the untitled project

My POV. Unmasked. I'm not invisible here.

Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy

In the managing editor’s office, there was a dog-eared piece of paper affixed to the top of a newspaperssmall box on his desk. On that paper were three words written in red: “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy.” I remember sitting across from him in that office, staring at that paper, knowing our entire operation hinged on those three words. Though I never worked a day at that newspaper in which that managing editor didn’t intimidate the hell out of me (think a skinny Lou Grant minus the big-cuddly-teddy-bear side), those three words made me realize that the integrity of our reporters and editors was the lifeblood of our news organization. Woe to any living soul in that newsroom who might even think about embellishing the facts or pushing an agenda, no matter how subtle.

Every day at around 5 p.m., we held a story budget meeting. Easily the most important 45 minutes of the workday. This was the time when all the editors would gather to discuss which of the day’s stories would make the front page of the next morning’s paper. Each editor would “pitch” their story and talk about why they felt it was worthy of A1 placement.

These daily story budget meetings were also, perhaps most importantly, a time of “checks and balances” for editors who were deciding what our readers would see on the front page. Editors would play devil’s advocate with one another, asking tough questions about why a given story was newsworthy, what were the most important angles of the story, and who was being served by covering this story? I witnessed countless serious discussions in which editors would argue and agonize over whether a story was fair, unbiased and ethical. As graphics editor, I had not had any formal journalistic training like my colleagues, but I learned to respect and admire these people for their deep commitment to truth, accuracy, and making sure the general public was aware of what was going on in their world so they could make informed decisions.

Fast-forward 20 years to the 24-hour news cycle in which ratings are king and “fake news” abounds. These days, it would probably be difficult for the average American to imagine editors sitting around debating the ethical merits of any story. But I can assure you, they still do. Truth still matters. Accuracy still matters. Solid, agenda-free reporting matters more than ever.

I bristle and feel personally offended every time someone uses the term “disgusting, dishonest media” because that used to be me. Most days, I wish it was still me. And the offense slithers deeper into me when these insults are hurled at venerable news organizations that dare to print accounts of events or speeches that, while true, come across as unflattering to the subject.

Are there some news organizations that have an agenda they’re not afraid to push? Certainly. Left or right? Of course! Especially in our current environment, every American should be concerned about the validity of the news they are consuming. But that doesn’t mean that any news item you come across is fake news just because you disagree with it or find it unpalatable.

One of my favorite college professors used to tell us: “As a professor, my job is to profess. Your job, as a student, is to go out and do your own research and figure out if I’m right.” As citizens and consumers of news, our job is similar. Do some fact-checking, maybe a little investigative work, to find out which news organizations are trustworthy. Not which ones you agree with, but which ones are trustworthy. There’s a big difference. And remember, one of the hallmarks of any democracy is a free press and, hopefully, a citizenry that isn’t too lazy to think critically, ask questions, and form their own opinions independently.

Dear Younger Self,

kelly-high-school-pic-1979I’ve been wanting to write you this letter for a while now. To tell you that your life makes a turn into happiness in about 20 years.

As I look at you now, I see a girl preparing to embark on the journey of college that’s more exciting than scary, more fun than grueling, and more rewarding than empty, though you’ll experience plenty of scary, grueling, and empty times for sure. But you’ll make fast friends who will help you through. A word of caution: don’t get your hopes up for romance in college. As much as you crave the approval and acceptance that having a boyfriend represents to you now, take it from me, you’re better off. You know all those Saturday nights you sat at home feeling sorry for yourself watching the Carol Burnett Show instead of being out with a boyfriend? Remember those spring seasons when no one asked you to prom? How no guy would even talk to you and how crappy that made you feel? Remember your self-esteem in the toilet? Well my dear, fear not! Life will reward you in spades, trust me.

After college, you’ll spend about 10 years living single, managing your own affairs, working at a satisfying career, making new good friends. You’ll still hear that nagging voice in your head telling you there’s something wrong with you for not being in a relationship that’s headed toward marriage. So in your mid-30s, you’ll take steps to quiet that voice and marry the first guy who shows no evidence of being an ax murderer in his spare time. Here’s a secret I learned: that nagging voice? It was Mamaw’s. The good news is, getting married does silence that voice. In 1999, Mamaw will die happy for you in the knowledge that you’ve “married into a good family.” So what if she had no idea you were miserable? That’s not the point. What’s important is you did the deed so she could see.

