Dear White Women: On Abortion

July 27, 2022

Dear White Women,

Better Buckle Up. This is gonna be a long and bumpy ride.

It may seem harsh, or even not well placed to target white women in the United States when discussing the fallout and now overturned constitutional right of all women to make choices about their own bodies. However, I hold US most accountable for this egregious and traumatic loss of autonomy and the potential for heart piercing holes to be placed into our Constitution around the basic human right of privacy. There are a few fundamental issues at hand, but at the very depth of overturning of Roe versus Wade (1973), lies in small white minorities need to maintain power and control. Many are not remotely aware of the consequences coming for ALL of us, and it was our job, white women, to stop attending to the fragile ego of primarily white men. By the time many white women woke up to what was ACTUALLY at stake, donned their pink pussy hats and marched on the 2016 inauguration day, it was already too late.

So, as I began; Buckle Up and Plan to get to Work.
We are joining the movement late and may need to be clear;
it cannot be our voices taking center stage.
Black and Brown women across this country have long been
working the front lines, so we must get behind them.
With our money and our time.
Listen carefully.
Follow the leaders.

On the morning of the ruling, I was in L.A. After having dropped my daughter off for an immersive film experience. I laid quietly in a hotel room, white sheets and warm light, breathing in an accomplishment towards the future for my only child. Window cleaners had lowered themselves down onto my floor and I curiously waved at them as they slopped water on and off the 17th floor view. I flipped on the television and there, in a rhythmic rush, channel after channel, the news Raged. I was initially confused, but never surprised. The constitutional right, the federal law to protect women’s access to autonomy over their bodies and make decision for themselves to have an abortion if needed, was OVER.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed an increasing assault on access to women’s health care, contraception and especially access to legal abortions for decades. Erroneous laws have rained down on all women, further reducing our access. We have made Planned Parenthood the devil himself despite the continued reality that abortions are only a small fraction of services provided.

From that once light scene in a far away hotel room, I stumbled in a long daze back to Georgia. Although this state is my home now, it felt as if I were flying back into the hot, burning belly of Hell, knowing this place will remove the basic right to privacy from ALL female bodies; no longer a personal decision between themselves and their medical professional. I will not bother with the nonsense of pinpointing abortion as right or wrong, except to say that I personally believe what was once said; ‘all abortions are a failure’. A failure does not mean a person’s choice should be removed from them. They are a failure of OUR systems to provide the necessary means to have safe and consensual intercourse without the fear of pregnancy.You do not get to blather the words ‘abstinence’ out of your mouth and expect me to take you seriously. We have been having sex in adolescence since humans existed. What would give us the thought that somehow our Christian morality would save us now? Perhaps if we actually spoke from a place of honesty and accountability, every human could exist on a healthier moral code.
Instead, let us create context in the complexity rather than continue to spoon feed us simplicity. This is our lives at stake and we cannot be so dumbfoundly ignorant as to believe any of this has ANYTHING to do with abortion. So, let’s begin to attempt to create the contextual complexity that exists inside the nuance rather than rigid and simple answers.

First and foremost, there is potentiality for the overturning of this law to diminish the basic human right to privacy that has been outlined in several of the Amendments to the Constitution along with historic legal precedence, including Roe v. Wade that has informed us on how the right to privacy works in our every day lives. When every female had their federal rights to make decisions about their bodies removed from them, it left a gaping hole for many other privacy rights to also be removed. Of course the first and already mentioned by Clarence Thomas is removing the right to marry who you choose and the access to contraception. You may personally look at these and believe it won’t effect you, but that is where we are ALL wrong. The problem is now, you have undeniably allowed for a crucial thread that binds this basic right to be tugged at and eventually fully unraveled. The laws may not come for you today, but they will. If you continue to remain under the bizarre belief that immunity washes over you, I have no empathy for what your future may hold.

This right to privacy already extends into the current overturning of this federal law. There are an abundance of rumors that law enforcement or those with legal precedence to uphold an abortion ban can and WILL use your personal data. There are discussions of tracking searches, using data from Apps and even attempts to ban federally approved medications in some states. To be clear, there is no evidence of these things occurring yet, however, with no clarity on what the actual privacy of a human being looks like, how are we to know what may or may not be allowed? And if the specific 4th amendment is now in jeopardy, how will we ensure that our right to not be searched without a warrant will hold steady in our future? If you are a gun owner, how can you be sure this diminished right to privacy will not effect you?

What appears effortless to assume in the loss of autonomy for all women, remains in our consistent treatment as citizens who will never qualify as equal to men. Again, white women, as long as you continue to be under the ridiculous belief we stand behind white men and prop them up, we will somehow get the trickle down benefits of power. I promise you with every fiber of my white body, men will gobble up power with the greed and stealth of a malnourished animal. There is nothing left for you, not even the crumbs left behind on the table.

So, perhaps for a moment, look behind you and see who else may be waiting for their turn to have a voice and create their own table.

These terrifying systems of power have once again decided that all females are to be treated like infants. We are now too developmentally stunted to make our own decisions and need EACH STATE’S government to be involved in the future of our bodies, our family planning, our decision to not carry a pregnancy that will create a legacy of trauma. There will be no help for our young daughters to not carry a fetus they are not physically, emotionally or spiritually capable of.

This is about a kind of dishonesty and lack of integrity on the part of those who decide the laws and those who have to live out the consequences. It is so readily apparent the Supreme Court has lost its way and lied about their belief in the precedence of Roe v. Wade and even lied about how early leaks of this ruling got into the public. Members of this Supreme Court have lied about their involvement not once but TWICE (Thomas and Kavanaugh), of sexual assault and sexual misconduct while we gladly ushered them into the highest court in our country. We continue to have such obvious disregard for women that even consistent and considerable testimony on behalf of women is irrelevant and discussed in the minds eye as either lies themselves or just things women understand are going to happen and just ‘Shut up and live with it!’ If I remember correctly, one of the main correlations to public mass shootings is the consistent hatred of women. I wonder what it would be like to actually be taken seriously?

Above all else, the end of the federal protections for women remain about white supremacy. We all know who will still have access to an abortion, morning after pills, Plan C or even basic contraception….and WHO will NOT. We are clear that as a whole, white women both obtain and retain more wealth in this country than any other, leaving black and brown minorities with far less resources and access to changing their socioeconomic status. With that, if more marginalized women in this country are forced to complete a pregnancy against their will, two important things will occur. First, it solidifies another likely poor generation, fueling the work force in the service industries that underpay and undervalue its human beings. Second, it ensures a continual trap for every generation of zero upward mobility simply by deleting their decisions on family planning. We are currently in a country where we are more likely to inherit our families socioeconomic status before the color of their eyes. How about taking a good look at those saucers and decide if our our consistent and endless cheap work force to serve us is worth this kind of indignity?

I am edging onto 47 years old, and I have retained the dignity to make my own decisions about my body for all these years. I once believed that my country and government had my back, at least on this very important issue of privacy of my own body and decisions around it. Now, I have to stand witness in the very state I have raised my daughter and potentially beg her to leave. It is unimaginable that my own daughter will be told, as if she were a child without her own beliefs, thoughts, fears and desires for her OWN life; that she cannot make decisions for herself any longer.

Who will look my daughter in the eye and say, “We believe you are not smart enough, not thoughtful enough and certainly incapable of making such a decision on your own— so WE need to do it for you.”

It seems like just moments ago I witnessed thousands of people across this country protesting against wearing masks, signs very clearing stating the obvious, “My Body, My Choice!” Where are you now as I have to look at my daughter in the eye and tell her that her government has failed her? Where are you when I have to tell her to find another place to move and settle her life, because here may be too dangerous?

I have worked at an extremely intense clip for more than a decade in therapy and perhaps most of my adult life focusing on changing intergenerational patterns that have been passed down to me. I did this primarily for me, but more importantly, I did it for her. I was clear, I would NOT have children if I could not break the toxic legacy that was laid at my feet on the day I was born.

Despite the controversy, my mother gave birth to me at the age of 17 years old, the same age as my own baby girl is today. My mother left me with the burden of the intergenerational cycles of trauma to change. She seemed bright and spoke of plans to attend college before she became pregnant. I would have wanted her to end the pregnancy and create a career and life she loved instead of what has become of her. An early retired prison guard, left following severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) who lives inside the toxic relationships that are familiar to her. I would have wanted her to take on this assignment of ending a toxic legacy —- and NOT ME.
So YES, I would have wanted her to opt for an abortion.

I believe I would have made it into the universe in some other fashion, left the burden of multiple lifetimes of trauma to her and perhaps even had the potential to be born into a family that knew how to love and truly show up for people.

As a therapist…..

I have the privilege of being deeply embedded in hundreds of stories of women who have also carried the legacy of trauma.

I witness the stories of women who are the product of rape. They are often outcasts and shunned by their own family of origin. When we cannot find a place to belong inside of our own family, we will often sabotage or even self destruct in our attempt to just fumble around with existence; never quite touching happiness or even contentment. It sometimes feels like life is barely a consolation prize and most often a burden.

I witness stories of sex trafficking, a terrorizing experience that occurs inside of families more often than we are even willing to be honest about. Victims, most often young women (but certainly boys) have had to face the challenge of an unwanted pregnancy at young ages that was perpetrated upon them during a pedophilic sex orgy where their parent was either a participant or a known villain in the process. This criminal behavior continuing without the protection of legal abortion will only lead to young women being forced to have illegal and unsafe abortions; further traumatizing the young woman from what has already been unimaginable crimes against them.

I witness the stories of women going out and enjoying themselves in public, only to be drugged and raped by an acquaintance, their abusive partner or on occasion, a first date (these are just a few possible scenarios). Men have taken advantage of their forced vulnerability through drugs and raped them. This has occurred with the help of male bartenders at times, or through a small group networks of men that have a silent pact, allowing this criminal behavior to continue. Women often have little or no memory when the drugs are forced into their system and some become pregnant, creating a new and often devastating trauma in conjunction with the rape they endured.

What happens now when my clients have had their dignity stripped only to be further told by their government they also CANNOT decide for themselves their next steps in their own lives? Are we honestly going to look them in their petrified and completely undone faces and tell them this RAPE IS A GIFT? From who? Even just writing the words makes me feel a kind of emotional danger that even I have yet to witness. How could this kind of personal hell end well? I am going to loose my very own people to suicide because their ability to make their own decisions about their lives has been stolen from them. How do we hold the concept of being raped as either a female child or adult as something to form gratitude around when we are then forced into a lifetime of pain in having a child?

Sometimes, I think I have heard most every story. Not something to boast about, just facts in the world of a therapist specializing in trauma. But this; This will be new. Twenty-two years now as a clinical practitioner and I understand that in this state, I will be asked to walk along this type of horrific journey, if the woman ever makes it in for help.

I do know that the first two weeks following the law being overturned, EVERY client spoke of the fear of the potential consequences. On repeat, the law being overturned alone felt like a personal violation to their already abused and broken bodies. The violation was so encroaching, it inhibited their ability to breathe and they repeatedly told of experiencing a feeling of being trapped and strangled by our own government. I witnessed the belief and ongoing social structure of ‘women as less than’ in action. Perhaps so below men, that even the men not in agreement but complicit with their silence, are the ones themselves tying the noose around all of our necks.

If my words have had any bearing on your understanding of the truth of how this will negatively impact people who can bear children’s lives, I hope you are asking the question as to what do we do now. I have spent some time deciding where I want to put my energy and of course invite you to do the same. From what I do understand, it appears that PlanC, an FDA approved drug that allows a woman to end their pregnancy up to 12 weeks is readily available and easily accessible. Initially, to obtain this medication, a face to face visit was required in order to receive a prescription, however, this changed with the age of Telemedicine and the combination of the worlds COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA decided to allow a telemedicine session to occur with a prescribing physician and then medication to be sent to the person. It appears this is a cost effective and safe way to end a pregnancy, even in states that will or have implemented a full ban. I suggest educating yourselves on PlanC and the most recent executive order the president has put into place to protect this right regardless of what the state has decided.

With every ounce of education you receive to support those in need of making their own decisions about their bodies, please share with everyone you know; especially in marginalized communities who may have less access to clear information or confirmation of what is being learned. It appears PlanC has not had a high level of traction in our female communities and perhaps more knowledge will ensure everyone, especially marginalized communities, are provided with access to PlanC or any other ability to decide for themselves. As I have stated, marginalized communities did not create nor are sustaining this nonsense. It is time to stop telling ourselves the lie that white women will somehow obtain power if we stand behind and hold white men up.

Although education and empowerment through information is important, it is not enough. If you want to start a movement, you are going to have to break the law. It is not enough to be pretty, obedient allies in the corner wearing shirts of controversy or waving about flags of pride. We will have to be willing to be arrested and give zero fucks about what consequences could await us. We must choose to be an accomplice to change and have the courage to do what is right in the face of death.

Women are going to DIE. More abortions will occur, not LESS.
Stop telling me and everyone else those fucking lies.
And Do NOT tell my green GREEN eyes, I am not worth it.
That my daughter, all our daughters, are not worth it.

I will return again to what was once said by a past president of Planned Parenthood, ‘Every abortion is a failure.’ And it is — it is a failure of people, communities, states and our entire government to NOT act in the best interests of women and children. We are considered expendable commodities, easily tossed out after being used up, like a trash bag liner….only this time, it’s our uterus. It is so easily seen in the multitude of ways our government already fails us, on purpose. I will name just a few of the things women and children do not have in this country but readily deserve to illuminate our inequity.

We deserve free and easily accessible (beginning in adolescence) birth control that includes condoms, birth control pills, shots, IUCs (intrauterine contraceptives) and implants. If we want these things and are not adults, we deserve the right to the same legal protections of privacy to make our own decisions about how we want to prevent and plan for children. This was once allowable until rights were slowly stripped away.

We deserve consistent and repeated sex education by a professional beginning at early ages. As stated before, we sit on our irresponsible and ludicrous value of Christian morality and therefore the extremely fake concept of abstinence, as if it were actually an honest possibility. We do not increase the number of young people having sex when it is a consistent, open and honest conversation. We significantly decrease the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies. When past administrations have attempted to mandate adolescence compliance into abstinence, it only increased the number of unwanted pregnancies. I am just not sure how it is not getting into our brains as human beings that our transparency as parents and adults in young peoples lives is the ONLY way we will ever have a chance to influence them in a healthy manner. It strikes me speechless when I witness adults under the disgustingly stupid idea that we have any power over teenagers and sex.

We deserve accessible and affordable gynecological medical and primary physician care. I am personally a working professional with a partner who has been working in academia in Georgia for the last twenty years. I would not qualify for any health care individually, at least not anything affordable and our current healthcare matches that of a deductible so high that it basically would only serve us if we had a major accident. Essentially, all our health care does for us is reduce the amount of costs because the insurance plan gives itself a hefty discount and then passes everything to us.

We deserve federally mandated paid maternity and paternity leave. We are the only first world country that offers zero paid maternity leave and instead forces us to take FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and then speaks to us like we should be lucky we cannot get fired while caring for our new infant.

We deserve affordable and accessible Child Care. NOT DAY CARE. We need well trained, well paid people who have taken the time and energy to understand the developmental needs of infants and children. We deserve to know that our children are being taken care of by those that are interested (and paid accordingly) in a healthy supplementation of developmentally appropriate care to increase our children’s chances of easy and consistent transitions between parent(s) and child care providers. Not to mention, when another set of well trained eyes are focused on our children, we may be able to learn and spot areas of need and possibly test to ensure the best outcomes for our children’s future. What we have now are mostly lousy, poorly paid babysitting facilities.

Had we made the decision to not touch the federal law as it stood just a month ago and instead made commitments to all of these things outlined above, were made available throughout our country; we would have actually reduced the numbers of abortions. It is a given fact, when abortions are accessible, the number of abortions reduces. It seems a rather interesting thought as to how much more abortion may be reduced had we acted like a country that saw women and children as equals.

So, let me repeat this…….

To all my pro-life, ‘we want to save the babies’ people out there…Say What You Mean and MEAN WHAT YOU SAY!
If you are going to bullhorn your save the babies slogans– then let’s get clear and be honest about your intent.
Need Some Help Here.
Let me translate.

What you are actually saying is, “We want white people to continue to have the most power in this country and one important way we can make that happen is to restrict marginalized communities from safe access to not only abortions, but also healthcare, birth control and childcare. This will allow us to ensure we continue the intergenerational process of poor minorities. This will allow us to continue to walk on the backs of black and brown people. We will continue to get our cheap labor AND maintain our white power, even if we remain the minority in this country.”

SAY THIS, and I will believe you. Hell, say anything about the actual truth and I may be willing to discuss this topic.

Behind every pompous and egregious lie, comes down to one thing. Women retain magic. We are the creators and sustainers of life. We OWN the power to create human life and for all of time, men have been attempting to have power and control over it. In the end, women, all women, have more power than any man ever will. Why would our bodies need to be legislated if that were not THE TRUTH?
Some men remain afraid of the fact that outside of a few sperm, we do not need you.
– And they know it.

Until that fact is realized, I suppose I will have to continue to consider how best to inform, rail against and even break laws to ensure women have the right to make their own choices.

I can only hope YOU will intend on joining me.



March For Women’s Lives 2003


It’s September 2020.
We sit across our circular dining table barely catching our breath and sigh once again. With teeth gritting and hard faces, we stare into what has become a thick air of disbelief. There’s a palpable heaviness that lingers only in the swelter of summer. Forty percent of the college students are absent from just one of my husband’s courses, having been quarantined or COVID positive. These students are not free to stay on campus and so are sent home only to potentially infect their fragile family and communities.

We raise our eyes, stop studying the long cuts on the glass dining table and begin to clear the way into the near future where I could be forced to return to Telehealth with my clients in need of mental health treatment. I am immediately resentful of punishing my clients for something entirely not my fault and having to acknowledge the egregious lack of leadership by both the college, as well as, its larger governing body.

I begin to plead with my husband, ‘Please! Please find a way to hold classes virtually – even if it’s for a shortened amount of time.’ My husband’s stubbornness, not to mention his fervent need to follow ALL the rules, makes me look like a gumby pretzling acrobat. Worse yet, his loyalty to a university completely willing to pick off people for their dollar looks worse than pushing a statue of a bronzed mule. And as expectation would dictate, he is not free to simply do what is best for himself and his students.

I try to remind myself that Telehealth for mental health does work, but nothing can replace the compassionate resonance transmitted in the cosmic electricity when two people are together sharing space. The flat faced version of myself saddens my soul when I want to get up and pull a tissue for my client. COVID now leaves us in a hold of loneliness we thought was not possible. Of course, for some Telehealth can stop the hard work altogether. The detraction of the the personal and palpable connection, like missing a soft fabric to run our fingers through, can halt the therapeutic process. It begs the question to the eyes of the universities leadership; do you know how far the red threads of your actions would reach? – And all because the sloppy version of face-to-face courses were far more important than people’s lives.

Here’s the reality of in person courses in 2020……. a masked professor stands at a blackboard in an enclosed room with a shower curtain version of a sneeze guard, sometimes held up with blue tape and only the width of two standard desks. Masked students await the glorious instruction of a pseudo burglar in appearance screaming muffled formulas and theories. Every written word on white and black boards is obstructed, leading professors to speak by playing peek-a-boo. The literal demonstration I received used a pillow, peeking around and above it in the desperate hope of being heard. There are no questions, no engagement from students as their professor has turned into Zorro and they likely spend the entire time hoping they grasped something of value as they peer through plexiglass.

Eight hundreed young women ‘Rush’ for their choice Sorority only to have the college push past 10 percent of its student population with COVID. The administration openly blames students for the spread while congregating at parties, fraternities and sororities – and dorms; all of which could only happen if the campus was open. Rapidly, the university becomes a national news story as the largest COVID spreaders across the U.S. college system.

It is understood in physiological development, we haven’t finished out our brains optimal functioning until we are twenty-five…..TWENTY-FIVE years old! So, sending in my eighteen-nineteen year old to a diseased college is begging them to throw flying hands up with a loud party-yowl and just hope for the best. This is not to say young people are classically stupid, it illuminates the reality that we ALL wear an invincibility cape at this age. It only seems reasonable that the system they are moving young people into would assume some small responsibility.

Opportunities for creativity that could have made this university the gold medal standard on how to make campus, classroom and community life work has been squandered. The local town has become disowned by the university, further dividing the disparity of the highest socioeconomic class student body with a significantly low socioeconomic, minority community. Perhaps local leaders – the Mayor, city council and elected leaders could have united with college administration igniting courageous acts to meet the needs of the community and university alike. Imagine an overflow of danishes, bagels and burnt coffee at scratched folding tables while leaders choose to lean into the fear and leave acknowledging, validating the needs of the university AND the community.

Instead, an interest in privilege and dollars prevail.
This county has approximately 45 thousand residents, with 48 percent minority. Pressing forward with in classroom instruction, on campus activities like rushing for sororities and fraternities and on campus meetings breeds immorality while a deadly virus presses its weight upon our chests. So many will die and the sticky blood of this decision will stain the university’s hands. A lack of a direct death of a student does not release the college from the deaths that are occurring through transmission.

As mental health therapists, we are called to activate ourselves from a place to vulnerability, invoking courage when we are in deep fear. It is our responsibility as leaders to walk in that unchartered path – choose to do hard things. Do not interpret these words as a belief in shutting the world down. My spouse and I have spoken at length the ever teetering potential loss that could ensue, including financial consequences arriving right at our door step.

My husband and I look back towards one another, perhaps done with the ranting and sneering into the nearby kitchen windows. We discuss the possibility of him quarantining himself for the rest of the semester, both myself and our teenage daughter.

Another deep, long sigh.

Faculty do not appear to be getting sick in class, but how do we know with certainty? Our table, this home, suddenly starts to stretch out longer, warbling my ability to see clearly. He already seems so very far away and I crumple up my face in disbelief.

No more kisses and long, deep hugs after a day of bewilderment in the wild world. No more snuggling my head into his chest while we wait for “all of this mess” to just go away. More time covering your face, forced to hide from those we are most open to. And no more witnessing of the tenderness between him and my daughter as he kisses her on the forehead, standing in the bathroom before bed. It’s more than my mind can hold. The grief has already begun and a decision hasn’t been made.

With the current trajectory that my scientist spouse continues to calculate, by Thanksgiving, 25 percent of the total faculty and students will have this ravenous disease; approximately 1,600 students. There are no words for the potential devastation for the fragile community surrounding this college campus.

Fast Forward one year, late August 2021.

It would seem the science fairies have gifted the universe a medical marvel, one that has not been readily seen since the polio vaccine (This not to say many other vaccines should go unnoticed: HPV, Meningitis, and Shingles, just to name a few). We have a way out of COVID death for anyone 12 years and older. We even have a small window of bliss where something like ‘normal’ reappears. That is, until Delta arrives…..and I am not discussing our next flight to vacation island.

As the world is ravaged, many countries lag on purchasing their vaccines out of their own cockiness to stop the spread while others have no resources to vaccinate. Of course, the United States has a massive stockpile – only to have misinformation, extreme mistrust of our government and conspiracies create a wild frenzy of lies. It feels like only the nerds will sift through the data to know the truth, but then again, if science were taken seriously, perhaps the pandemic of misinformation would not be the secondary pandemic. 18-29 year olds have the lowest vaccination rate and are currently filling up hospitals, potentially creating a more deadly return to college as previous mandates for masks and physical distancing has ended. And despite necessary vaccines to enter college for exponentially less dangerous diseases, no vaccinations for COVID are required.

Students are already testing positive while participating in Sorority Rush. Professors are already going to miss the first weeks of class while in quarantine. As many as 20 percent are already missing from the first week of classes and university COVID positive cases are double that of 2020. My own clients are facing down one sick or dying person after another, surpassing hundreds of lives lost to this terrible disease. My clients in health care have said they are forced to make life and death choices while breathing machines are gone and are now watching the march of COVID death at a much greater intensity than their first 3 surges. It’s overwhelming and hard to imagine most of these deaths would just not be if the pandemic of misinformation was eradicated. So now, My husband and I are once again staring at each other in grief and disbelief……and wondering when science died.

The Telling: The First Moment the Universe Heard the Story of my Sexual Abuse

Transformative Trauma

It is honestly difficult to remember the first time I spoke the words, “He hurt me” with out the memory being encapsulated in a snow globe. I watch it play itself out; nothing exists except for my house on Mosswood Drive, me, my mother and a Strawberry Shortcake suitcase. It is not uncommon for a trauma victim to have memories that can only be remembered as if you are a third party, a ghost, entering into the memory watching your physical self play it out while you loom overhead. Your emotional Self hangs out above, floating and separate from you. For what ever reason, this particular memory is even more distant, yet at the same time, in a snow globe’s tomb, immortalized in my mind.
I was eleven or twelve years old. We had moved from a condo in my home town to a rental house, now renting with my…

View original post 856 more words

A Love Letter To My Community

Little town Central Georgia still feels so far away from my California roots. I landed here some 17 years ago, dragging myself back to the south for the 3rd time. One might believe I had learned some valuable lessons in claiming roots, but I continued to attempt to flee for years to come. I demanded spousal job searches to any metropolis. I felt I had nothing to offer tiny towns. A foreigner in my own country; too progressive, too loud and certainly not womanly enough for the particulars of the stereotpyed southern gentile.

My first trip south led me to the realization of how incredibly naïve I was about so many things. Upon initial south bound impact, issues of race and ethnicity barreled in my face. My Dad is Latino and grew up in an all African-American foster family. We would attend family reunions with my sister and I -glaringly white. Although I noticed, I assumed everyone found themselves in spaces as the minority. Southbound, the tracks literally divided my university town and I thought perhaps I had been accidentally left on an old movie set. How little did I know and still have to learn. I also knew nothing of fireflies and words like “How’s your Momma and ’em?” I had no concept of consistently looking someone – anyone in the eye, smiling and with kindness, offering salutations. Why did strangers wave in cars as you passed? And southerners know how to make so many different casseroles for (insert event here). The south does forget time in ways that often speed up for others; what a gift to linger just a bit more to hear how a family friend is doing. Perhaps right here is where my perspective created its first true southern offering.

In the Spring of 2007, I gathered up all my collective roots laid in central Georgia and planted them in Gray while becoming my own boss lady. Now a therapist in private practice, from California to a 20k county in Georgia. Writing it today in 2019 still seems nuts. However, I return again and again to one of my many life mantras; ‘the worst thing that could ever happen to you, has already happened.’ Being a trauma survivor offers many strange gifts and I’ve had to learn to tote (see my use of a traditional southern word) them around and wield their wild magic. I’m never less afraid, but better at recognizing being brave without fear is a dangerous recipe for the ego. The years as a therapist boss have allowed for friendships and further commitments grounded in our community. The strange gifts of survivorhood kept urging me towards returning to the soil of southern ground. I lean towards the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ life model, so I needed soil enough for an entire peach grove. I was running full time in 2013, as emotionally well as one could ask for and felt my time for quiet was over. I had shared being a survivor fairly regularly with individuals, but going public was another matter.

I rang up the Sexual Assault Director of the Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia and laid down my proposal. Apparently, to do something like this anywhere outside of tiny towns would be wholly illogical as the sticky red tape would become unbearable. As I blathered away with excitement, I can only imagine what the Director Dottie thought of this wild idea. And still, the organization said yes and away we went with my strange gifts bearing a new love letter to my world.

