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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Grab 'Em By The Pussy

*Originally posted as a Facebook post.

I don't know how to start this post. So I'm skipping the intro.
Donald Trump is an abuser. Textbook abuser. He just bragged about sexually assaulting women. He's going to court on child rape charges. He has repeatedly said horrifyingly disgusting things about women. He grabbed his own daughter's ass at the convention and has made lewd comments about her body and how he'd sleep with her if she wasn't his daughter. He raped his 1st wife. He said Paris Hilton was “sexy” when she was 12. He reportedly shoved a married women into a closet, kissed and groped her. "Grab 'em by the pussy", he laughs. "Don't wait, just kiss them". "When you're famous, you can do anything you want." And people are defending him. Saying they’ll still vote for him. Saying it’s not that bad. Bending over backwards to justify his depravity.

And I am broken. Because I have seen this before.

Trump is the personification of every abuser in the church, in the culture in which I was raised. The ones I've met, the ones I've written about, the ones on the news, the ones that made my friends cry while I held them, the ones holding influence over masses of people. The ones who rape little girls and boys then "repent" and keep on leading people. The ones who treat women like shit, as sexual objects for their pleasure, as less-than human, yet are lauded as a Man of God because they have all the best words. The ones that stand up in the pulpit while the people they've abused are trapped in the audience pretending to be OK. The ones paid to smile and preach while doing deeds of darkness behind closed doors.

Every Trump supporter, voter, and defender are every enabler I've ever met, written about, and watched. The ones covering up the abuser's scandals. The ones making pregnant 13-yr-olds disappear. The ones loudly proclaiming we should forgive the abuser because Jesus has forgiven him. The ones sitting quietly in church meetings, acquiescing to the Man of God, instead of standing up and saying "this is wrong and you are done". The ones who say "we don't need to involve the police, it isn't that bad". The ones who don't want to ruin the reputation of the abuser so they instead ruin the souls of the abused. They sacrifice the victims to uphold the career of the abuser, to keep their power, because power is life to them. They turn on the abused and say "you need to forgive, Jesus would want you to, you'll regret it if you don't" and leave pieces of victims’ souls strewn along the road. A worthy sacrifice for the end goal.

And so I feel like a cornered animal, like a hunted creature, claws out, back to the wall, unsafe in my own world. Betrayed, surrounded by betrayers. My flight-or-fight response kicks in because the people around me are the enablers and the abuser is spouting the same words on TV as every church pervert and narcissist has spouted from pulpits and podiums. Because people are praising him and excusing his abuse because of his power, just like they did that pastor, that teacher, that preacher, that elder, that man of God who spoke great things. 

Only this time, the abuser might be president.

He's been supported by so many enablers, that he could be our next president.

America is full of enablers and they are our own families and our own neighbors and our pastors and teachers and Christian leaders and government officials. We are surrounded by people who see the reputation and career of an abuser and what he can do for them as more important than the life and souls of the victims and future victims. We are stuck in a culture that laughs at sexual assault and puts the assaulter in the White House, endowing him with all the power, and tells women to get over it that it wasn't that bad that we're overreacting and need to sit down and shut up, that this is what we need, what is good for us. Take it, girls. You'll like it. We sit here and watch you defend the indefensible and we rage and we cry and we wonder what broke and if it can ever be fixed.

"All men do that, it's no big deal", they say. And we look around us, angry and scared, and wonder if we have been so wrong about the world, if we are in danger from people we thought safe because "all men" fantasize about raping women, according to the enablers and the abusers. My skin is crawling and I want to throw up.

We are trapped in a spiral of helplessness as we watch the personification of all our abusers become the most powerful man in the world, upheld by his enablers, who are people we thought we could trust.

And I die a little inside.

Because in Trump I see the abusers that got away with it, were praised for it. In my fellow countrymen I see the enablers that let them, that gave them power. And no one cares about the victims. Their ideology, their hatred for Democrats and liberals and gays, their desire for power trumps everything, even people's lives.

And they destroy themselves along with us because what they don't know that I do is that abusers only use enablers until they can be of no more use.

We all lose this one. Except the abuser. He wins. Because you, people of America, enabled him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In Which I Cuss

"Watch your language!"

