Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dying and Rising - Abortion and Easter: Contributor Post

Today I am blessed to have an extremely personal post by good friend and thealogian K. A. Her bravery and strength in sharing her story so that others may not feel so alone is inspiring. I am so lucky to be able to consider this woman a friend. Remember, people in all walks of life have had abortions, and each one must deal with it in her own way. And each one needs support.

...


My name is Kate. I'm a woman of deep, life-long faith. And a number of years ago, I aborted a wanted baby.

I was in relationship with a man I loved deeply, but our relationship was not known to others. If our pregnancy had been discovered, we (or, at least, I) perceived that we would lose support as a family from all those who then supported us as individuals, and we wouldn't be able to make a life together, much less support our child. The decision was ultimately mine. He was there when I took the pill.

A couple of weeks later, our relationship ended. In the midst of grieving the loss of that relationship, I lost sight of my grief for the tiny fetus that would have become our first-born child.

Now, all these years later, I am the mother of two amazing daughters; I am also the wife of the best man I know. My life is beautiful and full. And I'm finally giving myself permission to grieve my first pregnancy, the pregnancy that became my first abortion.

To my surprise and consternation, I've had a difficult time figuring out how to grieve it. Once I decided to allow myself to grieve, I intentionally tried to access my grief for over a day. Nothing came. I read a book called A Solitary Sorrow in which a therapist discussed her encounters with women who had had abortions. As I read the therapist's stories and considered my own, thousands of thoughts flooded my mind, but I couldn't access any emotional content.

I had already shared the story of my abortion with those closest to me long ago, so I decided to shared my story with several additional trusted friends. When one of them--the one from whom I most feared judgment--replied with compassion, my heart broke open. I ran to my husband and sobbed on his chest, a tidal wave of long-hidden grief bursting the dam in my heart.

In the United States, abortion is often heatedly discussed, but actual abortions--the abortions chosen by women all around us--are almost never discussed. To have had an abortion is an enormous taboo, and that impacts the self-perceptions of those who have abortions. The woman who has an abortion will often either perceive herself as a terrible, hypocritical sinner, or she'll tell herself that she's not supposed to feel any attachment to the tissue that grew in her womb.

I am pro-choice and completely support the right of all women to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy for the reasons she holds close to her heart, but I now also have the profound and personal realization that women who choose abortion need to be supported in their right to grieve that choice. The decision to choose abortion is rarely a neutral matter, and often it isn't the most desired outcome of a pregnancy, but when it is chosen it is almost always perceived as the best possible choice among the choices that are available. That makes for a lot of messy feelings, all hidden behind the rage of society's abortion debates.

I am one woman among many who has experienced abortion, and sharing the story of my abortion publicly here and now is terrifying. Even though I already experience deep support from some, I expect judgment and hatred from others. I expect to be disowned and cast out by at least some in my life who would otherwise keep me close. Beyond those I know personally, I expect strangers to point fingers, to call me a baby-killer and a whore and an evil woman, and even to threaten me for daring to speak up.

As I seek to answer my vocation as a future minister, however, I feel compelled to risk all of this. As a woman who buried her grief for years and discovered, after sharing it, that she is still loved, I can no longer justify cloaking myself in timidity and fear while other women still bear the burden of their grief alone (many in far more oppressive circumstances than mine). If I had known even one woman like myself--a woman of faith who chose abortion and dared to share her tale later so that others might be able to face their own stories--I might have been able to grieve and begin to heal far sooner.

I invite any woman who has had an abortion to consider letting her grief rise up and to share her story with someone she trusts. And for those women who can't think of anyone to tell, consider sharing it confidentially with someone who will listen to your story without judgment. If you are someone to whom one of these grieving women shares her story, I invite you to release all your expectations of how she should feel or how she should have acted and listen instead with all the tenderness and compassion you hold within you.

As a Christian, I experience on this Easter day the strange, radical truth that tombs aren't necessarily destined to remain closed. Perhaps, if we who have experienced abortion allow our grief to rise up, we will visit the tomb one day only to find it empty--and we'll realize that what was dead was made to be raised to new, undying life in us, just like Jesus was raised up from death in the midst of those who loved him.


 

Friday, April 18, 2014

365 Feminist Selfies - Week 15

This week was chock full of stuff. We had family visit from South Africa, and we went to Disney World and we dyed eggs, and I show that I can look attractive or NOT attractive. LOL


4/11

Can you see me? I'm at the aquarium store getting antibiotics for my beta fish, whose eye popped out, OMG. I am so nervous for him. He seems to be healing now, though, thank goodness.


