“And it seems like it goes on like this forever-“

It is 8:55pm. At 8:52pm 56% of voters chose to amend our state constitution to make marriage legal only between “one man and one woman.”

That’s the bare bones of Amendment One, but it’s not all of it. You can find the rest of it here-

I don’t want to hear one single politician, especially from the GOP since they wrote this amendment, say they’re fiscally conservative ever freaking again. I don’t want to hear them yakking about how they’re Americans for America. I don’t want to hear them pander to the little people. Not ever.

Because they lie.

They’re all liars with different degrees of dishonesty, but if a nation and a state are suffering financially and educationally you certainly don’t dangle the shiny object of a morals issue unless you’re only trying to distract because

YOU HAVE NO FUCKING PLAN.

These people have no answers. They can’t get us out of debt, they can’t make sure the people in the poorest counties have jobs, but what they can do is rattle the saber of moral justice and drag out people who are so scared by what is different that they don’t realize they need to fear what’s the same.

And it is the same. Every year. Every decade. No one is willing to put on their big kid pants and fix the freaking problems because it might cost them the next election.

So I ask them- why do you want to be elected if not to really serve your people? The only other option is for personal gain. Right?

You should be ashamed of yourselves. You should be ashamed every time you put your hand over your heart and salute our flag.

You are failures.

Hatred should never be written into a code of law. The first NC Amendment One banned anyone of African descent from marrying a white person. It was overturned, thank goodness.

This law has tentacles everywhere.

I love my state. It has been my state since 1995, and I want to stay here forever. The land has spoken to me since I was small, and the people, as a whole, are good and kind to individuals.

But when you rile up a population to fear a certain group by using catchphrases and propaganda you are inhibiting the forward growth of a state and a nation.

I am very ashamed of my state. I love you, but right now you’re that weird cousin who pokes sleeping snakes without understanding that they bite when threatened.

This is going to cost a fortune. It already has. That money you’re so fond of hoarding has been pumped into an issue that doesn’t even need to be addressed to suit your wishes in this state. Once this is over the court fights will cost even more.

Teacher salaries. Police. Fire departments. Roads. You won’t raise taxes, right?

I’m going to keep Carolina in my mind. And my heart. And I hope this bullshit doesn’t cause more suffering than we already have here.

Letter to the Dead

I didn’t get to call you. Not even two weeks ago I told my mother that I wanted to just sit you down and tell you what I thought about how you’d handled our family and your life. My mother asked me what the point would be. She told me that at your age it wouldn’t matter, and it would only upset the apple cart.

She was right. She often is. And now you’re gone. And I have to tell you-

I loved you.

When I was small you were the stars and the moon to me. I bought you a cheap plastic ring for Christmas one year, and you seemed to like it. Later, when I knew more, I spent years wondering if it went in the trash when you got home.

But I still loved you.

My whole life if I acted a certain way I was told that I was just like you at times. That never bothered me until I was the last person your mother looked at before she died. You’d seen her once in The Home. Once. I’d had to stop going because I kept making friends with residents who kept dying on me, and I couldn’t take anymore. I was a chickenshit, yes. But I figured Grandmom didn’t even know I was there, and like you, I was wrong. I walked in on Christmas morning, and she looked at me, sighed, and died.

That should have been you.

That woman raised me when my mother, your sister, was at work. She was the best human being I ever met. She loved me, AND you, with every last bit of her heart. She loved us. Even with our imperfections, and even when we didn’t deserve her, she loved us.

Over the past 21 years I’ve tried very hard to avoid doing anything that would end up with me compared to you.

Even though I love you.

You set a chess piece in my hand and patiently sat with me one night and taught me the rules. You were patient. Something I often can’t manage with my kids. But that one night is in my head forever. I know you let me win. I don’t even care. I was maybe six or seven. I am forty now, almost forty-one, and I will never, ever forget that.

My mother, your sister, loved you, too. Through everything. She loved you. Even when you hurt her. Even when your hurt her mother.

You were a crab-ass, and you had a mean streak,  and thank goodness we didn’t have to live with you, but we love you.

So much.

If there’s a world beyond this I know one thing. I know only one thing. That woman who had so much love, your mother? She took you in her arms yesterday morning and held you. Because she still loved you, too.

Rest in Peace, Jack. And I mean it. I hope you have finally found your peace.

I love you.

 

The people my dog thinks we are…

“So. Do you really like ______, Baby, or is it just that she’s nearby to play with?”

This is how bedtime went tonight.

“Well, I like _______ this much.” (Fingers at about a tenth of an inch apart.)

“Do you like _______’s mommy and daddy?”

