Tonight, I'm writing about Rebecca. This is a Friday when we watch Joyce's kids so she and her husband can go out and have some fun. We is Ramon, my boyfriend, and me. Joyce is my best friend. And I'm Sunny. Elaine's on vacation in case you've been away from your computer for awhile. The kids are asleep and Ramon's watching some sports thing (I don't think he's into it but he acted like he was to make sure I knew it was okay to write -- I don't think he's into it because I can hear him flipping the channel right now).
Rebecca and C.I. are two voices I got to know almost immediately. They would call. C.I. probably calls and leaves a message at least three times a week. It's always a polite and apologetic call but I'll write about C.I. on Monday. Rebecca?
Did you ever see the film For Pete's Sake? One time I told Rebecca that I felt like the aunt in Texas that Barbra Streisand calls in that move and before I could finish my sentence, Rebecca interrupted with, "For Pete's Sake!" She's a big Barbra Streisand fan so, even though we were already laughing on the phone by that point, I was "in."
Rebecca calls multiple times during the day. Whereas C.I. has boiled the message down to no more than two sentences before calling, Rebecca will run it by me first. She'll offer up something and then, after, wonder how the message should read? (She's considerate and always checks to make sure I'm not busy and will say to put her on hold if I get busy.)
Rebecca can tell a story that will have you laughing so hard you'll have to insist she stops before you pee your pants. She's very funny. She's smart. If she makes you laugh, she's thrilled. So I wondered what she looked like. Elaine has a photo of the three of them in college and showed me it and I thought, "Well, that was college."
She still looks the same. When she's in the area, she'll stop by. What does she look like? Like a cover girl. She has this wonderful blonde hair that she swears she doesn't do a thing to, doesn't brush it out, doesn't comb it, and it just looks wonderful. She's actually not like a cover girl because her look is really soft. Like John Stamos' ex-wife, if you know who I mean. I'm forgetting her name. She's in the X-Men movies. Rebecca's just really pretty.
I had a hard time believing her stories about when she used to work but one day she showed up with her hair pulled back and piled up, in this very business like women's suit and I could see it.
She said it was like wearing a straight jacket day after day.
She flows. She's as light as air. If you were picturing an angel when you were a kid, or an angel you'd put on top of a Christmas tree, you'd be picturing Rebecca. But with really big boobs.
She's just the most relaxed and at home with herself person. She's a lot of fun.
I think she's got such a female following online because women get her. (Some men do to. Wally loves her. The one committee I served on for the community was with Wally, Eli, Keesha, Brandon and Erika. Wally had just become part of the community and when he found out I knew Rebecca, he had a million questions.) If she's having PMS, you know it. There's no front with her. If she's ticked off, you know it. If some man's thought he's a bit more important than anyone else in the world finds him, you know she's going to cut him down to size.
She is our warrior woman. I really think that. She's not going to be silent or cowed. No one, especially no man, is going to tell her what to do. She's that older sister or cousin that you grow up with and think, "Oh, I want to be that cool! I want to be that fearless."
I knew about the miscarriage shortly after Elaine found out because Elaine called me to say we needed to cancel appointments. She called on a Sunday and it's rare that I ever hear her sounding upset. She explained what was going on and that she was going to the doctor with Rebecca on Tuesday so we were going to have to clear Tuesday and Wednesday.
So I knew what was going on. I wondered how she'd explain it online. Monday evening, there it was. No, "Well, something's happened." It was Rebecca being Rebecca, I had a miscarriage, I'm dealing with it, I'm not interested in going into it at length, I haven't changed and let me demonstrate to you that I'm still the same woman who's not going to take any crap.
It's easy to forget how strong she is when you see her in person because she's so soft. Her hair looks soft, her features are soft. I've told her many times that I wish I had her guts and she'll always tell me that I'm stronger now than she was at her age.
She said she had to learn and re-learn that no one's going to love you because you're nice. You're not storing nuts for the winter by being nice and not making waves. The minute you have something to say, strongly, you're still going to be labeled a "bitch" so you might as well know that going in and speak about what matters to you.
When I was 19, I cried and cried because my then boyfriend called me a bitch. I cried the whole next day, Joyce told me to get a grip, because he had apologized. I was blubbering to Joyce about how "He-he-he-he [sob] he said he was sorry for calling me a bitch." I then added it was the sweetest thing.
