Author Archives: Melissa Edmondson

Crazy

cra·zy [ˈkrāzē]
  1. full of cracks or flaws

  2. not mentally sound – marked by thought or action that lacks reason

  3. distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied

Once upon a time there was a girl who was batshit crazy. And that girl’s name was Melissa.

Granted, some days were crazier than others. But even on the days that didn’t seem so crazy, there was still plenty of crazy lying dormant. The crazy fountain never ran dry for that girl.

Never.

Oddly enough, though, she sort of owned it.

Even when people in her life called her condition to her attention (“Hey Melissa – you are CRAZY!”) or spread the news of her condition around to others (“Oh, there’s Melissa – that girl is CRAZY!”)  – she never really took it as an insult.  It seemed kind of silly to her really…why state the obvious? Did they think they were hurting her in some way? That they were telling her or others something that she/they didn’t already know? Something she should be ashamed of?

Finally, one day – one of her craziest by far – Melissa decided to figure out why being called crazy didn’t seem to bother her all that much. These people were going to so much trouble to hurt her with that word, that she thought the least she could do was look it up and attempt to find what they were trying so hard to convey with those five little letters.

Thanks to this new world of instant gratification via internet, Melissa quickly found Webster’s definition of the word. It was broken down into three separate definitions, so she decided to explore each.

1. Full of cracks or flaws.

The first definition was “full of cracks or flaws.” Well, duh! Melissa knew that already. Did anyone think she didn’t? She could list them all for everyone, but it didn’t really seem necessary. She was sure that most of hers probably matched most that everyone else had too – if they were honest with themselves. Melissa was definitely full of cracks – some she created herself and some others helped to chisel for her – and she was well-aware of her flaws. She was loud when it was time to be quiet; she never backed down from a fight (even when it was neither the time nor the place); and everything she needed to say, she said it, with no regard to taking a break to consider whether the words needed to wait until a better time. She figured in the grand scheme of things, compared to all of the good qualities she had about herself, if she had to have flaws (which she did – everyone did), then these weren’t all that bad to have. There definitely could be worse. And until she found the magic potion that made her perfect, she figured she’d just have to get used to these and embrace them. Which is exactly what she did. So, yeah, according to Webster, Melissa definitely fit the first definition of crazy. So, what was the big deal?

2. Not mentally sound – marked by thought or action that lacks reason.

Definition #2? Oh boy – she totally fit that one! As she had already observed with the first definition – one of those flaws was not thinking before she speaks. When it crosses her brain, it slips straight out of her mouth. If she’d take the time to think or reason as the definition implies, she’d probably be a little more “mentally sound.” But good grief – who is mentally sound? She didn’t know anyone in her life that was – why should she be? Her mental processes were all over the place. Especially in the heat of the moment. Sure, there were times that she said things she wished she could take back, or found herself in situations that her emotions had led her to rather than allowing her “sound mind” to lead the way – but didn’t everyone? Melissa was pretty aware of herself (she’d had 38 years to get to know her by that point) so nothing in definition #2 was a shock to her. She still couldn’t find the insult that the people were trying so hard to aim at her. Having no luck thus far, she felt the answer had to lie somewhere within the third definition.  She owed it to the naysayers to at least try, and maybe this would be answer.

3. Distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied.

Oh man. Really?! They think this is an insult? Of course she was distracted with desire or excitement – about a lot of things!  She had taken a long time to finally find herself and become who she knew she was. Part of that process involved finding the things that brought about the feelings of desire and excitement. She had done that on purpose! Not only did this not insult her, she was proud of it! Being “absurdly fond”? “Passionately preoccupied”? YES! Of course she was!  And it was marvelous. After so many years of negativity and roadblocks, she had finally learned to navigate the rough waters and row towards the things that brought her this profound feeling of “fondness” and “preoccupation.” She was thrilled about that! Some people never find anything that makes them feel that way – and she had found many. Books! Art! Theatre! Running! Writing! There were so many things that got her juices flowing and kicked her passion into high gear.

That was the definition of crazy? Well, hell yeah, she was crazy!

Finding herself exhausted of definitions of that silly little word, she sat back and contemplated the meaning of it all. Something people were calling her as an insult, was actually a compliment to her!  Isn’t it odd how just throwing a negative attitude behind a word can make someone think it means something completely different? Words have so much power, but we get to decide what that power is. See? Someone calls us something and they think they’re going to hurt us, but we can turn that around and actually strengthen ourselves with it.

