What if?

This morning as I sat quietly in my safe home, a home where all my needs are met, living a life of enough and relatively problem-free, I wondered. . .

What if I were that nice young woman who serves you your breakfast or your dinner, and what if:

I am 19. I live in a medium size city in the south. I left home when I was 16, escaping from my drug and alcohol addicted parents and a home that always had a ready supply of both but  lacked in food, love, and kindness. 

I work as a waitress. The breakfast shift in one restaurant within walking distance of my studio apartment, and the dinner shift in another restaurant – the opposite direction of the first, but still within walking distance. I can afford neither the luxury of a car, nor the cost of public transportation. Fortunately, my jobs afford me two good meals a day, so my food costs are very low.

Before, between, and after jobs, I got my GED and am taking online college courses, because I want to some day have a job that pays enough to live decently. I want to get ahead, to have more in life than my childhood provided. Some day, I’d like to marry and have a family, but only when I am able to support myself in a reasonable manner. For now, I make ends meet by living in a small space in a low-rent district. It’s a struggle, but it’s important and I survive.

Now – now all of that is in question. Six weeks ago, walking home from my night job I was grabbed by a man, drug into an alley, and raped. I tried to report it to the police, but they were not helpful, and the man has not been caught. I doubt he ever will be. This morning I learned that I am pregnant, impregnated by a cruel stranger in the cruelest manner I can think of. What do I do? How do I handle this? If I must carry through with this pregnancy, I will lose my jobs. I have no insurance and I cannot afford the medical bills. I fear that if I am forced to keep this child my future will be what my past has been. Poverty, no money for food, no chance to get ahead in this life. I fear I will always remember that night when I see the child. The child, who will end up carrying on this life of no hope – perpetrating it into future children, to more poverty, to darkness and despair.

There used to be a chance to change this chain of events. There used to be medical centers that could help me end this unwanted, dreadful pregnancy. That is not the optimal answer, obviously, but I see no other choice. It would be a hard decision, it is not what I ever saw in my life, but sometimes life just isn’t fair and sometimes hard choices have to be made. Now, that option is gone. The powers that be, most of whom are men who would never have to deal with this situation, have made it impossible to get that help. They have made laws that are cold, uncaring, unreasonable. They have done so they say in the name of the good. In the name of Christianity. This puzzles me, because I have always thought of God, of Christ, as caring, tender, protective. They say they are protecting life – but what I think is they are encouraging the continuation of my life as a child. Laying that life on the shoulders of babies and children who should never have to live with neglect or abuse and hunger. Are they there to support these babies, to help the unwilling mothers? No. They are behind the fences of their community – the fences that protect them from life in my neighborhood. 

How dare they?! What can I do? How do I go on? Help me. Please. Help me.

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Male Domination

Let me warn you: this is going to be a rant – because my brain is on overload. Let me also specify a couple of things before I proceed: I am not anti-male in general. I am not pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice. Would I ever have had an abortion in my younger years? I don’t know. How can anyone know until they’re in that position?

What I am oh-so weary of is male domination in this world. I was frustrated during the hearings about Kavanaugh’s qualifications to be a Supreme Court judge, and the testimony of his accuser, who seemed to me not to be a vindictive woman, but a woman concerned that major decisions affecting our people, our country, were to be decided by yet another flawed human being. Yet, the men who have been in government so many years that they could not possibly be in touch with real life as most of us know it, were the ones to make the final decision.

The men in state governments now making decisions about women’s lives may not be as old, but they are as opinionated, as poorly informed, as unthinking, as judgmental. Give it some thought: your 12 year-old daughter has been impregnated by the neighbor – and she will be forced to carry this child to term, then make an equally difficult decision as whether to abort – keep the child, thereby restricting her future in so many ways – or give it up, and always wonder how it’s doing? What if my best friend was raped while jogging in the park – and she is being forced to carry the child to term, knowing that whenever she looks at that child, she will remember the attack.

You say none of that matters? What matters is it’s a life? For me, what really matters is that it should be my choice because it is also my life – unless you are willing to take this child and raise it. Put it up for adoption? How many kids end up in foster homes and are abused or neglected, until they are at an age deemed unadoptable, and end up with very damaged lives. Are you willing to be the adoptor?

I agree you have the right to never have an abortion, to feel it is taking a life to have an abortion – but I do not agree that your beliefs should over rule mine, or that your beliefs should dictate my life and my choices. I humbly request that you give women the right to make their own choice, because only they can know what’s best for them in any given situation. We all have the right to live our lives according to our beliefs and our feelings – whether or not they agree with yours.