Within six months of her death, you’ll leave the bum (finally! who knew just three short years could feel like such a slog?). And guess what? You will have already met your real Prince Charming!

The end of your first marriage will come fairly easily and definitely painlessly. The only tears you’ll shed over its demise will be while asking God’s forgiveness for being unable to keep your marriage vows. But lucky for you, God’s specialty is forgiveness. The very day you leave your husband, you’ll have your first date with Prince Charming and within six weeks, you’ll be living together. I know, right?!? Fast! But you know what? Don’t worry because you will never have been as sure about anything in your life as you are about him.

I can’t wait for you to experience him that first night! He will astonish you by not only asking your thoughts on different topics, but actually looking you in the eye and listening to your answers, as few, male or female, ever have. He won’t be able to take his eyes off you and for the first time, you’ll feel ravishing, important, and valued. You’ll learn that he’s not only thoughtful, sweet, and caring, but also spiritual, smart, and funny.

For a while, you’ll wait for the other shoe to drop. Okay, nobody is this perfect. Where are the skeletons? You’ll learn he doesn’t have any skeletons or even any closets.

As I sit here now writing you this letter, Younger Self, I can tell you that as Prince Charming and I approach our 15th wedding anniversary, he is still the man he presented himself to be that very first night. Just wait, you’ll find that you and he are so compatible you are positively boring. How wonderful is that? He does live with chronic pain and will often apologize to you for his limitations that will become, by extension, your limitations. But you’ll try to make him see himself through your eyes and understand that all in all, you’d gladly take his limitations any day. That just by coming into your life and settling here, he is quite literally, an answer to prayer.

So hang in there, Younger Self. In about 20 years, God will extend His hand of mercy by pushing you aside and saying, “Geesh, do I have to do everything for you? Here, let me,” and send you a companion who will make the pain of earlier struggles fade like dew on grass. For all those times when you were aching for the validation of a boyfriend and feeling like an ugly duckling, your older self will know the peace of love that’s deep and real.
See you when you get here,

7 p.m.

By Kelly Z. Conradgazebo
It happened every day. The evening news had just ended and bedtime was fast approaching. The end of another day that was just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, and the day before…

My phone would ring and the caller i.d. would say “Dad.” Every. Single. Night. When I couldn’t pick up, he’d leave a message that was always the same: “I didn’t do much today. My blood pressure is good. My sugar is good. I feel good, I don’t hurt or ache anyplace. Well, I don’t have much to tell you.” After the first couple of times, I could no longer listen to his messages because the sound of his voice would make me cry. Not because he sounded depressed or sad; he didn’t. It was because I felt sad for him. His half-broken body in a wheelchair, dependent upon others for everything. I saw defeat, finality, and all that he had lost. His freedom, his independence, his happily busy life, his connection to family and friends, his healthy body that he had total control over. There were two things Dad always hated: boredom and inactivity. Now he was stuck with both.

During the final year of his life, he didn’t call as much, then not at all, because his brain was no longer functioning enough for him to be able to dial the phone. Frustrating for him. Heartbreaking for me. He kept saying his phone wasn’t working because he couldn’t get through to me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him there was nothing wrong with his phone, he was simply no longer able to use it. Maybe I should have been more honest with him, but I was never able to slash him with the sharp blade of truth that would drain all the remaining hope from his eyes. Even three months before he died, he was asking me if he had enough money in his bank account to buy a used car. He wanted to get out and drive around a little. Instead of saying, “Dad, you can’t even dial a phone! How are you going to operate a car?!?” I told him he didn’t have enough money to get a decent car, but if he just wanted to get out more, we could make that happen. But he soon lost interest in even that.

I’m so thankful that the fall of 2016 stayed relatively warm and mild, even into early November. During one of my last visits, I had wheeled him outside so we could sit in a gazebo on the grounds of the nursing home. It was a beautiful, brisk fall day. Dry leaves crackled in the breeze and a couple of squirrels scampered among the trees on their afternoon errands. Conversation with Dad was no longer possible, so we just sat quietly, holding hands. He was slumped in his wheelchair, chin to chest, and looked to be sleeping. But he continuously rubbed his thumb over the back of my hand. I knew he couldn’t be sleeping if he was doing that, and I hoped this simple action was as comforting to him as it was to me.

