Tag Archives: intellectual

Reproductive Rights and Wrongs

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Reproductive Rights and Wrongs

When the subject of birth control arises today, it is commonplace for women to ask “what birth control do you use?” Birth control and sexual education are ordinary in American lives and serve many functions that address reproductive issues like endometriosis and permit families to choose when to become a parent, and how often. Despite birth control being an unremarkable event, recent events such as Texas Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster (Weiner, 2013) and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on contraceptive insurance coverage (Sementelli & Edelman, 2014) have again brought reproductive rights into a national conversation that is sparking debate, confusion and inspiration.

As 21st century women grapple with moral, legal and medical reproductive concerns, they are beset with propaganda that over-simplifies and, at times, disregards the complex and class-based issues surrounding reproduction. Social issues long forgotten yet still occurring lay unembellished in the words of Margaret Sanger, a nurse and early 20th century pioneer for sex education.  Sanger wrote, “No woman can all herself free who does not own and control her body.” (Sanger, The Right To One’s Body, 1973)  She bore witness to the social and individual effects on women and families from too many pregnancies, stillbirths, back-alley abortions and infanticide.  Histories published in the “WCTU messenger tell of women whose pregnancies created a crisis, [and] in the absence of marriage, pregnant women confronted a grim list of alternatives ranging from abortion, infanticide or suicide to facing head on the derision of their working-class communities.“ (Pascoe, 1990)

The illegality of sex education in the early 20th century made Sanger a frequent witness to the human toll of such laws and led her to crusade for sexual education, birth control and reproductive rights. Sanger wrote, “I could now see clearly the various social strata of our life; all its mass problems seemed to be centered around uncontrolled breeding.”  (Sanger, My Fight For Birth Control by Margaret Sanger, 1973)

Reproductive rights in America are vastly improved since the early 1900’s, but today’s American woman still contends with control of her reproductive self.  Almost100 years later, Sanger’s arguments for sexual education are haunting when she writes, “something had gone from them which silenced them, made them impotent to defend their rights.” (Sanger, My Fight For Birth Control by Margaret Sanger, 1973)  These words are a disturbing reminder of the importance of and need for safe, legal and effective birth control and sex education. How different humanity will be when we can freely discuss the realities of reproduction without reprisal or false discernments of only one ideal woman and one ideal circumstance.

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Bibliography

Pascoe, P. (1990). Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 19, 2014

Sanger, M. (1973). My Fight For Birth Control. In A. Rossi, & A. Rossi (Ed.), The Feminist Papers: From Addams to de Beauvoir (pp. 522-532). Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press. Retrieved August 2014

Sanger, M. (1973). The Right To One’s Body. In A. Rossi, The Feminist Papers: From Addams to de Beauvoir (pp. 517-521). Boston, MA: Northeastern Univeristy Press.

Sementelli, S., & Edelman, G. (2014, June 30). Texas Conservatives Laud Court Ruling on Birth Control. Retrieved from The Texas Tribune : http://www.texastribune.org/2014/06/30/cases-highlight-continued-uphill-battle-womens-hea/

Weiner, R. (2013, June 26). 6 key moments from Wendy Davis’ filibuster. Retrieved from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/06/26/key-moments-from-wendy-daviss-11-hour-filibuster/

Stephen Hawking’s Biopic THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Will Give You All of the Chills « Nerdist

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Struggling To Be Loved?

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Colbie Caillat’s TRY is a powerful metaphor for anyone struggling to be loved. I found myself doing just that, and through meditation have finally realized I don’t need to struggle to be loved. In fact, struggling is the very opposite of being loved. Love comes naturally and easily. You don’t have to earn it, it’s just there. So if you’re struggling to be loved like I was, STOP. We are fine just the way we are, just pull back…. love yourself….. and let God or Karma or Life take care of the rest. You will still see the dysfunction, but in recognizing it, you can choose differently this time.

In the past, I would analyze the situation that had blown up trying to determine what could have, should have been different …reviewing all angles trying to make peace with everyone else’s choices. Until now, I never bothered to ask “what about me?” When I did ask, I realized different…and sometimes drastic…. action was required. You may have to cut a dying limb off a family tree. Easy to know what to do when it’s not your tree, difficult to act when it is.

Through meditation, I made a decision to focus on the blessings in life. At first, I didn’t see many blessings. However, the more I looked for them… the more I recognized positive things as positive, and negative things, people, places, feelings… as negative. It’s a process that helps you see something for what it is, without explaining or excusing it, so you can decide how to respond. Sometimes it takes a really candid friend to call a spade a spade… so you can STOP and recognize what is. You don’t have to DO anything but see and accept.

