I’m in the process of re-writing a screenplay I wrote years ago into an e-book novel. It’s called Voices on the Wind, and the story takes place on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As you probably already know, I’m a lifelong activist, and one of the areas I’ve always stood up for is the plethora of issues that affect American Indian tribes. So after a good long time away from this story, I’m re-visiting it … and looking ahead.
I’ve revised the format a few times over the years — it began as a novel, but after four chapters, I stopped because the cost of printing books was just too high (at the time); so I switched gears and wrote it as a film screenplay, which turned out to be a colossus 184 pages. I thought a film would be great because that would have the biggest potential audience to receive the message … or so I thought at the time. I even went to the trouble of registering my script with the Writers Guild of America (WGAw) and copyrighting it. However, the logistics of actually making my script into a film were daunting and expensive — even by the numbers of SAG’s low-budget contracts.
I tried writing VOTW as a novel again, but I simply loathed the process. My background is in the literary classics. I haven’t read much in the contemporary book market. My mother was a literature professor, and my father was a scientist for the government. My world was nerd-central. I read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Hamlet by the time I was in 6th grade. While I loved the plays — probably due to my burgeoning theatre obsession, I loathed the lengthy tomes with endless prose and little dialogue. The idea of writing descriptive prose was not something I wanted to do. In fact, I still have heebie-jeebies from reading Silas Marner in high school. I mean, did George Eliot really have to spend 2 to 3 pages describing a frickin’ tree? I say, “No.”
A couple years ago, I had gone back to the revised-revised-finalized-final version of my Voices on the Wind screenplay to adapt it for the stage because I could finally admit that what I really loved was writing dialogue not descriptive paragraphs that go on for pages (this blog notwithstanding). But I realized that in adapting my story for a screenplay, I had taken out a lot of the scrumptuous dialogue that actors love to deliver for the sake of brevity in the film medium whose motto is “Show. Don’t tell.” Well, screw that. Actors like to talk. And so do my characters.
Interestingly, in the past 10 years, writing in the mass paperback industry has changed considerably. People like quick reads, and dialogue helps do that. Descriptive writing is still necessary, of course, but not at the lengths that used to be the standard. Also, with the advent of mobile, digital readers, more people than ever can afford to read (e)books because the costs are usually much lower than the physical book. This means I can get my story into people’s consciousness everywhere, more quickly and less expensively. Plus, the publishing industry used to be almost impenetrable for new authors; but the digital age has leveled the playing field for writers and placed the advantage squarely in the realm of self-publishing, while the cost of film-making has skyrocketed.
Now, here I am, going back to the tattered, worn, falling apart original 184-page screenplay of Voices on the Wind — barely held together with its tarnished brass brads — to reformat it as an e-book novel for your reading pleasure. It has been emotional for me to revisit the story as I wrote it originally, to once again dwell in the hearts and minds of my characters whom I love so much. Some things have changed on Pine Ridge since I was there in 2001, and some things haven’t. As a writer, it will be such a relief to FINALLY get this story out into the world.
I admit, there is nothing like actually holding a book in your hands as you curl up in a comfy spot with a cool drink and a tray of assorted chocolates nearby. Nothing will ever really take the place of the physical, printed book. But for me, the world of the eBook is a great opportunity. Therefore, the journey continues….
Even better, all these years (and this blog) later, I’m not afraid to write the sex scenes. :-)
The Supreme Court has once again determined that women are not people but corporations are and that corporations have more rights under the Constitution that human beings do.
Tune in for “Trish Causey discusses the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby verdict on Birth Control.”
CALL IN to (646) 787-8587 and voice your opinion on this ridiculous verdict, or post your comments in the online chat room.
Today is June 21, 2014, and it marks 18 years since I self-initiated as a witch. The ritual took place in my backyard with a number of fellow witch-friends in attendance, along with too many mosquitoes and June Bugs to count.
I had been on this road to witchdom for a couple of years, having searched for a spiritual tradition that was in keeping with my ancient Gaelic ancestors. I was even in a coven for a while, but their tradition was American eclectic and had way too much Wicca and ceremonial hogwash for my tastes. Unofficially, I had been on this path my whole life; it had only been a couple years prior to my self-initiation that I had begun to take on the mantle of witch and pagan.
As I related in my Samhain post, being a witch in reality is nothing like what TV and movies pretend it is. “Witch” is usually used as an insult, particularly against women. This past Samhain, I bought a sign that says, “You say I’m a Witch … like it’s a bad thing.” And for me, the word “witch” is utterly fabulous.
The word witch is thought to derive from a Germanic root word that alternately can mean “to be strong” and/or “to know” or “to be wise”. The term witch was used to refer to the local wise woman, the woman who knew the healing arts, midwivery, burial preparations, and often, relationship advice. Witches were the keepers of arcane knowledge from birth to death, and that scared the men in charge of Europe’s misogynistic religion and governments. Insecure men have always feared women’s ability to create life, and that fear was never greater than in the centuries of patriarchal rule before modern science could explain some of the mysteries of human biology.
I have often said that someday I hope to be able to call myself, fully, a witch — to truly be a wise woman. I’ve found that it takes much more than just calling yourself a witch to actually be a true witch. I’m not talking about covens and initiations either. You’re a person who strives to live in a wise way, a beauty way, the “Red Road”, according to the laws of Nature and Karma, or you don’t.
Many arguments can be made over who is a real witch and who isn’t. That’s another reason I left a coven and ventured out on my own. I just wanted to do what felt right to me and was in keeping with my Irish and Scottish heritage. Along the way, I’ve studied many religions, and I’m particularly smitten with the teachings of Indian religions as they pertain to enlightenment, reincarnation, and expansion of universal consciousness. While I will call myself an Energist, for reasons I’ll explain in another post, there is no actual name for what I do — it’s just Trish Witchyness.
Recently, an instructor from Pittsburgh University interviewed me for some doctoral work he is doing. He wanted to know about my spiritual path and how I do my “thang” as a solitary witch. We talked for several hours over the course of a few days, and it was a great conversation that brought back many memories along my journey.
