Category Archives: Uncategorized

A ritual for Abortion Patients, Providers and Protectors

Right now, patients (pregnant people who wish no longer to be so) are scared.

Providers (doctors, dualas, nurses, and support staff) are marginalized and worn thin.

Protectors (clinic escorts, security staff, activists, and lawyers) are frayed. This ritual is to lend your energy, to name your intent to support this beloved community.

What you will need:

  • A quiet space to do this work
  • That which makes your space centered/clean (incense/candles/etc…)
  • 3 threads of string, embroidery floss or strands of yarn – long enough to braid and wind around your wrist, or tie to a bag/journal/something of significance. I suggest white (provider), red (patient), and black (protector).
  • A heavy object to hold down the strands while braiding, or tape/a book/someway to secure it. For example, I used the weight of my chalice to hold it in place – you could use a book, or a censor. Consider what you want to weight the work, and what you have on hand.

The ritual

Center yourself

Create your space according to your need, path, and/or tradition

Measure the three threads/yarn naming them

  • Patient
  • Provider
  • Protector

Tie the three threads together in a simple knot by coiling them together, coiling them into a loop & pulling the ends through (see this wiki how if you need a visual)

Say “our fates are woven” and begin braiding the three threads, stating, as you weave them their name







You’ll pick up speed, you may mix up roles, notice yourself, and what you are weaving together




Notice how the braid forms ; how quickly your hands and mouth want to move as you raise energy




When you are almost out of thread tie off the braid, stating again

“Our fates are woven”

…continue to say…


Then tie the braid to what you had decided will carry this reminder: around your wrist, on your bag, favorite protest pin, or other location, while stating:

“As I tie this to my (what you are tying it to)

I support your fates as my own

To protect

To love

To lend strength,  and when this falls away, I will (name a concrete action).”

What to do next

If you are looking for concrete ways to help patients & providers

National Abortion Federation and National Network of Abortion Funds work to financially assist patients (including but not limited to: finding doctors, transportation, childcare, and other practical support). The three organizations assisting in the most recent legal fight are the ACLU, Women’s Law Project, and the Center for Reproductive Rights. There are other groups that assist patients, advocate for providers, and work to protect clinics. Abortion care (like all health care) is a rich tapestry of folks with a variety of talents, and lots of passion and pluck. Here are some grassroots groups––most are Black/BIPOC led and trans inclusive––that can use support. You may also have groups local to you needing assistance.


National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Spark Reproductive Justice Now

URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

Women Engaged


The last day of 2018 I went tromping through the wilds of suburban creeks that divide backyards and subdivisions; carrying water, and waste out to the ocean. The area surrounding these small bands of water vary in size and the extent of the reclaimed wilderness. Through them birds build nests, deer create trails, and teens leave traces of their tiny rebellions.

The day was warm, for December, 40 degrees, and rainy. My sneakers sunk in the mud as I wound around plants confused by climate change. It was my goal, my hope, to find a shed antler. The internet had reported that the bucks here start shedding their antlers in December, so I set out wandering around the places I had seen deer before. It was by quieting to my core, scanning the trees and ground that I was able to find those small winding paths that took me past the tell tale signs of their presence: trees stripped of bark, piles of droppings, and matted grass where these gorgeous beasts rest.

Deer Trails

I left some apples, too mealy for my own palate (I never made that apple pie I schemed a month ago), but hopefully tantalizing to these animals who can no longer raid backyard gardens. The practice of leaving offerings in these wooded areas is a habit of mine. There is a place along the creek I like to sit and write and stare at the sky. There I pick up bottles and other debris, I journal, note the growth of ivy, leave fruit, and sometimes find a deer staring at me. The exchange always feels mutual – I leave the creek, whether deer are seen or not, calmer and more centered. Each time I come back there is no sign that fruit has been left, or that someone picks up soda cans. It feels symbiotic, it feels right.

