trump_misogynyI don’t even know what to say, where to start, or how to communicate on feelings that have already been expressed myriad times by myriad people. It’s like walking through a thick, viscous fog that is filled with hands that keep slapping you in the face. I’m just……demoralized.

Before I go any further, let me say something. This blog post is about MY feelings on all this. MY experiences, MY outlook, MY insights, working through MY issues. If, while you read this, you feel the need to tell me any of the following:

  • “Calm down, you’re overreacting.”
  • “We need to stop blaming and start uniting.”
  • “God has it all under control, stop worrying.”
  • “Let’s wait and give it a chance…”
  • “But she……..”

may I respectfully and kindly ask that you just DON’T. If you honestly think I (and millions of others) haven’t heard that or some variation thereof about 85,632,840,574,398 times, you’d be mistaken. I don’t need that or want that. Please and thank you very much.

Like many others, I found myself aghast, despondent, frustrated, angry, surprised, and simply FLOORED by the election. I should have known better. Really, I should have. But I honestly, completely believed that we all were better than this. That we had come further as human beings. That such extreme and blatant vitriolic hatred was a deal breaker for everyone. But like the SNL sketch when Dave Chappelle hosted, what a vast percentage of our country already knew was flayed open and served on a steaming, rancid pile for the rest of us to realize. I knew there were racists. But I didn’t think there were this many or that there were this many people willing to overlook racism. I knew there were misogynists, but I didn’t know so many women were willing to ignore that. I knew there were stupid, gullible people, but I am shocked by how many were willing to believe the flat-out lies being fed them – even when those lies were pointed out daily. I didn’t know and I refused to believe it. I thought “good will out,” as we’re taught.

Now, I’m not a minority, so I cannot speak about being a minority in our country – the way race issues affect people of color. I know what stories I hear, but I do not know it firsthand, therefore I won’t speak on it. I’ll leave that to someone better suited.

Neither am I an immigrant (at least not a 1st or 2nd generation immigrant), so even though I know & am friends with immigrants and hear their stories and their fears, it is not mine to discuss. So many others can do it better and more authentically.

I’m also not a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jew. I know nothing but anecdotes concerning what they face on a daily basis in terms of struggle, oppression, hatred, or bigotry. I could speak on the surface of their issues, but I won’t. Those are their stories and I won’t co-opt them.

I’m not LGBTQ+ either. I know and love a whole lot of them and I will hold them close and fight with them. But I cannot speak for them.

But here’s what I am. I am a woman. Not only a woman – I am an abuse survivor. I am a sexual assault victim. And, horror of horrors in the eyes of our new administration, I am not a woman that has any place or worth in his eyes. I am fat. I am past middle age. I am not hot. In fact, I’m a woman that if he had assaulted me and I called him on it, his response would be, “Look at her. I wouldn’t waste my time with that. She’s a 4 at best.”

It is my status as a female assault victim/abuse survivor in the face of the past 1.5 years of this man’s candidacy that has me feeling this way. Not even INCLUDING the fact that since his election win, men around the country have decided that his win means open season on treating women like THINGS that they get to have, to touch, to grab, to assault at will. My feelings don’t even take that into account. Here’s what they do.

I, and many, many, many other abuse/assault survivors, sat and listened over and over again to this man talk in a demeaning manner about women. Dismiss women. Laugh at women. And, finally, reveal that he feels he has the right to do whatever he wants to them. Whenever he wants. We listened as our memories were triggered. As all the old feelings came rushing back. Statements and remarks that should have immediately eliminated him from any consideration as president were downplayed and minimized and, instead, when actual women came forward and said, “Yeah, this is who he is because he did it to me,” they were discounted. He threatened to SUE them. People defended him and his ACTIONS (not his words) as “locker room talk” and said it wasn’t a big deal. And, slowly, we began to realize that the safety we thought we might have found is actually nonexistent.

If you aren’t an abuse victim or an assault victim, you can’t possibly understand what it feels like to hear these things. To be told that something this man did – which might be similar or close to what happened to you – is nothing. To realize that even though you thought progress had been made, that our society had made steps forward, and that this kind of bullshit wasn’t tolerated anymore – that was a lie. It’s a kind of PTSD to hear someone running for the highest office in the land saying these things. You feel unsafe, threatened, powerless – AGAIN. And you panic.

