Wednesday, October 26, 2016

AM~Erica in Search of Modern Suffragettes

So anyway...

We are on countdown to less than 2 weeks until the end of trash-talking campaign ads as election season is winding down to a close.


I'm not ready for the Christmas commercials to begin, but the few I've seen have actually been refreshing, and a welcome change, compared to the doom & gloom of attack ads for the looming of Super Tuesday.

However, this means Super Tuesday is right around the corner. And it is incredibly important we get out there to vote on November 8th!

No, the presidential candidates are not the best of choices, but don't let this particular race deter you from voting if you are registered to vote.

This is Super Tuesday we are talking about! There's more than one issue & office on the ballot that need our voices heard!

If you click HERE, you will see a sample ballot for just my county. My municipality will have additional voting on top of this, as well as other surrounding municipalities. Look at all of it! There is a whole lot more going on, voting-wise, than just president. There's other federal, state, and local candidates & issues to focus on, too. It's my thinking that this ballot is not alone.

How do we break all of this down? If you go to BALLOTPEDIA, there you will find an incredible breakdown of the candidates & issues! Research this stuff so you know what & who you are voting on.

With all of that said, I want to, once again, turn my attention to my fella female registered voters across this great land:

Early voting has begun in many places. Even if you are voting early, or by absentee ballot, remember THE REVOLUTION! Get out your yellow, get a yellow sash, find something as a yellow sash, and get your vote on!

Whether you vote early, or if you vote on Super Tuesday, remind ourselves about what the suffragettes before us were fighting for. We haven't been casting ballots for a hundred years yet. This is still shiny & new. Let's keep using our 19th amendment right to get in there & make our voices heard.

Remember, when you vote, early or on November 8th, and no matter who or what it is you're voting for, let's use our harmony of voting voices to remind ourselves, remind each other, and remind the nation that we do vote.

When you go vote, like I said, remember to wear your yellow sash, or wear yellow (the main color of the American suffragette movement), then get a selfie or two:

* in front of the polling place, OUTSIDE
* with your voting sticker
* in your yellow

Be sure to hashtag it, across social media, with #YellowSashRevolution. Let's get this visual movement going!

Here's 2 of my sashes I've made, recently, along with my last sticker & other adornments I'm considering wearing.

Remember, there are laws about where photos can be taken, and what of, on voting day. There are states that don't allow photos inside the polling place or at the voting booth, but the grander scale is no photos of the ballot & who you have voted for!

Also, you are not to wear candidate &/or issue campaign wear inside the polling place.

Please be a smart voter. Use your right, use your head, use your heart, use your conscience, use your voice, wear your yellow, and go vote!

I'm not a "copy & paste this" or a "share this post" kind of person, but let's band together, as women registered to vote, and make our presence known!

You in? Who's with me?

UPDATE: Support the movement by getting your #YellowSashRevolution Twibbon added to your photo HERE!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, October 8, 2016

AM~Erica's Reluctant Confession

So anyway...

I didn't want to do this.

I really didn't.

Honestly, I thought I was fine. But it turns out I was only "fine."

I've kept a dark secret for many years. Even darker than my SUICIDE & DEPRESSION JOURNEY.

Something triggered memories. Hard & scary memories. I don't want to talk about it. At all. But, as it turns out, I need to talk about it.

I want to throw up right now. I want to ugly cry right now. Because I didn't want to do it; I didn't want to bring this part of me up. But here goes...


Here I am, another woman who has been sexually assaulted.

Yep. I said it.

OK, I'm going to open up about my story. There could be triggers for anyone who has been through this, is going through it, or has been through worse. Brace yourselves.

(Begin Trigger Warning)


I had this guy friend in high school. I don't even remember how we met, really, but we just kind of clicked. And, for now, I'm going to call him "L."

L was someone I was really coming to care about. We talked every day, joked, shared stuff...
We were quickly becoming very good friends. And, as it happens with teenagers sometimes, I was developing quite a crush on him. But I didn't want to push anything since I didn't know if he felt the same way.

As our friendship grew, others were asking if we were "a thing." Others could certainly see a relationship building. But I would blow it off with a laugh, and so would L. But we never said we weren't - and, at the same time, we never said we were.

After a phone conversation one night, the question came up: What were we? And I think we decided we were "a thing!" I was pretty excited!

In the next day or two, when asked if we were a thing, L sort of denied it. We were...but we weren't. If Facebook was a thing back then, we probably would have been in a relationship labeled "It's Complicated." Ugh.

Even if we weren't a thing, we were still friends. I know, it's weird. I still cared for him, but we ultimately were "just friends."

We were "just friends" for a long time. Which was fine, actually.

I remember when he got a job where my mom taught. He was hired as an after school janitor, but that meant I got to talk to him a little more often. As friends.

