this diary at the top of the rec list. In the midst of an extremely painful emotional and medical situation, tbctbc wrote us a diary chronicling her personal experience with the abortion she had always been against. My eyes teared thinking about the women in Texas whose lives were just turned back a century by vile, white men who will never know the joy and pain of being a woman and who refuse to respect the choices women make regarding their health, their dignity and their lives.
I was 21 years old and in my first long term relationship. I was not ready for this relationship because my partner was quite a bit older than me, but to him, I was the love of his life. My parents had done a good job of sheltering me; I was more naive than I care to admit. He lived on a small ranch in Murietta Hot Springs, just next to Temecula at a time when ranches outnumbered houses and you had to drive to Escondido to return to the city. I was mesmerized by this and didn't want to leave the ranch.
I was trying to get through college but was very unhappy, and for some not thought out reasons, I agreed to move in with him. He told me he owned a restaurant, he was divorced twice and something about not having children, or the topic didn't come up, I don't remember. When love is new and young it does not allow itself to be derailed very easily.
I worked with him at the restaurant he "owned," rarely going to ballet class. I enjoyed this for a time. Then I noticed he was spending less and less time with me and more and more time at the bar. I had never been around anyone who had too much to drink and found this to be a very confusing situation. I went home after work and he stayed until the wee hours. Looking back I can uncover his lies or half truths but at the time, I saw nothing but his promises.
I accessed birth control through Planned Parenthood and was diligent about taking them as prescribed. But the nearest one was a ways away and when it came time to refill I had trouble getting there. So as a young adult in a relationship with someone who had spiraled to frightening displays of alcoholism, I faced a decision that would have a life long impact. I knew I was not ready to become a parent. I had nothing to give my child, no support, no stability; I knew that love would not be enough. I told him what I wanted to do and he 'kindly' agreed to pay half the bill. But I couldn't afford the other half. I called my sister who is anti-choice, thinking surely she would help me prevent a disaster of future parenting but she refused. A few weeks later, I called to tell her I had gotten my period and she needn't be worried any more.
Throughout the years I have only told a few people about this period in my life. One doesn't talk to often about their mistakes in love and the consequences it can elicit. But this is my story, it may be a simpler story than others for which I am grateful but it needs to be told to break the stigma of abortions and reinforce a women's need for reproductive health care and her right to assert that need. It needs to be told to remind all of us that women and men in this country cannot rest even if they live in a state where abortions are "safe, legal and rare," because if the rights of women are assaulted in Texas or anywhere else, then the rights of every woman are assaulted. One of the lessons in the "War on Women" is that we must blow to pieces the misogynistic environment the far right Republicans thrive on and establish a new norm of treating women with respect at all times in every community. In fact, one of the motivating factors that prompted nomandates and I to create Kitchen Table Kibitzing was to provide a safe environment for those actively fighting the War on Women, which is all of us, to convene and support one another.
That said, I still feel private about this. Except for my husband, my family does not know. I see no reason to cause potential upset to my elderly parents and besides, they are not part of the problem. My parents are liberal and support democratic values including a women's right to have safe and legal access to abortions. They are my biggest supporters aside from my husband. Even while I disclose a story that needs to be embraced in this country's narrative I am frightened about what it might mean for me personally. The cost of freedom in this country has gone up in price and in lives, but you can count one more activist in its army... if it means disclosing a 26 year old secret, I am armed.
Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.
Finally, readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.