All posts by Susan Taylor

The Prequel That Disappeared

As I was saying last Sunday, when our big kids were teens, Jude was very online, busily teaching himself computer programming languages. One day, I happened by his desk and heard some music that captured me immediately. “Who is this?” “Porcupine Tree.” That moment was my introduction to the musical love of my life, Prog Rock.

Porcupine Tree’s leader is Steven Wilson, quite the musical prodigy, who has created unique music over the course of many years. In 2015, Greg was working in Phoenix, and I heard that Steven Wilson’s tour was going to play in Phoenix and I thought it would be fun to fly out and spend a couple days with Greg and go to the concert.

After the brilliant concert (Hand. Cannot. Erase. tour), I started looking at the other projects of the band members, including Craig Blundell (drummer). The rabbit trail that I went down about Craig introduced me to a band called Frost* as he also played drums for them. At that time, they had two albums, but their first one, Milliontown, captured me immediately at the time. “It had me at hello.”

Greg and I make ourselves very grateful for having found the Imago Dialogue and Radical Honesty, two separate concepts that work very well together for us. With the Dialogue, over the course of a couple of years with an excellent therapist, we were able to extract ourselves from the power struggle that most (all?) couples find themselves in at some point.

You can love each other with your whole hearts and still have these sticking points that are seemingly unresolvable. Once we learned the Dialogue concepts, we started being able to really hear each other, empathize and validate. Being heard? Empathized with? Validated? about all the things we’ve tried to communicate to each other? Priceless.

Then along came Radical Honesty. The thumbnail sketch here is that most of us hide our true selves in a lot of areas in our lives. I personally would say I rarely shared any “difficult” feelings and often said yes when I wanted to say no! Attending the RH workshop separately, and then together in October, this year has been a rich experience of beginning to share both appreciations and resentments with each other. We NEVER said “I resent you for …” before we found Radical Honesty.

Expressing resentments while paying attention to what is happening in my body helps me make a connection about the sensations (tight stomach, clenched jaw, heavy shoulders) with the emotions that are co-existent with them.

Frost* were to tour in April, this same set of five concerts. I knew about the concerts and had a desire for Greg and me to go, but we couldn’t quite pull it off and then the tour got cancelled anyway. When I found out their tour was rescheduled for November, I knew I wanted to go, and I imagined I would go by myself because of the short notice, Greg having to work, etc. But I imagined this would be a huge thing to pull off on such short notice.

When I knew for sure that I wanted to do this (Monday, November 21, 2022), we were preparing to go to Ithaca for Thanksgiving. Greg was out with Kepler when he received a text from me saying I would like to go to England the following Saturday (November 26, 2022). He did not respond by text and when he got home, I imagined I was seeing a very angry Greg.

Now here’s the thing about emotions. They don’t necessarily make any sense whatsoever logically. To wit: Greg was furious with me for texting that to him and putting emojis in the message. He also imagined making the plans would take me out of really participating with the holidays with family. I asked if he had any resentments to express. Spoiler alert: he did. All I can say is that because of the work we have done, he was able to express all of it, and I was able to witness what he was expressing.

When you do this kind of expression, what happens is you come to a place of forgiveness in your body because you expressed it until you are complete. While some people raise their voices when they express resentments, Kepler is usually nearby, so we very intensely, but also mostly calmly say what we want to say.

The main things with noticing and reporting is your emotions do not get to stay stuck in your body, but are rather expressed and the intensity is discharged. We got through the conversation. I hadn’t known that it would bother him so much to send him a text, and I’m still not exactly sure I understand the piece about the emojis, and I am so grateful he told me what was going on with him.

The next morning before we got up, I asked him about England, what he was thinking about the idea. He said, “Oh, I thought we had that all figured out.” He was all in favor of me going. (NB: Before the Dialogue and especially before Radical Honesty, we would simply not have been able to resolve the conflict and I definitely would not have been going to the UK). I tried to think about things I might need to quickly find to take to Ithaca because I wanted to fly from JFK, so I packed my passport and a couple travels items, and off we went to Ithaca. This is Tuesday. I have no arrangements made yet.

On the drive to Ithaca, I first buy my concert tickets for the five concerts. Next I arrange my flight. Then I need to get a britrail pass to ride those lovely trains around the country from place to place. Greg encourages me to get a first class coach pass, which I do. Finally, I search “lodging near [venues where Frost* is playing].” I am able to make lodging arrangements.

By the time we reach Ithaca, my trip is pretty much planned and I’m leaving for the UK on Saturday. Mitzi (Greg’s sister) and Vanessa (our niece) help us brainstorm how to get to JFK on Saturday. I end up taking a bus down to the city, and then making a transfer to the subway, and eventually finding my way to JFK.

Greg and Kepler headed back to Ohio on Saturday morning, and Mitzi and I did some last minute shopping for travel size thises and thats, and she walked me to the bus two blocks away. And I was off on an adventure of a lifetime.

Almost there!

I am the only passenger in this wing of the airport
My own private LaGuardia
Gate 68 is at the land’s end

While making “plans” for this trip, I blithely decided to fly back to JFK, then hop over to LGA to catch a morning flight direct to CVG rather than staying at JFK and only having the choice to travel for 6-8 hours today with a significant layover.

So the thing is, LGA pretty much closes for the night. Security closes, there are no humans at the ticket desk, and besides the floor polisher, only an occasional worker walks by now and again.

How thrilled was I to arrive at closed security and realize my flight wasn’t for 8 hours yet.

Being the resourceful Frostie that I am, I spied a Delta luggage carrier. I blame traveling for my fuzzy brain that forgot to take a picture of my snug little home away from home for the night. Big enough to hold me and my bags, I sat down and wondered if someone was going to come along and inform me I couldn’t be there.

Edited to add:

I was feeling a little exposed right out there in the (empty) security waiting area, so I found a little nook where I could be hidden from most people.

I realized at some point that while I might have no options for food or water until security opened, I was probably going to need a bathroom.

Imagine my surprise when there happened to be one right next to the security area. This entire area is new and very clean, including the bathroom. This is important for later.

A brainstorm! I decided to see if the handicapped toilet could be used as a secure hotel room for a few hours. Imagine my delight when me and my portable home fit right in there without coming into contact with the actual toilet.

Suddenly, as I slid the lock bolt into the slot, I felt safe and secure and even thought I would be ok going to sleep for awhile. It was about 12:30 and I didn’t think security would open until 5am.

About the best that can be said for using a luggage cart as a bed is it certainly does keep you off the floor. But a Sleep Number bed it is not, unless there is a number called Concrete.

I set my alarm in my en suite for 4:30 am. Lo and behold, at about 330, Poppy and her granddaughter Chatty Cathy came into the Salle de Bain Hotel.

This is when I learned that the light on the ceiling glows red if the stall is occupied and green if not. Chatty was mystified why the light over my en suite would be red since she had seen nor heard anyone.

Time to get up, I decided. Poppy and Chatty gracefully covered their shock at this (homeless?) person exiting the handicapped stall.

Thankfully security was now open at 330am and my security staff took care of screening and then they sent me off to my own private airport corridors.

I make myself amused for so many reasons. First, unless you were there (and I definitely did not see you), I imagine you are imagining something awful. Sleeping in a bathroom?? What is this madness??? Please believe when I say this was definitely the best option I could see.

So now I wait. I’ve made it to the gate and have about four hours before takeoff. Some of these food places better open pretty soon as some part of me is insisting it needs food.

Coming to you at 4:12 am from Gate 68, I remain very truly yours, Siouxsie.

Planes and trains and buses, oh my!

Ok now look. I don’t know what those three words conjure up in your brain but let me tell you, in the UK they contain multitudes.

We barely have (passenger) trains in Ohio. I suppose Amtrak rolls through now and again. But obviously no rail system. And we do have buses, but they don’t come out as far as we live and anyway I have a car so who needs a bus.

In the UK, my friends, public transportation is a thing. And if you’re new to it all, deep concentration and focus are required, along with a real go-with-the-flow attitude. Not because the trains are late — they rarely are; but because figuring out which train to take is a lesson in persistence. It helps if you know some serious geography as well.

When you don’t know the location of every last city and town , then the fun begins. Let’s say the towns are called Morgle, Skiffer, Pork, Chop, On, A, Sunny, and Day. The train will advertise it’s going to Day. But you need the train going to Pork so you have to watch the many screens to figure out which train is going to stop at Pork. (NB: not actual city names. These are lyrics to a Hank the Cowdog song.)

Really, the amount of detail to describe would probably be tedious to read. So I’ll just give some highlights.

First of all, every single train and bus I took was a first for me, so I made myself attentive and humble as I for sure wanted to get on the right train or bus.

Some embarkment points required a walk from point A to point B, none of which were very easy to find, of course. Apple Maps is da bomb but I always found getting started in the right direction to challenge my spatial intelligence. Last night I walked .4 miles in the wrong direction and was rescued by a panhandler.

“Can you ‘elp me, miss?” Very focused on getting to the venue for concert 5, I replied, “No, I’m actually trying to help myself!” He asked where I was trying to go and told me to turn around and go the opposite direction. The walk to the venue was already a mile so I alertly added on another .8 miles!

I walked/jogged by a number of stores and my stomach was saying “girl, get me some food. I’m not trying to go hungry until tomorrow.” Finally, after her third entreaty, I stopped in a store and hoped I didn’t accidentally buy myself dog food since everything has a different name here.

I did make it to the venue in time to be about 7th in line. Met another American in line. The “small world” connections really amazed me here. I met so many good and kind people, like I said before, and that kept up throughout the entire trip.

One other transportation tidbit: last night was the only night my hotel was not close to the venue. Getting there required just a shuttle from hotel, a one hour train tide, and that aforementioned one mile walk that I made into a 1.8 mile walk/run.

Getting back to hotel however was much more complicated. First step, walk to different train station, jump on train to Moorgate, then with only five minutes, board a different train. I made myself somewhat stressed about this short transfer time because I’m not a complete novice, but it takes time to figure out where things are.

I made myself very relieved to arrive at the first train station and find I was able to catch an earlier train to Moorgate. Yay, I was going to have more than five minutes but all the people who got off at Moorgate and were catching my train were hoofing it and we all helped each other figure it out.

I screen shotted the train stops so I could meticulously track the progress of the train

I did arrive to catch the second train in time. From that one I needed to disembark and then catch the “N140” bus.

When you exit the train station, you have to find the bus stop. Surprise! There’s a stop on both sides of the street! Would have helped to know which way was east and which was west but of course I didn’t.

Stumbled to the one on this side of the street and thought I detected info about the N140. 24 minutes to its arrival. Alright, cool, it’s cold but if I manage to catch this bus I’m almost back to hotel. With about 7 minutes left to wait my bus info disappears from the sign.

I’m momentarily flummoxed. A very tall, well-dressed handsome man is talking on his phone and he is apparently in the same boat. I approached a working man who indicated he doesn’t hear well and asked what do.

While THM and I were discussing this dilemma, after about five minutes the info for N140 mysteriously reappears. We all laugh and breathe sighs of relief and the British working man is actually very kind and helpful and celebrated with us that we weren’t actually stranded at the Hayes and Harlington bus stop.

Bus arrives and I want to kiss the bus driver but this is frowned on. Nor would I actually do it but man it was a relief.

Bus stops screen shot. When you aren’t 100% certain your internet will work, you plan ahead.

From Nene Rd, I had a short walk to my hotel. I blessed my hotel’s little heart for its excellent signage.

Except it was dark.

So pretty much, adventure after adventure. But I did it! With help from others and some good old fashioned problem solving but I am at the airport waiting for my flight so I think I managed the public transportation system here just fine!

The concerts

I’ve been thinking about what to write about the concerts. First off, yes I am glad I came! Each day and each concert has had its own gifts, but how to write about them in a meaningful way?