I found myself wishing I could apologize to him for every smart-mouthed retort I ever shot at him as a teenager. I wished I could tell him how much I regretted not asking him more questions and listening to his answers. How much I missed being able to make him laugh. How much I missed the sound of his laughter. How much I wished we could listen just one more time to bluegrass music and I could see his eyes light up when his favorite song, “Rocky Top” came on.

It’s so easy to say “don’t waste time!” But really, listen to me: for the love of God, don’t waste time. Every night at 7 p.m. I’m reminded. Don’t waste time.

I remember hope

By Kelly Z. Conradbombs-explosions-nuclear-explosions-1680x1050-wallpaper_www-knowledgehi-com_41
Lots of people are feeling hopeful these days. It could be the new year, keeping those resolutions so far, just five days in. But from paying attention to the world around me, I can tell refreshing hope is back for some because of the incoming administration. For others like me, it’s going to be a long four years.

To keep my anxiety in check, I decided back in November to boycott the news. So far, my boycott is working at about 60 percent. I used to be such a news junkie, having worked in the newsroom of the local paper for more than 10 years. Not long ago, I saw a meme that said: “My desire to be informed is at war everyday with my desire to stay sane.” Exactly!

Despite the fact that a more prepared and qualified woman was up for the job and received nearly three million more votes, this country elected a dangerous demagogue whose craving for the attention that power brings appears to be insatiable. And his slavish supporters don’t seem able to understand or even notice the subtle yet terrifying nuances of his damaged personality that bob to the surface every time he opens his mouth.

He’s said he doesn’t need the usual briefings and input from the experts because he knows more than anyone and he’s smarter than everyone. Really? Wow! Except here’s a news flash: No human is infallible and that includes presidents. There will always be people we can learn something from and the truly wise know when to shut up and listen.  John F. Kennedy said: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

As January 20 approaches, my struggle to remain calm and unafraid becomes more difficult. At this point, my only hope is that over the next four years, our new Commander in Chief doesn’t start a nuclear war with some rogue nation over 140 characters that he’s deemed offensive to his frail and girly ego. He may eliminate our health care, gut our civil rights, destroy our environment… we can start working on repairing our nation in 2021. But it’s hard to repair anything when you’re dead. If he doesn’t get us blown off the map by 2020, I’ll be satisfied.

When I was a kid, they always told me, “Anyone can be President!” Back then I didn’t realize that sadly, and to my great horror, that would turn out to be true.  

It’s the craziest season of all

By Kelly Z. Conradking-becomes-baby
Last December, Marcus and I attended a concert of Christian artists Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, during which Amy performed a song she’d co-written called “I Need a Silent Night.” In her introduction of the song, she talked about this busy season that seems to get more rushed every year. She said she has often hosted Christmas parties, inviting lots of family and friends “but I forgot to invite myself,” being so overloaded with preparation and making sure everyone was having a good time, she herself didn’t get to relax and enjoy the event. I could instantly relate. Here are a few lines from the song:

“December comes then disappears
Faster and faster every year
Did my own mother keep this pace?
Or was the world a different place?

“Where people stayed home wishing for snow
Watching three channels on their TV
Look at us now rushing around
Trying to buy Christmas peace

“I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night.”

It’s about this time every year when people start talking about New Year’s resolutions and the strategies they’ll try to help them stick to their goals. I have the same resolution every year: To eat more chocolate in the new year (hey, it’s a resolution I know I can keep).

But before we even get to the new year, I just want to survive December. And isn’t it sad that I use the word “survive?” The Christmas season shouldn’t be something we “survive.” But it seems we’ve allowed it to become that way. A monster to be tamed. A marathon to finish as we gasp for breath. The whirlwind sucks you in before Thanksgiving and doesn’t spit you out until sometime in January.

And for some of us, grief casts its long dark shadow over the holiday, a decidedly unwanted guest at the table. This will be my first First: my first Christmas without my dad. As a wise, grieving friend recently told me, “The firsts suck.”

