I’m Sorry

I feel the need to talk to you all, and I’m struggling with words-but things still need said.

So I’m going just make this post about what really matters-love and acceptance. I won’t-and can’t-give into hate, especially with what happened yesterday/this morning.

You are valid. You are loved. You are valued. You have worth. You have meaning. You are needed. You have purpose. You are important.

Here are links to some of the blogs I’ve written that are necessary right now, I feel, and the more important ones have ** beside them.

** Orientation and Gender Validation

Sexual Assault Facts/Survivor Story

My Letter to the Stanford Victim

Inconceivable.

** Sexual Assault Resources

Women’s Rights

When Push Comes to Shove

** We The People

** Enough

 

Please know that this day is but one of many. And although what you are feeling is valid, our battle is only just beginning. I will be out there, fighting for rights-yours and mine. And as long as we all know that oppression isn’t something we have to just accept, we will never be defeated.

All I ask is that we do not give into fear and hatred. That is the currency of the people who were elected-not us.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we will live.

The sun will rise again.

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My Date with My Husband

Do you know what it feels like to meet a hero? It feels kinda like your favorite coffee being free, always catching the cross walk sign at the right time and let’s be real-you all know I wanted to meet him forever. The reveal would be worthless if there wasn’t a good story to lead into it-so here we go!
Yesterday, the day started roughly on time. My husband asked to go with me to the coffee shop (Kafe Kerouac) that is my favorite (Thanks Amber!!) and we made it a date. That happens so rarely that it was a glorious thing to behold regardless of all the other stuff.

He got an Ayn Rand (all the coffees have author names) and I got a Jane Austen (because she will always inspire me). I sat down and sipped my coffee, in a room full of mostly strangers, apart from my husband and one friend from high school. We stayed for a few hours, and then everything got hectic. Ben left, my friend and I stayed. Then BAM the moment arrived and there was a massive horde of people running down the street, out of the cafe and on their way to the local park-where we could all meet duh duh duh: MISHA COLLINS.

And you can bet I ran my chubby little self all over Columbus to do so.

He was exactly the person I knew he would be. He was witty, he made jokes, his laugh was phenomenal and I still can’t believe that I was a mere two feet from him. Seriously, it plays back in my mind like this bizarre little movie that doesn’t really seem real, but totally was. 

Anyway, I met Misha Collins yesterday (along with like 100 other people) because he drove (with his fantastic brother Darius) all the way acros Ohio to talk about the importance of voting. With Ohio being a swing state, obviously it’s incredibly important that we all get out the vote.

So today, while it probably won’t be the very last thing I say on the subject (especially depending on how today turns out) all I am asking is that you vote.

Now, I know-you may have reservations about the candidates, you may not like the issues, you may feel like you can’t possibly win with the choices in front of you.

So let me tell you something.

Not voting IS a vote. If you feel, honestly, that you are doing your civic responsibility by not voting-then I cannot tell you otherwise. BUT if you are abstaining from voting because you feel like your vote does not matter, I cannot accept that-because it is simply not true. Elections have been won by individual voters. 

Let me tell you what I know.

I know that blogs like this won’t exist freely if DJT wins. I know that my most popular blog-LGBTQIAP+ won’t be as helpful anymore, because being part of that community will be a crime. I know that my future plans-prosecuting rapists and saving people-won’t be as possible because no one at all will want to come forward and be ridiculed. I know that people like me, with my education, opinions and stubbornness will be less tolerated and that isn’t even the fears that are the root of why I’m talking about this.

I’m a religious minority. I know that when the visually different people (read: Muslim Americans) are all persecuted, they will come for the rest of the non-Christian world, myself in it. And I know that there will come a time when people with skin colors darker than mine will be removed from my life, and that will mean some of my family members will be gone.

And you could say that I’m just being paranoid-and I hope you’re right.

But I’m not willing to take that chance.

I’m not telling you how to vote. I’m simply asking you not to vote for DJT. Just consider it.

But no matter what, please vote.


And here’s my proof, that I really did see Misha yesterday, and the one with the phone is his brother Darius.

Time and Change

I needed a place to put my thoughts and could think of no better place than a blog-where I do just exactly that. What I have to say today is more on the border of “things which concern me as an almost-careered woman” but could just as easily fall under the category of “I hope I’m just worrying for nothing”.

