For most of my life, a big thing in my life was being told not to speak ill of the dead. When I was a kid I thought that was because if you talked smack about dead people they’d come back and haunt you. As an adult, I realize that if the dead have a problem with how I talk about them now, they know where I’m at.
I wonder if that belief in not talking ill of the dead is because the dead can’t defend themselves. I don’t buy that argument because I wasn’t aware every discussion about the dead was supposed to be a group debate session. Now I realize this argument is just to shut people up in talking about things they have every right to talk about.
I’m going to hang myself out here with an opinion that might not be very popular: the dead don’t need their legacy preserved without honesty. A lot of people keep things to themselves because they don’t want to hurt people’s perceptions of their long-gone loved ones. I will respect anyone’s decision whether or not to talk about someone who’s dead but I don’t feel you have to venerate the dead for the rest of eternity either.
As I begin to write my book ‘Breaking Radio Silence’, I will be talking about the dead and some of what I write might not be ‘nice’. When it comes to my parents they would be the first people to tell you they weren’t perfect. They never claimed to be and even after they’d gotten pissed off and raged hard, they were able to apologize when they’d been wrong and said and done things they shouldn’t have. NO ONE IS PERFECT (I put that in all-caps here to make a point) so I don’t see any need to treat people as perfect just because they’re dead and gone.
My mother has been gone for twenty years so I’ve had twenty years to live without her. I’ve had to learn to live with memories and memory is a tricky thing because you want to remember good things but you also get the bad stuff with that. My father once said he chose to remember the good because the bad was always there. And he was right on the mark with that so that’s why I will talk about the bad stuff, the painful stuff, the stuff that’s taken me years to put into words. And if this makes someone uncomfortable, that’s on them and not me.
Many years ago, I heard people say that I was too comfortable with death. No, I wasn’t ‘comfortable’ at all. I just had to learn how to talk about it because I was watching it slowly advance on my mother first, then my father. And in death there’s a fair amount of paperwork involved so there’s that to deal with and if talking about that makes people uncomfortable then that’s on them.
Not long after my mother got her cancer diagnosis, my parents asked me to sit and talk with them about what to do when my mom died. I got up and walked out of the room. The thought of death slammed into me I couldn’t think or speak at that moment, but I eventually bucked up and started having those conversations with my mother and father. There was no comfort in those talks at all. They were just about working out the details that were going to need to be taken care of. And again, if anyone has a problem with that now, I’ll say to them like I should have said back then: go fuck yourself. My parents trusted me to take care of things for them because they knew how good I was at keeping my shit together and that I’d found the guts to face those damn details and get things done the way they wanted to. I’m not talking about this with pride, but I will not talk about it with shame or guilt either.
I know it might be hard for people to understand grief and pain when they haven’t experienced it themselves. It’s not an experience I wish on anyone though I know most people will have to go through it at some point in their lifetimes. If you haven’t gone through it, don’t judge people who have. If you have to, just walk out of the room until you can deal with it. My parents didn’t hold that walk-out against me in any way. They told me they’d understood why I had done that and knew that I would come and talk to them when I was ready. I talked to them because I knew that’s what they wanted me to do, and that they believed in me to shoulder the responsibility they were giving me.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in the process of working this book project here is feeling shame and guilt for things that I didn’t do wrong. I took on too much bullshit and insecurity from people I never should have. Every single person deals with things in their own way and anyone who insists on conformity in dealing with shit is an asshole. For in the end, there really isn’t any control over things. You just deal with them as they come and work through the fallout in the years after.
May is National Masturbation Month (thanks to the Love Shack Boutique here in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas: check them out here) so the ‘M’ word here is masturbation, which I will define as giving oneself sexual pleasure. And since this is still something that isn’t talked about, I’m going to talk about it here today. Because yesterday I wrote about the attack on abortion rights that is extending to other rights such artificial birth control, artificial conception, and same-sex and inter-racial marriage. But Justice Alito missed one big one here: the battle against the sex toys (though I’m sure he’d be pissed that he missed mentioning that one).
In 2004, several companies in Austin, Texas challenged a state law banning the sale of sex toys. Defending the state in court was future Senator Ted Cruz who wrote a seventy-six page brief saying the state had the right to ban the sale of these devices for private use since the right to privacy didn’t extend to solo sexual pleasure in the privacy of one’s private residence.
Seventy-six pages to argue against dildo’s and other sex toys… yeah ‘ol Teddy boy doesn’t bring that one up anymore and didn’t mention it in his book, but for all the juicy details of this case you can read the Mother Jones article here (blue hyperlink will open in a separate window). In 2007, Teddy Boy lost his case before the Court of Appeals and decided not to appeal it to the Supreme Court (though I would have loved to have seen that).
The attacks against reproductive rights are an attack on the right to privacy which though the word ‘privacy’ isn’t in the Constitution, it has been interpreted as a right people have in this country. But the American Taliban as the Christian-Right/conservative Republican establishment see it, the only people who have any right to privacy are married couples getting it on strictly for procreation purposes. Yes, this is an extremist view held by a good number of religious theocrats who see sex as only for procreation purposes and feel sexual pleasure is evil.