“Oh, I like her mommy and daddy THIS MUCH.” (Arms open wide.)

“I like them, too. But you know, you don’t have to be _______’s friend if you don’t like how she acts.”

 

A couple of weeks ago my daughter told me that her, “best friend,” had abused our dog. By that I mean that she had come to our dog and squeezed her neck in a strangling motion. Hard. Livvie was uncomfortable. She’s been carrying this ever since.

Tonight at bedtime she asked for her dad, and when I brought him in she told him about it again, and she told him she was sorry she’d forgotten to be mad at _______. She promised that next time she’d get an adult, and that she would be mad, “very loudly,” to make it stop. Then after Rich left the room she asked if Ginny could stay on her bed awhile.

She gave her treats.

She told her she was sorry that _______ had squeezed her neck.

She doesn’t understand that Ginny doesn’t care unless that girl comes back again, and even if she does-

My dog will do nothing.

My dog will sit there and let some asshat four-year-old try to strangle her with her pissant strength, and she will do nothing but leave. My dog is the best damn dog this planet has ever produced for interaction with idiots and small children, and unless you look like a squirrel or a rabbit my dog will not harm you if you’re allowed in this yard.

That girl is no longer allowed in this yard.

Livvie doesn’t want to play with her anymore.

And we told her that was okay. And it hurts to lose a friend, but my dog climbed onto her bed, circled once, and laid down.

Livvie feels everything more deeply than most kids I’ve met, and my dog loves so deeply it’s amazing. I say “My” dog because she is. In her heart she’s mine. But she knows when she’s needed by the rest of the family.

I’m never going to find another like her.

Happy Belated Ninth Birthday, you dork.

 

Your PSA of the day

This is the email I just sent to everyone in my mom’s inbox that I could determine was a real human-

 

This is _______’s daughter Julie.
Please disregard the email that went out to everyone this morning. ________ is not in Spain, nor is she being held captive by an evil hotel manager. She’s currently stressing out in New Jersey over the heinous mess this all caused.
Number one- these people clogged her entire computer with viruses and malware.
Number two- in order to contact Yahoo she ended up calling an unrelated tech-support phone number and was charged a ridiculous amount of money for software that is free on the Internet. Those people then accessed her computer to install it.
Number three- Her entire contact list is now gone.
Number four- credit card company was nice enough to block the charge and issue new card (yay!).
Mom will be offline until this weekend when she gets down here to North Carolina and I can wipe out everything that was done to her computer and install Norton Antivirus. In the meantime I have a request-
Please do not forward any attachments you have not scanned for viruses first.
Please do not forward links that you haven’t run through a security program to check for safety.
And-
If you do not have a current anti-virus software running on your computer- get one. Mom was lucky. She purchases nothing online. The nice gentleman I spoke with at Yahoo today told me mom’s laptop is a complete mess and full of garbage that tracks keystrokes.
Please secure yourselves. Thank you.
-Julie
__________________________________________________________
DO YOU HEAR ME, PEOPLE??? AND STOP ADDING TOOLBARS.

Get Out That Measuring Tape

I have a couple of things to say about the murder of Trayvon Martin. Bear with me.

When I was growing up it was understood that anyone who was a good, responsible person and had been to war, any of them, and had seen combat didn’t really talk about it with civilians. They just didn’t. The same was true of cops. The cops I knew didn’t run around bragging about what they did for a living. Especially if they’d had to use their weapon.

My thoughts on guns are mixed for that reason. My father was a dispatcher. He bought his own sidearm. He had to draw it once when he was threatened. He never had to use it. Special circumstances, sure. He worked for the police force. But he had the right to buy that gun.

Gun rights organizations started, I think, with some good intentions. What I see, and what I have seen, is that the people who yack the loudest about their right to bear arms and brag about their arsenals are like the ex-military or ex-cops who brag the loudest about what action they saw and how many bullets they fired.

I don’t trust a single damn one of them.

The responsible gun owners I know- hunters and not- these things are not an extension or stand-in for a manhood. They might love the lines and the sheen, they appreciate the weapon’s ability to get a job done, but they don’t shove it in someone’s face and yell, “LOOKIT IT!!!”

We need to take a good, long look at what the more liberal (That’s right. Look it up) gun laws have allowed and ask ourselves if any freaking yahoo on our streets should be allowed to shoot without a thought for what that wreaks.

This brings me to my second thought.

When do we stop gunning down young, black men? As a nation. Do we really still think that they’re out to sully our blonde, white daughters? When President Obama was elected I honestly had about 24 hours of fantasy when I thought we were moving past all of this. If Michelle Obama had been elected would we still have these issues as a nation? I’ve looked at our son over the past several days, and I’ve found that I’m grateful that he’s an obvious blue-eyed white boy and not a mystery as his sister and I appear to some people. And for all intents and purposes- we’re white. I still caught grief as a teen.