Half way through that December walk I wondered if I would actually see a shed antler. Without the context of a buck’s head, did I have a chance? I had no idea what to look for, beyond what the internet suggested. Suddenly all the deer I had seen in the wild, and all those mounted heads in family rec-rooms challenged my confidence. By the time I had walked a three mile loop of woods and homes and roads I came to terms with the fact I wouldn’t see a deer, or antler, and that perhaps my quest needed some grounding. Why did I go searching in the first place?

I’ve been a beachcomber since a child, so even though I eschew animal products when I can, my altars and offices are littered with seashells. These exoskeletons remind me of the crash of the ocean, the taste of salt, and the feeling of calm I have when facing something so big and so primal. At first I thought of a shed antler in much the same way – something left behind, and no longer needed by a creature I admire. And maybe it is, and maybe it is more rooted in the very exploitive way my species (and specifically white North American folk) can end up demanding something from the the earth and its inhabitants without serious thought. Just because I want a thing, doesn’t mean I get a thing.

I went back near the same spot today, this time the ground was covered in snow. I found another Deer Trail, slender, suggesting grace and conserved effort. They don’t want to be found, they want to meld into the drifts. Fat birds rolled around in the snow disturbing the pristine visage but deer everyone else seemed tucked out of view. Maybe they are waiting for those clumps of snow to fall from overhead branches, and winter to ease from piles of white back to a muddy gray, revealing what plants snow could not deter.
The scene was so quiet – I couldn’t find a spot to sit so instead I stood surrounded by trees and stillness and cold. It was a gift. I didn’t think about the antlers. I was happy enough to see hoof prints in the snow, and wonder when I could leave a new pile of fruit.

A return

image: candle burning

I spent over a decade going to night school while working full time. The last 3 years of that were perhaps the challenging, and as I finished my undergraduate degree and turned around and finished my graduate degree immediately after – everything else fell by the wayside. Creative writing, knitting, and even many friendships suffered or disappeared entirely from my life. I accomplished my goal, and have been picking up those parts of my life I had dropped off as ‘extra weight.’

Art and community aren’t burdens: they add color and depth: a space for grace and breath. So I am re-turning here.


What kind of space are you sitting in right now? Are you on the bus, your living room, your cube/desk in a large open office, or the bathroom (side note: really, how much of the internet is now read in the bathroom)?

Because my life is what I lovingly call… weird… I have sat in a lot of different spaces, and more specifically in a lot of different rooms. Some of this is predicated on privilege: having time to volunteer, a job that has confidence in me (some conferred because of my race and perceived class), and living in a region with diverse events/social options. I frequently sit in activist group homes, fancy offices, ballet studios, IT trainings, conferences (academic, and professional), yoga studios, independent coffee shops, Buddhist prayer rooms, mountain cabins, pagan stores and workshops, and the virtual room of Google hang out.

One of the points Sheryl Sandberg makes in ‘Lean In’ (which, yes I read… long story) is to be sure you ‘sit at the table’ to not enter a room and head to the back, or sit to the side. This of course makes sense for women and other minorities in leadership positions, who should by office standards, be at the ‘table’. Broadening the scope (because the scope of her book is hella narrow) I think the real goal is to sit in many rooms, many different kinds of rooms, and to not always sit in the front.

When I enter each room I try to, or should at least try to be mindful of several things: where is this? what is the time and energy that took me to get here, and is this in an area that I am typically near, is this event supporting the local community, or is this space part of the tide of gentrification. Then who is in the room? Again, is it an all white room? Is it all one age, is everyone straight, or cis? If I keep finding myself in the same rooms, with the same people, with the same demographics, what does that say about my capacity to listen, to be exposed by things other than my comfort zone? Julia Serano discussed in her book ‘Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive’ that our only conceptualization of diversity is different kinds of bodies all liking and saying the same thing. Now I don’t go out and seek out hate groups to hang out with to ‘challenge’… but I do seek out places where not everyone likes my music, visits the same restaurants, or has the same standard hipster blocky glass frames and tattoos. I went to the DC Veg Fest recently and was thrilled to see how diverse the crowd was in age, race, body size, and perceived ‘differentness’ (ie. not just all hipsters, or hippies, but khakis wearers too!). The different organizations tabling also ranged in focus from animal welfare, to clothes, food, and addressing food scarcity. It is a little ‘chicken and egg’ to figure out which came first – the diverse tablers, or the diversity in attendees, but either way it was really exciting.