I recounted a tale from when I was a child, about seven years old, when my mother wanted me to stop making mud pies in the backyard to get ready for church. I asked why we had to go to church. She said it was to worship god in his house. I asked her why we had to go to church to worship god because a church was made by men while the earth and water I was concocting into mud pies was actually made by god. Furious that I was questioning her religious bullshit, she growled for me to get inside and get cleaned up, and away to man’s building we went.
When I was nine, I was forced to become Catholic. I knew instinctively the church was evil. Maybe it was a past-life memory of being burned at the stake or something … or being an observant child, I could see through the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Catholic church when my mother, the recreational martyr, fell for all of it hook, line, and sinker. One day when I was 10, I asked one of the priests, “Which is worse: always to believe and never to question, or always to question and never to believe?” He sputtered, clearly unable to answer me, then a moment later began spewing some dogmatic drivel that I could tell even he knew was inadequate.
I hated the Catholic church, I hated my mother, I hated Catholic school, I despised it all. When I was 17, I graduated from Catholic school, and I vowed never to return to the church. I almost did not attend my best friend’s wedding because it was a wedding mass. So was my sister’s.
At age 17, my life changed when I met an American Indian ballet dancer at a major competition. His poetry about his spirit animal connected directly to the heart of me. But I’m not Indian. He suggested I begin searching for answers with my heritage, and so my journey into the incredible world of the Gaelic people and spirituality began. I knew I was home as I learned more and more about pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. Even with the invasion of Christianity on the Gaelic peoples, many of the traditional stories and customs had survived. Considering how much of the pagan culture was absorbed and outright stolen by the Christian church, finding the links back to pre-Christian European spirituality is doable and documentable.
When I was 21, I volunteered with a ballet company in New Orleans. One day, I decided to go inside a huge cathedral — St. Patrick’s, I think it was. I went to one of the last pews and knelt. And waited. And waited. And waited. I looked around. Nothing. I bowed my head. Nothing. I looked at the shiny brass and gold trinkets, and the porcelain statues, and the stained glass, and the wooden reproduction of Jesus on the cross. And felt nothing. I began crying. Because I felt nothing. I left. Still crying. I wanted to belong somewhere, and this was never going to be it.
I didn’t have a name for what I was or what I believed at that time. About a year later, a theatre friend asked if I’d heard of Wicca. I hadn’t, but when I looked into it at the library and bookstore (this was pre-internet), I resonated with some of what I read, but not all of it. Some of Wicca seemed as regimented and hierarchical as the dogmatic church I despised. Turns out that Wicca was founded by two former Anglicans. And as another friend used to joke, “Episcopal is just Catholic with an ‘E’.”
It was that journey (and the dawn of the internet) that allowed me to find other soul-path querents who go by many names: Wicca, Witches, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Druids, Eclectic, Ceremonial Witches, Asatru, etc. Too many to list. The coven didn’t work out, but it allowed me to see what I didn’t want on my path. I left in the Spring, and it was that Summer Solstice that I held my self-initiation in my backyard on June 21, 1996.
Walking the witchy path has not been easy, especially considering I live in Mississippi. Being “out of the broom closet” has been a challenge from Day 1. I have endured personal taunts and threats, rude comments left on my vehicle (thanks to my “Born Again Pagan” bumper sticker) whenever I went to the store, work, the post office, the gas station. I even lost a job because I wasn’t Christian. But like any other closet a person chooses to come out of, being free trumps being a slave to the ignorance of others, especially here in the Bible Belt.
I composed a musical, Witchcraze, to correlate the terrorizing good ol’ boys of the Bush regime with the torturous witch trial masterminds of 1692 Salem. Having studied in depth the arrest warrants, the trial transcripts, and the re-trial transcripts, I can say for a fact that nothing I have endured comes close to what was done to the women of previous centuries, when “witch” was a label that carried heinous torture and a death sentence.
So, I’m a witch. And I’m a pagan. And an Energist. And a tarot card reader. And a Libra. And a Tatrika and yogini. And a composer, and a nerd, and a bookworm, and a Democrat, and a Streisand devotee, and a single-mom, and a wannabe chef and cafe-owner, and a kettlebell enthusiast, and I’m right-handed. Pick any of those labels, and someone is going to have a problem with me because of how they perceive that word and what they think it stands for.
I am a writer: a lover of words and sounds and syllables. I know what “witch” means, and to me, witch is a beautiful word. Witch is a sacred word. Witch is a word women (and men) have died for, and it is a word I choose for my goal in this lifetime: to be a wise woman, to be a strong woman, to live a life of expansion and understanding. Most of all, hearing or seeing the word witch makes me feel something. I feel a connection to all the women (and men) who defied oligarchical, elitist oppression to live and die free as freethinkers and religious and political dissenters. And that makes my activist heart proud.
Aroused and witchy,
The Alabama Court of Appeals has finally brought the Red State of Alabama into the modern era by throwing out a law that criminalized consensual oral and anal sex between unmarried people.
According to Alabama Code, Section 13A-6-60, “Deviate Sexual Behavior” is defined as, “Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.”
The reason, of course, for making such consensual sex illegal is to target members of the LGBT community, since Alabama and most Red States dwell in the God-fearing, fear-mongering, guilt-swilling Bible Belt. In fact, other media outlets have claimed this is a victory for “gay sex”.
But hold on, there, sparky! I guess no one realized that unmarried hetero couples also partake of oral sex and anal sex as alternatives to or in prelude to vaginal penetration … such as when a hetero couple doesn’t want to get pregnant, or maybe the woman is in those six weeks after giving birth when the vagina is off-limits to the guy’s penis? Or hey, maybe they just LOVE oral or anal sex?! Quelle surprise!
With oral sex and anal sex being decriminalized, it means Alabama is one step closer to acknowledging grown, consenting adults’ basic human right to do what they want in bed.
America is coming around, albeit slowly, to the fact that sex between consenting adults is no concern of government or religious busy-bodies.
I have long had an interest in Burning Man, the bohemian, heathen, socialist event that happens in Nevada every year. According to the website, Burning Man is an art event at which participants “dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, leaving no trace.”
