I was going to write my weekly column about women and competition and how we need to lift each other, support each other, be extra kind to each other…but the world is feeling extra chaotic today, with a heaping side of messy.
I’m sitting here, watching the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and my stomach is turning, literally, and my heart hurts, and my head hurts. I think back to when I was a young girl – a young girl of fifteen – who had absolutely no self-confidence, none, and the very notion – the very real notion – that at this very moment in time, in 2018, Roe V. Wade could be overturned. And that scares the living daylights out of me, and that should scare the living daylights out of every single woman and every single girl because our rights and our bodies should not be up for grabs.
Let me repeat that: Our rights and our bodies should not be up for grabs.
Up for grabs.
It all begins with wanting someone to love you.
That boy over there, the cute one, you want him to notice you, to pay attention. You want him to like you, to love you back. You don’t remember if you ended up in his car – on the backseat – or on his basement floor next to a ping pong table. You just remember that you gave yourself away: “Here, love me, please. I will do anything for you. Anything.”
That’s what happens when you don’t have self-esteem, or self-worth, or self. Period.
You give yourself away.
You don’t think protection, or safety, or disease.
You don’t think pregnancy.
You only think, “I want you to love me.”
And then you don’t hear from him. He doesn’t call. You sit and you wait and he doesn’t call, and then you miss your period, and you feel sick and you think it’s the flu, or a cold, or a stomach virus. And then you feel really sick and you start to gain a bit of weight. And he doesn’t notice you, he ignores you, and then you go to your doctor, or some doctor with a friend because you can’t tell your folks. And the doctor does a blood test and some urine test and tells you that your pregnant and you’re 15. Almost 16. And the guy that you liked, the cute one – the guy you were crazy nuts about – doesn’t even care that you’re alive, and God knows he’s not going to want you more because you didn’t care enough about yourself to protect yourself, use a condom, tell him “No.” And you find yourself sitting in a clinic with people who are kind and loving and brush your hair out of your eyes and say, “You’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.” And you want to believe them, and then someone holds your hand and says “Count backwards from one hundred,” and the next thing you know that same someone is standing over you with a glass of orange juice, lifting your head ever so slightly, and saying, ‘Take a sip, a little sip.” And then you get dressed and you feel shame and you feel guilt and you feel empty and you feel lonely and you wish that you liked yourself enough to not have let that boy – the cute one, the one who doesn’t even know that you exist, who doesn’t even say hello to you in the hall, the one who doesn’t even look at you out of the corner of his eyes – into your heart and soul – into your body. And you feel dirty, and ugly.
Those were the choices I made when I was fifteen years old: the bad boy and the abortion. And to say that the abortion saved my life would be an understatement. Imagine bringing a baby into the world when you, yourself, feel unwanted.
I didn’t know at the age of fifteen – or even at the age of twenty-five – that I could love me, love myself, and that that would be okay, more than okay, more than enough. I had no idea that self-love was radical and necessary and that saying “NO” was an act of self-love.
So, no you cannot overturn our rights. They are not up for grabs.
author. writer. girl.
Women’s eNews Columnist Amy Ferris is a highly accomplished author, screenwriter, television writer and editor Every Friday, you will be invited into her world, where she will champion, encourage and inspire women to awaken to their greatness, as only she can, through passion, truth, hope, and humor — along with a heaping side of activism: