I've been away from blogging for a few weeks. To all six of my readers out there, I'm sorry; but I had a minor crisis of purpose. Let me explain.
Another day, another story attack on women's health. Every single day! From Virginia to Texas to Arizona, legislators are hell-bent on scaring, shaming, or taxing women away from their doctors. Republican nut-jobs in Tennessee this week decided to open the books on abortion statistics, providers, and patients in the state (in a stunning display of intelligence, they backed off); and in the same week these defenders of family values welcomed back into the fold a Republican legislator who beat his wife. Beat. His wife. Yeah.
The crush of red state politics on speed has been almost too much to take in. Wait, they're sticking what into where? They're taxing that? What -- why -- huh? -- they think what? -- who are these people?
Faced with the onslaught of anti-women, race-to-the-bottom policies, my speaking and writing patterns had been reduced to some version of the above. Not conducive to eloquent blogging.
I could only write so many blog posts about how angry all of this makes me. As soon as I finished a draft, some new idiocy had come out of another State House. Better writers than I am had said what needed to be said about abortion, contraception, and women's health. I felt that I had nothing of substance to contribute, only more outrage.
So for the past few weeks I sat stewing in front of my computer. Nothing I can do. Adding to the noise isn't helping anything. These crazies don't respect women or their rights and nothing is going to change and it's all going to hell in a hand basket and will someone please get me a glass of wine already?
Then I read a blog post by Lori Day on the Huffington Post called "The Loneliness of Being Female in 2012 America." After reading it, I was able to put a name to how I've been feeling: lonely. It's the feeling of being left out of the conversation, this one being about women's health and access to care. It's deeply personal, and yet the gap between my personal outrage and the reality of law-making seems wider every day. Ms. Day talks about anomie, "describing the moral disconnect one can feel between his or her own
personal values, and the values and laws thrust upon the individual by
society." What a perfect word for these times.
I know there are a lot of people out there thinking the same things I am. Whenever I read one of their blog posts, I think to myself, "Whew! I'm not alone in thinking that ___ is total bullshit!" It feels like a triumph to have someone agree with you, to read their words and to realize that they have perfectly captured what you've been thinking. Most of all, though, it confirms that we're not alone -- and in the end, that's all we're really looking for, right?
And so I had my first bloggy epiphany. I remembered why I started blogging and why it's important to me that I continue. It's about keeping the conversation going and not letting the other side win by shutting up. It's protecting ourselves and our friends from feeling left out, becoming discouraged and giving up.
So I'm back. Not with anything particularly profound, but profundity is sometimes overrated. For now, it's enough to vent my frustration into the blogosphere and add to that conversation.
I hope that we can connect on some of these issues. From now on, I'll hold up my end.
Crisis over. I will still take that glass of wine, if anyone is offering.