Who have you become, America? Who will you become?

*trigger warning: assault*
When the letter accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct came out I thought that there’s no way we will move forward with this man as a potential for the Supreme Court…. and then we did and that’s where my disappointment has stemmed from for weeks. I have tried as a teacher, and when I was a public figure in the Miss America organization to keep my mouth closed, and I have finally read enough arguments on Facebook that I can no longer do so. This will be my last statement on the issue. Any negative comments will be deleted.

My social media from this point forward will not address political issues unless they are positive it will be used to talk about my volunteerism which is a big part of my life, to talk about family and friends, and clearly to talk about my excitement for my upcoming wedding next summer to my sweet, handsome Caleb.

I do reserve the right to unfriend any family or friends who choose to continue the discussion over Brett Kavanaugh’s accusations against his sexual misconduct.

Now let me pause there, I know this unfriending business is a sensitive subject for some people…and I’ve seen this increasingly particularly on Facebook lately. I actually see posts about it in more being a sensitive subject for generations older than me. I get being unfriended or uninvited or whatever can be upsetting, however, I do think that everybody has a right to unfriend somebody. Just as everyone has their own opinions. I have actually in the last few weeks unfriended some family members and friends, myself because of some of the stuff they have said has been very reminiscent of what I encountered in the first few months of coming forward about the assault I dealt with in high school and it has been a little triggering for me. it’s been very upsetting to me and so I didn’t want to continue to read those things. 

Now when I created my social media it was with the purpose of seeing friends and family‘s post about babies, dogs, you know, what they’re doing with their lives, not their political opinions so I will go ahead and say that I have gone full-blown political the last few weeks was never my intention; but it seems to me that that’s the only way to get into a few thick skulls (sorry if that’s offensive to you, probably lost people right there but that’s what it is). I do think however that no political candidate is ever going to read your Facebook post or your Instagram post. They do not care. If you want to change a congress member’s opinion write them a letter, give them a call, that is the way you make the change; this post is not for them, this is for you who are reading it on my Facebook list or whoever they’ve shared it to.

So let me jump into the meat of the argument. I think quite a few of you already know where I stand on this. It’s been very difficult for me to be non-partisan on the Brett Kavanaugh accusations of sexual misconduct. I’m a social studies teacher and I should be non-partisan but this one’s really tough for me because we already have a President in office who has been accused of sexual misconduct, that we still put in office and now he is trying to put someone on the Supreme Court to make decisions for us nationally who also is being accused of sexual misconduct, and it’s not only of one woman it’s now, I believe up to, what four women, so that’s not just one woman seeking to further herself. I just lost some of you, but I promise this is not a rant on Trump. This has a legitimate point.  

So if you read my Facebook post, you know I have already made the argument that women do not come for sexual accusations in this type of arena for fame. Take for example the Larry Nassar or the Bill Cosby accusations or even Kevin Spacey. Men and women who have come forward are not getting fame for this; I’m willing to bet that you can’t name the women and men who are coming forward with these accusations; I’m willing to bet without googling it, you cannot name five of Bill Cosby’s accusers and he’s been convicted recently.  The only reason that you may be able to name more than a few of Larry Nassar’s survivors of his assault and molestation women is because they already had fame these women picked themselves up and kept moving forward and were able to achieve amazing things but they didn’t get there because they came forward and said “Hey, Larry Nassar did this to me and I want him put away.” Their achievement had nothing to do with that; they had already achieved their moment in the spotlight it was not about getting fame for them and that’s not what Christine Blasey Ford is doing. She already has a career, she already has the money, she already has her degrees.

So my question to everyone who has argued well why didn’t she come forward sooner is: if it was you, if it was your son, daughter, or your cousin, or your aunt, uncle, mother, father, whoever it is that you value most in your life, would you force them to come forward, if they were uncomfortable doing so? Which clearly Dr. Ford was not comfortable at the time. She was embarrassed. She was scared, which most victims whether male or female are at the time. Even the statistics from the National Assault Hotline/RAINN say that most people who were calling in I have not told someone before. I’m one of those people. When I came forward two years after my assault it was the first time that I had chosen to talk about it since it happened. I had told one person and I didn’t use the word assault at the time. I didn’t say what he had done to me. I said he did something I didn’t want him to do and do not ever tell anybody. The whole reason I did not come forward at the time is the questions and victim blaming I knew I would get, and I then got when I finally did come forward. The questions most victims are asked, that I was asked, is exactly what we’re pulling today, it is exactly what you people are putting on social media right now about Dr. Ford and it’s disgusting. 

I don’t care what it a male or female had on, how drunk they were or were not, if they had ever had contact with the assailant, or if the assault was at random. For the record: tennis shoes, jeans, sweatshirt, I did know him, and he had no right to lay a finger on me. It is never a victim-survivor’s (whatever term you want to use) fault and how dare any of you blame this woman of it being her fault or her seeking fame, you all are enablers.

The next piece of the argument I want to address is that Mr. Kavanaugh is innocent until proven guilty. That’s fine. But someone who is innocent would have said from the get-go to do an investigation because you will find nothing. Which that has been Mr. Kavanagh’s last resort which tells me that something is not right. “If something does not feel right, something is not right.” if Mr. Kavanagh does truly believe that he is innocent he doesn’t act like it and the fact he has allowed the attacks on Dr. Ford continues to prove to me that he is not innocent, or he at least is not a reputable man who cares nothing about anyone but himself and his own pocket/power/reputation.

Now. Maybe I’m sensitive because I had this argument about a year ago with someone that survivors are not actually talked about it, that the result is nobody knows; but let me tell you people knew, even though I didn’t talk about it, he told people that I had done things with him, that I had not done by choice, and I just kept my mouth shut, I knew I would be victim blamed, and rumors were spread about me. I kind of now equivocate it in my mind to like on “13 reasons why” if you’ve watched that show. So for me, in my head, Mr. Kavanagh is pretty similar to that kind of situation so if he was innocent he would lay this to rest and do so in a respectful way of Dr. Ford insaid of letting her reputation as a woman be blown to shit.

Now I do understand that Mr. Kavanagh may believe in his head he is innocent and he wants the respect of his family and his children and wants this justice position. I’ve got that. But if he is this “respectable man” that you all believe that he is he would help this woman through this time, help her find who did actually assaulted her (use that law degree, boo boo), he would lay this to rest, he would go through the investigation he would prove to his family that he is, in fact, innocent instead of continuing the barrage of misconduct against Dr. Ford and her psyche.

I also cannot bring myself to believe that Dr. Ford is just out to get Kavanaugh when she sent the letter a year ago. She tried a year ago to prevent this entire incident when he was on the shortlist. Ours being the rape culture that we live in she was ignored, now she’s being questioned, now she’s being blamed, instead of being believed as a survivor who has a dealt with this in silence and alone for almost 4 decades that’s indicative to me of the direction that our country is headed. And it’s not the direction I want to go in.

As a teacher, as a female, as an active citizen, as someone who has believed in the American ideals and in the American dream for her 25 years I’m scared for the direction our country is headed. Because I know that we can do better.

I know that there were issues when we are founded. I know that there were things that our founding fathers did that we would prefer not to talk about. I know that there are things that have gone on in our 242 year history that we would prefer not to talk about as a country, that we have worked as a country to correct. I know that there are things as a country we are still working on; but as someone who believes in what this country can be, Brett Kavanaugh is not the answer.

Our founding fathers created us to be a republic, that included a representative democracy, (if you don’t know what it means, please tell stop by my Civics class and I’ll explain, seriously). That means this country chose Donald J Trump as our president whether I disagree with that choice or not. That means our military fights for the right for me to write this post, for Colin Kaepernick to kneel in front of the American flag during the national anthem, for Donald Trump to violate Twitter user policy literally every day. 

For me to continue to believe in this country we cannot put another man who committed a crime of sexual assault on our Supreme Court. We did it almost 30 years ago but I will not stand for it a second time. I had nothing to do with who was elected or appointed in the 1990s because I was not born. I have a say so now. I have a voice. I intend to use it. This will not stand for.

I am devastated by the rape culture that has been created in our country. I am devastated at my own treatment. I am devastated at the treatment of women I have gone to high school, church, college, with. I am devastated at the treatment of women I have worked with. I’m devastated at the treatment of some of my own family members and friends. I am completely and utterly devastated at the treatment of Dr. Ford by my fellow Americans and people on my Facebook and Instagram friend list.

