The Year In Pictures

So another year is coming to an end. Frankly, it has been the worst year of my life. So much change and pain…The coming to light of my husband’s three year affair, the “almost” divorce, the loss of a job, a big move and how that impacts autistic kids, selling our house, the development of PTSD due to B’s affair, the big fire and evacuation…anyone of these are considered top stressors but they arrived on my doorstep all within the year of 2018… resulting in the death of one life and the re-birth of another.  Yet, there are now rays of light shining throughout my life because with truth instead of deception (B’s) comes the ability to re-build, allows for understanding and growth. Our six kids are happy and healthy as are our grandkids and really… you can’t ask for more than that!

So as crappy as this year has been, in ways, it has been one of great personal development for me and for that I am thankful. I am making a conscious effort not to induce further suffering…mine or contributing to others. With age comes…well, heck…I have no idea what comes…except wrinkles. Hard to believe that sometime within the next three years I will be 60. Where has the time gone?

Up until now, I have never shared a picture of myself as I have always felt the need to protect my family from the gritty-ness and pain of this blog. But with the filters available today, I decided to post one picture of myself because, well, it doesn’t look like me!

May everyone have a glorious 2019. May we each find peace, joy and love in our everyday lives as well as the time to contemplate whatever it is that needs to be “looked” at. And like a good egg, may we gently break open to get to the yolk of our lives! Amen!

Betrayed OR Liar Lair Pants On Fire

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So Thursday B walked in the door ashen and with tears in his eyes. After 14 years of being the president of his company he was sacked. I said and did all the right things, loved on him and told him everything would be okay. I was the perfect wife.

After several hours of being at home he decided to download all the family pictures from his phone onto my computer since he was afraid his company would turn off his phone. Since then my computer has been running slow because he added over 2,000 pictures to it so today I decided to delete some after moving them to The Cloud. As I was going through them…SURPRISE!!!! …..I found a naked picture of a woman. Long story short, it was our tour guide from Viet Nam. The woman I had been sending money to occasionally to help her family….guess she decided to go after a bigger fish…B!

B confessed that he has been communicating with her for 1 1/2 years.  That he has thought of going to see her….wonder if that is why he was so adamant that I could not go to China with him? I asked him if he has communicated with her since he gave me the commitment ring…he has…yep, that is commitment for you! I told him I wondered if that was one of the reasons he got fired because IT saw numerous naked pictures on his electronic devices.

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Frankly, I feel good. Glad to know that my suspicions were not unfounded. Glad to know that these past two years have really been about him and not me. Glad to find out that he is a sex addict according to him. Yes, I am glad to know all of it. Glad to know he gave me the commitment ring on Christmas and talked to her after. Glad to know that when he sent the text from Boy Scout Camp that he wasn’t sure he had the passion or love to sustain our relationship, that he had just received naked pictures from her. I am glad to know all of this because now I know that I need to believe and trust in myself and I know without a doubt that he had one foot out of the door and was not giving me his all. And now I know what I need to do.

P.S. And to all of you who have told me so…I am sorry I didn’t believe you or kinda didn’t believe you. I was a fool.

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On The Road Again

The word SO is the beginning word of almost every sentence by people uttered ’round these parts.

“Soooo… you go down to end of the road and make a right”

“Soooo… do you want pickles on your burger?”

Soooo…. where am I?

Well, I am on the road writing this from the spectacular country of Canada. Unlike California, it is green, fresh smelling, and water is everywhere. Barns outnumber people, roadkill is abundant, and sole proprietorships like JOE’S GAS STATION abound. I love it here.

This is an interesting trip for me. I am traveling with my 81 yo father who is starting to have memory problems. Makes for some interesting repeated conversations that start with “I didn’t know that!.” (He did) and end with “What did you say???? ” (Said at the top of his voice because his hearing is also going.) Getting old isn’t for sissies (or for their daughters.)

