Monday, July 27, 2009

I Can Has Healthcare?

For the first time in months, I was beside myself and nearly in tears (as I almost never cry, this is significant). I have trocantaric bursitis (an inflammation of the connective tissue that holds my muscles in place) in my right hip, an (believe it or not!) athletic injury from last summer's every day hour-long runs. I got a steroid shot last summer, which made it go away, so when it flared up again this summer I made another appointment. Problem is, I'm insured through Allegheny--and Allegheny doesn't insure over the summer (which, incidentally, is the only time I've ever needed it).

So I'm sitting in the waiting room, baby blue Allegheny sweats and all (in preparation for the pants-pulling-down), when the doctor asked if I had insurance.

"I'm not insured over the summer."

"Oh. It's over a hundred dollars. When do you go back to school?"


"Can it wait?"

"I'd like to not be in pain."

Don't get me wrong, the doctor was sweet and very well-meaning. She suggested I try an anti-inflammatory, then proceeded to give me an asston of free samples.

I appreciated the sentiment, and maybe it will work. Regardless of whether it works or not, what upset me so much was that I could not get a simple shot to alleviate a dull-to-sharp pain I feel nearly everyday.

It is now Friday, August seventh. I got the shot for 85 dollars four days ago and have continued to be in moderate to severe pain ever since. I have $6.23 in my bank account, I can't get coverage under my mother to go to St. Vincent's hospital even though she works there, and I'm forced to pay for my painkillers with my credit card because I cannot afford my existence.

Imagine I have a good transition here.

Jesus was a socialist. That's what I find so puzzling about religious conservatives opposed to public healthcare. They're all up in arms (to be fair, there are other political parties and individuals that are opposed to public healthcare, but religious conservatives in particular really piss me off). I suppose it isn't so puzzling that they're hypocritical, but when it's an issue that directly affects me I guess I care that much more. The city of Sodom didn't epicfail because of homosexuality; they fell because they had so many people living in poverty and the tiny percentage that was wealthy lived excessively and did nothing to help the poor (thanks, Nikki).

Health care industries make billions. I have to see an orthopedic surgeon, possibly get an MRI or a CAT scan, and I don't know how I'm going to afford it. I waited to get the shot in the first place because I don't shit money, and that probably made the problem worse.

I would really like the ability to walk without a gimp or roll on my side without incredible discomfort.

Fuck you, American healthcare system.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Caffeine [and Brain] Farts

I've just begun the process of paper writing: ingesting nearly dangerous amounts of caffeine and popping my mom's nerve pills like Skittles. It didn't hit me until yesterday that we only have five weeks--FIVE WEEKS--until classes start up again. So, maybe I should finish up those incompletes, consisting of a five-to-six page paper (which I previously thought was four-to-five) and two 2-3 page take home essays. Seems fairly simple, but because I had missed so much class and got so far behind in the readings, I have had NO IDEA what to write about. I've finally gotten some inspiration for the five-to-six, but I (as usual) have no idea how to organize it. I feel like I'm at a point where I just need to sit down and get it DONE, regardless if it's my best work or not. My GPA this semester is quite unfortunate, but I suppose all I can really do is be an academic superstar this upcoming semester. Good thing I'm taking two junior seminars and a lab. Good.

Anyway, what's really been eating me up lately is the whole studying abroad thing. I'm thinking I'm going to post a Facebook note since that's more accessible for everyone to comment on, because I am in some serious need of life direction. While showering in the Wise Center, I came up with a list of pros and cons which I will now divulge to you:

1) Finding myself; I normally define myself by other people
2) Being independent; I am way too clingy
3) Being in England in general
4) Assimilating myself in a different culture FTW
5) Learning to really appreciate the people back home that I take for granted
6) Care packages
7) ADPi mail
8) Being able to apply my experience successfully to the rest of my life
9) Learning to appreciate American cuisine
10) Accents
11) Applying CHEL knowledge and attempting nonsubjectivity in regards to the preservation of standard English
12) Making family proud (only Stanko/Allessie to leave country for educational purposes)
13) Bragging rights; while this may be a less-than-fantastic reason to uproot everything I've ever known for five months, I want to prove that I am good enough and smart enough to do such a thing. Wanna PWN the haters.
14) Pictures! Who doesn't love pictures!
15) Chance to prove to myself that I am capable of just about anything.