How Joyce avoided slapping me, I'll never know.
But "bitch" was the word I feared. I think a lot of women do. I've learned from a lot of strong women in the last years but Rebecca, as she always does, cut right to the chase: "The choices are doormat or bitch. Which do you want to be?"
And that's really what it boils down to in most cases. You speak your mind (even slightly) and you're a "bitch" or a "ball buster" or worst. You go along like your seven-years-old (except in the bedroom, then you better be ready to take charge or you're "frigid"), nodding and agreeing and all you are is a doormat.
I'm not talking about what we really are, I'm talking about how women are seen.
And guess what, I can be a bitch.
Realizing that and saying it, in a phone call with Rebecca, was very liberating.
Guess what else, sometimes the situation calls for me to be a bitch.
There was a dry cleaner I used and they treated me like crap. They destroyed a silk blouse I had and then insisted that the three inch hole in it must have been in it when I brought it in. That wasn't the first problem I'd had with them.
I was mad still the next day. Rebecca calls and asks, "What's up?" and I tell her. She says, "You need to scream bloody murder." I said, there right by my apartment, they have a quick turn around, and that they've said they're sorry before.
I was the ultimate doormat that day. Rebecca listens until I'm done and then says, "They've said they're sorry before? What else have they destroyed?" I list a few items but start saying that they do a lot of clothes and mistakes happen and just being the ultimate sap.
Rebecca set me straight. After work, I went home, grabbed the silk blouse and went back. I let them have it. It felt good after surpressing it for so long.
I went in saying, "I know accidents can happen but this was a blouse I only wore once and now it's ruined." Not by us, they kept insisting. Then the manager says, "You can't prove that we did it."
That's when I let my inner-bitch come out to play. I let them have it , it must have been for five minutes straight, and they were staring at me in shock. This guy behind me goes from yawning loudly to saying, "Yeah and they ruined about twenty of my ties!" I told them I was never coming back and I didn't.
I found another cleaners.
Now I could've done that (and should have). And I could've done it 'quietly' and been 'a good girl.' But they knew they ruined my blouse and I knew they did it and knew they knew they did it.
We really didn't shout in my house (unless it was "Oh look at the tree!" or something like that). I think Rebecca is all about taking off the emotional corsets. Burning them. Saying, "This is who I am! Deal with it or get out!"
And that someone so small and soft can do that really gave me the guts too. I think Rebecca's the woman saying, "You can do it. I am and you can too!"
One day, she took Elaine and I out to lunch (she's done that many times, but I'm thinking of one time in particular) and she made Elaine back her up on how she was always considered the "sweet" one and the "nice" one and she rarely ever spoke out. I believe it. But it's so hard to take the Rebecca in front of you and picture her ever being like that.
My mother loves her. Rebecca loves the telephone. I told her my mother thought she was "marvelous" and she said, "Give me her number, I'll call her today." My mother had a problem with a neighbor, they ended up talking about that and figuring out how to deal with it. (And it worked.) That's Rebecca.
If she were running for president, we'd all be a lot better off because she would deal with things. She wouldn't leave them for someone to deal with in the future and act like there wasn't a problem (the way Bully Boy does with the environment -- and Rebecca cares about the environment big time). In office or running for it, if someone tried to Swift Boat her, she'd torpedo them. She wouldn't go hat in hand begging to the press.
She is strong. That's why when she wrote about her miscarriage, I knew she was going to be okay. I knew she was in pain, that was obvious. But it was also obvious that she wasn't fronting. When Goldie or any of the girls in school talk about how much power she gives them, I understand. I read that and think, "I hear you!" Because that's what she is, permission. Permission to be angry, permission to be happy, permission to be enraged, pissed, sexual, you name it. In a world where so many of us are either playing 'good girl' or toying at 'bad girl' (usually because we grasp that we can't be the 'good girl') she says, "You can be it all."
She's like Catwoman in Batman Returns. I told her that once and she laughed. That's probably the best thing she has. She's gorgeous and you could stare at her all day trying to find a flaw without success. She's strong and that's amazing. But her laugh . . .
It's a deep throated, full laugh. Not a little tinkle or a girlish giggle. Her laugh is who she is.
So, I'll close with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot." But before I do, thank you again for the kind e-mails. I'm not really sure how much I have to say any given night. Monday, I'm writing about C.I. I'm thinking about writing about Mike or Wally or both on Tuesday. Elaine will be back on Wednesday. I know some of the others when they call but I've seen Mike and I've seen Wally. I'll write and make sure it's okay to write about them. Elaine was fine with anything. Rebecca's only thing was, "Don't make me out to be a goody-goody." C.I. said, "Just note that they're your opinions." So I'll check with Mike and Wally and make sure it's okay to write about them. They're both very nice men and they're both very attractive. Wally's blonde and Mike has dark hair. If they say it's cool, I'll be able to share more than that. They're both handsome. The first time I saw Mike, I thought, "I hate Nina!" (In a joking way. Nina is Mike's girlfriend.)
Everyone's been so supportive and besides the ones I've mentioned, I want to thank Dona who called to ask how I was holding up, Ava who called to say everything was wonderful and Cedric who called twice now and both times, after the greeting, asked, "What's giving you the hardest time?" Everyone made their numbers available and everyone's been so sweet to me which isn't surprising but it is appreciated. Before I read the e-mails about my first post, I was ready to slit my wrists and Cedric was so kind and made me laugh repeatedly. So thank you to everybody and, if you can hold out until Wednesday, Elaine's back then.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Chaos and violence continue.
Iraq was rocked with bombings today. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, "As many as 17 are dead and at least 50 wounded following attacks on mosques." The BBC reports that the bombs went off "in Baghdad and Baquba following Friday prayers." Al Jazeera notes that, in Baghdad, a car bomb went off near one Sunni mosque and a mortar round landed on another. In addition to the mortar attack on the mosque, Reuters reports another one in Baghdad that took the lives of at least three people and wounded at least 30. Reuters also notes a car bomb exploding near a mosque in Tal Banat ("killed six and wounded 46") and that three people were gunned down in Mosul. The Associated Press reports that, in Sinjar, at least eight died and 48 were wounded when "a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque".
Along with the above, the AFP reports that two sheikhs may have been kidnapped. Sheikh Said Mohammed Taha al-Samarrai of Mahmudiyah is reported kidnapped and killed according to Sunni members of Parliament. The second sheikh believed to be kidnapped is Sheikh Alaa Mohammed Abbas al-Rikabi -- and that's according to Sheikh Abdel Ghafur al-Sammarai who also states "that 181 Sunni clerics have been killed since February."
Mahmudiyah was the hometown of Abeer Qasim Hamza, the 15-year-old who was allegedly rape before being killed (along with three of her family members) by US military forces. Steven D. Green is the only one charged so far. In court Thursday, his attorney Scott Wendelsdorf "entered a plea of 'not guilty on all counts,'" Reuters reports.
In peace news, Bay Area Code Pink is fasting and picketing . . . outside the home of War Hawk Di Fi (the home warbucks is building): " Senator Diane Feinstein recently voted against John Kerry's amendment calling for the troops to come home. Let's make sure she doesn't disappoint her constituents again. Gather with us, as we encourage her to co-sponsor the Harkin bill (S. CON. RES 93) -- no permanent military presence or military bases in Iraq; no attempt to control the flow of Iraqi oil; and Armed Forces should be redeployed from Iraq as soon as practicable after the completion of Iraq's constitution-making process or December 31, 2006 - which ever comes first."
CODEPINK also continues their fast in DC and elsewhere as people across the country continue fasting or begin to show their support. Kris Wise (Daily Mail) writes of West Virginians taking part in the fast and quotes Janie Poe: "I'll go for as long as my body can hold out or until my group tells me to stop. It's probably detrimental for us on our bodies, but it's us screaming out to people to wake up."
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning (info on tonight's event below) on the subject of Iraq. On the issue of the alleged rape and the murders, Dahr Jamail said, "This type of thing is happening on a regular basis in Iraq . . . [rapes during house raids] even in the capital city of Baghdad." Mark Manning pointed out that the legal immunity given to contractors and the military has created "a huge problem" and that the Iraqis have seen too many incidents being wiped away without investigation.
An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822)Mark Manning will be screening his film Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.