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I am on my way home, sitting on the bus bleeding—and I am a criminal.
I have had an abortion.
And it wasn’t because I was raped. Would it be better if I was?
Even then, there are some who would say I still had no right to choose for myself. I was with someone who no longer loved me—in fact, loved me so little I had to catch the bus back.
It wasn’t meant to happen; I was on the pill. I had no money, no support. I was young. I was scared. I was alone.
I really didn’t know what to do.
But what I did know was the pain of growing up in an ugly, broken home, and how many nights I laid awake, alone with my suffering, contemplating my own suicide.
I would not wish that upon anyone. And I definitely wouldn’t choose it, certainly not for my own child. So I made the only choice I could and did not bring that child into my world of pain.
Was it selfish or selfless?
Could it be both?
I guess I won’t know until my own judgement day, but from everything I hear and read and see, it’s not looking good.
As I looked around the bus on my way home, I wondered how many of them—if they knew what I had just done—would wish hatred upon me, immense pain, even death. I wondered how many believe that I deserve to burn in hell.
But I also wondered, if I went through with having this child, how many would be there to hold my child’s hand when I couldn’t, who would come and save my child from seeing me struggle, how many would feed, clothe, or educate my child when I couldn’t? Where would all those people be then?
And so as I sit here now, today, with my hands on my womb, the pain that began as my monthly bleed becomes so much more.
It is crying out in gargantuan grief.
It is burning raw under this barbaric burden of shame.
But mainly, it is the deep bloody sorrow that is running through this notion that my womb is not my own.
The fear, disbelief, and incomprehension that men in suits see me and my womb as their property. A space that only serves to carry a man’s child. Something to argue and fight around, to throw slurs at, to discriminate and segregate and impoverish and make laws over.
Please keep your filthy hands off my womb.
It was a difficult choice but it was my choice.
And I can create many a beautiful thing from this womb of mine. I paint and write and dance and rage and sing and wail and weave. I make medicine. I share stories. I commune with my wild nature.
All from this womb.
Maybe one day I will carry a baby there. And that, too, will be my choice.
Only I get to choose what I give and receive and create from this holy place.
And yes, it is still holy. I am still holy.
Because it is my sacred vessel alone.
It is my body, my choice.