Thursday, March 9, 2017

Caring for a Character

I can't compel other people to care about me. I can't do it. They either do, or they don't. I would cite my humor and my other charming characteristics as assets. But that would seem like too much self-flattery.

The truth of the matter is, my character is ruled in part by my chemistry. My brain chemistry to be more specific. If you knew me before I was on medication for OCD and Bipolar Disorder, you would see why I wrote such depressing materials as a seventh grader. For example, in a project to describe myself, I wrote a poem in which I compared my existence to the moon. I don't science, I've made that clear. But I do emo. “Dawn arrives, filling the world with joy, yet I see only a glimmer of its brightness before fading into nothingness.” Top THAT, My Chemical Romance.

So, this Affordable Care Act controversy has been bothering me. To say I need my meds to survive is a lie. But to thrive? To function in a traditional (or a non-traditional, keep-my-ass-outta-the-hospital) sense? Well, that's an entirely different issue. I can rail and whine and cry about it all day, Republicans are going to do whatever they can to repeal this evil law more colloquially known as Obamacare.

This is what I leave to my daughter if I lose my mind. My writing, my online presence. In the musical “Alexander Hamilton,” Burr and the chorus ask, “How do you write like you're running out of time?” With the big tick of that political clock in the background, I am beginning to have some idea.

Not fair, I cry. Another quote from Hamilton emerges: “history has its eyes on you.” That means you, alleged government representatives. You cannot pretend to represent the majority of your constituents if you repeal this law, especially since a lot of them apparently didn't know that this is where their health care magically materialized from. Amazing, I know. And gee, only 40,000 or so lives will depend on it every year.

I guess being anti-ACA is, in a way, being an advocate for some sort of cruel population control.

Sounds messed up, right? Well, it is.

If you already have access to free health care, good for you. Is it too much to ask that you care about your neighbors and friends and family and what they might be going through? Because I'm thinking the 40,000 or so that will die pretty much outweighs any arguments that you are pro-life. Sure, you may argue, there are a lot more abortions than people who will die from repealing the ACA. And you might be right. But threatening to limit access to birth control as well?

That's even more messed up. Not only no, but hell no.

And no, the Women's March did not represent all women. Not all women agree with it, and that's fine. But I am not raising my daughter to be one of those women. That’s my personal prerogative. I want to teach my daughter to be all that she can or will be: yes, she is still allowed to choose her own path. That's the point. If she came to me and said Mom, I'm [insert religion], I would accept her. If she came to me and said, Mom, I'm a [insert sexuality or gender], I would support her. If she decided to be a [insert political agenda] I would say, honey, that's your right and your choice. I may not always understand why you made your choices. Or why you feel this way. But I do understand that it's your choice to feel and act and think and do and be.

My choice to think and act and think and do and be as I want is impaired by some bad wiring in my brain. I didn't choose it. But why do some people believe it is their right to take it away from me? The point is, I need (not want, need) to be there for my daughter.

I also don't always understand these folks who preach that we need to see both sides of this coin. I tell you what I've seen in the days since the march: I've seen two of those very dear to me, being attacked for marching and for standing up for women’s rights. It's not pretty, though in some ways it was expected. It is one thing to preach tolerance: it is quite another to live it. I'm trying folks. And I seem to be failing in some regards.

I guess I will just accept what I am: a single mom with a mental illness, who is intolerant to intolerance. I will no longer claim that I am not willfully insolent toward or ignorant of other people's perspective at times. I'm human the last time I checked. I am told, “Well now missy, you're not being fair, you're not considering the other side.” For me there is one side, and I'm seeing the very real prospect of my sanity slipping away. So, if you choose not to understand it, I may choose a path without you on it. I started this out trying to be funny. But for some reason, I'm not in the mood to laugh.

[insert punchline]

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