The ‘uterus collector’ is an infuriating product of our history

I’m so mad. My anger has overflowed.

Learning this week that women in the ICE detention centers have been given unauthorized and unwarranted hysterectomies has us overcome with anger, guilt, grief.

Women.

Having their wombs taken away.

Having the ability to continue their families, culture, traditions, heritage.

Mothers.

Taking away a woman’s right.

Taking away a woman’s future to choose for herself.

We know what happened in Germany during WW2. We know what Hitler did to the Jewish people. We have seen this before, many times. We are letting this happen again.

The uterus collector. They have given this person a special name because this has happened so. fucking. much. The history of gynecology in the United State is appalling and has routinely been carried out on women of color, particularly Black women. Forced sterilization was so popular in the United States from the 1900s to the 1970s against WOC that they became known as Mississippi Appendectomies. Low-income WOC were told that they need to be sterilized or lose their assistance benefits. Coercive sterilization it was called. Using the system that folx rely on against them. One-third of Puerto Rican women between the 1930s and 1970s were sterilized and it became the highest rate in the world.

The body is political.

A Black woman has alerted us, Dawn Wooten. She proclaimed that as an American and a nurse “I became a whistleblower but now I’m a target, but I’ll take a target any day to do what’s just and right.” She is doing what’s right and needed in our country at this time. She did something that people need to be doing: listening to women. Wooten has endangered her life in a time when Black folx are targeted for much less.

She has five children of her own.

This year has sobered many of you.

The curtain has been pulled away once and for all.

For some—this is the first time you’ve seen this happen.

For some—they have seen this happen and said nothing.

For some—this has happened to them.

We need to fucking stop, listen, learn, and help.

We’re so often told that we shouldn’t talk about politics at work—but when you work in a place like an ICE detention center and have women routinely tell you that they have had a procedure they know nothing about, that takes away their right to bear children. Our lives are inherently political; we have no privileges with the law Yet we shy away from using it to see the systemic issues that are present. The push and pull found with this argument creates an infinity loop: there is always another question—and nothing moves forward.

The personal is political. Women have no autonomy over our bodies as long as laws exist and practices are carried out on us under the umbrella of authority.

Anger swells.

My body isn’t made for this.

I feel helpless and guilty that I feel helpless.

These women.

Women.

Having their wombs taken away. Having the ability to continue their culture, traditions, heritage. Erasure.

Mothers.

Taking away a woman’s right.

You’re taking away a woman’s future to choose for herself.

There is a mourning of what could have been.

The life that could have been.


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Trusting my body

This is quickly becoming one of those weeks, where I wish I could press the rewind button and start it all over. However as we all know life doesn’t quite work like that, so all we can do is carry on and do the best that we can to maintain sanity in the midst of madness. Part of me maintaining my sanity is making time for me, oddly enough that includes taking time every day to write whether it is in my journal or in this humble little space. Today I am in this space.

While the list of things I could bitch about is ever growing, I realized a few days ago that actually there is a bright spot. Earlier this year, I gave up my relationship with Weight Watchers; don’t get me wrong Weight Watchers didn’t do me wrong in anyway. Hell, I actually took off almost 50 pounds with WW and maintained that loss for several years until I got sloppy by their standards and eventually I gained back almost 20 of the 50 pounds.

I had planned to get back together with Weight Watchers this year but found myself resistant; the truth is I wanted to learn to trust my body to make right choices without concern about points or that dreaded weekly meeting. It’s been a journey this year as I embraced the idea of intuitive eating and trusting that my body will make the right choices.

Well after months of feeling stalled and wondering if my body didn’t know how to trust itself, all of sudden it seems my body has gotten the memo that she is a capable being who can choose what and when to eat and doesn’t need the weekly meeting or those points. I don’t know exactly when this all started to happen, but I know that I am no longer freebasing desserts daily, a simple dark chocolate square is often all I want when I feel the need for something sweet.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I baked exactly one pie, and in the end I had one slice of that pie and ended up throwing away almost half a pie. Oddly enough I didn’t feel any which way about that either. I find my body craving more fruits and veggies than ever before as evidenced by the fact that I was way more enthusiastic about the vegetarian café that opened up near my job, than I ever would have thought it possible.