No, I fucking won't. I cuss. A lot. When appropriate. I like to cuss. People liked to be shocked at it and tell me no one will listen to a word I say if I don't clean up my mouth. They mistake me for someone who gives a shit.  

I even let my kids cuss, most adults won't like it and they can't use those words at school. My 10-yr-old asked "Mom, if shit means poop, why can we say poop but not shit?" I didn't have an answer that was logical enough for her analytical mind. "Because the culture says so" doesn't fly well with her. "That's a stupid reason". Yes, Baby, it is. In our home, "bad words" are the words used to degrade another human being, not 4-letter words that someone decided are arbitrarily "bad". 

But I don't swear like a sailor just to shock people. (OK sometimes I do, I admit.) I have reasons. They may not make sense to others. I don't care, really. They're my reasons and that's good enough.

From birth, I was controlled. In every way a person can be controlled by another, I was. My body, mind, eyes, ears, sexuality, words, actions, thoughts, and being were all completely controlled by my parents and my church in the name of their god. It took me years and much trepidation to throw off that control.

I started with my body. At 19 years old, I went into a western wear store and bought my first pair of Wrangler jeans (hey, I'm from redneck town, it's what all the cool kids wore). I would stuff them in my backpack and change from a long, shapeless skirt into my new jeans before walking into the community college I was attending an hour away from my home in the mountains. I'd change back into the skirt before going home. But it felt so wild and rebellious. I cut off my long hair and got it styled. I bought short skirts and tights and boots that were more in style and fit my body better, pushing the line of what my parents thought was acceptable and modest. These were all baby steps toward taking control of my own body. I was shamed for it, but I kept moving forward.

I started figuring out my sexuality. Looking things up in books and online, asking questions of people I trusted. Making out with my boyfriend, figuring out what I liked, coming to the awareness that desire was a good thing, a human thing. That I was human after all. Everything that was "sin", that would soil my pure heart. Hell, even falling in love was something I was not allowed. That was the first step of taking control of my sexuality. I slowly, bit by bit, piece by piece, took back my sexuality from the ones holding it hostage with threats of hell and contamination. It was scary and confusing but exhilarating and empowering.

I started renting movies after I left home to become a nanny to pay for school. I rented all the popular 80's and 90's movies that I wasn't allowed to watch. I studied them with all the focus and seriousness of a foreigner studying the culture in which they were trying to assimilate. I bought music I wasn't allowed to listen to. I went out with friends to see movies in the theater, went to concerts, went ice skating where they played rock music, and hung out with people I never would've been allowed to associate with, let alone befriend. I read books that were forbidden. My mind was opened to the vastness and wonder that is philosophy and psychology and science and fiction. The world opened and changed before my very eyes and it took my breath away.

In every way that I had been controlled, I carefully and slowly threw off the chains and chose my own way, embraced my own body, freed my own mind.

And now I cuss up a blue streak. Whenever I feel like it. Because my words aren't controlled by others anymore. I can tell my story if I want and I can say "fuck" if I want and no one can sanction or punish me for it. My words are the last context in which I have thrown off the control that defined my life.

I love words. They flow off my tongue and from my fingertips like shiny pebbles rolling off my hand into the river, splashing and rippling delightfully. Words are my medium and life is my canvass and I use them to paint whatever picture I want others to see, whatever emotion I want them to feel. I like swear words just as much as any others. They're expressive, they're funny, they're shocking, they defy social norms and gender expectations, they are empowering, and sometimes they are the only words appropriate.

But they're also meaningful to me as a symbolic reminder that no one controls any part of me anymore. They're a symbol of hard-won freedom. I choose what words to say and what words not to say and when to say them.

I fucking choose. 

So when you try to control my words by shaming me for them, I can only throw my head back and laugh. Jesus fucking Christ, you don't know what kind of control and shame I've already tossed into the damn ditch. Your pathetic attempt at censorship can't touch what I've already lived through. That shit's got nothin' on the control of my past, the control that I've thoroughly and utterly discarded, and my give a damn's busted.

Or, as I like to say these days, fuck that shit, I don't give a rat's ass, my words are mine. 

Fucking deal with it.