1) Away from comfort zone. Extreme anxiety.
2) Away from Sarah and Becky. How will they get anywhere?
3) London. Will she forget that I'm her momma?
4) Muffin (and Stormy by default). She's old, what if she thinks I abandoned her?
5) My humor is largely pop culture based (Disney, Family Guy, 90s songs). Will I still be funny in England?
6) ADPi. I kind of sorority girl failed last semester, and I want to get more involved now. I don't know how much I'd be able to do with the course load I have this semester, and I almost certainly won't be able to hold a position. Also, my Big graduates and I don't wanna miss that or my Little getting a Little and me being a Grandbig.
7) Nanimals in general. I seriously can't function without some form of pet therapy. Will Lancaster professors be cool with me taking their pomeranians into my dorm or staying in their office til ass o'clock because I can't handle being away from my own cats and dog?
8) Death. Everyone in my family is old and they all seem to have a penchant for getting into automobile accidents.
9) Women's History Month. God help me if they bring Jennifer Baumgardner or someone equally cool to speak and I'm not there. I will pitch a bitchfit.
10) All my dear ones being so far away. This is sad face in general.
11) Kraft macaroni and cheese. If they don't have it there, that's a deal breaker.
12) The weather. I'm a very weather/mood oriented person, and lack of sunlight does take a toll on my mental health. Add to that the fact that I'm on a different continent? Yikes.
13) Not having people who understand my social awkwardness or overcaffeinated, sleep-deprived antics. I think it's rare to find people who genuinely find these traits endearing, and I'm worried I won't find that. I'd feel so alone.

Alrighty...guess I should work on that paper, considering that I won't even have to make a decision if I don't get my GPA up to an acceptable Lancaster standard.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm This Awkward and Incomparable Thing

Since the whole 'play-the-Sims-during-work' thing didn't pan out on account of me not bringing the install disc, I decided to start YET ANOTHER women's studies book to pass away the long, uneventful hours at my job. (I say YET ANOTHER not out of women's studies sarcasm, but because I have yet to finish a book that isn't Pride and Prejudice and Zombies this summer, despite my 35-hour work week.

Although only about thirty pages into it, Sisterhood, Interrupted has held my attention and, in addition to citing Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs and Jennifer Baumgardner in general, has given me lots to blog about. While some things are more socially and politically important, I'm going to (yet again) blog about things that are most relevant to my interests. More specifically, the "personal is political" mantra of the second wave.

Here's one of my favorite excerpts thus far:

Fighting the mechanisms of oppression in one's own life by dealing with one's personal "hang ups" became an act of political engagement. It was the kind of thing that transformed personal decisions into political statements. Politics, then, became how you lived and not just who you voted for.

You know, I am all about dealing with personal hang ups, so the fact that these hang ups can be politicized is a very exciting concept for me. I deal with hang ups in several different ways, including but not limited to therapy, feminist dialogues, dialogue in general, writing and the somewhat less-than-fantastic bottling it up and breaking down. I can see these politicized in several ways:

therapy: Insitutionalization FTW. Like, literally. Mental health screenings, awareness, prevention, social programs that foster healthy mental and emotional development--all these are examples of personal problems (or "hang ups," to quote the author) that, through social and political action, have been made public in the hopes of both preventing mental illness and providing adequate care for people suffering from it.

feminist dialogue: A wise woman [Joreen] once said that "only with other Bitches can a Bitch be truly free." While this may not work for every person, it has given me an amazing emotional outlet that not even therapy or hospitalization could provide. This blog is an example of that--while I may be dialoguing with myself for the most part, just knowing that even if just one person reads and agrees (or even disagrees, but for valid and intelligent reasons which they respectfully discuss with me), I am not alone. And that is the best feeling in the world.

dialogue in general: I suppose this is pretty self-explanatory. Is srsly gud to not shut yourself off from the world. I'd argue that it's probably healthier to have real life conversations with people, but I suppose the interweb can be useful as well, especially in long distance cases.

writing: Pretty much what I'm doing now. Plus I journal, which is not for everyone, but seeing where I've come from, where I am now, and how far I have to go is refreshing, frustrating and mind-numbing all at the same time. English major that I am, I also enjoy making marginal notes about how things I'd worried about turned out or just how damn overdramatic I can be. And of course, writing is as political as you make it.