I don’t step on the scale often, but I do know that all of a sudden my bigger clothes, the ones I reluctantly bought this fall now have room in them. After realizing that all my large clothes have room, I did break down and step on the scale and was pleasantly surprised. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, last year I read several of Geneen Roth’s books and learned about intuitive eating and knew that initially it would be an adjustment, one that might even cause the numbers to rise but that eventually my body would find its sweet space…guess we are heading to the sweet spot.

In the end who knows what all this means, but I admit I am digging my veggies, yoga and walking, now if I could get my seven year old to join me in the veggie love. Then again maybe I need to trust that her body will guide her and that eventually she will want to eat good healthy foods and lose her love for all things meaty and swine. Trusting my own body might actually be easier than trusting my child’s body, but that is a post for another day.

No one can define you but you unless you choose otherwise

I had no intention of writing about Jennifer Livingston’s amazing display of awesome, after some concern troll sent her a letter informing of her of the obvious…yeah she’s a big girl. If you haven’t seen the video and have no idea of who Jennifer is, you have to watch this video. Seriously, she gave it back to this asshat. On top of that, Liz over at Six Year Itch also wrote an amazing post inspired by Jennifer, so really I didn’t think the world needed my two cents.

Until I saw this tweet that someone tweeted me in response to one of my tweets. “Our weight defines who we are.” I admit seeing that tweet, made me sit up and take notice and well here I am. I have made no secret of the fact that since my late 20’s, I have been riding the weight gain roller coaster. I go up and I go down, I have had some medical issues in recent years that knocked me off my comfortably thin perch and at times have brought me lower than a snake’s belly.

We live in a culture that for women puts a high premium on being thin, so much so that more women than not seem to wrap their self-esteem and value as humans up into numbers, either the numbers on the scale or the numbers on the tags of their clothes. Unlike money where higher numbers are better, for weight, we want smaller numbers, the smaller the better and if for some reason the numbers aren’t small, we seem to take it as a sign of human failure. So we live life at half capacity, limiting ourselves because we don’t think we are worthy enough. All because we don’t have the right numbers.

Granted there are growing numbers of women, who are learning to love themselves and accept their bodies and their lives regardless of their numbers. Sadly though their numbers are still small and it’s still an uphill battle since accepting one’s body and its imperfections is often harder said than done when thin is queen and is everywhere we go.

The funny thing is men while they have their own issues, rarely seem as fixated on numbers as women. I was thinking this morning about men that I know who have accepted their imperfections including the middle aged guy paunch that often occurs and the level of sexy that many of these guys still display. While I accept that men and women are vastly different, this is one time I think that maybe women should take a tip from the men.

Look those numbers mean not a damn thing unless you choose to give them value, you wear a size 16? Great, why does it matter? Things only matter and have value if we choose to let them have value otherwise they are just things or again in this case numbers. If you are a wonderfully talented whatever, let that define you. The person who wakes up in the quiet of the morning and feels the stillness of the day and takes it all in is who you are and it’s who I am, not a fucking number.

I have been on a quest to be fabulously fit by 40, so far it’s going slow and my birthday will be here in January. While there is a good chance I may lose the pounds I want to lose, the fact is maybe I won’t. However my body is far more flexible than it ever was, I can do difficult poses in yoga that 2 years ago I could only dream about. My “numbers” that count like blood pressure are good and I am looking at food with new eyes. Nothing is bad, double chocolate cake is only cake until I decide otherwise and a few nights ago, I decided it was what my body wanted and it was good.

I know some of my regular readers probably get a little tired of me talking about getting older, but one of the reasons I talk about it quite often is that there are real gifts that come from spending more time on this planet. One being that at certain point, the realization that your time here is limited, after all even if you die at 90; it still means you will die. So you realize that eventually you get tired of others defining who and what you should be and if Sophia Wisdom decides to rain down on you, you realize that you are in control of your life, therefore the only person who can define you is you. In the end we are souls and spirits housed in bodies that eventually fade and that everything else is simply window dressing.