For me, add to that the war I’ve been waging with myself for the past several decades. I have spent my whole life feeling that my worth as a woman is based on a few simple things. Am I attractive enough? Am I skinny enough? Am I hot enough? Do men want me? I have, for the most part, always answered those questions with a resounding NO. No matter how skinny or gorgeous or fabulous or sexy I was, it wasn’t enough. And if there wasn’t a man who wanted to have sex with me? I was worth nothing. I have fought tooth and nail for 30 years or so to put that outdated, bullshit standard out to pasture. Trying to reprogram and teach myself that my looks don’t matter – it’s who am I inside. It’s my heart and my talents and what I do for others and the passion I bring to the things I love. That the social construct of “female” I’ve been presented with all my life is a lie. I have worked my ass off trying to get myself there. Some days I do pretty well and some days I want to kill myself. But I keep trying because I saw and believed that being Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a more worthy goal than being simply a hot body. (No, I won’t name a famous hot woman because I won’t make another woman smaller in order to make myself feel bigger)

It is literally physically painful to realize that nearly half of the voting populace were willing to look past the vile words and actions, were willing to look past the misogyny, were willing to look past “grab ’em by the pussy,” were willing to forgo basic Christian beliefs, were willing to ignore the rights & well being of themselves and women they love. That even though they themselves might not be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc., that they were willing to overlook that in order to ensure…..what, exactly? What did he promise them that was so enticing that they could overlook all of that??

We have allowed someone who has shown himself over and over again to be a bully, a known sexual predator, a liar, a rule-breaker, a con man, unstable (crazed tweets??), and not in control of his faculties to be exalted to the highest office in the land. He doesn’t admit when he’s wrong. He doesn’t apologize when he’s been horrible (but expects others to apologize when they’ve done nothing wrong), he claims one thing and then the opposite when it suits him. It’s not that he won’t TAKE no for an answer, he won’t even HEAR it. He demands constant attention like a toddler.

The triggers and the buttons that have been callously pushed by this man are painful. To watch him stalk and try to physically intimidate Hillary during the debates was, for many, like watching and waiting for an attack to begin – an attack they’ve seen and experienced before. To hear him discuss groping & grabbing women in the most violative way was, for many, like reliving their own assault and the aftermath thereof. To hear him dismiss women’s accusations against him as lies and publicity grabs was, for many, like having to relive the pain and shame of reporting their own assault and having it minimized or dismissed. To hear him insult and demean women – breaking them down into nothing more than parts meant to create pleasure for him – was, for many, like every comment, every insult, every catcall, every “nice tits,” every single step that we as women have fought and bled for since the beginning of time being taken back from us. It was being forced to go back to the days where all that mattered was the size of our bra in relation to waist & hip measurements and that we’d better shut the fuck up and get back in the kitchen. And for those of us who aren’t more than a 6 on Donnie’s scale, we have been irrevocably handed our worth. We are all Rosie O’Donnell or Arianna Huffington or Bette Midler or any of the many, many women he has insulted by calling “fat pig,” “dog,” “not hot,” or whatever. As far as he’s concerned, we don’t matter. Which is what many of us thought about ourselves all along. It’s just now we have a President to remind us.

So. I’m sad. I’m depressed. I feel empty inside. Because it is now accepted that who I am is only meaningful in terms of my looks. And as I’ve been told, I don’t have to worry about anyone grabbing me “by the pussy” or being raped or assaulted (again) because I’m not attractive enough. I have nothing to worry about. So I’ll just sit here in my fat cave and try not to offend the President’s sensibilities.

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635922841696028851596381600_no_excuses_sexual_assault_campaign_logoTo those of you who want to dismiss Mr. Trump’s comments and, WAY MORE IMPORTANTLY, the misogynistic & illegal ACTIONS he was referring to, I ask you this.

Imagine, if you will, that this video that surfaced starred not Mr. Trump, but someone like your child’s teacher or a local pastor or a community leader or a youth sports coach or a local shopowner. Someone you might be acquainted with or have dealings with in your community.

How would you react?

  • If your daughter’s soccer coach was caught bragging about sexually assaulting random women because HE CAN.
  • If the pastor of a local church was caught boasting about how he can fondle or grope parishioners because he’s “in charge?”
  • If a teacher at a local school was revealed to have had “locker room talk” with friends where he bragged about getting a touch or a feel here & there from hiz students because “what are they going to do?”

Would you shrug and say “Boys will be boys?” Would you try to dismiss it, saying that the real issues of sportsmanship/serving God/education were being overshadowed? Would you continue to allow your child to be on that team/be a member of that church/allow that teacher to go on teaching?

We all remember that many of these people trying to dismiss or defend Trump’s actions & words (or, just as bad, throwing around the other candidate’s husband’s actions as if we live by a “well, HE did it, so it’s okay” kind of credo) are the same people who completely lost it over the idea of transpeople wanting to use the bathrooms of their gender. That the THOUGHT of some biker in a dress using trans-friendly bathrooms as a way to fondle women and children was beyond unacceptable and must be stopped AT ALL COST. But the idea of electing as President someone who not only does grope and fondle whenever he wants to because he’s “a celebrity” and therefore “gets to” is okay?

I find it REPREHENSIBLE that this man has been caught red handed bragging about doing what other men lose their jobs/families/lives over and ANYONE has the audacity to say it’s no big deal. You think what Clinton did in the White House was horrifying? If you elect this man, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet.

When the HELL are we going to get to the point where these Neanderthals finally accept that women are people and not possessions, prizes, trophies, or inanimate objects whose very existence is only for the pleasure and edification of men? Our bodies are not for you to touch or fondle or comment on. Believe it or not, OUR BODIES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.

Oh, and also? If you are a man who still supports him and you have any women in your life that you love and respect? You should be ashamed of yourself. It is THAT simple. If you are a woman who still supports him? I honestly don’t know what to say. Because it’s sad to me that you don’t think you’re better than that.

 

sexual-assault-definition-487x100-2xDo you know that it took me 45 years to understand this? To understand that just because someone wants to touch my body or kiss me or do anything else to me doesn’t mean they get to? Do you have any freaking idea how much unwanted touching I endured because I didn’t know that? Do you know how many women have gone through their lives facing this shit, too? It’s disgusting that so many of us don’t understand this. It’s repulsive that so many women have to endure this every day. It’s repugnant that there are ANY HUMANS out there who think this is okay. Your body is yours. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY gets to touch it without your consent. Not your family, not your husband, not your coworkers, not your boss, not your bus driver, not your barista, not your CEO, not your teacher, not your boyfriend, not the most popular boy in school, NO ONE. You have the right to say no. The fact that a candidate for President of the US not only doesn’t understand this, but is callously dismissive of it should TERRIFY you. I’m simply confused and blown away that this is a discussion that still needs to be had.

I will finish by summing up. You don’t get to do whatever the fuck you want because you’re a celebrity. Other people’s bodies are not yours to come in contact with unless you’re given permission. And if something is wrong, it’s wrong for everybody. If you’d try to drive a teacher out of town for groping, you’d better be trying to drive a Presidential candidate out as well. Oh, and STOP TOUCHING WOMEN WITHOUT PERMISSION.

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glitch-in-the-matrix-catsWhat a crummy summer. We ended up doing nothing fun because of my stupid knee.

I got my surgery, so hopefully it will improve. The surgery went well. But since the surgery – well, it’s just weird. Yes, it still hurts, but it’s only been 12 days. But immediately after the surgery my calf muscle just locked up. You know that horrible pain you get when you have a Charlie horse? Then afterwards, how the muscle sits there like a tight, angry fist in your leg? Yeah. It was like that for …. well, actually it’s just now feeling better. Next was the horrible gastrointestinal holocaust. Now I don’t know if I caught some virus or if the IV antibiotics they gave me completely killed every bacteria in my intestines, but I got hit with Biblical-level diarrhea. For over 24 hours. Sharp & cutting, boiling hot and violent as hell. I actually sat there crying & trying not to scream. It’s better, but there’s still something not right. I’m eating bananas & yogurt, taking probiotics and it’s still kind of weak. Plus I’m dehydrated. Yesterday I drank 2 liters of coconut water and 2 liters of Bai water and still have dehydration symptoms.

Speaking of which, something else weird has happened since my surgery. I don’t know if it’s the dehydration or the anesthesia, but I haven’t felt right since then. I feel disoriented. Disjointed. Like I’m not myself. As if all of me went under the anesthesia, but only part of me came back. I can almost feel a glitch in the Matrix. Like I’m going to turn around and see myself behind me. It’s crazy weird. I just wanna feel like myself again.

Everybody’s back in school. Maggie went back on the 10th. Early because she was starting rehearsals for the musical she’s in at Bradley. It’s called “Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play“. I believe she plays Colleen – not 100% sure, though. She lived in the dorm for 4 days before she was allowed to move into her sorority house. She’s got that show and recruitment and classes – super busy. Steven started his sophomore year and he likes it so far. Honors Chem, Grammar/Comp, & Algebra 2 as well as Driver’s Ed, World History, Graphic Occupations, & German. Seems to be a very full schedule. I think he can handle it.

Henry is in 7th grade. What the blazes?? He’s quite happy to be back at school. He loves it there. He’s a rock star, everyone loves him, and he knows it. William’s started 2nd grade. He’s got a new teacher and I’ve got my fingers crossed that this year will start turning around for him. In this new class, he’s one of the older kids, so I think it might be good for him. I’ve been telling him that it’s important that he set a good example for the younger kids & help guide them in how things work. He seems to take pride in that idea.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from 1st day of school. Because that’s what I do.

William is PSYCHED!

William is PSYCHED!

Henry posing with Ms. Hong while singing "Something's Got a Hold on Me"

Henry posing with Ms. Hong while singing “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”

Saying hi to the PE teachers

Saying hi to the PE teachers

Walking into school. Can't believe he's a 7th grader!

Walking into school. Can’t believe he’s a 7th grader!

 

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August-is-the-sunday-of-summerHere we are in August already. Summer just started, didn’t it??

It’s gone too fast for me because I started out the summer with tearing the meniscus in my left knee. Which…what??? No. I don’t even have a cool story. I had been favoring my right foot because I sprained it and then when I was singing at a gig at the beginning of June, all of sudden it just SNAPPED. I felt like I could hear it. Couldn’t put weight on it for the rest of the gig.

I waited a little bit to go to the doctor because I thought it was okay. I finally got into the doctor 2 weeks later. Scheduled my MRI and, sure enough, torn meniscus. At that point it wasn’t bothering me too much, so the doctor said we could wait until it started bothering me. So I made it through most of July before it started really started bothering me. Now I’ve scheduled the surgery for the 10th of August. Gotta get it done before school starts. So now I’m frantically trying to get stuff done before the surgery so that everybody’s ready to start school a week early.

So did I mention that I’m in this awesome band! I wanted to share this video from our last gig (next one is August 7th!!) I’m getting to start singing all these amazing Aretha/Etta James-type songs that I have wanted to sing forEVER. So I wanted to share this one:

I know the outfit is questionable at best, but I am having so much fun!! For this next gig, I get to sing 3 Aretha songs, and PRINCE, y’all. It’s amazing.

I know I should probably talk about something important – like the election or Black Lives Matter or any of the billion other things that are happening in the world. But that stuff is all way too depressing. I’ve posted a bit about it here and there on Facebook, but it’s all so unbelievably ridiculous that I can’t really even make words happen about it. All I can say is that everybody needs to stop being so hateful, spiteful, vicious, and unreasonable. Is it really so difficult to just be kind to one another? To attempt to see another person’s point of view (especially when they VOCALIZE it to you)? To accept that maybe other people have a different life experience than you do and, because of that, maybe we need to LISTEN to them more than we talk at them?

I don’t know. Let’s just…..all take a time out, have a juice box & a nap, and then learn to share.

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There’s so much hatred & evil going on right now. So much. I can’t handle much more. People murdering people because of who they love. Because of who they worship. Because of where they live. I’m done. So very, very done with it all.

I try so hard to live my life in a way that shows love to others. That shows acceptance, support, kindness (that’s a big one), and encouragement to those around me. I don’t always succeed – I know that. I get frustrated and annoyed just like anyone else. But how anyone could have so much hate in their heart……I just don’t get it.

Anyway. I’ve spent 2 days now reading about ISIS and gun control and gun rights and LGBTQ issues and people HURTING and ANGRY on all sides of every issues. I know what I think. If you’re on Facebook, I probably know what you think, too. And I can’t stomach much more. Really. So I decided that instead of adding another voice to the insanity, I’m going to offer a respite. A few moments of joy & happiness, I hope. Happy pictures of Henry plus a few things that make ME VERY HAPPY.

 

9

What a goofer.

8

Henry intently watching Sleeping Beauty at WNHS during the Life Skills performance

7

“CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE”. Even the principal digs Henry

6

Bowling with Best Buddies & Mr. H.

5

Completely comfortable owning the middle school office.

4

Blues Man, Skylanders Fan

3

Henry meets a baby duck

2

“OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHSHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP”

1

If he ever figures out how to start one of these, we’re all screwed.

 

 

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Jason Isaacs perfectly conveys my DONENESS.

alan-rickman-in-demand-o

From the video “In Demand” by Texas. Every time I see this, I stop breathing.

brandon

Because I miss him and he is perfect.

12622006_10153899390773624_9051496907231495199_obewautuifulcathenrysooathsmellugly

 

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