Search

A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

Loved

You know, over and over I think I finally know what it feels like to be loved. And over and over I find myself jerked out of my dream with the sudden, and yet never surprising, realization that the love that was given to me was always, ever conditional.

And then suddenly here I am slowly building a life with a person who from day one has told me his intentions are 100% in. Of course, with the trauma I’ve experienced I’m ever skeptical, but slowly he is showing me that he’s serious. In little bits and pieces his commitment to me gets challenged, and every time he has come out on my side.

On my side.

I have someone on my side.

I hope, with the desperation of a lonely traveler dying of thirst in the desert, that this is not a mirage. I hope as if my life depends on it.

And I dream.

I dream of flying.

Abortion, Paternity and Nuance

A right to life or a right to choose? The perpetually debated abortion issue is almost always framed as a fundamental battle between the right of an unborn foetus to have life and the right of a woman to decide what happens with her body. Both sides try to claim the moral high ground, but both sides fail to recognize the roles that society and technology play in this whole ethical conundrum.

I am going to attempt an objective discussion of both sides of this issue, but as all of us with at least moderately lubricated brains are aware, true unbiasedness doesn’t exist when humans play a part. So I will tell you up front: I am pro-choice even as I believe that abortion destroys a life. Let me try to explain to you why my beliefs fall on the side that they do.

First, and before we talk about any of the science or the moral philosophy behind what is a life and what is a right, let us acknowledge the elephant in the room: abortion battles are not about mother versus baby, they are about father versus woman, and children become the collateral. At its very core, anti abortionists and the rules they pass are about holding a woman hostage to the sexual, economic and social demands of men by tying her fate to that of an innocent spark of life that men can create and women must bear. On the one hand, men have a truly microscopic contribution to the creation of new life. Once conceived, the entire future of a child depends on the actions and choices of its mother; it’s father’s input is at most indirect. Which brings us to the other hand: unlike women, men can choose to keep their contribution to a child’s new life at a microscopic level, or they can choose to be fully committed to the child and, by extension, its mother as it grows and develops. Restricting a woman’s ability to abort an unwanted pregnancy places the responsibility for all of the consequences of sex and reproduction squarely on the shoulders of women while still giving men the benefits of fatherhood and all that those consequences entail. Abortion is not about a child’s life versus a mother’s life, it is about holding a child hostage in order to control a woman.

Therefore, when we acknowledge the humanity of unborn children and claim that we are attempting to preserve life by preventing abortions, we are also morally obliged to acknowledge that we are pitting the life of the child against the life of the mother by failing to ensure that fathers play their just role in supporting that life. Prevention of abortion without a corresponding prevention of the abdication of the duties of fatherhood is akin to negotiating a terrorist situation by saying, “we won’t give you anything, unless of course you’re going to try to kill someone, in which case we’ll do anything you want because no cost is too high to pay if it means avoiding an action that can be linked directly to killing someone” and then being surprised by the rise in terrorism. It completely changes the power balance between what ought to be, at the very least, a joint decision between man and woman, into a situation where the choice is made by the side with the least investment in the outcome.

I spent the last two years of my life in the reddest of the American South — deep, rural, central Louisiana and parts of Arkansas. I spoke with many men who thought that abortion was killing babies. When I said to them that preventing abortions meant ruining the lives of women while their boyfriends disappeared into the night, they regaled me with stories of men they knew who had to pay hundreds of dollars in child support to women who just kept getting pregnant and spent the money on themselves. It’s hard to talk to men like this because to them, ironically, any discussion of the rights of women to, for example, not have their lives destroyed by men who fuck and run, is an attack on their rights as men. I found it ironic that to them it was all about the poor innocent babies until you brought up the reality that those babies required things like food and shelter and care and that men were not providing it. Men, it seems, are supposed to have the right to fuck without consequence.

