Alex: [00:00:00] Hi, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. It's been a while and Leia and I are back. We're going to be talking, we we're hoping twice a month talking about. Everything as usual. We're sure race will come up as we go, because it always does. But we both took a break over the summer, partly because we did some traveling, partly because we both have new goals and we're working a lot.
And also I think for both of us, the Dobs decision And everything else going in the world was quite frankly a kick in the gut. And at least I know both of us needed cocooning where we weren't talking.
Lenya: No you're right. I mean, I mean, we were talking to each other, we just didn't wanna talk it about it in front of people, but yeah, I mean, it has been an interesting time. I mean, when we now know that the governments of the world just don't care about us as people, because every single [00:01:00] government has the same exact Sort of decision to just kind of like, let COVID run through, let monkeypox run through and let this new virus that's coming around, run through.
And the fact that polio is back. You.
Alex: Yeah. Like
Lenya: know, I blame all the vacing moms for polio coming back. This is your fault, your fault. And I don't wanna see any the, the, the, well, I'm not on Facebook anymore, but I remember when measles came back and this like somebody put on Facebook, oh look I haven't faxed my kids and stuff, but, you know, I wanna know how do I protect them from measles?
Like bitch facts, your fucking kid, you idiot. You're the reason why measles is back. Clearly I had to get rid of Facebook
Alex: I do agree. I mean, I, I sort of haven't because I did so much traveling. I'm actually a little bit out of it on COVID, you know, where the vaxxer situation is. I've always been sort of surprised now. I do have [00:02:00] friends who are anti-vaxxers and they're very left progressives and they're sort of in a government conspiracy kind of thing.
And it is beyond the pale to me that. Anybody would be open about it. Like I was like, if you're, if you're an anti-vaxxer, can you please shut up? Like just, if you don't wanna get vaccinated, I guess, you know, it's that thing of this whole personal freedom thing. Right. You know, it's my personal freedom and I'm like, it's it's there has to be a community interest
Lenya: but Americans are so selfish. We're selfish.
Alex: But it, I, but I, but yes, I agree. I, I, I think capitalism on steroids breeds a little selfishness. I think that's a part of it, but I do think another part is and this is where if I were like seek, if I were gonna bridge the gap, right. Like I think we could all agree. That our social FRA [00:03:00] fabric is afraid and we don't, and that's why it always annoys me.
And I was just, you know, in Malawi, And I hate when people say, oh, you know, even though life's so hard, like there is happiness here, there is joy. And that is actually true. And in some, but it we're looking from the outside in, but what you see is there is some community fabric that's there that breeds a little bit more contentment.
Peace of mind and not there's so much hardship. So when I say peace of mind, I'm not saying that there isn't dread because I've interviewed plenty of people there where there is like dread and they don't know how they're gonna make it through the next day. But there is like this sense of community that I.
Don't necessarily always feel here. Right. And, and the, the religious right. I'll say right. Cuz the church and, and I would say, yeah, that's one way to do it, but we're also just generally having to work 60 hour weeks. There's nowhere to create any [00:04:00] community and really keep solid net. So I. And I, and nobody appreciates it and it is a little selfish, like we've totally misconstrued freedom,
Lenya: it's interesting. I was listening to black TikTok. I listen to black TikTok all the time, we were talking about. Community, right? Because the African American community here is very tight. You know, we have to be just for safety reasons.
So, you know, African American TikTok is always putting out tips, always. You know, there's always like a conversation going around on how we can better our lives as, as, as a people. And I feel like that breeds community. and, but I don't feel that when I go to other sides of TikTok, oh, I'm a native TikTok.
I feel that. And I wonder if, if it, what, what culturally is different between black Americans, European Americans, Asian, well, Asian Americans also have a very tight community. I mean, even beyond their like, African Americans and natives beyond their their [00:05:00] Family structure, very tight community, you know, within their friends and cousins and stuff.
And I wanna know what it, why is there this difference in the way we, we kind of like move? Like why what's, what, what is it that started that I always wondered. What is it that started that different communities move differently?
Lenya: because I feel community amongst a lot of my friends. I have African American friends on my street.
Like I feel my community and
Alex: Do you think there is a little bit something to do with say I, I mean, I'm sure there are people who would say, you know, the oppressed or, or, or a minority or. fringe is a word. And I don't mean like for like when people find subcultures, right? So it's the idea of sub being in a subculture, breeds some community, because if you're and other, you have to [00:06:00] find other others and then you have an immediate closeness.
So, the idea is of course. There's gonna be immediate community, like in your block from whatever other black people are on your block, because you're like, I we're surrounded by white people. We're, we're a little community. And and you might be able to very immediately find a commonality, but even let's look at gen X from a broader standpoint, right.
We don't necessarily have tons of community with every gen Xer, but there is We are sort of, we are the other generation, right? When you think about it. And I was like, all of a sudden, we're like, oh, what do we have in common? Well, we all saw fast times at Ridgemont high or whatever the, whatever it is.
We all have that thing in common and immediately there's some community, part of why everybody, what is amazing about the internet is because people can find. Now I'm using other a different way, but like they're finding their others, you know, I wanna dress like a Starship trooper every [00:07:00] day. I can find other people who wanna dress like a Starship trooper every day, but that's also fractured everybody because it's so, you know, because we're in so many subsets, I think it community just gets more difficult.
For me, I'm really curious, like how people use and MIS misuse means they're doing it wrongly. There's no wrong way to use the internet, but people who are effectively using
Lenya: There is a wrong way to use the internet.
Alex: well. Yeah, but what I'm saying is it might like, it might backfire what the person's intent. Right. But the idea is like, somebody's going to use the internet and make themselves feel more isolated maybe by accident.
And some people are going to use it. And feel like they found a community they wouldn't have already had, but I do remember that like I had a, a, a friend in the late eighties he sort of flirted with his sexuality, partly because he [00:08:00] just really felt like he belonged in the LGBTQ community.
Even if he wasn't LGBTQ,
Lenya: Okay. I get that.
Alex: you know what I mean? Like he identified with the other things other than who you wanted to have sex with. And he, and he really felt like, you know, that's where he fit in and belonged. And I, and I, and I, and so for me as someone who's always sort of been fairly in the mainstream, do you know what I mean?
I totally get it. Like sometimes I wish. You know, it's I wish I were this. I wish I were this because it would be easier to find something in common. Do you know what I mean? So even with my students, I'll say something like, well, you're all in Moo court, you're your own cohort. Do you know what I mean?
You all have something that binds you together, you know? And that's even if you think about. Haz, not extreme hazing, like bad hazing. And I guess somebody would argue all hazing is bad, but hear me [00:09:00] out, cuz I also don't like hazing at all. Fraternities and sororities, I generally believe should go away.
Lenya: And, you know, it's BA a rush week right now.
Alex: Oh, so everybody. Hey. All right. So, well I was like the Greek system, at least where I went to school. Like it was, it seemed to work for many men, but I, there are just enough horror stories and I was so. Bullied. That was really the only time I really felt bullied by people. So, but anyway, what I was gonna say, what's interesting about the hazing idea is that it binds community quickly through bad experiences.
Right? So like even in my sorority we had to get out in the snow. We were woken up at three in the morning and had couldn't, didn't have time to put on anything, you know, so we're all in. It was really trendy in the eighties to our boxer shorts, you know, his pajamas. And so we had our boxer shorts on.
and our, you know, t-shirts, and we're like out in the [00:10:00] snow, you know, it's snow two inches. Some of us have slippers on some of us are bare feet. And I don't know. We had to do some stupid relay race in the snow and we were all miserable and we were all bitching. But then after it was over, we all went for greasy breakfast and we were all talking about the things.