I read somewhere that “grief is an expression of deep love.” It’s something you carry with you that, hopefully, gets lighter as time passes. But it never goes away. Because the love never goes away.

I find comfort through my faith, remembering the joyous event we are really celebrating. I know during the dark times, my Savior cries with me. This year more than ever, I am so in need of a Silent Night, a Holy Night.

An open letter to nursing staff

By Kelly Z. Conrad

Dear Farmhouse Inn Nursing Staff:

Where to begin? A simple “thank you” seems so inadequate in response to all the time, hard work, and gentle care that all of you put into watching over my dad these past six years.

Entrusting round-the-clock care of a loved one to strangers requires a lot of faith. Faith in the system, faith in the education and training that those strangers received, faith in the strangers’ basic humanity. You hope they entered the field with the right intentions, and that they discovered somewhere along the way that this type of work is what they were meant to do. You hope they look at your loved one and see a whole person, someone who had a full, busy, and productive life before they were assigned a bed in a room, and a team of nurses and caregivers they’ve never met before.

Over the past six years, I’ve been so fortunate to be able to visit Dad often. I witnessed Dad’s care in action many times. I was always impressed and grateful for how you, Dad’s caregivers, seemed to understand that a big part of your job was to engage him in conversation, joke with him, and treat him like a whole person. As his health declined, and he was no longer able to respond much, you still talked to him with tenderness and respect. Even when I was in the room and you were conversing with me, you still made sure to bring Dad into our conversation by asking his opinion and engaging him as if he could participate, even when he couldn’t.

I sincerely hope that the next time you’re having a bad day, or find yourself wondering if it’s all worth it, you’ll remember to take a moment and think about all the lives you’ve touched in such a positive way, day in and day out. I hope you’ll realize that all the little gestures and kind words may seem minor, and may have that negligible “just part of the job” feel to them. Believe me, it all adds up and it does make a difference. Not just to the residents you’re responsible for, but to their families and friends as well.

The letters on your badge may be LPN, CNA, RN…
But to many, those letters look more like A-N-G-E-L.

 

The power of a safety pin

By Kelly Z. Conradsafety-pin
Ten days since the stunning presidential election of 2016. We’ve heard and seen innumerable news stories, opinion pieces, theories of how it all happened and where we might go from here. The great and greatly missed Jon Stewart has said we should try not to paint all Trump supporters with the broad brush of his worst and most offensive rhetoric. I’m trying…

Among the many protesters since the election are groups of high school students in Montgomery County, Md., who walked out of their classes this week and marched in protest toward the White House and other prominent locations in Washington, D.C. They are rejecting the hateful rhetoric of the campaign. Negative comments on social media have included: “Get back to class, you crybabies!”

I enthusiastically applaud these protesters, many of whom are too young to vote, but are still intent on making their voices heard. The naysayers who are telling them to “shut up and get back to class” are the same ones who will be complaining in a few years about how our apathetic young people can’t be bothered to vote. Make up your mind, do you want them engaged or not? Or only when they agree with you?

The right of protest is sacred in this country. We know that the many citizens who protested during this country’s Civil Rights Movement were told to shut up and go home. Decades earlier, the Suffragettes who marched to demand women be given the right to vote were told to shut up and go home. Thank God these earlier protesters had the determination and the balls to soldier through malicious oppression and unspeakable violence against them.

I am grateful to those who are marching now because I hope with all my heart that people in other countries around the world see the many protests that have taken place this week, and understand that not all Americans are satisfied with how the election turned out. I hope they read the stories explaining that Secretary Clinton actually won the popular vote and understand that not all Americans bought into the hateful rhetoric and scare tactics aimed at people of color and our marginalized brothers and sisters.

The power of a pin

Following the Brexit vote in Britain this past summer, many British citizens wanted to convey a message of inclusion, so began wearing safety pins on their clothing. A safety pin worn for all to see is meant to send the message that people of color and marginalized communities are “safe” with the person sporting the pin.

Now this trend is catching on in this country as well. Last week, I bought a collection of safety pins to wear, sending the same message of inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance. And just this morning, I signed a pledge online saying that if the new administration does follow through with a suggestion put forth during the campaign to create a national registry for Muslims, I will register as a Muslim as well. Not because I am one, but because I am reminded of a Protestant pastor in Nazi Germany, Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), who was a vocal opponent of Nazi rule. Niemoller is probably best remembered for the following quote:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Peace to you.