As more and more people are awakening to the evils of crony capitalism and oppressive patriarchy, events that promote such blatant rebellion in the face of the prudish establishment are becoming more accepted and, hopefully, more common.
I used to do all sorts of ethnic dancing, and I particularly loved belly dancing. It’s been a while, but I’m feeling the pull to get back into my shimmies and camel walks.
There is a powerful connection to the earth and goddess energy and being Woman that happens during belly dancing, Flamenco, or plain ol’ make-it-up-as-you-go-along free expression. I was raised in ballet, which I still adore, but ballet is the opposite of everything that is free and lithe and curvy about belly dancing.
By the way, belly dancing isn’t just for thin women. Women who are curvy have an advantage in belly dancing in that your extra jiggles cause extra jingles of your coin-hip belt. Yes, it’s called BELLY dancing for a reason!
Recently, I’ve been looking into what all attending Burning Man would entail, and I don’t know that I can afford it this year, but I am definitely putting it on the books for next year. A friend of mine in New York told me about something that happened in the temple last year that was a beautiful, amazing testament to what happens when people come together in unity. He said after that, he will never miss another Burning Man. The entire experience was just too incredible for words.
So, now I MUST experience Burning Man. I NEED to experience this art event that is an example for all of society on how people can come together in love and harmony and respect the earth in the process. And to have the freedom from neo-Puritanical laws that shame the human body — particularly women’s bodies and women’s nipples, to be able to dance naked amongst like-minded bohemian heathens is too tempting to resist, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.
I encourage every woman to loosen up and try belly dancing as a way to connect to the sensual divine within you. This isn’t about being perfect. There is no judgment allowed! And who knows, maybe next year, I’ll be amongst the living goddesses celebrating the beauty of the human body and the human spirit at the one and only Burning Man!
by Trish Causey
Originally published on my Trish4Congress’ blog.
In February 2014, I entered this race because the idea of Steven Palazzo running unopposed made me nauseous. As an activist, I knew little of the inside political arena. I couldn’t get much help because there was a possibility of other candidates putting in and those with the Party didn’t want to show favoritism. I understood that. So I did the best I could with what I had and what I felt was right. I was just going to be me. And I knew this was uphill. My daughter even asked if I were going to vote for myself, and I said, “Of course. It might be the only vote I get.”
I wanted to run because the idea of the same (or yet another) GOP puppet having control over legislation that affects my body and my bedroom just pissed me off. I wanted to run for office because I wanted to see if there were other progressives like me, stranded on dwindling life-rafts in this deep, scary Red GOP Sea. I have always loved my home state of Mississippi, but I have never fit in. I’ve wanted to be on Broadway since I was 11, and I’ve wanted to “Be the Change” since I was 13. These two divergent paths have always been at the core of what I wanted to do with my life. So my life didn’t follow the usual “script” that so many other people followed. Yet, every chance I had to leave Mississippi, I didn’t; I stayed. Except for three months I lived in Memphis, and it was just like Mississippi.
My love of Broadway musicals led me to create Musical Theatre Magazine. My activism led me to create ArousedWoman, a site, blog, radio show, and an upcoming project all of which focus on women’s issues and women’s rights. “Arouse” means “to stir to action, to awaken”, and I felt it was perfect for my activism for women’s rights. ArousedWoman(TM) was borne out of the horrible misogyny of the 2012 campaigns that gave rise to Romney, and “legitimate rape”, and “binders full of women”, et al. With Palazzo’s horrible voting record, I had to do something, so in 2013, I began throwing around the idea of running for Congress. Years ago, I used to make the joke, “When I’m Governor of Mississippi…” and explain some egregiously progressive, liberal change I would enact to benefit the People and support social justice. In September 2013, ” When I run for Congress…” was becoming a reality, and one that I liked very much.
I had to raise the money for the $200 candidate fee because I am a poor single mom, the epitome of the “struggling artist”. In 2011, I worked as a writer for two companies in New York, but I lost one job to the economy later that year and lost the other to reorganization in July 2013. Since then, I have worked hard to build my theatre magazine from scratch. I live below the poverty line. For the most part, it’s okay. My daughter and I live very simply — no car, no TV. The only time it is hard is when my daughter needs extra money for a field trip at school — that kind of thing has to be budgeted in. Or when my daughter wants to do something after school but can’t unless she can find a ride because I can’t pick her up.
When I say, I understand what Mississippians are going through, I actually mean it.
After I put in for my candidacy, an email was sent out to local Dems, looking for a “well-funded, viable candidate”. This incensed me at the time, but as I introduced myself to more and more people, the first two words out of their mouths were always, “What’s your platform, and how much money do you have?” I soon learned that the entire conceivability to win was based on money. Raising money is not something I wanted to do. I raised a little and felt guilty doing it.
Every day, I wanted to quit because the more I learned about politics — even on this level — was disturbing and disappointing. Frankly, it seemed pointless because there are political machinations in play that cannot be undone single-handedly. But then someone would reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter and say how glad they were to see me running. And so every day, I had renewed energy for the idea of the process, while I rather loathed the process itself.
Because I am not financially invested in politics or the projects that politicians bend rules to protect or instigate, I felt a freedom to be me. I said what I felt and how I felt it. I am an activist and an artist, after all. I’m accustomed to my First Amendment privileges. Some people were taken aback by that. Someone in politics saying what they actually feel? Quelle surprise!
Things were going swimmingly as I ran my campaign by myself, until politics itself reared its ugly head. My opponent, the current candidate for the general election, made strange, passive aggressive comments about me on his Facebook page, but I had only met him a few days prior. As one Facebook viewer commented, he seemed to be taking cues from Palazzo. So it was very disheartening to see this sort of political play within the Democratic campaign. Silly me. I thought the dirty stuff wouldn’t happen until one of us went up against the GOP candidate. He deleted the comments, but I took screen shots, so I have it on record.
Fast forward to the past few days in which people all over the Democrat and left leaners’ Facebook pages were debating whether to vote Democrat or cross over to sink Palazzo by voting for Taylor in the Republican primary. It has been a whirlwind of hypotheses on which would result in a better outcome…. because apparently Democrats voting for Democrats is deemed unnecessary by some.
There were many angry words within the Democrats the past week or so, and this likewise was sad to see. Every single rights’ group I have ever worked with has fallen apart due to in-fighting: name-calling, labeling, inability to understand another’s perspective. Why do you think the right-wing is so successful? They are united in their narrow focus of protecting their power and their wealth for their little bubble. Activism caves in to in-fighting for the very quality that makes activists so strong — our diversity! Of course, we will disagree! We have so many diverse backgrounds and experiences that we have many choice personal stories to engage and learn from. THAT is the ONLY way we will ultimately defeat the united front that is the GOP.
Even with the Tea Party faction finally losing its stranglehold on the “stupid party”, the GOP is still rich and powerful. Instead of using our differences against each other, we should use our different but equal experiences as bricks in a foundation on which to build up our activist groups. THAT is how we create change that will rise up through society to our government. Government does not exist to be proactive for the People. The politicians are representatives; they take their cues from We, the People. And when We, the People don’t give a rat’s ass to vote or are too busy arguing amongst ourselves within our little groups, the united stupid party wins and the People lose.
Which brings us to tonight’s results for the 2014 midterms’ primary election for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District. Democrats reportedly crossed over to vote for Taylor, while Republicans crossed over to vote for my opponent. I will consider this to be a sign the Republicans were scared that someone like me could whip Palazzo’s ass in the general.
When the final tally came in, I had 44.6% of the vote. I wish I had had enough votes to go to the general, but that is not to be.
I have to remember that for most of these voters, I came out of nowhere just 4 months ago. I’ve been told that my running in this election has changed the political landscape of Mississippi. I’ve been told that my running has encouraged other progressives and liberals in my district to be more outspoken, now that they know they are not alone in this Red Sea.
I have to remember that I am unlike ANY candidate who has ever run for Congressional office in Mississippi. I was up front about my ArousedWoman activism, and my bisexuality, and my non-Christian, pagan beliefs. AND I AM A WOMAN. And I got a whopping 44.6% of the votes. Just today, I got calls from people in Taylor’s home turf, Hancock County, to tell me how glad they were to be able to vote for me.
At 44.6% (4,848 votes), I guess I did okay for a loudmouth, non-Christian, bisexual, pagan female candidate in Mississippi. Is this Red Sea looking a little purple, now?
I’ve already been asked if I will run for State office next year. If I recall, the people in my area really like their State legislators. But here is what you need to know….
I learned a lot from this process. I already knew that every major change in our society began with a grassroots movement within the People. Change trickles UP, not downward. And now I know why. The People must be awakened in order for government to awaken to the needs of the People (remember, “to stir to action, to awaken”?). As long as half the People are asleep in their bubble, the rest of us will suffer for their narrow-minded bigotries, while they decry our refusal to settle for oppression at the hands of crony capitalism, religion-infused politics, and good-ol’-boy games.
If I run for another office, I will be even MORE loud and proud about my activism for women. I will be even MORE persistent with fighting for equality and non-discrimination. And I will be even MORE up-in-your-face about saving Mississippi from the tentacles of the rabid GOP monstrosity that seeks to pull us under every time we catch a gasp of air in this Red Sea.
I will NEVER back down from the GOP’s misogyny, racism, homophobia, and selfish egotism. EVER.
If you want to support my activism, make a tax-deductible donation to my radio show.
But don’t ask me to run unless you’re really ready for my brand of full-throttle activism.
Until then, I love you all. Thank you so much for your love and support.
I’m still recuperating from the end of the campaign (i.e., catching up on rest). I’ve been staying up late on Facebook and Twitter as things wind down and going to bed around 6 a.m., then waking up around 9 a.m., facebooking and tweeting almost immediately. The outpouring of support is as amazing now as it was during the campaign.
I just posted here on AW my last blog post from my campaign blog, since I will not be renewing that blog when the time comes. I think it is important for people to know what it is like to run a political campaign and why it is so hard for “the little guy” to win.
I’m still processing everything, and getting back to my own projects of Musical Theatre Magazine and doing the interviews for my upcoming AW project. And being a single mom. And filling out my new FASFA for school in the Fall.
Locals have been stopping me about town, telling me they voted for me, and asking will there be a next time. So here are a few tips I’d like to share with voters who say they want things to change:
- Your vote matters. People need to understand just how important their vote is and not succumb to “why bother” syndrome.
- You are not alone. You’re not the only one who is desperate for things to change, so don’t be afraid to speak up. You KNOW the RWNJ’s will speak up. You have that right as well.
- Change starts from within. Until more people change on the microcosmic level of humanity we won’t have change on the macrocosmic level of government. Period.
Gandhi’s advice, “Be the change”, really is the key. You have to be the change in your own life before you can change your family. You and your family have to be the change before you can change your neighborhood. Your neighborhood has to change before you can change your community. When your community has the strength to speak up and demand change, then we can have the change we need on the larger scales of society and government.
And not until then.
If you’re a woman, this is especially important. Women were not “given” the right to vote. Women FOUGHT for the right to vote in this country. Women protested, organized, marched, and fought for the right to have a voice in our government. These women were also harassed, beaten, set on by police dogs, imprisoned, and some died for the right to be a part of this governmental process. Do not disrespect these women and their struggle because you have succumbed to the right-wing saturating our local and national psyche with their propaganda.
We CAN win elections. We put a black guy in the White House, yes? But we have to care enough in our local areas to get off our ass and actually get to the polls to vote for change.
Until then, we have to be mindful that change is not a big swooping phenomenon that will — *KAZAM!* — make everything better. That is the mentality that evangelicals have about Jesus’ second coming. Change is the little things we can do individually on a daily basis that will add up to major shifts in the collective consciousness. Remember, a pebble thrown into a body of water causes a ripple that can become a wave.
So throw that pebble each day by making a list of 3 to 5 things you can do to create change in your own life, family, neighborhood, and community.