One day, a mutual friend of ours had stopped by the school & we were sitting on a main staircase chatting. All of a sudden, L decided to roll on top of me! I quickly pushed him off in shock & confusion. Our mutual friend just sat there in shock, and said, "Uh...O...K?"
Really, I thought it was just me - like I had imagined it. But I didn't.
We never brought it back up, and I just took it as he was joking around. And we continued on as "just friends."

Some time after that, while we were at my mom's school (where he was working), L caught my attention & said he wanted to show me something. I didn't even think twice about it, and just followed him. I followed my friend...

L took me into the library. The librarian had already gone home for the day, so the lights were out. My guess was that he was going to show me some ridiculous book he found while cleaning in there. He took me to the back of the library...instead of showing me some ridiculous book, I found myself on my back, on the floor.

I realized he was on top of me, his hands held down my wrists, his legs trapped my legs...and he began to push his body down onto mine.

I panicked! What was happening? Who was this?

For a moment that seemed to last way too long, I wriggled a leg loose & kneed him in the groin! L collapsed into fetal position which freed me from his grip. And I ran.

I ran back to my mom's classroom to wait for her to be done so we could leave that place. And I said nothing.

Why? Why would I not tell what horrific thing my "friend" just did to me?
I had to weigh what I thought might be worse: silence or not being believed.

Since L had been a friend for so long, I really thought I wouldn't be believed. I couldn't handle that thought. I couldn't handle someone making his actions OK or telling me I provoked it somehow, so I stayed silent.

Not sure if anyone noticed I cut off any ties I had to him, but I did. I couldn't look at him, and I didn't want him in my presence. I was shaken, I was upset, I was hurt.

No, L didn't rape me, but he sure tried to. I believe he wanted to use our "complicated relationship" as an out to think I would just give in to him.

He got the surprise of a knee to the groin & loss of a friendship all in hopes he could take advantage of me.

Here we are, many years later, and I'm still affected by it. I was violated, and I was ashamed that it happened to me. I replayed it in my head many times wondering what I did to allow it to happen. Did I provoke it?

The answer is no. I didn't. I was a friend. L took advantage of my trust in him & tried to use it for his own pleasure.


(End Trigger Warning)

I try very hard to not bring up presidential candidate names. But I'm going to have to break my rule a bit.

Even though it was over a decade ago (wait...2005 was over a decade? I thought 10 years ago was the 90's!), Donald Trump was actively describing sexual assault as OK. He made it sound like he could use his power of stardom to gain trust from any woman he approached, then he could just purchase her, like a thing, with furniture, kissing, or grabbing...and acting like it's OK.

Though the stuff that came out in that audio was beyond disgusting, he has made women & people of color as things through his campaigning. And people, even women, have acted like this is OK.

Honestly, anyone who has been through a sexual assault or rape have been triggered horribly. This isn't something we can just look past & act like a lack-a-daisy apology makes it OK. Women were deeply affected by his actions.

As to those who want to raise this as a banner for him to step down, don't forget he brought up Bill Clinton. It doesn't make his actions any less, but he has a point. But hear me out...

Bill used his charisma to do much of the same thing to women. And he was PRAISED for it! Even by women! What's worse? His wife used each of these, on top of shaming of these women, to keep latched upon his charismatic coattail to get her to this point.

No, it's not the only thing that is surrounding these presidential candidates, but they have both used sexual assault as a power trip to get into where they are now.

That's right - both Donald AND Hillary are in this place by using power, that includes sexual assault of women, to get to this place, right now.

How's that koolaid taste? It's got a Koolaid Power: Sexual-Assault flavor. And it comes in Red AND Blue flavors!

I pray for these candidates. It's what Christ has told us to do. But I cannot stand on a platform that has the sexual assault of women as part of the podium...and certainly not back in the White House.

I prefer to shun all of it...
...much like L. I have shunned him. I've blocked him & want nothing to do with him. I do know he's asked about me. I know we still have mutual contacts. His name comes up in conversation from time-to-time...and I still feel sick in the pit of stomach & a chill go down my spine when his name comes up. I can't get around it. Yes, this means some of you reading this know him. You probably interact with him often, too.
But I can do my best to keep him away from affecting my life.

We should probably think about that very thing with these candidates. Keep them out of affecting our lives.

This is what I ask of you as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend who has experienced sexual assault & was triggered.

Triggered enough to step out of my comfort zone & lay it out here for you see. Not for sympathy, but to see this entire debacle from a survivor's point of view. And it's dark.

I probably don't want to speak with my voice about this, but felt this needed to be shared. I didn't want to share. But we are at a point where it can't be silenced any longer.

OK...I'm going to go cry, maybe throw up, and maybe need another shower.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica