Let’s talk about birth control.

About three years ago, I chose to go off of hormonal birth control. I hadn’t had a long story with it – I never used it in college; I relied on condoms. After college, I went on the pill and then switched over to Depo Provera shots for two years. During that same period of time, I gained about thirty pounds, also went on depression medication, and experienced a massive autoimmune crash. I subsequently decided to remove anything from my system that I felt could be contributing to the steady decline of my health. In a relationship at the time, we switched over to condoms and carefully paying attention to where I was in my cycle to make sure we stayed #TeamNoBabies.

I’m 30 now. I’m not in a stable long-term relationship and the way my finances and life goals are set up, I don’t want to have a kid right now. But I do know that I’m in a much better mental state, far healthier, and stable *enough* that were I to get pregnant, I would choose to go ahead and have the kid, and that’s not a life-experience I want to accidentally put myself through right now.

I never really had the sex talk. When I was 16, I vaguely remember my mom asking me if I needed birth control and my response being something along the lines of “OH MY GOD, NO MOM.” As I talked about in a previous post, I didn’t have sex until after high school, but there was a very short period of time between starting to have sex and – what is the inevitable when someone hasn’t had sex education since 5th grade – getting pregnant. Continue reading “Let’s talk about birth control.”

My justice is more important than yours.

Mitch McConnell, ol’ wax turtle lookin’ ass himself, is one of the major supporters of the Special Diabetes Program, a critical program that provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes  research at the National Institutes of Health. One great action. Check.

He also just struck down the call to get a special prosecutor or independent commission to essentially investigate whether or not our country’s government has been infiltrated by Russia. An interesting action, to say the least. Check.

He also became a new level of infamous a few months ago by uttering the words, “nevertheless, she persisted” while trying to shut down the voice of Senator Elizabeth Warren on the senate floor as she was attempting to speak out against the Attorney General nomination of Jeff Sessions, the Scar of the Keebler Elves (not my quote but I don’t remember where I saw this – let me know who to credit if you know), on the grounds that he is racist as fuck (you can quote me on that, though). Additionally, he has consistently rejected any call to actually include WOMEN when making healthcare decisions for women. To McConnell, it’s absolutely fine to not have women included in decisions about women’s bodies. Mountain of fucked up actions. Check.

mitch

Continue reading “My justice is more important than yours.”

We create these broken families.

I’m not a parent, but I am the big sister of a kid whose dad walked out on him when he was a baby so I got used to him accidentally calling me mom.

I was twelve and a half when he was born. It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving of 1999. He looked like an alien, all yellow and pallid and big-headed. I didn’t get why people called newborns cute and it was weird to know that he was an attempt-to-save-the-marriage baby so I think I probably looked at him differently.

nanyo3As soon as he could start laughing though, he was mine. He was all belly laugh, all heart. All climb-in-your-lap-and-kiss-your-cheek-when-he-wanted-something smooth. He was rambunctious and brave, all adventure and love.  Continue reading “We create these broken families.”

Quit your bullshit around money.

I want to reframe this whole Obama-getting-paid-$400k-from-an-evil-bank thing. I’ll start with a story, and then I’ll tell you why I think people’s outrage is crap.

My mom’s family was very well-to-do. My great-grandfather started a coal company in Chicago when he emigrated from Germany; that company turned into an oil company. My grandfather, not wanting to go into the family business, became a renowned cardiovascular surgeon in NYC. My mom grew up on the upper east side; my grandparent’s apartment was on 5th avenue overlooking Central Park. My grandmother (my mom’s actual mom, not her step-mom I was named after) was very high-society – lots of dinner parties and posturing to impress the “right” people. She was also a raging alcoholic, manipulative, and mean. Continue reading “Quit your bullshit around money.”

One year in NYC: on getting kicked in the back in Times Square and the beautiful conundrum that is this city.

There’s not a whole lot that can better describe my last year in New York City than the following particular 24-hour stretch.

On Sunday, October 9, 2016, I ended up at a private Alicia Keys concert in Times Square with a handful – a several thousand person handful – of my closest friends.

Alicia

Every screen was lit up Alicia – she had bought out the entire place to film a concert special for BET, promoting her new album.

To close out her set – which had included Q-Tip, Questlove, John Mayer and Nas, among others – on comes Jay-Z and they, in Times Square, every screen lit up with them switching out with classic, black and white photos of the New York City skyline, performed Empire State of Mind. Continue reading “One year in NYC: on getting kicked in the back in Times Square and the beautiful conundrum that is this city.”