Was Melissa crazy? Of course she was! And she was proud of that. A life lived any other way would be boring and passionless and there was no way she was going to let herself fall back into that rut again. She had lived that life once and promised herself she’d never return to it. She tried “crazy-less” for years. Sure, no one called her “crazy,” (no need to when she was doing whatever they wanted), but oh she was so miserable! She lived her life the way others expected her to and never stood up for herself or her beliefs. It was a calm existence, but boy was it lonely. She felt dead inside.

And that sure was no way to live.

So, that was that. Bless her heart, she tried. She tried to give the naysayers what they wanted and allow their words to sting from their intended venom. But in the end, she just couldn’t. She got to decide who and what she was – no one else did. She was even a little proud of the fact that they had noticed who she had become. A fearless woman who stood her ground and would not back down from her truth. She only gets one life to live, why not make it an authentic one?

So, with that, Crazy Melissa curled into bed with the novel she had just started, pulled the covers up to her chin, and began to read – escaping into the world where other crazies lived and loved and worked and played. Sighing with contentment as her eyes started drooping from the strain of the words, she slipped in her bookmark, set the book on her nightstand, switched off her lamp, and buried down deep into the covers and allowed herself to drift off into the land of sleep. She knew she’d need it.

Tomorrow was a whole new day – and she intended to let her crazy light shine.

***

“You have to go on and be crazy. Crazy is like Heaven.”
– Jimi Hendrix

crazy

The Transformative Power of Theatre – A Patron’s Perspective

“To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.”
– Simon Callow

I had to take some time to share an audience member’s thoughts after watching our latest performance of Proof by David Auburn at our little theatre in Ashe County, North Carolina.  If you’ve ever been a part of the theatre in any fashion — or even if you’ve ever found yourself sitting in an audience — these words are for you.  We are all storytellers, each and every one of us.

Thank you, David, for these magical words.

Ashe County Little Theatre’s Proof by David Auburn / Photo by: Bobbi Jo Scott

ASHE COUNTY LITTLE THEATER
by David Desautels

Since seeing the most excellent latest production by the Ashe County Little Theater on opening night this past Friday, I’ve been wondering about why I like going to plays so much.

Growing up in our household money was scarce. But we always had books. And books meant travel, if only in my mind.

My mother and I journeyed down the Mighty Mississippi River visiting Tom Sawyer and even stopping by Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A bout of strep throat and missing school for a week set me on my journey without even leaving my Jefferson bedroom.

I remember begging Mom to read “just one more chapter” and next thing you know I was in Missouri with an eye on Tom conning his buddies into whitewashing a fence.

She read to me after a long day at work and fixing dinner for the remaining four (of seven) kids. She read till she could hardly talk, her voice barely above a whisper at times.

Her reading to me was the highlight of my day. That is until she suggested that, while she was gone, I might pick up the book myself.

I did. And that led to a lifetime of adventure. Marco Polo took me along with him from Italy to China. George Washington let me take a swing at the cherry tree with his axe. Zane Grey allowed me to shoot up the Old West.

Helen Keller won me over with her triumph over tragedy. Abe Lincoln encouraged me to keep the kerosene lantern burning. And George Washington Carver elevated the lowly peanut to a place of honor practically making it an obligation to eat peanut butter.

Louis Pasteur made milk drinkable. Henry Mortin Stanley’s “Dr. Livingston I presume” made Africa accessible. And Thomas Edison made discoveries believable.

Which leads me back to the Ashe County Little Theater by way of The Parkway Theatre. A 6th grade outing there to see Gone With the Wind made Margaret Mitchell’s classic come to life in full color.

Friday night at the play I, once again, traveled to another place. I do it with books, movies and, especially, plays. For two hours my normal world stands still and I am in an alternate reality.

I BECAME THE CHARACTERS. ALL OF THEM.

Over the years, our Little Theater has taken me places.
All with ordinary people putting in extraordinary performances.

I’ve seen a pharmacist become a lawyer. A teacher become a Steel Magnolia. A radio repairman become a radio announcer. A paralegal become a director.

Ordinary people–a shopkeeper conducting an orchestra, a local funny guy putting on a robe and being a judge, a kid becoming an Orphan. A barista becoming transformed into a math wiz.