I’ll get up again

By Kelly Z. Conrad
What a ridiculous week it’s been. I struggle to find light in the darkness. Never have I been more relieved that I don’t have children because I would hate to have to try to explain the events of this week to a child.

Hate and bigotry won this week. Illness, debilitation and death won this week. I try to remain hopeful and fight the riptide of despair that threatens to smother me and, by the grace of God, I’m able to surface for moments at a time to grab a gulp of air.

Monday was a good day. A sparkling-fresh fall day that I spent with my husband. I honestly don’t remember much of Tuesday, the last day of the before-time. When I awoke Wednesday morning, I found myself in a black cave, dank and foul-smelling. For the first time since depression crawled into my soul 25 years ago, I did not want to get out of bed. But just like back then, I forced myself to get up and face the day, only because I feared where I’d end up if I didn’t.

Besides, Wednesday is the day I always visit my dad and I would not allow the bullies to interfere with that.

Wednesday was rainy, chilly and raw. How appropriate. When I arrived at my dad’s room, he was slouched to one side in his wheelchair, his face drooping to that side. I knew he’d had another stroke, but I didn’t say anything to the nurse who was standing there. What’s the point at this point? I only felt a brief flash of anger at God for not taking him. Again. Dad’s quality of life has been non-existent for months, yet he lingers. Modern medicine can be a merciless bitch.

I sat in a plastic chair watching my dad sleep the afternoon away in his recliner. I checked social media on my phone, still too numb to try to make sense of what happened the day before. It’s not that my candidate lost; that’s happened before. It’s much bigger than that. It’s about who won. It’s about people I thought I knew. People I hoped would never, could never support a person who talked like that and apparently believed what he believes. But America is full of racists and xenophobes and now they’ve come slithering out to enjoy free rein. The abuse of non-whites has already started. I guess that’s okay with his supporters, and that makes me want to vomit.

I woke my dad briefly to let him know I was leaving. We said “I love you” and kissed each other’s cheeks and he dozed off again.

Yesterday, Leonard Cohen died. Can this week suck any harder? A poet and a gentleman, a brilliant and genteel artist from the days when having genuine talent meant something. Another light gone out.

Today is Friday. I desperately need something to look forward to. It helps that I am taking a much-needed break from Facebook. Following the election, my husband and I decided to unplug for a bit. The strange thing is, once I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, I instantly felt less stressed. I need a break from the white supremacists and the fake Christians here in Klanland.

On Twitter, where I find more like-minded people, many talk about continuing the fight, keeping a watchful eye on the new administration and joining ranks to protest what’s happened in our country. For me, right now, I simply don’t have the strength. I know I should get up and fight, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who do, but I’d rather crawl in a hole with a sign on my ass that says “Kiss it.”

I’m hoping for brighter days ahead, but I’m already dreading the holidays because this year, it will take even more strength than usual to keep the peace. To swallow the snarky comments and shitty behavior. Over the next week or so, I plan to try to replenish my inner calm so I can eventually emerge to show the bullies that they haven’t defeated me. They may have knocked me down and stood over me and laughed, but I’ll get up again.

John Grisham? Big deal.

By Kelly Z. Conrad, October 28, 2016Book and knowledge concept
This week, I saw an interview with John Grisham on one of the morning news shows. He’s got a new book coming out and it’s expected to be another New York Times No. 1 Bestseller. His twenty-ninth. My reaction to this news was probably unlike what you’d expect. I did not excitedly make a mental note to purchase the book as soon as it’s released.

Instead, I felt resentful and frustrated. It’s true what they say: There is no connection between talent and marketing.

Any time I check the New York Times Bestseller List, I usually find the same handful of authors: James Patterson, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks (oh please, seriously?), Nora Roberts, and yes, John Grisham. Or that one-in-a-million author who’s been anointed by Oprah to be her next “Book Club Pick,” in which case that author basically can retire immediately. Once the mighty Oprah Brand has been conferred upon you, you are set for life. (I always picture Oprah in long, Pope-like white robes, placing her hand on the bowed head of an author who is kneeling before her.)