By sitting in different rooms I am always learning, listening; I get to hear from folks I perhaps wouldn’t normally talk with (when acceptable taking copious notes), I can listen and hear what others are facing, and share my own experiences when appropriate. Until about 2 years ago I realized that my life had filtered so that outside of night school I was never in a position of learning, of being quiet/soaking in a space. I was organizing, I was leading, I was talking and taking up space. These are fine roles, and ones that women are often excluded from, but in only being in the rooms that would have me in the role of speaker, I wasn’t in the stream of learning, or expanding my world view if I kept just re-iterating mine. Sitting at the table or the front of the same room every time does jack for equality.

Be A Body

Reading and thinking are obviously wonderful activities… But ones I do too often to ignore the fact that I do have a body, and this body has needs. Getting older, as a woman, is not easy. I think also by being a woman who is also not a mother/parent the validity of my body, and the space it takes up (especially when it does not perform to cultural and capitalistic standards) is suspect.

After seeing friends do similar schemes around their birthdays I have decided that this, my 36th year on the planet, will have a theme: be a body. Specifically I will relish in embodiment.

I kicked it all off with a weekend of movement: dancing, a long run in the rain, and “black metal yoga’ which was as sweaty and ridiculously wonderful as it sounds.

In a couple of days I’ll start my ballet class, a kind of dance I haven’t done in nearly a decade. I’m excited to revisit a form of art that made up a large part of my life, and to let my body relish in the familiar shapes. I’m apprehensive about my ability to divorce these forms from ideas about worth, approval, and just general childhood baggage. But I am up for the challenge as long as I can bend into an arabesque while doing so.

Running Up That Hill


During my Monday run I thought a bit to the few times I enjoyed running in gym class, which despite my high energy and general mobility, was a rarity. I don’t remember my exact age, but when I was in elementary school I realized I could run quickly, and I think at least one teacher did too. My joy found in excelling in something (school at that time was a miserable experience where I was bad at everything) I was stifled in a way I hadn’t anticipated. While running laps on a field day a group of boys formed a horizontal wall blocking my ability to pass them. Were they blocking me because I was a girl? Were they blocking me because I was already an oft bullied awkward kid? Were they just bored kids playing out the kid of systematic barriers we all experienced as poor kids in a poor district where shit just sucked? Most likely all three.

This memory lingers as a vague disappointment. I don’t point to it as the reason I gave up running. Bullying and childhood sexism were pervasive enough that I sort of folded in that experience into ‘mean shit mean kids did to me.’ Running played out quickly as a possible interest not too much later, after my first long distance run ended with me puking afterwards because I did not understand (nor receive training) on how to actually pace myself. Also I was already engrossed in ballet (which was a lot of my world from 5 to 15) at a school where Ms. Katz, my ballet instructor through the entire decade, warned against any other physically demanding interest lest it ruin my ‘dancers form.’

I have been running three years. Like any hobby, or good habit there are are stops and starts and pauses. Sprained ankles, wet winters, and weeks thrown for a late night concert all share the blame with my own lagging motivation, Running is great for the reason I got into it: you don’t have to buy a bunch of crap to do it (although I won’t pretend it is not a heavily marketed ‘hobby’) and you can go at your own pace. There is gross messaging around fitness, mobility, and the competitive nature of sports, but because running at 6 in the morning isn’t the same as thumbing through an issue of Runners World (which actually isn’t a horrible publication).
fitspiration and thinspiration is gross bullying equating a persons physique, mobility, and fitness with moral worth. At the same time (because the world is wider and far more beautifully complex than yes/no) I have to stop getting in front of myself. Excuses to not run now line up in front of me like those little boys. Running fills me with joy, my body feels better, my mood is better, meditation is deeper and my work is more focused. I need to get past all of the motivations for my excuses. The cultural noise, the self sabotage, the laziness, and the body hate.

