Something about a mandate to get vaccinated or lose your job doesn’t sit right with me. It hasn’t since it was demanded of thousands of people.
How is it right that men in positions of power can demand a mass of humanity to put something inside themselves whether they want to or not? How is it right that they can force people into submission by threatening their livelihood? It is not right, it is a breech of our human rights. I say “NO” to this demand! I refuse to turn my card or my body over a man who has made abusive, coercive, threatening demands.
Let’s get a couple things straight:
First of all, I love my job. The first time I heard about the Alternative Solutions Program within Washington State’s Division of Child Support I knew it was the job for me. I have served the public to the best of my ability, with the utmost integrity and honor. I am mindful that my paycheck comes from the taxes of the citizens of this state and do my best to not waste their money and my time. I have provided thousands of resources to hundreds of struggling parents. I am only one person, but I am a faithful steward to this state and do not want to lose my job.
Second, this isn’t about whether I’m vaccinated. I have strategically decided to keep my vaccination status to myself because it’s my personal business. I want to make it abundantly clear that I have absolutely no problem with the vaccine at all. I fully support its use for anyone and everyone that wants it, whenever, if ever they want it. I have encouraged people to be vaccinated. I have taken people to get vaccinated. I have chosen a personal favorite of the currently available vaccines and have carefully “followed the science” as well as I think any layperson can. No, this isn’t about whether I’m vaccinated or not.
This is about a demand that thousands of women (and men) must either put something inside their bodies they do not want inside them or be forced to lose their livelihoods. I cannot be ok with it. For what they’re worth, here are my reasons why; for your rumination, for your ridicule, to rally you, to assure you that you are not alone, there are THOUSANDS OF YOU, you are heard, you matter and you deserve to do what you think is best for your body. You can stand strong and I will stand with you.
When I was a girl, a man told me I had to put something inside me whether I wanted to or not. I didn’t want to, so he forced me. He coerced me to give in to his demand with a threat. He said bad things would happen to me and my family if I didn’t. Because of the threat, I complied. That decision shaped the rest of my life.
The trauma and shame of giving into his demand led me to a young adult life of self-harm, self-abuse, self-hate and addiction. Then one day, through a simple sunset conversation with God, I found myself on a road to drug free living and healing through Salvation in Jesus Christ.
Once I was stable, I devoted parts of my life to keeping people safe. Most of my efforts have been through advocacy and volunteer work. I have also defended people’s safety and autonomy with financial support to organizations that defend the abused and neglected or free humans from modern oppression, enslavement, bondage and trafficking. Of course, I’ve written as well. I have taught countless children to be “safe, smart and strong,” and to say “NO” if someone tries to do something to their bodies they are not comfortable with. I have taught children that if they say “no," they need to tell other grown ups and KEEP telling until someone makes it stop.
How it came to this, I do not know, but it appears “safety” and “autonomy” are at odds with each other and we've been commanded to surrender our personal choice over our bodies for the sake of public safety or … or… something bad will happen.
Again, I ask... how is it right that men in positions of power can demand a mass of humanity to put something inside themselves whether they want to or not? How is it right that they can force people into submission by threatening their livelihood? It is not right, it is a breech of our human rights! I ask you to say “NO” to this demand as well.
As for me, I say “NO” and stand in solidarity with the heroic men and woman of the healthcare industry who have valiantly and bravely fought against COVID-19 for the last year and a half. If anyone has a right to choose they do! They lived it, fought it, and know that "no" means they may be putting themselves at risk. I say to them and other state workers like myself that I will stand with you and support your right to choose what you allow into your body. I will tell and keep telling others how wrong this demand is.
Please make no mistake, I will still encourage those who are high risk to get vaccinated (although I can’t do this at my state job because it is such a hot, personal topic; we think it best left alone unless we are directly asked about vaccinations). I will still offer rides to anyone and everyone who wants a vaccine that may not be able to access one on their own. I will “like” or “thumbs up” those who feel compelled to share their vaccination status on social media. AND I will support body autonomy and a person’s right to choose what they do with their own body even if it costs me my livelihood. UGH I don't want to lose my job! But yes, even if...
I have fervently fasted, sought spiritual council, read the Bible (specifically Daniel 1-6) and prayed over my decision. In good conscious that is true to my core beliefs, I choose not to submit to the demand meted out. I have gathered as much data as a non-scientific person can gather and may share what I learn as I process this life changing decision. I am making my stand FOR and WITH the health care workers and fellow state workers who will not comply. I will not be turning in my vaccination card on 10/18/21 as Governor Inslee demands. I am hopeful the Governor honors his words to accept religious exemptions and accommodate individuals accordingly. I’m hopeful thousands of men and women in this valley aren’t forced to choose between their religious and moral convictions or their livelihoods. I’m hopeful I, personally, do not have to choose between mine. I'm hopeful we get to herd immunity by choice and no one has to be forced, coerced or commanded do something against their will. It is, and always should be, an individual choice what we allow inside our bodies.