- I will not watch the news before bed (so I can get restful sleep).
- I will take the spare change out of my pocket at the end of each day, put it in a jar, and at the end of the month donate it to a local shelter.
- I will say hello to everyone I pass today and wish them a great day, especially people I don’t know.
- I will be grateful for what I have rather than be resentful for what I don’t have.
- I will go to my city council meeting and explain why it would be good to have a community garden that grows vegetables for local residents.
- I will water the plants for the elderly lady next door.
- I can volunteer 2 hours at the local animal shelter.
- I can donate $10 for a local kids’ group to buy some art supplies.
You will start to change your thinking, which will change your body chemistry, which will change how you feel and approach the world. Imagine, then, how this ripple effect will help change others and ultimately change society for the better.
Start small. Be the change. Surf the wave to awakening.
ArousedWomanBlog.com has been named a Top 5 blog for sexuality & relationship advice!
Without knowing about this, DatingAdvice.com, ranked ArousedWoman Blog at the top of a short list of blogs that deal with sensuality and eros. Best of all, they actually get what AW is all about.
From their site:
Our 5 Best Sensual Blog were selected for offering a consistent canvas for exploring what sexy actually means and where you can find it.
ArousedWoman Blog wants to stir your passions and feed your fire, but in a clever twist. They frame their erotic delights around empowering women, expanding sexual freedom, and defying a culture steeped in shame and guilt.
Well, “they” is actually just me, but WOW! This truly is an awesome accolade. This blog documents my journey in dealing with sexual trauma and reclaiming my body as MINE in my Daily OJ posts. Along the way, I’ve helped lots of other women and men deal with their own issues and relationships in my AskTrish posts and helped them get in touch with their inner activist with my NEWS and OpEd pieces.
Oh, and anyone who holds any of this against me is an asshat and can buzz off.
Congratulations to Arkansas and to all the LGBT couples who have won an important hurdle in equal rights in regard to marriage equality!
Today, Judge Chris Piazza stuck down the state’s 2004 ban on gay marriage. According to Piazza’s ruling, he said:
“This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality. The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent,”
“Although marriage is not expressly identified as a fundamental right in the Constitution, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized it as such.”
Citing the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia, Piazza addressed LGBT discrimination directly:
“It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished, and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”
These are powerful words backed up by important action on Judge Piazza’s part. Unfortunately, the state’s Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will appeal Piazza’s decision, even though McDaniel himself is a Democrat who supports gay marriage. But for now, gay marriage is legal in Arkansas!
So, Mississippi … Let’s get on task here and support our LGBT residents who have a basic human right and a Constitutionally-based guaranteed right to marry. Please don’t let Mississippi be last in granting LGBT marriage equality!
originally posted on Trish4Congress.me
I despise St. Patrick’s Day. I love the connection to Irish culture, but celebrating Irish culture was NOT what “St. Patrick” was all about. In fact, his mission was to do just the opposite.
To dispel the “St.Patrick” myth bullshit, here are some FACTS:
1) Padraic was Roman NOT Irish/Gaelic.
2) No archaeological evidence of snakes has EVER been found in Ireland because Ireland is COLD.
3) Though Rome was in decline, the church was on the rise. Padraic was sent by the Christian church to convert the pagans/heathens/Gaelic ne’er-do-wells to the state religion of the failing Roman Empire: Christianity. As became typical of the Christian church, their marketing campaign was “Convert to Jesus or die.” Did the church really want to save souls? Of course, not. The first-century Romans actually detested the Irish and Scottish bands of Gaels, as well as the Picts (in what is now Scotland). The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep these rough barbarians from sullying their newly conquered Britannia. Then why were the Irish and Scottish so important to the Roman church a few centuries later? The church needed more people in its clutches to pay tithes and penances to fund its expansion and “crusades” (killing people in Jesus’ name).
Padraic used traditional Gaelic spirituality to correlate the Christian narrative of Iesus’ (Jesus) birth, life, and death, thus conning the Irish into accepting Christianity to go alongside with the indigenous Gaelic beliefs. Thus began the systematic assimilation of a male trinity (supplanting the female trinity of the goddess culture of Ireland) as well as the now prevalent misogynistic patriarchal culture that has overtaken all matriarchal cultures in the Western world.
Remember, Jesus was killed by the Romans, and Padraic (Patrick) was a Roman infiltrator (emphasis on “traitor”) to “convert” Ireland’s pagans from their indigenous spirituality to the indoctrination and assimilation of the patriarchal imperial regime, whose intolerance, misogyny, and hypocrisy are still felt to this day via the anti-woman Catholic Church and even the rise of religious fundamentalism in America.
To learn about the indigenous spirituality of Ireland, watch the BBC program, “Sacred Wonders of Britain,” which looks at the sacred sites, the goddess culture, and the history of the native peoples of the British isles — before Christianity and the Germanic influx ruined it all.
So there you have it. Please stop acting like “Patrick” did something good for Ireland. He didn’t. Patrick was a crucial part of the suppression of Ireland’s indigenous culture. Wake up.
…. and if you’re going to shorten his name, it’s St. Paddy’s, NOT St. Patty’s.
…. and don’t get me started on use of the word “Celtic” to describe anything Irish or Scottish….
Erin (and paganism) go Bragh!
Today, the endemic rape-culture of the United States is front and center again, only this time, it’s not Rush Limbaugh shaming women and victims of sexual assault or GOP gyneticians re-inventing women’s physiology — it’s an editor for the Wall Street Journal.
In today’s WSJ article, “Drunkenness and Double Standards: A balanced look at college sex offenses”, James Taranto makes a point to victim-blame women who are assaulted while under the influence of alcohol. Just when you think the days of the Neanderthal have passed, one pokes his misogynist head up and says things like this:
“Had she awakened the next day feeling regretful and violated, she could have brought him up on charges and severely disrupted his life.”
Really? “Disrupted his life”??? This isn’t like changing your lunch order from beef to chicken. This is a life-changing event for the woman who is brave enough to report the assault. Of course, it will “disrupt” the man’s life as well.
Taranto uses a drunk driving analogy:
“[W]hen two drunken college students ‘collide’, the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.”
I have recounted my own rape and my Steubenville-esque experiences, and I’ve heard from other women about their similar unintentional experiences. So judging from his attitude, I’m sure Taranto has never been on the receiving end of an assault or rape.
Taranto goes on to say,
“What is called the problem of “sexual assault” on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike.”
I want to point out that the men who participate in these drunken assaults caused by “reckless alcohol consumption” never seem to feel as if they have been assaulted. The women do. Maybe it’s because of the mechanics of “reckless sex” and how a man pounds into a woman’s vagina when he’s “reckless” — he doesn’t feel the physical or emotional effects of the “act” the way a woman does, and perhaps the woman would have said, “No,” had she not been under the influence. Keep in mind, that everyone’s alcohol tolerance is different.
In some areas, if a person has had at least two drinks, he/she is considered unable to give informed consent due to the effect of the alcohol on the brain. Alcohol is an entrenched part of American culture as well as college campuses. It’s no wonder that date rape and assaults involving alcohol seem to be on the rise.
The best thing is to steer clear of alcohol if you’re at a party like that. Keep your wits about you at all times. But if you do drink and are assaulted, please report the assault to campus police as soon as you can so a rape kit and STD tests can be done.
I am a big fan of Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice. I love the physicality of it — having danced in ballet and the theatre for almost 20 years (not counting ethnic and belly dancing), my body really responds to the physical demands of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. I recently got back into it…. and I’m so sore…. :-)
I make sure to distinguish between ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” and refers to the eight “steps” or “branches” of yoga: yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, and Jois’ yoga practice that he called Ashtanga Vinyasa.
As I have just begun my campaign for United States Congress, I am stepping up my personal activism to a whole new level of engagement. And so, I wanted to post Jois’ closing prayer that is sung at the end of every Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga class:
Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
Which translates to this:
“May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
Om, peace, peace, perfect peace.”
A-women! (Okay, I added that bit right there.)
Jamie McCartney is a British artist who created an art installation piece of plaster casts called “The Great Wall of Vagina”. On his website are images of the entire installation along with the motto, “Changing female body image through art”.
His website explains the art piece:
The 9 metre long polyptych consists of four hundred plaster casts of vulvas, all of them unique, arranged into ten large panels. McCartney set out to make this project as broad and inclusive as possible. The age range of the women is from 18 to 76. Included are mothers and daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women as well as a woman pre and post natal and another one pre and post labiaplasty.
One of the many reasons I love this piece is because when I directed/ produced a production of The Vagina Monologues in 2006, one of the comments repeatedly mentioned by women who auditioned was how much they hate what their vagina looks like. Of course, they were actually referring to the vulva — as does this art piece (hint: the vagina is the inside part). Only one female at the auditions, a 24 year old girl who had not yet had kids, said she loved how her vulva looked like a beautiful flower. One woman said her “vagina” was ugly because she’d had 4 kids. Frankly, I don’t think most women know what our genitals are supposed to look like because our perception is skewed by porn and skin mags.
The month that I turned 40, I took pictures of my vulva and saw my vulva for the very first time ever (not counting when I was in labor and saw my daughter’s head crowning in the mirror up on the wall of the delivery room — I’m nearsighted so I couldn’t really see it). Turning 40, I wanted to love my body visually the way I adore my body sensually. But seeing my vulva pics, I burst into tears because she looked so different than what I envisioned. My fair-skinned legs and rosy labia were not what I’m accustomed to seeing because most of the women I’ve seen in erotic photos are tan. Then there was my clitoral hood and the shape of my inner labia…. I thought, “WHY would a man like this?! I look so different….”
I deleted the pics immediately. But I took some more pictures the next day, and this time I didn’t cry. I guess I was getting accustomed to seeing what I look like. I sent the pics to 3 guy friends I could trust to tell me the truth, and each one said my vulva was beautiful. I was really annoyed with myself that I felt I needed that kind of validation, especially from men, but men know vulvas, and they know what men like in a juicy yoni. And frankly, if I’d sent my pics to other women, would the women have been grossed out because they likewise have little clue what “vaginas” are supposed to look like?
As I continued to look at my vulva pictures (and even took some more), it was amazingly empowering to know and love my genitals and not compare mine to women in porn or magazines. Aside from the genital grooming that is prolific in erotic photography, many people don’t realize that porn performers often have cosmetic surgery to alter their genitals, including labioplasty to make the labia smaller or conform to some ridiculous notion of what labia are “supposed” to look like.
This brings me to my point and yet another aspect of healing women’s body image. There is NO one way a vulva is supposed to look. Every vulva is different. Comparing vulvas is like comparing snowflakes — each one is unique and beautiful in her own way.
I think McCartney’s work is very important for a few reasons. One, he cast all sorts of women when making his plaster art, and you see all sorts of labia shapes and sizes (and piercings!) represented. Also, because the work is in plaster as opposed to photography or paint, race is not an issue, and all the vulvas can be appreciated without an ingrained idea that “white chick” vulvas are more pleasing to the eye.
Check out McCartney’s website to see the many other panels in this art installation.
In my Social Activism class, my professor posted this video, and it’s so fabulous, I have to share it with all of you.
Introducing FotoShop by Adobe`. Dramatic results on wrinkles, cellulite, & all sorts of other flaws real women aren’t allowed to have. Enjoy!
On Thursday, January 9, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice met to gather information on bill H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The problem with this subcommittee? It is yet another all-male panel set to determine policy that affects women. Another problem with this bill is that it isn’t just about taxpayer funded abortion but also abortions provided via private insurance — insurance the woman pays for via her premiums.
If you recall the all-male birth control panel that propelled Sandra Fluke to unwanted fame and started the infamous slut-shaming by GOP windbag Rush Limbaugh, this new subcommittee is yet another misogynist attempt to harm women and violate our natural rights to body autonomy and self-determination. These men have no idea what it is like to be a poor woman, a woman with a pre-existing health condition, a woman who is scared, or a woman who simply cannot afford to have a child.
