|Noah in utero|
I wrote something yesterday, and before I hit “publish,” I questioned whether I wanted to do it at all because I knew the potential fall out from friends who don’t see my point of view. And then I said to myself (out loud, because I hate to have to strain to hear what I’m saying), “If you’re gonna stand for something, then stand for something.” But I knew even as I was hitting the button that it would likely cause me trouble, and then I thought (this time silently), “Who cares?” Because, quite frankly, life is too short to pretend — whether through outright lies or quiet omission — that I’m something I’m not.
And so last night I updated my Facebook “political views” from “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (a nice, safe view if ever there was one) to “Independent, pro-life, vegetarian, traditional Roman Catholic, yogi. You try to figure it out.” Why hide who I am, what I am when no one else seems to worry about who their opinions and positions offend or unsettle?
There was a time when I took every opportunity I could to stand up and proclaim my views. College was an endless string of pro-life speeches, essays, philosophy presentations, and debates. And not once did I cower or waver or doubt. But times have changed, and free speech is no longer as free as it once was, but that’s a whole other, frightening story that many people aren’t willing to admit or, even more shockingly, are willing to accept. And all of that scares me and at the same time emboldens me because in some places young women are being shot for the right just to be educated, no less speak their minds. So how weak would I be if I didn’t even have the courage to stand up to the mainstream bullies who hope to silence the rest of us by making us doubt — or feel embarrassed by — the truths we know deep in our hearts?
So here I am, making — in the word’s of Mama Cass — my own kind of music, singing my own special song, even if nobody else sings along. Does that make it any less true for me, any less true in general? No. But in recent years I have let my opinions take a back seat because in the circles I move — writers, vegetarians, yoga practitioners — being pro-life isn’t the norm and isn’t really tolerated. Go figure. Talk about irony. And yet I feel it in a very real way. I go to yoga centers and read conservation magazines always with a sense that I’m an imposter or intruder because my views about life are outside what the so-called naturalists are willing to love or defend.
I am a writer. I am a vegetarian. I am a Roman Catholic. I am a yogi. I am a seeker. I am an open-minded, open-hearted pilgrim on a journey to the transcendent. I believe that life, even at its most vulnerable — or especially at its most vulnerable — deserves protection because to do otherwise would be unthinkable. And if even one person stops to think about what I’ve said and makes a choice on behalf of life, then this post is worth the paper it’s not printed on.
I have felt a baby move in my belly. I have stared at an ultrasound and seen nose and toes and thumb shoved in mouth, no different than a newborn. To deny it would be to deny the truth. To acknowledge it and still look the other way is beyond what I can comprehend. There was a time when my pro-choice friends tried to convince me I was wrong, and for the briefest moment, I thought I could do it — say I was “personally opposed but…” And then I looked in the mirror and knew I would only be lying to myself.
So it’s time to let my pro-life freak flag fly once again. What’s your truth? Speak it for all to hear, follow your heart, stand for something, even if no one else sings along. Here’s Mama Cass to give you a little encouragement along the way: