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Nov. 23rd, 2011 10:13 pm
gretchen_marie: (Default)
Having seen my Muse today, I was reminded that I used to write. I used to write every day. I used to think about writing even when I wasn't writing.

My life is at another one of those crossroads that seem to crop up periodically. On Halloween, I made the decision that I can no longer live with Jodie. Be in a relationship, maybe... but not live with her. She is going through a transition which, I am confident, she never would have even considered if I hadn't come along and showed her the option was there. It makes me a little sad that I won't be there to see the rest of the process; I know it's going to change her in ways that she's going to love, and in ways she is going to struggle with. I keep reminding myself that my not being there is a self-preservation tactic; she was grinding away at my (nonexistent) soul.

I realized last week sometime, talking to Joel, that my relationship with Michael did something to me. You see, I felt like I had been taking care of everyone and everything for so long... and Michael, he took care of me. It was wonderful. But he took care of me so thoroughly that he wouldn't even let me take care of myself, even when I tried. Whether it was carrying my bag into the house, changing the oil on my car, or paying a bill... he always took over, and did it for me.

I became, for lack of a better term, dependent. And when he broke up with me, this is a large part of why I was so shattered.

Another part, which I only realized the other night when I said to Tracy, "I feel safe with you,"... I felt safe with Michael. He took that away from me, and I haven't felt safe since.

Writing that made tears well up in my eyes.

Safety is such a nebulous concept... so abstract. For some, safety is financial. For others, it's physical. For me, it tends to be emotional.

It kills me that it's taken me over a year to really start to heal from my relationship with Michael. But at least I'm starting to heal.

My love life has been exploding... I've had dates with half a dozen new people. I have, however, felt totally unsatisfied. I realized the other night (when things really clicked with Tracy) that I'd been looking for a connection. I have a connection with several people who are important to me, an important part of my life. But with all of them, there is some wall, some barrier, that keeps it from being complete. Sometimes it's their wall; sometimes it's mine.

I am so tired, and I have what is likely strep throat. I was going to go volunteer with a homeless shelter tomorrow, but I'm not going to do that now. instead, I'll drink my diet coke and bourbon, and go to bed, and try to sleep the whole night without waking up...
gretchen_marie: (Default)
Morgan asked my opinion about a Christmas present for Liz, so I was googling about and discovered that there are a ton of people out there who, for one reason or another, think that the sign for "bullshit" actually means "good luck."


I just don't have words.

Cultural appropriation, for the LOSE.
gretchen_marie: (dr gretchen)
I cannot abide people who refuse to see shades of gray in this world. Let's face it... there are shades of gray EVERYWHERE. In every field, in every topic. And no one in the world has the right to say, "this is how it is for everyone who is *insert a group*."

Not even someone who is part of that group.

I am at a conference at UNI today, a conference for those working to end domestic violence. The keynote speaker is Dr. Gail Dines, author of "Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality." She has some WONDERFUL points about the culture we live in and how it reinforces violence against women and grooms young men to detach from women (i.e. teaches them absolutely nothing about how to have a healthy relationship or sexuality).


She is yet another "all or nothing" person. Yet another black/white, dichotomy, binary person. Someone who refused, utterly REFUSED, to acknowledge that there might possibly be women doing sex work who WANT to be doing sex work. I men refused. She quoted a study of 7 countries that stated unequivocally (in her words) that women in sex work want one thing: to get out.

Leaving aside the potential can of worms that would be opened by questioning the structure of the study (since any study can be structured to confirm a hypothesis rather than to gather information), how exactly does she justify speaking for ALL women, everywhere? She said this myth about some group of women having lots of fun sex is just that, a myth.

She also pissed me off by saying there was no excuse for men to NOT stand up to misogyny and exert a view of healthy masculinity. I said that in many cases, men were not AWARE of the need for their voices, and not aware of male privilege or the impact of misogyny on their own lives. She dismissed that out of hand. "There's no excuse," she said.

Really, I truly cannot abide this kind of thinking. It is polarizing, exclusive, in a realm that NEEDS to be inclusive.

I see this in every field of activism I have ever been involved in... black and white thinking. It is as if, by admitting that there might be some part of the world that does not fit into the binary, one loses face and ground.

To me, being able to admit and discuss the gray areas means you feel strongly enough about your topic that you aren't threatened by those shades of gray.

Ah well. I didn't change her mind, and she didn't change mine. I'm going to go give a presentation on Deaf culture and domestic/sexual violence now, and see if I can change some people's perspectives...


Oct. 17th, 2011 11:18 am
gretchen_marie: (Default)
So, who out here in LJ-land (an increasingly barren desert, I admit) has the time/energy/wherewithal to review my resume?

I'm applying for a job in Georgia. My resume has to be top-notch (as does my cover letter, but I'll get to that later).

I am freaking out about this. As usual.
gretchen_marie: (Default)
Actual text message exchange I just had with my sister:

Me: "Do you know what I need? Two skulls. Bobcat skulls, or some other similarly sized sjulls. And you are the skull person of the family. So where do I get them?

Tina: Why do you need skulls? And just a sec. I'll send you my favorite supplier. wwww.bridgerfur.com or www.hideandfur.com

Me: Rock on. Thank you. Shall bookmark for later use!

Tina: Okay.

Me: Because I'm going to make something awesome for my door for Christmas, silly. What do you think?!

Tina: Ooookay then.

Me: I love the fact that you didn't bat a virtual eyelash at this request.

Tina: Well, we ARE sisters.

Me: This is true, and also awesome.

Tina: ^___^
gretchen_marie: (Default)
I just got off a Skype chat with Morgan's new(ish) girlfriend. Morgan, for those who are not intimately involved in my life, is my eldest spawn (thanks to D for the nomenclature). Morgan has been a source of angst in my life, there's no question of that. Some of that has been my own shit; I now greatly regret having spent so much time working and comparatively little time with my boys during their teenage years.

Regardless, Morgan still loves his Momma, so I guess I didn't totally screw up.



Liz is his girlfriend. She was in an interpreter training program in Cedar Rapids until recently, when she moved to TX to attend an ITP there. Kirkwood (Cedar Rapids) is where she and Morgan met.

I tell you, people... this one is a keeper. Morgan had said as much to me in a text last week, and he said he thought I would really like her. He was right. I like her a lot, even from just a 45 minute chat.

I told her the top four reasons I already liked her: 1) she captivated Morgan enough that he TOLD me about her. 2) she's studying to be an interpreter. 3) She took Morgan to task over his lack of knowledge of ASL. 4) She has EXCELLENT grammar.

She also was VERY concerned about how I was doing after the car accident (yeah, I haven't written about that here... but I DID tweet about it, and you can follow me at that place as gretchenmarie5), and said she had told Morgan he should be staying in Iowa to take care of his Momma but he didn't listen so well. I thought that was just utterly CHARMING.

(yes, I really like this girl... can you tell? Morgan had better marry her)

So... a happy update! Yay! This is like the first in, what? A year? More?

It's been a pretty good weekend. Maybe I should write a little more...
gretchen_marie: (Default)
From Goldie Taylor:

When I shut my mouth and turn to walk away, it doesn't mean you've won. It simply means that your stupid ass isn't worth any more of my time.
gretchen_marie: (dandelion)
This morning, at 10am, I go to court for a hearing on dropping the no contact order against my partner Jodie. Jodie has now been in jail for just over two weeks, for domestic assault on me. When sie was first arrested, I was devastated...I hadn't wanted the police to arrest hir at all. I had had Tim call the police because sie had locked me out of the house... and everything in the house was mine.

But such are the laws on domestic violence in Iowa that the police now MUST arrest one party if there are visible injuries. My injuries, while laughably minor, were still visible. And Jodie has a record. So Jodie was arrested.

I think I cried for the better part of two days.

Everyone seems to think that the Incident itself, that being a victim, is what has been so traumatic. But that's not even remotely true. The trauma has come from the aftermath... from the not-knowing. Not knowing what will happen to Jodie, whether sie is getting the medical care sie needs, whether sie is able to sleep at night. Most everyone in my life thinks I am an idiot of some stripe to even worry about hir. I cannot turn off my caring.

