It’s just a jump to the left…
Ah. That was lovely. Takes me right back, that does…
No…you wanna know what REALLY takes me back? Not the pelvic thrust that really drives you insa-a-a-a-a-ane. (My pelvis can handle that without me batting an eye.) It’s the fact that we still have to protest this shit. AND this shit.
Twenty-five years ago, I was a university student in her early twenties. Back then, it was the logging of the wonderful old-growth forest of Temagami, which is near where I spent the first ten years of my life, that we protested. We managed to save that forest, which was one of the last of its kind in Ontario.
And shortly after that, it was the Mulroney Government™ pushing new (and more restrictive) abortion laws in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down the crappy, unenforceable old one. This on the heels of the Chantale Daigle case, when an abusive boyfriend tried to get an anti-choice injunction against a woman who no longer wanted to see him. Chantale fled to Boston for her abortion, her ex’s injunction was dropped, and the government backed down when millions of women (and plenty of supportive men) marched through the streets of all of Canada’s major cities, chanting “Stuff your laws and go to hell! Each of us could be Chantale!”
And here we are again. The McWimpy government of Ontario is now going to allow Temagami to be mined (meaning, bye-bye protected old growth forest, we need to clear ground for the shaft, the roads, etc.) And the Fucking Harper Government™ (NOT of Canada!) is looking for ever new and more innovative ways of sneaking abortion laws back onto our bodies after a quarter-century without a single one.
Gosh, it’s like those 25 years never happened.
What a weird feeling this is, waking up to find I’m an angry young woman once more, but with an almost middle-aged body. Oh, I don’t look bad for my age; my hair is still beautifully red (with just enough streaky white to make it kinda badass), and despite my refusal to Botox, I’m not a walking roadmap of wrinkles. (I’ve been using SPF moisturizers for almost as long as there has been no abortion law. It paid off.) Thanks to yoga, my bike, organic gardening and long daily walks, not to mention sensible eating, I’m in good health. I’m still getting my period on a regular basis, too, which means I could still get pregnant at the drop of a panty. (In my case, a very sensible, comfortable cotton panty. To hell with thongs; even in my twenties I hated them.)
And I am, ironically or not, quite possibly the oldest woman in Canada to get the Gardasil vaccine, which is mainly being offered to middle-school girls, but is now being given in Canada to women up to age 45. I still qualify, so I’m gonna take it. Anything I can prevent, I’m hell-bound and determined to prevent.
Which leads me to this: If I can prevent the need for an abortion on my part, I’m gonna do that too; it’s why I had my tubes tied almost a decade ago. But even the best method fails, so I want there to be a back-up still available. As early as possible; as late as necessary. (Kind of like Gardasil, in other words.)
I like my bodily autonomy. Just as I love old-growth forests. There’s a lovely, healthy ecological symmetry about all that, which I still keenly appreciate. In that sense, nothing about me has changed since I was a Queen’s University English lit major, chilling my feverish mind between semesters in the Little Cataraqui conservation area. In my heart, I am still that girl.
But goddamn it, in every other sense, I am a grown-ass woman, and I really ought to be too old for this shit. I shouldn’t have anything left to protest. I should be passing the torch to the young, or yelling at them to get off my lawn, not joining the battle royal alongside them. I should be plump and complacent and ready to roll gracefully down the other side of the hill, with a nice fat RRSP to cushion my landing.
Instead, here I am, like Sisyphus, pushing that rock up the old slope yet again.
Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. It really IS yesterday once more…
…shooby doo lang lang.