This latest all-male subcommittee heard from three witnesses, only two of whom were female. These women were Susan Wood, Associate Professor of Health Policy and of Environmental & Occupational Health in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University, and Helen Alvare, a Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law. The third witness was a man, Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Yes, a religious figurehead getting a say in secular, governmental matters that do not affect him as a religious person OR as a man.
Wood had this to say in her testimony:
The Bill Would Ban Abortion Coverage for Virtually All Women in this Country, Including Those in the Private Insurance Market.
Those who oppose abortion have tried and failed to make it illegal, so instead they have worked to make it almost impossible to obtain. Indeed, some object even to insurance coverage of contraception, the most effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. One of the ways they have accomplished this goal of limiting access to abortion is to make it unaffordable. This bill is their most recent attempt to place affordable abortion care out of reach for even more women.
The need for access to abortion to protect the health of women, not just when they are in danger of imminent death, is critical….. Health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy or others would not necessarily fit the definition of placing a woman in “danger of death,” but could have potentially serious consequences for her health. Health insurance currently routinely covers the range of pregnancy care and other health services that may be needed by any individual woman. By denying abortion coverage, this would not only change the current insurance women have, but would put some women’s health at risk.
In conclusion, this bill would impose a sweeping and unprecedented ban on abortion coverage, with far-reaching and harmful consequences for women’s health and economic security. When it comes to the most important decisions in life, such as whether to become a parent, it is vital that a woman be able to consider all her options–including an abortion– no matter what her income or source of insurance. It makes sense that health programs cover the whole spectrum of women’s reproductive health needs, including birth control, abortion, and childbirth, because when people can plan if and when to have children, it’s good for them and for society as a whole.
Here’s a link to the Judiciary page where you can read all three statements.
Part of Deorflinger’s complaint is that he, and some others, do not want tax-payer dollars going to pay for elective abortions. As a pacifist, I don’t want my tax-payer dollars going to build bombs and fund wars based on lies. And yet, my wishes aren’t granted. For women who might get a teeny bit of tax-payer money to help them get an abortion if they need or elect to have one, these women are tax-payers, too. If they’re adult women, they pay taxes in some form or another, whether it’s sales tax at the grocery store, gasoline tax at the gas pump, property taxes on their house or apartment, or income tax.
Do we even need to go over how hypocritical it is that Viagra is covered by insurance but abortion may not be?
STOP MAKING WOMEN OUT TO BE MOOCHING SLUTS. Women get pregnant. By MEN. We’re in this together. Drop the misogyny and look at the facts as presented by Wood.
This subcommittee and this bill are yet another step backwards for American women and American politics. According to the Guttmacher Institute, as of 2013, 56% of women live in one of the 27 states considered hostile to abortion. Guttmacher also crunched the numbers on anti-abortion laws:
Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year…. 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).
Let’s review some of the other misogynist highlights that happened in the USA in the past couple of years that I covered here on ArousedWomanBlog.com:
What does this mean for women in the United States? We MUST stand up and speak up for our rights as American citizens and human beings with basic human rights. And we MUST vote more pro-choice women in Congress.
To start the New Year off right, the universe sent me an experience to remind me the work here is not yet done. Thankfully, it was not violent, but it was annoying to see how far women still have to go on the path of being respected.
A few days ago, I needed to go to the store, but I realized I was going to miss the bus at the time I wanted to go, so I made sure I caught the next pick-up. Had I caught the bus I wanted, I would not have witnessed the interchange that occurred on the bus I got on.
I sat in the only available seat, the one behind the driver. I like this driver; she’s very nice and tolerates the annoying passengers well. As we ambled along, I could hear a woman four rows behind me tell someone, “No. Stop touching me.” Then she giggled. I assumed it was a man doing the unwanted touching. A few seconds later, again, “No. Stop touching me there.” I heard him murmur something as she sort of laughed. Again, she said the same words, but more insistently, “No. Stop touching me.” The half-hearted laugh was faint. Again, the guy murmured something to her, his tone obviously trying to convince her that she should let him continue to do what he was doing.
As I sat, facing the front, my ears were piqued. The bus passengers were quiet, each one keeping to himself or herself. No one seemed to be bothered by this interchange. She was giving off little giggles at first, but my ears heard something else. I heard a woman who is saying “No” and then apologizing by laughing, so as not to offend him even though this man was violating her personal space and her right to body autonomy.
Even for myself, I thought, If it’s actually a problem, wouldn’t someone who’s closer to them speak up? Wouldn’t someone who can see what’s going on stop this guy? Were they confused by her laughter? Could they not hear that the giggle was a mask of her true feelings?
I kept listening. Their interchange continued, but it was different. Her refutations grew more loud and more insistent. “NO. STOP touching me.” No giggling. He murmured, laughing to himself. “NO! STOP touching me THERE.” No giggling. He laughed again. “NO! STOP touching me!”
I whisked around in my seat, sitting slightly taller to make sure they could see me over the two rows between us, and I said very loudly where everyone can hear, “Do you need the bus driver to call the police for you?” Stunned, she looked at me. So did he. They were both in their 30′s. He had one arm around her shoulders and the other on her torso. She was by the window. She was pinned in. I know that feeling of being trapped by a man with no way to get out. Now, I was really pissed off.
I continued, “We’ve all heard you tell him five or six times to stop touching you and he hasn’t. That’s assault,” then I looked at him but talked to her, “And he can go to jail.” She looked at him, her eyebrows arched, yet said nothing. But he did. “We were just playing,” he smiled. Clearly, he still thought it was a game.
I responded,”‘No’ and ‘Stop’ are not playing a game. We all heard her tell you five or six times to stop touching her. When a woman says ‘No,’ she means ‘No.‘”
He replied, “Yes, ma’am,” almost sheepishly.
I turned back around in my seat, still pissed off at the situation, pissed off at her for not giving him an elbow to his nose, pissed off at every other passenger who had said nothing.