Woman. Critical thinker. Thinks-for-myself. Pre-lawyer. Advocate for women. Advocate for mental health. Pro-choose your own life path. Makes decisions based on what is best for my family. Pagan. College educated. Pro-diversity. Pro-free speech.

I feel like everything I just listed is coming under attack this election cycle. And it will be under even more scrutiny depending on how this election goes. I’m not going to make this overly political, but this is after all, my blog, and I don’t have to apologize for my own thoughts.

Depending on November, I could face a variety of problems simply for being myself. And that scares me. I was not alive during the internment camps or the racial segregation period. I wasn’t alive during the Holocaust, where Jews, Gypsies, Handicapped individuals and more were taken, tortured and killed for being themselves. But I read about them.

I remember I had a teacher who threatened to send an entire class to detention because none of us knew what a swastika was. I was in 6th grade. You can bet that we had a lesson on it very soon thereafter. And in 7th grade, we had an entire section of our year devoted to WWII and the Holocaust-even built a memorial as a class. And I had a teacher in high school who drilled those events into our heads. And I remember immediately understanding why it was that we needed to know. So we wouldn’t repeat those mistakes and atrocities in our own time.

You cannot single out a group as the source of all your problems and then force them to carry the sentence you have passed on them as an act of retribution. Do you know why? Because you will have to keep singling out groups until everyone is to blame.

There is a presidential candidate right now who has singled out groups. And I am not (yet) in the direct line of fire. I’m still in the indirect (because I am a woman). But how soon will they come knocking at my door because I am poor? Because I am pagan? Because I am opinionated? Because I am any one of the things that I am?

Depending on the election, I may not be able to get a job. No one will take me seriously because I am a woman fighting for the rights of other women-of whom society has deemed not valid because they must be, in some way, guilty as well. My purpose in life will become a joke like that. Not because it will be funny, but because of who I am and who my clients are. And should I get past that initial problem, if I choose to have children, we face a host of problems directly related to my childbearing capabilities, along the lines of maternity leave rights.

Depending on the election, I might not be safe in my own home, and by extension my husband, and any kids we might have. Because we do not go to church, we do not hang crosses at our doorsteps and around our necks. We do not pray in the name of the same faith.

Depending on the election, I might not be safe. I spend a lot of my time now talking about individual liberties and personal decisions as rights of the individual. How long will it be before someone starts coming after not only the businesses and administrators of birth control or abortions, but the people who support them as well? Or the people who have friends who aren’t “white enough”? Or the people who do not fall prey to the garbage they hear on the TVs?

I can’t say that I know where the future is headed. I’m not pompous enough to assume anything. But these thoughts weigh on my mind, keep me up at night (along with just the usual stress about getting into law school in the first place). I’m concerned. And I’m brushing up on my government, that’s for sure. Because I need to know what my rights are and what can be done to keep myself safe if the time comes. It’s a scary place out there, and I hope it doesn’t get scarier.

Voting Day

For 5 states today, it is voting day. A sort of Super Tuesday revisited. And that’s both wonderful and scary. It’s wonderful because it’s finally MY state involved (and my husband and I are preparing to vote and visit my parents) but it’s scary because not enough people from the ages of 18-30 are voting today.

I’m not dismissing anyone over the age of 30 at ALL. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that “y’all” know what voting means, and the implications thereof. I know that’s a scary generalization, but I just mean that if you are over the age of 30 and do not understand that voting affects your life, you’ve just become an honorary young person. (I wish that meant something better. In this case, it might not!)

You see, according to the U.S. census, only 38% of people ages 18-24 voted in 2012. People ages 25-44 rang in at 49.5%. And the thing is, we are some of the people that politics affect most! We are the poor, the struggling, the college kids, the working families, the frustrated. We are the people who have the power to change everything and only about a quarter of (my age demographic) us are taking it seriously!

Screenshot (12).png(This picture is courtesy of me! I did the screenshot thing!)

It’s more than just that though. As younger people, we are prone to feeling strongly, without having access to all of the information before. For example: I may feel strongly about abortion cases without knowing the history of them. Or I may feel strongly about one party without having been alive to witness the precedents that that party made 20 or 30 years prior. And we may not always fully understand all of the implications. We just know that we’re upset and something needs done.