So that experience did. Bond us, you know what I mean? Now I'm not going and saying anybody should do that, but that builds community. Right? So that idea that we're all also isolated in our TVs and in our homes. And I it's it's, we don't, what are we bound by? You know what I mean? What binds this all together and we all wanna look perfect all the time, so, or be perfect all the time.
I mean, it's
crazy. Well, I, I don't care either, but that's the glory over 50, I think a little bit, you know, it's I just don't. I look like I look
Alex: in Malawi, when you were talking about governments don't care about us.
So then I [00:11:00] started, I started saying, oh, well, you know, when I teach at Jackon school for orphans, I you know, I work with the kids, poetry stories, and I put together this literary journal and one of the young women wrote a poem and I wanna read the poem. It's really short, she's 17 and she's not been outside Malawi yet, like this, you know what I mean?
So she's and grew up in the village. Okay. So are members of parliament. By FEA Luciano, our members who we will go into parliament. Remember the promises you make during campaigns, your commitment to development, be your goal for you are servants, not our masters. And your duty is to serve, not to star us of development.
May you please be reminded that your entry into office is not by your academic qualifications, but by our [00:12:00] trust, you will serve us Care not only about your stomachs and deliver us from poverty and lead us into prosperity. Lead us, not into deprivation for our vote will boot you out.
Give us our desired development and we will give you another term. Amen.
Lenya: Wow, that
needs to be at the presidential inauguration.
Alex: I know. Well, and this is I was like, FEA, you just wrote this could apply to my own country. So when you say like the issues are the same, you know, and the issues are, and they feel more and more the same.
Lenya: Mm-hmm wow.
Alex: Yeah. She's quite a young woman. I've known her since she was in eighth grade. Now she's going in her senior year, getting close to graduation. And what is so funny is she's like, I wanna do international relations and write novels.
And I'm like, absolutely. [00:13:00] And then like, and I've already written like 30 chapters of a novel and I was, and she was like, and Madam Alexandra, can you, can you read it? And I'm like, fuck 30 chapters.
And of course she's a teenager. Like, So of course it's like, you know, 20 pages long. And of course even though she's written about this and she's written a, a lot about race and she's written a lot about sexual assault, I have to say it's all about boys and girls and kissing and dating and who likes who, and who's doing this.
I's oh my God, it is the SA. And then every single boy like wrote like a horror story. I was like, always, it was like, there's some things that Don.
Lenya: oh, she needs to be nurtured and developed.
Alex: oh, absolutely. But no Fe is amazing, but there's so many.
Good poems. And so
many stories, but that one is so righteous and [00:14:00] so applicable and it is the, I, it is I was like, is she just watching like CSPAN and like writing?
Lenya: you know, it's so interesting because you know, Liz Chaney lost her primary.
Alex: I know.
Lenya: and everybody's so sad and I'm like, but you, you understand this bitch is not for us. She never was just because she's against Trump doesn't mean she's for us
Alex: Like I do think she's best. Like I, yeah, I totally agree. Do I think she's not corrupt? Yes. I actually do think that she is not corrupt, but she applauded the Dobs decision. Do you know what I mean? She is
Lenya: my God. When you look at her voting record, it's appalling.
Alex: is like that's idea of like too short, a memory like it's yeah, I can accept that. She's not corrupt, but everybody's making her a hero. I'm like, no,
She's Just doing her job actually, when there are a lot of other people who don't do their [00:15:00] jobs because they're completely corrupt, so it's become, so the standards are so low
Lenya: Oh, oh
Alex: she becomes a hero because she's not corrupt.
Lenya: I mean, when our standards are in the toilet, then where do we go? We have nowhere to go. Cause our standards right now for anything is toilet. That's where it is.
Alex: Well, it was just like, you know, you're thinking about, I don't even know what to, to do. Like I fight, see, I knew it was only gonna take us 20 minutes to get to, to abortion I was going for a walk cuz I was in Italy with my niece and my nephew.
My niece is 13. My nephew is 16 and. You know, I'm thinking about, okay. And they live in Wisconsin, which, you know, not leads me to have an abortion. Right. my 13 year old niece. Like I'm not as worried about you know, they have pro-choice parents and we live in California and conspiracy theories, more strict [00:16:00] laws aside.