Luckily, I wasn’t raised by religious theocrat parents though my mother had been raised in a religious theocratic household, also known as strict Catholicism. As I wrote last week, as I was coming of age in the 1980’s my mother was rebelling against her upbringing and she took me along for the ride. And one thing I learned about early on was masturbation and that it wasn’t wrong, just something done in private and not talked about.
The reason I want to talk about is the American Taliban will not hesitate to talk about forcing women to give birth, take away their babies to maintain a supply of infants to adopt (the Handmaid Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret wrote this in a brief supporting the overturning of Roe vs. Wade), and die in childbirth or from ectopic pregnancies. But talking about sexual pleasure is taboo to these assholes and we need to stop letting these assholes control the conversation once and for all.
I own a device like old Teddy-boy tried to ban. It’s the third one I’ve owned and since I’m single and live alone it’s mine to do with as I please. Personally, I think these things should be given to every woman in this country along with an instruction manual. Because if more women had orgasms without guilt and shame our country would be rid of the American Taliban in a heartbeat. Because the American Taliban want women to be silent, totally submissive, and without any joy or happiness. Why they want it is just pure evil because every cult deprives its’ followers of any form of joy and happiness to insure blind obedience.
So I’m not a silent obedient devotee of a joyless life and they probably hate me for it. Fuck them all to hell for that belief. There is NO SHAME OR GUILT in being happy and finding pleasure wherever you can, including getting help with obtaining joy and pleasure in a sexual way. I’m so sick and tired of shame and guilt being pounded into people for no reason by people who are NOT capable of feeling any shame or guilt for the pain and suffering they perpetrate onto other people. These are the people who are going to hell and not those of us having orgasms and wanting other people to live and love as they choose to.
The Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and into the 1980’s for me was about rejecting this bullshit shame-and-guilt about sexual pleasure and I’m all for the Revolution to keep going and roar to new life with a multi-setting battery-powered buzzing. I think at reproductive-rights rallies now women need to raise their sex toys up like wands or light-sabers instead of protest signs.
I feel just a tad bit sorry for right-wingnuts who don’t believe in sexual pleasure, sexual freedom, and flat-out joy and happiness. They must be drowning in so much shame and guilt they only have hatred to breathe through. And if any right-wing nut has made it this far in reading what I’ve written here I’ll say this to you instead: learn to love yourself and experience joy and happiness. Be brave, be bold, and buy your sex toys through the internet if you want to.
Earlier this week, a draft of an upcoming United States Supreme Court decision was leaked to the press outlining the overturning of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973. The identity and motive of the person who leaked this document is unknown at this time though I’m glad it was leaked so the battle lines are now clearly drawn.
The decision to me is poorly written and based on what I don’t see are valid arguments set by legal precedent and the Constitution of the United States. Instead, the decision is based on ‘deeply rooted history’. If you understand the history of this country and its’ founding, you need to understand our country was founded by a group of white men who only mentioned one other group in the Constitution, and that was slaves who were considered three-fifths of a white person. There was no mention of women, Native Americans, or any other group in our country’s founding. The authors of the Constitution created the amendment process because they knew as time went on things would change and the Constitution could not be set in stone and unchanged.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in the Roe vs. Wade case that a woman had a right to an abortion because the Court said abortion was a private decision between a woman and her doctor (though I recently read the decision was really about protecting doctors from being prosecuted for performing abortions and not so much about granting women the right to make their own healthcare decisions).
In the early 1970’s, abortion became an issue for the right-wing conservative movement in America because their previous big issue had been maintaining racial segregation which had been overturned by the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The right-wing needed an issue to galvanize their rapidly-retreating base of voters and they found it. They framed abortion as mass murder of unborn children and in the forty-nine years since the movement has become so extreme there are now laws being passed in state legislatures outlawing all forms of artificial birth control (the case of Griswold vs. Connecticut which upheld the right to use artificial birth control was cited in the draft decision leaked this week as ‘not being deeply rooted in history’ and possibly subject to being overturned after Roe vs. Wade), artificial means of conception such as IVF treatments (because these treatments result in the destruction of non-viable embryos). criminalizing miscarriages including ectopic pregnancies, and no exceptions made for rape or incest.
In plain English, these right-wing bastards want to control every aspect of a woman’s health from the cradle to the grave and decide when she can have children and if she is to die from complications such as an ectopic pregnancy or untreated miscarriage.
At this point, if you identify as pro-life you may be feeling like you’re backed against a wall and have to defend yourself. You may be thinking this extremism isn’t true at all or just exaggeration. You may be thinking there is no need to restrict the use of birth control and artificial means of conception. You may be thinking abortion is acceptable in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, or in cases of rape and incest. You may be feeling overwhelmed but also scared. Not scared as to what’s happening but scared because you feel your mind wanting to question the deeply-held belief you have had in regards to the issue of abortion.