Photo cred to: https://unsplash.com/photos/tKqqbDiya8A?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
I am surrounded. Murky southern reservoir water laps the edges of the dock I sit on and we call our own for this one glorious weekend. Earlier this morning the birds and water filled the air with music and sound, a serene welcome to the day. It’s mid-morning now, the world is awake, so I unleash the music from the little square speaker. Kenny Chesney sings Blue Rocking Chair. My hand-picked serenade to fit the mood, if not the color or style of the chair Jeremy sits in. Not too loud, not to quiet, enough. Like this weekend and this vacation get away. Enough. There’s no loss of nature or the slow ease into the day on my speaker’s part; the speed boats, pontoons and wave runners have already washed out the birdsong and we’ve been to the store and back for bait and more supplies. While he’s focused on the lines. I’m focused on remembering how I ended up here, surrounded by water this morning.
After we returned from the store, I contemplated staying on the cozy, covered porch of our “glamptastic tent” or moseying down to the dock to be nearer his essence. I love this tent and this Airbnb space. It boasts all the pieces of nature I adore, hills, trees and water with the luxuries of modern convenience, indoor plumbing, running water, covered spaces, air conditioning, electricity. Near perfection. It would be quite perfect if not for the mass of humanity. The lake is fairly full of gas powered this and screaming engine that disturbing the natural wonder for the sake of leisure and entertainment (but isn’t that why we’re here too? Just turns out our leisure is preferably a little more slow and quiet than theirs.). I digress, back to my contemplation. Of course nearer is better, I am a quality time soul, so I work my way down to the dock… to him, getting this and that for me or for him on the way. It occurs to me that a laptop is an odd thing to bring out to a dock, but it’s sturdy and also covered and there’s an outlet above the table and chair set for the Christmas lights that illuminate the night, so I shrug and do it anyway.
It’s time to fish. All this time while I’ve been contemplating, he’s been preparing the lines. Sweet! I haven’t missed a minute of the lazy summer action. We have two licenses and poles and I’m not opposed to catching fish, I even tied one of my own lines to a swivel this time, but he seems to like baiting and stringing for me, so I’ll let him… until my bobber dips under, then I’ll be all about the catch! I day dream that mine will be the biggest catch and I’ll bring it in flawlessly (with his guidance of course) and it’ll make him, and my son, proud of my catch too. Hopefully I don’t pull a silly girl move and lose a fish. That’s the worst! Don’t get me wrong, I’m OK being a novice at fishing, I do not pretend, nor could I ever pull off a bluff that I love to fish as much as true fishers do, but I don’t want to ruin a good catch either.
And there he is. He who loves me. Big, broad, brawny, bold, bald and bearded. My favorite human. Maybe it’s rude to say that with children I’ve known and loved longer. Is it fair to put them “second” to him? Maybe if they were still really children that wouldn’t be a right thing to say, but they’re all grown, doing their own things. I love them and am devoted to them but, if I’m honest, it’s the truth that Jeremy Worley is my favorite human, save for myself. My kids had no choice, I am their mom, or adopted mom, or ex-step mom, or step-mom. They didn’t choose me (well maybe Matea did). It is what it is and we are family. He chose me. He chooses me every day. I’m humbled and grateful for his love and also for his family. They live in this Tennessee area and their annual reunion gave us the excuse to make a point to be here. I might not have left Washington otherwise, the work to plan for my grandmother’s care while I am away was extensive and exhausting! I might have thrown in the towel for an eight day vacation “just for me.” I was willing to put in the work and effort for family. My look back at the work from this dock tells me the reward was worth the effort!
If only the boating traffic wasn’t so profuse, this would be bliss! Two books on a bait laden table flank my left side. To my right … the rapid lapping water, yes, another boat went by a few minutes ago. In front, the best view! Him, two poles and a watery reprieve from work and care giving for a dying loved one. I struggle though. Part of me feels like I should be up there with him, nearer him, touching him maybe, or at very least sitting by him but I wanted to write. This is fishing for me… sitting, pondering life, waiting for the bite! They tug at the strings of my heart these inspiration filled, ripe, hungry emotions and thoughts waiting for me to set the hook on the concept, give it some slack, let it swim and fight a bit, reel up and guide it in when it’s time. His bites too are filled with anticipation of what’s on the hook at the other end of the line. This is bliss! But after one thousand wonderful words of reflection on this morning and this moment, the books beside me beckon. It makes sense to close here, grab a book and lay nearer him. Who know maybe I’m the luck he needs to bring in the big one!