This expedition is special. My father is beginning to mellow a little in his old age. It makes for a closer relationship with him being a much better listener than when I was growing up. He chooses his words more carefully these days too. These are nice changes that I appreciate at my age. I also realize that he may not be around much longer so I am trying to make this a happy experience for the two of us and cram my head with memories that will sustain me when he is gone.

Two months ago, I decided I wanted to take this trip to Canada when I became genealogically frustrated. For years I have searched for information about where GG Grandfather was born, who his parents were, etc. I finally got tired of barking up the wrong trees and decided to come to the source to see if I could glean any new information. I am not hopeful as record keeping was done as an afterthought in these parts until the later decades of the 1800’s.  But I also know that information can often be found where you least expect it so I am going with that mindset for the next few days believing if I wish it hard enough that it will come true. Tomorrow we head further north to the place where my GG Grandmother was born in 1835.  It is hard to believe that I will be standing in the same miniscule town where she lived in a log cabin all those years ago. It must have been hard eking out a living as a farmer or miner in these parts of the country. I often wonder if people today could do the back-breaking work that are relations did before we all went soft.

This afternoon Dad and I spent our time together doing research at the local  public library but came up short. We searched through books, family histories and microfiche and found nothing. But it was enjoyable because I can say with good authority that there is nothing like the smell of old books. There is something about that odor that is comforting and takes you back to places that smell like cobwebbed attics or ancient barns. Old, yet, familiar smells. Like the scent of your grandmothers old wool coat or your grandfathers well-worn boots which smelled of pipe tobacco and stood up by themselves over on the back porch. The funny thing is, while I found nothing about my family, I did find something about B’s purely by chance. The information was contained within a book about the Donnelly family. I first found out about this saga several years ago when I was researching B’s family. To my surprise and horror I learned that one of B’s relatives had probably been involved in a mob killing of several members of the Donnelly family. It was interesting to read about it today from a fresh perspective and learn more about the movie that was made about this small town tragedy.

Tomorrow we will head out early as Dad likes to get a jump on the day. I think he believes that he has a limited amount of hours left on this earth and he doesn’t want to spend them laying in bed. No, by golly,  he wants adventure.  He wants to see new places before he passes. And he wants to find THE BEST chicken sandwich that has ever graced a hungry customers plate. This new attitude of his inspires me to want the same for myself.

So here I am on the road again. Just me, my old man and some new memories that the two of us are collecting along the way. Today, I am grateful to have this opportunity to learn about myself, my father, and my past. It truly doesn’t get much better than this!

BTW, you know you are in Canada when…

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Storms and Baggage

I wait in the shallows

Like a fish hooked to a line

Splashing frantically

Mistaking love for oxygen

Your words driving me backwards

As you release the hook

That has pierced my lip

And held me still for so long

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Like a gale churning and throwing

Our life far, far away from

All we knew

I am here

You are there

Yet, your words

And sometimes the lack of them

Take me under

Scraping the sandy bottom

Of what our relationship used to be

I think I can no longer be with you

Because you do not know who you are

And in not knowing

You drag me down to skin and bones

Clinging to life, yet lifeless

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I am a soul who still wants to dance

Unafraid of your pronouncements

Of whether that movement

Is good or evil

I want to feel the wind for myself

Let life wash over me again

Unhampered by your sea walls

Meant to keep the shoreline in place

I have done the work

I was meant to do

Have you?

For now I wish

To let the unknown be born

Let the necessary changes occur

Which will free us both

As we are no longer one

We are now separated by a quay

Of hurts larger than the boulders

Which have created it

I want to find wisdom

In how I am living

In what I am feeling and doing

Touching and tasting

No longer content to munch on stale bread

I want the life force

Of action and touch

I want to look outwards

Not back towards your shadow

Which tries to hold on to mine

Refusing to free it

But now…finally

I’m throwing my baggage to the sea

So once again I can be me

Do not try to retrieve it

There is nothing new there for you

All it contains is what

You already rejected

Time and time again

No, let that baggage float out to sea

While I go pack again

With those things that are

Meaningful just to me

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I Have To Confess

I have to confess that I am considering whether I want to blog anymore. Yes, I feel I have something to say but I only have 200 loyal readers and so I think…what is the point?  Do these poor people really want to read what I write or were they drunk the night they hit the button? And so I have not been writing on my blog. However, I have been working on my novel and wrote two chapters last week which pleases me to no end.

