34: The G(o)od News

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[headline]

The G(o)od News

[subhead]

When a woman is faced with a decision that will change her life, she thinks of the others it might destroy first.

[lede]

One of the first things you learn in journalism school is to never lead a lede with a quote or a question or a sentence that begins with “Imagine…” It’s hack. Rarely, only one in every 1,000 stories, are one of these scenarios appropriate.

This is one of those stories.

Rules can’t apply. Nothing was black and white except the sonogram.

Thus:

When you think about how many choices you make in a day, do you only think about the ones you had to actually think about?

What about the ones you do on autopilot? The ones you decided the answer to long ago? Do you ever consider changing those or is it best not to and, therefore, avoid decision fatigue?

What happens when you are forced to make a decision, When you can autopilot on the fence no more? Who then do you turn to when you have to make the most important choice of your life?

[nutgraf]

She found her answer in the most surprising place.

[main source background information]

American girl. Raised on promises, Jesus and intermittent participation in county’s Popcorn Festival beauty pageants, of which she placed second runner-up junior year of high school and got to meet Steppenwolf, which was very exciting to heran enthusiasm that was not shared by others on court.

Didn’t get cable or a CD player until age 16, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but makes a difference when playing cultural catch-up in college a few years later. After that, there’s so much you want to learn and maybe even more you’re hungry to prove in your twenties.

Cradle Catholic family. Both sides. Farmers. Both sides. Generation after generation. Passed down including pride in hard work, self sacrifice and patriotism.

First job began in fifth grade, milking cows on family dairy farm. Loved 4-H camp.

Catholic school until sixth grade (MS and HS too expensive for four kids so they all switched to public); Life Teen every Sunday 7th through senior year; Mass every week until age 18. However, Mom likes and lets the kids watch Rocky Horror Picture Show. Tim Curry. What a gas!

All told: A happy childhood. A child out of place.

Senior year, a nun is assigned to mentor source, as she has asked the following questions during various Sunday school lessons:

1) If Catholicism is the only correct faith, why are there others that came before it and after it? All religions seem, at best, like a coping mechanism for the human experience or, at worst, a way to keep humanity in line, though even this may have had good intentions when it first began?

2) Isn’t there implied kindness, Christian kindness even, in allowing choice and trusting others with their own lives? Why do you believe in the power of God over humans and that “only God can judge” but make it your human mission to force others to believe in your God—as if you were a god yourself?

3) What if I don’t want to be, can’t be subservient to a husband as your bible instructs?

4) How can I be a part of something that covers-up child rape? What is really happening here? How can you allow this but not love between two grown, consenting men?

Nonetheless, all sacraments available to this date have been received.

At point of news break: Age 26. Current career, journalist. Current job title, arts reporter for alt weekly newspaper.

Single.

White.

Broke (see: Journalist).

Pissed.

Pregnant.

[primary source list]

Actual-Boyfriend

Man-She-Wants-To-Be-Her-Boyfriend 

[fact checking]

“In the 150 years before the birth control pill was invented, the average number of children born to American women dropped precipitously, from an average of seven children per family in 1800 to just over two in the 1930s (it picked up in the 1950s, when the average number of children peaked at 3.7 and then went back down.”

    Page 58, “The H-Spot” by Jill Filipovic, 2017

“The Comstock laws of 1873, which criminalized as obscene imparting even information on birth control because they feared it would upend traditional gender roles and obligations… Sanger wanted her magic pill and so did Katharine McCormick, one of the first women to graduate from MIT who forwent a career in the sciences and married a rich man. At Sanger’s request, McCormick wrote a $40,000 check to fund research for contraception—a significant sum in 1953—and within a year, they had a pill. By 1965 the pill was the most popular method of contraception in the country. By 1965, the Supreme Court held that there is a fundamental right of sexual privacy, giving married women the right to use birth control. Seven years later, the same court held that the right to birth control extends to unmarried women as well. And a year after that the court used that theory of sexual privacy to legalize elective abortion.”

    Page 59, “The H-Spot” by Jill Filipovic, 2017

“Unfortunately there’s no agreement in medicine, philosophy or theology as to what stage of foetal development should be associated with the right to life. … Some people say that if the foetus is not a person, then abortion deserves no condemnation. This oversimplifies the issues. Even if the foetus is not a human being, it is clearly regarded by most people and most societies as something special that should not be casually discarded.”

    “Ethics – Abortion: When is the foetus ‘alive’?” BBC, 2014

“Aristotle suggested 40 days (males), 90 days (females) was the time [of conception].”

    “Ethics – Abortion: When is the foetus ‘alive’?” BBC, 2014

[climax]

A friend asked if source wanted to attend Easter Mass. It was a few days away. Her friend wasn’t Catholic, just trying out churches. It would be nice to be near a friend right now, even if what was happening was a secret and would be for a while.

They entered the stoned building. White flower petals shaped like tears descended from trees bent over in worship adorned their path up the steps. They found a seat near the back. Pew, a row of trees revived with new life. Shoulder to shoulder, they prayed. She said the old Our Father. Doesn’t know the new one. Doesn’t care.

Incense burned for the faithful rising to heaven, mourned for dead. The scent of ten thousand cities collapsed hung heavy in the air. Voices. Voices.

Until this very moment, she didn’t know what she would do. But then she heard a voice meant only for her ears. But then she heard God. But then God told her it would be OK. But then God told her it was the kindest thing to do for the humans already alive. But then God gave her permission.

Peace washed over her. In a way it only can once you’ve made a hard choice. In a way it only can once you think God is on your side. Tears for what she’d have to do next. Praise for guidance.

They left the church one hundred sorrows lighter.

[background second source research]

There’s plenty here to alarm secular liberals. A subject in the prayer experiment recalled that she was watching TV when “God told me, ‘Vote for Bush.’ I said — I was having this argument with God. I said out loud, I said, ‘But I don’t like him.’ You know. And God said, ‘I didn’t ask you to like him.’ ” She thought she had heard this exchange with her ears. She voted, in 1988, for George Bush.”

    “Is that God talking?” by T.M. Luhrmann, The New York Times, May 1, 2013

“St. Mary’s University Students’ Pro-Rape Chant Condemned After Five Years of Use”

    “St. Mary’s University Students’ Pro-Rape Chant Condemned After Five Years of Use” by Tyler Kingkade, The Huffington Post, Sept. 6, 2013

“In a video originally posted to Instagram, which was later deleted but resurfaced online, both male and female students are heard chanting: ‘SMU boys, we like them young. Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”

    “St. Mary’s University Students’ Pro-Rape Chant Condemned After Five Years of Use” by Tyler Kingkade, The Huffington Post, Sept. 6, 2013

“Americans have a disordered relationship with sex and pleasure, and female pleasure in particular. Narratives about female sexuality tend to put us in a few boxes: We’re objects of male sexual desire, we’re sluts improperly wielding our sexual power, we’re alternately prudish or proper for withholding sex, or we’re victims of sexual exploitation or abuse. We talk more about sex and watch more sexually suggestive and explicit material, it seems, than ever before… the Fifty Shades of Gray series where a virgin who has never masturbated enters into a BDSM relationship with a sociopathic billionaire and finds true love.”

    Page 55, “The H-Spot” by Jill Filipovic, 2017

“Picture a woman trying to do work and to enter into equal and satisfying relationships with other people when she feels physically weak because she has never tried to be strong. When she drains her energy trying to change her face, her figure, her hair, her smells, to match some ideal norm set by magazines, movies and tv, when she feels confused and ashamed of the menstrual blood that every month appears from some dark place in her body; when her internal body processes are a mystery to her and surface only to cause her trouble (unplanned pregnancy, cervical cancer); when she does not understand or enjoy sex and concentrates her sexual drives into aimless romantic fantasies, perverting and misusing a potential energy because she has been brought up to deny it. Learning to understand, accept and be responsible for our physical selves, we are freed of some of these preoccupations and can start to use our untapped energies.”

    Introduction, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” 1973

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

    Aristotle, somewhere long ago

[infographic / by the numbers]

1 night, the first time, the only time

1 week to realize what’s happened

1 week to figure out what to do

1 week to wait, they make you

4 weeks old

$500, cash only

2 breakups, his and hers

1 new relationship, theirs

[anecdotes/ the why]

  • There were their significant others after all. It would be so hard to break two hearts with news of a betrayal.
  • They were wise enough to know that they couldn’t, shouldn’t start a relationship with a child.
  • Having children is selfish sometimes. Probably most times.
  • Savings were sparse.
  • Each child born in the US will add ~9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent.
  • She had been pregnant before. Five years and some relationships earlier. Then, the situation’s dynamics were even worse. Abusive and broken, a sick partnership that needed to end. But termination seemed impossible. That is something she would never do, she said again and again. So, it happened on its own. The miscarriage began while she was at work. Tissue, blood, shockwaves of pain in the newsroom bathroom stall. She did not feel worthy enough to go home and rest. She was so ashamed of the pregnancy out of wedlock, the terrible relationship she couldn’t seem to leave, the brutal way her mother reacted to the news, how relieved she felt that this was happening. The emergency room said there was nothing they could do. Nature would take its course. She went to work the next three days, and bled out her baby on her breaks.

[sidebar]

Kriya: Sanskrit word for a spiritual emergency or surrender.

“I always think of kriyas as spiritual seizures. Perhaps they should be spelled crias because they are cries of the soul as it is wrung through changes. We all know what a kriya looks like: It is the bad case of the flu right after you’ve broken up with your lover. It’s the rotten head cold and bronchial cough that announces you’ve abused your health to meet an unreachable work deadline. That asthma attack out of nowhere when you’ve just done a round of caretaking your alcoholic sibling? That’s a kriya too. Always significant, frequently psychosomatic, kriyas are the final insult our psyche adds to our injuries: ‘Get it?’ a kriya asks  you. Get it: You can’t stay with this abusive lover. You can’t work a job that demands 80 hours a week. You can’t rescue a partner who needs to save himself.”

     Pages 81-82, “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron, 1992

[body copy]

She remembers the experience in bits and pieces. Much of it she’s tried to leave in the past, where it belongs. What she remembers most are the breathing beings associated with that day. In the waiting room, a woman seven months pregnant bragging about the children she already has, snapping her fingers, long with nails painted a nauseous green, even though we were all instructed to remove our nail polish before this day. (“At least I’m not her. At least mine is only a few weeks in,” source thinks and regrets immediately because of the irony of judging while trying not to be judged.) In the procedure room, the gentle nurse who held her hand and cooed instructions to watch the fish on the ceiling poster above get fuzzier as the drugs kicked in. In the recovery room, a stern and quiet nurse with a crucifix necklace, checking to make sure the bleeding stopped. In the lobby, her future partner for life.

[pull quotes]

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2

“He is not here. He has risen.” Matthew 28:6

“Sleep in heavenly peace.” Silent Night

[conclusion]

More decisions are quickly made soon after. She leaves the ex-boyfriend and the journalism career behind. She begins a new life with the one who almost made one with her. If damnation awaits in eternal life, then courage, kindness, happiness and honesty must be relentlessly pursued in this one.

There is no time to waste.

There is not no regret.

There is no doubt a different decision would be made, now.

There is no doubt that this was the correct path, then.

[image caption]

Of course, there is more to the story. There always ishistorically, the woman’s side of it. Eve sought knowledge. Eve was ahead of her time. And like all women ahead of their time, she shoulders the burden of her society’s fear. It is her cross to bear.

–end–

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