they want to get reelected or keep Republicans in power.  But Trump’s declaration of grabbing pussy has been enough to make the needle on the record scratch, and make them all sit up and pay attention.  GOP bigwigs met in DC last night to discuss what to do moving forward, (even though it’s too late to replace Trump on the ballot.)  Various party leaders, down-ballot candidates, and others began putting out statements ranging from the kind of condemnation you’d hear from a principal in a John Hughes movie, (Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus) to a refusal to endorse Trump any longer, (Jason Chaffetz, Barbara Comstock) to outright silence, (running mate, Mike Pence, dismissed his press pool when the news broke and later fled from reporters in silence.)  I have to say, the Republican collective clutching of pearls, followed by polite outrage, is a little hysterical to me.  “Oh my stars, (and bars!)  I can’t believe Donald Trump would say something so vulgar!”  Really?  This entire campaign he’s shown you who he is.  But there are none so blind as those who will not see.  

I’d rather be divisive, than indecisive.
Trump’s comments were repugnant and felt so violating that I felt nauseous as I fast-forwarded over the video whenever it was replayed on the news.  Yet, it’s the responses from many of Trump’s fellow Republicans which make me feel truly objectified and stripped of my power and dignity.  Anything short of a condemnation of Trump’s words AND actions, and a repudiation of Donald Trump and his candidacy, is feckless and meaningless.  It demonstrates to women in this country that elections are more important than their dignity.  It is reinforcement of rape culture at the highest level.
It is also not enough to say that Trump’s words were vile and that women should never be spoken about this way.  Trump didn’t just say that he thought about sexually assaulting women.  He claimed to have sexually assaulted women, simply because he could.  Because of CNN’s Erin Burnett, we also know that Trump wasn’t just talking a big game.  (Related, Scottie Nell Hughes can go jump up her own ass.  Also related, Ana Navarro is kickass!)  How, in the name of Zorp, can we have a president who openly admits to sexually assaulting women?  It doesn’t matter if it was 10 years ago, an excuse some supporters have used to brush off how serious this is.  It is not as though the “mistakes” he made have a shelf life and no longer affect the lives of the women he assaulted after 5, 10, 15 years have passed.  To elect a President Trump will revictimize these women, reinforcing their lack of power against such a predator.

They don’t need to know me; they don’t like you.
The call by some, e.g. Rep. Comstock, for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump at the top of ticket infuriates me!  How the fuck does that even make sense?  Set aside the fact that the man is xenophobic, unethical, (“In a unanimous opinion, the appeals court said Gov. Pence acted illegally in accepting federal money for refugee resettlement and then refusing to use that money to aid Syrian refugees.”) homophobic, (and this….this list is not exhaustive) anti women’s rights, and the governor of a state where he might not have been reelected, as Hoosiers weren’t thrilled with him, overall.  You still have a man, who claims to be a Christian, and is so thirsty to be President that he hitched himself to Donald Trump’s wagon.  Clearly he has poor judgment and an ambition which outweighs his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You have a man who lied his way through the Vice Presidential debate.  Also a man of faith, Tim Kaine’s aggravated crazy eyes led me to believe he was going to call upon God to smite Pence for breaking the 9th Commandment.  You have a man who has repeatedly refused to answer how he can square his faith with the words and actions of Donald Trump. You have a man who seems like a measured, reasonable politician in interviews and on the debate stage, but who hid from reporters, rather than denounce Donald Trump for assaulting women.  You have a man who, after taking time to collect himself and get the campaign messaging on point, still refuses to flee from sin.  From the article, referring to Trump’s debate tomorrow night, “…he looks ‘forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.'”  Are you fucking kidding me?  He has shown us what’s in his heart, repeatedly!  And no, Trump didn’t apologize.  He said he’s sorry he’s done dumb stuff, sorry if anyone was offended, but the Clintons started it!  You know, at the Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence used the line that so many pro-lifers use: We judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.  Perhaps he should reflect on that and apply it in his own life, rather than tacitly condoning the actions of a monster.