Instinctively, I also began publishing my stories out loud. It remains a quiet voice amongst the pressure of the great ether, but I continue to offer it as the symbiotic relationship of how soil and southern life give me roots like oak trees. As we have given back year after year, Phoenix Rising continues to unexpectedly change me. Spaces grow where I find myself more fierce while others have forced more dirt to my knees. Our first and favorite course I would run regularly to hold space for its intention.
Once, I literally fell to my knees crying in the grass alongside the road; weeping with joy – with sorrow knowing that what we are doing matters and still wondering if anything I ever do will make any difference at all? Maybe trauma makes us too wild for something as civilized as a path to run with a beginning and end. Perhaps my intentions today are all I can ever hold close; the experiences in my truth – where I allowed the words to seep out of my mouth in places like the Crisis Line. The trauma seemed to have no safe place to fall, but amongst a group of fellow survivors at a rape crisis center, I could finally come home to myself; say the words again and again until they seemed real. Perhaps spoken words are only real because someone else heard them.

Today, the Phoenix has literally been etched in my heart and on my back as a tattoo. And each year, I am overcome with joy and bewilderment at what our community has done. This year we will collectively cross over the $100k mark. Without volunteers, sponsors, organizers, runners and walkers alike, it would just remain a silly dream born out of a girl from Cali. Perhaps it still is, but we will keep writing this love letter together just the same.






You may scowl at

my lack of pretty words

and silky thin thighs

But You Cannot Stop Me.

You may shudder and

wish for my reality

to stop being shoved in

your face,

But I Won’t Stop.

Press hard onto my mouth

and shove me into your

box of screaming silence

Tell me lies like

‘this is just the way things are’

and hover like

an Angry Dog.

Swat at my breasts

while I’m grabbing for

seats of POWER.

Continue to inform

and define my lack

of humanity.

But You Won’t Stop Me.

Scare me into submission

with your red faces and

screaming penis’s

And perhaps, for a moment

it will work.

But only long enough for

my teeth to grind

and bite off what

was OURS all along.

The farther, father, you unfurl

Your Patriarchy,

The less shit I take.

So point your penis boys,

show us the way you will

attempt to stomp out

my light

And I will show you how

in a single collective breath,

we will take our world back.

Because It never belonged to just you.

You call the woman, the lesbian,

the disabled, the brown person,

the immigrant,

Your Slave.

But we can see from our

once cornered and silenced

low places,

You are simply weak.

So Mr. Penis Directors,

Times Up.

you. Cannot Stop ME.

Every word I speak, every single

placement of my foot

will be my pursual of a checkmate.

Each move will take us closer to

your END.

Because you cannot STOP ME.

We All Need Someone To Stay

I catch a dusty glimpse

of light dance across

Your face

               And I am called

               home again in your


I can so easily drift

away in laundry and

the smell of cleaning spray.

But you call me back

in the sweet groove

of the song on the

kitchen dance floor.

I may say—Well,

I will say

Many of the wrong things.

But I will always stay.

I will show up.

I will hold your hand

for as long as you

will allow.

Because we all need

someone to stay.

It will be messy

and bedraggled at times.

We will loose our way…..

          But I will always stay.

As I watch you grow,

I breathe and revel

in the marvelous human

you continue to become.

And when it’s time

to move along — live

a more separate life;

I pray I will always

Be YOUR Champion

And Perhaps from time to time….

groove on the kitchen dance floor

Cry tears of joy

And gracefully rail

against lifes’ weights.

And Smoosh our faces

in the scent of clean


Because we all need

someone to Stay.

I’ve Only Got One Love

You are someone I thought

only existed in my

silly teenage dreams


I would be your rebellious

drummer girl and we

would eat cake on

top of glass tables


But, with rising whispers

of two simple

Hallmark cards

~Love Appeared.


It was readily enmeshed

with awkward kisses

on thrift store couches

in those early days


We had nothing to possess

but what we chose to

grow and nurture

in Each Other.


I had no idea you were

my one love

until separation felt much

like I had forgotten

how to breathe.

And your return was

all bedazzled and shiny

–catching glimpses of

shiny smiles




You are my sanctuary.

In your presence ~

my world could disintegrate

and I know….

You will stay and hold me up

when nothing else can.


And when I am wild

and my passion becomes


(and let’s face it, it really does).


You are the quiet

Gentle tug

that calls me back to myself

–asking me with a simple look

To Re-Ground.

Come Center.


You ask me to Grow


Be. Come.


You cherish my wild

independence and

know that my whimsy

has its own way


You are my One Love.


With each day and

each passing breath,

We are ALL called back

to BE what we LOVE

To Honor who and what we Love.


I am not brave and beautiful

Because of you

~ but as long as I am those things

with you,

I am steady and confident

in the ME

that continues to grow

with this One Love.


Perhaps we can all grow in

our beauty,

Standing tall in

Our Own One Love.


Creating Sacred Space

Wherever We Go.

(even when she cusses

and fusses like that

rebellious dreamy teenager).


May we all be called home

in one Love.

Transforming and Transcending

Renewed each day with

Our One Love

And Perhaps.

Perhaps Tap in.

Touch the Divine

In You.

And In Me.


One Love.

*This Poem was Written and Shared at My Birthday Yoga @SouthernSoul Yoga, Macon


I’d Like To Place a Recall on Mother’s Day

Happy Fierce Woman’s Day

This is your official notice. You have less than 24 hours to return that Mother’s Day ridiculoisty and pick up a new holiday. I‘m calling it, Fierce Woman’s Day. I understand I may not be popular with some, but this day (which we will no longer speak its former name) has been officially kicked off the island.