Like she's not going.
She's not going to, to suffer because my sister will do whatever needs to be done to protect her right. To choose. And she would go to prison for it. And I would also go to prison for that. Like not a problem. So you can spin out all the what abouts, you know, but I still, all the hypotheticals, I was like, yeah, but still, you know, Candace will get on a plane with her daughter and whatever Timothy.
Is more, I'm more worried about, right? Because I was like, you need to check the, the, the one before you date anyone, you need to know where they stand and then you need to know where their parents stand. Because, you know, because like you are in such a more dangerous position that you're gonna end up paying child support. From the age of 60, I'm the, I'm not telling him any of this, you know, but I'm taking a walk in Tuscany and the sun is rising and it's beautiful. And I've worked [00:17:00] myself into a froth. Do you know what I mean? Like about what is poor Timothy going to do? And then he shouldn't. And then I was like, you shouldn't apply to colleges in any state where
Alex: Overly restricted and, you know, but it's like, how does that change dating? You know, Hey, let's have a beer and, and by the way, you know, do you, and.
Lenya: But you know what, Alex, maybe we need to start normalizing having these conversations early on. I swear if we start having conversations about where you stand politically. Early on, you will save yourself so much heartache and, and disaster later. Right? I got, I have no problem with on the first date saying, okay, so listen, where do you stand for this?
What do you stand for that? What do you do for this? What do you do for that? Can I see what your TikTok likes are? I wanna know what you follow on Instagram. I wanna know because don't waste my time.
Alex: I totally agree. And honestly, I did that in college. Right. I did that in college because I, I was not [00:18:00] interested in. In dating anyone anti-choice it was like 1985 through 1989. I was in college. So that was right before the Casey decision. So I was working, I was, I was a field organizer for now.
So I, you know, I was like very lit up about it. And I did ask people and I wasn't friends, people were gonna think I'm narrow minded, but I wasn't friends with people who weren't pro-choice. and I still kind of draw that line now So I get it. And I think, you know, and I think Timothy is a little bit like that.
Like his girlfriend is pro-choice, but she, he doesn't know what the parents are. And I'm like, the parents are the dangerous ones. If she gets pregnant it is that time where I was like, God, if I had a son, I'd be wrapping him in bubble wrap. Do you know what I mean?
Like Do not, I'd be wrapping the penis. Sorry, this is gross, but seriously wrapping it in bubble wrap saying please just, just don't don't don't do anything.
Lenya: This is the time where I'm glad I have an adult child that lives in another country.
Alex: yeah, no, I mean, [00:19:00] it's it. Anyway, I just, and I know my sister worries. I mean, it isn't, but I was like, I'm not gonna get, it's not, you know, it's not my kid and he's a very responsible young man. So I, you know, but it's nervewracking. I
Lenya: normalizing these conversations, not just for us, but for everyone, we should normalize these conversations for all women,
Alex: I wanna destigmatize abortion, like part of where we all went wrong. Like we meaning society, the pro-choice end of society is that while that anti-choice people were very smartly building up stories, right. Storytelling, narratives of horror stories. Do you know what I mean?
We were protecting our right to privacy and buying into the idea that having an abortion should be stigmatized. And now I do think that, just [00:20:00] sort of like women don't know how much, even though we'll talk about anything, you know, women tend to share a lot. We don't tend to talk about Exactly how much we weigh.
We don't actually ever share exactly how much we make and we tend not to just be open and honest about an abortion.
Lenya: Not just abortions though. Alex, anything having to do with our vaginas, we are not open and honest with. That's why you don't talk about miscarriages as well. That's why, when you hear women talking about their miscarriages recently, you, it, it is, it's something that's new. We do not talk about our vaginas enough,
Alex: No. I agree. women. Talk about like, when they're in their twenties, they talk a lot about how much sex they're having.
Lenya: but even that could be a lie.