On Trigger Warnings, False Claims of ‘Cut Off Culture’ and Finding Our Boundaries

In this post I speak from my own experiences growing up in an abusive home, and later abusive relationship. I am by no means the lone voice on this subject, or the way to approach it. Because I will also delve into spirituality let me be explicit: religion is not the answer to coping with abuse. Yes it is part of my work, but I do not assume my path is everyone’s. What I want to speak more to is how we must find the ways to affirm our personal choices and respect other’s. Also note, I will be using DoNotLInk for any articles in this post because I do think a lot of this is click-bait.

Last week there was a ‘article’ about the use of Trigger Warnings on Twitter. Actually it was more specific – the article was not addressing some big trend on twitter, interviewing several folks on their use and explaining their decision. The post also didn’t broaden to larger topics such as the choice of academia to begin to use trigger warnings. Instead the post seemed to isolate on one person (the writer Jessica Luther)’s choices of using TW and micromanage their use of twitter. Then, today the writer Meghan Murphy likened trigger warnings in academia to censorship (thus my assumption that this is all ‘clickbait’).

I follow Ms. Luther (@scATX) and I had noticed she had used the TW before during, and after the series of tweets. Because of the head-space I was in at the time reading those tweets I just skimmed past them. Mentally I might have made a note to consider the use of ‘TW’ in my own posts… but at no time had I thought her posts was anything more than providing a heads up to those of us who found certain things really painful.

For a moment, let me be explicit about that pain. In the late 90s, when I had only a cursory knowledge of feminism, and began realizing I was in a really toxic situation I had my first experience with art that triggered me. I was watching the movie Sling Blade and a scene in that movie (which I can no longer remember, thankfully) had me paralyzed. It was not that I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t just feel ‘sad’ or ‘disturbed.’ It was that I felt trapped, sick, my heart palpitated and I did not know what to do. I felt like a small trapped animal. While I was at the time living in a pretty horrible situation with a partner who was the opposite of compassionate, that scene took me back to some childhood memories that weren’t buried – but did not to be relived. Now I enjoy movies that have a lot of depth, and character development, and gravitas. At the same time I avoid anything that is going to make me feel the way that Sling Blade was, especially on days I am already taxed. It is why I don’t do roller coasters – I have panic attacks already, I’m not going to sign up for that gross drop in the stomach feeling – it isn’t fun for me.

I view ‘Trigger Warnings’ wherever I happen upon them as a bit of a heads up, so that I can then decide ‘do I proceed.’ Last year I took a class on Domestic Violence. The whole coursework was upsetting, but my professors specific trigger warning about some audio of a DV police call helped me prepare for listening to the recording. Today, related to this dismissal of a tool that some victims/survivors use to navigate the world I saw float across twitter a post from November of last year where a man is claiming that a partner who no longer wanting to converse with him is part of a larger ‘cutoff’ culture. I read more than half of it, and then had to increasingly skim over his words as they too much mimicked the same arguments my abusive ex made. When he and I broke he refused to respect my wishes that we not talk anymore, dragged on the process of us settling bills, and the exchange of items out of each other’s new residences and he refused to stop coming into my work saying it wasn’t fair that our break up meant he couldn’t buy music where he wanted (this is after we had to call the cops on him). At every turn when I would state a boundary, or a need – he would explain to me how that need hurt him because of his feelings, his childhood, his lack of support system. I was apparently not only responsible for my own life, but all of his as well.

I spent a long time having either all of the boundaries, or no boundaries at all. This culture’s gendered assumptions of what is expected of me (or what a friend describes as being the ‘emotional hostess of a room’), my childhood, and early romantic relationships all discounted my need for boundaries. I’ve inhabited a lot of spaces that have helped me recognize this pattern, and reclaim the space I too often give up. The work I have been doing lately has been focused on recognizing my center – taking care of my own emotional well being and connecting that to whatever boundaries I need, and whatever space I am taking up. Recognizing a need for stillness in meditation in the morning, solo-runs, and quiet time after stressful activity like Clinic Defense, has helped me access my needs for boundaries, and be more open and less guarded when I want.

