I sit at a white fold out table, under the hot Burbank sun. I’m on a commercial set. Tucked away between wardrobe racks and expensive trailers that house air conditioned make-up and hair department rooms as well as nice bathrooms with music coming from the speakers.
The vans hum and vibrate drowning out the street traffic that passes by.
I can feel sweat collecting and running down my back as I’m dressed in black slacks and a long sleeve white button down. I’ve been cast as a waitress.
I wait until I’m called into a coffee shop that the art department has magically transformed into a 60s diner.
I sit with my phone in my hand reading an article about Clarence Thomas and his thoughts, his plans, his statements...
“Our duty to correct the error.”
Roe V Wade.
Then I read on…
Gay marriage and sex and contraceptives for married couples, also on his agenda.
In his view, all are also “errors” he feels the “duty” to “correct”.
I read about the people who are celebrating this as a victory.
Remembering just short months ago, these same people picketing with signs of a surgical mask with a red cross through it, with words written “My body, My choice.”
Picketing that wearing a mask to protect each other is stripping their “Freedoms away”.
Although I never understood the mask debate. To me, it is similar to a child at my son's school having a nut allergy. Sure, it is my freedom to have nuts. I love nuts. I definitely don’t want to lose them. But I would never fight or refuse to protect another child, soul or human being if I knew my choice to have nuts in their presence could effect their health. I wouldn't argue. I would just not pack nuts in my child's lunch.
I would eat nuts in the privacy of my own house. Or outside. Just as I would wear a mask so others weren’t effected in a way I might not be. So others didn’t get sick knowing the virus hit others differently or harder.
But I accepted others beliefs… even when I didn’t understand, even when I thought it was selfish, even when I didn’t agree and even when it was hard.
It was their freedom to not wear a mask, even as it could effect others, yet it is now felt their place to control what another does with their own body, their own health.
Hearing the words “abortion is violent”.
I close my eyes to the brightness of the sun to let those words marinate. While also thinking of the pain of carrying a dead child, an ectopic pregnancy or a fetus that has no chance of going to term or survival.
I am an adoptee who had a D&C when I was 5 months pregnant. The baby I had been carrying no longer had a heart beat. It had passed inside me. It had to be removed. I had to wait 10 days for that appointment. In a state and time when my choice was legal. Meanwhile, carrying that child’s lifeless body in utero. Which was traumatic. Which effected me permanently. Knowing it was in there, feeling the weight, yet feeling nothing else. No kicks. No movement.
If the baby wasn’t removed, it would have caused an infection within my body. The removal of that baby was and is considered an abortion.
I think about what could have happened to my body permanently if that option to do what was medically necessary was removed. If that choice to care for myself was no longer my option. How long it would have taken to get an appointment had the state I had been in deemed my health illegal. If that decision was removed because of someone else’s beliefs over my well fare.
I went to a Bible college. I took collegiate bible classes. I studied. I wanted to understand. I wanted to educate myself.
I think the bible is a beautiful piece of literature. I think Christianity, when practiced according to the testament, is a beautiful religion. I also respect and see the beauty of other religions and beliefs. I respect our forefathers for having the fore sight to not mix church and state. To not view one religion superior over another. To not force one’s religions views on others. Just as I accepted I couldn’t make others wear a mask. Just as I accepted it was their choice. I’m left, sweating under the hot Burbank sun questioning why it isn’t respected the other way?
I think about all those young girls and boys who will get pregnant as my birth mother and father did.
I think about the other foster kids I was surrounded by and grew up with.
I think about how lucky I am to have been loved. That I was shown right from wrong, educated, because I fortunately met someone who cared. I think about all those kids who didn’t get the same.
I hear about how some of those kids are now addicts, some now homeless, some now institutionalized, some now dead.
I wonder how much of that is because they never met or allowed someone to care. That they didn’t trust a kind hand because it was so rarely seen. I think about the violence I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed endured. And I wonder where these voices were that seem so loud today. How someone can be pro-life but not care about that same child’s wellbeing after birth.
If there are so many people willing and wanting to adopt, why are there hundreds of thousands of foster children in the US? What happens when these children grow up without love? Without examples? Without money? Will they get government funding? Welfare? Free health care? Who helps them when they are wounded? How do they heal? Educate? Work?
What does the future look like if our children do not receive help? If they do not get their basic needs met? How do we stay competitive on a world stage against countries that do take care of their youth? Where does it leave us in 10, 20 or 30 years? How do these kids function in a society that fought for their life but not for their life?
I sit here thinking if you can't trust a woman with a choice, how do you trust her with a child?
I feel the power of the sun scorch as the words on my phone burn. I recognize how small I feel as I sit at this table tucked between wardrobe racks and multimillion dollar machinery. As I gaze at a coffee shop that has been transformed into a fake diner.
Getting the rare glance at behind the scenes. Noticing the illusion of what appears to be versus what really is.
Knowing nothing is as it seems.
I sit. I sweat. I feel tiny, powerless, baking under the Burbank sun.