Are unborn babies people that deserve to protected from “murder”? I don’t know. I know that for most of human existence, when mothers could not properly care for their babies they did not survive. When you hear the statistic that “cavemen only lived to the ripe old age of 30” it belies the reality that many humans didn’t survive childhood. Today we have technology that virtually guarantees that babies live to adulthood, at least in the developed world, but it doesn’t guarantee that parents have the resources to properly care for those children any more than they did thousands of years ago. We also have the technology to terminate a pregnancy before it becomes a child doomed to neglect. So essentially the question of whether or not abortion is moral is one of our own creation. Is it better to birth a child that you cannot care for and let time and neglect kill it for you than it is to take the initiative and end that life before it suffers?

In a way, the heart of the entire debate about abortion is really about our interconnectedness as people to each other. A mother’s life cannot be disconnected from her child’s life and a father’s life cannot be disconnected from the mother because every decision we make affects all of us to a greater or lesser, direct or indirect extent. The science that has grown up around sex, conception, gestation, birth and development has given us the power to consciously manipulate the ways in which we are connected to each other, but it cannot fully sever those connections. I believe that men seek to prevent women from being able to independently obtain abortions both as an effort to increase their control over the reproductive process which they have biologically very little actual input as well as to excuse themselves from the requirement of seeing women as whole and complete beings with equal agency to themselves.

Should abortions be illegal because they kill children? No. I think that abortions do end life, but I do not think that that life, dependent as it is on the life of those who have come before it, should be elevated to the same or greater level than the lives of women whose bodies provide the shelter and nourishment that it needs to become a whole and complete person. Do I think that abortions should be a substitute for safer sex practices and intentional decision making about reproduction? Absolutely not! A mother feels the loss of life within her when she loses her baby regardless of how far along its development was. This is a tragedy that should be mourned with appropriate ritual and care for all of those who experience loss. But the experience of tragedy is part of life and avoiding one type of pain will inevitably lead to other types. This is a truth that cannot be escaped. And so I say that abortion should be legal and it should be wholly the decision of the mother to make and to anyone who claims that they oppose abortion because they value the lives of unborn children, I say that do you also seek to guarantee the fair and equal contribution of fathers in the lives of their children? And do you do so with the same vigor that you seek to bind the hands of women? If not, you are only hiding behind the innocent in an effort to rain violence down on women. You have no moral authority in this debate.

You versus Me

I recently spoke with a friend of mine about the man I am dating right now. He is a Southern Christian Man and I am a former Christian nomad. I asked my friend to help me translate between Christian-speak and my own values, which she and I share, but what I learned was so much more than just how to speak.

My man and I frequently butt heads about our differing views of sexuality. Even as he is the most masculine, arousing, sexual partner that I have ever had, I cannot help but sense the sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle, disdain for my sexuality under the surface. My friend said to me that, “all fundamentalism is about fear, fear of judgement, fear of ostracism, fear based on an experience of and therefore a theology about, a scarcity of love,” and she advised me that the only thing within my power to deal with this man’s attitude was to love him.

The scarcity of love

The idea that love is scarce is strange to me, and yet I am beginning to understand how it drives the actions and the beliefs of people around me. If love is scarce, then my love for one person is proof that my love for you is lessened. That’s why people become jealous and territorial over their lovers, because they think that if even a drop of that love spills out then it will be lost to them forever. In speaking with my man about other things I’ve come to realize that it’s not just jealousy that springs from the competition for scarce love, but an intolerance and a callousness for the feelings of others.

Lately in Granite City where I’m currently staying, the cold and rain have been unrelenting. Every day for nearly two weeks it has been gray, dreary and wet. He works outside in it getting chilled to the bone for long hours and comes home ragged. I stay in the trailer working and writing on my computer and slowly withering from the isolation and the dark. When I told him that the weather was wearing me down his response was, “try working outside in it all day!” I was looking for some understanding from him, but instead what I got was this aggression, as if daring to experience suffering from the same dankness that was plaguing him was trying to steal away his right to compassion!

Thinking back to my childhood, I can see the same attitude in my own mother’s reaction to me whenever I became down about something. My father, to a certain extent, was similar. If I ever admitted that something was hurting me, something that couldn’t be “fixed” like having period cramps, my mother would tell me how it could be worse, or even explain how she suffered worse in some way or another, implying that until my suffering exceeded hers that I ought to suck it up. My father’s reply was simpler: he’d just offer to smash my toe with a hammer so I’d forget about whatever else was bothering me.

