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I just finished reading The Yellow Wallpaper for a discussion in a feminist book club I just joined. I thought it would be so easy; there was a link for a free, downloadable PDF available through the Gutenberg Project, so I wouldn’t even have to shell out a few bucks, or worse, have to special order it after waiting until the last minute. The next day, I walked into my local free book exchange, and found a copy. The pages were still crisp and everything. I thought, “Score!” Since it was very short, only thirty-six pages, (not counting the afterward) I was able to off reading it in favor of another book I was excited to start. Less than an hour after I optimistically turned the first pages, I had reached the end.

I HATED that book.

I wanted to throw it across the room. I might still do it. Every time the husband, John, dismissed the wife (did she even HAVE a name? I’m assuming her personal worth does not necessitate an identifying factor, like a NAME) I had to use my utmost self-control and not rip the damn thing in half. My self-control was ADMIRABLE, above all things. NOBODY. GOT. HURT.

I used to manage a quilting store, and I was fired for being a victim of domestic violence. WORSE, when I added my time with them to my employment experience on my resume when looking for a new job, the owner pretended she had no idea who I was when a prospective employer called for a reference. I helped build that store from the ground up, and the store's reputation fro being a fun, quirky place to shop was due to me. Its important to have laws that protect victims of domestic violence from job loss, but without the financial resources, family support, and a safe home environment free of abuse, taking legal action against a former employer who unlawfully fired a domestic violence victim is unlikely. 

This free i-phone app was released in June of this year. Pink, hairless, and infantile, the character, Happy, seeks to liberate women from their sexual inhibitions by instructing them in techniques on female masturbation. Are women really so uncomfortable with their sexuality that they need a silly cartoon puss to make them feel safe "down there?" In the early days of women's liberation, masturbation apps were more commonly referred to as "examining-one's-one-vagina-in-the-company-of-other-women-with-your-panties-down-your-ankles-and-a-mirror-aimed-up-your-skirt." But, in an age where most women avoid seeing themselves fully undressed in a mirror without sucking in their abs, I begrudgingly look the other way.

A woman who identified herself as Sarieah holds her daughter Zakiaya during the Rainbow Family peace gathering in Modoc National Forest, Calif. Photo by AP Photo
As a  Rainbow Family drop-out, I’ve recently experienced a personal exodus from a culture who’s primary focus lays on loving one another as a unit, sharing compassion despite differences, and practicing shanti sena peace keeping practices during the occasional conflict large enough to effect the flow of harmonious living.  Our interdependent, communal lifestyle and global thinking put us in a corner where we lived an idealized Utopian life, but isolated from mainstream society, whom we referred to as “Babylon.”

Even hidden away in our self imposed isolation, we find ourselves barraged with whispers of political conspiracies. Rumors abound; even in the woods, word of government-created diseases, government-forced sterilization delivered via genetically modified foods and chemtrails, governmentally funded interviews of grieving family members following school shootings staged by paid actors, government surveillance of its citizens accessed through social media, and of our government staging 9/11 as the needed preface to the war that followed.

And so, the issue of  keeping guns has worked its way, slowly, slowly, to the forefront of our minds, until it can no longer be ignored, challenging our internal concepts of  self-image. The issue is a slippery one.

Feminism isn’t NICE.

There is no way in polite society I can discuss pro-feminist issues like a lady.

Imagine this scenario: a church potluck; families in their Sunday best, ignoring the slight discomfort of their full bellies , reclining, slightly in their folding chairs around long, out-dated banquet tables… to your left, Aunt Irma is starting to nod-off… on right side, a tired mother, holding a baby on her lap, watching lazily, as he throws his whole body weight into a failed grab for the food on her plate… children, running off their spare energy. The pastor has just given a very thought-provoking message on the blessings of tithing, and you feel inspired to study out the scriptures he used and increase your giving.

Just then, as you least suspect it, that crazy redhead across the table from you (that would be me) leans in your direction and says in a loud voice,

“Did you know that so-and-so’s daughter was acquaintance raped while walking back from the campus library last Wednesday? I understand she reported it to campus security, but after taking her report, she’s been on the receiving end of some pretty abusive comments and slut-shaming. I’m worried.  We should get involved!”

You won’t need to stretch yourself to imagine the abrupt silence that would follow.

When I was in high school, a size eight was considered the perfect size for women. I was very slender from ballet, and when I quit, I added a size over the summer and got a lot of attention because of my tiny curves. I don't think I hit a size eight until after my first child was born. I stayed a constant size ten after giving birth to five kids. I generally reached about 190 lbs during my pregnancies... I was not one of those mamas with a perfect orb and a willowy frame.  I was a ripe, red, shiny apple, with long hair that was unmanageable because of pregnancy hormones, but I refused to cut it because it was so long and had taken me years to grow. I was BIG, and had long, stringy hair. 

Which is more destructive... The TRUTH or a LIE? 

John 8:32 says, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Both the Talmud and Anaïs Nin both say, "We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.” What happens when our eyes are opened and we are presented with the TRUTH, unfiltered by personal experiences and perceptions and we are forced to ACT? Everything about ourselves, our thought-processes, our soapboxes, our relationships, shifts, and is subject to re-investigation, and ultimately, destruction.

I've always leaned towards beliefs that favor mysticism and goddess and nature worship, especially as I tend to be prone to lapse into voodoo when the moon looks at me funny. My Rainbow brothers and sisters don't call me Voodoo Annie because its cute. At the 2000 Montana Rainbow Gathering, I had a fat baby in my belly and was dancing (topless) in the high noon circle, and the Spirit of God POURED Himself over me, BATHING me in love and opening my eyes to TRUTH. Everything I valued most was before me, but because my eyes had been opened, for the first time, I could see that it was essentially meaningless, especially contrasted with the glory of God. I was so high, I couldn't speak, only laugh and cry and gesture inarticulately towards the sky. I hadn't eaten a single mushroom. No cannabis. No dmt. Nada. 

I'm a twin, and have wonderful memories of earliest years; I can turn my thoughts back and see in my mind a memory of seeing my brother in a diaper in his crib, standing up and holding on to a bar with his right hand and reaching towards me through the bars of his crib with his left. I can see his expressive eyes, and translate his baby-babble by what his eyes were telling me. I remember specific details about that memory; the room lit with sunshine and the sound of the plastic covered mattress when he adjusted his feet to keep his balance. I remember his asking me if he should wake up our mommie, and when the decision was made, he would call out to her.

Her answer was somewhere in the distance... "Its too early... Its not time yet.... go back to sleep."