There is an excellent article written by Kirsten Powers in USA Today wherein she very thoughtfully discusses this issue. Please read it, even if you do not believe it’s well written after reading it. Just give it a little thought. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/05/14/heartbeat-bills-anti-abortion-laws-late-term-women-christian-column/1190340001/

 

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Share Your World – 5/15/19

I haven’t done this in awhile, but it’s a chilly, rainy day – a good day to stay inside and bake bread, but I did that yesterday, so I’ll join Melanie and the rest of you in sharing more of my world.

  1. What social stigma does society need to get over already? Intolerance of racial, ethnic and religious differences. Intolerance of opinions that differ from ours. Drawing lines of division. We kinda need to take a good close look at ourselves and see that what we’ve become is not a good thing.
  2. What was the last photo you took? Um. Oh yes. I recently adopted two of my daughter’s cats because of an impending change in her life (good) that required that she reduce her pet population. The last photo I took was to show her one of them – the one that likes to help in the kitchen. How does Shasta feel about this? She has reservations, but they each have designated areas to enforce separation for parts of each day.
  3. When was the last time you snooped and found something or found out something you wish you hadn’t? Oh, many many years ago. But I only wish I hadn’t because it reduced the trust involved in a relationship – although suspecting something and not knowing is worse, I think.
  4. What’s the most comfortable bed or chair you’ve ever slept in? Toss-up. Many years ago my husband and I took a trip back east and one night we stayed in a Hampton Inn – the bedding and bed were so luxurious, just heavenly. As to chair? Well, that would be my big chair in my family room, where I nap (because I go in there to read after lunch, and napping always follows) and watch TV in the evenings.
  5. Gratitude: Spring. Greening foliage. The recent long weekend I spent with my daughter. Communications (mostly via text and some email) with my son and daughter frequently enough to calm a mother’s heart. My furry babies. On a more materialistic level, my Instant Pot.

My new furry kids, watching my robot vacuum run around outside their area. This is part of quiet time, all of us in our own areas.

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Paying Taxes: Is it Smart or Dumb?

Wisdom and truth

that little voice

I recently watched a clip of one of the debates between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump where she stated he had paid no taxes for a number of years.

He quipped, “That makes me smart” (or something similar).

Three years later I want to respond. I’m aware this is late, but better late than…

Mr. Trump, since not paying taxes is smart, you are saying the milliions of Americans who pay their taxes are dumb.

That those of us who pay taxes to support our law enforcement officers, our military, our teachers, and pay for our highways, our bridges, our schools, our health care are dumb.

No, Mr. Trump. They aren’t dumb, they are Americans.

Not paying your share of taxes does not make you smart. It makes you selfish, Mr. Trump. You are dumping the financial obligation all Americans have onto the backs of hardworking taxpayers. They are carrying…

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Share Your World – 4/22/19

Melanie has challenged us one more time with thought-provoking questions, which I’ll attempt to answer before going outside to attack the spring yard cleanup chores.

  1. Was the last thing you read digital or print? Digital. Whether the question refers to a book I’m reading, news reports I’m reading, social media, whatever – it’s all digital for me now. My iPad weighs less than a book, and newspapers have ink that sometimes rubs off, plus making more trash.
  2. Are you more an extrovert or introvert? More of an introvert, although there’s a tiny bit more extrovert now than there used to be. If I’m going to be with people I prefer smaller groups – large groups or crowds make me pull back into myself.
  3. How is your life different from what you imagined as a younger person? I don’t really remember what I imagined as a younger person, but I have a strong suspicion I thought I would get married, have children, and live happily ever after. Because that’s what most females thought when I was at that age. How is my life different? Well, I did get married and have children – the greatest gift in my life was the children. We did not live happily ever after and I tried more than once. I am now living happily ever after with my dog, who does not judge or criticize – unless I’m too slow in fulfilling one of her needs or wishes.
  4. Do you think about dying?   Does death scare you?  Why or why not? Occasionally I think about dying because I’m at that age. Does it scare me? No, not really, although I’m not ready to go yet. I have too much worth living for to give it up. What does scare me is the possibility of falling and breaking parts and not being able to get anywhere to get help – sometimes, but not that often. It’s one of the things that comes with getting older and living alone, and I deal with it.
  5. For gratitude this week, Melanie found a Scavenger Hunt, which I may or may not do, but I’ll take one of the suggestions from that list to answer here. Find something that makes you happy. My daughter, who is going to dress as a fairy for her school’s May Day celebration (May Day is a big day there):


  6.  And my son
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Share Your World – 4/16/19

It’s a lovely spring-like morning – some clouds in the sky but not enough to hide the glorious bright sunshine, daffodils beginning to bloom, peonies thrusting their new stems upward with a promise of future blooms, birds and critters returning from their winter hiatus. Spring is a happy time.

