Sunday, October 20, 2013

Small town values and unlocked doors…

Years ago, I received an email from a woman who was looking for some guidance in how to help guide her two teenage boys through a situation where one of their friends had confessed to rape.  The rape survivor was also part of her sons’ social circle. 

They all lived in a small town in rural Missouri.

I replied that I am in no way qualified to provide specific advice, but would reach out to some folks I know who are and get back to her.

The woman explained that she became concerned when she didn’t know what to tell her sons after their friend was raped and then another friend was arrested.  Her sons admitted that they were torn between liking both friends and being disgusted by what one had done to the other.

The mother's fear…her confusion and frustration came through, loud and clear. 

After forwarding a list of resources, I couldn’t help respecting this mother for reaching out.  And I couldn’t help wondering how other parents were responding to similar situations.

I thought of that mother and her sons when I read about the rape case in Maryville, Missouri.

About how that community responded…and what those responses teach everyone, young and old.

While some ask how such a horrible crime can occur in small town Missouri, this Missourian is left wondering how anyone can expect a different outcome when community members support a world view that protects men who rape and terrorizes those who have been assaulted.

There are those small town values that make people proud that they don’t have to lock their door at night…

…and then there are those small town values that make a body wonder how anyone sleeps at night.

Blink.

Something about October…

Gawd, I love this time of year. 

The air is crisp…the trees in the park are beyond beautiful…and the sorta-beagles can stay outside for extended periods of time without frying like bacon.

Sigh.

I recently updated my LinkedIn profile and realized that I tend to make career changes in October.  Twas an interesting realization…that for well over a decade I’ve moved forward to new jobs in October.  And I don’t think it is a coincidence, because I do tend to use July and August to take stock of my world and evaluate what’s what.

Well, there’s just something about October.

I’ve been offline because I recently wrapped up my time on staff with Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri and started up as Communications Director for Progress Missouri.  I enjoyed five amazing years with PPMO and learned tons about reproductive health policy, those who oppose access to reproductive healthcare, and myself. 

You can’t do this work and not do a lot of inner work along the way.

Pause…consider…continue.

Well, you could do this kind of work and not do the inner work along the way…but odds are you wouldn’t be doing this kind of work well.

Anyhoo...

I’m thrilled to embark on this new journey and I hope to take y’all along with me.

Throughout my life I’ve taken the road less traveled by…and yeah, it has made all the difference.

There’s just something about less traveled roads in October.

The air crisp and fresh.

The trees exploding with color.
 
Something that demands exploration and that a body enjoy the journey so much they almost forget that there is a destination at the end of it.

Pause...breath deep...exhale.

Shall we?