but am still setting it all down
You may have heard. My mom, a nurse practitioner and pro-life Christian, worked at Planned Parenthood while pregnant with me.
I did not know this until recently, until after I published a book on my choice NOT become a biological mother.
She says, "I started reading your book."
I say, "Oh?"
She says, "I never told your only options in life were Mother or Mother Superior, did I?"
I say, "No, mom. That was the Catholic Church. You taught me the proper way to pronounce clitoris and how to talk to the Holy Spirit."
“That’s right,” she says. “But that’s not all.”
I've been thinking about the legacy of her parenting lately, for obvious reasons. I'm not shocked by the court's recent decision on abortion. I am worried, wearied, depleted by disappointment. But I'm not without hope. Because no matter what church or state proclaims, there have always been and will always be people like my mom saying, "Your body is a gift from God and it's yours to enjoy wisely. Also, it's clit-ER-is like GLITTER is..."
Bless you, mom. Bless you nurses and doctors, sex educators and social workers, wise friends and cool aunts, who will continue to be the cultural padding we need against a mother-venerated but woman-phobic world. In the days ahead, may you be decadent with the self-love, copious with the time-off, and then keep going. Keep dropping your holy, impossible-to-get-rid-of, GLITTER.
As for me, I’m going to take my own advice and do the same.
See you, fine readers, back here in August.
P.S. If you need some hope to borrow, too, may I suggest a book. This one, coedited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, is inspired by the legacy of queer black feminists.
P.P.S. If you need permission to set it all down, may I suggest a poem. This one, from Lynn Ungar, is my perennial favorite.
P.P.P.S. Ok. No, really. Set it down. Maybe it's a month off from non-essential work. A week of vacation with no computer. A day where you schedule for the unscheduled. A dawdling hour. Your mantra: this being human is gift and it’s mine to enjoy.