On heartbreak.

heartbreakA few caveats before we go into this:
1) I’m fine. I’m not writing this from a place of current pain. It’s just something I’ve wanted to put on ‘paper’ for a while.
2) To the person who was involved, we are absolutely good. Life is an amazing teacher and I’m grateful for all of it.

My mom says there have been two times in my life when she wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

The first was my type 1 diabetes diagnosis at 10. After being inexplicably ill for months, I almost slipped into a coma and spent several days in the intensive care unit being stabilized, an IV inserted into my jugular because the rest of my veins would collapse with any attempt to place a needle.

The second was the summer of 2015 when my entire being broke in a way I didn’t know was possible.

Every morning, for six and a half weeks, I opened my eyes feeling like I never slept. Without respite, the memory of why crashed over me. Unwillingly, tears started sliding down the side of my face as I pushed myself out of bed. Waves of grief hit me in the shower; in their most overwhelming I curled up in the bottom of the tub, water washing over my body. Continue reading “On heartbreak.”

It’s just sex.

There tend to be two ways that young women are taught to think about sex. I’d argue that neither is correct. They are:

  1. Don’t. Protect your virtue. I mean… it’s your decision. Obviously. But *shrug* do you REALLY want to be known as *that* girl? Do you want people to talk? I mean, I’m just saying, but it’s not very lady-like. You can have your fun but, you know, be careful. Men only want one thing anyway.
  2. Free love! You live in the age of women’s empowerment, honey! Don’t let anyone try to slut shame you! Do you! Need some condoms?

I wish someone had told me about the middle ground. I wish someone had ever had a sex-positive conversation with me that leaned less on the act or the societal expectations and more on the energy sex requires.

Stop, get your mind out of the gutter.

I don’t mean physical energy. Step your workout game up. I mean your spirit. Continue reading “It’s just sex.”

13 months without health insurance: a pre-existing condition nightmare

By now, you’ve heard that two nights ago, while the country slept, the Senate voted against measures that would keep key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in place. I believe this is short-sighted and dangerous, potentially leading to millions of Americans losing their healthcare coverage. I chose to write to my local congressional representative, and I encourage you to do the same.

Dear Congressman Donovan,

I’m sure you and your staff are being flooded with opinions on the Senates recent vote regarding the Affordable Care Act, so let me go ahead and add to the pile. I have lived in your district since February of last year, moving from Atlanta, GA to take a job. I’m lucky to be in a place now where I have wonderful healthcare provided by my employer and I am tremendously grateful for it. But for 13 months, before the Affordable Care Act and its provisions about coverage for people with pre-existing conditions was in place, I didn’t have health insurance. No amount of money could have gotten me coverage, because I have type 1 diabetes. Continue reading “13 months without health insurance: a pre-existing condition nightmare”

Listen to your gut.

I have a few friends coming up against big life decisions soon and while I can’t offer specific advice, I can offer this –

Don’t listen to your head. Don’t listen to your heart. Listen to your gut.

Your head is going to try to steer you toward what looks best on paper, or looks best to your ego, but isn’t necessarily the best for you.

Your heart is going to operate from whatever prevailing emotion has taken root at the time. No matter how resilient and brave your heart is, it has a tendency to make judgments based on whatever it’s feeling in the moment.

Your gut has been observing everything that you stopped consciously paying attention to eons ago. It knows how your heart tends to sway you, how far you need to be pushed, and how much you need to be protected. It knows the facts and weighs them, but doesn’t let you put more stock in them than necessary. It’s wise and old, neither brash nor unfeeling.

So go sit with it and listen. Get really quiet, wherever you can best do it. For me, it’s next to the ocean. For you, it might be in the mountains, or walking your dog. Watching your kids play or sitting next to your grandmother as she reads. Painting or practicing yoga. But give yourself that space to really listen, and when you get your answer, don’t second guess.

When fear kicks in, that’s your brain and neural pathways trying to protect you from what you’ve never experienced. A new path is an unknown, so your brain thinks you’re going to get hurt and uses fear as a way to protect you.

Keep listening to your gut, it won’t lead you wrong.

On the shitshow that is police and mental health issues.

Over the past few days, my world has been both directly and indirectly involved with situations where police were woefully unable to properly deal with mental health situations, one resulting in police brutality.

I’m pretty livid. I’m processing and my way of processing is writing, so here we go. This isn’t going to be well put together. But I need to get it out.

I share this because we need to keep being aware that these situations are happening, and are happening close to home. Continue reading “On the shitshow that is police and mental health issues.”