Local people giving their talents as set designers, ticket takers, actors, sound and lighting wizards.

And, to my knowledge, not a single one of them makes a penny for their efforts.

But that’s not to say they don’t get paid. Their currency is the applause they receive from folks like me who, for a couple of hours, travel the world without ever leaving our precious county.

Thanks Ashe County Little Theater for your decades of tireless and selfless giving.

***

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”
– Chinese Proverb

 

Proof

“Of course we all come to the theatre with baggage. The baggage of our daily lives, the baggage of our problems, the baggage of our tragedies, the baggage of being tired. It doesn’t matter what age you are. But if our hearts get opened and released — well that is what theatre can do, and does sometimes, and everyone is thankful when that happens.”
– Vanessa Redgrave

Tonight is Ashe County Little Theatre’s opening night of PROOF by David Auburn. I’m the director.

The director.

As someone who has only chosen to be on the stage for 30+ years, this is the first time that I’ve truly seen the “other side” of theatre. I’ve been a part of this process from the very beginning – from the very first day as I sat all curled up on my couch in my pajamas reading this random script that I had found at Goodwill.  (Yes! Goodwill!)  I’m not generally a “script reader.” But this one caught my attention – not only because I found it at Goodwill (I mean, seriously – who finds a theatre script at Goodwill!?), but because of the content. It was amazing. It was funny, dramatic, romantic, sad….real. I was hooked.

I remember gasping during one part and my husband looking over at me asking if I was okay. I looked up at him and my only response was, “I have to direct this show.”  Not, I want to be in this show.  But I want to direct it. I had never directed anything before. But I knew now was the time.

And here I am a few years later. After months of worrying, laughing, crying, rehearsing, rehearsing, and more rehearsing, I will have the privilege and honor of watching my beautiful cast make this story come to life tonight at the Ashe Civic Center.

Photo by Troy Brooks of Ashe Mountain Times

I want you to take a look at this group of people here to your right. These people (including a few more who aren’t pictured) have become my family. While struggling to bring you, the audience, a story about love, life, loss and moving on, each and every one you see sitting on that stage has been going through the exact same things in their personal lives. Bringing you a little two-hour production is not easy. Each of us are real people – we have lives off of the stage. And if you can name it, someone on that stage has probably experienced it in the past few months. Marital problems, job losses, family trouble…even the death of family members (two of us lost our grandmothers and one of us lost our mother, just in the eight weeks of rehearsals for this show). So much life has been happening to us behind the scenes.

But has that stopped us?  Nope.

The love of theatre – the love of art itself – is a hard thing to describe. You know the saying, the show must go on? Well, it must. It’s a pull in our souls that we can’t explain. We have to tell you this story. We just have to. All of us. From the director, to the volunteers who are moving the set around in between scenes – each and every one of us knows that we have to play our part in bringing you this story. Why? Heck, we don’t know. We just know it has to be told. And nothing will stop us from telling it.

I hope you’ll find a way to come see our show. We have poured our heart and soul into telling you a story, and we want you to come hear it. We want you to find yourself in this show – whether it be remembering what a first love felt like, remembering the tragedy of a loss, or finding confidence in yourself to pursue the dreams you know you’re capable of – you are going to see a piece of you in one or more of these characters.

This is theatre.  We have all felt what each other has felt, and we are going to get up on a stage and show you that. You are not alone. None of us are.

Come join our family this weekend, won’t you?

Allow me to leave you with the perfect words to describe our show and why you should be there. This is from one of the four stars of Proof: my dear friend, Ike Smith.

“Proof is a thoughtful, compelling story that at its root is about relationships: parent/child, sibling/sibling, and romantic. It’s about how people connect — or disconnect — when life becomes unexpected and uncertain. It’s about how we deal with conflict, both internal and external.

Is PROOF a comedy? Maybe, -ish. Is it a drama? Sort of. Sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it’s serious, and that’s life. PROOF is real.

David Auburn wrote a great story, and we’ve got a great cast and crew to tell it for you. If you can, please join us. You won’t regret it.”

See you tonight!


***

“The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I’ve felt that way, too. That’s the way I am. That’s life. That’s the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That’s great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh.”
– Bertolt Brecht

All show rehearsal photos by Bobbi Jo Scott, Producer.

Silent Marchers: April

Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.

***

My name is April.