I saw a destructive force infecting my family and recognized that merely saying I’m committed to focusing on the positive was not enough. As old negative habits creeped in like the tide covering everything in its path, I saw some of my family seemingly relish the destruction of love, of family, and me.

It felt as harsh as it sounds because it was. I recognized negativity in way I never did before, it had grown through some of my family like a weed. I felt the need to control it, but as with all weeds… you have to kill it to stop the growth. Weeds feed on anything and destroy everything in their path. I had to decide on a healthy course of action for myself. My every action to help us all get and stay positive failed. I had asked them to get involved in meditation with some success. At first, everyone noticed how nice the change was, but when the tide started creeping in, I found myself feeling anxious and unsure and grasping for my positive vibes. It felt like someone was discussing me in a negative, mean-spirited way trying to crush my spirit like a weed kills a flower.

As it turns out, my feeling was so accurate it was downright prophetic. With meditation, I had finally learned to recognize “feelings” as God’s way of telling me to act, to choose differently. I listened to understand myself…. and choose. Once I disconnected the channel, I got all the proof you could want in a court of law and confirmed a few family members were discussing me, violating my privacy and dissecting me like a bug. Failing to recognize they are not responsible for me, I saw the Negative Board, or perhaps Negative Bored convene and name a “condition” for me to which only they had the solution … all behaving as if nothing occurred. After all, if I don’t know you’re talking about me… then are you? I had to ask if and how I was contributing in order to see what IS.

When it comes to negative behavior in a family, it’s difficult to keep healthy boundaries while a few determined souls maintain negativity. When someone is mired in negative behavior, it’s best to recognize it’s not your job to illuminate anyone other than yourself. When has calling someone a name ever resulted in them saying “gee thanks, I never realized that, what do you recommend”?

All that judgment is soul crushing negativity and you may find yourself having a bad reaction to it. As I watched the behavior unfold, the increasingly nasty language, the heaping disrespect, the weird vengeance as if minions were ordered to dump feces on an old burning marsh…. Yeah, it smelled bad. Did they even realize what they were doing?

Those I relied on for love were being divisive. Where was the mature voice saying “everyone handle your own business yourself or shut up”? The promotion of negative discussion, violation of trust and everyone naming, blaming and shaming….. whose voice mattered? Can anyone be “right” in a cesspool of dysfunction? Should you convince everyone you’re not wrong while wafting in the stench of family stew? Right on schedule, they each stood stirring the pot…. leaving those unwilling to stir to be destroyed. Ok… no wonder I can’t find a husband; who would want to marry into that kind of chaos!?

I decided to love myself and throw the rotten stew out. If I don’t respect my own boundaries… who will? In discussing this with my therapist, I realized the lifelong habits we had all learned and the impact on my goals for honest, supportive, reliable, and trustworthy relationships. How could I attract them when I’m tolerating dishonest, unsupportive, unreliable and untrustworthy people? As my phone was pinging away with more nasty messages and false kindness, I remembered a quote: “people speak as THEY are”.

I realized this IS how they are, and whether I participate is a choice. I admit my first reaction was not great. It took every ounce of energy to force my thoughts toward the positive. I realized that what I knew at 11 years old is what I recognized today: I don’t feel loved. As a child, our parents teach us to love ourselves, and how. Sometimes I think I missed that lesson, but I realized I need to love myself and stop counting on them. They don’t love me. Trust me, it’s much harder to acknowledge in private than print, but you can’t speak love AND be negative towards a person. When you’re busy judging a person, you are not loving them. When I’m busy judging me, I’m not loving me. So I decided to love me.

By responding at all to the nastiness, I was participating and maybe even encouraging it. Despite my initial reaction, I refused to return to dark abscess of judging others and myself. I only need to love myself and be a joyous person, and that example is how we can best help others (by being your best self and sharing your life lessons when asked).

My peace of mind returned as soon as I turned off the negative channel. I realized that if I can’t trust you with my emotions, to keep private matters private, to not share negative (or made up or exaggerated) comments, then I can’t trust you with me. Love is tangible; if you can’t feel, see and hear it… you don’t need to figure out where or why it went wrong …you just need to love yourself. You can’t fix others, you can only fix yourself.

As my words take root… planted in my heart, they are growing goodness that is multiplying profoundly even as I write. I welcome those who unconditionally accept me as I am and respect me enough to address any issue with me directly. I’m thankful for people like the Smug Mug who IS fortitude and gratitude, for the GI who IS kindness and honesty, for the Rescuer who IS genuine respect…and for me who IS compassion. Anything else is a bad line to erase and rewrite. So, here’s to my love story and finishing another item on my bucket list!

Love is waiting for me and I’m available to more good than I’ve ever experienced, realized or imagined before in my life! I welcome all the love in the world. #iampeace

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