Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So Long, Abortion War



I'm leaving the pro-life movement.

I'm not gonna stop being pro-life. Truth is truth, man. I still believe it. I just no longer believe that my role on this earth is to try to convince people to not have abortions.

Trying to convince people abortion is bad makes me feel like shit. And it always did.

Here's the thing: I was put on this earth to be an entertainer. To make people laugh and shit. I know that's why I'm here. I always knew that.

But what happened was I never really tried to pursue that destiny. I didn't even try to try. I gave up before I even began, out of fear, laziness, and low self-esteem.

Then, by accident, I started getting recognition for my pro-life writing, and it filled the void where I wasn't getting recognition for doing what I was supposed to do.

The truth is, every time I went to a pro-life event I felt like a fraud. Not because I don't believe abortion is wrong and should be illegal - totally believe that - but because my role in life is not to make abortion illegal. It just isn't.

I am not a marcher. I am not a joiner. I am not a person who tells other people what to do. I was never comfortable with that role. I became somewhat well-known because I'm an outsider, because I didn't fit with the movement, and people felt it and found it interesting. "Hey, cool, she's not one of us, but she's writing for us!"

It's been almost four years since I started writing for Live Action and the simple truth is I've said everything I could say, much of it twelve times.

If I kept writing all the time, if I took the speaking engagement I was offered, if I went to D.C. and marched, it would all be a lie. I'd be doing it for the money and the recognition and to party with nice people. That's hard to say but it's the damn truth.

I'm not a marcher. While I march, all I want to do is go somewhere and have a drink. I don't think about aborted babies while I march. I think about how when I'm done I get to have beer and cheeseburgers with people and best of all, make them laugh.

I am an actor, and I've been playing a role. The fact that I meant a lot of it at the time doesn't change that.

I am happy when I am working as an actor and comic. I am happy when I am doing plays and gigs, auditioning and rehearsing, writing and performing comedy. Those have been the happiest times in my life, and even though I'm a washed-up 34-year-old, I'm going to finally pursue that with all I've got. In the immortal words of Ron Swanson: "Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."

I have no illusions about getting world-famous. I just want to do what I love. For the first time, I'm going to whole-ass it.

It is frankly not fair to the pro-life movement for me to be involved in it. It's not because the movement isn't worthy. It's because I'm not worthy. Thinking about pro-life stuff, doing pro-life stuff... none of it makes me happy.

I think what happened to me was I used to be way over on the left, and then I went way over on the right, and then at some point recently while going through a lot of personal/mental/emotional upheaval and deep deep dark dark soul-searching, I realized the question isn't really left or right, but free or not free.

I have come to firmly believe in living and let live.

I still believe - don't get me wrong - even the smallest government in the most freedom-loving land should protect all people of all ages from getting legally killed for no reason. But I don't think government should do much else.

I just look at the government we have and the world we live in, and I know even if we make abortion illegal we will not have actually solved the problem of abortion, or solved 1/100th of the problems we need to solve.

It's kind of hopeless, is what I'm saying. At this point there has to be a revolution or zombie apocalypse or total economic collapse or a civil war or something. I mean, shit is going to have to really really suck and people are going to die before we ever turn this shit around and become a truly free country. If it's even possible.

So everything sucks, and instead of being upset about it, I'm just gonna try to be happy.

Maybe I'm a total dick for not spending what's left of my life trying to save individual babies from individual abortions. Maybe I'm utterly wrong for wanting to spend my life trying to be happy. Maybe that makes me a selfish asshole. I'm willing to accept that.

The fact is, everything in my being tells me I am not an activist. I have no interest trying to convince people abortion is wrong. That's why I always hated arguing about it. It feels false to me. It's a role I'm sick of playing.

I had to change myself. I had to be somebody different. I had to censor myself online all the time. I did all this so "the real me" wouldn't compromise my political and pro-life career/persona. That shit is fucked up. And I'm tired of it. Tired of trying to keep the Kristens separate. I'm done with it.

I'm so sorry if this makes you think I suck.

How did I write all those convincing articles? It was easy, actually. I'm a writer. It's one of the things I do. I believed something, and I wrote it down.

Why did I write them? Because what I was saying was true. I think so, anyway. I would be delighted if someone read it and changed her mind. But do I need that? No. I never did. I always found it frustrating and annoying to be a pro-life writer. It always felt like I was going against the grain of who I was. I mainly kept doing it because I got paid, and because people told me I was good at it and should keep doing it.

I'm being brutally honest because who I am is all I have. I'm broke, fat, and infertile, but at least I have the truth.

I may pop up from time to time and write something if I get pissed off enough. I will probably do some stuff with New Wave Feminists, if they'll have me, because they are the future of the pro-life movement and if anything is going to save this cause from crazy people with dead baby signs, it's people like Destiny.

