I Am From

It’s been a long time.

I’m not sure why I’ve been so silent, except that I’ve felt stifled. Everything was/is busy, & writing is arduous.

Especially when you need to write about what I need to write about.

That faction leading the United States just now, the moves to once again criminalize abortion & regulate women’s bodies to absolve men of their crimes–that is the faction that guided my life for a very, very long time.

I grew up in the same city that produced Phillip Gandy, one of the Mississippi senators who pushed forward the so-called “religious freedom” bills. In that same city, very recently, a man was brutally attacked in the presence of several others, beaten almost to death because he was, theoretically, gay. He “had a little sugar in his tank.”

I am from darkness disguised as light.

I am from hatred born of ignorance.

I am from mistrust & disease & disaster.

I am from emotional manipulation disguised as religion.

I am from everyone-knows-everyone, from when-the-state-trooper-pulls-you-over-they-recognize-your-family-name.

I am from Bible clubs & True Love Waits Programs & FCA in schools.

Allow me to tell you a story. It’ll be the first of many, as I intend to use this space, now, as a way of unfolding, unpacking, & disclosing. It’s going to upset some people. Everything, from here on out, will upset some people.

***

It’s 1992, & the presidential race is on. I’m 8 years old, sitting on a wooden piano bench, facing the piano & a faux-wood paneled wall, my bare feet brushing against shaggy carpet. Once I stop playing, I hear the chatter behind me, the adults talking politics. Clinton or Bush.

I know the answer to this one. “I wouldn’t vote for Clinton,” I say. “He’s for abortion.” The adults around me give each other pleased, proud looks. 

They’ve done well, they think. The child may not understand rape or incest or ectopic pregnancy or bodily autonomy, but she understands this.

***

All I can say is that this is my truth, & I speak only for myself & from my own perspective. Blame is hard to assign, & is maybe not the correct word for what I’m about to write in any case.

It’s less about blame than about owning my experiences & my actions. It’s about speaking when I’ve been told to be quiet. It’s about acting when I’ve been taught to react.

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