I can’t understand what a person of color goes through living day to day in this country. What I can understand is this-

Trayvon Martin had parents who loved him. He had a mother who most likely wanted to rip out her own heart from the pain of learning her boy was gone. His father will never watch his boy turn into a good man. His family will never be able to figure out just WHY this had to happen.

Because it doesn’t make a single goddamn bit of sense.

There are enough things to worry about in the world without manufacturing problems. George Zimmerman manufactured himself a problem just so he could whip out his fake member and gun down a black boy. Stand your ground. Even as they run away.

He wasn’t in a world of shit for it, but he is now.

Look around you. Stop accepting this shit as normal. Stop being complacent, and above all, raise your kids to understand that ALL of them matter.

It’s 20-goddamn-12.

Prove it.

 

Numbers too big to ignore…

1986

I’d gotten my first period when I was eleven. Granted, I was almost twelve, but my dad had died recently, I’d gotten glasses for the first time, and stress in general brought on early menses. When I was fifteen I went to the bathroom one day, and when I stood up the room suddenly looked like a crime scene. I was off to the doctor. The man who’d delivered me.

He prescribed birth control pills. When I went to Rite Aid to get them the pharmacist refused to let me have them. My mother then flipped the hell out on him. He was appropriately contrite, and he apologized, but I still wonder how many other women he’d automatically branded with the phrase, “slut.” Even if in his head. I spent a lot of high school sick a lot of days. Throwing up. Feeling unwell. Doc said my body thought I was pregnant due to the pills. At least I wasn’t practically hemorrhaging anymore.

1995

I couldn’t find my go-to brand of birth control pills anywhere. A pharmacy finally ordered them. Insurance didn’t cover them since they weren’t generic. They were the only brand that worked to reduce the bleeding and pain. It cost about $32 a month, or more than a dollar a day to keep myself from wanting to die once a month. Was it a plus to have some prevention against pregnancy in my early 20s? Sure. I was underinsured a lot once I moved to North Carolina, though.

Early 2000s

Jenest-28, the birth control I’d relied on for years, is gone. I bopped from one brand to another trying to find some relief from my, “female problems.” I am now divorced but an adult female who would like to not get pregnant as well. Periods and pain are still not as bad as before, but because I smoke I try to not take the pill if I’m not in a relationship. When I don’t- the hell days are back.

2004

I meet the man who is going to end up being my husband and the love of my life, and I go back on the pill. Insurance doesn’t cover what the doctor determines I need. Is it MY issue I didn’t put my own health before a man? Depends on how you look at it. I wanted breaks for my circulatory system, and there were other health reasons that made me take a break, too (smoking). Once again it’s about $30 a month. $30 we don’t have easy access to, but the cost of bearing and raising a child is much greater. We know we want children together, but there’s no money for them. We are still adult humans who find each other attractive.

2005

My husband finds a better paycheck, we get married, and within 30 days of going off the Pill I get pregnant. Did the multitude of years I’d spent on the Pill rest my system enough to have little trouble? I’ll never know. In 2006 we have a daughter, and we couldn’t be more delighted. In my mind I’m thrilled that in her youth she won’t have to listen to the crap about her sex that I heard in the 70s, and I know that nothing is keeping her from doing anything she wants. Not now. It’s the 21st frigging century.

2008

The doctor puts me on the mini-pill because I’m still a smoker, but due to the psychiatric drugs I’d been taking they’re less than effective. I get pregnant with our son and his twin. I lose his twin and go through pain for months while my body absorbs the fetus. Our son carries so low that my mobility is compromised, and I require a cane to walk. In-

2009

Our son is born, and as he’s in crisis I have to have a C-Section. When the OB asks me to sign the consent to surgery I tell him that while he’s in there I want a tubal ligation. He tries to talk me out of it, telling me that if they can’t resuscitate our son I’d be sterile. I told him that I am never going through this hell again. And I certainly wasn’t going to “replace” him. My son is born sucessfully, my tubes are tied, and-

2009-Present

Every single month I think I’m bleeding to death. Every single month I get horrible migraines and back pain. My cramps want to keep me in bed for three days. I have two children. I can’t stay in bed. I double up with tampons and pads, and there are nights when I get out of bed and change myself, including my underpants, because my body is STILL fucked up. I got lucky. I had two kids that I wanted and adore. I knew enough to know that this was even beyond what we could afford, and I had surgical sterilization. I don’t have any intention to be a burden on the government. It’s been tough. Because I’m over 35 and I STILL smoke- I can’t take birth control pills to control my issues. Every single month there are moments when I want to die. Every single month I have the permanent option to not get pregnant, thankfully, but that doesn’t help with the physical issues. Every single month I thank the maker that I only have two children because of advances in medicine that will let me have a-

Normal Human Female Sexual Life

2011

My daughter asks me if she’s going to be a mommy someday. I tell her, with sincerity, only if she wants to.