My mind whirls continuously, trying to find a way that I can communicate with my man and diffuse his ever-present defensiveness. I don’t know that I can. He has to want to view me as a companion instead of an adversary, and to do that he has to acknowledge his own powerlessness to earn my or any other person’s love. That’s a big ask for anybody. But I do believe that we are meant to love, built to love, and better off when we love infinitely and unconditionally, or as close to it as humanly possible. It makes us better people, and allows us to be more compassionate and more at peace. Love by its very nature is infinite and unconditional, and I know that this very idea is terrifying. I know that it is not given to me make him or anyone understand the awesomeness that is true love, but only to choose for myself what I will do.

I choose love.

 

Mourning My Femininity

Today I was reading about abortifacent herbs on http://www.sisterzeus.com. Why? because I’m looking for information on what herbs can adversely affect my already off the wall hormones. But I found on this site a spirituality and a femininity that I didn’t know I missed.

Sister Zeus advises her sisters not to let an abortion pass as just a medical fact or a biological process, but to mourn the loss of life, or potential life, that an abortion effects. As I read her description of funeral rituals for the unborn I found my own heart beginning to ache for my unborn.

Continue reading “Mourning My Femininity”

We are all the same People

In the UK, it was Brexit. In the US it is the Orange Fascist. In Africa, including Nigeria, Senegal and other countries, it doesn’t have a name, but it’s the same disease.

Worldwide people are becoming violently nationalist. They are closing themselves in from the rest of the world, and in fact from anything considered different or abnormal, or threatening. The Brexit (Britain + Exit, as I have learned) decision came as a result of decades of globalisation leaving the working class unemployable, abandoned and alone in their homes (From: The Long Read). OF in the United States turned out to be a strikingly similar phenomenon. People suffering from the not so slow and very steady onslaught of outsourcing that closed the factories and mines that were the sole source of income in their towns, chose a lunatic to lead the country because at least he seemed to understand their anger and frustration (From: Cracked).

Across the Atlantic, Africa has been suffering the same symptoms, but perhaps because we Westerners think that our race and society are the default, we haven’t noticed. Over the last ten or so years, African countries across the continent have been waging war on the homosexuals in their lands. It’s not that homosexuality is new, indeed it has been a part of indigenous people’s ritual and mysticism since before history had records. It seems to be that in recent years African countries have been exhibiting symptoms of nationalism, claiming that homosexuality is a Western import designed to destroy their identities as Africans. Many countries, including Nigeria, have criminalized homosexual expression (From: Chikaduah Blog).

Nationalism, it seems, is a disease that is afflicting more and more countries worldwide. Its symptoms are misplaced anger, violence, suppression of sexuality, a hatred of the West, or the “outsiders”, militancy, and draconian control of daily life. It seems that nationalism arises where people feel economically threatened by unseen forces. When we feel threatened, we turn hostile. A natural response that may have served us well many tens of thousands of years ago, this hostile reflex is maladaptive today as our greatest predators are not the roaming lions but in fact our fellow man.

Ever since I was a child I always wanted to know why? what causing that to be the way it is? Today I look at this rising tide of global nationalism and I say, why is it that so many countries exhibit such striking social upheavals, and all so close together in time? Of course it’s not the first time that nationalism has resulted in calamity as Germany and Cambodia have demonstrated in the not-so-distant past with terrible consequence; Perhaps the reasons there is a flare up today are not unrelated? I believe, though I have no research or hard facts to use as proof, that the social upheavals we are experiencing are the manifestation of a deep existential fear that has become the norm of our daily lives as more and more specialisation, digitisation, automation, outsourcing and anonymity pervade every aspect of our lives. We as human beings need to feel as if we are connected to others in a meaningful way, and we need a spirituality that connects us to something greater. The unstoppable onslaught of globalisation has eroded that part of our existence so subtly and yet so thoroughly, that we don’t even understand why we are so dissatisfied.