I’m sorry if you’re hurting right now questioning the insanity and horror of the extreme right-wing conservative movement. I’m sorry you’re feeling what is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’, which is when a deeply-held belief is challenged by overwhelming evidence contrary to that belief. I’m sorry you’re feeling hurt by what’s happening because your mind is trying to question and possibly change your way of thinking and feeling.
But your pain is nowhere near the fear those of us feel as our right to privacy, freedom of choice, and to exist is under direct attack. As a woman, I am very scared of these bastards even as I stand and fight here with my words against them. I know how deeply they hold their beliefs and what they’re willing to do for them. These are the same bastards that stormed the United States Congress on January 6, 2021 and damn near overthrew a democratically-elected government. These are the same bastards who have inspired extremists to murder doctors, bomb clinics, and threaten and harass women seeking medical care. They are the jack-booted thugs who throw up Nazi salutes and call for the imprisonment of any group of people not exactly like them. For this decision that was leaked this week isn’t just an attack on abortion rights. It’s an attack on the freedom of people to live and love whoever they choose to (the decision of Obergefell vs. Hodges which legalized gay marriage and the decision of Loving vs. Virginia which legalized interracial marriage were mentioned in the leaked decision as ‘not deeply rooted in history’).
Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for abortion and the freedom of women to make their own reproductive decisions in private with no outside interference from any government or religious institution. Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for the right of people to access birth control and to conceive children through artificial means without any outside interference or restriction from government or other institutions. And poll after poll shows overwhelming support for people to marry whomever they chose regardless of the color of their skin or their gender. I want to believe the majority will prevail, but I also know a good number of people have very little to no faith in standing up to a terrible minority who seek to control the majority through any means necessary. These are the people who will not even make an effort to vote at all nor speak out and take a stand.
The time for silence and inaction is over. For it was silence and inaction that led to the rise of Nazi Germany, and the murder of six million Jews. Silence and inaction led to the deaths of thousands of women from inadequate medical care and back-alley abortions. Silence and inaction led to the storming of the US Congress on January 6, 2021 by people who refused to speak out against the lies and hatred of the Republican Party and right-wing extremists.
For many years, women and other groups have been called hysterical and crazy for saying freedom for all people except white, Christian, and heterosexual men was under attack. Women were told the Supreme Court would never overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. Three Supreme Court justices said they would not overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision in their confirmation hearings. Yet there is a leaked draft decision that has been confirmed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as authentic stating otherwise.
I have always been Pro-Choice when it comes to abortion. I grew up on stories of back-alley butchery, of young women being sent away from home when they pregnant and forced to give up the children they had. I grew up thinking a woman had every right to make her own healthcare decisions, including whether or not to have children and how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Yet all my life that right has been under direct attack by those who feel they have the right to decide how women live and die.
In my early thirties, after a lengthy discussion with my doctor, I decided not to get pregnant and have children. I made this decision because my doctor advised me if I got pregnant it would be a very high-risk pregnancy due to some health issues I have. I did not have the financial means at that time to manage those potential risks to my health or the health of any child I did conceive as a high-risk pregnancy not only affects the mother but can also affect the child. It was a painful decision for me as I wanted to have children even though I was not married (and never have been). And I decided not to pursue fostering or adoption because of the lack of financial means to do so which was a painful decision that I had to work through.
I know women who have had abortions and in some cases I was told why they made that decision. I will always keep these decisions in strict confidence. And I did not judge these women in any way and I never will judge any woman for making the decision to abort. They are the ones who will live with this decision, not the right-wing monsters who vilify them for a decision they had no part in at all to begin with.
I’m writing this here to get all these thoughts out of my head and out into the world. I ask anyone reading this here to think about your own beliefs and your positions on any issue today. I ask anyone reading this here to ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do, and to keep asking questions until you find all the answers you can. But I will warn you, you might not like the answers you find. And sooner or later, you will have to deal with them.
I’ve thought through my beliefs and positions and have asked as many questions as I can and continue to ask. In my answers I have found one of my core beliefs is that although pain and suffering are a part of life, we all have a responsibility to alleviate pain and suffering in any way we can. Another of my core beliefs is that people have the freedom to make their own choices in life as long as they don’t cause harm. And my strongest and most deeply-held belief is that all people should be free to live and love whoever they choose and however they chose to. For in love, comfort and joy are found, along with an embrace of those in pain and suffering. Although I have felt the white-hot fires of anger and rage at the attacks on my rights and the rights of others, those fires die down to feelings of pain, sadness, and love unfulfilled.
In five years of being an Uber driver the only thing that’s predictable about this job is its’ unpredictability. The unpredictability is that every single day (or night) on the road is never the exact same as any other day. But after five years there are some things that have become a bit predictable, and one thing is the type of passengers I have.
Take the dude-bro I had yesterday. The dude-bro is all-male, straight, conservative even if they spout liberal talking points (which they only spout to liberal chicks if they think it will get them laid). They’re college-educated, probably belonged to a fraternity, and probably destroyed a fair number of brain cells in college. They listen to podcasts and worship at the altar of Elon Musk and Joe Rogan. They act like they have their shit together and have all the answers in the world. In reality, they slide through life on being white, male, and having money at their disposal. To me, they’re mostly harmless because they’re afraid of ugly middle-aged women like me because they know we can see right through them.
