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Day 70: Snapshots Amidst the Decision

Today is the day to rage, read a writing-sister’s meme.

Maybe, I heard inside. But what sadnesses are you refusing? Rage is unresolved collective grief. What’s the sacred work of grieving in us all?

Yesterday’s decision landed pretty hard in me last night, said a friend this morning. It’s not how decisions are written…it’s politicized…it makes no sense.

There was space for me to enter into my sadness with such words. I appreciated hearing her gentle wisdom, bringing her longstanding attorney eyes to the whole document of the decision. We shared a morbid laugh at the woman who chose to protest by wearing an RBG t-shirt…when RBG is nearly directly responsible, her inability to step-down to allow another liberal voice to come in during Obama’s presidency. I later became aware that my husband brings his legal eyes into these things too, but there’s an edge of fear in his reactions. Which is complicated for me by my (often unconscious) habit of holding his anxiety for him. I shut down and change the subject when he wants to talk this stream of politics.

Given yesterday’s decision, texted another friend, I was glad I was in a circle of women on retreat together. Awareness arose of the writing-leadership-sister retreat continuing today…and a surprising overwhelming relief. I don’t think I’d have handled well the progressive outrage that surely would have come out in the evening circle readaround. My capacity has thinned, from holding such spaces for nearly a decade. Good to notice.

I sit with the swirl of it all around me, unsure of what I feel.

Am I dissociating because I’m well past child-bearing years? It may sound odd to you, but only recently did I make that calculation—these laws cannot touch my woman’s body. As I and my husband made the intentional choice to not have children, I’ve never felt particularly impassioned or fierce about reproductive rights. I’m pro-choice, obviously, but also consider myself pro-life—advocating against poverty, death-penalty, dehumanizing labor practices, and more. Abortion as birth-control repulses me AND a woman’s body, a woman’s choice, period. I have never easily stomached the world’s narrow vision on female bodies as child-bearers. Sometimes I can feel an echo of regret that my fierceness for virgin women—women answerable to their dreams more than the men or society around them—necessarily companioned the unwillingness to have any man’s seed create life inside of me. Even the man I love fiercely. Such regret is fleeting, always outweighed by a sense of sacred calling to be just as I am.

I remember driving past a highway billboard recently with a picture of a fetus and the words, “I feel the pain of abortion.”

My reaction surprised even me. “Human life IS pain, m’dear. You’ll probably know more pain, even years of suffering, after an unwelcome birth.” Surely opposite of what the marketers desired. But is the visceral reaction of human beings to pain in their young SO manipulatable that we forget human life is suffering, pain?

And JOY, of course. For another day.

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