You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
You know, my colleague and friend didn’t just suffer through her assaults and humiliation until she moved away. No, she learned to fight back.  Finally, she had had enough, as one would-be pervert discovered one day.  This soft-spoken grandmother narrowed her eyes as she recounted how she squeezed his balls and commanded, “Don’t you ever touch me again!”
In November, we women need to grab our country by the balls and say NO!  We cannot allow a predator to claim the Oval Office, nor can we ignore the behavior and words of the politicians who have continued to stand by this predator.  We reaffirm our power with each vote we cast!  Together we will say, “Fuck you, Donald Trump!  You cannot do whatever you want!”

Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Scares the Hell Out of Me

What in the actual fuck is even happening right now?  How is it that intelligent, thoughtful people have managed to succumb to Steve Bannon and Trump’s….can you call it a whisper campaign if they’ve been screaming about it at the top of their lungs?….propaganda on Hillary Clinton’s “poor health”?  In a chimerical effort to distract everyone from Donald Trump’s joke of a letter, which reveals absolutely nothing about his actual health, from someone who is perhaps his doctor, the Trump campaign has been guffawing like an insufferable child who has won a game of “Made ya look!” after Hillary revealed on Sunday that she has pneumonia. Somehow, serious journalists lost their goddamn minds after Secretary Clinton left a 9/11 Memorial ceremony early, became dizzy, and lost her balance or fainted momentarily as she was getting in the car.  Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post made a hard 180 from, Okay, enough with the talking about Hillary Clinton’s health, to, Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign, just a few days later.  On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw, in all his infinite wisdom and years of medical training asserted that Secretary Clinton should go to the hospital and see a neurologist to assuage people’s fears.

ABC even reported that she had died.  DIED!  ABC!  This wasn’t Breitbart or some fringe wackadoodle “news” site. I swear to god, it’s like the scene in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear loses his goddamn mind. 

 Rather than apply Occam’s razor and, you know, common sense, mainstream media and regular people have allowed conspiracy theory to take the place of reason.  Rather than accepting that fainting and getting dizzy is something that plenty of people do when they’re overheated and dehydrated, because she’s Hillary Clinton, something more sinister must be at work, like brain damage or Parkinson’s.  Rather than giving Secretary Clinton some time, space, and privacy to be evaluated by her doctor before releasing a statement, everyone foamed at the mouth to know what was going on because they had the patience of a 5 year old who had snorted lines of Pixie Stix.  A doctor evaluated her and issued a letter.  Secretary Clinton has pneumonia, she became dehydrated, and she just needs to rest.  So, reality: Clinton has a fairly common illness, from which she will recover.  In addition, she has been continuing to campaign, despite her illness, which is incredibly badass.  What everyone else hears: ZOMG!  Pneumonia!  She’s dying!  How can she be president if she can come down with an illness like pneumonia!  This feeble female can’t continue, so she’s using a body double!  You can tell by scrutinizing her body!

Misogyny, with a side of presidential campaign

Andrew Jackson had chronic headaches, was losing his eyesight, and had bleeding in his lungs.  Grover Cleveland had a cancerous growth removed from his mouth as he sailed around New York Harbor in a yacht.  Because of his obesity, William Taft had high blood pressure and heart problems.  The exhaustion he suffered because of his sleep apnea sometimes caused him to sleep through important meetings.  Woodrow Wilson suffered so many strokes that he became blind in his left eye and paralyzed on his left side.  He also kept this a secret for as long as he could before the 25th Amendment was invoked. FDR had polio.  He also had cardiovascular disease, which he knew about when he ran for reelection in 1944, and which caused his death just months into his fourth term.  Eisenhower was diagnosed with Chron’s disease in office.  He also suffered a major heart attack and a stroke while in office.   JFK flat out lied during his campaign that he had Addison’s disease.  Of course he did have the disease of the adrenal glands.  In an adrenal crisis, it would have been possible for him to lose consciousness.  Ronald Reagan, the Republican gold standard, led our country while his mind fell victim to Alzheimer’s.  George H.W. Bush had Grave’s disease, but more importantly, atrial fibrillation.  This sort of irregular heartbeat made him susceptible to blood clots and stroke.  Then there was the incident that happened in Kyoto, Japan, which everyone laughs about now, but was very scary in the moment.  W passed out while choking on a pretzel.

