When Servalbear and I decided to go on hiatus, I was a bit concerned that I’d get used to not posting and have trouble starting back.  Sure enough, inertia sets in and the days fly by and then it starts to seem like I should come back with a great post and that gets harder to think of and more time goes by… and finally, I just had to sit down and write something.

So here I am.  Breaking the ice.

We’ve been talking about doing some new things with the blog – adding some new voices more regularly, hearing from some old-timers, adding some different types of features, and exploring new aspects of supporting access to reproductive health.  I’m excited about the possibilities, but a lot of that is still in the planning stages – in the meantime, I’m back.

I’ve been thinking about polarities ~ I often do in conjunction with being on the sidewalk, but I was at a workshop this week, and it gave me new food for thought.  We were talking about trauma, and healing from trauma.  The presenter was saying that when people – or systems – resort to polarities, it’s a sign that the person – or the system – is overwhelmed by trauma.

Now I’ve taken that statement out of context, and so it may not make as much sense to you as it did to me at the time.  But I thought about our culture and how polarized we are in so many ways – whether it’s race or abortion or poverty or ~ so many things.  And it made me think about a funny story from the sidewalk that happened a few weeks ago.  See what you think about this.

I was down at the corner of First and Market, it was early, and there were a couple of cars with clients already there.  I’d talked to one of them them, someone else had talked to another, and I was moving back towards the corner.   One of the chaser/protesters was ranting about how they were going to regret this, that they’d never be ok again, that it would be so harmful to them… and on and on…

Then suddenly, he says to me “That’s right, you’re a therapist, aren’t you?  That’s right, you are!!  You’re some kind of psychiatrist or something.  So I guess the more of these women that go in there and get harmed, that’s just more business for you, isn’t it?  The more they hurt, the better for you.   Is that what you’re doing down here, just getting more business for yourself?”

I was so taken aback, I had to laugh ~ I had never considered the possibility that being an escort could be a form of ambulance chasing, right?

Of course, I didn’t say anything back ~ what could I possibly say to that?  Well, except, no, I’m not a psychiatrist, I would like to set that straight, but I just laughed and shook my head, no, I’m not actually down there drumming up business.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that he might really think that’s really what I’m trying to do.

Good grief.

I don’t think I can connect all the dots in my head here, but ~ I think we are a traumatized culture.  We are confronted with perceived threat after perceived threat, over and over and over, until our ability to absorb and process them is overwhelmed.

I think the protesters are emotionally threatening to clients with their “in your face” chasing and yelling. I guess the protesters feel threatened by their own belief that little innocent babies are being slaughtered.  They think people are traumatized by abortion, and I think the idea of not being able to access needed healthcare is a bit traumatic.  (Not to imply that perceived threats and trauma are the same thing.)

But the polarities exist to protect us from having to think in shades of gray.  If I am an evil woman ~ if I can be demonized as someone who wants to see women hurt because all I care about is money ~ then that protester is justified in his own actions. And…

…yeah, I don’t know where this goes, except I always have this sense, this feeling, that then they burn some witches.

My commitment ~ my stance ~ is that we need to push back against the things the protesters do.  We need to expose the things they do, because otherwise people can’t know what’s going on.

And I will try not to demonize them.  I will step up and speak out and not be afraid to expose the things they say and do, but I’ll work against what they’re doing, not who they are.

Yeah, it’s a fine line.  I invite you to try to walk it with me.

21 thoughts on “Polarities

  1. Let me thank you again for what you do! I had to take a friend to the clinic for a very emotional mid-trimester abortion. As to the reason, that is her story and I won’t tell it. What I did see were a bunch of people who offered no solutions to a woman who would have loved nothing better than for somebody to tell her why it was a good reason to give birth to the this fetus. All she heard was the same canned bullshit. Same shaming down the street. Same responses about “just come in to the AWC” when all she wanted was somebody to ask a few questions. Really, your “antichoicers” need to learn how to shut up and listen to women. All they did a blather loudly over any concerns the client I was there with had and make her want to run for the door. Sorry I didn’t say hello to any of you great escorts. I had a stomach virus and did not care to pass it one.

    • Thanks, Kyborn, for sharing that story – I wish you’d said hi too, but I totally understand! You’re right, walking up that sidewalk with a client really makes one appreciate how pointless what the antis do is. I’m glad you were there to be her companion.

  2. I’ve been coming here all week trying to think of a response or something to add and…I can’t. You said it perfectly.

    So I’ll just say that I’m thrilled to see you back, I missed you, I hope you guys had a lovely Thanksgiving, and thanks for braving the cold to bring peace on earth and goodwill towards women.

  3. Welcome back!

    It’s funny you mentioned witch burnings. I was just telling my husband yesterday that if were 1693 instead of 2013, it’s likely we would both have been burned as witches by now.

    • Thanks, Jules.

      And, for what it’s worth, I always think it’s a sign of character to know that you’d have been at the stake and not in the frenzied crowd screaming “burn the witches!” Ya know? 🙂

  4. So glad you are back. You continue to give me food for thought as I try to be compassionate to those whose behavior leaves me alternately shaking my head and/or wanting to retaliate, something that would help no one – the clients, the other escorts or me. Sometimes I think I am as tall as I care to be, but nonetheless, I am continuing to grow. Thanks to you and all the other escorts. I only hope the day comes when healthcare will just be healthcare and be available to everyone. And we escorts will no longer be needed.

    • Thanks, Linda, I appreciate that, and I’m glad you’re trying to walk that fine line too . I agree 100% that it will be great when people can just go to the doctor and we won’t need to be there!