Alex: No, it's true. It's true. It's all P it might all be puffy or we have no idea, but you're right. Nobody's having deep conversations, but it's that conversation of I didn't think it was my place to talk to my nephew, but. We did it kind of came up for a second [00:21:00] and, and he said, oh, well, you know, it's just not gonna be a problem.
And, and I'm sure that's because he's, you know, he's a 16, he's a teenager. They, you know what I mean? They don't have a sense of mortality or really of consequences yet, but it's also because I'm sure he can't imagine that anything like that happens, he doesn't really know that almost every single woman in his family has had an abortion.
You know what I mean? Like he doesn't know the history and so it doesn't feel real to him that it can happen to anybody it's still in that six year old mindset, it happens to other. that I was like, we all have to own, do you know what I mean? That we didn't do it. We didn't like, people are like, oh, that happens. I agree like the har the, yes. The horror story that people are outlawing in cases of rape or when the women's health so the New York times has been covering like, you know, I was raped at 11 and I had an abortion. It saved my life. It wasn't about choice. It was about life. And I totally like yes.
More of that. [00:22:00] Absolutely. I think I've said this on the podcast before, but like I had an appointment my first year of law school to have an abortion. And I went on the Friday that it was scheduled and I miscarried. Right. So, and I just remember the nurse who was so nice.
She's well, your body took care of it, so we don't have to. And but I was like, and it was, I was alone. I didn't tell the. The boy, because we were just having, I say, boy, we were in her twenties, but it feels like now we were kids, but I didn't tell, the guy, because we were having a casual relationship and I was a little worried because, he had kind of made noise that he was a Republican and I wasn't sure where he stood and I wasn't taking a risk.
And I didn't, I. You know, a month into law school. So I didn't have any friends you know what I mean? So I just did all this by myself. And I remember, you know, I, I just remember all the cramping and all the bleeding and all the, and I [00:23:00] didn't feel ashamed in the sense like I had to, I mean, I was 23 years old.
I was going to law school. Like I, I, I never wanted children. We did use the condom. do you know what I mean? Like we, I was responsible. I did what I needed to do and it still happened. And my life would've been derailed
Lenya: so I was like, I could tell you my abortion story was completely different.
I was with my boyfriend of years and years and years, we were actually thinking about getting married. And I got pregnant and I don't remember if I was on birth control or not.
But anyway, the, the thing is I had already had KA. I didn't. And, and the thing is I never wanted to be a mom, but Kaine was a lovely surprise, but I didn't wanna, I didn't wanna do it again. And that's what I was thinking. Then when we made the appointment to go together, we went, I freaked out. I had an absolute panic attack in the abortion clinic, because I was like, well, I'm in a, I'm in a relationship.
[00:24:00] This we've been together for four years at that point. Why couldn't I do this? You know what I mean? And then the woman was like, if this is how you feel, you should leave. Okay, fine. I left the next week. I made the appointment to do it again because I did not wanna have a baby. Like the bottom line is I didn't wanna have a baby.
So I came back, I had it done and I left
Alex: Did you go with the boyfriend that time, the second time,
Lenya: yeah, the whole, every single time, every, like he was, he, it,
Alex: it sounds like right, you made this really thoughtful choice. Do you know what I mean? And you like, it was.
Lenya: But interestingly enough later down the line, I thought, well, you know, I really did wanna have maybe a daughter. And then later, later in my life, like now I'm thinking, God, I I'm so glad I never got pregnant from this dude.
Cause we did end up getting married and he was a complete and total fucking asshole and like our divorce. Yeah. And like, it was just horrible. The things that I went through with that marriage. My brain saved me from more [00:25:00] trauma because I would've then had another kid to have to deal with with this guy.
he had already taken over the father figure for Kaine. you know, it would've been a freaking nightmare. So I'm like my mind saved me so much drama as you know. So that, that was one of my abortion stories. Cuz I've had a couple.
a lot of people like to think that, that, you know, women use abortion like birth control, but that's not necessarily true.
