June 13, 2012

Putting My Actions Where My Intentions Are

Right as I was walking out of the office this afternoon, my phone rang.  It was from a number I didn't recognize, but I'm glad I answered.  It was a call from Planned Parenthood, and the lady on the other end wanted to know if I was still interested in volunteering.  Despite spotty reception, we were able to make a very last minute appointment for later the same night.  My stipulation was that I would stop home to let my dog out before I headed out to meet her.  It's on the way, and only takes a few minutes.  With her agreement, we hung up, and I think I may have actually skipped the last few feet to my car.  Don't get me wrong, I was still a little nervous.  My spouting support for Planned Parenthood has, thus far, been on my own terms and my own turf.  This is the chance to take that into the wilds, and that's new.  But, there's that pesky idea of doing something every day that scares you, and this is a worthy reason to be a little nervous.  It's the kind of nerves that build character.

I rolled in the door of the Planned Parenthood administrative offices at a little after 4:30.  I met with Shauna and three of her interns, all of whom are fantastic people.  I've said it before, that Planned Parenthood is a wonderful place, but now I can say that even their admin office is chock full of open minded, progressive, caring, non-judgmental people. She asked what I knew about planned parenthood, and I was able to tell her a Reader's Digest of their history.  Margaret Sanger, perhaps the champion of reproductive rights, started the organization in 1916, and today it is still an important cornerstone in women's health and the community.  I learned something new in those 45 or so minutes though.  Every woman has a story.  Often times, that's the reason they're so passionate.  I think every woman in that room was there for a personal reason, as well as an altruistic one.  As far as my own, I'm becoming a mouthpiece because choice and reproductive rights are something that I've had to tussle with, and firmly believe shouldn't be the tangled mess they currently are.  I have an atypical experience of not wanting to have kids, ever.  So, it was an adventure to find my path in a world where that's often seen as an aberration.  Luckily, I'm stubborn and have a deformed sense of shame, so I was able to make my own rain.  But, for all the women out there who don't have the same pigheadedness, or who aren't so shameless, making a choice in how to use your own body should be between you, your physician, and whatever deity you may pray to.  Government or someone else's morality has no part in it.

Shauna asked me how I'd like to help, that they had options to either walk neighborhoods and go door to door asking for political support, or calling people to inform them of important, newsworthy legislation that needs their attention.  I wasn't too keen on going from one phone gig to another, or playing march the fat girl in the heat of summer, so I asked what else might be available.  It seems, there was one more thing I could do.  I could help out at a booth, much like we'd had at our first Samurai of Spoken Word show.  I'd talk to people, answer questions about Planned Parenthood and women's health, and meet new people.  Lessee here, spend a few hours talking to people about a cause I'm pretty vocally supportive of at events that are health/body image/sexuality/gender identity positive?  Yeah, sign me up for that!

I don't identify as a strict feminist.  I don't have a gender agenda, and often times I don't identify as strictly feminine or masculine.  I have habits and traits of both sets of chromosomes, truth be told.  What I want to see is equality, open-mindedness, fairness, and a level playing field.  I think Planned Parenthood can help bring that to bear.  I'd love to be a part of making that happen.

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