An Event Worth Noting

Well.

That’s one way to start a year.

I didn’t have hope for 2021. I told myself I’d play it by ear, a day at a time. The way I do everything else. I know, I know. Stoicism is boring and you’re sick of hearing me not have expectations for anything, but it is how I managed to survive 2020 in one piece, so I’m sticking with it.

Even with my ambivalence for 2021, I was unprepared to witness an armed insurrection at the United States Capitol.

My emotions ranged from shock to fear to a strange combination of relief and raving frustration watching the events unfold. How else does one react to watching an “army” of goobers throw a revolution-themed rave a block away from what we’re told is the greatest military force on the planet? It could have been worse. It should have been worse?

Instead, it was equal parts dangerous, idiotic, and utterly embarrassing. I do not love America. “Loving” a nation is a strange concept for me, but I live here thus am invested in America’s welfare while not caring much for the myths it tells about itself.

Even with my lack of fucks for America’s image on the world stage, I found myself humiliated.


It isn’t surprising.

One of my quarantine hobbies since March has been the rabid consumption of American history podcasts. You know. To know where you are you must know where you’ve been or some such. While the federal Capitol hasn’t been breached since the War of 1812, state capitols were certainly breached post-Civil War to overturn duly-elected Black and Black-sympathizing officials. If the summer of 2020 felt like a re-do of 1968, early 2021 looks very 1870ish.

Who knows what we’ll see before (or after) the new government is installed on January 20th?

Why am I writing this? Well. Because the humbling (slow destruction?) of an empire is an event worth noting.

decisions

Two days after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, I called my gynecologist’s office.

I’ve known for the last ten years that I do not want to have children. Defended my stance loudly to people who insisted the “right” man could change my mind or “anything could happen.” Nodded firmly when potential suitors ask “Really? NEVER?” You could say I’ve avoided serious commitment during my fertile years to make sure love didn’t weaken my resolve. But I never discussed sterilization with my doctors.

Sure. After terminating a pregnancy at 25, I told friends “If I could have all this shit tied, cut, and burned up, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” Still, checkup after checkup, I remained silent. I heard too many horror stories of doctors petting female patients on the head and cooing “What if you change your mind?” and “But you’re so young.” My sex life was sporadic at best and almost always included condoms. There was always Plan B. If worse came to worse, as I dead-panned to my last boyfriend when he joked about getting me pregnant: “I would not be pregnant for very long.”

Then the Supreme Court turned conservative. And I had to consider a world where I don’t have the power or resources to make decisions about my body.
“How long have you been thinking about tubal ligation?” my doctor asked yesterday.

“Honestly? For the last ten years. I just didn’t say anything because I thought I was too young. But I turned 35 and thought ‘It’s time.’”

She nodded. “Okay.”

That was it. She didn’t ask about my sexual habits or if I was dating or in a relationship or if I intended to marry one day. She said “Okay,” and talked me through the process.

“You know,” I said, once we talked appointment dates, “I came in here prepared to defend myself. I feel like I’m always explaining that parenthood is too big a task to be ambivalent about.”

She smiled. “I trust women to make decisions about their bodies. If you’ve thought about it this long, you know what you want. And you’re absolutely right.”