When I look at the world around me, I see well meaning people with solid work ethics and a honest desire to serve their communities and families and make a meaningful contribution to the world. In the global economy the way we have built it, these people are not valued any more than their ability, on an hourly, minutely, or even secondly basis, to produce a marketable product. Great hulking intangible entities called corporations decide the value of these people based on formulas, and when the numbers don’t add up, they are discarded like depreciated machinery. Of course, if work can be found, then material pleasures abound, so we are supposed to be satisfied with our share of the bargain. Increasingly, however, I find that people look at their houses, their cars, their designer clothes and accessories, their multitude of electronic gadgets and they cannot understand why they feel so empty. With nowhere to point the finger, and no hope to cure the emptiness that results from having no real connection to anything beyond one’s self, people turn to the easiest target they can find to release their anger and frustration. It’s not out of malice, but out of despair that we become so cruel.

I think that we can cure this dis-ease of nationalism. If we view it as the natural and predictable backlash to globalisation and rampant capitalism, and if we understand that its primary path of destruction is through the erosion of meaning and connection in people’s lives, then we have a formula for a cure. I believe that what we need to do is recreate an environment where cooperation, understanding and love can once again flourish. In order to do this, we must break down the barriers that prevent people from building meaningful relationships with each other. A simple concrete solution would be to undo the concrete sprawl and the automobile infrastructure that puts every citizen in a metal (and increasingly plastic) box and hurtles them through space, isolated and protected from contact with any one else. Instead, create cities and towns where people want to be, including public spaces and public transport and bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure. We could also focus on reconnecting people with the sources of their livelihood. Local economies enable people to know the names and even the faces of those who provide them with their food, clothes and other services. Localisation is also much more stable and sustainable than globalisation for a variety of reasons.

When it was just the Holocaust, or just the Khmer Rouge, it was easy for us to say that a few bad apples had spoiled the harvest, but today we are seeing the same behaviors manifesting the world wide. I can only conclude that we are all the same people reacting to the same threats, even if they are only perceived subconsciously. Many people, in fact most people, still subscribe to the Story of the continuous March of Progress which tells us that our world is now, and has always been, steadily rising from the squalor to which we were born, on a path to our own engineered salvation. But once, not so long ago, we lived in a world where the default was to be loved not just by your parents, but by your entire society, to be well fed and free from both external deadlines and authoritative coercion, to spend our days in leisure and play, with full confidence that tomorrow the world would bestow upon us yet another great bounty worthy of a feast. I believe that we can once again inhabit this world. I don’t presume to say that it will be easy to find or reconstruct, but I see rays of hope shining through the despair. We are one people, and increasingly we will be harder pressed to recognized the truth of that, and I believe that in the end Truth will prevail.

What is the fight?

I promised to use this blog to write about love. Since I made that declaration, many things have happened and my world is not the same.

Today I’d like to talk about “the fight” and “the war.” While I try to stay out of politics as much as possible, I cannot deny that I am a citizen of this earth and a member of modern society and that to a certain extent that means I am not exempt from its consideration, nor safe from its follies.

I am still in shock at the result of the US election. I have been tip toeing around my friends and family, particularly those who I know like to spout their mouths off or be argumentative, because I’m just in too much pain and shock to deal with them gently. Usually very patient, I snapped more than once since last week. Before I can tell you about the fight, I want to explain a little about my sadness. I hope you can humor me just a bit — my therapist said talking about it is good for me. Continue reading “What is the fight?”

Love

LOVE

When I was a freshman in college, I wrote an essay. It was supposed to be a college admissions essay where I explained how I was a perfect fit for the university I was applying to. Instead, I wrote about love. Continue reading “Love”

Look! More heros!

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57ab7fe5e4b0ba7ed23ec5fe

A mother at 38, a world champion at 43. These are the women that inspire me!

Choosing the Choices

At the moment, I’m reading No Logo style= by Naomi Klein. It’s a long winded and slightly out of date book, but the author has passion and she is able to hit on some striking insights about the global economy, even with her minimal economics background. 
Continue reading “Choosing the Choices”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