So I guess the important thing to focus on today, is to 1. Vote. And 2. Maybe you should do some research before November about the two candidates left, and make your decisions. Because these “pre-votings” (primaries) are REALLY important, but ultimately they lead up to November, where everything matters.

A Letter

Dear Senator Sanders,

         You do not know me, but I am a young Democratic voter from a very small town in Ohio. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it was named after a Polish officer who fought in our revolution. In that tiny little spot, there are no stop lights, and plenty of dirt roads. It is a place where children can play freely, cut off from the rest of the word, or so it can seem. I grew up there, and it will always be home to me, full of the love and support that I am thankful to have had.

         I’ve been privileged to have had some wonderful friends, all of whom helped me grow into the outspoken, passionate woman I am today. And part of that stems from having a deep love of people who are different from myself. I deeply enjoy looking into other cultures, ensuring that I have the best, most thorough information available, so that I can make that small town proud of the ways in which I impact my world. As an anthropology student, research into cultures and attitudes are kind of a requirement. So I took the time to do a little research on you, Mr. Sanders, and here is what I found out.

         You are a man of many skills: carpentry, film and legislation among them. You are devoted to your family, and all that you see morally astute. But do you know what I did not see, or at least, not on your website? I did not see a medical degree. And so it troubles me deeply that you went out of your way to say the following at the debate in Flint, Michigan:

“We are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health. And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to address the mental health.”

         You see, the media may have found that sound bite worthy of a chuckle, Secretary Clinton did as well, but for someone who works so hard at promoting equality amongst peoples, you have let down a very large, very important community. You may have made an offhanded comment about the opposing party, but you neglected to consider that the members of the mentally ill community may not have appreciated you including the Republican candidates into that group simply because some of the outrageous things which have come out of their mouths.

         I have been a proud advocate of mental health awareness, of mental illness equality and of breaking down stigmas associated with mental illnesses. But more than that, I am a member of that community that you so brazenly mocked. Some of the phrases you used last night were “lunatic”, “crazy person” and of course, the quote which I have mentioned above. You see, while it may be easy to openly criticize actions such as those of Mr. Trump mocking a physically disabled person, it is not as socially acceptable to openly discuss ways in which mental illnesses need to be treated with the same respect. 

         So here I am, Senator Sanders, a young woman from Ohio, asking you to consider the fact that while the words you speak may be coming from a well-intended place, you are furthering the stigmas and stereotypes which have plagued a branch of health and wellness for far too long. Instead of using the actions of the opposing party to get a few laughs, why don’t you focus on ways in which you will help the mental health community facilitate our own well-being in the face of misunderstanding and under-education. Perhaps then, you would be able to see why making jokes about mental health isn’t funny-it’s just plain rude.

         Thank you for your time.

Best,

Michelle Brewer-Bunnell

A Concerned Citizen

All Eyes on Me

I was watching the debate last night (are you really that surprised?) and I noticed a very horrifying trend. I have watched almost all of the debates (I think I missed an early democrat one) and I have never been more appalled at the display I have witnessed this past week. I knew debates were a sheer and utter debacle, having witnessed 3 that I clearly remember. I wasn’t always aware of what the issues were (the first one I remember: I was 12) but I remember the ads and the ways that the candidates used low-ball tricks and schemes. I was a senior in high school during the campaign season for President Obama’s second term and although I had taken government, I was still only vaguely aware of “what it all meant” but again, I remember the attack ads and smear campaigns. So why was I so surprised this week?

I have decided that I will throw in a candidate from both parties who exemplify my concern for the direction of this election. Nominees for Ring Leader of the Circus of Politics are: Donald Trump (R) and Bernie Sanders (D). Now, I do not know these men, apart from what I can watch in the debates, but the issue I have with them this week is the wording that they chose to use during their discussions. I’ll start with Mr. Trump, because I have a feeling that will be a much shorter rant.

“I guarantee you, there’s no problem.” By now, I’m sure you all have seen memes or the debate itself where Mr. Trump inadvertently mentions his genetalia. Why is that an issue? Because he could be representing our country (or at the very least, for some of my readers, a country which affects yours) and he’s making penis jokes? At a presidential debate? On live TV? Without taking a hit in his numbers? In fact, his numbers literally just keep going up, apparently. Literally anything that comes out of his mouth is like a voter magnet. And that’s concerning on so many levels. I can only hope that if he in fact does become POTUS, that he will tone down his language and will be a morally upstanding citizen. Until then, I will continue to be horrified at the level of bigotry and racism and sheer ignorance spewing from that whole campaign.

Now on to Mr. Sanders. While I have not held many strong opinions about the democratic side, I must say, there were comments made last night that frustrated me to no end. And that’s the reason I decided to post this post today. It started out with Mr. Sanders throwing around the words “crazy” and “lunatic” as though they were common vernacular (and you could argue that they are) but the quote of the night that I bring forth is this:

“We are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health. And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to address the mental health.”

What. The. Heck. People give Donald Trump a lot of grief (and rightly so) for mocking an individual with a physical disability. But I just googled the quote (for accuracy’s sake) and people are laughing about it. People are making light of it. Are you kidding me?! Call me a little touchy on the subject, but since when did mental health become a laughing matter? And I plan on being a part of the government (judicial branch, mind you) some day, and I take great pride in being able-bodied with a beautifully divergent mind. In fact, that may be my tag line for election. If there were candidates with mental illnesses, can you imagine the uproar? How offensive that is? Because I can. I’m an individual who will be very affected by the changes in president and I am offended. I will not be taking any obnoxious steps to fix it (I’m not going to sue you, Mr. Sanders) but here’s what I will do. I will post a letter, detailing what it is that makes that quote so awful. I will post it here, and I will hope that maybe it reaches those who will understand my words to be true. And maybe then there will be some progress. Because one man’s ignorance is more than enough for me, but two men’s ignorance is something altogether too much.

Words like Vomit

Hi everyone! Thank you to all of you who tuned in for Metamorphosis Monday, and for looking at my analysis of the Kesha case. Today I want to get a little preachy, a little personal. So why did I title my blog “Words like Vomit”? I’m going to be blogging today about bodily autonomy. First, we need to get a couple definitions out of the way though. (This is where the title comes in. You all have ideals about their meaning, and the opposite belief is like bile in your mouth.)

  • Pro-Life: opposing abortion and euthanasia
  • Pro-Choice: believing that a pregnant woman has the right to have an abortion if she chooses
  • Pro-Abortion: in favor of the availability of medically induced abortion
  • Autonomy: freedom from external control or influence
  • Super Tuesday:  a day on which several US states hold primary elections.

A little note from me: I’ve done my best to keep myself respectful and neutral. But if I’m going to be honest with myself, I have to look at my biases, be sure to examine pitfalls in my argument and speak from my heart. Therefore, I will talk to you all as equals, and not as children (or AS a child). My beliefs are my own, and may not be yours. That doesn’t make them invalid, it just makes them different. Until the age of 19, I was extremely pro-life. And then I realized that I could be pro-life about my own actions without needing to be choosing the destiny of someone else. From the definitions above, you can see that you can be pro-choice without being pro-abortion. And that’s my stance. I cannot pick the life for someone else, and no one else can pick my life for me. So let’s get down to bodily autonomy: the living versus the dead. Also, my future blogs will feature other things, not just political ones, but you know what they say about passion: it’ll consume you.

As always:

jmo

What happens when a person dies? Apart from the very biological parts of what really happens, there is a lot that people often do not think about until they are forced to. Burial or cremation? If burial, what kind? Were they an organ donor? Did they have any religious beliefs which might determine their final wishes? What were their final wishes? How would they feel if someone from a different religion, different geographic location, different socioeconomic standpoint came in and told the family members what they could and could not do with the body of their loved one? How would the loved ones feel?

Let’s start someplace different. How do you know someone is alive? Is it what they do? A certain age? Or is it something else? According to the Encylopaedia Britannica, life is defined as matter that shows certain attributes such as responsiveness, growth, metabolism, energy transformation and reproduction. The Catholic Church defines life at conception (when sperm meets egg).