The bus driver pulled up to the local grocery story, and this couple was the first to exit the bus. Then someone else exited, while I debated continuing with my plan to shop at this store or continue on the route to Wal-mart. I loathe Wal-mart. More importantly, I wanted to make sure she was okay — that he wouldn’t do something to her once they were away from people. So I got off the bus there. As I did, he sort of glared at me, and she sort of tried not to look at me. It was a very strange moment, but I walked by with my head held high and continued on inside the store.
It so happened that they almost crossed paths with me a couple of times in the store. She was looking around at what she wanted. When he saw me, his eyes darted away. But I did notice that she kept about a foot of distance between them. Every time he tried to get close to her, she moved away. I could only hope that she was okay.
I finished my shopping, and got the bus the next time it came by. The bus was empty except for one passenger and the bus driver. As I put my $1.25 in the machine, the bus driver exclaimed, “Okay, tell me what happened!”
She had been unaware of what was going on until the woman had said “STOP touching me THERE.” This was about the time I spoke up, so she heard my comment about calling the police. The bus driver told me, “I couldn’t see what was going on, but the bus has cameras, and I was ready to call the police after I heard you. But you turned around, so I figured I’d check on it when we came to a stop, but they got off.”
Ironically, the bus driver was worried about me. “He didn’t say anything to you did he? Are you all right?” I assured her I was fine, and I had been concerned about the woman. She replied, “Yeah, you always worry about that — what happens when they get home.”
Exactly. This is the same reason some people are afraid to correct a parent for being mean or even abusive to their kids in a public place — you worry what the parents will do to the kids at home. (I have also spoken out on these certain occasions, the most recent being a woman who came back at me with her fist raised ready to punch me in the face for telling her grandmother not to yell at her infant.)
At the next stop, a couple of the passengers from the last trip got back on the bus. As they saw me, sitting on the front seat on the right side of the bus, they laughed a knowing laugh, and the entire bus ride centered around the incident. I’ve seen these people many times before on the bus, and they had been closer to the man and woman. So I was curious, “What was he doing? Why didn’t anyone speak up?”
One woman said, “She was laughing. I thought she was okay. He was just playing.” I said, “No, her laugh wasn’t a real laugh. It was a nervous giggle and a fake laugh.” I wasn’t imagining this. I could tell.
The bus driver even had insight to the matter. “When you said that to them, she didn’t speak up in his defense. If he really had been playing and she didn’t mind what he was doing, she would have defended him. But she didn’t say a word. Not a word.”
Without seeing the incident, I could only go by what I could hear. It sounded like a woman being harassed or assaulted and giving a nervous laugh, as women do when they’re trying to maneuver their body away from a man they don’t want touching them. The bus driver couldn’t see the incident, but she knew something was amiss by what she didn’t hear — the woman defending him. The woman was silent. As so many of us are.
I made the comment, “She may have felt she had to put up with it becaasue she’s in a relationsghip with him. The reason I felt I had to speak up wasn’t just for him to leave her alone, but so she could hear from another woman that what he was doing was wrong. In case she needed permission to speak up.”
I made the point then in talking with the bus driver, and I’ll make it here now. When a woman says, “No,” she means, “No.” When a woman says, “Stop,” you stop.
Even if you’re in a relationship or legally married, he does not own you or your body. You are your own, autonomous human being with rights to self-determination. Just because you’re in a relationship with a man does not mean you give up your rights to yourself.
I want to wish everyone an amazing New Year Eve’s and fabulous start to 2014.
2013 has been a roller-coaster year of activism for me and ArousedWoman, but we made it through. I started AW Radio and “met” lots of listeners and followers. I absolutely LOVE doing AW Radio. And in 2014, I’ll start a more “official” format of my advice and activism for women’s issues and sexual health with the launch of AW Magazine, a digital delivery mag.
So this is an end of the year appeal to you and everyone you know who supports the kind of open talk that ArousedWoman exemplifies!
In fact, anyone who makes a $50 donation or more will get a complimentary copy of the brand new digital AW Magazine in February 2014. AW Mag will be filled with articles on health, fitness, recipes, as well as our favorite blissful topic (you know what I’m talking about!). :-)
Donate by midnight December 31, 2013, and your donation will be tax-deductible for the 2013 year.
And please SHARE this info on all your social media.
Thanks so much! And here’s to the return of AW Radio and the launch of AW Magazine!
P.S. Do NOT drink and drive tonight. Call a cab or a friend.
Millions are shocked by the Not Guilty verdict that was just announced in the George Zimmerman trial. In a case last year, a black Florida woman was sentenced to 20 years for firing warning shots against her abusive partner. Race? Misogyny?
CALL-IN with YOUR take on all this on “Trish Causey Hosts CALL-IN Show on Race & the Zimmerman Verdict.” LIVE show is tomorrow, Sunday, at 9:00 p.m. ET.
CALL-IN to (347) 884-8792 or use the blue Skype icon on the player during the LIVE show. Also, you can post a question or comment in the chat room.
Listen to all replays of ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey on the main website, ArousedWoman.com, or post a comment here on the AW Blog.
SUPPORT AW Radio by making a tax-deductible donation here.
Today, I interviewed theatre critic Peter Filichia on the topic of Social Awareness in Musical Theatre.
Musical Theatre has been a platform for exploring topics of social justice and social awareness since its beginnings. Musical productions have pushed the boundary of what is comfortable for audiences from Show Boat, to West Side Story, through Hair, Cabaret, Chicago, La Cage, and in to the modern musical age with Ragtime, Rent, Fela!, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and even the current hit Kinky Boots.
Peter Filichia is the author of Let’s Put on a Musical, now in its third printing; Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit of the Season / The Biggest Flop of the Season, and Broadway Musical MVPs 1960-2010: The Most Valuable Players of the Last 50 Seasons. His new book, Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks was published in May, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press.
As you can tell by listening to the show, I absolutely LOVE Musical Theatre. :-) Check out the replay and come back here to leave a comment!
Listen to all replays of ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey on the main website, ArousedWoman.com.
SUPPORT AW Radio by making a tax-deductible donation here.