If you wouldn’t want it done to you, if you had had a man or woman do that to you don’t do it to her, don’t do it to any other survivor. I’ve seen people say how Ford is somebody’s mom, friend, daughter, but she’s more than that, she is SOMEBODY. I just wish everybody would think about that.

As America wishes to be respected internationally, I hope everyone who is trashing Dr. Ford and praising Brett Kavanaugh and playing into rape culture continues to think about how they are being viewed internationally as well, because I can only imagine what people in other countries will think if we put yet white male sexual assault assailant in power in this country.

Trump had a shortlist for the Supreme Court nomination that Brett Kavanaugh was only one of. If you trust Trump, if you’re conservative, why do you not trust that some other person on that list is also reliable? Why is Brett Kavanaugh the only option to you? Is it just about being right? Or what is the purpose of having this man on the Supreme Court?

I am completely and utterly devastated, I’ve used that word already in this post but that is the only word I have for what I feel in the situation. The other day I caught myself sitting at the gas station unable to drive off because I was literally just crying at what this woman is going through, what she is being put through nationally and it’s phenomenal and not in a good way.

God promises in Psalm 10:14-18, that those who have been attacked will be restored. I fully believe Dr. Ford will have an extra jewel in her crown for standing up for survivors internationally. I am proud of her. It has given me a little bit of extra strength although it has also saddened me beyond compare.

So I’ll end with this: What is the point of having Kavanaugh, is it just “the win?” How are you treating other people? How would you feel if it was someone you loved? What do you want for America?

 

 

P.S. If you’re reading this, as a survivor, and you have been overwhelmed at the barrage of media and the treatment of Dr. Ford….please accept my virtual hug and my whisper that it is in no way, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, your fault. I wish I could tell sixteen-year-old Logan that, so I’m telling 25 year old, Logan, and I’m telling you, whoever you are. I hope you hear me loud and clear.

 

“For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.” Psalm 11:7

This post is a little different

If you’ve never met my mom, she’s pretty cool. She drives me crazy, but she’s also my best friend, as it should be. She goes by many names including: mom, Mumsy, mama, mooooooom, capt reg, Regina, aunt Gina, Gigi, aye girl, regggggg, Reggie….I think I got them all, if not sorry, reg.

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My mom does a lot for us. Like a lot. She runs the world basically. She works all day, takes care of us, takes care of her coworkers, does her job well, takes care of her mom, works out, has an amazing ability to sleep in a chair while HGTV is on the tv, works in our church nursery, helps out my brother with homework and sports stuff, really likes pageants, picks really good wine, listens to me complain or brag about work, likes Facebook and to text, loves Jesus, speaks truth unapologetically, has handled missing my sister after her move with an impressive peace that I wouldn’t have, and she’s just cool. Oh, and she also finds time to take part of yearly traditions with me even when life is crazy. She also makes a really awesome chicken pot pie that is life giving.

So today, I read a devotion, and it asked how they could pray for the women reading it. Typically I would’ve thought about the hectic beautiful hard mess that is my life, but instead I thought of my mom. And I posted the following comment…

“Normally after reading these I think of the prayer that I need to deal with the tough situations of my life. Today, I was moved to ask for prayer for my mother. She is a mother of three, her name is Regina. She works serving others as a social worker who trains those who want to be foster parents. She is not an only child, but she is the only one who lives near her aging mother and takes steps to care for her that have to be done by someone close by. In August, my dad/ her husband, had a heart attack and quadruple bypass a month before my sisters wedding. My mom took off work then worked from home to care for him and make sure he fully recovered- which praise be, he did. My mom helped plan and pay for my sisters big day. My mom helped prepare me for a pageant and to begin grad school as I work. My mom doesn’t miss a game that my little brother plays in, and helps raise money for his teams. On Sunday, my mom’s best friend Mandy, had a stroke and had hemorrhaging on her brain from the stroke. They have been best friends for over 40 years. They share life. They share memories. They share love. A lot of people are praying for Mandy to come off the ventilator she is on, and to have healing for her body, and peace for her family- which is beautiful and wonderful, and I praise god for those prayers. My mom has been relentless in her prayer for her friend and has spent many hours in the hospital waiting for news, waiting for Mandy to wake up, supporting mandy’s Husband and daughters, before coming home to still take care of her own family and go to work the next morning. This morning I want to lift my mother up in prayer. For her peace. For her sanity in overwhelming circumstances. For her to felt taken care of. For her to feel loved. For her to be restored and rested. For me to be the daughter she needs. To hear her laugh more like she was able to do yesterday while we enjoyed a snow day. Please think of her. Please pray for her. Help me pray for her to be covered in love and peace.”

