Stripped

I wake this morning, head fuzzy from sleep. Rolling out of bed, I trudge towards the kitchen. Before getting the kids up and going, I glance at my phone. Notification after notification clenches my stomach until it’s a tight ball. I can’t read any of these articles. I swipe to clear and slam my phone down.

This is our reality, waking daily to discover what rights are stripped away today. Waking to a world on fire, and half of it in denial or just denying it. All we know toppling, burying us deep beneath.

SCOTUS considers overturning Roe v. Wade today. It’s likely it will happen. I feel heavy, my body dragged down. My thoughts ping around. It’s months, years of too much.

This is not about morality. It’s not about what’s right and wrong. It’s about power, and exerting that power over others. It’s a direct message that anyone with a uterus should have no control over their very being.

And it is about control, contrary to what your neighbor, grandma and co-worker say. Controlling, dictating, demanding what certain bodies have rights too. Bodies with a uterus, disabled bodies, trans bodies, non-white bodies. These bodies are less than, not quite human, incapable of controlling themselves. These bodies are adjudicated, broken down into parts. These parts are pronounced wrong, immoral, crushed into submission.

For years, decades really, so many of us have sat back and witnessed wide-eyed our autonomy discussed and disputed. The point is to demoralize us. To exert authority, proving we have no place.

I’m tired of being told I have no place in this world. I’m tired of my body not given space to exist in its entirety. But I’m so overwhelmed. So consumed by so much, it feels like I’m drowning at times.

Lies upon lies upon lies upon lies have been spewed century after century. Stitching a narrative presented as truth, but truth no longer exists. Did it ever?

Few see beyond their privilege, incapable of conceiving a world devoid of such privilege. Few care about others, celebrating sameness. So wrapped up warm and snug in lies, sneering at any who dare to speak otherwise.

Do not sit in comfort. If a single right can be stripped away in the blink of an eye, who are you to think other rights can’t be stripped away? Your rights. There is no winning when a small group of people scream, dismantling autonomy.

By LitMommy

Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter is a mom and writer from Omaha, Nebraska but recently relocated to Urbandale, IA. When she’s not chasing children, picking up messes or reorganizing the house, she enjoys yoga or reading to relax. In her spare time (A.K.A. her dreams) she’s a Broadway star. Kuenning-Pollpeter is a freelance marketer during the day, a creative writer at night. Her work has appeared in the Brevity blog, The Omaha World Herald, 13th Floor, Misbehaving Nebraskans, Hippocampus, Emerging Nebraska Writers and Random Sample Review. She has her BFA and MFA in writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her essay “The Body” was a McKenna Fellowship finalist, and her essay “Imperfection” was a 2020 Best of the Net Nominee. She is blind and writes frequently about disability. She’s working on a memoir about the disabled feminine experience. With the kids though, expect it in stores in about a decade.

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