Melanie’s questions this week are tough ones, I think, but I’m going to see what I can do about giving reasonable answers. Or answers, maybe not always reasonable.

  1. Guns?   Are you pro or con?  Explain your point of view. Don’t know that I’m “pro” but I’m not “con” in all instances either. I have a rifle because my husband had rifles and I kept one – just in case of what I’m not sure. I have no objection to people owning guns if they choose – for hunting (although I don’t understand the pleasure of that particular sport) – for other sport. I do object to the ease in purchasing guns. I think extensive background checks should be required, I think a national registry should be required, I think laws like the one Oregon passed recently allowing a court to forbid possession of guns by people who the family thinks is a risk to oneself or others or is a known abuser, are good. I object strongly to the availability of high-capacity, high-velocity rifles such as the military uses, because those can do a lot more damage than regular guns. Fewer bullets available in a longer period would mean fewer deaths.  I’ve heard the “they’re fun to shoot” reasons for ownership, but in this world, in this life, we can’t always have everything we want.
  2. How would your country change if everyone, regardless of age, could vote? Wow! I don’t know. But I know there are a lot of very responsible teens out there who would, I believe, cast their votes wisely. Then there are others who would not be so wise, but the question would be would they even bother to vote? I do think we need term limits for many positions – Congress, the Supreme Court, for instance. I think we need a younger crop of members of Congress and for the presidency, both because I believe younger people are more in touch with their times and have more energy.
  3. What’s your cure for hiccups? I don’t have one. I haven’t had the hiccups in years and years, but I think last time I did I just waited for them to go away. Why do we get hiccups anyway?
  4. What’s the coldest you’ve ever been? I’m sure it was when I was a kid and I had to walk 25 blocks one way to school through ten foot snowdrifts in sub-zero weather. You’re questioning me? Yeah, my kids did too when I tried telling them that. Cold is cold, and I feel it more now than I did in years past. I don’t like cold.

Gratitude

If you would like, share a story, a photo or some thoughts on you may be thankful for this week!  This week I am thankful for these little beauties reassuring me that spring does exist and is well on its way.

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Privilege and Fractures

Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”.

As a white-skinned man, you have always been granted the privilege to “sit at the counter”, drink from a water fountain, live in the better neighborhoods, be given credit for some degree of intelligence, admitted to the school of your choice, enter in the business of your choice, ride in the front of the bus, vote for the candidate of your choice. Women have had to fight hard for these privileges. People of color have had to fight harder for these privileges.

Even today, when equality is purportedly granted to all, some experience much more privilege than others.

As a wealthy white man, you have always had more privileges than those of a lower “class” or income group. As a wealthy man, you have always had the privilege of being able to hire the “best” in any field – which often directly affects the end result – think O.J. Simpson. As a wealthy man, you can “buy” your way into the most elite groups, influence those who have power, control the outcome of many situations. As a wealthy white woman, you have had to work hard to have the right to claim wealth as your own, to be in control of your property and your life. As a person of color, you have had to work even harder for those privileges, those rights.

We are called the “United States of America”. The states may be joined into a united entity, but the people of the states seem to be less united – fractured. Driven apart by beliefs, beliefs that are influenced by those with power, with wealth, with influence. Those with power and influence appear to thrive on creating and enlarging those fractures, feeding into the frenzy of our frustrations, our feelings of not being heard. Rather than working to unite us, to heal the fractures, those in power seem to be concerned only for obtaining more power, more control.

Our government has been fractured for some time, and seems to be growing more so. Our government seems to be more intent on working for a political party than for its people. Our government seems to be more intent upon gaining more privileges, playing up to those with wealth, power, influence than gaining more privileges, wealth, power and influence for the “common” man.

Does the inequality of privilege create the fractures?

Does the greed for power and influence grow the inequality and the fractures?

The people of this country used to disagree, but we didn’t fracture.

The people of this country used to experience less distance between the “classes”. There was once a middle class – not just the upper or upper upper and lower classes.

We used to be more united. Less fractured.

I long for the day we again see our country united and an equality in privileges. For the day we gain privileges because we deserve them without regard to skin color, not because we can buy them.

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