sex, sexism, slut shamers

For the love of God, stop with the slut shaming!

Ugh… but kudos to this lady for coming up with a fine response.

A couple of days ago, the above post showed up in the Duggar Family News group on Facebook. I always groan when I see these kinds of posts about purity, even though I never heard those kinds of messages myself when I was growing up. I was fortunate enough to have parents who didn’t raise me in a very strict religion. As it turned out, I abstained anyway. I didn’t have sex for the first time until two weeks after my wedding. My reasons for abstaining, though, had very little to do with religion or wanting to please my future husband by being fresh and pure. In my case, it mostly came down to practicality.

I’ve mentioned more than once in this blog that I’m not particularly likable. A lot of the men who do like me, seem to like me for reasons that don’t have to do with sex. I have had male friends tell me they like me for my frank sense of humor. A couple of guys have told me they think I’m witty or smart. Only a few have said they think I’m pretty. Consequently, I didn’t date much at all. The one guy I did date in high school was just as nervous about sex as I was, and in fact, later confessed to me that he was more into guys.

For most of my 20s, I focused on working and going to school. I didn’t have a love life. Maybe I could have had one, had I made an effort, but I just never seemed to be attracted to the guys who found me attractive, and vice versa. Then, when I was 27 years old, I met Bill in a chat room. By the time we met in person, he already liked my personality… What can I say? Every old sock has an old shoe out there somewhere, right?

At the time Bill and I were dating, he was still a Latter-day Saint. Premarital sex is a “no no” for Mormons. Although I had zero intention of ever being LDS, and Bill was falling away from the faith, Bill decided he preferred to wait until after our wedding to consummate the marriage. I was fine with it, since I had already waited so long, anyway. And then, on our wedding day, I started my period, so we decided to wait until that was over before having sex for the first time. I was 30 years old.

The last thing anyone could ever call me is a “slut”… although Ex supposedly told her kids that Bill and I had an affair (and we didn’t– she was projecting). The couple of times anyone has ever insinuated that I’m slutty, I’ve been very offended by it. First off, it’s factually inaccurate. And secondly, it’s just not cool to shame people for having sex. Sex is a part of life. Sex is the conduit to life.

That being said… my personal belief is that people should have less unprotected sex, especially with people with whom they don’t wish to make a baby. But that’s just my personal view. I don’t think it should be a law. I don’t think young girls should be taught object lessons involving flowers, chewing gum, or licked cupcakes. Sex isn’t dirty, and having sex shouldn’t cause someone to feel damaged or soiled. The reason I feel the way I do is not because I think that people who have sex are weak or “slutty”. It’s because I think that sex can really complicate life in a lot of ways. Also, I do worry that abortion may soon be outlawed in the United States. And because of that, sex could become even riskier than it is now.

I don’t think most people actually use abortion as birth control, especially given how difficult abortion is to access in many areas. Even if they did, that would be their business, as far as I’m concerned. However, as I tried to explain to a militantly pro-life man yesterday, sometimes pregnancy is dangerous. Some women get very sick when they’re pregnant, and they might not know they’re going to get sick until their first time. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of suicide and homicide. Moreover, quite frankly, sex is powerful. I think that women should wield that power wisely. If fewer women were willing to have sex with men, maybe men might not feel so free in trying to dictate to women that they must stay pregnant when they don’t want to be. Frankly, I think most of the extremely pro-life men I’ve seen posting online should be denied sex. Quite a few of them have very misogynistic views.

This about sums it up.

The most obnoxious pro-life guy I ran into this week is a Facebook friend of a man I knew in college. I don’t know anything about this dude, but my college friend posted the familiar meme summing up why he supports abortion rights. I’m sure you’ve seen it, too. And the pro-life guy, name of Russ, took issue with it and has been airing his pro-life views ever since.

This is pretty good.

Russ has been stubbornly posting very condescending and offensive comments to the women who have challenged his views. I’ve commented to him twice, after noticing that he has some very scary Handmaid’s Tale leanings and seems to think that women who engage in “slutty behavior” that results in pregnancy should be forced to “lie in the bed they made”. Sigh… pregnancy should never be punishment, especially since we can’t and don’t ensure that pregnant women get proper prenatal care. Babies should be wanted, cared for, and loved. Forcing women to give birth because you think they should “sleep in the bed they made” is just stupid, and it could lead to some tragic outcomes that will affect those precious babies the pro-lifers claim to care so much about.

