Friday, June 29, 2012

Early Onset Age Alzheimer's or Also: Shouldn't this Part be Over?

Remember how I turned 28 a couple months ago?
Well, apparently you would be the only one.
In the last few weeks, I have, loudly, confidently and quite wrongly, referred to myself as 27. In a couple different instances. In a few different ways and under a handful of different circumstances. But in all cases, the threading tying them together was the fact that somehow whatever point I was making hinged on the fact that I was 27.
Except, you know, I’m not.
I have never been someone particularly concerned with aging. I would venture to say that I don’t have the same relationship with aging that some women have. It doesn’t concern me in any real way. I don’t fear losing my looks; my mom is almost 50 and looks not a single day over 30 years old. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram and have seen pics of my mom I have posted recently, you know this is no exaggeration on my part. I have never subscribed to the theory that getting older somehow meant you had to stop living or give up any part of yourself or your life that is significant to you. My maternal grandmother was fairly lively and gorgeous through no less than half a dozen fights with serious illnesses, right up until the day she died. My paternal grandmother travels more than I do, so much so that it is a miracle if I ever catch her in town when I go home. She is driving and remodeling her house and regularly goes to get her nails fancied up in the shade of pink she is partial to, replete with nail art. These women have always been the face of aging to me; growing older in years but more graceful, more fun and self-possessed with every candle added on top of their birthday cakes.
So, I am not entirely sure why I’m freaking out.
The truth is, many of the theories I had about my life and how it would go and what I would be happy with and what I would like it to look like are being tested. I suppose this is the definition of quarter life crisis. But I find that applying the theory to the everyday occurrences of living and loving and drinking is stressing me the entire fuck out.
I have no problem with the fact that I am 28 and unmarried. Or without children. I am not sure if I will ever get married and have children. And despite the admitted pitfalls that could come from either of those choices, I am comfortable with what that life would look like. And I know that no one else’s opinions or opining about my ever closing conception window should matter.
In theory.
But I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little pang of what the fuck?! with a twinge of are they right? every time someone incredulously asks me why I am neither married nor mothered and what am I waiting for? and I don't have forever, you know. In the interest of completely transparency, I find myself wondering if perhaps these women, older and wiser, know something that I, still in the infancy of adulthood, don’t. Or, are they just passing off to me the socialized trappings of womanhood they learned as girls and perpetuated as young women? You know, the very same ones I worked to free myself from when I was younger.
Freedom, I think, is a funny thing. It opens your mind. But you are in fact so open minded, so clear headed in your rationale that you cannot just blatantly eschew the very way of thinking you have been freed of, because you must always be open minded enough to consider the possibility that maybe they were right.
I suppose it’s the kind of thing everyone must decide for themselves, living and loving as they see fit, seeing which of their youthful theories about life still hold true, which ones don’t work and must be discarded. It feels like this is where I am now.
There is a revelation that comes to you around 25 and continues at least until you are 28 and hopefully ends sometime in the near future because I am fucking exhausted. Whatever it is, it’s decidedly uncomfortable. It’s confusing. There is an element of unknown which, for people who crave control like candy as I do, is impossibly infuriating. And perhaps even more so, intimidating.
Maybe this is the reason an entire year keeps falling conveniently out of my head.
At any rate, whatever is going on at this juncture in my life, at 27 with a side of a year and some change, is- right now- not the greatest period of my life. I may very well look back on this time fondly and be grateful for the lessons I am learning now.
At this very moment though? I am not grateful. I am paranoid that my forgetting how old I am is a sign that my memory is starting to go in my old age. Because 28 is old when you don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where I Rant About the Affordable Care Act

I think if you take the partisanship out of The Affordable Care Act, and look at it for what it really is, not the distortions or glossy words from either side, you will see why this  is a win for the American people. And especially for the middle class and working poor. For me, it's personal.

It means in the fall when my daddy is terminated and rehired as a contractor by the company where he's worked for 20+ years so they don't have to pay insurance, 401K matches, etc to save money, he'll still have access to care so he can live a long and healthy life. That means something to me, and millions of other Americans who have been affected by the pitfalls of our healthcare system as it stands.

My daddy has worked 2 jobs for almost 30 years. You don't get to tell me he is just "not pulling his own weight" or some other partisan bullshit just because he will now be able to get affordable, mandatory healthcare. This, by the way, should be the right of every citizen in this progressive country.

Privatizing healthcare is literally KILLING US, not saving people. And no amount of talking points you spew about taxes or socialism or government intrusion or attacking the private sector, will convince me that should be ok BY LAW. And if you really thought about it, I think most people opposed to ACA know that.

More importantly I wished more people recognized that there are real people and families directly impacted by this partisan bullshit. Blatant power plays or rotely spouting talking points are doing NOTHING for people who have worked hard all their lives and are suffering. It is UNCONSCIONABLE, in every sense of the word, to support such power plays over people. I am forever unwilling to do that to my family or yours. And I will never vote for a candidate or a party willing to sentence its own people to poverty or death for the sake of a party win.

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

For as long as I remember, night time was the time for me to be my father’s daughter.
As a kid, gripped by what I can now identify as the start of a lifelong battle with insomnia, I would be stay up long into the wee hours, long enough to hear the rhythmic beep-beep of my father’s alarm clock. I’d slip out of bed quietly, folding myself into clothes I’d laid out carefully the night before, and wait until I heard the click that meant the door to his room had been opened. I’d bound into the gold hallway, hushed but insistent, “Daddy can I go?”
Sometimes, he would say no. But I would live for the times he said yes. Perhaps he just wanted company. Perhaps he knew I’d stay up anyway and wanted me doing something more constructive than watching old cartoons and infomercials. Or maybe he knew, just like I knew at that age, that these hours were the few hours we could manage where it was just us.
I was a child, looking forward to childish things like being up all night and the sweetness of the chocolate glazed donut he would inevitably get me. But even then I knew there was something precious about this time, not shared with my little brother or my stepmom, not burdened by to do lists or visitation endings. We’d ride through the night, music blasting or talk radio on, or sometimes nothing but our own conversation to carry us through the ride. It seemed like those hours of darkness right before the sun rose were when I could see my daddy for who he was; not the hard working if absent parent I got to see on designated weekends. Not the sometimes stoic man with the past he hardly spoke of. But he had his own life and his own memories, a rhythm to his jokes and a special timbre to his voice I wasn’t familiar with during the world’s waking hours.
Though not by much, little by little I got to know him.
In the wee hours of the morning this morning, just like many mornings when sleep and I are distant cousins, I think of my father somewhere out in the world, humble and hardworking as he has been since I was a kid. I think of long, drawn out emphasis on the e's in all the pleases I would shower over him so that he’d take me to work with him, of him teaching me to read maps, of throwing newspapers out of car windows and aiming for mailboxes. I think of him brushing my hair into a neat ponytail and bundling me up like an Eskimo for winter months. I think of him ordering my eggs just the way I like them and making me heaping pallets of coats and shirts that smelled of him to sleep on when I couldn’t keep my eyes open a minute longer. I think of him wiping icing off my nose and telling me I am the prettiest girl in the whole world.
And though he isn’t the type to admit it, to me or anyone else for that matter, I hope that wherever he is, he is thinking of the same.