2012

My daughter asks me again if she’ll be a mommy someday. I have no sincerity when I tell her only if she wants to.

I didn’t tell her that family history might make it a pain in the ass. I didn’t tell her that the government is fighting over who is and who is not allowed to become a mother. She’s five. But every single day I look at her, and I know that this shit is worse than lying about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.

I also didn’t tell her that apparently I am now a slut.

But you know what? If using modern medicine gave me less endometriosis long enough to have my children? And let me enjoy my female body when I was young and active enough to do so?

I’m proud to be a slut.

Fuck you, to anyone who thinks this is about morals. I’m a good wife, a good mother, and a good human being.

And my family appreciates that I’m not spread too thin. So does your income tax.

If Wishes Were Horses…

My daughter started horse-riding lessons about five weeks ago. She’s five. We’d been thinking about getting her into ice skating, because she always pretends to skate in her socks around the kitchen, and she’s fabulous on roller-skates.

We drive past a horse farm very often, though. She loves horses. So one day before the holidays I made a phone call, and then I took her out there to watch a lesson as a surprise. I asked her if she wanted to learn. She said yes.

This might be the best idea I’ve ever had in my life.

I’m forty, and until last week I had sat on a horse exactly once. I was ten. It didn’t go well, I never rode, and as I’ve aged I’ve become more leery of heights and aggravating existing aches and pains. The first day I took my kids out there, though, we met an 1100 pound horse named Ginger. My kids had no fear. I thought she was fabulous, and I also thought she was enormous.

Ginger ended up remembering me, but we’ll get to that later.

The instructors at this farm teach the Parelli Method. Essentially what they do is to modify herd behavior for humans (simplifying here totally), and they teach riders to follow the horses’ cues rather than be overly forceful. Not to say that the rider isn’t taking the lead. Not at all. But what they seem to teach is that the rider shows the horse that he or she is someone to be pleased, and only after making sure the horse is totally cool with that idea.

So you have these 1100 pound animals, and you have my, oh, 40 pound daughter. And my daughter doesn’t listen to a dang thing I tell her, because I’m mom and I’m a moron. And now, after five weeks, she climbs out of the car. Her instructor (who is a completely wonderful human being) says to her, “Livvie, I want you to go get Honey and lead her to the hitching post.”

And my tiny girl walks over, takes the lead rope, and tells honey to, “walk on,” and Honey follows her.

My heart has been known to explode in certain situations, but watching my daughter not over-think a damn thing, just do the job without second-guessing herself, I could have died on the spot. The confidence my kid has when she’s out with those horses is something I have never had in any situation. Ever. Not once have I been so sure of myself that I could just walk into a situation without running a thousand scenarios around in my head.

And see, horses know that.

Last week I got back on the horse. Livvie’s instructor gave me Ginger. She asked me to unhitch Ginger and lead her to graze while Livvie had her lesson. I unhitched her. I attempted to lead her.

Ginger basically looked at me like I was a moron and stayed where she was.

I talked to her, and I know she called me an idiot. I could see it. I had the, “carrot stick” in my hand, and I lifted it to show her it was time to move. She ignored me. I gently poked her on the behind with it, and finally she sighed at me and followed me to the grass. I swear this horse had turned down food just to show me how ridiculous I am.

When the time came for my lesson, and I finally had a chance to learn, Ginger decided I was okay and deigned to follow my instructions. When I finally mounted up she behaved like an angel. I already know that the next time I see her I’ll be able to give her what she needs so she feels comfortable following my lead.

And I’m forty.

My daughter is five. Today she rode at a trot for the first time, on a horse named Belle, and the joy I saw on her face was something I will never, ever forget. I’ll also remember how proud she was of scooping horse dooky and dumping it in the muck bucket for the first time. What will shine brightest, though, is the image of those giant mares walking along behind her with no argument. Because she’s got this.

“This” is confidence.

Today I stood next to her, and we groomed Belle together. We chatted about her, about her coloring, about the weather, and there was an easy, relaxed vibe between the two of us as we brushed. She’d curry, and I’d hard brush. Then we went over her with the soft brush until she shone.

I think, now, I know how to connect with her over the years.

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