a third side to the target debacle.

I keep hearing about this whole Target bathroom debacle, and the more I hear, the angrier I get. It seems that nowadays all we do is play Red Rover with our issues. You on one side with your "opinion" and you on the other with your "opinion," wondering who's gonna be the strongest or the fastest and win.

Everyone's got an opinion. You're on the outside looking in, but you just want to win, casualties be damned.  Feelings be damned. Truth be damned.

 There are only two options. Pick one.

1) Transgenders deserve the right to pee in whatever bathroom they want.
2) Letting transgenders pee in whatever bathroom they want means my kid might get molested.

Hearing these two options, most people choose a side quickly and fiercely, as if they have some kind of stake in the matter. Looking at that list of options, quite frankly, I would tend to agree with Option 1. That seems logical. Who cares what bathroom people pee in?! Plus, Option 2 seems unlikely, not to mention the fact that correlating transgenders with sexual assault is just wrong. And, as I'm sure we've all been hearing, we've already peed in the same bathroom as a transgendered person. It happens all the time. And it's fine.

Which is true.

But here's the deal. There is a third side to this. A side that is apparently "not what you need to be afraid of" because, as we all know, out of the 1 in 10 children that are sexually assaulted, close to 90% of them are molested by someone they know. It's the creepy uncle we need to be afraid of. Or the nosy neighbor. Or the naughty teacher. "Stranger danger" is just some cliche, and we need not fear, because ONLY 10% of them get molested by strangers, and I mean, really, no one gets molested in a public bathroom.

Well, except me.

I did.

April 17, 1996. 2:40 pm. I was 11 years old. I was wearing black jeans and a red sweater and my green Wednesday panties. I was at school. I left Mrs. Osborne's math class early to use the bathroom. A guy had already snuck in and was hiding in one of the stalls. He waited until I was alone...

And I've spent the last twenty years checking every bathroom stall to make sure no one else is waiting for me. I've spent the last twenty years having flashbacks of a boy with a blue washcloth over his face and a gun to my head telling me not to scream as I undressed. And it's been twenty years since I've been able to wear day-of-the-week underwear.

I'm not telling you this so we can have some silly pity party. This isn't easy or fun for me to talk about, but I'm ok. And I won't let someone tell me to keep quiet again.  I swore a long time ago I would do what it takes to speak up for the kids like me who didn't get to have a voice when their innocence was stolen from them.

It's not fair to call me a statistic. It's not right to say that because I am in the minority, I don't matter. Isn't that what you are trying to argue against anyway? Discrimination against the minority?!

Who are you really trying to protect?

Yourself maybe? Does it look better to choose a certain side? Do you work with people who chose a certain side? Do you get better blog ratings if you choose a particular side? And it goes both ways. I'm not pointing my finger at one or the other.

So what if I choose neither side?

Because this situation is bigger than peeing, and it is not about discrimination. It really isn't. I don't have a problem with transgenders using any bathroom they want. I know you just want to pee. Hell, I wish that guy hiding in that stall in April of 1996 was a transgender. Cause then HE WOULDN'T HAVE WANTED TO MOLEST ME. I do not hate transgender people. At all. And if you know me, you know that's the truth.

My problem is with the idea of calling out a specific policy to the public in general that may allow for a pedophile to use it to his advantage. In my mind, even the possibility that one more kid could be hurt the way I was hurt FAR outweighs whatever damage there is in having to pee in a different bathroom. I'm sorry, but it does.

Tell me if I'm missing something, but I have been racking my brain about this, and I really can't see how peeing matters more than this. Even if the chance of a pedophile taking advantage of this policy is small, minuscule even, why take that chance? I can tell you first-hand that it just isn't worth it. My life has been affected every single day because of what happened to me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I still don't know what the answer is, to be honest. I just know that it isn't fair to say it's only about peeing, or only about discrimination. Whatever it is, it isn't just that. And it isn't just because of hate or disregard for "inclusivity." There is probably a third side to every story, something I am just now learning, and I hope from now on we can try to see that side too. Because it really does matter. It may only matter to 10% of us. But it still matters.



when it's raining, let it rain.

You ever have one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong?

I pride myself on not being much of a worrier. I take things one day at a time, one step at a time, for the most part. Few things stress me out.

Until today.

