Apparently dreaming of decapitation is symbolic of a castration fantasy. I must be becoming a man. And have you ever wondered what “trigger warning” is intended to mean?
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. After being followed into the bathroom last Saturday, I’ve been bombarded by excessively violent nightmares ranging from watching helplessly as a man pops another man’s skull open with a piece of lumber, to decapitating someone. I have always had graphic dreams, but these are so unsettling, I keep waking up before anything happens once I realize I’m dreaming again. So today, all the way home from my psychiatrist appointment, I wondered whether or not I should even step into the streets. The thought actually crossed my mind that I now fully understand why someone would self-immolate in a public protest of oppression, because I am actually that angry about the momentum the anti-abortion stance is gaining — even with all the politicians who say things like “legitimate rape” among other slanders against the whole of women. And then I realized (though not at all for the first time) that this is what it means to be triggered. So if you’re ever in doubt again about the validity of someone saying “that’s triggery” or “I feel triggered”, just think of someone getting so furious that they would actually consider dousing themselves with gasoline, lighting themselves on fire, and burning to death in protest of the offending stimuli. I’m being serious. Some days are better than others, and on those days, I’m markedly less sensitive about my triggers, but the rage still runs as deep.
The thought also crossed my mind that I was too angry to be at that corner today. I wondered if I would obsessively self-antagonize if I didn’t go out there and found out that no one else did (or that they left because they didn’t feel safe alone). I decided after a lot of flip-flopping that if I exercise my right to silence underneath my spandex, and no one else shows up, I’ll at least have been there myself. That my spandex and my signs aren’t for the hypocrites I counter-picket, but for everyone else. And as long as I’m not going to be disruptive or triggering to all those people for whom I am going (despite how triggered and angry I feel), that being there is important, because a lot of people can’t be. A lot of people are triggered by their presence, and those of us who can keep our shit cool have to be. For them. I showed up early and alone, and my reasons for being there were affirmed almost immediately. I made plans to picket Catholic mass on Sunday again, but realized before the day arrived that it would be too much for me to bear this week.
The Anti-Abortionists Called Me A Coward (Again)
I guess standing up for what you believe in, in skin-tight head-to-toe black-and-white checkered spandex makes me a coward in the eyes of a hypocrite. Here’s how my actual “conversation” with them went after I stopped shouting “Shame on you!” (followed by a photo I took once I came home):
Me: “You’re all hypocrites. Go home.”
Anti-choicer: “Why are you hiding your face?”
Me: “What the fuck does my face have to do with it?”
Anti-choicer: “Your face is covered. (she gestures at her own face as she says this) Why is your face covered?
Me: “What, are you trying to draw my portrait?”
Anti-choicer: “You’re a coward.”
Either some of these people are reading my blog, or they are all working together and consulting each other on how best to attempt to insult me. The problem is that my skin isn’t as thin as the spandex I’m wearing over it, and the same was true in relation to the plastic bag and duct tape pasties I was wearing about three months ago when I attended this picket topless for the first time. If my ovaries were so delicate that I collapsed into myself like a house of cards every time someone called me names, I wouldn’t be standing in front of these anti-choicers (or their parish) every week. But they aren’t. As far as I’m concerned, they are made of brass and they clank when I walk. The fact that my face is hidden isn’t for my privacy — I couldn’t possibly make myself more visible, and as I take my stand on the very edge of the sidewalk, I have exactly zero expectation of privacy. I also write an update about the pickets on this fucking blog every week and have fearlessly attached my name to both a press release and a news article about this very type of issue. I’ve allowed people to film me and interview me about why I’m there, and I give everyone who asks a firm nod when they approach to take my picture — even if they turn out to be Gordon Watson (the local anti-abortion scene’s equivalent of a domestic terrorist).
Of course, absolutely none of this compares to the risk I was perceiving when I published the first very detailed post about my prior relationship to a disgraced RCMP officer who was very recently exposed on national news (twice now) as a pervert. And I still put myself out there, even though I considered that it might very well open me up to being targeted for stalking, harassment, ostracism from an enormous network of friends and support, assault and/or battery, or possibly even far worse. I did it because I felt that strongly that what I knew needed to be heard, and that what I had to say was more important than my continued silence. And then I still stepped onto that corner in my underwear every week — which I very legitimately felt, and still feel, carries all the same risks — no matter how queasy I was feeling, until my housing situation collapsed in on itself and I needed a one-week break. And despite being homeless for the past two months, I have still been making it there every week to stand up for all women’s rights to respect, dignity, self-determination, and bodily autonomy. But you know. Because a bunch of hypocrites say so, I’m a coward for no reason other than because I do all this but I don’t show them my face week after week.
…And A Hypocrite
They also called me a hypocrite when they got mad that I was calling them a bunch of hypocrites. But what exactly am I contradicting myself in relation to? I do not hold myself to this belief that I am duty-bound to love all people equally, while standing outside a clinic for the express purpose of harassing and shaming anyone who disagrees with how this belief determines my stance on the issue of abortion. I know. It must be the “freedom of speech” dealie again. You know the one. The constitutional right that grants me the freedom to vocalize how wrong I feel they are for being there, without fear of being hassled, arrested, battered, or detained by police for taking a stand. The right that they are exercising, with the belief that because they are out there expressing themselves, I am somehow obligated to show them respect and not vocalize dissent. And that is why I call them hypocrites.
The fact that they are there for the express purpose of shaming women makes them bigots. The fact that I am there to disagree with them and stand publicly by my words in deed makes me consistent in thought, word, and deed. But count on a bigot and a hypocrite to try and convince anyone else to the contrary so that no one stops to look at what they’re doing — and we told them today, that their very presence is hurting people. One of them responded, “What kind of people?” I said “Uhhhhhhh. Human beings.” Until that moment, it seemed their double standard only applied to us. But once those words came out of her mouth, it became clear on the scale of all of humanity, that she and people just like her genuinely believe that there are people who innately deserve dignity and respect (i.e., her, other people just like her, and hypothetical babies), and people who don’t (i.e., me, people just like me, and presumably any person who isn’t perpetually reproducing for all the child-bearing years of their life). Once again, this is why I call them out for being bigots and hypocrites, and why I think they are just emotionally displaced racists coping with the civil rights attributed to their prior target demographic by perpetuating their own hate movement (that just coincidentally appeared during the beginning of the civil rights movement) as a glorified popularity contest in which all women are rigged to lose.
So tell me another one, assholes. About how I’m a coward, a hypocrite, a murderer, and a genocidal psychopath, for standing up against the likes of you in a public place, as visibly as possible, to express dissent and inform everyone I can of what hate-mongering bigots and hypocrites you all are. I dare you. In fact, never mind the brass ovaries — I was born with a pair of hornet’s nests.