Open Letters to Senator Cory Gardner- round 1

I promised a couple of weeks ago that I would post the letter I wrote to Senator Cory Gardner about my experience at Planned Parenthood. Since I have no idea if Cory Gardner reads his letters or if he can read at all (ok fine, I’m sure he can read), I thought I’d make it public.

I think it’s important that women share their stories. It’s important that women know they aren’t alone. This is why I am incredibly grateful that a friend of mine wanted to share her letter here, as well.

Because I’m polite and stuff– guests first. I’ll post mine tomorrow. Please show this the respect it deserves.

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Rachael, I am 37 years old, and I support Planned Parenthood. When I was 16 years old, I became pregnant. While I felt that I was old enough to have sex, I was not comfortable having a conversation about sex-and I bet my boyfriend at the time was not comfortable buying condoms. I will never forget the day my mother confronted me and asked if I could be pregnant. Up to this point, I was never in trouble; I did well in school and was always home before curfew. I still feel disappointment in myself when I think of my father purchasing a pregnancy test for his 16 year old daughter-20 years later I am still disappointed in myself. I remember sitting in the bathroom as the test turned positive immediately; I sat there the full 15 minutes hoping that it would somehow turn negative-thinking somehow I was not really pregnant. I remember the conversation with my parents when they asked me what I wanted to do. My mother let me know if I choose to have the baby, I would still finish high school-it would not be an option to drop out. My parents will help me raise the child as I finished school, if I choose the option. For me, having the child was not an option. Not only did I want to finish high school, I wanted to go to college. I wanted to do more than my parents did.

Walking into Planned Parenthood I felt that I would be judged. I looked around the waiting room and felt that the others were looking at me and judging me-judging me for being so young and pregnant. I remember watching a video with another young woman and thinking she must be in college. I remember her looking at me with sadness in her eyes and saying,” Well, this doesn’t look so bad”. I remember the procedure and crying the entire time while a worker of Planned Parenthood held my hand through the entire procedure. I ran into that woman months later at the grocery store I worked for and she introduced me to her son who was developmentally disabled. I remember the compassion in her eyes as she talked to me. I will never forget her. I hope she knows how thankful I am to her.

I still feel guilty to this day. There are times that I stop to do the math; today I could have a 19 year old child; I could have a child that is in college. I wonder what my life would have been like if I had given birth. I have to wonder if I would have even gone to college, if I would still be on food stamps now because I am not able to work a high paying job-and I definitely would have been a single mother. The father and I were no longer together when I had the abortion. I wonder if I would have had a daughter, and if she would have gotten pregnant at 16 as I did, and as my mother did. I still hold the regret to this day, and I feel ashamed for what happened.

For many women, the choice to get an abortion is not an easy one. It never crosses our mind that abortions can be an alternative form of birth control. For many, there is a reason why we choose to terminate a pregnancy. After I terminated my pregnancy, I graduated high school, went to college, and have earned two Master’s Degrees. I was able to purchase a condo in just my name, and have a stable job where I get to help people. I am not sure I would be able to accomplish all of this as a single mother.

Unfortunately, there is very little support for young mothers, and for single parents. There is a lot of talk that every child is a wanted child, but Republicans are cutting programs that help children. They are trying to push legislation in which any person on welfare would have to submit to random drug testing. Based on the Republican agenda, not every child is a wanted child.

I am 37 years old and am facing a time where I may lose my right to choose. I am faced with a time where birth control may no longer be affordable to me. I am scared of what the future holds for me, and I wonder if I need to tie my tubes as that may be the only available birth control option under this administration. I no longer feel that my government is working to protect my freedoms. For the first time in 37 years, I feel less than my male counterparts. I understand there are others that are morally opposed to birth control; these individuals feel this goes against God. I respect their beliefs and wish they would respect my beliefs. They do not have to agree with my decisions, nor do they need to make the same decision. But please let me make that decision for myself. Also, trying to shut down Planned Parenthood does not mean abortions with stop. Abortions will still happen, but they will be more dangerous. Women will be putting their life in danger to terminate a pregnancy. Remember, abortions were not legal in the 1950s-but women still had them. By working to shut down Planned Parenthood, women will take dangerous means to terminate their pregnancy. For every woman that dies from an illegal abortion, their blood will be on your hands and God will see this. God will judge you, and will see your sin.