For all of Russ’s “white knight” bullshit commentary about how men should be forced to do the honorable thing and “stick with” the women they impregnate (hello, Josh Duggar), and how rapists should have their balls cut off (hello, guys who get falsely accused of rape and are later vindicated– it HAS happened), he doesn’t consider the scenarios in which abortion really is the best course of action. After I post this fresh article, I will repost my blog entries about two stories involving false accusations of rape, since the news articles about them are behind paywalls. Under Russ’s plan, those men who were falsely accused of rape should have been castrated.

Russ did tell us the story about how he used to be indifferent about abortion, but changed his mind when his daughter was born premature. Seeing her struggle to live gave him an epiphany. Suddenly, because of his daughter’s story– a girl who was presumably born to parents who really wanted her and were prepared to raise her– he thinks all other women should be made to give birth. And if you offer logical comments to him, he comes back with rudeness, condescension, and a complete lack of empathy. He slut shames. So I left the below comment for him.

Of course it did little good to write this, but I couldn’t help myself.

Russ says he thinks sex strikes are good ideas. On that, I would agree. I think women should be much less willing to give men access to their bodies. But I don’t feel that way because I think having sex is dirty or slutty or immoral. I feel that way because I know men are driven to have sex, and it would be painful for them not to have access to women who are willing to satisfy their urges. A lot of men are entirely too free with their opinions regarding what women should be doing with their bodies. So personally, I think that more women should stop letting them have what they seek so easily.

I’m also glad I didn’t have sex before marriage. I have never been in a situation in which I had to consider having an abortion, and I am getting really close to menopause. Since I’ve never had sex with anyone but Bill, and Bill rendered himself sterile for his ex wife, that means I’ve never been pregnant, either. However, I wouldn’t change what I did, even though I always wanted to have children.

Not having sex before marriage was very practical for me, and it spared me a lot of pain and angst. But… that’s just me. I wouldn’t want to make a law about it, nor do I think people should be shamed for being sexual. It’s part of life. And everybody is on a different path.

I know not everyone feels the way I do. Not everyone feels the way Russ feels… thank GOD. Although I’m sure he loves his daughter very much, I think his attitude about women is very scary. He seems to think that those of us who experience pregnancy, childbirth, and everything that goes with that, need his “help” in determining what is right or wrong for us. Russ is wrong.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this issue is really so much about outlawing abortion as it is about controlling women and suppressing votes so the backassward Republican Party can stay in power. Because if women wind up in trouble with the law for having an abortion or miscarriage, that will mean a lot more felons in our midst… and as we all know, felons aren’t allowed to vote. Think about it. And please, for the love of God, stop slut shaming. It’s so damaging, and just plain wrong.

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Duggars, family, history, lessons learned

Embracing my “unpopularity”… and a Duggar named “True”…

Hello to everyone. I am now back in Germany, ready to plunge back into my pseudo occupation of writing. Bill and I got home from our vacation yesterday afternoon. We were confronted by piles of dirty laundry in our luggage and high grass in the backyard. It must have rained a lot while we were out of town. I had to turn on the lawn mowing robot three times and use the weed whacker to get the backyard back to a reasonable state. I still need to let the mower run again, but it’s raining today. It’s kind of satisfying to see the grass cut. I wish all chores were like that.

After I write this post, I will move to my travel blog and write about our latest travel adventures in Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. My travel blog used to be somewhat popular, but it’s not so much anymore. After this latest trip, I realize that maybe not being popular is a good thing. There was a time when I cared more about getting people to read my stuff. Now, I think it might be better that I stay anonymous. It’s easier to be honest when I’m less “popular”.

This morning, I was looking at my Facebook memories. I found a post from 2014 that I wrote one night when I was feeling despondent and alone. We were living in Texas at the time, and Bill was visiting his dad in Tennessee. I had stayed home from that trip for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I stayed in Texas because we lived in a rental with a pool, and a pipe had busted. I had to be there to turn the water off when the automatic pool system came on. At the time, Texas was in the middle of a terrible drought, so we couldn’t waste the water. As far as I know, Texas is still in a drought situation today. But there were other reasons why I stayed home.

Bill was also about to retire from the military, and we had to save money. Going to Tennessee with Bill meant more expenses for us at a time when we weren’t sure about his future employment prospects. As it turned out, he got a job offer a month later… on my birthday, no less. Within a couple of months, we’d moved to Germany, where I came face to face with the military community. Ironically, when we lived in Stuttgart, I had more exposure to the military than I ever did as an actual “Army wife”. That includes the time we lived in Army housing on Fort Belvoir. But at the time Bill visited his dad, we didn’t know what the future would hold. It was a pretty scary time, actually.

The final reason I didn’t go is because I know my husband’s stepmother doesn’t like me. I don’t think we trust each other, either. Not that I blame her for not liking me. A lot of people don’t. But I don’t like to be in places where I’m not welcome, and I don’t like to interact with people who are simply tolerating me and my admittedly unconventional personality. I’d rather be at home. So I stayed home, and Bill visited his dad in May 2014. It turned out that was their last visit, as Bill’s dad passed away in November 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, Bill wasn’t able to go to his funeral.

In any case, in May 2014, I was obviously feeling kind of sad. I became one of those attention seeking “insufferable posters” I wrote about the other day, and posted this… which was probably a plea for attention from my own family of origin. I suspect I was drinking wine that night.

I think a lot of my family members disapprove of me… because I am a little on the odd side. But just so everyone knows, I will be weird until I croak. So if you hope I will change because you shun me, rest assured I don’t give much more than half a fuck. I’m weird and profane and will be that way until I kick the bucket… which honestly, I hope happens sooner rather than later. With friends and family like that, who needs enemies?

I still kind of feel like this, although I’ve kind of come to terms with it. After eight years in Germany, I kind of miss Virginia and some of my family members. But, in reality, I’m surprised by how much I don’t miss them. I feel like I’m completely out of touch with most of them. Living abroad can really change one’s perspectives. I used to be proud to be southern. I used to identify as a Republican. I was never a pro-lifer, but I had more sympathy for that view. But now, most of my opinions have changed, and I don’t think it’s wrong that they’ve changed. I have a hard time being around some of the more militant Trump supporters in my family, especially the ones who also claim to be Christians… which includes most of them.

The older I get, the more I find that I am who I am, and I’m not going to change into what other people want me to be. If that means people think I’m “insufferable”, and that makes me “unpopular”, so be it. With all of this talk about pro-life vs. pro-choice, one would think we’d have more regard for people’s differences. So many people seem to think that every potential life should be given a chance. But it seems that a lot of people really don’t… they want conformity and “niceness”, even if the niceness isn’t genuine. When you don’t conform to norms, sometimes you will experience pain in the form of rejection. I’ve been rejected by a lot of people… and for a long time, it made me pretty sad. It was saddest to me when my own family rejected me. In fact, one of the main reasons why I am so pro-choice is because I was repeatedly told that I was a “mistake” when I was a child. It would have been less hurtful to me if my mom had just aborted me, though that wasn’t legal at the time.

Of course, my mom doesn’t say stuff like that to me anymore, and my father is dead. I know my mom is glad I’m here now, since I don’t demand anything of her anymore. I also turned out reasonably okay. I just have a personality that people tend to love or hate. But I really think growing up unwanted had a big effect on my personality. It’s made me stubborn and contrary, and maybe some people think I’m an asshole for any number of reasons. Whatever… I’m going to be 50 soon, so I don’t think I’m going to change. It’s probably best to just lay low and enjoy being unpopular… It’s been my experience that the least popular people tend to be the most interesting. They don’t go with the flow. They don’t follow the crowd. They don’t go along to get along. 😉 What could be more interesting than that?

Moving on…

I noticed yesterday that I had a bunch of hits on a post I wrote last fall, when Jed and Katey Duggar shared their pregnancy announcement… apparently five minutes after they conceived. It turns out they were looking at that post because Jed and Katey’s son, Truett Oliver Duggar, was born on Monday, May 2. I heard that Katey had to be induced, so she gave birth in a hospital. May 2 was also Katey’s due date.

The bouncing baby boy was named Truett (which according to them, means “warrior for Christ”) and Oliver (which they said means “peace”)– and his initials are TOD, which someone in the Duggar Family News Facebook group noticed that those are the same initials for “time of death”. Some people were commenting that the baby’s name was the same as Chick Fil-A’s founder’s name. My only comment is that the names seem to be in conflict… and I’m also wondering if perhaps Jed and Katey aren’t promoting “fractured facts” in their explanation of what the names Truett and Oliver mean.

But anyway… the boy is here and he has a name, and he looks healthy and strong. Good for them! Obviously, he is very much wanted and loved. I like the name Truett, or even True, more than “Spurgeon”, anyway.

Katie Joy’s commentary on the new arrival.

What’s really creepy is that Jedidiah Duggar’s voice sounds so much like big brother Josh’s… and Josh, as we all know, is currently sitting in jail, awaiting his prison sentence for possessing and receiving child pornography. But at least Jed didn’t nap while his wife was in labor, and she didn’t give birth to him on a toilet. These are things that happened on Josh’s watch as his wife, Anna, was giving birth. And, as far as I know, Jed hasn’t been engaging in any illegal activities, although I am not at all in agreement with his political or religious views. Still, the world would be a dull place if we all agreed on everything. So congratulations to this particular branch of the Duggar family. I hope they enjoy this special time.

Well… now it’s time to get going on my travel blog. I hope someone will enjoy my efforts, but even if they don’t, that blog series will serve as a reminder of some of the great stuff Bill and I have managed to do, in spite of my “unpopularity” among the masses…

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healthcare, law, politics, poor judgment

Roe v. Wade may soon be a thing of the past…

It may come as a surprise to a lot of people who take the time to read my blog posts, but in the wake of the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade, I find myself strangely numb. I’ve been writing about my thoughts and opinions about the importance of abortion rights for ages, and some of my posts on the subject have been pretty impassioned. I don’t have much to add to my opinions on abortion at this point. All I can do now is offer some observations.

Even though I’ve been on vacation, and we’re headed home today, I have been paying attention to comments made on overturning Roe v. Wade. I think many of the pro-life crowd are shortsighted, at best. Many of them are appallingly ill informed about women’s reproductive systems. Too many people are fixated on the financial aspects of child raising. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of people commenting about how much fairer it will be when women aren’t allowed to choose abortion. One woman poster wrote about how “unfair” it is that a woman can either choose to continue a pregnancy and force men to pay child support, or have an abortion, and deny the man a chance to be a father. Once again, all I can do is shake my head at the idiocy… Does this woman really think that pregnancy is a 50/50 deal?

And I’ve seen a lot of comments from men about “beautiful babies” being slaughtered by irresponsible women who “let themselves get pregnant”. As if they had NOTHING to do with her condition, whatsoever! And so many of them seem to think that women, alone, should be dealing with contraception. I don’t know about other women, but it’s been my observation that more often than not, men are the ones who want to have sex. Many women enjoy sex, but some of them merely tolerate it. And some people, myself included, would be fine with never having sex again.

It would really serve some of these “rights denying” men right if women decided to have a sex strike. I mean, those of us who don’t care about having sex that much. Why not just stop obliging the men? They are so concerned about the sanctity of life, the fairness of child support, the plight of developing fetuses, no matter the condition of the already born mother whose body has been taken up residence in… Why not do the responsible thing and just stop having sex with them? It would serve some of these assholes right, in my opinion.

But it will probably never happen…

I am so grateful that the women before me fought for my right to choose. I have never been pregnant myself, and I doubt I would have chosen to have an abortion if I had gotten pregnant. However, I can’t say that for sure. I’m glad that women before me were brave enough to push for my right to have an abortion if it suited me. And now that it looks like Roe v. Wade could soon be history… I will do what I can for the women coming after my generation. At the same time, I am very relieved that I never had children of my own, even though I always wanted them. The world is becoming too fucked up to believe. And I am glad that I will be 50 in a few weeks, which means that I won’t be caught in the crossfire of this horrendous decision that will likely be made by our Supreme Court this summer.

I keep seeing comments, mostly from men, about the “brutality” of abortion. Funny how they have so little to say when I bring up how very unprepared for pregnancy and motherhood a 12 or 13 year old girl is, after she’s been raped or molested. Funny how they are silent when I tell them I’m a lot more concerned about the already born six year olds whose bodies are torn apart by bullets as they sit in classrooms and churches. Yes, abortion is brutal, but at least developing embryos never know what hit them. They aren’t spending their last seconds of life in terror as some gun toting nut blows them away when all they’re trying to do is learn the alphabet.

Now… with that being said, I guess it’s time to pack up and head back to Germany. We’ve had a great vacation, and I’m ready to write about it… and maybe that will give someone a distraction from the scary news that generates daily. I know a lot of ignorant people think that banning abortion is a great thing. But this decision will cause a lot of people to die. Women will get abortions if they want or need them. All banning abortion does is make the procedure less safe and, maybe, fill up our prison system even more.

But arguing about it, crying over it, or worrying seems to be pointless, now. There’s nothing much more I can do, other than continue to write my opinions… and my opinions seem to match those of most of the American population… the ones who aren’t hamstrung by backwards religious beliefs and power-hungry and racist political ideals that are more about control and money grabbing than anything else.

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complaints, healthcare, politicians, politics, rants

News flash! 100 percent of unintended pregnancies are caused by men…

Hello again, folks. Bill and I are now on our third day in Florence. Tonight, our wine tour begins, which I suspect is going to be quite the adventure. It runs from dinner tonight, through tomorrow in Cortona, and then most of Sunday. We’ll come back to Florence for one more night, then head to Vaduz, Liechtenstein, for two nights to relax until it’s time to go home to Germany. I’m already annoyed today, though, because my backup bank’s stupid two party authorization system is worthless and ineffective, and I’m going to have to call them AGAIN later to get it straightened out. I can’t log in to my account, because they don’t want to send a text to my German phone number, and for some reason, my fingerprint and/or email don’t suffice. As much bitching as I’ve recently done about USAA, at least they will email me a code so I can access my money. Americans abroad really need a decent bank that will work with us. Local banks don’t want to deal with Americans because of our tax laws.

Anyway, enough about off topic subjects. I came here to vent, once again, about certain men who want to take on Democratic politicians like Amy Klobuchar, who are dedicated to preserving women’s rights to privacy and healthcare by fighting against draconian rules intended to force them to birth when they don’t want to. Yesterday, Ms. Klobuchar posted a couple of statuses about her work in blocking Republicans from abolishing access to abortion. Below are two posts she made about this subject that is near and dear to my heart… and uterus.

Naturally, there were many comments from men about this, as well as a few from anti-choice females who want to “slut shame” and harass people who would like the government to stay out of our uteri. It always amazes me when I see comments from men who think that the prospect of making humans is a 50/50 proposition. It’s really not. I mean, do men really think that their part in making babies is equal? A man’s part in fertilizing an egg takes a couple of minutes. The woman’s part takes nine months. Moreover, a man can go out and get a different woman pregnant every day, if the opportunity arises and it’s something he wants to do. A woman, once she’s pregnant, is going to literally be “occupied” until the developing fetus turns into a baby. But based on the comments on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page, some men have either not considered the “heavy lifting” aspect of babymaking, or they are choosing to ignore it. So I’m here to remind the willfully ignorant, once again… 100 percent of unintended pregnancies are caused by men.

Face the facts. No matter how “loose” and “trampy” a woman is– not that I like to use those terms myself– she CAN’T get pregnant without a man’s literal input. And it doesn’t actually matter if she “wanted it”, or the input was forced upon her. If a man’s sperm fertilizes a ripe egg at the right time of the month, the woman will get pregnant. If not, then the woman won’t get pregnant. It’s as simple as that. But, even though pregnancy is not possible without a man’s input, his part of babymaking is pretty small. After he does his part, his body will stay the same. He won’t suffer health problems, be inconvenienced or uncomfortable, or be forced out of work. And, quite often, after the baby is born, he won’t be the one who does the primary caregiving. He certainly won’t be breastfeeding, unless he’s trans.

Even though these are facts, though, some men just can’t help themselves and feel the need to respond with outrage about abortion. And for some of them, it’s not even because they are “outraged” over the loss of potential human life that comes with abortion. They are upset because the woman gets to make a choice “denied” to them. In other words, they resent having to pay child support if the woman decides to maintain an unintended pregnancy. And they also resent that a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy without the man’s consent.

To those men, I would like to say… you and your ilk can make plenty of choices that will help you avoid this scenario. You can use a condom when you have sex with a woman with whom you don’t want to make a baby. Condoms are pretty damned effective at preventing pregnancies. If you don’t want children at all, you can get a vasectomy. Personally, I’m not a fan of vasectomies, but I understand that they are a great option for men who want them. Or– here’s a novel idea– you can opt to keep your dick in your pants! You can use a blow up doll or “rosey” to satisfy your sexual needs. A blow up doll can’t get pregnant, so you don’t have to worry about child support. Ditto to using your hairy palms. 😉

Listen to Sting and his mates in The Police. They can offer some great tips on how to make your life complete without those pesky unintended pregnancies caused by that thing hanging between your legs…

Another guy made a snarky comment that read “If only there was a way to stop unplanned pregnancies”. It was accompanied by a picture of three blind mice. Indeed… guys like him can easily do their part to stop abortions. They can opt not to have unprotected sex with a woman with whom they don’t want to make a baby. They can decide not to sexually assault or rape women. They can realize that they have choices before the pregnancy begins. Once the pregnancy begins, sorry guys, but it’s not your body, health, or livelihood on the line. And no, you should NOT get a say in whether or not a pregnancy continues. Especially when the pregnant person is a total stranger.

I really don’t understand why some men feel like having to pay child support, for a child that originated from a pregnancy they caused, is a huge imposition. Women don’t get pregnant by themselves. I think if men got pregnant or had to deal with periods, PMS, or menopause, they would have abortion clinics on every corner, coupled with sports bars and shooting ranges. Having to pay money every month to a woman who put her life, health, and livelihood on the line to bring their baby into the world is the least they can do.

Now… I do think that fathers should have equal say when the baby is outside of the womb. At that point, fathers can and should contribute equally to raising their children. But until that baby is born, it’s part of a woman’s body. The mother is the one who feels the baby dancing on her bladder at night. The woman is the one throwing up due to morning sickness, developing cankles, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids, putting herself at risk of pre-eclampsia, diabetes, and post-partum depression, abstaining from smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and eating “risky” foods, and dealing with the trauma of having her nether regions or abdomen permanently changed after birth. It’s also the woman’s name on the medical bills, and the woman who has to deal with intrusive questions, unsolicited advice, and scrutiny from perfect strangers. Until that baby is born, the man’s contribution is a few minutes of fun… and if he’s a decent guy, maybe financial.

So, given all of that, I think it’s high time that more men trust women to do what’s right for their own bodies and healthcare. And I think that men, once again, should respect women’s rights to their own autonomy. Above all, men who don’t like abortions and don’t want to pay child support should stop having sex with women who can get pregnant or use effective birth control. Problem solved.

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book reviews, celebrities

A review of Sally Field’s life story, In Pieces…

Four years ago, weeks before we moved to Wiesbaden, actress Sally Field, who was then 71 years old, published her memoirs, titled In Pieces. I downloaded the book in October of that year, fully intending to read it immediately. But then stuff happened. We moved, and other books and current events came up. Sally’s book drifted further and further down my “to be read” list, in favor of other books that I considered more pressing because they covered current events or otherwise “hot” or interesting topics.

Recently, Sally Field commented about the trend of right wing politicians trying to take away women’s rights to choose whether or not they want to be pregnant. Field said in an interview for Variety,

“Those men who are doing that, and they’re mostly male governors who are doing it, are so backward, so ignorant and really just power hungry,” the two-time Academy Award winner, 75, said. “I think it’s criminal.”

“They’re so wanting to roll back the achievements and important progress for women, for Blacks, for the LGBTQ community.”

She continued:

“I can’t say enough horrible things about what I feel about those men,” she said. “If you see them coming toward me, those two governors specifically, lead me out of the way because I cannot be responsible for what I would do. [Addressing her publicist] Heidi, do you hear me? Lead me away.”

I had basically forgotten about Sally Field’s memoirs until a few weeks ago, when I read a news article about the war on abortion. A journalist for People Magazine mentioned that Sally Field had an abortion in the 1960s, when she was a young actress struggling to break into the entertainment industry. The year was 1964, and Field was just 17 years old. She had to go to Tijuana, Mexico to have the procedure, since it was not legal in the United States. The story about her abortion was in her book, In Pieces, which reminded me that I bought the book several years ago. It was because of her comments about abortion that I decided it was time to read Sally’s life story. I believe very strongly that people should have the right to have an abortion, and it’s no one else’s business.

I finally finished the book last night. I’ve always liked Sally Field as an actress, and now that I’ve read her book, I like her even more as a person. Curiously, some people on Amazon commented that this book was “whiny” and “poorly written”. I don’t agree with them. I’m not sure what would have made the book better for them. This is Sally Field’s story. Everybody has a story. This is hers. There are aspects of her story that may be distasteful for some people. Yes, she had an abortion. She did not have a good relationship with her biological father, a man named Dick Field, whom she says she didn’t enjoy visiting after he and her mother divorced. She was also sexually abused by her stepfather, Jocko (Jacques O’Mahoney), and had a difficult relationship with the late Burt Reynolds, who also had a difficult relationship with Loni Anderson, whose life story I read years ago.

In spite of all of that, Sally Field has had an amazing career as an actress on television and the big screen. She’s done everything from sitcoms to high drama, and she’s been incredibly successful. And she’s raised three sons, whom she obviously loves very much. I will be 50 years old in June; Sally’s been acting since before I was born, and one of her sons is my age. I think I’ve always liked her because she reminds me a lot of my sister, Becky.

This was way before my time…
Not one of Sally’s favorite roles.

One thing I would mention about In Pieces is that this book isn’t mainly about Sally’s roles. Anyone who picks up this book wanting to know a lot about Sally’s experiences starring on ER as a bipolar mother, or her turn as a housewife turned comedienne in Punchline with Tom Hanks, will be disappointed. She does write about some of her roles– notably Norma Rae, which was a fabulous movie from 1977– and Sybil, a made for television movie she made in 1976. She also writes about Gidget and The Flying Nun, and how neither of those roles were very exciting or challenging for her. Actually, I get the sense that Field hated being The Flying Nun, and hadn’t wanted to do that show at all. But she was advised by her stepfather, Jocko, himself an actor, that she should take the work. Sally’s mother, Margaret Field, who was also an actress, was always present in her life– kind of in an unhealthy way. They were basically enmeshed. Sally’s mom needed to live her own life, but every time she started to try to break away from Sally, something would happen. Her mom would end up depending on Sally, and Sally would depend on her mom.

People were always telling Sally what to do, and perhaps because she felt the need to please people, she did what they said… until she finally learned that she should listen to her own counsel. As someone who is married to an overly responsible people pleaser, I could really appreciate that part of Sally’s story. She ties it up nicely toward the end of the book, as she’s talking to a therapist, who turns a “light” on in her psyche and delivers wisdom in a figurative thunderbolt of insight. She got that insight in time to share it with her mother, just before her death in 2011.

Field writes about her sister, Princess, who was the product of her mother’s marriage to Jocko, and there’s a bit about her older brother, Rick, who is a scientist. Poor Rick never got along with his and Sally’s father, Dick, who was in the military and went off to fight in World War II. When he left, his wife was a homemaker. When he came back, she had a career as an actress and had taken up with Jocko. His marriage was destroyed, and his children wanted nothing to do with him. I felt kind of sad for him, but I also realized that, based on this book, Sally Field had a lot of bad experiences with important men in her life. But, based on her story, it sounds like her mother was a big part of the reason why her relationships were difficult. Her mom would do things to try to sabotage her romances, telling her that the men she wanted to be with weren’t “good” for her. It wasn’t until she was quite old that she finally told her mother what happened with her stepfather. And her mother, to her credit, took responsibility for her part… and turning a blind eye to the abuse.

One of Sally’s best performances!

I will warn readers that this isn’t a particularly “happy” story. Sally Field has had a messy life, parts of which were quite difficult. Anyone who is hoping for a positive, uplifting story will probably be disappointed. Personally, I enjoyed In Pieces. It gave me some insight into who Sally Field is as a person, as well as some insight about Burt Reynolds, who was a similarly complicated and interesting person. I see that most of the negative reviews about this book mention that Sally seems “whiny”. I guess for those who see her as a larger than life movie star with lots of money and privilege, maybe she does seem that way. But she has led an extraordinary life. I appreciated the glimpse behind her persona, even the negative reality checks about how there was a time when she needed public assistance and was signing autographs as she stood in line to get financial aid. Acting can be a very tough, unforgiving, unglamorous, and poorly paid gig. Sally made it big, and was able to provide her sons with educations at prestigious universities, but she had to work hard to get there. I see her book as a glimpse of that process, and a reminder that life as a star isn’t all hearts and flowers.

On a more personal note… I like that Sally Field enjoys swearing. Apparently, Burt Reynolds didn’t like it when she swore… one more reason to ditch him. And she uses interesting metaphors, like “flopped like a juicy fart at a family reunion”, which some people might find crude. But, of course, I found it charming. I’ll have to add it to my own personal collection of funny and gross things to say.

Out of five stars, I think I’d give In Pieces three and a half. Sally Field does present her very human side, complete with foibles and personal problems. Some people may not like that, and will think she’s confused her book with a therapy session. Some readers would rather read about her acting and roles she’s had, rather than Sally Field as an actual person. I’m inclined to give her more of a break than they did, even if I can see their point. I’m not sorry I read the book, though.

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