Before you fuck up and call her anything less than her name, before you grab her by the arm you need to know the trigger that you are pulling at. You need to know that the safety is never on. You need to know her history before you tell me that this isn’t my business. You need to know that her history is my history.
See, she and I, we come from the tribe of raw knuckled little girls who call our father by their first names and wear their mothers like bruise coloured war paint under eye. We grew thick skin before we grew permanent teeth. We learned to piece together our own families in the backyards of rented duplexes where we promised plastic faced babies better things in soothing tones that we mimicked from TV. We do not have daddy issues even though our daddy’s have issues. We have piercing eyes and promises to keep. We grew up to be nomads surveying domestic war zones with black eyeliner binoculars, always refusing to camouflage. We threw our heads back and laughed at oncoming explosions, never flinched, absorbing shrapnel, never let them see us cry.
We do not dream of boys who will save us from towers. We dream of boys with courage caked under their fingernails. Boys with hands rough enough to wipe metal tears from our faces but warm enough to mold them into stars. Boys with vertebrae strong enough to lock with ours so they can sleep sitting back to back with us and keep watch. And these are the boys, these are the boys who will find love under our armor. These are the boys who will find that we love selectively but we love fiercely. These are the boys who will learn that we love in ways that leave claw marks down the baseboard before we ever let go.
So do not think she doesn’t know how you fear her absence - you should. Your cage is not stronger than her will or her smile. Do not think you are good enough to tame her. You aren’t. And do not think you are the first to try because i have already closed your eyes and crossed your arms before your body hit the floor. And you think she deserves better than you. You are right. So be better than you.
Be thankful that she knows your name and be careful never to forget hers.
Rachel fucking Wiley (via crittercreature)
Sometimes I think I’ll never find someone who falls passionately in love with me and that scares me.
Who’s ready for dessert?
With thanks to lillylallylooly for her encouragement and assistance.
This is probably the best explanation of Tom Hiddleston’s charm ever.
This morning I awoke to the news that Angelina Jolie took the preventative measure of having a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. I think it is absolutely commendable that she thought of the risks involved and how it would affect her family. However, I can not help but be slightly peeved that there is yet another celebrity painting breast cancer treatment, whether preventative or present-time, as a challenge that can all be waved away with time and the love of your family. While I do not discredit Ms. Jolie’s journey, I wish she would have been more honest about the challenges within the United States’ health care system than just the information she sprinkled throughout her op ed piece.
Before I sound too critical of Jolie, I want to state that I have more than enough experience with breast cancer and its effects. I am the child of a single mother who is a three time breast cancer survivor (all separate and distinct) and an ovarian cancer survivor. As the previous information might hint at, my mother is apart of the small fraction of people who carry the BRCA 1 gene. I have yet to be tested for the gene, but there is a large probability that I might carry the gene as well. My family has an extensive history of cancer, but no one has suffered as much with this disease as my mother has.
Because of this disease, I have seen my mother in literally all shapes and forms. At 2 years old, I have wiped the sweat from her brow and made her the sloppiest PB & J sandwich as she battled through a horrendous infection due from complications with her breast health. I have helped her tuck surgical drains into pants so she could look presentable for my elementary school musical. I have been her co-passenger in the car as she forced herself to drive to the pharmacy 3 hours after being discharged from the hospital because no one able-bodied was there to help her. I remember my mother’s stories and many more, because I recognize the importance of help in all forms (physical, financial, mental, etc.).
As I have grown older, I accept the fact that my love was not enough for my mother’s care. While I am sure it helped tremendously, there are many other factors that contribute to her and many other women’s best possible care outcomes. Two of the biggest factors that jumped out at me when reading Angelina Jolie’s article were physical help and financial help. When she was too tired to fulfill her parental or work duties, I assume Brad Pitt or her staff of nannies, assistants, and other help were able to take over these roles. For my mother and many other women, they never had the chance to take a break. Brad Pitt was never there to give them a foot massage or back rub. I am glad that her kids never have to witness the horrors of what breast cancer can do to a body, but for me and many other daughters and sons we must see its true ugly self and we are forced to tackle it straight on. While these experiences have made my mother and I stronger, I wish I had a quarter of the help that Ms. Jolie has.
Moreover, the choice to have the double mastectomy and implant surgery is exactly that— a choice. Many women do not have the same choices she does as a wealthy, educated, white woman. Because they are seen as less valuable in society, they are subjected to “toughing it out” by watching there risk slowly increase and not receiving the information they need to make the choices they wish to make. This is why the numbers show that so many women of color are diagnosed with later stages of breast cancer.
In the case of my mother, she had sufficient monetary means and an extensive education as a public health professional, but, at the end of the day, her black body was not seen as more valuable in the sea of white bodies in the waiting room. She had to fight tooth and nail with her insurance company to grant her the coverage to receive a DIEP flap breast reconstruction in lieu of implants, because they felt DIEP flap was more “cosmetic”. In actuality, DIEP flap was the best option for her: it reduced her risk of complications and it was better than replacing implants every 15 or so years. It is little things like this that can suck the energy out of a breast cancer patient and create more stress than serenity in a complicated situation that is breast health care.
When reading further into her article, I find it so complexing that she is stressing breast health reform in “low- and middle-income countries” when there are low- and middle-income cities and households in America that are dealing with the repercussions of poor breast health care. As a ten-year breast health awareness volunteer, I have observed how cancer awareness organizations spend so much time exploiting survivors’ stories that they forget after the confetti, balloons, and races that the problem is still there. I feel that by now American citizens understand that breast cancer, along with many other cancers, is a threat to our country. While we wait for a cure, these cancer organizations and advocates should be going into homes and making sure that these patients and survivors are getting all the help they need. A celebrities book or television interview is not going to help them figure out who is going to cook their kids dinner or who will pay the leftover hospital bill. If our country plans on acting out the white savior complex for developing countries, then the least we can do is take care of the people in our own nation. It starts with advocates demanding insurance companies to cover BRCA 1 gene testing for people like me. It starts with organizations shifting their funding focus from media coverage to implementing preventive measures in communities that lack the education. It starts with people making the proactive decision to make a change now and not wait for the next person to tackle the issue.
While I am not giving a standing ovation to Angelina Jolie for her article, I do applaud her for allowing the opportunity for people like myself to talk about the reality of breast cancer. I will always encourage open dialogue about this issue and I hope that my future children will be just as knowledgeable about breast cancer as I am, without the heartbreak of the disease unfolding before their eyes.