I’m sure you think I should be kinder in thinking about my passengers. No, that’s not a requirement of my job or of any job for that matter. The customer is not always right and nor should anyone be treated like that. And if I chose to push back at someone’s bullshit in my vehicle in a polite way with no profanity (that’s a line I still won’t cross in the car), then I can and usually will… unless I’m in very heavy traffic and need to concentrate of my driving.
Getting back to yesterday’s dude-bro… he says he’s from California but wants to move to Texas. Okay, I’ve heard that plenty of times before because these dude-bro’s think Texas is a conservative Utopia since it’s the home of their false-messiahs Elon and Joe (they’re not Messiahs and they’re not even very naughty boys, just dumber than a pile of cow shit and they smell just as bad). Then this dude-bro tossed an interesting curveball in the vehicle: he thinks wind and solar power are on their way out and nuclear power will come back. He claims there is a form of nuclear power that isn’t radioactive.
My first thought was: what in the hell has he been smoking? And second, how can something be nuclear and not radioactive? Instead, I asked why and he said something about nuclear being longer-lasting or some word-shit salad. Then I asked about radioactive waste and what to do about that. No real solution there other than burying it (which we’re already doing). Then he said if solar panels break down then what? I told him they can be recycled and not be radioactive for twenty-thousand years like nuclear waste. Then I told him the city of San Antonio has a plan to try and go all-solar and other renewable energy sources. That really shut him up and God I was grateful for that.
It’s this kind of stupidity I have to deal with from time to time and I used to not say anything in reply to it. Now I just do my best to bury their arguments in their own bullshit and keep driving at the same time, something they would never be able to do even if they got lessons from me (which I would never give because they would flunk my tests even if they tried to cheat).
Then in the silence I decided not to point out to dude-bro if he moves to Texas he’ll find the real-estate is cheaper than California but he’ll get whacked with rude jacked-up property taxes, homeowners insurance out the ass, and sky-high utility prices. Then he talked about going down to Boca Chica (in the Rio Grande Valley) where Elon-the-False-Prophet has a Space-X launch site. I didn’t tell him he’d probably be outnumbered a hundred-to-one by wild boars, lizards, snakes, coyotes, and eating sand.
The predictable part of yesterday was the dude-bro vibe I got from this guy immediately and that I was right on the mark. The unpredictability was the pro-nuke line of reasoning. T me, going against things that will help the planet and its’ people simply because it’s a liberal thing is so fucking stupid it defies any attempt to understand it. Of course, this is probably a guy who would tell other guys they’re ‘gay’ if they say or do certain things that aren’t ‘manly’ and conservative and traditional (because heterosexual dude bro’s are homophobic even if they try to hide it). But like I’ve said before, they’re mostly harmless unless they’re lawmakers or run a company and have people on their payroll (then they need to be voted out of office and not be allowed to make any decision more complex than what kind of pencils to buy).
In the end, most of the passengers that annoy me are mostly harmless. And after five years on the road, I’ve learned how to deal with them.
But I do like a good line drive out of left field, even if the person tossing it is in right field and not able to field anything to begin with.
I put the word ‘privilege’ in quotation marks in the title of this piece because I’ve heard that accusation made to me and other women like me who write about issues and such. I’ve been told I’m lucky I don’t have a ton of responsibilities to focus on like children and family and work like so many people do so instead I have the time to be a ‘news junkie’.
Okay, I don’t have kids and I don’t have caregiving responsibilities. But when I did have caregiving responsibilities in previous years, I was still a ‘news junkie’ and I still read a lot. And I’m sure there are assholes in this world who felt like I should have been doing something else other than filling my mind with ‘dangerous ideas’ and such. So why did I keep to myself and continue to consume mass quantities of information? Because back in my twenties and thirties I felt like everyone’s eyes were on me and that no one felt like I had it in me to be ‘normal’. By ‘normal’ I mean someone who went out and socialized. I was made to feel like if I went out and partied and drank and did normal stuff (and yes, maybe some dumb-ass shit) the world would come to an end and someone would tattle on me to my parents. This is a story for another time so I’m going to stop here with that.
So because I gave in to that bullshit that I didn’t have what it took to be ‘normal’, I continued to consume mass quantities of information and store it and process it in my head. Now I write about it because I can, because I have the time, and because I want to. And like I said before, I don’t have kids or caregiving responsibilities but I do have to earn a living and I do so by putting in between forty and fifty hours a week on the road as an Uber driver. And this isn’t an easy or cushy gig because it’s unpredictable and I have to push through my own physical issues like allergies, hormonal craziness, arthritic joints, and the weekly case of the ‘don’t want to’s’ in order to survive. The rest of my time when I’m not on the road is my time. And my time is not a privilege I should be ashamed of.
Now I’m sure some readers here might be asking why would people think doing what you want to in your own time is a privilege they don’t have. I could say it’s just jealousy or mental and emotional diarrhea on their part. But why people mouth off at someone who takes the time to keep up on the world and then write about it is not something I need to think about because my life and my work are not about other people. And I DO NOT do this to feed off of people disagreeing with me or hating on me.
President Harry Truman once said this in 1948: “I’m just telling the truth and they think I’m giving them hell!” (he said this after a person in the crowd he’d just given a speech to yelled out, “Give ‘em hell, Harry!”)
With my writing, I’m telling the truth and not just the truth of facts and figures, but the truth of my own thoughts and feelings. And this ability to speak out as I do is not something I take for granted nor do I feel like I’m owed this right or that it’s a privilege that’s been afforded to me. Instead, I feel grateful that I have this space and opportunity to say what I want to say. And yes, I know I’m pissing someone off by dong this but I’ve been pissing people off since I could walk and talk simply by existing and I’m still here. But I don’t write to piss people off. I write to express my own thoughts and feelings in the hopes of reaching out and connecting with people like I have connected with other writers since I learned how to read.
My goal in life is to be a digital nomad, someone who lives and works on the road. And I’m starting from scratch here, one day at a time. It’s not a ‘privilege’ I’ve been given since I’m childless and such. It’s a personal choice that I feel should be respected, or at least tolerated. I respect other people’s choices to live their life as they please as long as they’re not causing any harm. I made choices over the years that led to where I’m at now.
The choice I’ve made to give a lot of my attention to political and social issues is mine and not made to defy anyone or defy convention or some bullshit like that. I’ve always been curious about the world I live in and yes, my curiosity is insatiable. In addition to that insatiable curiosity, I have a brain that process information at a very high rate of comprehension and memory. I think a lot of my desire to write came about because I needed a space to process all that information other than just inside my head. Also, so many other people in this world have taken the time and care to share their observations and insights with the world and I want to be a part of that group.
I’m not saying anyone has to be a hardcore news junkie, or do more than just vote. How people live and participate in this world is entirely up to them. But if anyone reading this thinks giving me shit about being a news junkie or writer is going to shut me up, you’re wrong. I don’t have anything left to lose in this life, and instead, I have everything to gain what I want if I put my hands on the keyboard let the words come out.
“Well, I’m a little hot wired, but I’m feeling OK And I got a little lost down along the way
Well, I’m just around the corner ’til the light of day, yeah”
‘Light of Day’
(written by Bruce Springsteen and performed by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
Six years this month I quit my last call-center job. At the time, I was in a world of shit pain-wise as I had two disks in my lower back that were either bulging or compressing (I didn’t have the time or money to get them looked at because I had such shitty insurance with this job, which was ironic considering this was a health insurance company). And I honestly don’t think they would have made any accommodations to help me (like springing for an ergonomic work set up because I worked at home) because they were very good at saying ‘no’ more than ‘yes’.
On my last day, which was just driving my computer equipment back to the office and out-processing, I blasted the song ‘Light of Day’ by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on the way in and on the way out. And it was a very cloudy and rainy day so that song was more wishful thinking on my part. But the lyrics were so true though I had no idea just how much until now.
In the first month after I left that job, I just focused on healing and getting my pain down to a level that didn’t make me want to scream. Then I got a gig delivering food and I discovered I liked gig work. Looking back, I know I could have researched gig work better and handled things better but in EXPLANATION AND NOT DEFENSE (I put that in all caps to make my point here), I had no confidence in myself to change my life as radically as I wanted to.
Why? Because I felt like if I did something I liked someone would come along and shit all over it and try to bury me in their shit. Back then, I was that fucked up and it’s taken me six years to repair the damage of that line of thinking. I have kept so much of my life to myself because I don’t want to hear someone pontificating about something they haven’t done. I like to think if someone comes at me like that now I’ll either be nice and walk away or tell them to fuck off with their ignorant toxic-waste bullshit.
One thing I’ve gained in the last six years is something no one can take from me: inner peace. I define ‘inner peace’ as accepting I’m as flawed as every single person on this planet, that I have the right to pursue things I love to do, and that I have to the right to my thoughts and feelings no matter what they are. Once I began to accept these things as truth, things got better for me. I’m still busted down to almost nothing but I can see where I can move forward.
‘Things can’t worse so they gotta get better’ (from ‘Light of Day’)
This line is so true. My anxiety-fueled mind likes to tell me all the bad things that can happen so I have to counter that with plans to deal with those things if they happen. I think you can only plan for so much because as my father used to say, you can’t live your life as if you always listening for the elephant to come charging up behind you to stomp you into a puddle of shit. I think a lot of people spend too much time thinking like that because of high-stress situations and people riding other people for no damn good reason other than be walking, talking assholes.
All my life I’d been told I was weak and unable to do anything really hard. That was a complete lie because when the shit came down, every single person whoever told me that cut and ran and left me to deal with all the shit. And I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself because I honestly thought no one gave a shit about them. But I give a shit about them, and I give a shit about other people who have felt all alone in this world like I have. My life and my writing are not an act of revenge. They’re about healing.
This line of thinking from that ‘Light of Day’ day six years ago has led to the point I’m at now. I’m writing the ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ book, section by section, chapter by chapter. And none of it has been deleted in a fit of rage and sadness like previous attempts. I have finally hit the point in my life where I can write about it.
And this is what I was driving to six years ago though I didn’t’ know I just had to get a little lost along the way.
I just want to start off here by saying that I seriously thought about doing this under a pseudonym on another webpage but then I thought: I’m a grown-ass middle-aged woman with nothing to lose. There will be bad language and talk of sex and other ‘dirty’ thoughts and ideas. Read at your own pleasure, or peril if you’ve got a stick jammed up your ass.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” – “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and The Revolution
In 1984, Prince came out with ‘Purple Rain’, a brilliant and semi-autobiographical film about his life and music. It was a raging success and also a raging controversy for the song, “Darling Nikki”, which was cited as a horrible and corrupting song for its’ explicit lyrics by the Parent Music Resource Center, a group of Congressional wives, representatives, and senators from both sides of the aisle (yes there were Democrat members of this bitch-squad). My mother played this album for me, including ‘Darling Nikki’ and >gasp< we talked about the song and what it was about (it’s what I call a raunchy fuck-you that may be considered a bit tame by today’s standards). My mother felt like since she was the parent she was the one who would decide what I could listen to and talk about it with me and not let someone else do her parenting (an exact summary of what she told me back then).
In 1984, my mother was in the midst of what I call her ‘rebellious’ phase. I call it ‘rebellious’ because she was defying her extremely conservative Catholic upbringing by reading books that were ‘dirty’ (explicit, and a lot of books about gay people), watching R-rated movies, and yes, listening to rock ‘n’ roll brilliance like Prince and The Revolution. In fact, she went to see ‘Purple Rain’ on her own and I’ve wondered if anyone other than me knew she did that, or knew what she was reading/watching/listening to (I have a feeling she kept a lot of that to herself like I have until now). Personally, I was thrilled as hell my mom was so freaking cool and so willing to talk to me about sex and let me read, watch, and listen to whatever I wanted to.
Now I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking my mom was nuts and that I was thoroughly corrupted. No, I wasn’t. I was raised by her to be a free-thinking and confident young woman and I’m forever grateful for that. I miss our free-wheeling conversations about sex and other related issues like relationships, abortion, birth-control, and women rights. She didn’t want me to think of myself as ugly and stupid like she’d been raised to believe about herself. One time when I was about eight years old, she went nuclear on my grandmother when my grandmother started giving me shit about losing weight (my mom reduced my grandmother to tears by telling her, “You won’t do to my daughter what you did to me”). My mom always complimented me on my sense of style, my taste in music/movies/books, and loved talking with me because she said I was so open and a such a good listener.
And what I’m sure will blow some more minds here is around 1984, my mom showed me my first issue of ‘Playgirl’ magazine. This was a magazine for women that showed full-frontal male nudity, published articles about sex and politics, and a lot of good erotic fiction, too. My mom let me read her magazines whenever I wanted to and yes, we talked about what we read. Because of this, I was raised with a healthy attitude about sex in that it was natural and all about pleasure and consent. And the really great thing about my mom is her attitude never changed because although a lot of assholes in this world will say you get conservative as you get older, like my mom I not only stayed liberal but have embraced more than ever now.
So what’s the purpose of this piece here and this ongoing feature? It’s about me writing about stuff that is considered ‘forbidden’ and ‘dirty’. Because there is a vocal wave of assholes in this country who are hell-bent and determined to stamp out every bit of happiness, joy, pleasure, and the voices and freedoms of anyone who isn’t white, heterosexual, and Christian like they are. They are just as uptight and shitty as their predecessors but the problem is they have social media, Fox News, and state legislatures to amplify and put their plans into motion. This is my fight against that kind of shitty thinking and to tell anyone reading this there is nothing wrong about healthy, consensual sex and everyone should be free to live and love as they are without anyone making them feel shame and guilt for doing nothing wrong. The ‘love the sinner/hate the sin’ is shaming bullshit that I will stand up and call out every chance I get, starting here.
In addition to my weekly rants and reminiscences, I’m also going to be publishing erotic fiction as PDF files for viewing. I’m not going to police this site though I will post warnings that stuff may be explicit. So read at your own pleasure.
As you can imagine, I see a lot of things from the road. And yesterday I was thinking about housing. I know that might sound boring but I don’t think it is. I just think tract housing with lookalike houses is boring.
Yesterday I was all over the place as I drove through three counties way out in the sticks and then into the city. I know people need housing and places to live but these suburban developments with all these houses, a lot of crammed in together don’t hold any appeal for me. Why?
The houses are for the most part thrown up pretty quickly so in about ten years the foundations will shift and crack (they’re mostly slab foundations and since the soil here in South Texas is really loamy and goopy, they will shift eventually). Also, most of these developments are governed by HOA’s (Homeowners Associations) and these organizations can be flat-out nuts at times. Ostensibly they’re to maintain the community amenities like playgrounds and pools along with the streets and stuff. In reality a lot of them turn into nit-picky heaven and enforce all kinds of bullshit deed restrictions (no pink houses or pink flamingo in the yard for example).