I will never forget this moment crystalized while joyfully celebrating a birthday; just me my kiddo and a friend. We had breakfast in bed and laid around watching TV all morning. With wild hair and dressed to return to bed as soon as possible, we schlumped down into the lobby dragging ourselves to the car only to find an alternate universe waiting on us. For a moment it felt like I was watching everything through a holiday glass window at a department store. There were so many pretty people dressed in dazzling white dresses carrying white plates with brunch and mimosas. Beautiful children tugged and whined in their beautiful outfits. Everyone was equally bleary-eyed with a side of rouge and struggling with their life decision to have brunch on their so-called day.

I couldn’t believe it. Who in the hell picked this as their celebration as a fierce woman? Why would I EVER choose to spend my damn day paying for brunch? I remember staring inappropriately for a few moments bewildered with no words to describe the tragedy before me. I kept thinking, ‘if you want to celebrate me, don’t you dare ask me to get out of my pajamas!’.

So many of us had the privilege of a good enough parent. But that is simply a made up bullshit fairy tale for so many others. Their version of ‘mother’ sucked ass leading the offspring to want to hide, run and absolutely pretend this Hallmark Holiday could actually get a recall!

What kind of card do you get the sucky parent? “Hey, I didn’t die on your watch…..that was good right?” How about, “It really would have been better if you made other choices.” Or here’s my favorite, “I am participating in my obligatory duty to acknowledge that I came out of your vagina.” Could someone please make that card? Since when is motherhood so superior to womanhood? Moms can be serious badasses, but you’re no real woman unless you have kids? Last I checked, there are plenty of us who had NO business putting THAT on life’s agenda.

Life is already so hard. Really hard. Why do we need to have something else shoved in our face if it is not something to celebrate? I propose on this day to celebrate a Fierce Woman in your life instead. Find your special way to turn up the music in a woman’s life that you love. Show her just how fierce and powerful she is in this wild world of ours.

As for me and my day, I did NOT have a kiddo just to force her into expensive celebration with overpriced eggs and orange juice (that’s what my birthday is for).

So to All the fierce women in my life; I love you and could not do this life thingy without you. I send you my love and bright shiny disco lights so you may dance with abandon in your pajamas.

Juuussssstttt……. before you take a long nap.


Screen House Rules

On the eve of our kiddo’s thirteenth birthday, we collectively decided she was ready for the wild and sometimes emotionally dangerous road of the SMART PHONE (insert the ‘Duh-duh-DUHHH’ sound bite). We had spoken over time about the pitfalls and responsibility that comes with allowing something so potentially pervasive in her life. This took place as needed over the past year and concluded with her reading a great book called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by Kristen Jensen that discusses the problematic invasion of pornography on the internet and the larger issue around how much of what we use on our phone is purposefully wired to make us addicted. Collectively, we agreed on ground rules that would, in general, apply to everyone in the house to ensure we did not allow our devices to take away from the most important aspect of us as a family- our ability to connect. I share our credo as a way to consider and explore your relationship with devices as well as how we can work at both recognizing and engaging with technology in a more responsible way.

Screen House Rules

As a family, we agree that our smart phones and other digital screens can distract us from real connection. With that, we mutually agree on guidelines to maintain healthy use of our digital devices.

  1. We agree to stop looking at our screen (phone or Ipad) when another person is talking to us and make eye contact. If we need to complete some task we are doing, we will ask for a pause so we are not attempting to listen and write/read at the same time.
  2. If someone is sharing a story/interacting with you, we will not text or pick up our phone until the interaction is done.
  1. We agree that if you are under 18, no screens will be used in private areas to protect from others who may intend to infiltrate your life inappropriately. This also helps reduce unhealthy behaviors like needing to repeatedly check the phone, even in the middle of the night and immediately upon waking.
  1. We agree that if at anytime another person is harassing, sending inappropriate photos or experiencing any pressure or bullying; we will share it without any consequences. We will support each other in keeping the internet as safe as possible.
  1. We agree that all our social media will be mutually agreed upon and the ability to see what each other post will remain open to each other. If anyone disagrees with a post, it will be discussed and potentially removed. This could include any photos or information that make another person uncomfortable.
  1. We agree mutually to have reasonable limits on our social media screen time and will consider an App limiting our time to ensure we do not overuse distraction. In general, we will actively work to remain below averages.
  2. We will stop all screens when we each move towards ending our day and getting ready for bed. That time may vary, but will be accountable to ourselves and each other.
  1. It is understood that privacy is important and each will respect privacy overall. However, to ensure healthy and appropriate online behavior is sustained, parents will occasionally check the child’s phone.
  1. With #8 in place, no history or text streams can be deleted to ensure proper and appropriate use of smart phones and other digital devices.

The Legacy of O’Riordan

My sweet spouse looks in my direction this morning and makes a sigh that closes in on the room for just a moment and tells me she is gone. At just 46. An icon and anthem to our college years; my ongoing love for boots with dresses and even a secret wish I could pull off a bleach blonde pixie cut came from her. One of the few reasons my husband learned to play the guitar was to make their music. He can still strum out some of their chords with pursed lips and pained finger tips. The loss of Dolores O’Riordan is yet again another long list of losses (most likely) for the same damn FUCKING reasons. I would like to be wrong, but I’m not.

O’Riordan was a sexual abuse victim.

She attempted suicide in 2013 recognizing her history as part of her struggle.

Now, another member of my survivor tribe is gone.