So already, we have an issue with science v. religion. Which is right? I’m not the one to tell you. Sorry. But while we’re on the subject, I’ll tell you about a class I once had, over that very thing. It was a philosophy of science and religion class, and in it the professor handed us a picture of the world’s leading religions. I’ll pass it on to you all, but I’ll also add in the numbers.

Religion_distribution

pf_15.04.02_projectionstables8

Do you want to know what those numbers mean? It means that no matter what religion ends up to be “right”, a majority of the people will be “wrong”. Think about that for a minute. Suppose you are a religion which preaches “eternal hell” for all non-believers. You are not only NOT the majority, but you have just sentenced millions (billions?) of people to die. Interesting, no?

So for the sake of morals, let’s say I choose science. That means that until much later in the cycle, an abortion is just a cleaning out of cells.(Michelle, that’s harsh! Don’t you know fetuses can feel and hear and stuff?) Lets break down this one, shall we? Most abortions happen before week 13 of pregnancy. What happens to fetal growth and development by week 13? Let’s look. It’s all just implantation and cell division until about week 6. Do you wanna know how big that fetus is? The size of a lentil. How big is that? It’s this big:

lentil (That’s a quarter.)

By week 10, the fetus has skin, has lost its tail and can move it’s little limbs around. By week 12, “brain” development has reached a point where reflexes are possible. The fetus is the size of a lime. How big is that? It’s this big:

lime

Okay, so now that that’s taken care of, let’s return to the dead. Three (or more!) states have what is called “Death with Dignity” laws. That means that, providing an individual meets the correct criteria, that individual may choose to die on their own terms with medical help.

The court case of McFall v. Shrimp ruled that while you may not agree with someone’s actions over their own body, it is legally within that person’s rights to do with their own body what they choose-even at the expense of saving someone else’s life.

Medical doctors are not allowed to remove perfectly good organs from deceased people to use in patients who need transplants if the deceased did not agree (before dying) to be an organ donor. That means that a dead person has more legal rights to the organs the no longer need than the 4 year old who needs a heart, or the 30 year old dad with 3 kids who needs a set of kidneys. A living person must choose to lose their organs when they die, or they cannot be taken from them. A dead person’s wishes must also be acknowledged as far as “disposal”. If they state in writing that they wished to be cremated, then those among the living must comply.

So what does this have to do with women and pregnancy and abortion? (And more importantly, Michelle, I thought you said you weren’t pro-abortion!) It has everything to do with women and pregnancy and abortion, and yes, I am pro-choice.

sinner

If we afford protection to the members of our society who choose to keep the fully functioning, completely healthy organs the have with them when they die, and we cannot force someone to do something with their body that they do not want, then that has to be universal. THAT’S my point. It doesn’t matter if you are pro-anything. If you do not afford the right to have the choice to make decisions about your own body, then you cannot reasonably argue that a dead person should be allowed to keep their organs when they would be better used with those who are fighting to live.

And that also means that if a patient with a terminal illness, in a lot of pain, simply wants to be at ease, to die before they can no longer keep themselves alive, they would not be able to do so, because their choices would be stripped away.

Interesting how life and death have so much in common. And I’m not saying that religious people have everything wrong. What I am saying is that if people cared so much about life, perhaps they should try a little harder to protect and foster the life that is already fighting to hold on instead of being preoccupied trying to run the lives of women that they haven’t even met.

And for those of you on the fence about all this, let me provide some facts about the types of women who get abortions, to put to bed the stereotypes you have in your heads.

Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and half of those end in abortion.

  • 57% had some college education;
  • 88% were from metropolitan areas; and
  • 57% percent were low-income

Women who obtain abortions represent every religious affiliation. 13% of abortion patients describe themselves as born-again or Evangelical Christians; while 22% of U.S. women are Catholic, 27% of abortion patients say they are Catholics.

Half of all women getting abortions report that contraception was used during the month they became pregnant.

Research indicates that relief is the most common emotional response following abortion, and that psychological distress appears to be greatest before, rather than after, an abortion.

Source: http://prochoice.org/education-and-advocacy/about-abortion/abortion-facts/

Here’s a chorus from the song “What It’s Like” by Everclear

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.

And why did I bring up Super Tuesday? Because the only way to change the course of the country is to vote.