I implore this administration to separate their religious views, and their personal views, from law. Please allow us the right to choose. It is not your place to make the decision, nor is it your place to judge-please let God do that.

I support a woman’s right to choose. Do you?

Sincerely,

Rachael M.

Public school is the bees knees!

In light of Betsy DeVos (an unqualified non-advocate for public education) being confirmed as the new Secretary of Education, I felt it important to talk about both my public school experience and my private school experience.  I’ve had both, and guess which experience has been a greater influence on my development as a whole.

Hint: It wasn’t the one my parents paid money for.

I attended a private Lutheran school from kindergarten through 8th grade. I started reading at about 3 years old, and my parents thought that putting in public school might hinder me academically. Maybe they were right about that. I did start high school about a year ahead of everyone, particularly in English and grammar. I read Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Great Gatsby in 7th and 8th grade. I ended up reading them again in high school. I was able to take plenty of music classes in Lutheran School, and I was even in the school band starting in 5th grade. These are valuable experiences. I won’t diminish that.

But what about the other stuff I learned in Lutheran school.

Every lesson was served with a side of Jesus. We had Christian based science books, and Evolution as a THEORY was emphasized big time. We were right and everyone else was
wrong, and Martin Luther sure did stick it to those Catholics lcms-sealwith his 95 Theses. Reformation Day is basically a holiday in the Lutheran Church, or at least in the LCMS Lutheran Church.

 

By the way, pre-marital sex will probably kill you because you’ll certainly get a terrible incurable disease or your abortion will present dire complications that you can’t recover from. If you don’t die, you’ll at least be infertile. And just to ice that Cake o’ Salvation, gay people should not act on their urges, and if you commit suicide, prepare for eternal damnation.

Once, at the end of the day during closing prayer time, my 7th grade home room teacher went on a rant about how awful Will & Grace was because of all the gay characters, and I stood there feeling like a filthy sinner because I fucking loved that show.

It’s an uplifting way to come up in the world. I think it goes without saying that being taught these things at all of the most impressionable times of your life can give you a complex about some stuff undeserving of a complex. If there’s a problem in your life, you might start to think maybe you’re not worshipping right or believing hard enough. When I was a kid—probably 9 or 10—my dad asked me what I thought he and my mother could do to help them get along. First off all, I have no idea why my dad thought it was a good idea to seek advice from his 4th grader, but I guess he got what anyone seeking free advice from a completely unqualified source should get—utter horseshit. My response was that they didn’t have Jesus at the center of their marriage. What the actual fuck was I talking about? What does that even mean? I didn’t know. Their actual problems were obviously more tangible the the Son of God’s presence.

I hung on to religion for a while when I left my Lutheran K-8 experience to attend public high school. But as I got further into high school, I started to realize that so much of what I had been taught was actually…umm…bullshit. I met people who weren’t white, conservative, and Lutheran. I had gay friends who were adored by the whole class instead of bullied for liking Britney Spears (you bet that happened at Lutheran school). I had friends who were Buddhist, Mormon, Catholic or had no faith at all, and it didn’t matter. Granted, I went to high school in Arvada, Colorado, which isn’t exactly the most diverse place in the country. It was like a diversity starter pack. Still a lot white, and plenty conservative, but it was definitely more than I had been exposed to before in my little Lutheran bubble for 9 years.

Remember those books I read in middle school and read again in high school? I hated them when I read them the first time. I actually liked them the second time around because I had teachers who wanted us to know and connect with all of the themes of the books we were reading. Assigning a book to read just for the sake of reading it is useless. In middle school, I had worksheets with fill-in-the-blank questions. In high school, I had a connection to literature, and I understood it on a deeper level. It didn’t matter that I had read these books before; I hadn’t really experienced them on any meaningful level.

I was able to seek out actual education about sex and contraception. I wouldn’t need to put that information to use for a while (late-bloomer), but I was sure prepared when the time came. I learned about the religions of the world in a completely objective way. It gave me room to come to my own conclusions. I sang in choirs and was able to explore the music of the world, both old and new, secular and religious. My friends who were in Theater performed in plays that were socially important and artistically impactful. In Lutheran school, we were restricted to plays musicals about how cool Jesus is, and the music was legitimately terrible.

Right before school let out for summer my Junior year, a young man (I say that now, but at the time, I was completely enamored with this mature, intelligent, charismatic college graduate with a double major in Political Science and Theater) came to my AP History class to plug a group he was leading for young people to get involved in politics. It was 2004. That summer, and through election season, I began to get to know and understand where I stand politically while also getting a hell of a civics lesson.

A big project we worked on was the Mill & Bond on the ballot in our district. I rounded up high school kids, and we knocked on doors every weekend to get support from the community and urge them to vote yes in November. I had to get to know how school funding works in our state and and be able to talk to voters when I was too young to vote.

The big lesson I learned that year is that the only way public education gets better and works for everyone is if we have citizens and a system to support it, and the impact to a community when public schools are not supported is more than many people realize. I’m grateful to have had both of these educational experiences. And I’m grateful that I went on to a public college. My public school experiences made me a whole person with a wider range of knowledge.

When I was at private school, I was the poor kid. Eventually, I was the poor kid with the fucked up broken home. In high school, that didn’t matter. I was the same as everyone else. My teachers supported me through difficult times, and I never felt judged by them. They were my safe place. I would get to school early some mornings, just to sit in the choir room and do homework, while my choir teacher would do his own work in his little side office. My English teacher stood at the door everyday and high-fived us as we left class saying, “Be true to yourself. Follow your heart. Stand up for what you believe in.” They were my heroes. They saved me from my own angst some days. They challenged me to critically think, and make up my own mind about what I valued. They didn’t indoctrinate me.

To be clear, I don’t think the teacher’s I had at Lutheran School were bad people. They were wonderful people for the most part, but they wanted to shape our minds in a very specific way. My favorite moment at Lutheran school was when my 8th grade home room teacher proclaimed to a room of kids with Republican parents that she would be voting for Gore in 2000. I remember one kid in particular freaking out and chanting, “Bush! Bush! Bush!” I’m sure she got all kinds of shit for that. I loved that rebel teacher.

What’s my point? I guess I’ll answer that with a question: What would you rather have? A population who critically thinks, or a population who can’t see past their own narrow view of the world because no one taught them how to? support-process-sc370x200-t1360346453

I know my answer.

Not today motherfucker

This weekend. This fucking weekend.

I’m at a loss for words. Actually, I have a lot of words, but I don’t know how to make them into coherent thoughts. All I can say is that sad and ashamed that this is what we have become.

And as the news of the shooting at a mosque in Quebec City is breaking tonight, I’m sorry that the hateful shit we have brewed here is bubbling over into other places.

Thank you to everyone who has gathered around the country to protest. The work isn’t over. This is definitely not over.

I’m ready. I’ll be at the rally to protect our Muslim neighbors in Denver next weekend. Then I’ll be at the Colorado Stands with Planned Parenthood march the weekend after that.

mb
I mean… these people peacefully praying are definitely a danger to America. Puh-lease.
c3unh3swaaa_qtb
My sentiments exactly.

P.S. I really wanted wanted to be at Denver International Airport last night, but I had to take my perpetually sick cat to the vet yesterday. Now he’s on antibiotics that are not sitting well in his belly. Subsequently, he has really smelly explosive diarrhea. Stinky icing on the already shit cake that been the last 2 days… or maybe the whole week.

P.P.S. Anyone else feel like they should consume as many margaritas as possible while we can still afford them? And also to numb the pain.

 

I don’t have to be okay with this, but I still have hope.

A few days after the 2008 election, I got a tattoo. The tattoo says, “There has never been anything false about hope,” and it’s followed by Barack Obama’s signature. The quote is from a speech he gave after losing the New Hampshire Primary to Hillary Clinton. For the record, I have tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton, and I did then as well. I never understood the vicious contempt for her. But Obama was my guy starting in 2004 when he spoke at the DNC.

I don’t know how many people told me I would regret my tattoo. I don’t. In fact, it’s my favorite of the four tattoos I have.

I am not okay with what’s about to happen tomorrow. I was upset and frustrated in 2004 when Kerry lost to Bush, but I was not afraid that we’d be blown to smithereens because the president pissed someone off via Twitter. Seriously, can someone make him stop with that crap? It’s embarrassing, and it’s dangerous. And that is only one tiny slice of what I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid for our public schools and teachers.