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I have to confess that I am terribly embarrassed about the state of my country right now what with the two YAHOO’s that are our unfortunate main choices for President. I really believe would would do better by asking anyone who wants to be president to have some psychological testing, 10,000 signatures, and then put their name and  number, along with every other person who wants to hear Hail to the Chief, into a big bingo cage and pull out a name. Just like lotto. Seriously. I know 1/2 the world is laughing and the other 1/2 is horrified. Me too.  I am voting for Dr. Jill Stein third party candidate.  Yes, everyone tells me I am throwing away my vote but I don’t believe so because if a third party candidate gets 5% of the vote they get federal funds and other perks.

I have to confess that it is just me sitting in this house and I am enjoying the hell out of it. Sometimes when I am alone I dream of the life I thought I would have…and after a few minutes I am glad I didn’t!

I have to confess that I constantly think of going back to school to finally finish my master’s degree but I am worried that my brain cells have deteriorated to the point that they cannot hold another thought without having a cataclysmic eruption occur kind of like Yellowstone super volcano exploding and covering the earth in darkness. I am almost certain that my brain would go black if I tried.

I have to confess that there are times I wish I had my 20 year old body to flaunt. I didn’t appreciate the unwanted attention I got back then but when you no longer have it somehow you forget the downsides. What I wouldn’t give for a cat call tonight!

I confess that sometimes I think I would like to move deep into the forest and become a hermit but one that washed her hair and had an amazon drone deliver deodorant once a year.

I have to confess that the other day I saw a man and I thought, “I wouldn’t mind him putting his boots under my bed!” I haven’t had a thought like that for 30 years and I didn’t know whether to blush or to grab a bottle of Jack. Why would this happen when we have having such great sex?…I have to wonder. I also have to confess that sometimes I dream of being Mrs. Robinson.

I confess that when I was a teenager I went to a party out on a farm and that I was one of three girls that got a poison ivy rash on my butt and that all the boys had it on their knees.

I confess I wonder how many Hail Mary’s is all of this worth…or if I need to go out a do a few more things that will have me on my knees for eternity?

Complacency

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Throughout almost my entire life I have often taken on what I have “perceived” as injustice. I have fought to change things within the school system for my kids.I have tried to protect my patient’s autotomy and rights. I have stood alongside like-minded people as we protested for change. I have said the “unpopular” thing that has needed to be said but few wanted to. But all of this concern comes with a price. It extracts a huge part of the stillness and the gentleness that you need to go through life without going crazy.

When I was younger I used to look at older folks and wonder why they had gotten complacent and just accepted the status quo. I swore I would never be like that…but I am becoming that way and frankly I think that I might want to. Because the amount of energy I expend trying to right the wrongs is tremendous and I just can’t afford to do that anymore if I want to stay sane and live a peaceful existence.

This reflection is a result of last night when I attended the annual contract signing meeting for our diving club. Sure it’s a small blip in the scheme of things but I had concerns that the owner was not coaching our children as much as was expected/promised and she is the expert as well as a judge. She knows her stuff but she has a habit of blowing off parental concerns or saying things will change and she is not held accountable so nothing changes. So in the meeting I stated that she had missed at least two rotations of 50% of the practices which caused a big to-do with some of the other parents. We are paying a lot of money for these lessons and I want to be sure that what is promised is actually being delivered…which it is not.

Needless to say, I went home totally stressed and disappointed. Some of the parents who felt the same way did not have my back like promised. Sadly, in the end I accomplished nothing and pissed off some people because they are YES men to the owner of the club. And of course there is the unspoken feeling that if you say something it will effect your child’s coaching.  SIGH.

Last night I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned for hours and I woke up feeling stressed and unhappy that I took on something that needed to be said but will be paying a price for it.  My peace of mind is disrupted and the “happy place” I have been cultivating inside me for the past year feels anything but. And if I am honest, when I look back the amount of time I have spent fighting the “system,” whatever it may be, has most often not produced the results I had hoped for. And so I have concluded that I must stop fighting the fight because it is so disruptive to my own soul.

I would like to think that despite all of this I will do the right thing if called upon. I think we all do. We like to imagine that we would be the ones hiding our fellow Jewish citizens in our attics should the need arise. But yet, I have to wonder if complacency in the small areas of life soon reach into the larger and more important ones. I wonder too if complacency makes us lazy, afraid, and unwilling to risk our own comfort for a greater and far more important purpose; if it becomes our new a comfortable norm.

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And so today, I am leaning towards incorporating complacency in my life which essentially to me means putting my comfort ahead of everything else and sticking my head in the sand.  It means not rocking the boat, not championing a cause and not trying to fix things. For it appears to me that if you want to cultivate some sort of inner peace you can not do these things.

Frankly, complacency scares and disappoints me, but at my age, unfortunately, so does the fight.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Hooters

Sigh. Today I was invited to a Halloween party. Usually I wait to the last minute to get a costume and as  result I get to choose between two: this and that.

But this year I am getting a jump on things. I’m shopping early and there are so many choices when you don’t wait until October 30th to find something to wear.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am not a big fan of Halloween. I don’t like dressing up in funny costumes. I don’t like slogging my way through drunken people with sharp tails and dull wit, being haunted by Casper the Ghost, and smelly vampires who are dressed as blood-sucking politicians. I also don’t like the fact that evil is personified in the face of an 8 yo slasher who comes to my door. But what I really distain is the fact that woman are objectified no matter what the costume is. Frankly, I don’t know if I am just jealous that I will never look like these women again or if it really does offend the feminist in me. For instance take a look at these halloween designs.

Now, I don’t know about you but the history books I was taught from stated that pirates had scurvy, rickets, no teeth, poor hygiene and lice. Lots of them. And frankly, I don’t know how these poor pirates would make it out on the high seas with such skimpy clothing. Looks like a guarantee for deathbed pneumonia and burial at sea to me.

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I suspect that B would like this one and what man wouldn’t?

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Having a woman grant your every wish followed by a wide eyed “Yes Master” is probably every man’s dream.Of course, this also encourages that harem/polygamist idea that has been  floating around in the back of their heads since they were six too. But frankly, if Jeannie is suppose to represent a Middle Eastern woman she needs to put on more clothes.

The Angel vs. the Devil on my shoulder thing seems to be another men’s fantasy.

 

And one can easily see why they are such popular characters. I don’t know what Bible the designers are reading but it certianly isn’t the King James. Yet, the most gruesome thing of all about these particular costumes is being forced to wear 7 inch heels to a Halloween party…now that is just worse than burning in hell!

I have recently noticed the candy bar costume has come into vogue. The first thing I will say is that she looks like a Mounds Bar not a Snickers. But what bothers me more is that this is obviously the kind of outfit should come with a warning that every leering weirdo guy will hit on you uttering the words “I enjoy eating snickers” as a part of them melts while imagining that they are removing your chocolate coating.

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I also have a problem with the action figure costumes. While Wonder Woman may be able to get the job done I suspect it would be twice as hard when you are having to constantly worry if your nipples are showing and pulling up your bustier between punches. And the cape? Well, it isn’t made of ermine to keep you warm as you are flying through the night sky. And how does she avoid gigantic goosebumps when being photographed in the middle of New York in 32 degree weather?

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Next up…the animal costumes.

 

Okay, as far as I know all of these creatures can give you rabies. That’s bad enough but that zebra tail looks like something out of an S&M show. That rabies/S&M combo seems just as terrifying as ebola. Cat’s or bummies are both very soft and furry…the benefit of wearing these…I don’t have to shave for several months.

I know there are many men who think that women look good in a uniform and these certainly don’t disappoint. I suspect if the Armed Services used these woman as recruiting tools that we would have an overflow of dedicated new soldiers.

Of course there are always those in the SERVICE industry. I tell you what, if all the hospital nurses looked like that they would be filled to capacity (the hospitals that is)

Yes, Halloween costumes for women this year look like what you would wear to a masquarade ball at a sex club. So I decided to take a gander at the men’s dress up gear.

 

Appears that they only have the penis costume which comes in large and larger. I like costume this because it makes it easy to spot the biggest dick in the room very easily and steer clear.

Which leads me to the costume I have picked out. It seems appropriate for a 55 year old woman…not to frilly, not too fancy, it comes in a very slimming color and I don’t have to wear heels or panties!

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Blessings In Daily Life

As I contemplate my life with or without B I have come to the realization that there are several things in my middle age that I am striving to recognize and hold onto in one form or another. These are the things that are important to me and I am learning to value them even more as I age. They are also what bring meaning and blessings to my life and I want to experience them with eyes wide open and appreciate the richness they add to my spirit.

The things I want to have/experience on a daily basis are: Peace, Acceptance, Connectedness, Joy and Love.

Peace-I want peace in my heart meaning a satisfied and content heart.  I want a peaceful life meaning tranquility rules the roost with harmony following close behind. Peace that is a quiet and calm state of mind no matter what chaos is swirling around you. This also means having to practice patience in order to achieve it along with Sitting In The Silence.

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Acceptance- Acceptance is probably best said in this way:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

It is also accepting my children’s autism and loving them for who they are. Accepting myself in a deeper and more true way. It is being accepted for who I am in my relationship with my spouse sexually, mentally and spiritually. It is just accepting the day for what it brings me and not always trying to change things about it.

 

Connectedness- that feeling that the bonds you have with others are real, meaningful and as valuable to you as they are to them.  It’s a feeling of coming together and being absorbed in all that we share and all we are doing. Its being vitally and mindfully in touch intellectually, in spirit, and in presence.  Its a form of oneness.

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Joy- I want to find joy in the journey…all of it. I want those fleeting moments of joy like the birth and a child to become more common place and easier to experience…like smelling a rose, watching your kids play soccer, and watching the moon rise on a hot summers day. Joy a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, and even more important, it is allowing ourselves to recognize and appreciate how good things really are on a daily basis.

Love- Probably the hardest to define but I certainly know that it encompasses and transforms joy, acceptance, connectedness and peace into something knowable and something better than when they are on their own. Its adoring, cherishing, infatuation, devotedness, and attachment too. Love is a many splendid thing…and much, much,more.

 

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These are the blessings of life and if we allow ourselves to recognize them we will see them at work each and every day. I am greedy for more.

 

 

Being A Mother Sucks…Part 2

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She didn’t like the art museum. Okay, I kind of “get” that seeing pictures of old men with shrunken penises and heads being lopped off may not be your cup of tea but what about the woolly sheep standing in a brilliant green field or the pretty cuddly kitten chasing after a butterfly. Surely out of the thousands of paintings on display you could find ONE you liked. Just ONE. NOPE.

She didn’t like our dinner. She ordered pizza…what’s not to like? It’s a dish she requests time and time again but today it was as if the waiter brought her a plate of liver and onions.

She didn’t eat much of the blueberry pancakes she ordered. What the heck…we have blueberry pancakes all the time! But with hotel prices at $12 a plate for blueberries and batter she couldn’t stand them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

She didn’t like the Field Museum…one of the greatest museums in the world. You mean to tell me Ancient China isn’t amazing? NO. Or the gemstones the size of small hills? NO. How about SUE the most complete T-Rex in the world? NO. Really? You didn’t like her either? BORING.IMG_4388

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Or maybe the animals mounted and stuffed in all their glory? GROSS. There was nothing in the entire building that caught her fancy.