Yep. That’s my real name. No alias for this one. It’s all me.

I didn’t march in the Women’s March, mainly due to finances. Also, no one I knew that I’m close to was going, so there was no way to split the expenses. I really wanted to be there though.

So.  Since I didn’t get to physically be there, I want to talk about the event and its aftermath by telling my story here.

aprilThere has been so much backlash about the Women’s March since January 21.  I do agree that the majority of women in the US have got it easy compared to those in other countries. That being said, however, that doesn’t mean we don’t still have women here who are discriminated against in various ways.

That also doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting for equality.

Me personally? I’ll just name a few ways I’ve experienced sexism:

While house hunting with my then fiancé, we went to so many places (all headed up by men), where not one of them shook my hand or even addressed me until they realized that the loan would be in my name. Most of the men never even directed their sales pitch or questions toward me at all. You know who we ended up buying our home from? A wonderful woman who shook my hand and my fiancé’s. A woman who looked me in the eye and addressed us both. A woman who treated me with the same regard and respect as she did my fiancé.

I’ve worked a few jobs where I did the same work as a man, but was paid less.

I’ve been verbally assaulted by men while waiting tables in various jobs.

I’ve been considered inferior due to my sex in various ways.

These are just of few of the reasons that I support the Women’s March and all women period; regardless of how they feel about it all. I support it because I’m proud of what my female ancestors accomplished in the past and I want to make them proud by continuing to fight for equality.

Maybe I hold men to a higher standard because I have a great dad, wonderful husband, and awesome guy friends who have always treated me as an equal. Or maybe I’m just lucky, unlike so many women who are surrounded by misogynistic, closed-minded assholes. Either way, equality for women is something that I am passionate about and that is why I support the Women’s March fully and completely.

My name is April. And this was my Not-so-Silent Marchers story.

***

“I’m willing to be seen.
I’m willing to speak up.
I’m willing to keep going.
I’m willing to listen to what others have to say.
I’m willing to go to bed each night at peace with myself.
I’m willing to be my biggest bestest most powerful self.”
―Emma Watson

 

 

Silent Marchers: Emily

Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.

***

My name is “Emily.” But not really.

I did not march in the Women’s March. But I wanted to.

I have a special needs child whom, among other things, is autistic. My husband had to work that day and I had no one to watch my son. I would have loved to take him with me but due to his needs it wasn’t feasible. He does not do well around large crowds and I also have to limit his exposure to others during flu season due to a compromised immune system.

momboyTo me the March signifies unity, action, awareness and solidarity in not just one cause but many. At some point in our lives we are either going to be the victim of discrimination or know someone who is. Either because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, financial standing or any other perceived slight.

In this day in time it is unnecessary and archaic.

To claim this March wasn’t for you is naïve. At its very heart, it’s for everyone. No one wants their child to grow up to be in an abusive relationship. No one wants to be told they can’t freely practice the religion of their choice. No one wants to feel of less value because they are not on the same socioeconomic rung of the ladder. No one wants to be told what they can and can not do with their body. We don’t have to personally believe in decisions others make but it’s not our place to tell them they are wrong. Guns kill more innocent lives than abortions do, yet people will fight to the death to keep them and allow anyone to have them.

We need to focus on quality of life.

I see no one running to adopt children in the foster care system, or helping the little babies born with congenital defects which will leave them with unforeseen health problems. However we can scream to cut the funding and Medicaid/insurance which will provide care that’s so desperately needed. Then there are those who falsely claim that they don’t want tax dollars funding abortions. It would serve people well to research laws before spewing nonsense. Taxpayer dollars have not and will not pay for abortions except in the case of rape, incest and health of mother or child. The Hyde Amendment. Most have never heard of it and don’t care to.

So yes, the March means so many things to so many people and, directly or indirectly, affects us all.

To me, it’s hope and love and empathy and equality and giving a voice to those who are unable to speak up.

I grew up in a home that was very chauvinistic. My mom was never allowed to get her drivers license. My dad was an alcoholic. My mom was the only one who worked a full time steady job with dad taking her and picking her up everyday. My dad worked odd jobs here and there. I was the oldest. I had one younger brother. From early on, I learned that my brother’s interests and activities took priority. Everything revolved around him. My mom and I was left to do all the home stuff – cook, clean, not question.

I always knew there was more somehow. A world that was different.