These men lived and were confronted with some serious health challenges, and some that were not so serious.  The incident that President George H.W. Bush had in Japan is so similar to Secretary Clinton’s episode on Sunday.  Although, while he just had the flu, was okay, and was just fine to continue leading our country, it’s actually the ghost of Hillary Clinton who’s been campaigning this whole time!

The bottom line is that this wouldn’t be that serious of an issue if Hillary was not a woman.  She would have been allowed 5 minutes of privacy to get her shit together.  At this point, I imagine the press will want to know every time she does have a shit.  Presidential candidates should certainly disclose to the public any ongoing health concerns, which could interfere with their ability to do the job.  Secretary Clinton has done that, yet she’s being held to a higher standard.  Why?  “Well, she’s not trustworthy, so you can’t believe anything her campaign puts out.”  Okay, putting aside the fact that you’ve obviously been suckered by Congressional Republicans in the 90s, it’s not as though Donald Trump is the portrait of integrity, (that he bought with $20K earmarked for charity) and has provided satisfactory disclosure on his actual health.  The reality that Hillary and every woman knows is that we are not allowed to be sick.  If we are sick, then we are weak, a hypochondriac, or an attention-seeker.  It’s a known fact that doctors frequently discriminate against women and treat them as though they are overreacting.  And think about this: have you ever found out that a man is staying home for a sick day, and the first thing you or someone else says is, “Wow!  He must really be sick!”  However, if a woman calls out, there’s murmuring about what she’s actually doing with her “sick” day.  And lord help you if you’re a woman with a chronic illness.  So we as a society already treat sick women with disdain and suspicion.  I actually had a man say to me yesterday that Clinton isn’t a badass for campaigning while sick with pneumonia for the following reasons: 1) Hitler had siphylis, and 2) While he maybe admitted to her toughness, true badassery is reserved for people like Chuck Norris.  Any woman who can’t push through, or avoid getting sick altogether, is weak and not fit to lead.  Trump’s campaign has been sure to keep all those negative feelings and stereotypes at the surface, hoping that it would pay off.  On Sunday, they hit the jackpot.

My 8 year old daughter, Rachael, can understand how unbelievably gross this and all the other sexism at play is.  Why is it so hard for the media, especially the left-wing opinon media, to eschew all the conjecture and the idea that having pneumonia really does call into question whether or not Secretary Clinton is otherwise healthy?  Clinton is met with scorn, should she not allow the press to follow her, making it crystal clear that Secretary Clinton has no right to her own body, the space around it, and any privacy at all.  Meanwhile, it’s totally cool that Trump gave the press the slip so he could go have another “medical evaluation”, which he will discuss on “Dr.” Oz.    It makes me physically hurt and shake with anger when people are able to see the yellow journalism, identify the sexism, and admit the double standard, but they just shrug and say it’s okay because Hillary.  We really are a bunch of pudding brains.

naioo8ok

I am absolutely livid with the level of political discourse in our country right now.  As a woman, I take all of this personally and am offended.  And fuck off; no I will not calm down!  We have reached a point in our country’s history which will define the soul of our nation for many years to come.  Frankly, I am terrified, now, that Trump will win, no matter how many news stories and opinion pieces I share on Facebook to a group of generally like-minded people.  I am terrified that Donald Trump will take the oath of office in January, all because Hillary Clinton happened to catch pneumonia.

I Feel the Heartburn

2016 has had the most bizarre and fucked up election cycle I’ve ever seen.  My fellow Americans and I have had an unusual amount of anxiety over this election, particularly over Donald Trump, to the point where therapists have seen an uptick in their appointments, specifically because of election-induced stress. I didn’t plan on voting Republican this year, but I at least like the other candidate to be a competent choice and not of complete moral turpitude.  So I’ve gone through the stages of grief as I’ve watched the Republican party self-immolate this primary season: Denial; Schadenfreude; Rage laughing; Anxiety; Stress wining; Depression; finally Acceptance.  So now a circus peanut with candy floss hair is the de facto Reoublican nominee, and I’m scared shitless.

 

Image via NPR

 
Picking my candidate
When I first heard the things Bernie Sanders had to say, it felt like such a relief!  Thank goodness, someone gets it!  He preached the gospel of family leave and equal pay for women.  He drove home the reality of our country’s economic inequality.  He wouldn’t let us forget how far behind other similarly developed countries we are on education and healthcare.  Unfortunately, the more I listened to him talk, the more I realized he wasn’t my guy.  His message was inspirational, but his policy initiatives weren’t exactly what I wanted and they didn’t seem very plausible, especially in the current political climate.  Even if I wanted a single payer healthcare system run by the government, (which I don’t. They can’t even run the VA well.  Why would I want them to administer my healthcare?) how would Sanders even get that passed in Congress?  Let’s even assume that the Dems take back the House and the Senate in 2016.  There are likely to be plenty of Blue Dog Democrats who wouldn’t fall in line on this.  It was hard enough getting Obamacare.  America’s not ready and willing to slog through another complete healthcare overhaul.  

I watched almost all of the primary debates, on both sides.  As I watched more of the Democratic debates, I kept yelling at the tv, “Super!  How do you plan on doing that?  What’s your plan B if you can’t close all the tax loopholes for the 1%?”  The two biggest red flags for me were as follows:

1) During the CNN debate, when asked about specifics in foreign policy, Sanders looked like a deer caught in headlights. It was aggravating to watch as Anderson Cooper asked straightforward questions, Sanders couldn’t answer them, and then pivoted back to the only foreign policy message he had- Hillary voted for Iraq.  War is bad.  

2) The interview Sanders had with the New York Daily News Editorial Board revealed that he didn’t actually know the legal process by which he could dismantle the big banks, something I feel like you should probably know if you’re going to promise to do that.

These two instances confirmed for me what I had wondered about his campaign promises and whether he could actually make good on them.  To me, they revealed that, no, he doesn’t actually know.  He has no fucking idea.  

I’m with Her

 

Image via the Clinton campaign

 
Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect human being.  I can even understand why people don’t like her.  She isn’t always consistent.  Sometimes she does bend the truth or lie, depending on her audience.  (Yes, I’ve seen the Anonymous video of her lying for 12 minutes.  I’ll accept it when it’s objective and not pure anti-Hillary garbage.)  Republicans do always seem to be investigating her, even though they can never seem to turn up anything legitimate with which to charge her.  And she doesn’t necessarily give people the warm fuzzy, hopey changey, glowy feeling that we all got in 2008.  Whether anyone realizes it or not, I’m sure a good deal of the animosity toward her stems from the Republican’s hatred of the Clintons in the 90s.  As much as people hated Bill for being unable to keep his cigars in their boxes, they couldn’t stand a First Lady who wouldn’t just sit down, shut up, and review the seating chart for the State Dinner for the British Prime Minister, like a good little First Lady should.  I’ve also heard plenty of people holding Hillary accountable for Bill’s personal and political mistakes.  Let’s not fault her for the things her husband did, nor, without investigation, the things he asked her to lobby for on behalf of the administration.  And for fuck sake, stop calling her evil.  She’s not evil.  Get your head out of your ass.  

Hillary has the experience in government and the competence to be President.  Even people who don’t like her will admit that.  I believe her policies and how she plans to implement them are more in line with what America can handle.  After all, she’ll be President of all Americans, not just the ones on the far right or left.  Hillary’s agenda is in line with my priorities: economic equality and opportunity; equality for women in pay, healthcare, and life in general; criminal justice reform; gun control; immigration; education; foreign policy/diplomacy first, but not afraid to use our military.  

Speak
I’ve generally kept my mouth shut up until now because most of my friends feel the Bern.  And that’s fine.  I don’t agree with everything, but I respect that choice.  I would occasionally ask questions or push back if I genuinely didn’t understand something someone said or posted, otherwise I felt it was best to stick to common ground and trash Drumpf.  But now that Trump is the Republican nominee, I can’t keep it in anymore.  I don’t understand the Bernie people who won’t vote for Hillary in the general election, just to keep Trump out of office.  If Bernie somehow ends up with the nomination, fair and square, I’d vote for him in the general.  In any other election, I could understand and respect the “voting my conscience” principle.  But not this time.  Trump isn’t just some jackass who would make things suck and laughable for awhile.  Trump would put our economy in danger, ($10 says markets around the world plummet the day he’s elected.)  He would put our safety and the safety of our allies at risk.  His election would tell the world that it’s just fine to denigrate women, other religions, other races, the disabled, and anyone else who gets in the way.  He has already fanned the flames of race wars and encouraged violence as a way to solve differences.  For fuck sake, he’s hired Paul Manfort as one of his key strategists.  Paul Manafort is the guy who genocidal dictators have hired to help improve their image.  Trump, who is supposedly so wonderful because he’s been self-financing, (which isn’t technically true) has hired Steven Mnuchin as his National Campaign Finance Chair.  You may better know this “gentleman” as one of the investors who bought Indymac Bank when it collapsed, paid virtually nothing for it, got the federal government to continue shouldering the responsibility for the bank’s losses, and then made billions in the following years from the restructured bank.  Oh, and did I mention that they still foreclosed on thousands of people’s homes?  Jesse Benton, the man who was running the Trump super PAC, Great America, was convicted yesterday on several counts of fraud from when he worked on the Ron Paul campaign in 2012.  Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, thinks it’s totally cool to physically assault female reporters.  So….these are the sort of people Trump surrounds himself with.  How does that not scare the shit out of you?   Not to mention all the insane, let’s call them policy proposals, for lack of a better term.  I’ve heard people say, “He doesn’t mean what he says.  When he says build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, he really means he just wants to implement some mild tax cuts and tweak portions of our trade agreement.”  Denial!  Denial with a massive amount of projection of their own policy ideas.  I guess it’s okay, though.  Denial is only the first stage.  I’d be happy to recommend some wines once you get to the stress wining stage.

  

Concerning Pants…er…Leggings

This post begins with a trigger warning.  The pictures you’re about to see may make you say, “Eww!”, “Ugh!  Why?”, throw up in your mouth a little, or feel like your eyes are being dry humped.  

This is how I was dressed when I dropped the girls off at school today. 

This may be the part where you ask god how he would allow such a thing to happen.

No makeup, wet hair, and *gasp!* leggings!  I know. I KNOW!  I just couldn’t help myself.  They were clean, they were comfortable, and so I put them on, even though I didn’t have a shirt that fully covered my lumpy, fat ass and bulging gunt.  I am so incredibly sorry to show this to you and to anyone who had to endure seeing it in person.  No, wait.  Not sorry.  What are those words?  You know, the ones that mean it’s my body, I’ll dress it how I want, and I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks?  Hmmm….. Oh, well.  Maybe it will come to me later.  

Actually, if I’m being honest, I do care.  Or, at least, I care more lately, as I’ve been seeing things on social media, which are essentially shaming people for daring to allow their bums to be seen while wearing leggings.  It began last week when a friend shared the following video with me.

Look, I know it’s meant to be tongue in cheek and to garner laughs, but the more she talked, the more I felt like shit.  My first response was the kind of anger that leaves a lump in my sternum, waiting to burst out with any defensive thing I could say that would make me feel better.  After watching the video, I texted this back to my friend: 


It’s fat-shaming, pure and simple.  You know that the people who make these videos and flow charts are not thinking about skinny people, like them, when they make these.  At the very least, it’s body-shaming.  Because more women, (one of whom is supposed to be a Christian) making other women feel self-conscious and bad about their bodies is definitely what the world needs.  If she is so distracted by asses in leggings that she can’t make it through a shopping run in Target, may I humbly suggest that she stay at home with her judginess and cuddle with it by a nice, warm fire, and leave us fat people alone.  As we used to say in the 90s, that sounds like a personal problem. 

Finally, I’ve referenced flow charts that are in circulation, letting the reader know whether or not society permits them to get dressed how they want to in the morning.  I’ve come up with a new flow chart, which I believe will benefit everyone, skinny and non-skinny alike.