The worst thing that I do not know? How sie has been processing this. Is sie sitting in a jail cell thinking about what sie did? Or is sie thinking about what *I* did to *hir*?

This matters, you see. This matters because how sie views this mess will determine whether or not I will remain in hir life.

I know that sounds horribly self-minimizing...like I'm giving hir all the power here. I don't see it that way at all. I see it as... if sie is willing to look at hir own actions and behavior, willing to see that sie was the instigator of this, AND willing to acknowledge that sie is an alcoholic (and work on hir addiction)... there is hope. Hope that sie can move forward, change, and grow.

But if sie is simply sitting in jail plotting revenge against me?

I'm done. I will walk away with nary a backward glance.

The only reason I am even giving hir this chance (which sie doesn't even know about, because of said no contact order) is because I have already seen the massive change that sie is capable of. Turning from a bitter, angry, constantly-drunk old man into a sweet, feminine, not-drunk Sugar who had learned sie DID have control over hir behavior? Was a massive change.

This sounds so simple... either I will remain in hir life or I will walk away. But really... it is horrendously complicated. The decision I make this morning will affect where I will live, how I will continue my job search, what clothes I have, whether I will have a functional computer for VRS...

My back and shoulders and stomach are so tense, in so much turmoil. I haven't been sleeping for two weeks; the only night I got a good night's sleep was when Christopher was here. I'm on the verge of tears right now... I've been fine, haven't been crying for at least a week. I started going to Al-Anon (not AA... the associated group for families and loved ones of alcoholics) the Tuesday after the Incident, and have witnessed the real power of the Serenity Prayer.

I need it now...

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
gretchen_marie: (complex geographies)
[livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna has written a book that knocked Warren Ellis flat.

Really, need I say more?

Go hither and buy it, because awesome Cat is awesome and she needs to continue writing. Thus sayeth I, and a whole slew of her other fans.

And if you need more convincing, here... have a trailer.

Yes, for a book.

gretchen_marie: (dandelion)
I have a favor to ask of you.

Actually, it's not a favor for ME. It's a favor for her, and her, and him and his three kids, and that little girl over there who cries in her sleep, and the woman who woke up with bruises all over her body and her hair ripped out.

Okay, maybe it's a favor for me, too.

Some of you may have been around long enough to remember that the Iowa Legislature pulled a fast one back in Fiscal Year 2003. Sometime quite literally in the middle of the night, the decision was made to eliminate the line item in the state budget for services to victims of sexual and domestic violence. Millions of dollars were appropriated elsewhere, and the removal of the line item meant that no other money could be funneled towards this need... line item elimination is HUGE in governmental budgeting. Trust me on this one. From my perspective (and I know that perspective is shared by many other people) it shows a total lack of concern about victims of violence.

What's most catastrophic about this is... nearly all of the sexual and domestic violence victims' advocacy programs in the state were funded at least in great part by these funds. Almost immediately, programs started to close and services were merged or cut. Many of you were around when I was informed that Deaf Women of Iowa Against Abuse was one of the programs that would have to either merge or close the doors to the victims we served. A total of nine programs closed or were absorbed by other programs during this time.

Between then and now, the state Attorney General's office has scrambled to provide funds to help keep the remaining programs at least extant. The way they've done this is to draw funds from the victim compensation fund... the money that's used to help pay for therapy for a child whose parents have been murdered, that's used to pay for a funeral of a domestic violence murder, that's used to cover emergency room services for a rape victim... you get the idea. More information about this fund is available at Iowa Crime Victims Compensation Program.

So basically... it's been robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Now, the victim compensation fund is close to being depleted. It's replenished by the penalties that criminals pay, and restitution that is made to victims from their perpetrators. It can't be replenished fast enough. It has been decimated, and this has sometimes resulted in some tough choices having to be made.

The Legislature has replaced the line item in the state budget.

What they haven't done, though, is replace the funding.

http://www.victimstosurvivors.org is the website. Go take a look at it. Watch the PSA that's linked at the top of the page.

And then contact your legislators. Use the "Contact Your Elected Official" link on the left of the page. Just... do something.



gretchen_marie: (Default)

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