Weekly Bingo at my dad’s nursing home has a rule: You can win only twice in an afternoon; after that, you cannot win again that day. This allows others a chance to win and seems only fair. The New York Times should come up with a similar rule: Once you’ve been named to the bestseller list twice, you are no longer eligible and must abdicate your throne to make room for other authors. Seems only fair.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The bestseller list is based on sales. Once an author has sold enough copies of a title and their name is well-known, the rest seems to fall into place automatically. So a James Patterson or a Nora Roberts can churn out several books a year and luxuriate in the knowledge that their millions of fans around the world will buy their books, sight unseen, as soon as the ink is dry. Are they writers or are they book factories?

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, thousands of unknown authors are slogging away writing books that few people will ever see or hear of. And even fewer will buy and read. That’s too bad because so many of these authors are brilliantly talented at weaving complex tales of suspense, intrigue, passion… Their stories are original and just as compelling as any story you’d find featured in the window of the bookstore at the mall. But because their name and their work are not well known, their book gets passed by, if the bookstore carries it at all.

It’s human nature to gravitate toward the familiar. Taking a chance on an unknown can feel too risky, especially when you’re spending your hard-earned dollars on a book. I understand that. But still, I can’t help feeling resentful when I see a famous author’s gazillionth book released (just in time for holiday gift-giving!) and their name on multiple bestseller lists – AGAIN! – knowing that other writers who are just as deserving are struggling because they lack name recognition and a global marketing machine behind them. Many of these authors are self-published. (Did you know that John Grisham self-published his first novel and sold it out of the trunk of his car? And you thought all self-published authors were hacks!)

Next time you’re looking for a good book to purchase or download, consider giving an author you’ve never heard of a shot at a few of your dollars and a bit of your time. You might be pleasantly surprised.

It happened to me #notokay

By Kelly Z. Conrad, October 9, 2016

No matter your political persuasion, the topic of the moment is men groping women and what’s been termed the “rape culture” of our society. Over the weekend, Canadian writer Kelly Oxford posted on Twitter that she had been groped by a strange man on a bus when she was just 12 years old. She encouraged other women to share their stories of sexual assault under the hashtag #notokay. She got a lot more than she bargained for. She began receiving posts from women at the rate of 50 per minute (minimum) over a period of 14 hours. Let the magnitude of that sink in for a moment.

Chances are, most women you know have been sexually molested at least once in their lives. If you’re a woman of a certain age, you might not have known what to call it at the time, since it’s been only in recent years that terms like “sexual molestation,” “groping,” and “date rape” have become part of our daily lexicon. When we first heard the term “date rape” years ago, a friend of mine told me that upon hearing its definition, she realized that she had been date raped on three separate occasions. There was never a name for it before. It’s like a kid today asking what a “rotary” phone is. If you didn’t grow up with it, you don’t know.

Here’s what I know – I was groped twice when I was a young girl. It was on the school bus as I was getting off at my stop. This older boy, whose entire family had a reputation for being “rough,” was sitting between me and the door of the bus. As I walked toward the door, he leered at me with an evil sneer and reached out to grab me between my legs, in the front as I approached, and again in the back as I quickly walked away. I felt a flash of nausea and humiliation, and I was instantly even more intimidated by him than I was before.

Today, as an adult, I so wish I had whirled around and backhanded him hard across the face. But the sad truth is, had I done that, I would most likely have been the one to be reprimanded by the bus driver. In those days, that kind of behavior by boys (and men, unfortunately) was merely winked at and dismissed. So I never told anyone. Until now.

I am sharing this detail of my growing up years now because I believe it’s important for women to stand in solidarity and shine a bright light on this kind of degrading behavior by males who simply do not feel it’s a big deal. The picture I have in my mind is of flipping on the light in the kitchen and watching the roaches scatter back under the sink.

When the conversation turns salacious, as it has recently, those of us who have been groped, and worse, against our will, often experience the same sickening feeling of violation that we felt at the time it happened. We are triggered, as they say. I’m always happy when elections are over, but this year, more so than ever. If anything good has come of this year’s disgusting, embarrassing, and obscene presidential campaign, it’s that millions of sexual molestation survivors have come forward to expose the roaches.

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