I wanted to be a lawyer but was told I couldn’t do that because it was a job for men. But I knew I could.

As I got older, I started to rebel. I didn’t want dad or any other male telling me what I could or could not do. I was tired of being forced to go to church by my grandfather. I was tired of being told I couldn’t cut my hair. I was tired of being told I couldn’t do things because I was a girl. That created more problems and I was beaten into submission both literally and figuratively.

I became pregnant at the age of 19.

The father ran and I was left to take care of a baby born with special needs alone. I swore off men. I worked at low paying jobs to get by because I was a single mom with only a high school education. I tried to attend community college but it never failed – my son would have a medical crisis and would be in the hospital for several weeks at a time.

The next relationship I was in was when I was 23. It became like the movie Groundhog Day. I became pregnant and he left (after trying unsuccessfully to persuade me to have an abortion). The rest is rinse and repeat.

I resigned myself to being a single mom forever and destined to work in menial jobs.

Then I met my current husband

We married when I was 30. Thankfully he is a man of great integrity, love and compassion. He helped me find my voice again. The fire that had always been smoldering was allowed to burn. That meant that being a woman, even one who had been beat down, could still make a difference. While I never achieved my dream of being a lawyer or any other cookie cutter profession I have become an advocate. An advocate for the disabled, for women, for those less fortunate. That’s just as much, if not more, rewarding than anything I could have ever dreamed of.

If as a woman you did not March out of fear, I’m telling this story for you. Whatever reason was holding you back, we will fight to remove those barriers. You are strong, you are worthy, you are loved, you are valued. Please know that. If you didn’t March because of other reasons – distance, financial, whatever – I beg of you to still use your voice. To help others understand that intolerance, discrimination, bigotry, racism has no place in lives and society.

Movements work.

All you have to do is look at history to see how far we have come. We must not go back to such dark times. Please don’t stand silently.

Be loud, proud and full of dignity.

And another little side note to my story?

My brother has grown into a staunch Trump-supporting all-right fanatic. He pounds his chest all day long about gun rights, building the wall, hating the “lazy liberals” who do nothing but mooch off the system. He preaches it loud and proud to anyone who will listen. Yet through it all he, can’t hold down a job.  His whole family, with numerous kids, have Medicaid and receive food stamps. I’m sitting here thinking, “so when your demigod takes away Medicaid and cuts welfare you do know that means you’re going to lose yours too, right?”

But then I’m just a whiney snowflake who needs to get over it.

He needs to learn not to bite the hand that feeds him.

My name is “Emily.” But not really. And this was my Silent Marchers story.

***

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”
– Margaret Thatcher

Silent Marchers: “Dave”

Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.

***

My  name is “Dave.” (But not really.)

I did not march. My reason is fairly simple.

I was afraid.

I was afraid of the sheer size of the crowd. (I do love visiting NYC, but even those crowds can start to get to me quickly.) But even more than the fear of the crowd? I was afraid of some major act of violence being perpetrated by those who disagreed with the march. I couldn’t help but picture some crazed gunman or a bomber…I suppose in retrospect that sounds lame. But at the time, it was a very vivid, very real concern.

daveI feel as though I let people down. Many of my close friends went to the march. I don’t really know if they were concerned about violence, but even if they were, they went. One of my dearest friends has major anxiety and an auto-immune disease, but she went. I just kept my original plan to go and visit family for the weekend, but kept track through Facebook. I was blown away by the sheer volume of people in attendance, and incredibly thankful that there was no violence.

To me, the march was about exercising the right to peaceful protest against the changes forthcoming in the new administration. Healthcare is being taken away from people who need it. Soon to follow will probably be other programs that assist the less fortunate. I’m not proud of it, but if it weren’t for some of those programs, I would not be here today. I spent the years of 18 to 24 without health insurance because I did not have access to it. I am well-accustomed to “the look” that you get when you push your cart up to the checkout and have to tell the cashier you’re paying with food stamps. (Most of the time, the look is from the person behind you, sizing up the items you lay on the conveyor belt, as if to say how DARE you buy name brand anything, let alone any sort of treat or snack. But every once in a great while, the look comes from the cashier, which somehow is worse.)

Protections in place that ban my employer from firing me simply because I’m gay are also at stake. Never mind the fact that I am damn good at my job, and being gay has no impact on my ability to do my job, there is now a distinct possibility that I, and many of my non-heterosexual friends, could be unemployed simply for existing.