I had a passenger who I picked up a few times on my early morning runs who managed a nightclub for two guys who according to him were morons and he also had staffing issues that would give anyone a lot of gray hair. But what he bitched to me about the most was having to go home to a tract-housing development and get dirty looks from his old-fart neighbors for not mowing the grass every week like these heart-attacks-just-waiting-to-happen did. He told me his wife wanted to live in this suburban nightmare but I don’t think he did.
The conformity of cookie-cutter subdivisions amuses me because I still can’t figure out the appeal of living in something so conformist. I grew up in subdivisions as a kid but that was back in the 80’s when you could ride your bike around the place and go outside and listen to music. When I drive through these cookie-cutterville’s I don’t see kids out and about very much. It’s rare for me to see kids on bicycles or hanging out on front driveways or anything like that. I know it’s a different time and all that but I also have to wonder: are a good number of parents class-A ninnies who don’t want their little darlings to scrape a knee and get bitten by a bug? Granted, my generation, Generation X, could walk out injuries that would send anyone else to the hospital but I just don’t see a lot of kids out and about these days.
I still look for them when I’m driving and yes in some neighborhoods I see kids out and about. In 2020, I saw a lot of families out walking in the afternoons during lockdown and I thought that was great. I know it was probably just a case of cabin-fever for a lot of people but jeez, the great outdoors aren’t so bad.
Another thing I’ve thought about is how my job enables me to see so much. Most people just go to work, run errands, and maybe venture out of their little bubbles from time to time to go to an event or something. I love the fact my job has taken me over every inch of San Antonio, Bexar County (the county San Antonio is in that is pronounced by us locals as ‘Bear’ county and not its’ proper Spanish pronunciation of ‘bey har’) and the surrounding counties.
For example, yesterday was one of those days where I was all over the place. I was in three counties, drove by the state jail on the far west side of Bexar County, and got to take a passenger on the scenic route through some pretty undeveloped land north of the city. As I drove by all that undeveloped land all I could think of was that I kind of hoped they put the tract-housing crap-villes somewhere else. I like driving by farms and seeing cows, horses, goats, and two young burros like I did yesterday. I like driving on two-lane country roads through a canopy of big green trees and houses tucked back from the road. I know that kind of life in the sticks isn’t for everyone but the tract-housing ideal sold to Americans since the end of World War II can’t be the ideal either.
Old neighborhoods built before suburbia are colorful because no two houses are exactly alike. Before zoning laws and crap like that people just bought a piece of land and built what they wanted. Now I know old houses are money pits but newer ones are, too. I like old neighborhoods that are a mix of huge mansions then the cottage next door where the poorer folk lived. And I like seeing houses painted blue, purple, or pink. In the past, some uptight-asshole types used to freak out over those colors and I wondered why. I mean, those aren’t ugly colors and here in South Texas the sun will bleach them out in about five years or so.
In the end, I’m not one for settling down as I don’t think it would have worked out for me. I like being on the road too much and I like the thought of living in a house-on-wheels and seeing the world. And also not having to pay HOA dues and dealing with dirty looks from the neighbors about lawn-mowing.
A couple of days ago I wrote that my writing is a window into who I am. But now it’s a doorway, an open doorway to who I am. I used to be scared shit-less of this because I always thought if I opened the door and invited people in, they’d either slam the door shut in my face and lock me inside myself. Or they would come in and trash the place all to hell and leave a huge mess for me to clean up.
That’s not going to happen because no one can slam the door on yourself. They can walk right back out that door or not walk inside at all. I respect anyone’s decision when it comes to dealing with me but I will not allow anyone to try and shut me up in silence. And I will not allow anyone to come inside and trash me all to hell because no one has the right to come in and wreck me simply because they can.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been dealing with the big thought that my writing is a barrier for people, a barrier that has kept people from getting to know me or even wanting to try. That’s not the case. I’m just a major social klutz who can do small-talk and conversations on a car ride but hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to do otherwise. So in reality my social skills are just severely limited through my own fears that people will knock me across the chops if I fuck up in some way though I’m human and will eventually do that at some time. It’s never my intention to fuck up and I know I don’t have a mean bone in my body because the thought of cruelty physically hurts me.
But in my writing, especially of late, I’ve let it rip. I’m beginning to put into words things that took me years just to hear inside my own head. And yes, I’ve been afraid of the reactions, and of my own simmering urge to get into a rip-roaring argument. I don’t want to argue because I don’t feel the need to. In the past, when someone started an argument with me they were relentless in coming at me until I gave in. I gave in way too damn many times and there was no reason for me to do so. It was like arguing with a brick wall that my head was being bashed against.
So now this is why if that ever starts up, I’m going to end with one thing:
“Ask yourself why you think and feel the way you do and keep asking until you find all the answers that you can. But I will warn you, you might like the answers that you find. And sooner or later, you will have to deal with them.”
In the past, saying something like this would get a reply of, “Well then I can’t talk to you about anything.”, or I would be accused of being too sensitive.