But for the most part, I have to leave this chapter behind. I've wanted to do it for a while, and something kept stopping me. But now I absolutely know in my heart the time is right. I have to move on and be who I am, for good or ill.

I have met some incredibly great people. If I were going to be an activist, it would definitely be with you guys. I hope you'll all stay friends with me. And I don't just mean the bad-ass movers and shakers like Lila and David and Kate, but also the people I recognized as kindred spirits.

I mean people like Dave, who made my trip to D.C. 76% cooler, and whose beard won the Dance On Injustice.

People like Lisa, the most wicked sick chick I know.

People like Gwenyth, who looks like a beautiful girl in a 1970s Kotex ad.

People like Jewels, who is maybe an actual saint.

And of course Destiny, who just is good at shit in every way and deserves to be a world-famous pro-life leader who's on FOX News every day because she's fucking incredible.

People like y'all - who really fucking mean it, yet are super fucking cool - you are going to save this movement if anyone can.

If I could leave you with any advice, which you should probably disregard because it's coming from me, be bold and outspoken not just to the "others" but to your own people. Don't take any shit. Don't be bullied by all the assholes who use their legitimate concern for defenseless children as an excuse to act like total dicks. Refuse to be associated with the crazies. Be yourselves. You are the future of pro-life.

Because you exist, I know this cause is in good hands.

4 comments:

  1. I'm honestly not sure how to respond except to say that the movement will miss you and that as the pro-life movement we'll continue to struggle to be relevant to all the people just like you who just want to enjoy life and not be bothered by this inconvenient matter of abortion if we can't lighten up. If it is all heavy and burdensome to those working the cause then we are doing a piss poor job of communicating our love for life. If your authentic self has always been stifled while in the movement, then I have less hope than you for this movement. We are only going to win hearts and be effective when we are authentic and true to ourselves. not some talking points or rhetoric. Our lived experience and willingness to speak up what we have lived is the only thing that cuts through the most ardently opposed to us. We need joy and we need people in this movement who have joy and can bring joy and an appreciation for life to the world. Best of luck as you chase the actor/entertainer dream, but remember it is never what you are doing but why. Hoping someday your "why" will come back around to the cause for Life. I'll miss you. :(

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  2. Kristen, I've known you since you were in kindergarten and you have always been a prolific writer. In high school you began acting, coming into your own, and always made us laugh. You have that natural gift and can get into character with the flip of a switch. The first character I can recall is LaSqueeza and the long list of children you would eventually give birth to. Gotta love it and no matter how many times you've done short little performances as LaSqueeza, we never get tired of her and think of you and her as one in the same.

    As for you and Mel, OMG, you too are hysterical together and the skits just seem to flow naturally. I can't tell you how many times I've watched yall on Watching Freezing Beggar Films and urged friends and family to watch with me. One of the skits about renting a house and the broken VCR'ah with the tape stuck inside makes me laugh just thinking about it. So happy to hear that you will pursue your gift and your dreams and as they say, if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

    I agree with every word of this article about bailing out of the anti-abortion movement and totally get your decision to do the whole-ass thing. You are rad, you are awesome and everyone who knows you will agree, now go make someone laugh!

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  3. I am glad you have found this sense of purpose in your acting and comedy and wish you all the best with it. As a fan of your pro-life writing for Live Action, New Wave Feminists, and elsewhere, I am sorry to hear you are leaving that work behind, but ultimately you have to do what you are called to do and makes you happy.

    All I can say, though, is that, in this fan's opinion, you are good at writing for the pro-life cause, your work meant something to me, and I think the movement was very lucky to have you, even for a brief time. I did not always agree with you (although I am pro-life I tend to be pretty "left" in my politics) but your humor, exuberance, openness to the many shapes pro-life activism could take, and other qualities make you the kind of person I would want in my corner, disagreements aside.

    Good luck to you in your future work and should you ever return to pro-life writing, even for a short time, I for one would be delighted.

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  4. I'm saddened to read this. I was wondering where you'd gone, although you've taken time off before and so I was hoping it was temporary. Your call, of course - but know you'll be missed. You lent something to the movement that was (is now) sorely lacking: an edge. Dry, acerbic wit is a hard to find here. And of course, you'll never know the real impact you made ... in this life, anyway.

    So you've found what it is that you want - and that's good. But many are the well-meaning Christian who when finally finding that missing piece to their life's puzzle, realize that the piece wasn't all that necessary to see the bigger picture after all. Take it from someone who's been there: ask God what HE wants you to do. Cuz in the end, it's all that matters.

    Take care, Kristen.

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