For existing.

I just find myself stunned that people were more offended by Ashley Judd using profanity and talking about menstruation than they were by the fact that our president said it was okay to grab women by their most private parts, and never owned up to it or apologized for it.

I’m sorry…I’ve turned this into something about me, and it’s not about me. Many of the people in my life, to whom I look up and admire, and love with all my heart, are women. And women deserve to be respected and protected, and not seen as property or “less than.”

Here’s the thing: people are going to judge you for not marching, at least until they hear your reasons (and in some cases, they might judge you regardless.) There is nothing you can do about that. But know that the march is only the first step. There are plenty of ways we can still make a difference and make our voices heard. There are Facebook groups that promote local events – from peaceful protests on the smaller scale, to postcard-writing parties, to how to contact your representatives.

Don’t feel bad for not marching.

Just find out what things you CAN do, and do them.

My name is “Dave.” (But not really.)  And this was my Silent Marchers story.

***

“Most activism is brought about by us ordinary people.”
– Patricia Hill Collins

Silent Marchers: “Candace”

Silent Marchers is a series of stories from real women (and men) who wanted to march in the Women’s March on Washington and various sister marches across the nation, but could not be there for a variety of reasons. These are their stories of why they weren’t there, why they wish they could have been, and why they support this cause and all that it stands for. Their hope is that you might find yourself in one of their stories, and know you’re not alone. Together, we will resist.

***

Hi. I’m “Candace.”

But not really.

This is not a story that I tell very often, but I want to tell it now. This movement is showing me how important it is to speak up.

I was sexually abused as a child by a family member.  It has been more than ten years ago now, and my family still doesn’t know. Thankfully, it never amounted to anything. Just a few “abuse sessions” as I refer to them, and then it was just over.

This family member is still in my life. He pretends like it never happened and actually considers us “friends.”

Several years after that happened, I became involved in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a boy four or five years older than me. I ended up being hospitalized, but not from physical abuse. It was his words that put me there. I spent the end of my junior year in high school in a hospital because I wanted to die.  I spent three years in counseling after that because the feeling never went away.

It still resurfaces sometimes.

This has made me a stronger person but it has also caused many problems in my current relationship. My fiancé felt used for the first half of our relationship because I was so wrapped up in hating myself that I didn’t have much room to love him. I’m really lucky that he stuck around. That is how I got to finally experience unconditional love.

We now have a young son together, but I had a miscarriage four months before I got pregnant with him. It sent me into a frenzy at the time. I lost all the progress that I had worked so hard for. I had almost been normal before that. I had gotten to where it was only once a month that I was having days where I shut myself away and cried for hours. But after the miscarriage, I returned to being a daily crier. It sent my relationship into a downward spiral that we are still trying to recover from.

We had another pregnancy scare when my son turned three months old.

That’s something that almost ended us for good.

silentmarcher2I wanted an abortion but wasn’t sure I could handle the guilt. It caused so much tension that I nearly ended my life. Again. (I almost left my tiny baby alone once during this time. I am still ashamed of that feeling.)

I heard so much negativity and shaming in the media regarding women who abort fetuses. The guilt over what I was feeling lead me to almost end it all. I almost left the love of my life to be a single parent to my still so new baby.

I am so ashamed.

I ended up miscarrying again.

Had I not miscarried, I would have gotten the abortion. Had I not miscarried or gotten the abortion, the pregnancy would have been enough to cause me to ruin my family and myself.

I was not emotionally able to handle another child.

I wanted to march in the women’s march, but I couldn’t. We have only one vehicle and only one source of income. My fiancé was working a fourteen-hour shift that day. If I would have had a way to get there, I would have gladly pulled out the baby carrier and marched with my son strapped to my back. I wanted to march, not only for myself for anyone sitting at home who had ever had the same feelings I had – just hoping that they could find the courage in themselves to do whatever they thought was best for them. Only them. No one else.

I also want my son to grow up knowing how to treat a woman. I want him to become a man who knows how to respect both himself and everyone else’s rights.

My life is tarnished but livable. His is pure and ready to be filled with all the things we have to teach him.

My name is “Candace.” But not really. And this was my Silent Marchers story.

***

“No woman has an abortion for fun.”
– Elizabeth Joan Smith