There I was, merrily taking a little break from food blogging to realign my priorities and practice my big comeback into the world of social media (hint- it involves jumping through flaming hula hoops, jazz hands, and a honey badger) when something happened that compelled me to write. But first, it compelled me to pour myself a big, stiff cocktail, you know, because that’s just the way I like them. Big and stiff. Cocktails, I mean. This one’s called the Green Gargoyle, in keeping with all the trendy green drinks of today like Green Machine, only it has the power of tequila and jalapeno rather than spirulina and kale excrement. So settle in, relax, and let me tell you a little story. Afterward you’ll want a Green Gargoyle.
During my last year of college I decided to move in with my boyfriend. It made sense, after all, since we spent practically every night together anyway. He was brooding, artistic and conflicted which totally turned me on and totally turned my friends and family off. Nobody thought it was a good idea, but I thrive on changing no’s into yeses, so I did it anyway. In the first few months, little things started happening. He locked me and my two newborn kittens out of the house one night because my best friend had come to visit and he was jealous of the time I spent with her. He followed me, popping up in strange places when he said he would be out of town. My relationships with friends became strained because they could see something I refused to and I wouldn’t listen when they told me to get out.
Then he hit me. He broke a door down and used his clenched fists to pummel my face and body. I had two months of school left until graduation, and I knew then that I would leave him when it was over. I figured I could survive as long as I didn’t rock the boat. I didn’t want to deal with finding another place in a small college town for such a short time. I had theses to finish, finals to prepare for, and graduate school entrance exams. I also had no one to talk to. My friends had long since given up on me because they didn’t want to watch me go back time and again. It was too embarrassing to bring up to family or faculty. I made an exit plan, and I made sure he didn’t find out.
Then I found out I was pregnant. I was careful about birth control, but apparently not careful enough. I was without insurance, without friends and with child, in an abusive relationship during what was supposed to be the greatest time of my life.
I turned to Planned Parenthood because regardless what I chose, it was my only affordable option. I walked into their offices with nothing, but I walked out armed with knowledge and the sense that I would get my life back again, no matter what. They presented my choices without bias and with compassion. They gave me time to think and feel. They certainly did not make light of my situation, and they encouraged me to explore the ramifications of every outcome.
I won’t lie and say that the choice I made was without horrific emotional consequences, but it was the responsible thing to do at the time. Two unwed and about-to-separate kids with no immediate source of income would have a hard time excelling at parenthood. Plus if he hit me (more than once by then), there’s very little to suggest that he wouldn’t continue the pattern of aggression with a child. I paid dearly for a moment of irresponsibility, but I grew up fast after that.
If Planned Parenthood hadn’t been there, I don’t know what I would have done. I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I still had him in it even in a cursory capacity. I am one small person with one tiny story to tell. Planned Parenthood helps millions of others like me, whether they catch precancerous cells in a pap smear or order a life-saving biopsy because a woman got a mammogram who would otherwise have been unable to afford it.
And now the Susan G. Komen Foundation is pulling their financial support of Planned Parenthood mere months after the appointment of known abortion foe Karen Handle as Komen Foundation VP. Cancer, of course, knows no party lines. I may be staunchly liberal, but at the end of the day I want everyone to receive the healthcare they need, not just the ones who believe as I do. More than a decade has passed since I triumphed through my own personal hell, but I know that every day others who have it worse than I ever did look to Planned Parenthood for help. I am fortunate now to be in a position to give, and I am thankful for the freedom of choice to determine where my dollars go. This year I’ll give directly to Planned Parenthood, in hopes that they will be able to continue all services the Komen money had previously allowed them to offer. There are also excellent breast cancer charities out there such as Army of Women who could certainly benefit from our support.
And now, after the Komen shenanigans, the Monsanto madness and the political escapades of the week (I’m looking at you, Newt Gingrich), we all could probably use a drink. The Green Gargoyle fits the bill because it will transport you to another place. A spicy place. A place where people dance on tables and never fall off. It’s got tequila, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber, key limes, agave nectar and Hawaiian alaea salt. There is enough kick from the jalapeno to boot out the troubles of the day, and enough soothing from the cucumber to ease the most tumultuous of minds. Go ahead- let your conscience be your guide. It never fails to steer you in the right direction, and in this moment that’s toward this spicy cocktail.
The Green Gargoyle
- 1 ounce agave syrup
- 2 ounces key lime juice
- 6 cilantro stems- leaves only
- ½ jalapeno sliced into 1/8” wheels, plus more for garnish
- 2” English cucumber, cut into four pieces
- 4 oz good quality agave tequila
- Hawaiian alaea salt crushed in a mortar and pestle for rimming
- Chill two cocktail glasses. Add the agave, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber and two ice cubes to a pint glass. Muddle the mixture for 20 seconds, or until the jalapeno and cilantro have released their smell and the cucumber is pulverized. Add the tequila and stir to combine.
- Strain the mixture into the chilled glasses, each containing one large piece of cocktail ice or several small cubes. Kiss the upper rim of the glasses with halves of the key lime you squeezed. Sprinkle alaea salt on the lime impression, tossing a little into the drink itself. Garnish with additional jalapenos if you so desire and enjoy.