ana.

I’m not good at very much: I wasn’t very good at ballet, and I wasn’t very good at being a girlfriend, but for a time, I was good at being skinny and that felt really, really good.

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it never stops.

Today I worked out, and I thought of that time at the gym in your town when you were so proud to have me there.

Today our friends got married, and I thought of you and how we were so excited they got together and how they helped connect us when we were so far apart.

Today your friends sang without you, and I thought of that time you called me from stage to let me know you won and then you all came to visit and let me be a part of everything for awhile.

Today I accidentally liked some pictures taken by the girl you loved for a moment even while you loved me, and I thought of you.

Today I walked the dog, and I thought of you.

Today I rode the train and I thought of you.

Today I thought of you.

And how

You’re built in to every second of my day, my night, my dreams, the place in between awake and asleep where you are always there and always not there and it hurts the same way every time because it feels so damn good.

Today was today

and every day

isn’t it funny

the same.

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more lessons from Honduras

I did the worst thing I could ever do. I fell in love. 

I wish I could have been born without a heart, only a brain. The brain just stops thinking when the heart gets involved.

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lessons from Honduras.

Never embarrass your children.

Never embarrass your siblings.

Not in front of each other,

not in front of anyone else. 

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happiness.

When you reach the point that you can appreciate the wonder in every one of your feelings, you will start realizing that there is more to life than just “happiness.” Every part of it has its wonders. What’s better than “happiness” is fascination, and interest, and commitment to maintaining light and love within yourself. Every situation is dimensional, and when you start realizing the possibility in any given situation, you will start understanding what it means to be alive.

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truth.

I would like to live in a world where I am not judged by the wholeness of my hymen.

From My Freed Roar.

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rape happens.

If you have never spent time sitting down with a rape victim, watching her wince and grimace as she bravely endures an invasive and painful forensic rape examination just hours after being brutally ripped apart by a man’s forced penetration, never heard her cry in anguish as she questions her every decision, wondering where she went wrong and how she could have stopped the 200-pound man from choking her while she bled from behind, never had to photograph the bruises on her back and neck where he held her down until he ejaculated….if you have never done this, then while I value your opinions and crave your input into the discussion, I REJECT your assertion that we do not live in a culture that minimizes rape.  That “rape culture” is a buzzword created by feminists to further demonize white males.

If you have never sat holding the hand of a 19 year old boy for hours while he anxiously waits for the results of his rapid-HIV test hours after being brutally raped on his family vacation to the US, while he envisions a life living with HIV or dying of AIDS or never having children for fear of passing along the infection, never watched him pace the room while he panics that his parents might find out…then I REJECT your assertions that there is only one kind of “legitimate rape.” That male-rape only happens to homosexuals. That is only perpetrated by homosexuals. That men aren’t terrified, violated, stripped of their dignity, and demoralized on a daily basis, across the country.

I reject your assertion that rape only happens in alley-ways.

I reject your immediate assumption that there were drugs or alcohol involved.

I reject your question of what was she wearing or is he gay? 

I decidedly reject your statement of she was asking for it. 

She was not asking for it.  He was not asking for it.  Twenty-five percent of your sons and daughters will not be asking for it when it happens to them, will not have been asking for it hours later when they shiver under fluorescent lights and get probed, swabbed, have their pubic hair plucked and labeled and locked away in an evidence refrigerator, have the police and doctors and nurses ask them why they ever went on that date, anyway? And they will damn well not have been asking for it years later when they are terrified to be alone, terrified to be with others, waking up in cold sweats from the night terrors that haunt them, and crying with shame and humiliation because the world around them blames them for their own misery.

And I reject your belief that if it wasn’t in an alley-way, if there were drugs or alcohol involved, if she was wearing a short skirt and if he was gay, that it is not rape.  IT IS RAPE. And it is abominable. And it is never-ending.

Because the worst part of sitting through rape examinations, listening as detectives from Special Victims ask a thousand questions, and counseling victims in the immediate aftermath of their assault, is that you sit and think the whole time, “this ordeal is far from over.” The physical hurt happens now, yes. But the patient is still in fight-or-flight mode, the adrenaline is probably high, or numbness has set in.  You can see they don’t even comprehend most of what you are saying. But tomorrow?  The next day? That’s when reality hits, when the nightmares and the flashbacks and the fear begins. When the victim starts noticing just how much blame society places on her, whether or not she’s told anyone. When he realizes he has to live in fear of HIV for another six months before finally being cleared. When she finds out she’s pregnant, because she doesn’t believe in Plan B as an option for herself.  When he can no longer face his wife because he can’t bear to tell her he was penetrated by a man. When she can’t bear for her skin to be seen, for her body to be touched, because the cop that answered her 911 call told her she was asking for it by dressing “sexy” for her date.

So I hear you. I hear you when you say that people make up their own sexual assaults. They do, I see it countless times a week. I hear you when you say that men get demonized when a woman claims they’ve been assaulted. Sometimes, they do. Many times, they don’t. Most of the time the victims under my care don’t even make a police report, much less press charges. Most of the time they can’t even bring themselves to tell their closest friends and family.

So I reject your assumption that those who tell are attention-seekers. I encourage you to dig deeper, where the pain is found. To accept as truth the fact that many of the men and women around you have experienced sexual assault. Not inappropriate touching, not rude jokes, not cat-calling. Physical. Sexual. Assault. Accept as truth the fact that some of your coworkers, even if you’re a health professional or an attorney or a teacher or a police officer or a coach, have lived their own version of the horrors I’ve described. Accept as truth that when you say, “she shouldn’t have had that much to drink” or “she shouldn’t have been walking home alone” or “she was flirting with him” you are probably belittling some of your closest friends or family members or even your children, adding to the shame and guilt they already feel, and preventing them from coming forward or seeking help.

Choose to show compassion even if you can’t empathize.

Choose to let your words soothe the pain of those around you, even when you don’t know which one them needs it.

Choose to believe the shepherd even when his friend is crying “wolf.”

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grownup.

Read the rest of it here!

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a new take on addiction and treatment.

“Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.”

The above quote and the below passages are from The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think by Johann Hari, author of ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’ Read the whole article, it’s worth it.

“This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find – the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding’. A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else…

…But still – surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre’s book ‘The Cult of Pharmacology.’

Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism – cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.

But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That’s not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that’s still millions of life ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about The Cause of Addiction lying with chemical hooks is, in fact, real, but only a minor part of a much bigger picture.

This has huge implications for the one hundred year old war on drugs. This massive war – which, as I saw, kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool – is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people’s brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren’t the driver of addiction – if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction – then this makes no sense.”

You can buy the book here.

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