Right. Sometimes these things happen and
Alex: Well also, like nobody really talks about the idea that, you know, to protect yourself for a lot of women birth control, like the pill, the hormone, any kind of hormone in your body sets off an array of a
Lenya: Of problems. Yes. And
Alex: people say, oh, it's good for acne. Oh, it's good for endometriosis. While for me, the pill made sex.
So painful that I would have to sit in a tub, a [00:26:00] cold tub, like after sex for about 90 minutes. honestly, like in college, I was so afraid of getting pregnant. That that is what I did. Do you know what I mean? I would sit in a cold tub and that's ridiculous. Like eventually I was, yeah. I talked to a doctor.
Doctor was like, well, we can try a lower dose, but then it's not a safe. And I was like, you know what? I, this just, it doesn't work. I'm gonna. Like I went off the pill and I said, I'll wait till techno. I'll wait till technology gets better. I'll try again. I had tried several times. It just always was really bad for me.
Lenya: Well, I got pregnant on the pill.
Alex: See, and that's the other thing nobody even talks about the ideas that, you know, people are like, oh, it's 93% effective. And I'm like, well, that's, that's still 7%
Lenya: I had an I U D I have was on the pill. I'm used the sponge. I mean, you name it. It, I couldn't help with that. I was like fertile.
Lenya: And, and I don't, I like really [00:27:00] legitimately did not want to see myself with children.
Alex: absolutely. And you did. And the thing is you took all the steps. If I Don. And this is where I do strongly believe, you know, that, I mean, come on. Like we, it's a, it's a tool. And if we destigmatize it, here's the thing for me too, is like a lot of, because we don't talk enough about our vaginas, then we don't talk enough about this issue that we also like. Women who are sort of frightened. Do you know by it, you, I mean, some people don't realize they're pregnant for a long time and that's just another health issue, but a lot of the times there might be some sort of oh, I don't wanna, I don't wanna face, I don't wanna deal. But the idea is if everything was destigmatized.
You would be able to say, okay. And you know, even though I have an odd period I'm gonna, and I don't know when I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna check because I'm not gonna feel stigmatized by what I might have to do next.
And so [00:28:00] it's that same idea is that there, I mean, especially now with the morning after pill which I have used liberally, do you know what I mean?
Like in older age, like not being on the pill, like I was like, okay, You know, but I gotta say it's $56 or whatever it is. That's not cheap. So then you're not, it's not easily accessible for people who might need it. And especially it used, I don't know where it is right now. I did have a student in my women in law class, do a survey of like when it's over the counter.
And even if it's over the counter, you still have to ask a pharmacist for it. And so a lot of the times the pharmacists will give you shade.
Lenya: Well, there's a something going on right now about a pharmacist in one of the Walgreens, Rite aid, CVS, who would not do it because it's the, because of their political, religious objections, which is bullshit. You work in a pharmacy, get another job.
Alex: yeah. I know a [00:29:00] job is not right. Okay. So with the promise we made to each other, that we were gonna do shorter podcasts. So everybody we're wrapping this up on this like happy note, but but we're, we're trying to keep down costs so we can keep bringing you podcasts. So, bear with us on that. We'll have links. In the show notes to Jacaranda foundation and planned parenthood and, and anything else that we think of that connected to this conversation and line it's good to see your face.
Lenya: Good to see you too.
Alex: You guys were both, were you guys, that's also we're not supposed to say that. And, and I say that as a gen Xer, because guys it's othering, like not, everybody's a guy, so we're supposed to say folks or people, but I, I actually choose that language should expand. And so guys should just be a gender neutral everybody.
But everyone what was I gonna.
Lenya: [00:30:00] You got off topic.
Alex: While Leia is definitely on TikTok and she's great. So you should follow her on TikTok. We're both doing a lot less social media these days for our own mental health. So you can find us there, but basically. Find us where you get your podcast. Find us on our on our website, women bridging the gap.com
. Peace out. We love you.