4/12

So, the Body Combat room is undergoing renovations, and while we wait for them to fix it, they moved us to a crappy room that looks out into the gym proper, and now I have to watch people working out all day long while I try to do my class. This is my impression of a gymbro, after having to see them for an hour straight. HUAH.


4/13

Me and Dulce on the Dumbo ride at Disney. I didn't particularly like Disney...at all. But it was great to get the kids there at least once. Especially since we live so close.


4/14

This dress made one of my professors super uncomfortable. She could not handle it. So, I guess it will be relegated to "beach dress only" from now on.


4/15

Dyeing Easter eggs with my niece, Belinda, who is travelling the U.S. from South Africa and made a stop to visit us for a few days!


4/16

I'm working on a blog post about Jen Selter, and for part of it, I wanted to talk about "faking it", ie, how you really can't. After multiple tries, contorting myself and angling the photo oddly and not breathing, I was finally able to get this one shot, which, like, isn't even close to legit. You cannot fake a big ass through a photo. Some of us are just flatties.


4/17

Going to be a rough weekend. I've got two papers due that I haven't quite started, and they're like, you know, real ones, like 30-pagers. Plus, it's Easter, my husband isn't feeling well, my kids are kind of acting off the wall lately, and all the things


That's it. See you all next week, eh?

Week 14:

Week 13:

Week 12:

Week 11:





 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Journalism Isn't Dead...It's a Zombie.

My mom just sent me an email that listed journalism as one of the worst three jobs. Ever. Like, there's no quantifier in there. Just one of the worst three jobs. This is by Daily Briefing, who uses Bureau of Labor statistics and runs them through a snazzy algorithm, weighing stuff like satisfaction, health risk, stress levels, etc.

You know what the other two worst jobs are, guys?

Enlisted military and lumberjacks.

"One of these things is not like the other...one of these things just doesn't belong..."

But, seriously, let's take a look at those two. I mean, it's pretty obvious that one might be dissatisfied in these jobs because they're never home with their loved ones, or because it's really loud and strenuous all the time, and most likely because you make one mistake and you've lost a limb. Like a literal piece of your body. There are legitimate reasons these jobs are considered the worst.

How is journalism even remotely comparable to jobs where if you sneeze you could lose an arm?

First off, I'm absolutely sure the algorithm they used vastly over-accounted for the danger in a journalist's job. Are there reporters who have to put their lives on the line daily to get a story out? Yes. And in those cases, the danger is (or at least can be) as great as a combatant or a lumberjack.

But let's be real. That is not like 99 percent of journalists. For every one person risking their hide for a story, there are 200 more back at home, typing it up, making it pretty, calling "officials" etc. And it's actually that 99 percent that puts journalism on this list.

In no other line of work is the expectation of what you will be doing so very far from what you will actually be doing.

Think about the people who "become journalists." They're young, creative, idealistic, adventurous kids who get into this racket to be young, creative, idealistic and adventurous. And they're sold a false bag of goods.

People go into journalism to be this:


Bernstein and Woodward as dramatized by Hoffman and Redford.

And this:

Fictional hero of journalists everywhere.

I mean, we go in to find the good stuff on the bad guys, give no fucks, write it up with no shit from management because it's an important story and come and go as we please, fighting the good fight. We want to meet witnesses in bars, and buy coffee for corrupt police officers. We want to hide in the back of a truck bed, scribbling notes as a stolen bunch of paintings whizzes out of state. We want to find the exciting shit and grab on for the ride, stopping only when it's freaking over to type our fingers to the bone while swigging freaking beer and talking to our best friends about the coolest shit ever that just freaking happened, oh my God. And we want to tell the truth and change the world. We want to expose the faults and get them fixed. And we want to do it our way, on our time, with no used-up authority figure telling us we have to "tone it down" or we can't use a fantastic quote because "the police/government/our own corporation won't like it."

Nah, dude. We journalists. We gettin' this shit done.

Sure, your Jskool prof tells you in his steely, tired voice that you'll be eating bologna sandwiches for the rest of your life, and your ear will be attached to the phone, and you'll never, EVER, get paid any money. But do you listen?

NO!