I was just tired today after reading that medium piece. I was tired to the bone – of all of the ways I see others question the very real need for boundaries some of us voice. The lyrics from the most recent Tori Amos album (the title track Unrepentant Geraldines) was echoing about my head today:
I’m going to free myself from your opinion…
I’m going to free myself from your aggression…

So let me plainly state it, as I see it:
There is no fucking cut-off culture. If someone doesn’t want to speak to you anymore, it can hurt – but they are not responsible for your unresolved feelings, no matter how much time you ‘give them.’ Similarly, individuals who provide context that an article, or movie might be triggering to someone because of its theme are not performing an act of censorship. There are those of us, who are using our words, and whatever other means are at our disposal to say ‘stop right there.’ And that – needs to be respected.

Beltane and Bread and Roses

“As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
–from James Oppenheim poem ‘Bread and Roses’

The two words ‘May Day’ evoke dual images – folks gleefully dancing around a maypole, and workers striking in the street. These are not dualities in the sense that they are opposites forever in conflict. These are simply the images of today – both downplayed in the U.S. where fertility holidays have been absorbed by the Easter rabbit, and the idea of agitating for workers rights are considered a relic of a bygone era. But these are both images, and sorts of celebrations I claim today. I herald the budding flowers and the protest sign. I welcome rainy spring days, and the leafleter. I want my bread, and my roses.

Growing up in a social justice Catholic family religion and community involvement was forever intertwined. Admittedly at the pulpit of our family church there wasn’t a lot of talk about workers rights, or equality. At home though, my Mom (a CCD teacher), my Grandmother (played organ on Sundays), and my uncle (a cantor and shop steward), Jesus’ good works and union organizing were invoked with the same sense of nuance, and reverence. Granted some of this was self-care, my union family members helped my family overall do better (aunts and uncles paid for clothes and food for me and siblings during the lean years) but it was seen as a way to collectively help a community of workers. Many protests I have attended have been joyful – with dance, and celebration, and at times a religious experience.

May Day/Beltane has never been a holiday I have sought out group ritual for. Perhaps the symbolism of the Maypole has just been too obvious for me, but my connection to this holiday’s reverence for fertility and sexuality has been a slow evolution. Honestly I need for it to be a bit more than heteronormative versions of fertility, and the occasional dick joke. I don’t want it to be somber, or without joy – but it needs to be immersive in a way that speaks to me. What then, is this holiday to me in the religious capacity?

During my run where rain still clung to the trees, and I could hear the gutters rushing with the overflow of last night’s flash flood I thought about the lush greenery around me – how the chirp of the bird and the slow sunrise are all too often squandered. As my calves ached and my feet pounded against the road I realized I had left my pedometer home and laughed at my internal complaint that I wouldn’t be ‘getting credit’ for all of these steps. I plodded on, and once home – sweaty and sore – I stretched then sat in meditation breathing in the further stillness I try to begin each day with.

Some work is joyous – and full of fertility in its own ways. The glory of a new seedling breaking soil, the beauty of art performed live, the taste of warm bread on your tongue. So much work goes into each of those moments, and not all of that work is treated equally. The field worker who is barely paid (and often stripped of rights), the artist who has to work 3 jobs just to afford the luxury to create, the baker who works at a non-union shop because all of the union grocery stores were pushed out of town.

What work, and who’s work do I choose to honor? What do I call work? While fighting for a more equitable society will I fall into the trap that work can only be valued if it is paid, or logged/recognized in some formal fashion? How can I hold both of these truths – people deserve a living wage for their work, and our work is not made valid by the dollars associated with it?

On my altar this evening I will have bread and roses- to honor the sustenance and beauty that should make up both of our lives. How will you honor these things today?