Neither one of those things is true. You can talk to me about anything but no one has the right to hammer someone into a puddle of tear-filled shit simply because they’re so convinced of their moral superiority that in reality is probably immoral at best, and cruel at worst. What I’m learning now is how to hold my ground and take a stand at the same time. And I’m doing that by saying out loud here my writing is an open doorway into who I am, good, bad, ugly, and everything in between. I’m a sloppy klutzy mess most of the time but that’s because I’m trying to put myself back together in a way that’s best for me.
My writing is something I love even when it drives me nuts and makes me hurt like hell. Because using writing as therapy is not easy. At times it feels seriously fucked-up and has had me thinking I’m nuts in trying to put into words shit that has been buried for so long. But my shit isn’t a corpse that’s supposed to stay buried. And my writing is not shit. And most of all, I’m not a human piece of shit because I write and over-think crap and come off as too damn sensitive.
When I conceived of my non-fiction writing projects six years ago, I had no idea what they would do to me. But as I’m fond of saying to myself and out loud here, neither did anyone else if they had known. I don’t regret for one moment starting these projects and all the crap they put me through. This is why I say writing isn’t easy for me and it never will be. It’s also why this project, ‘The Written Road’ may be the hardest of the non-fiction triumvirate as I call them (‘Breaking Radio Silence’ and ‘Stand or Fall’ being the other two here). I’m trying to put into words what comes to me quite naturally. I put my hands on a keyboard and once I find that first word I’m off to the races.
I’m starting Part One of my book, ‘Stand or Fall’ in 2003 when Natalie Maines, the lead singer of The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks) said this in 2003 onstage at a concert in London, England just weeks before the start of the war in Iraq: “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”
To say that the shit hit the fan with this quote is putting it mildly. The backlash was outrageous and frightening at the time. They got death threats, banned from country-music radio (a ban that still holds to this day), and lost endorsements. And all because they chose to speak out against a war that was being started on a pack of lies. I knew it then and so did a lot of other people but the powers-that-be, from the White House to the Pentagon to corporate America were all hell-bent and determined to start a war and make a shit-ton of money in the process. What happened instead was a shit-ton of money was made while thousands of American soldiers and hundred of thousands Iraqi’s died and the country of Iraq plunged into a bloody civil war which they still haven’t recovered from. The truth was canceled here, not the lies.
Getting back to the Chicks and me: Natalie Maines and I were born in the same year but in 2003 I wasn’t anywhere near as brilliant as she was, and still is. In 2003, I was exhausted, grieving over the death of my mother, and trying to go out on my own for the first time in my life. I had also been entrusted then by my father to take car of him in the event he couldn’t take care of himself. But despite my grieving exhaustion and shaky steps to independence, I was still pissed off as hell that a war was being sold to the American people under false pretenses.
I stayed quiet back then because I feared if I spoke out in any way hell would rain down on me like it did the Chicks. I was afraid my relationship with my father could be sabotaged and severed. I was afraid of being sent into permanent exile and alienated from every single person on the planet. I was afraid of sabotaging myself before I had a chance to get a foothold in the world. And looking back, I think the possibility existed because as long as I was silent and nice, people left me alone for most of the time.
Now I realize they didn’t give two shits about me and my life, and that I think my dad would have seen through any bullshit spouted against me like he and my mom had when they were both alive. Because in the years after this, he and I came to the agreement that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were abject failures. He said to me that the United States needed to stop acting the world’s policeman, something I honestly thought I’d never hear from him in my lifetime.
I know it sounds ridiculous to some that politics and ideology could be so divisive but since 2016 it’s proven to be true. But to me, it’s not about policy and procedure, but about ideas and beliefs. I’m against war and especially war-for-profit, which is all the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were. Over five-thousand US soldiers died in both wars and thousands more have wounds they will never fully-recover from. Both countries are wrecked beyond belief and no real recovery is on the horizon. And right now, Ukraine is fighting to survive and paying a terrible price. Luckily, people who have spoken out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, such as myself, haven’t faced cancelation and backlash like the Chicks and others did in 2003.
I’m just one voice but it’s all I’ve got left. Because every time I feel a frisson of fear I tell myself I’m a grown-ass middle-aged woman with nothing left to lose. My mother has been dead for twenty years this year and my dad has been dead for eleven years so the two people in the world who I would go silent for are not here to be used against me. And as for being isolated and alone, that’s my life now. I have my work, my goals and dreams, and a dog and cat so I’m good.
In the end, what I realize is this: it doesn’t pay to be nice and like The Chicks later sang, I’m not ready to make nice either, I did that for way too many years and just have a shit-ton of scars to show for it. And any attempt to cancel me for the truth will be met by my calling out bullies for doing this. Because that’s all people who try to silence the truth are: bullies. And when you stand up to a bully and are prepared to take the hits, you’ll survive and thrive because you won’t live on hate and fear like they do. Bullies aren’t remembered well by history or the people they leave behind. Heroes and good people are remembered well and their love and light lives on.
The truth can’t be canceled no matter how hard anyone tries. It’s just taken me damn near twenty years to realize that. But better late than never.