I am heartbroken. She had this wild robotic wide legged ‘dance’ only an Irish girl could get away with. She could sing, dance, play guitar and call down an audience with her heavy rock rhythm like so few women in rock could. In today’s cultural moment of women empowerment, her lyrics of “you’re so pretty the way you are” were some of the foundings of the beautiful ‘lovin yourself’ moment I continue to be inspired by. You almost wonder how could this person who appears like a baby thumbnail in my music play list have made such a powerful impact on my life.

And yet, The Cranberries was the first song our daughter ever heard

as we traveled home with her from the hospital just days after her birth.

How’s that for music memories?

And here She is. Gone. Sexually abused for years while a child, suffering mental health issues most of her life. The therapist in me wishes I could have scooped her up, held her in my arms and beg her to see the way home. Why is it that I could and not her? I will never have an answer to that.

I want to be bitter, swallow a thousand limes and puke on every image of a perpetrator I can muster in my mind. I want to scream and be ugly. But instead, I vow, with every single cell I will ever make- I will make every SINGLE effort to get in YOUR FUCKING way.

You want me to be quiet- forget it.

You want me to be pleasant because it makes you uncomfortable- NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

I am taking up too much of your space and my presence makes you want to look away- BYE Felicia.

You think the cussing and loud clothes are not lady like- I eat your lady likes for lunch.

Perhaps this one life of mine will not account for much, I will never be a Dolores O’Riordan, but I will carry the legacy of her life and I will never forget that she was a surivor just like me. I can tell you the one beautiful, crisp bright spot to his horrible loss was watching my Donovan listen to her videos and playing her live concert in Paris today on the television while playing right along with her, strumming his guitar. To see a man not just listen but truly celebrate the beauty and magnificience of women remains astounding. Many of the female feminist musicians I love today were found, shared and revered first by him.

Dolores, you may have physically left us today; but two little people in a small town called Gray, in the middle of nowhere Georgia, celebrate you. We will hold both you and your sweet children deep inside us- Forever. Watch for the clouds. She makes her music from there now.


When I am Declared Queen Of Christmas

When I am declared Queen of Christmas, we are SO doin’ this shit differently. And before you get all fussy about whatever part you like, it will not be a complete cut up your credit card kinda cancellation, but definitely a moratorium on the crazy. Perhaps some would be deeply disappointed by my changes. Of course people in the business of participating in the great giveaway would be deeply annoyed. I’m sure a few lawsuits would swiftly be on the way to attempt a return to fluid consumerism.

But the truth is- We Have Lost Our Way.

Every year from about mid-November to the New Year, the anxiety and pressure to perform according to our made up expectations (that seem to climb exponentially) creates a kind of emotional vibration culturally unseen at ANY other time. Our therapy practice bears witness to the rising tide of anxiety soup, choking all the joy out, including an ability to recall why we celebrate. Not until the New Year arrives at the stroke of midnight do we sigh the only sigh of relief-oh-joy in a month! We have somehow forgotten to take in the beauty and depth joy can offer us and instead it gets convoluted in just being glad things are over. May I suggest a moratorium on the crazy? All the scrambling to meet the culture of scarcity’s expectations, when we step back, makes utterly NO sense.

We already have enough because We Are Enough. Our incessant need to fight over the pie leads us to forget it is really PIES (plural) of endless compassion and not at all attached to stuff. Compassion does not tie itself to the prettiest lights or biggest tree. Not the bestest nativity scene. Not all the most elegant wrappings under the tree. Compassion is a verb of choice that is driven by the love we offer one another. I desperately want us to be able to give up what does not serve us. If slogging out thousands of ornaments and garland makes you cringe, LET IT GO. If cooking for an entire army (and frankly most of it gets wasted) makes you unhappy, then can we just stop?

The vibration of the season may be best served through our ability to get quiet. Setting our intentions on recalling and being a part of what we love will free us from this season of stuff. I fear that without focusing on remembering where love resides, we will be forced into allowing others to reign over your holiday and we shall not ever remember our way home again. If I were able to provide a detailed picture of the kind of loneliness I witness in my treatment room during these dark months, leaving the holidays behind as we know it would be the most logical and compassionate answer we may have to the crisis of depression and anxiety that plagues Americans.

I want instead to give gifts that are lasting and matter. I want to slow down the moments of decorating and cooking. I want to relish the experience of who I am sharing my time with and not the requirement of a quantifiable mass that I pass out to others. And since I personally have so much to offer, I want to spend time with the lonely and offer my most precious gift of time and smiles. What would it be like if we left behind the strange expectation of the ‘hottest toy’ and pulling out the most expensive china and instead recalled that family and serving in a way that feeds us is the greatest gift we have to offer? I keep waiting and hoping that our sight will return and we will relieve ourselves of the madness that has become this holiday.

In the deep dark of winter, while the light is short, we are called to quiet and yet somehow we have used this holiday to distract ourselves from our own needs. We do not need more lights. We do not need to add to the glow (as we are glaring instead of glowing) and certainly we do not need MORE busy. We crave the quiet in the dark and when the loneliness is great, we have the ability to offer an honest gift; one of the light in our eyes and in our smile. This needs no wrapping paper or blinky lights.

Perhaps we return from this terrible distraction and come back to ourselves and each other. I will offer my hand and my warmth of presence during this dark time. And when I am Queen of Christmas (which will likely be never….) perhaps there will be lights, mangers and food, but offered in the spirit of Self Love first, something bigger than money can buy.

So I ask, during this holiday, remember the lonely and in our ability to be present, perhaps we can let go of this maddening distraction of stuff and offer something of substance– our wholehearted presence.