10 Questions – Day 4

 

Here we are — the question for Day 4 from the 10Q Challenge. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Refer to the Day 1 post. You can also see the answer to Day 2 and Day 3.

Question 4: Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

The presidency. I was truly shocked and horrified when Donald Trump won the presidency. I really never thought it was possible for him to win, I thought people were genuinely good and would see that he is awful and hateful and completely incompetent. I misjudged them. I misjudged the character of my fellow Americans, my fellow human beings. I misjudged their level of hatred and the level of contempt they have for others they don’t understand. I used to believe people, at their heart, were generally good. Now, I am just not so sure. And I hate that is how I feel. Because I really, really did believe in the goodness of humanity. But now I don’t, and I feel like some innocence has been lost there.

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10 Questions – Day 3

 

Here we are — the question for Day 3 from the 10Q Challenge. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Refer to the Day 1 post. You can also see the answer to Day 2.

Question 3: Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?

Oh gosh. This is a tough one. There really hasn’t been a milestone. Nothing has happened in the last four years. They’ve been… stagnant. Stuck in a holding pattern, in limbo. Not wanting to be where they are, but also afraid to move forward. My parents haven’t been “together” since July 2013, but they still live together in the same house. They haven’t made any true moves to change that. Sure, they talk about it — but it’s all talk. Nothing has happened. I’m not sure it ever will.

As for how it has affected me, well honestly — I am tired of the drama of it all. I am tired of hearing about how my dad irritates my mom, the lies they tell my sister, how they think she doesn’t know any better even though she is nearly 11. The fact that they say they want X Y and Z but never actually do it. That they’ve said they were selling the house for three years now and it still hasn’t happened. I’m just tired of it. I don’t want to hear about it until they actually make moves. Until then, it’s all just noise to me, and not only do I not believe them, I no longer care. It has never been my concern, anyway. No amount of worrying or guidance or concern has made a difference so far. So at this point, I’m just done. They’re adults. Yes, they have my sister, but she’s just that — my sister. Not my child. I cannot be her parent. I can only be her sister. So the best thing I can do is be there for her, and ignore the rest.

10 Questions – Day 2

 

Here we are — the question for Day 2 from the 10Q Challenge. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Refer to the Day 1 post.

Question 2: Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?

Hmm. I’m not really sure. I’ve been okay for the past year, I think. I don’t really regret anything. I wish I had handled the break up with Kevin differently, but considering it was the first time I ever broke up with anyone, I wasn’t really sure how to do it. It also didn’t go the way I planned, and he didn’t respond the way I hoped he would (i.e., have a conversation, rather than close up on me — which I should have expected, considering that was one of the reasons for the conversation in the first place). I also really should have had a conversation with him sooner — where are we going, what are we doing, who are you really… all important questions. I’m trying to do it better this time around. We’ll see what happens.

As for something I am proud of, I am proud of myself for finishing yoga teacher training! I am proud of myself for doing it! Because it was something that was 100% for me. I am also proud of all the traveling I have done this year, because it is something important to me. And I am proud of myself for putting myself first for once, listening to my instincts, and doing what I want to do. There’s a magical kind of power there. I love it. I don’t want to let it go. I’m surprised it took me this long to find it, because it’s glorious.

10 Questions – Day 1

My friend Nina Sabak — who is a glorious writer, go check out her stuff — mentioned that she was doing 10Q again this year. I had never heard of it, but she recommended checking it out. As she said, “I’m a sucker for self-reflection,” to which I say SIGN ME THE HELL UP.

Here’s a description from the 10Q website, if you’ve never heard of it:

10 Days. 10 Questions.

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection. Want to keep them secret? Perfect. Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that too.

Next year the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that. Do you 10Q? You should.

I won’t lie, I haven’t exactly made time to answer these each and every day as they roll into my inbox, but I am working on catching up. I’m posting them here for posterity, though I will follow the spirit of Q10 and not read them again until next year.

Question 1: Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

I came into myself. I’m 28 years old, and it has only been in the past year that I truly developed into an individual. Since I was fifteen, I have always been half of a whole. During the brief time periods where I wasn’t in a relationship, I fell into a deep depression and engaged in risky behaviors to fill the empty void inside me, until I found another relationship to throw myself into.

This past year, I’ve come into my own. I identified what MY interests are, what I like to do, what I want to do — and what I DON’T want to do. I travel, I earned my yoga teacher certification, I earned my PHR certification, I have been an awesome dog and cat mom, I have done things that scared me, I have done things that have exhilarated me. I have learned to be alone without being lonely, to feel as though I fill up space, and that space matters.

That doesn’t mean I always feel comfortable and secure. There are always moments of doubt, shadows of insecurity. But what I have learned over the last year is — that’s life. It goes up, it goes down, but most importantly, it goes on. When it is horrible, I know that is will not be horrible forever, and that is what keeps me moving forward, whereas before I would be stuck in a holding pattern, scared to try anything for fear of making it worse. But now, I am no longer afraid, even when I feel scared temporarily — because I know it will pass.