Reflecting on the March for Women’s Lives 10 Years Later

10 years ago I attended the March for Women’s Lives. I was not a ‘professional feminist’ ; I was not an Activist ; I was not a student. At that point I did not to clinic defense, I did not do any feminist organizing in ‘the real world’ nor had I sought out social justice based spiritual spaces. I may have been moderating feminist community on LiveJournal (a kind of discussion board) but that would’ve been the most I was ‘doing for feminism’ at that point. I think this distinction is key because so much feminist organizing right now is predicated on a job or education path. We don’t think of ways to encourage those of us who care about the issues of reproductive justice (but lets say.. work in retail) to become involved/be heard.

It’s important to know that my entry into activism was through ‘on the street work’. My first experience was helping an aunt leaflet for her union, later I took part (and found solace) in the antiwar marches. I’m not sure where I heard about the March for Women’s Lives (though the old post I recovered and placed here makes some mention of it) but it must have been online. What I do remember I remember traveling downtown meeting several friends for the first time in person, although I’d considered friends for years. It was exciting to hear voices, see people’s faces and expressions that matched the fierceness they expressed in eloquent posts of the years. These weren’t ‘up and coming bloggers’ – but all sorts of folks who just happened to know each other through communities on this one blogging platform.

It was this experience with a march that mobilized me. After I left I felt such a buzz in my stomach and in my heart. I remember asking my friend Dorothy “what do I do now with all this energy?” She then brought me along to her activism at the time- local organization that provided clinic defense and got me working on the weekends helping patients get in past protesters. After couple years doing clinic defense I was introduced to the organization who I work with to organize a DIY feminist conference. As LiveJournal waned I found other spaces for my writing/thoughts (ie. this blog and my sporadic podcast).

So while it was LiveJournal that introduced me to a lot of concepts ideas and people (so many wonderful friends!) it was the March for Women’s Lives that introduced me to the power of presence as a tool for promoting social justice. Internet organizing is awesome and definitely has its place in the toolkit, but physically showing up when we can (when the limits of money and time and ability don’t over-weigh the benefits of meeting somebody face-to-face) linking arms walking down city streets together for a cause is a thing of gorgeousness.

I spent part of my morning today looking at your pictures were taken 10 years ago. The quality of the pictures is comedic (apparently my phone now has better memory and skills than our digital camera did then). A lot of the faces in those pictures are people I do not talk to anymore. Friendships fade, and even break apart at times, so some of those memories are bittersweet. While complicated by the passage of time and by the growth that happens between each 25 and 35 these pictures make me smile. I can see the distance that I have come, and the faults in those feminist groups that are still being repeated today. By no means was the march perfect but I know that for me that day standing with so many other people who cared about the cause I finally understood that I was not alone.

At least 11 of the marchers I knew
At least 11 of the marchers I knew

A post from 2004

My site from back then is gone, but this is what I posted after the 2014 March for Women’s Lives (no edits were done to this text):


My March Story

Like so many people on e-mail activist lists I had marked the date of ‘The March for Women’s Lives’ in my daily planner a year before it was going to happen. I followed their email updates about schedules fundraisers and the like. Friends I had known only through internet chat and message boards began coordinating trips and places to crash. I spent time leading up to the event knitting headscarves with the feminist symbol as a NARAL fundraiser. So many friends began trading cell phone numbers and plans to meet up before the event.

The Saturday (4/24/04) before the march was excellent! I went to my friend Dorothy’s home where I met Krista and Mary- two women who we had known on-line who Dorothy generously let stay at her place. Also meeting up that day were Kim (another online buddy) and Angeala, Joel, and Ruby good friends of mine. We went to Dupont Circle to have a big noisy lunch. At the circle we met up with another on-line friend fro Washington state named Cassie. Trying to meet her in the circle was a challenge as Planned Parenthood was having a kick off rally in the same space. I ended up hanging out there for a bit after our meal disbanded.