I’m afraid for minorities and immigrants.

I’m afraid that women who are victims of sex assault will be even less likely to come forward because there’s a perpetrator in the White House.

I’m afraid that my LGBT friends will lose some of the protections they’ve acquired under the Obama Administration.

I’m afraid I’ll lose my free and easy access to contraception along with millions of other women.

I’m afraid these same women will lose access to abortion.

I’m afraid for the environment—that the regulations that have helped us make progress on climate change will be rolled back.

I’m afraid I’ll lose my income-based student loan repayments.

I’m not afraid or sensitive to these issues because I’m a liberal snowflake. That’s a stupid term, and considering how hurt some of my more conservative friends were when Meryl Streep proclaimed that football and MMA are not the arts, I think the “snowflake” term might be inappropriately placed.

I’m afraid because I believe in empathy and humanity and that America is losing these. Boots in asses is not the American way no matter how much Toby Keith insists. That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. And of course that guy was one of the only people who agreed to play the inauguration. Of course he was. In today’s ‘no shit’ news, Toby Keith is playing Trump’s inauguration. Oh and also Lee Greenwood. Duh.

We have fear for a reason. Fear ignites action. So don’t think for one second that I will not be here for the next 4 years calling out hypocrisy and hate and transforming this fear into action. I will be here because I still have hope, and I have a reminder of that etched into my skin.

Thank you President Obama.

img_2012
I feel ya, girl. (I have no idea where this came from, but it’s perfect. Thanks to whoever the artist is.)

I guess it’s a New Year

I do not enjoy New Year’s Resolutions. I do not enjoy goal-setting in the way that it’s often discussed. I think it leads to a lot of disappointment because we set goals that we don’t know how to achieve and then wrack our brains to figure out what went wrong. We want to lose 20 pounds or save money. Okay, but how? And I’m guilty of this, too. Everyone is. Regardless of how I feel about this custom, I always seem to turn to self-improvement this time of year. It’s a natural thing for us to do. I begin to think about what happened last year and how I can make this year better. Keeping that in mind, I’ve obviously been thinking about the upcoming year and how I can make it better than the last by building on what I’ve already done and the things I know will offer me growth as a human.

Here we go!

Yoga goals

 This might be the only area where I’ll make a quantitative goal, and that is to get to a minimum of 3 classes a week this year or at least an average of that. By ensuring a consistent practice, I can only benefit. The amount of quality sleep I get far surpasses the sleep I got a year ago. I’m happier, my mind is quieter in the moments I need it to be, and I have strength in my body I didn’t know I could have.

There are some things that I still struggle with when I go to class. I found a studio that I love this year, and eventually, I could see myself teaching. I have a tendency to retreat and try to be as anonymous as possible, even though I see the same teachers and students all the time. I have a hard time embracing the community aspect of this practice. It’s an introvert thing, I guess. I have wanted to expand my social circle for a while, and this seems as good a way as any. Making friends as an adult is hard, and I have a place that is not work that provides that opportunity. I should take advantage of that.

Money

If I ever want to do ANYTHING exciting, I need to be a lot smarter about money. I eat out too much, particularly during the work week. I buy coffee in the morning instead of using the coffee maker I have in my kitchen. I have a bad habit of ordering in whenever Harrison is gone in the evening because I hate cooking for one. It’s such a waste of money. I’ve made some progress the first two weeks of the year. I’ve packed breakfast (because I definitely don’t get up early enough to sit and eat breakfast pre-work) and lunch at least three days a week, and I’ve made coffee at home about the same number of days. I’ve only ordered in once, and I made two meals out of it. I have a good stock of things in the pantry that are simple meals for one that I can eat when Harrison is not here. The challenge here is to avoid slipping back into old habits.

Books! 

Last year, I read more than the year before. I’d like to simply continue that trend and also read consistently through the whole year instead of letting it taper off around June. I’m not a crazy ferocious reader like some people. I was browsing the blogosphere, and saw someone who read 9 books in the month of December. Who has time for that? I love reading, and I love to learn. But I also have a full-time job and other things I want to do. I also enjoy television as an art form. Yes, I said art form… and also as a way to turn my brain off when I need to.

You can become my friend on Goodreads or look to the right and see what I’m reading.

Complement and congratulate 

I am incredibly even keel in my day to day. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I do think it’s a product of my incredible ability to go through the motions and not really pay attention to what’s happening around me. I’m really good at showing up, but I’m not the best at expression of feelings. So, things happen to people I’m close to, and I act like it’s just any other thing. I don’t know if this is a flaw, but it might be. People deserve to be complimented for good work and congratulated when something awesome happens. Doesn’t mean I have to had these out to everyone, but I should do it more.

Be present and reflect

 As I mentioned above, I’m really good at going through the motions, but I don’t feel like I let experiences penetrate the surface. Things just happen, and then I move on. Granted, most of my days are painfully boring. But how much is just passing by without a second thought. So I’m going to try this Bullet Journaling thing and see how that goes. Remember what your teachers told you? Writing things down helps you remember. I can barely remember what I did this morning, and I think that’s because I just move without experiencing. Every picture of Bullet Journals I see on the internet looks really pretty and artsy. I don’t think mine will look that nice, but we’ll see.

Things I’d like to reintroduce to myself this year:

  1. Cross-stitching- It’s the only crafty thing I’ve ever been decent at, it can include swear words if you so choose, AND it makes a really good (and inexpensive) gift.
  2. Music- I’ve become a bit lazy about keeping up on new music, which is a little embarrassing for someone with a Music Industry Studies degree.
  3. Some sort of creative outlet…or maybe I’ll try to make this thing better. I miss performing, but I need something that feels right.
  4. Activism because Trump is what happens when we become complacent. See you at the Women’s March next week, Denver.

About 2016

I’m aware 2016 is over and posting this now is annoying. I completed it (mostly) in 2016.

I’m really bad about taking time to reflect and remember things, whether it’s a period of time, an event, a book. I was thinking about the year, and I decided I needed some guidance. I found a series of questions online, and I thought it was kinda fun.

What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

I went to Austin and saw a bunch of bats fly at dusk. I traveled for work like a true grown-up. I saw the Grand Canyon! That was super rad.

img_1987

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t really make any New Year’s Resolutions. At least that’s not what I called them. I said I wanted to read more, do more yoga, and unplug more often. Check. Check. And I’ll work on that last one.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope! I have like-minded friends.

Did anyone close to you die?

Harrison’s grandmother died. I had only met her once, but that still sucked. Hopefully, everyone close to me will also make it through this year unscathed.

What places did you visit?

Austin, TX

Arizona- Sedona, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest.

Atlanta, GA

NYC

What would you like to have in 2017 that you didn’t have in 2016?

Clear skin. I’ve never had that at any point in my life, though. I’m not holding my breath.

What dates from 2016 will be etched in your memory forever?

August 7th – My brother’s wedding

img_1986

July 17th– This was the night I ugly cried solidly through the first 3 songs at Adele’s concert in Denver.

June 12th– The shooting at Pulse Nightclub

May 12th– The night I went to a celebration of Prince’s life at Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks. Some of the best musicians in Denver played his songs, and my dad recited the whole movie as we watched it.

What was your biggest achievement this year?

Sticking to something. Yoga. It’s been a long time since I found something I wanted to dive into so much.

What was your biggest failure?

Maybe that the cushion in my bank account shrunk quite a bit. Moving was expensive, and I also need to get my shit together on that front. I’m working on making some spending changes like meal prepping to avoid eating out so much and making coffee at home in the morning instead of buying it.

Did you suffer from illness or injury?

Only a stress-induced cold, and I think I broke my pinky toe for about the 5th time.

What was the best thing you bought?

It’s a tie between my yoga mat and my yoga membership for sure.

Where did most of your money go?

Food. Always food. This is why I need to make some changes, people. Please don’t invite me to dinner.

What did you get really, really excited about?

Every show I went to this year whether it was music, comedy, theater. Live entertainment excites me every time.

Also, yoga.

What song will always remind you of 2016?

Purple Mothafuckin’ Rain.

I wasn’t born when it originally came out, okay!!

Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder, b) thinner or fatter, c) richer or poorer?

I am happier for sure.