Nothing is better than feeling whole. And you really just can’t beat that with a stick.

When the right to choose becomes the need to choose

Today, Beatriz, the pregnant 22-year-old woman from El Salvador, finally was permitted to terminate her life-threatening pregnancy. El Salvador has exceptionally strict anti-abortion laws, prohibiting them in even the most dangerous of situations, just like the one Beatriz found herself in. Beatriz suffers from lupus (SLE), a diseases that can be further complicated by pregnancy. Women with lupus are more likely to miscarry, and 20-30% of women who become pregnant experience aggravated symptoms, such as renal disease and high blood pressure, which can result in preeclampsia. They are also more likely to experience complications during birth.

Beatriz was suffering from an active lupus flare that would have made giving birth fatal. In addition, her fetus had anencephaly — a condition where the fetus fails to develop a brain. Beatriz’s fetus had no brain and was missing large portions of its skull. The fetus was guaranteed to die within a few days of being born, if it even survived the complicated labor Beatriz would have been put through.

El Salvador does not allow abortions even in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. In a ruling, the highest court of El Salvador rule 4-1 in favor of the law — Beatriz was not to have an abortion. As Beatriz fought for an exception, her condition worsened. Her kidneys failed. And her fetus was still going to die, no matter what.

In the end, Beatriz was allowed to have an “induced birth” at 26 weeks. Doctors performed a C-Section to remove the fetus. It died five hours later. Since the procedure occurred after the third trimester had started, the courts could use the term “induced birth” to prevent Beatriz from being penalized by the anti-abortion laws. Still, this procedure is a form of abortion, albeit a highly dangerous one, called a hysterotomy. A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but an abortion called induced birth saved Beatriz from 30 years in prison.

 

Facebook: Take Action Against Sex Trafficking Page!

Liz is a friend of mine. She sent me the link to this fan page and asked me to report it, which I happily did, because it is obviously against FB’s community guidelines… except FB says it isn’t! Photos of toddlers (yes! toddlers!) simulating a sex act on a woman apparently aren’t against FB’s guidelines! Disgusting. Please report the page and share the post, You can go to my Twitter to retweet a post about it. Be sure to tag it with #FBrape.

Liz Boltz Ranfeld

Earlier this evening I was doing some research on Kolkata and was searching for some information about sex work in the city. I did a quick search for Sonagachi, which is the city’s largest red light district. In fact, it’s one of the biggest red light districts in all of Asia. Sonagachi is also the focus of the 2004 documentary Born Into Brothels. You can read about the crimes against women and girls that are committed in Sonagachi in a variety of places, or you can watch the documentary.

While doing my research to grab a couple those statistics, I discovered something disturbing: Sonagachi has a Facebook community page. Nearly 3000 people have liked that page.

The page is full of images of young women–many of whom are likely under age, as so many of the sex workers in Kolkata are. From what I have learned firsthand from people…

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Why I Didn’t Like Brave

Movie poster for Brave
Pixar’s Brave

I know I am a bit late to the game on this film. Brave came out June 2012, but thanks to grad school, I didn’t really make it a priority to see. A lot of my friends did, though, and they all seemed to love it. I thought I would like it, too — strong female character, the previews didn’t say much about a love interest, she was a little rounder than your average princess, with messier hair and a penchant for running wild.

I have one friend, though, who had a problem with Brave, the plot, and how the writers chose to handle Merida’s story. She didn’t give me specifics, which was great because it allowed me to look at it with an open mind. Unfortunately, once I saw the movie, I had to agree with her. Brave was not the fun feminist kids’ film I thought it was going to be.

Before we get into the bullshit, let’s talk about the good. For one thing, I loved how Fergus encouraged Merida’s interest in archery, even when she was a young adult princess (“Princess or not, learning to fight is essential!”), much to Elinor’s chagrin. Also, I loved how wild her hair was, and how she looked like a kid, rather than a 25 year old. I mean, Pocahontas was supposed to be 10-13, and she was not only involved in a relationship with a much older man, she looked like an adult. Another good thing was that most of the women were portrayed as quite stocky and round — with the exception of the royalty, of course. I have a problem with that, since it forces on us the whole idea that desirable people are thin.

I think the best thing about the film was when Merida competed for her “own hand” in archery and beat the pants off her suitors; that was a clever little trick. I suppose I liked that in the end (SPOILERS) Merida doesn’t have to get married, but the way that conclusion came about was filled with so much patriarchal bullshit that I can’t even be happy about it. Oh, and it was cool that Merida and Elinor-As-Bear ended demon bear Mor’du, instead of the menfolk.Read More »