That night I came home excited and already tired. I had dinner and some quality time with the husband before gearing up for the next day’s events. I stayed up late baking tasty treats for breakfast and whirring the loud food processor (probably angering the neighbors) for my famous hummus. I went to bed at 2 a.m. not tired at all. I didn’t sleep well in the sort of way that reminded me of the first day of school, new jobs, and big trips.

I got up early (6:30) to cats being their typical cat selves. So I really worked on being calm and dragging out the morning: yoga, tarot, juice, printing stuff, checking the check list, etc… After a while Angela was at my door and we drove down to D.C.

During the amazingly wonderful breakfast at Dorothy’s house I randomly met Crystal (who was wearing alj shirt for a popular online forum) and Leslie who I dorkily said: oh wow, I just commented in your journal that I’d hope we’d meet!’

After consuming some food and coffee I helped out Krista writing names all over for women she was marching for. Finally the time to get ourselves in gear arrived and we moved en masse to the metro. I can’t name all the folks I met, but everyone was friendly and just amazing.

Coming up off of the Archives metro stop the sheer number of bodies everywhere was just breathtaking. The metro was packed, the landings were packed, outside the walkways were just full of bodies. People were selling buttons, giving away news papers and signs and all sorts of information. We all took pictures of the scene, the masses and each other, including some strangers who took our pictures. Despite the chaos, or perhaps because of it I was already near tears. As Dorothy put it ‘I found my tribe!’. At the mall we split up, and I stuck with Angela, Joel, Krista and Mary so that we could find the mysterious ‘b12’ where the mamas for choice

After walking on a very crowded mall for what seemed like a long time, we found our group of mothers and allies. While we waited for the march to kick off we all chatted, exchanged names, listened to speakers, and giggled over where we had run into each other. I found out that Julie had been on the ‘whole lotta love’ email group (a fan listing for the band Hole) I had been on years ago. While we stepped off into the march with the mamas, all of the chaos that is one million bodies soon separated us from our comrades and Angela, Joel , Ruby, Angela’s Mom and Cassie I were on our own mingling with several groups and even hangin’ with the Haddassah.

The March itself was so empowering. I chatted with women nearby, I took pictures of amazing signs, and I of course chanting my lungs out. As we reached fanatic land I felt so lucky to be surrounded by such a great group of friends. Angela and Cassie, and I did a lot of directed chanting at the protesters (our favorite being ‘pro-life that’s a lie, you don’t care when women die’ egging each other on with our strength. When I saw a sign that read Birth Control Pills Hurt Women I turned to my friend’s Mother (who felt like my Mom at this point) and discussed what was really at stake.

And that’s the thing…we weren’t just marching for abortion rights…I mean we were fighting for that too and there isn’t an ounce of shame in that. But there is a real undercurrent of female repression here. Most of the counter protestors were hurling some real judgmental bullshit- judgment of our sex lives, our spiritual lives, and our worth as humans. That to me was the real fight. You can be personally pro-life… more power to you. But on that Sunday I fought for my civil rights. I haven’t had an abortion yet in my life, but I’ve drank a lot of mugwort tea and downed fair amounts of vitamin C during pregnancy scares. The thought of calling a clinic to handle unplanned pregnancy doesn’t make me wince. Hell I’ve walked through their heavy and very locked doors to get those evil birth control pills, and I’m sure ‘Operation Rescue’ considers that just as heinous.

Post march we eventually found some grass to sit on so we collect our thoughts, energy and devour some much needed food. Coincidentally we landed only a few feet from my friend Kim who I couldn’t reach by cell phone that day. The other folks I randomly saw on the mall were Tara who I saw while waiting in line at the port-a-potty and Ken (both people I also know from on-line interactions) who walked up to me saying ‘hey I know you’. I hugged so many people that day.

When I talked to strangers that day I was so blown away by the amount of women and men who traveled from all over the country. A woman who I met in the port a potty line had come from Indiana on a bus, completely on her own. She was probably over 60 and she was so moved by this tide against our rights that she just signed up with NARAL to jump on a bus.

That to me summed it up. Trusting each other, and the movement to carry us through this day.