[less-than-fantastic] bottling up and breaking down: Well, you've gotta start somewhere, and what better place than rock bottom? The answer is anyplace. Rock bottom is one of the ultimate buzzkills, but sometimes that's just what it takes. It definitely makes you stronger and more resilient, and if you're lucky enough you get a snarky, smart-ass sense of humor that I think (hopefully) most people enjoy. You can politicize this experience by fast and furious blogging, inserting swear words into English papers for that extra rebellious snark, or even the more or less obvious "mental illness [wo]manning." [I borrowed this term from an African American English class--a "race [wo]man" is someone who uplifts her/his ethnic group by being an upstanding citizen on several levels. My reappropriation of this term would describe someone who past or present tense experienced mental illness but does not fit the loony bin stereotype who can't get a grip on real life.]

So I guess the short of it is, I feel feminist theory has transformed my less-than-ideal childhood experiences in the way that I have politicized it through my writing in the hopes that I am not alone, and that maybe I will one day reach out and change the life of someone in a similar situation. I guess that's all a gal can ask for.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't Try Suicide

I guess I should preface this by saying that I'm not suicidal. That being said, I started writing a suicide note last night.

Re: not suicidal.

I began writing it on the premise that if I die, I want everyone to know what they mean to me. As I am infinitely more articulate on paper than in real life, I felt that writing out my feelings and thoughts would be far more effective than actually discussing what people mean to me to their faces. And I guess that's a cop out in a way, because I don't like communicating my feelings to people in person--writing is a way of keeping a safe emotional distance, lest my feelings be rejected or unreciprocated.

While I'm not going to post any specifics of my note (which is conveniently located in my journal, so that I can look back on it in a few years, or so someone else can read it and get an upcloseandpersonal glance into my thoughts, because I'm narcissitic), I will state that it's very much written from the heart--in verbose, flowery-but-snarky, emotionally-charged prose. And honestly, I don't think I've been prouder ( FTW) of anything I've written before because I specifically didn't write it to show it to anyone but myself. At least not yet (re: narcissism). I mean yes, I'm blogging about how I wrote it, but the fact that I spent two highly overcaffeinated hours word vomiting my inner most thoughts with an appropriately red gel pen by myself, with my own thoughts, is very romantic (thanks, Katrina).

I realize that suicide note writing may not be for everyone, and that I may be slightly psychologically disturbed to think this is a fantastic idea, but I'd highly suggest writing one--even if you'd prefer to write it under the premise of a will rather than suicide note [cop-out].

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Let Me Know the Way Before There's Hell to Pay

On average, 99 young people between the ages of 10 and 25 die every day in the United States.

Death has never been so real.

Prepare yourself for the most daunting experience of your life: my snarky blog on what was supposed to be the most daunting and life-changing experience of my life: The 99. What is The 99, you ask? Courtesy of, the 99 is a walk through theater that graphically reenacts the five leading causes of death in teenagers and young adults. Many of these deaths are influenced by drugs or alcohol and a vast majority of them can be avoided. Or, a state-of-the-art production designed to portray the very real consequences of poor decisions that claim almost 37,000 young lives every year. The production is not based on fear or scare tactics, but rather is based solely on reality with each room designed from real life situations.


It begins harmlessly enough as you stroll through the tent over to the nice ladies with hauntingly white smiles. Write your name, address, e-mail and phone number on this paper, they say. Your information remains private. Hell with that, you think. But if you're thinking you'll just write a fake name (Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves) and the number 123-4567, you're forgetting one important thing--gender. Does it matter? you ask snarkily. Well, sometimes you can't tell from the name. Icyglare. Somehow, they know you're doing this for kicks--but that's okay, the power of scary-ass Jesus will set you straight and you will be SAVED bold italics capslock.

Things get trickier as you pass through the gendered wandings--yes, gendered wandings--and enter the pre-exhibit, which I like to think of as pre-Jesus'd purgatory. You got your motor vehicle accidents, pictures of before and after meth addicts and sweet little political prop children taking your dollar entrance fee. Suddenly, your line moves into the official entrance--halleluiah!--only to realize that you're being instructed to not touch the actors, even if they touch you. Bitch please.

The first legit Jesus haunted house room you enter looks suspiciously similar to a strip club--that is, in the sense that you're standing in a circle around what can only be described as a stripper cage with a single beam of red light. Then it goes dark, ack! Garbled demon voice from speaker then tells you that you're beginning a decent into your worst nightmare--you're decending into Hell! (I didn't have time to tell our demon guide about my horrific dream about the Keanu Reeves spider...Hell pales in comparison.) Stop 666, here we come.