  5. First of all, welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your break. You deserve it!

    Second, I was just thinking of this blog today while in the midst of one of those pointless internet arguments. It all started about cell cultures that were originally cultured from an aborted fetus in the 1960’s and vaccines. From there it devolved into how aborted fetus DNA was causing autism which I won’t even go into why that is just garbage. When logic didn’t work the person I was arguing with shared that she had an abortion and regretted it so that is why it should be illegal. I (probably not so nicely) told her that it sounded like she was saying that she wasn’t able to make good choices regarding her medical care so she thought she she be making them for other women, including me, and that I trusted myself to make my medical decisions. From there, it devolved into discussions of her being an “abortion survivor” because apparently she was born in Louisville, KY and her mother had expressed multiple times that she could have just easily walked down the street and aborted rather than gone to an OB/GYN and eventually given birth. My response was that my mother could have done the same, I was born in Louisville the very same year. I also expressed that I thought her mother was a crappy parent for even telling her child that, as I don’t know, or care, or have a right to know, what my mother felt about me during her pregnancy. Personally, I am glad she had a choice and if that meant my embryo self was evicted then I doubt that me not existing would have brought about the end of the world.

    But yes, I agree with you about polarities. I worry about myself retreating to extreme positions, even though I am on the right side. Before reading your post tonight, I had been in a fairly intense conversation with a friend about the state of reproductive health and health care in general which was probably more of a rant by me. His response was “Oh KyBorn, you have always been so intense.” This made me stop and question whether or not I have become a black or white person on the issue of abortion. I guess in one way I have because I don’t have any room for any sort of law that imposes another person’s choice on women when it comes to health care. I have no tolerance for the idea that zygotes, embryos and fetuses are ever more important or even equal to a woman who is receiving health care. Then I realized that I don’t want to impose my opinions on others. If a woman decides it is best for her to carry a doomed fetus to term I support her. If a woman decides to sacrifice her health or life rather than abort an embryo then I support her right to make that choice. So, I am giving myself a pass since I don’t want to impose my personal beliefs and choices on anybody else.

    And finally, your anti’s are super creepy and stalkerish. Why do they even need to know what you do for a job, much less analyze your intentions? I prefer to think that most, not all, but most people are just moving through this life doing the best they can. We all make mistakes but try not to hurt others most of the time. Blegh, enough of my ranting. I am glad to see you back!

    • Wow, KyBorn, thank you for this comment – lots of food for thought here!

      I feel bad for the person whose mother kept reminding her she could have aborted her – and sorry that she regrets her own abortion. I think that sometimes we have regrets about things because we don’t remember what the situation was like at the time and so we can’t remember why it was the right decision then. But it’s unfortunate that she’s lost in that. It is ludicrous to think about what kind of laws we’d have if people got to establish them based on their own life choices.

      I’m glad you came to the conclusion that you’re not too polarized on the abortion issue – like you, I’m in support of the woman’s choice, whatever that may be. AndI think it’s good to check ourselves from time to time…

      Finally, yes, our antis are creepy! They know a lot about me because they’ve been cyber-stalking me – that’s how they found my mother’s obituary. At one time, it would have really bothered me, but I’ve decided my life is pretty much an open book anyhow, so there’s no point in worrying about it. I think it’s interesting that they’re that interested in me. 🙂

      Thanks for the “welcome back” too!

      • It is entirely too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of “what-ifs.” It is bad enough to do to ourselves. I found myself doing it after a health crisis that “should have” left me dead two weeks earlier while I was still working 70 hours a week and popping Advil while ignoring symptoms. So, I do understand the temptation BUT it is just not productive. Far less productive is going down the the rabbit hole of what would have happened to us if somebody had done something before we were even born. I think some people not only need to control the present and future of everybody else, but also the past.

  6. Don’t know if I am missing your point or not, but … our group is going through a back and forth thing in the comments on an article about our group helping a home here that helps women and children. In the comments we have, of course, been attacked with “their reality” regarding abortion, even though the article was simply about helping the home. In attempting to respond with information countering their facts, such as “women regret their abortion,” and many, many others, it seems there is no way they will even attempt to believe facts, even when they come from reliable sources. It seems so hopeless to attempt to educate them as they don’t want to be educated.

    As I was driving home today I was behind a vehicle with a bumper sticker that said You Can’t be Pro Choice and Christian. Another of THEIR truths. So maddening and so sad.

    • Hey, Josie,

      Yep, that’s right on point – not being able to see that two things are not mutually exclusive. Losing shades of gray – ok, it doesn’t have to be 50 Shades of Gray – but all that space in-between the extremes. 🙂 It is really difficult to try to educate people who don’t want to see beyond their own beliefs.

  7. My first thought on reading of that anti accusing you of “drumming up business” was, “Projecting much, there, Skippy?”

    If he has no ethics (mindful of the distinction between ethics and morals as delineated by Stephen William Rimmer in his “Less Obvious Laws of the Universe” found on the Alchemy Mindworks site), he can’t imagine anyone else having any ethics. It’s probably a misapplication of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but an analogy may be appropriate.

    • Thanks for reading and for commenting, Ferret.

      I confess I had to go google everything you cited, but it was worth the effort, thanks! Lol… It may or may not be a reasonable analogy, wouldn’t want to make that judgment without more information.

  8. YES. Well said. So much easier to label each other, stereotype “them” to protect “us” or “me.” Have been away from the sidewalk long enough to imagine life without that daily struggle. I wonder why it’s just a simple matter of going to the doctor in Europe, but a life & death fight in USA.

    • Thanks, Lisajane – it is easier, and not very helpful… It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if we could recognize that it’s just healthcare and not anyone’s business. Sigh… I always think we have our Puritan ancestors to blame for our current state of judgmental nosiness… but that’s just my thought.

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