Okay, BOLD MOVES by the Joffrey Ballet. This one I was a little worried about. I have really never loved ballet but figure I am giving her some “culture” and if nothing else ideas for her routine. images-6 Of course, she developed a nosebleed in the first part of the performance but I’d be damned if we were leaving. Here is a kleenex. Stuff it up your nose. And so we sat through the three performances and I wept like a crazy old cat lady during the final one. Never have I seen something so beautiful and moving in my entire life. Never could I relate so well. Today I learned to LOVE ballet…my  tween daughter…not so much.

As a mom sometimes it feels like nothing you do is right.EVER. But then you finally catch on and realize it isn’t about you at all. It’s the hormones and your daughter is turning into a bitchy, selfish soon-to-be menstruating maniac and you remember back to a days when your mother could do nothing right. You didn’t like the dress she bought for you…it was too old fashioned just like her. You didn’t do the dishes and she did them for you because it was easier than dealing with the likes of you. You wouldn’t eat her pot roast and sulked like a two-year-old because there was only vanilla ice cream and not chocolate. You refused to SING ALONG WITH MITCH and instead turned up the volume on Led Zeppelin. And that is when it really hits you…horror of horrors… you realize that she has returned as you when you were a horrid cruel totally-into-yourself-snotty-14 year-old. Suddenly you have become your mom… old, boring and certainly not cool. Then, like the principle dancer who hastened her demise and threw herself upon a sword, you briefly consider doing the same, just so you can experience a quick and easy death rather than deal with a reincarnation of a teenage you in the house. That’s when you fall to your knees and wish for just one more hour with your mother so you could apologize, beg her forgiveness and tell her how great a mom she was and that you remember how hard she tried to create moments so special that you would remember them for the rest of your life but not appreciate them until your own daughter’s hormones went awry. And then you cry yet again because suddenly teenagehood is upon you and YOU aren’t ready to give up that sweet little girl that once hung on your every word, freely cuddled with you and loved you back without restraint. Yep, the teen years are upon us…God help us all!

Our Bodies Ourselves

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As women it seems like we have spent a lifetime trying to keep men away from our bodies uninvited. From the little girl who subconsciously realizes that having a man’s hands down her pants is somehow wrong, to teens who fight the pressure to go to “second base”  if you “really love me;” females are always having to fight men who are constantly deciding what “is right for them.”

Many years ago when I was in grad school I interviewed and surveyed over 100 teenage girls in regards to how they viewed feminism. Many didn’t know what feminism was. Even more commented that it was not relevant to them and that there was no need for feminist thinking in this day and age. I was shocked and dismayed.

As a child who grew up in the last 60’s and 70’s, I remember the feminist revolution very well. I remember Phyllis Schaffly condemning women who wanted something more for themselves than a frying pan in their hand. I remember women working hard to try to achieve equal work for equal pay. I remember women waking up to their own sexuality and unique health care/reproductive needs, and realizing that they could and should take those matters into their own hands especially when “those matters” concerned their own bodies.

Lately, the political right wing is getting louder in their demands to further control women’s bodies. In this day and age where access to abortion is harder to obtain than purchasing an assault weapon, and Planned Parenthood, where so many millions of poor women receive their gynecologic health care, is under attack and  being defunded; it amazes me how few women are doing anything about it. Once again men have their hands “all over our bodies” and once again women’s needs and wants are subjugated to men in power-conservative men in power who really want to put women “back in their place” where “they belong.” Yet, what I find really disturbing is that if God did indeed give us each free will that conservatives fail to honor this principle of self governance given by God when it comes to women’s minds and bodies.

When, I wonder, will women finally realize it is ALWAYS in their best interest to control their own reproductive health, their bodies and their souls? And when will these ideas that others should control a woman’s  body for their own political and religious gain ever stop? It’s time we end these outdated practices and let women live in peace without having men’s unwanted hands all over us.