The next room features a clusterfucked car wreck. And by clusterfucked, I mean two junk yard cars collided on account of a young female driver who was intoxicated and used excessive amounts of blood packets to convey DEATH, DUN DUN DUH. The non-toxicated car featured a man driving, his wife being passively passengeristic and an overturned car seat. While well enough to take out his cell phone to dial 911, the man was unable to speak--I found I was not surprised at this, as I'm sure speaking would be difficult for anyone with seven packets of fake blood in their mouth. Stream of white blood flowing down white car door: dramatic effect win.

I was horrified at the next room--not because of the excessive amount of in-your-muthafuckenface-screaming, but because of the extreme racial stereotyping. After five black girls scream incoherently at each other while our demon tour guide garbles incoherently over poorly-placed speakers, they run and place a bag over a mixed-race girl and beat the shit out of her. Bag o'Half-and-Half.

At the risk of boring anyone or being repetitive, I'm going to sum up the subsequent rooms in a nutshell:
(1) Crazy-haired, child whipping, fetus aborting (at least I think so?), toilet-hugging, George Forman grill-having drug addicts,
(2) Shakey pretend crack addicts that I probably pissed off by taking the lord's name in vain,
(3) Long black haired, black eyelinered suicide girl who broke more than one statistical probability rule by shooting herself in the chest,
(4) Also, suicide girl had a Twilight poster on her wall--comes as no surpise that she had no self-respect,
(5) Some graveyard or something with a video of how young, sweet children binge drank themselves to death--they had pretty projected stars there,
(6) Some elevator with a stereotyped hip muthafucken black man where we were instructed to juuuuuuuuust dance--I may or may not have pulled out some ADPi Ice Ice Baby moves, just saying...

(7) S&M HELL. Complete with whips, chains, poles and stripper cages. Oh, and did I mention we met the devil there? I had my shoulder grazed by a demon, whom I promptly to the lord's name in vain to.

Whilst in S&M Hell, I subtly pulled off some Gaga moves and disrespected the lord by complaining about being forced to go into the light...yes, forced. While I wanted to stay and party it up in S&M Gagaland, the security guards forced us (much like cattle...metaphor?!) to walk towards the blinding white light. Where we were exposed to none other than THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Did they even have the rights to show the movie? Probably not. Then the movie disappeared and Real Jesus came out behind the curtain and we were instructed to follow him and the roman guards to the next room... [insert suspense]

JUMPING GYRATING JESUS H. CHRIST ON A CROSS! That Jesus had more ooph than Christina Aguilera and more fibulaic honesty than Shakira. And I mean that in the most awkwardly respectable way possible. Directly after gyrating Jesus, they plop you down for a movie, which strangely relates God and Jesus to Ralph Fiennes and token small child. Token small child gets smooshed by train (indirectly) by his father so that heroine addicts, self-involved women who wear makeup and loney people with large glasses could be Saved. And doesn't Ralph Fiennes see heroine addict a few years spinning happily around with a young son in the MIDDLE OF A HEAVILY TRAFFICKED SIDEWALK with no regard for the several people she almost carelessly runs into.

Then they pray for you, blah blah blah only people who don't believe in Jesus drink, commit suicide and get in car accidents, etc. and ask you to take a survey at the end. Survey, as I previously understood it, meant filling out a sheet of paper gauging my interests or reactions to certain topics on a numeric scale. Not so in Haunted Jesusland.

For a half hour, I was badgered into Christianity by a Jesus Guru who insisted that while she did not approve of scare tactics, this was perfectly acceptable and did I know God doesn't like religion? Hmm. While I genuinely enjoyed engaging in a dialogue with a person I normally would avoid like fanatic Twilight fans, she was very manipulative in the way that she would dodge my direct questions (how do you feel about people who use Christianity for political means? How can you argue that abortion doesn't cause infertility or breast cancer when it's a proven fact?) and go all anecdotal and sob-story on me. I refused to give her any personal information, which irritated her, and when I explained that I had been at rock bottom, she dismissed it on the grounds that no one gets out of rock bottom without Jesus. I told her that although we were at ideological stand stills, I appreciated her time and enjoyed talking to her. At that, I stood and shook her hand, which I'm pretty sure
stymied her and walked away.

Then I went back the next day ready for round two with Nikki.