Friday, April 6, 2012


I'm not a big weeper. Not because I am holding back the urge to shed salt water from my face, but because, I think, that there is a certain numbness that washes over me that beats out the tears. It is the sad result of living in a world where the good is so good and the horrible is so horrible that they seem to cancel eachother out.

Notice I didn't say balance.

Anyway, this blog is not about whether I cry a lot or a little, that bit was for effect. So that you know that if something brings me to weep, it's either too sad, too gorgeous or too enraging to put words to. I tell my kids that I express myself through fluids. Lucian doesn't get it. Anna thinks it's gross.

Two nights ago, I made the mistake of browsing through my CNN app right before I (tried) to nod off to sleep. The usual suspects: health care, the Trayvon Martin mess, the 2012 election, etc. But there was a new one in the mix, one that maybe a few of us missed because of the many dog and pony shows happening on other stages across the world. This one was subtle, but it sliced right into the core of the place in me that carries a sureness of my situation in the world. You could call it my identity, but that's too sparse. It's the place that I feel most assured of who I am, what I am doing and that, for the most part, things are good.

Things are not good, folks. Not anymore. I've been popping Zantac like Pez for the last few days. The low-lying nicotine problem has blown up like the goddamn smallpox (although, I am hiking a lot more, too, go figure) and my restless leg syndrome is back in full force.

So, what did I see? Well, the headline read: Mississippi tightens abortion restrictions.

I knew right then and there that I should've waited until the morning to read it. But, of course, I am a news gal and this is my vice. In sum, the good state of Mississippi has but one abortion clinic (yes, only one for the whole state) which may be shut down, due to tighter legislation regulations requiring obgyn's to have "admitting privileges." Who the hell knows what that means. Anyway, the governor of the state is practically gleeful that the clinic may have to close its doors. Last year he tried to get it to shut down by introducing, I shit you not, a Personhood Amendment stating that "life begins at conception." Of course, that got thrown right the hell out. The good governor said that in closing the clinic, he is protecting the women and children of his state. What a benevolent protector, wow, great guy.

I don't need your protection, Mr. Governor. I need protection FROM people like you. Looking back in history, ancient and modern, it seems that no man has taken it upon himself to protect women. In fact, according to my calculations, woman and children have been ravaged and destroyed by men and their deeds since the dawn of humankind. It is a mass genocide that it allowed to continue in every corner of the globe. When you think of child abusers, rapists, human traffickers and "lawmakers," most of them are men, and many of them go out of their way to feed their perversions, washing their hands on women and children. What protection? And what is this 'personhood' shit?! What about the 'personhood' of the women who already exist? Where is our amendment stating that we have rights and that we may enact those rights at any time? Who is banging the gavel for women these days?

That's right, nobody. Not even our venerated president (it kills me to say this, btw) who remains silent and watches on as, state by state, women's rights (the same women who hold up this economy, who raise millions of children alone every single day and night) are obliterated in the flame of Puritan politics. Where are you, man? You have two daughters, and this is the greatest tragedy this country has ever seen. It is a drawn out funeral and the bodies are being stacked like twigs in the mass grave of freedom.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a group of Native American artists who will be exhibiting in our local museum this summer. At the end of the lunch, I chatted with a woman who is a beadwork artist. She is extraordinary, truly. We got on the subject of ceremony in her tribe, and how the men brutalize themselves through near starvation and exhaustion in order to become closer to the "Spirit" or God, or whatever you want to call it.

"The only way to do so is to truly humble yourself," she said.

"What about the women," I asked. "Do they do the same thing?"

She shook her head. "Some of them fast for a little bit, and do the dances. But we don't really need to do much to get closer to God," she said. "The men know that. We bleed every month, we carry children in our bodies, we birth children, we work, we suffer a lot more just for being women. They know that. We have a direct bloodline to the sky."

I've been thinking about that conversation since that day. About the ways in which women are humbled every single day; hard work, child-rearing, periods, poverty, abuse, abandonment, war, politics, loss. Women are brought low, very low, very often. And yet it seems that there are many who would have us lower, who are gripping at our ankles to keep us from our personhood. If I catch you at my daughter's ankles, I will cut off your hands.

Don't mess with God's messengers, we know how to bleed. And eventually we will figure out how to use these wings of ours.


  1. Such powerful writing, Nichole! It's something I have thought about often, whether women do have some kind of special power connected to our ability to bear children, which is so threatening to men that the entire patriarchal edifice has been erected as a defense....

    I go back and forth on whether women do have a special task in turning our crazy world around. Would love to talk about it with you someday.

  2. Jen, I would like nothing better than to talk about this with you. I think that women start to realize the task at hand as we watch our children grow and feel our walls closing in. I'm up for the task!
    Thanks for reading, btw!