So today’s post is different. Today’s post is to say my mom rocks. Today’s post is to say if you have a minute lift up my mom in prayer today. Today’s post is to say call your mom, or give her a hug, or send a prayer or good vibe her way. Moms are cool….they wiped your butt for a long time, and cleaned up your puke, and made you spaghettios, and cheered you on through what you were doing, and now that you’re grown enough to be reading this maybe she’s the one who needs a hug today.

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Typing With One Hand

I sit in another classroom, watching another teacher with her students, and I appreciate the relationship I share with my current students. It has been hard to be grateful lately, I feel guilty admitting this, but it is the truth, and I want to be vulnerable and be truthful here.

It was a really great reminder that in a Sunday service a few weeks ago, the pastor reminded us that even a mustard seed faith counts. Doubts are normal. Trails are normal. Mustard Seed Faith Counts. Let me say that again. Mustard. Seed. Faith. Does Count. So there is where this blog site name comes from.

I chose to start this as a way to process some of the things I am dealing with. It may be read, it may not be, but either way I am fine. God brought me to it, and he will bring me through it, but I need to process the things he has brought me to.

Life has been busy and life has been hard. A little over a month ago, I was diagnosed with two conditions that may never be cured. I had surgery on my hand (that I write with), from an accident that happened almost a year ago. I have had to stop lifting weights and change my workout routine drastically as a result of the surgery. I will start Occupational Therapy later this week….I hate OT and PT. Most days the fatigue from my chronic illnesses make it hard to keep my eyes open through throughout the day. The news I see daily concerns me. The things I hear some of my students say concerns me to the point I lay awake at night- I hope to be a safe place for them and to prepare them for the future and it makes me crazy to think I may be falling short. My anxiety has increased significantly. Multiple people I trusted and whom  I considered myself close with have hurt me in the last few months, and my tender heart has hurt in ways I didn’t know that it could.

Possibly the most painful…Some days I question that God is listening when I pray. I know he is there, but some days with things being so hard, it can Feel like he isn’t.

As I write this, I fear it sounds negative. There are positive things in my life. I was accepted into graduate school at a university that I love, and I am beyond excited about beginning my master’s degree. Multiple awesome organizations have opened their doors to me to volunteer with them as Miss Capital City. I have found a renewed love for yoga. My dad has been doing great as he heals after his procedure in August (more to come on this later). My boyfriend, who is also my best friend, has been super supportive of my job and volunteerism. I have a beautiful sense of community among two of my three classes, and they manage to make me laugh on a daily basis. With the help of my family and friends, my team for the AFSP team raised over $1200 for the Out of Darkness Walk. I assisted the HPA Charlotte with collecting 754 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank (these are just two wonderful events I have been involved with since March). I have been exceedingly proud of the way my title has allowed me to help my community. My sister flies home tonight from her new home, and I am so excited to see her.

I know that I have a tendency for pessimism, and I often look at the bad rather than the good. One of my devotions last week called me to be grateful. I hope here to write about struggles but also the things I am grateful for.

So I want to end today with a few things.

  1. I am grateful for you, that you are alongside me for this first post, and have made it this far into it. I hope maybe you will join me again.
  2. I am thankful for the fact I will spend this holiday in warm homes with the people I love.
  3. I am thankful for a job, that although challenging, I also enjoy, and that pays the bills.
  4. I am thankful for friends and family who support me in all of my endeavors.
  5. I am grateful for a program that has allowed me to pursue scholarship, service, and success.
  6. I am thankful for the best friends that a woman could ask for. I love you guys so much- even if you don’t read this and never see this, I hope you know how much you mean to me.
  7. I am grateful for four beautiful fur babies who let me love them like crazy.
  8. I am thankful for being able to receive the medical care that I need.
  9. I am thankful for a Father God who has saved me by grace and looks on me as His Beloved.
  10. If you know me, you know how true this is. I am super thankful for food. All the food. Especially dessert, peanut butter, coffee…I could keep going, but that would be digressing.

Lastly, if you are reading this, I want to connect with you, message/email/comment and tell me- how can I pray for you? And/or, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving week?