You are a journalist. No negative nelly is going to stop you in your unquenchable thirst for justice and truth! Plus, you are a kid. You're convinced that old prof just 'did it wrong.' You'll do it right.

Womp womp womp.

So, unsurprisinglly, after your 3000th stupid town meeting and between your 500th and your 800th politely worded obituary, it's no wonder you lose your way. Journalists have to pay dues, apparently. (Which is dumb, btw). And those dues pretty much never end these days. There is no exciting story to be covered and if there ever were one, the corporations in control of the newsrooms would sap the life out of it as quickly as they sapped the life out of your immediate supervisor.

I mean, let's not forget about that guy, right? So, not only do you drag your ass to work every day to phone the town council president to talk about petunia growth in your town square while trying not to stab out your own eyeballs with the pencil you keep for taking very quick, important notes (that you've never even had to use one time), you also have to do that for eight hours straight with that guy staring right at you, waves of animosity just rolling off him.

Don't get me wrong. There are a million awesome people in journalism. They're tired, and broken, and disappointed, and sad (for the most part), but awesome. Then there are these guys. These guys who are just sure that your mere existence is a threat to them. You're going to take their scoop (on what, dude? The pony parade coming to town? Because that's all your corporate head lets you report anyway), or their validation (he really needed that 'you should have been nominated for a webby' comment, okay?), or worst of all, they think you'll take their job.

That's a legit concern, by the way, and it rounds out our ways in which journalism is the worst of the worst of jobs. There is no job security at all. Like AT ALL. Take news directors in broadcast, for example. On average, they last 18 months. These are the top dogs, people. Any further up the line and you're corporate. ON AVERAGE, they last 18 months. Fuck me typing if a producer or reporter is going to last that long unless they become the perfect yesman.

Journalist. Pusher of truth. The perfect yesman.

"One of these things is not like the other...one of these things just doesn't belong..."

So, yeah, what this messed-up recipe yields is a whole lot of burned out, bitter, poor, automatons, saying yes to every stupid-assed decision and every ethically questionable agenda that comes their way for fear of losing the job they do for PENNIES, because they're supposedly in it for the love of it.

We say in mass comm grad school that journalism is dead, a lot. We're talking, of course, about the outmoded newspaper model. But it's so much more than that. And we're not even going to go into the blatant sexism and bullshit that goes on. Or how about how everyone not only hates us, but also thinks they can do our job. Like, everyone thinks they can just write. It is infuriating, no? That's another couple of posts.

The internet didn't kill journalism. It's been dead for a long time. Journalism is a zombie.

But!

There is hope.

One of you suckers out there in internet-land is going to come up with a new model that turns everything completely on its head because in internet-land, we are no longer beholden to hours, and yeses, and phone calls to petty officials and bosses, and bullshit. Someone out there is going to break this shit. And they're going to put up something else. And I will be on that bandwagon.

Because I'm in journalism to be Fletch, dammit.

And no amount of firing me, telling me I'm a piece of shit, or making me rewrite a 20-second voice over about a car crash with no injuries that happened three days ago is going to stop me. And I know I'm not alone.

So, let's do this, journalists. Let's JOURNALISM.





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Disney Trip!

Sometimes, you take a day and go to Disney. It's not often, and it's a lot of work, but it's definitely worth at least one trip for the kids. And lucky for us, we don't live far, so we don't have to go for more than a day. Phew!



On our way. Monorail isn't as awesome when you're an adult, fyi.


The kids LOVED this fountain outside of a restaurant to wash their hands.


Waiting waiting waiting in lines.



Dulce's favorite part was this roller coaster.



Princesses. Obviously.


My favorite Disney character.


Right outside one of the lands. Tomorrowland, I think.





 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Recipe Monday - Onion Chutney

This actually comes from a friend of mine and not me. So you know it's good. She says it tastes great on basically everything.






2 onions, finely chopped
4 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 small tomato, seeded, chopped
3 tbs tomato paste 
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


1) In a bowl, combine onions, 3 tsp of the vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2) Rinse the onions lightly, then drain and pat them dry.

3) In a bowl, combine onions, remaining 1 tsp of vinegar, bell pepper, tomato, tomato paste, vegetable oil, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and mix well.


Add garam masala, pepper, and salt as needed to taste. If you like it mild, stick to the given amounts. I ended up added a bunch more to make it nice and spicy. Generally, the chutney will be better after it sits for a while to let the flavors meld together.

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