It all started with a 2:30 am wake up call from one of the nine dogs currently living in my house. Yeah. There are nine of them (actually ten now...but we'll get to that later). So I get up, put on my crocs (because I can no longer walk barefoot in my house without fear of stepping in something unpleasant), and take the eight six-week-olds, plus their mama, outside to go potty. I stand in a stupor for about ten minutes, waiting for all of them to (hopefully) get everything out of their system. And then I round them all up, two at a time, and finally get back in bed. My next and final wake-up call is at 6:30 am, and I do it all over again.

But that's fine. I've been doing that every day, five times a day for a month now. And they are my babies, and I love them. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Plus, I think to myself, "Today is going to be better anyway. I will actually get to stay home with them since I'm staying home from work to wait for the internet guy to come fix my internet." That really is a relief to me since I usually have to drive home for lunch, inevitably clean up a floor full of poo, then leave them again, and come home again to a floor full of poo, puppy pads be damned. But I'm home today. I got this.

As I try my best to harness my optimism, more and more things start piling up and it's getting harder and harder to maintain my happy-go-lucky attitude. First,  I get a Facebook message from a friend of mine informing me that she has a partial payment from one of my past clients (who were friends of hers) who never paid me for the work I did for them, work I paid for out of pocket. She got it by going to their house and yelling at them. Obviously, this is the last thing I ever would have wanted, and now clients who already seemed to have very little respect for me have even less. I mean, I'm grateful to have some of my money back, since the mortgage is due and all, but I really can't afford to have even the slightest negative connotation associated with my business that I've worked so hard to keep positive. Not to mention the fact that this whole situation brought back up the fact I am out a whole lot of money I couldn't afford to lose, which just makes me mad all over again.

Then I get a text message from the people who were supposed to adopt one of the puppies. They have decided they can't really keep him, so I am back to having ten dogs. Then the guy who is supposed to be helping us (at my other job) with programming our site is being really vague and unhelpful, not answering my questions or doing any of the things we are requesting of him, things we pay him to do. And he seems to have no respect for me either. I think it's because I'm a girl, so I try to be more assertive and firm, but it still just amounts to him calling my boss and then my boss getting him to do what needs to be done.

Then the straw that broke Jessi's optimism for good: Century Link. Never. Came.

I called them to see why they hadn't shown up yet. I got transferred three times (and the person before never tells the person I am being transferred to the problem, so I keep having to repeat myself). Finally, the last person tells me that the technician decided I was not eligible for the upgraded equipment they were coming to install (because my current internet was not working), and "there is a notification pending in the system to let you know that he won't be coming." WHAT.  A notification is pending? You couldn't have just called me? Since, you know, YOU ARE ALSO A PROVIDER OF PHONE SERVICE.

Commence the weeping.

Let's be honest. If it was just one, maybe even two or three of these things happening at one time, I could have handled it. I think. It was just all coming down on me at once. And all the cold, uncomfortable, unlikeable things about humans and what we sometimes do to each other felt like one of those rainstorms that hits you right after you've gotten your hair done. Except, like, way worse.

I don't think I've said the F word so many times in my entire life.  I mean I'll let one fly every once in a while when I just need to let out some hot air, but I try to keep my composure. I try to be respectful to those around me, I try to be a good Christian girl, asking what would Jesus do and all that. But not today, friends. Not. Today.

Have you ever read "The Birds of Killingworth," by Henry Longfellow? It's basically about a town of people who kill all of the birds because their singing is getting on their nerves, but then all of the bugs that the birds were eating, are now eating the townspeople's crops. So they end up going out and finding more birds to bring back into town, realizing that their singing is far less of an evil than starving to death.


You know, it really gets on my nerves when people start busting out in Annie show tunes whenever I'm having a bad day, so I will spare you that. But, I do think there is wisdom in Longfellow's words when he says, "The best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain."

I know that "the sun will come out tomorrow," but what I need to know is that right now, it's raining, and that is actually ok.

We are allowed to have bad days. We are allowed to soak up the misery and cry it out. Maybe have a glass of wine or four. Buts let's not kill all the birds either, you know what I mean? Cause if it's not birds, then it's bugs. And that's not cool.

So I'm just gonna sit here and cry for a while until I feel a little more like Annie, and I give you permission to do the same.


p.s. If you've never seen Emperor's New Groove, then watch it next time you are having a bad day. It just might help.