Photo by Simon M Trott

The man with the guitar is John Mitchell. The drummer is Craig Blundell. Two more band members (Jem and Nath) aren’t in the frame. John has several projects and through all of them, I hear a thoughtful, reflective man who has a way with his words about human existence.

Jem (Godfrey — keyboards) and John write lyrics that capture the inevitability of death and the journey through life. “Afraid of all that might have happened, and all that never came to be.”

Jem’s hands are a national treasure, if you ask me, and I love how he layers sounds and combines textures. Between his keyboards and vocals and John’s guitar and vocals, and their lyrics, I make myself certain these guys somehow get what it’s like to be me.

Isn’t that what art is? A creative endeavor that touches people in ways that meet them where they are?

Sometimes John’s guitar will enter the song with a solo and I just have to close my eyes and raise my fist into the air in solidarity with the beauty and poignancy. (Example: halfway through Black Light Machine)

I recognize this same longing and fulfillment with John’s other projects, especially Lonely Robot. I appreciate the artistic musical sophistication and richness in the music and lyrics these guys create.

Their opening act on this tour-ette (as Jem calls it) Quantum Pig, are a thoughtful, intelligent duo whose lyrics and themes resonate with me deeply. What are we doing to our home, “Sagan’s dot,” our Mother Earth, in the name of “progress?”

I imagine the music of Frost* is thoughtful, reflective, resonant, angry, true, clever, British, universal, and human. Yeah, I love this band.

British train station

Platform cleaner at Bath train station
Chatty Cath the British Pigeon of the Day
Spires in the fog

Of all the places I was on my trip — airplanes, trains, hotels, concert halls, train stations, shops, walking from place to place, a majority was spent on trains and in train stations.

Besides the concerts each day, considerable time was spent planning the route to the hotel, the route to the venue and back, and later, the route back to the trains

So my days went like this: charge phone as much as possible, plan routes while charging phone, ride train to the right city (charge phone on train) go to concert with a fully charged phone, go to sleep and let the phone charge, sleep as late as possible, wake up and plan transport for today, ride train, etc. Make sure phone is charged.

Route planning got easier as the week went on until the last concert when I had to avail myself of multiple modes of transportation. Each day, I spent some time sitting in the open air stations. The morning I took these photos, the air was crisp with a light layer of fog covering everything as the morning commuters waited for their trains.

The trains are a way of life in England. My experience of the train system was that it is a unifier for the country. Nothing’s perfect, and there are train stoppages and routes that are truncated or cancelled owing to staffing issues, but the staff were always so helpful in guiding passengers to alternate routes to get to their destination.

I found this poem by Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) on Twitter after I’d already posted this blog but it’s too perfect not to include.

We are a much larger nation with many more people but I wonder what is possible to create that would make transportation more possible for people, especially people who cannot afford the costs of owning and maintaining a car. Seems like a good project for one of our multi-billionaires to tackle! Just imagine!

Had to go to foreign country to discover some things

One is the WordPress app. I usually write on my laptop but I left it home and have been using my mobile phone. My website just doesn’t work well online on my phone. But the app works like maybe it was designed to create and share posts online with a minimum of to-do.

I’ve also discovered that much of the ground upon which I am walking is dripping with history. I make myself fascinated with the majesty of the art and architecture. It’s like buildings here have a soul and many hundreds of years of human souls have walked through the doors of these city centers and music halls.

The impact and damage done by Fox News and its ilk are making even some people over here think 1. Our election system is rigged, 2. Biden is not in control but is rather a puppet of perhaps Hilary Clinton and Obama, and 3. Democrats are cheaters and stealing elections left and right. Those items sure seem to mimic what Fox News is constantly fear-mongering about in the US.

British plumbing and electricity have some big differences from American. British plumbing fixtures vary wildly from location to location. One shower had two knobs with cryptic messages on either end that I think indicated one end was for hot and cold while the other was for intensity.

Another shower had separate hot and cold knobs and a gearshift in the middle to throw it left to bath and right to shower. This shower also took several months to warm up and then several more weeks to cool it back down to a non-scalding temperature. I apologized to the earth for using so much water.

Electricity has switches on the plugs. I haven’t figured out why this is so. And the plugs are conveniently (aka inconveniently) behind furniture at the floor. Heaven forbid you have to read whatever message they have posted down there.

Also bathrooms have a plug that is for shavers only and no plug for the hairdryer. No doubt there is a reason, but if I hadn’t wanted to stand on my head to plug it in and then dry my hair looking at a wall, I wouldn’t have come to England, would I!?

My favorite bathroom mirror so far was mounted so high up on the wall I could only see the top two inches of my head.

Was going to insert the picture of the top two inches of my head here, but at the risk of repeating myself, internet.

Oh, oh, and here’s another one. I can usually get into my own front door carrying six bags, a commuter cup, and some other thing perched between fingers two and three plus unlock the door and open it. One hand is all it takes.

However, here in England, my hotel room door today had the lock at eye level wherein I had to insert the key and turn and hold it while at the same time with my other hand turn the doorknob (at regular door know height) the opposite direction AND HOLD IT while pushing open the door. I swan. I had to set my things down like some sort of relaxed, unhurried person.

Y’all are about to be rising for the day I suppose so I’ll leave it here so you all have a nice surprise in your inboxes this morning.

Love, Siouxsie

currently aboard the train from Leeds to Bath where the fourth Frost* and QuantumPig concert will take place this evening.

Hello from Leeds, England

Where do I even begin?

How about here. The world is (apparently!) full of good and kind people, as those seem to be the only kind I’m meeting. I have met so many of them since I started this journey just three days ago. I have also had the chance to be one of them.

And here. If you’re not familiar with the concert scene, at least for the bands I’ve seen, there is a beautiful camaraderie among the fans of the band. All three nights I have met good and kind people.

While standing in line waiting to get in, it’s only natural to ask the people around me how they heard of Frost* and if they’ve seen the band before. From there, we rhapsodize about all things and people prog rock: Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree, Steven’s other projects, John Mitchell’s other projects. The people I have met in line, oh, they get why we are passionate about this music.

The first night, I met Dave and Robert. Robert is the foster dad of a special needs son. Dave is a lovely man who discounted his own journey to the concert when he found out how far I had come. The second night, I met Iain and Sean, both Scots, both musicians. Tonight, I met Dave, Paul, and Paul’s son, Matt. Paul is a management consultant, which is what Greg has done for many years of his work life.

I am so grateful that I have met people each night that connect with my three deepest passions: special needs, music, and my wonderful husband.

Apparently, my journey has caught the attention of a few people. The drum tech tonight noticed my American accent and asked if I was the one he had seen in the Facebook comments who had traveled so far.

The venue was so small tonight, I had the opportunity to tell the lead singer of Quantum Pig how very much I am enjoying their music and how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness of their lyrics. I told him I feel like I lucked out getting such a great opening band experience to go along with Frost*.

In the parlance of Radical Honesty, I make myself grateful and joyful to be having this experience. Two more concerts; three more days and I’ll already be journeying back to my home and my loves. Thanks for reading!

I’ll Take “Bands Siouxsie Loves” for 1000, Alex

I am in England today. I arrived yesterday in the morning and was very busy getting my English sea legs yesterday.

I did not anticipate how much the public transportation in this country would seem like a dictionary with all the words in the wrong places. Maybe you know the Brits depend on their public transportation to get everywhere. I didn’t research it thoroughly. How hard could it be, I thought? Ha. Not hard, as much as challenging to pore over the many, many options to unfamiliar towns. Not to mention, there is a bit of a to-do with the train service as there is a strike so travel can be a little more challenging or exciting, depending on your point of view.

The shorter version of what brought me over is that my favorite band is doing a five night tour and I imagined I’d like to attend all five concerts. You will never have heard of them, but I do recommend them. I happened upon them about 7 years ago and I love the music.

Concert 1 of 5 was last night. That’s another story in itself. I’m currently on a train heading from Wolverhampton to Edinburgh. Because of the strike, I have to change trains instead of rolling straight through but Greg encouraged me to get a first class train ticket, for which I am very grateful.

Who is Frost*, Alex?

Love, Siouxsie

Making Peace with Kroger

Apropos of nothing, when I was a kid there was a very nice woman who was a cashier at a nearby Kroger. She had an actual beard. If I remember correctly, she shaved it, but I found it fascinating to see a woman with a beard.

In those days, there were only a few Kroger stores. But since all companies believe that MOAR is BETTER, they expanded and expanded and expanded and now there are at least five Krogers within 10 minutes of our home.

Remember I worked at Kroger for a minute back in 2012 and then again in 2018. My stint in 2018 started out being one of the most enjoyable jobs I had ever had. When I left in 2019 I was a little salty about Kroger corporate and their complete disconnect from what it’s like to work as an associate.

I’ve noticed over these past few years that Kroger has come up with MOAR and “BETTER” ways for one to save money. Used to be, they just had weekly specials.

Then they added the Shoppers Card which you had to have in order to get the weekly special prices.

Next they added Buy 5, Save $5. (Eventually Buy 5, Save $5 turned into Buy 5, Save 50 cents per item, cutting in half the savings).

Later came fuel points, which you get 1 to 1, except for certain special purchases when you can double or quadruple your points.

Later I started seeing special junk food deals in the aisle Buy 2 or 4 (bags of chips), save $2. (This is not to be confused with B5S5 because they are COMPLETELY different savings opportunities.)

Then Kroger started mailing coupons to me for things I already buy. (Thank you, Kroger)

Next complication opportunity was Digital Coupons. These are coupons you can download on your phone but must have downloaded to avail yourself of.

Now they have Cash Back where you can accumulate actual money when you buy certain products and then cash it out. I’m not all that familiar with this one yet.

Another whole program is called Points-Rewards-Plus Gaming. This is a cash back program on products that gamers apparently like. Looks like a lot of macaroni and cheese, snacks, pop.

So we went from some coupons in the Sunday newspaper to at least seven different ways to save money.

FINALLY this week my brain put it all together. I have to PRE-SHOP. I go to the Kroger website and look through all the coupons, and then look through all the digital coupons, and look at all the B5S50 products. Lastly, I must remember to take my paper coupons and then tackle the store. Pre-shopping is SO much easier than arriving at the store and discovering what is on sale for Buy 5, Save 50 cents, what has a digital coupon, whether Tostitos products are Buy 4, Save heckin money, and which of my staple items happen to be on sale so I can plan to stock up.

It’s like studying for a test. And this week I got an A. I saved 13% which worked out to $24.25 in savings. I promise you I wouldn’t have saved that much without the pregame.

If I were one of those newfangled youngsters, I’d make this into a tik tok and it would surely go viral. But I may be at my limit of social media apps and platforms right now. Have not delved into tik tok yet.

Oh, I almost forgot. There’s this entire subculture of pickup and delivery, for which there are special coupons and deals and subscriptions and Things to Know. I’ll shop for myself, thanks. But I am glad these other ways of shopping exist for people who either don’t have the time or energy or desire to shop for themselves.

So I’ve made my peace with Kroger. I still believe corporate is out of touch with associates, but I think I’m finally getting how this whole savings game works. I bet you can too!

LPT: You don’t have to put u-scan items on the bagging area. I found out you can scan them and bag them right into your cart. My reusable bags always fall off the bagging area, and I’m not trying to have more inconvenience. I love being able to scan items and bag them without putting them in the bagging area. No more scanning five different packages of the same item and waiting for each weight to register in the bagging area. Now I can scan one package five times. I don’t even have to get the other four out of my cart.

Wow, this has been full of info. If you read this far, GOLD STAR. As always, remember your reusable bags. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

My thoughts about abortion (short) and why your choice is not my decision (longer)

Raised in the christian home I was, I grew up a “one-issue” voter. I voted for people then that I would never vote for now all because they claimed to be “pro-life.” My philosophy was I would never have an abortion because I believed that no matter what, god would have a plan and everything would be ok. I went through all of my childbearing years with a strong no-abortion-for-me policy. That was right for me. The end.

I get to make decisions for myself about my own body. I want all women to have that same freedom. Just because I got pregnant unexpectedly and chose to keep the baby simply does not mean that should be the only option for every other woman. I hear anti-choice people claiming that “they” are using abortion as birth control. As in, women just have sex with whomever whenever and if a pregnancy occurs, welp just get an abortion, easy-peasy.

I used to resist using the term anti-choice because I liked the *idea* of pro-life, that is, being *pro* about *life.* Unfortunately, while there are certainly people doing good work to help the underprivileged and marginalized in our society, there are also people who identify as pro-life (and who have never experienced poverty) who are decidedly anti-life when it comes to providing assistance for the poor and those in systemic generational poverty. See https://familyandcommunityimpact.org/why-dont-poor-people-just-work-harder-poverty-stress-and-getting-stuck-in-reverse/ I have come to agree that anti-choice is a better description.

I hear pro-choice people who say there should be no limits whatsoever to when an abortion is done. (or maybe that’s anti-choice people characterizing what they imagine pro-choice beliefs are).

I hear anti-choice people say that pro-choice people would be just fine with killing a born baby because they are just that heartless and selfish.

I hear anti-choice people say let’s just all give money to crisis pregnancy centers to they can make the “beautiful choice” to give life.

We probably all know people who have either adopted or been adopted.

I love that my friend, S, has adopted two children and given them a wonderful life. I have no idea if there have been any challenges related to the adoption. Social media indicates that things are mostly good in their family.

I love that my friend, R, adopted two orphans and did her damnedest to give them a wonderful life. The two girls grew up to be teenagers who accused their adoptive father of sexual abuse, of which he was cleared after a long and painful battle, and still has to be on the sexual offender list. This family has endured years of pain from their choice to adopt.

I love that my friend, T, adopted her nephew who was abandoned by his mother, and how much she loved that boy and how heartbreaking it was when he was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. My friend endured all manner of pain at the hands of this much-loved child.

Adoption can be a wonderful thing, and it can be screamingly painful for all involved. Adoption is not a panacea. You can read more about that: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/oct/31/adoption-why-system-ruining-lives

If you want to adopt a baby or place a baby for adoption, that is your choice to make. If a woman does not want to have the baby she is pregnant with, as hard as it might be to accept, that is her choice to make. Women get pregnant all the time with babies they are ill-equipped to care for. Sometimes they already have children they cannot adequately provide for. Sometimes they have health conditions that make pregnancy a high risk to endure. Sometimes they might just say, “I do not want to have a baby.”

I hear anti-choice people say the time to choose is before you get pregnant. This is one of the most simplistic things I have ever heard. This statement assumes all sorts of things:

  • the woman is in full control of her sexual activity (i.e., there is only consensual sex to which a woman is fully agreeable to):
  • a woman knows and understands her reproductive monthly cycle and can always decide whether this act of intercourse might result in pregnancy:
  • women always have access to birth control and have no problems using it, nor do pregnancies ever occur while a woman is on birth control
  • women and girls are never subject to unwanted sex from relatives (incest) or strangers/friends (rape):
  • there is always “a [good] reason” that a pregnancy occurs and therefore a woman should always go through with the pregnancy.

Look, none of the issues we are facing are black and white. As much as I want women to be able to choose whether or not to give birth, there are aspects of the process that involve choice and some that do not. The decision of what a woman can do with her body in terms of pregnancy is best left up to the woman herself and is definitely the main aspect that involves choice. Doesn’t matter what I or you or Aunt Jennifer thinks about abortion. What matters is what the individual woman decides to do with her own body.

No one individual can turn the tide of injustice we see in our “justice” system, our prison system, the roadblocks set up for the poor to make their way out of poverty, the oppression of women, the abandonment of children, and the income gap between the haves and the have-nots. One individual can do what they can to embody “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” (https://www.amnesty.org/en/)