Thursday, March 24, 2011

The way it is.

This song was played on the radio often when I was a kid. I associate it with a public swimming pool my mom used to take us to. They would play the radio on speakers and for some reason I remember hearing this song there.

I'm told that I get frustrated - more than many other people, I guess, at certain conditions in the world that are usually taken for granted. I'm a passionate person and an emotional person, and things just get to me sometimes. I realize that many of my beliefs and practices are not common. I realize that behaviors of others that I consider offensive and appalling are widespread and not given a second thought by many (probably including the "others" in question).

And I certainly realize that, out there in "the real world," there aren't a heck of a lot of pacifists, feminists, and vegans.

I realize that I could spare myself some anguish if I could somehow learn to not let things "get to me," however exactly that is achieved. I realize that I am an idealist.

But here's the thing. I have been fortunate enough in my life to see and experience huge moments of change in individuals. And I believe that's where change in the world begins - with individuals.

I think of one of my personal heroes, John Lennon. If you listen to some of his early Beatles songs, if you look at the way he treated his first wife and son during those years...well, I'm not so sure I like that guy. But his later songs show a huge personal shift. His relationships with Yoko and their son Sean were clearly transformative forces in his life. It's inspiring.

I think of the group of people I met on the New Year's retreat a few months ago. It was amazing to share a space with people who were so open, honest, and working toward similar yet individual goals - just trying to grow and be better people, each person at their own stage in the journey, but on that journey, and thinking that journey mattered.

I know and have seen far to many examples of changes for the better at the individual level to believe that our worse behaviors are all we're capable of. There is much debate over "human nature" versus social conditioning. I can't say for sure why we are the way we are. But I can say for sure that we can change, we can grow.

So when I complain about being treated like a one dimensional sex object because I am a woman, don't try to tell me that's just the way men are. Because, guess what? I know plenty of men who are somehow capable of looking at a woman and seeing a whole person.

And sure, you can tell me vegans make up 0.001% of the American population (yes I made that figure up), and there are so few of us that we can't possibly be making any kind of real difference...well, I just think about how many MORE vegans there are today, compared to when I was born, back in 1980. Heck, I wasn't a vegan back then, I didn't start going vegan till 2009. But I am one now.

I won't even say that I'm trying for some kind of utopia where everyone starts to self identify using the labels (feminist, vegan, etc) that I personally choose. Frankly, I can't even picture that. What I like to see, what I hope to see more of, is questioning. When people begin to question "the way it is," they can see possibilities.
And after that...who knows what could happen?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Theater life of late

I went to see Intringulis at Southern Rep last night, after winning tickets to opening night via a Facebook contest. I love solo shows and have done a couple myself in the past. I like to look at how they are structured. Solo shows can be great to take on the road, because you don't have a big group of people to wrangle (and pay). Many of them have minimal sets and costumes, because generally the performer does not exit the stage so there is no time for changes. This show had a simple set design that worked quite well. I especially liked the window that was used for a scene about a window-washer, and later used like a dry erase board with markers. Carlo Alban sang songs and played guitar throughout the show, which was a wonderful addition to his insightful narration and portrayal of several characters.

Personal stories can be so illuminating, and are often ignored in discussion of big political issues. This play brings an important perspective to the immigration debate.

I also have to add that they were selling vegan chocolate chip cookies at the show, and the opening night reception included some delicious fruit. Score!

As for me, the project I've been working on with Ashe Cultural Arts Center, A-Musing, won first place in the Louisiana AACT festival. This means we'll be traveling to Texas next month to compete in the regional competition. Working on a show while pregnant has been much more of a challenge than I anticipated*, but I am proud of the piece, which has evolved a LOT since I joined the process, and heck, it's always nice to win awards!

*Translation: I have been the kind of lethargic, whiny and overly emotional actor that I always found annoying to work with in the past. In fact, I find myself annoying to work with, yet I can't seem to snap out of it. I'm just not my energetic self these days!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


When I expressed concern about whether I would be judged for having a baby out of wedlock, my sister told me to relax because "it is no longer 1952."

Apparently Mike Huckabee didn't get that memo.

Aren't we glad he's not the president? Let's keep it that way.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Brief thoughts on male attention

As a child, I was awkward and weird and desperately wanted guys to notice me.

As an adult, I became more attractive and began to receive the guys' attention and I loved it.

Then I realized that when men think a woman is pretty, sometimes they project all kinds of other qualities on her, which she may not actually have. And when they find out she doesn't have those qualities, they feel tricked and become not so nice.

And then I became increasingly annoyed with and freaked out by male attention.

Now I'm pregnant and for the first time in my life I feel like it's not an issue, because men don't find pregnant women sexy (unless she's pregnant with their kid).

Random men don't think I'm hot and I LOVE IT.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Being pregnant has made me more pro-choice than ever.

Ah, my poor neglected blog! It's been nearly a month! I'm sorry :(

I have composed several posts in my head but none here. Bad Bridget.

Anyway, on to the topic in the title.

I just read this article via Feministe, it's written by a woman who works as an abortion provider. It has inspired me to share my story.

When I suspected that I was pregnant this past November, my boyfriend told me that he would support me in any choice I wanted to make. He knew I was applying to grad programs and he didn't want me to have to give that up to have a baby if I wasn't ready. But we both also knew we wanted children. The question was, is now the time?

Our relationship was (and still is) relatively new, and we are not married.

I honestly did not know what I would choose to do if I turned out to be pregnant. But after experiencing several signs that indicated that I might be, I bought a home test. I remember talking to a friend once a few years ago, who was telling me about her first pregnancy, when she was still a teenager. She said, "once you see the positive test, something in you changes immediately." Her words were in my head as I unlocked my door, returning from Walgreens with my pregnancy test in hand. I took the test, and got a plus sign.

I know not everyone's experiences are similar, but for me, my friend's words turned out to be true. Once I saw that sign (which showed up IMMEDIATELY), something transformed in me. In fact, I somewhat bizarrely became terrified of having a miscarriage, even though just minutes before I'd been hoping the test would come out negative and I could continue with my life as usual.

Having said all that, I do think that several factors lead to my wanting this baby. Probably some kind of natural maternal instinct was involved, but that certainly wasn't everything. I knew I had a great partner. I knew he was supportive. I knew we could provide a child with a home and with everything else necessary. I was about to turn 30.

The thing is, I've had pregnancy scares earlier in my life, when all of the above things were not true. I don't know that I would have made the same decision back then. I am happy it turned out that I didn't have to.

I believe that choosing abortion can be the most responsible choice. Early in my pregnancy, both my boyfriend and I had doubts sometimes that we were doing the right thing by choosing to have this baby. We turned to our families for advice and they were all very supportive, which was helpful. But every situation is different, and I believe that women must have the right to make her own choice in this matter.

Pregnancy is tough. I've had to cut back on my hours at work, and I sure do miss the money I used to make. I'm giving up living here in New Orleans, my favorite city in the world, my chosen home for almost eight years, to move in with my boyfriend near Baton Rouge because he owns a house and I do not. I've postponed my grad school plans.

I chose to make all of these changes in my life. I would not appreciate being forced to do so.

That's my story, and that's why I'm pro-choice.