Can we stop asking people about weight gain or loss, please? It isn’t everything. Love yourself. How about I’m basically the same size, I’m healthy, and I’m a lot stronger. Seriously, feel my biceps.

I’m probably poorer unfortunately. Maybe richer if we consider my 401k. At least I still contribute that that thing.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had continued to look for a new job. I get lazy and complacent very easily because job-searching blows.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work. I have a lot of vacation time in the bank for a reason.

How did you spend Christmas?

Harrison and I went to New York to visit his family where I met a very racist aunt. That was almost the most uncomfortable experience of the year. But the rest of it was nice. We hung out with his family, went into the city a few days. We went to the Whitney Museum (of course). We saw Chris Gethard’s one-man show, which is incredibly moving. Thank goodness he is a human who exists on this planet. The last night of our trip, we went to a show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater where Janeane Garofalo happened to be on the line-up! Janeane!!!! I love her.

What was your favorite TV program?

Ah shiiiittt… So many. I love television. Stranger Things. Duh. You’re the Worst is hilarious. The Night Of. Ah… so good. Season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was SO funny.

What was the best book you read?

“Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson. Hands down.

What did you want that you got?

A good yoga mat.

What did you want and not get?

A new tattoo. Maybe this year.

What was your favorite film of 2016?

Room was excellent. I also just saw Fences. Holy shit. Amazing. Viola Davis is phenomenal in that movie.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

30, bitches!!! I took the day off work. Harrison brought me breakfast, we went to a Yin Yoga class, saw a movie, and had dinner with my parents.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If Hillary Clinton had been elected instead of that almost illiterate shit stain on humanity, this year may have only been a small dumpster fire rather than the explosion of rotting garbage it was.

Who kept you sane?

Harrison. It’s always Harrison.

Who did you miss?

I miss my friend who is in law school in Cleveland all the time. She’s one of the smartest, toughest, and sanest people I know.

Who was the best new person you met?

I’m bad at meeting people. #introvertproblems

I think a few of Harrison’s comic friends are pretty cool.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

This is an excerpt from a post about yoga from a few months back. I’d say this about sums it up.

“What I’ve realized in the last few months is that being nice does doesn’t mean that you can’t have boundaries, and being open is not same thing as being naïve. Being happy does not mean you can’t take time to recognize the unhappy feelings. Being positive does not mean that you can’t also be realistic and logical.”

Show us one of your favorite photos from the year.

This isn’t a great picture, but this was a special experience. This was a vigil held at Cheesman Park in Denver at the shooting at Pulse Nightclub. They were expecting about 50 people, but even through the rain, the crowd of people who gathered to send their love to Orlando was incredible.

img_1984

The best birthday gifts when you’re 30

I didn’t really have a formal birthday celebration this year. Part of the reason for this was that the dark cloud of November bled into the first part of December. Harrison’s grandmother passed away the day after he came back from visiting her, which was less than a week before my birthday. Harrison had to leave again pretty quickly for the funeral.

While he was gone, I did enjoy dinner and drinks with a few friends, I watched my sister try on wedding dresses (weird), and I took my sister to see Tig Notaro. Harrison bought the tickets as a birthday gift.

Harrison came back early the morning of my birthday. Of course he came ready to make the day all about me. He picked up breakfast on his way home, and he had more gifts he had been waiting to give me.

We spent the day doing the things we love together like Yin Yoga and artisan coffee. Spending a whole day together is something we don’t get to do much lately.

We saw a movie and had dinner with my parents. It was during our dinner conversation that I realized how much I have to be grateful for at 30. I have grandparents who are only in their 70s and are still in relatively good health. Harrison just lost his last grandparent at 27. I am very lucky. I have parents who are healthy and would have my back if I really needed them.

These are the best gifts as we all move deeper into this shit show we know as adulthood- things we’ve always taken for granted. Maybe it was the lack of any formal celebration that helped me to see with more clarity that the best gift is time spent or the ability to still spend time with those we care about.

Addendum:

I have no idea if I’m using “Addendum” correctly, by the way.

I went to the doctor the day after my birthday. I already had the day off, and I needed to renew my birth control prescription. This is VERY important. I went in preparing myself to be violated with a metal or plastic tool resembling a duck’s beak, but then my doctor said, “I looked at your results from last year, and it was normal, so we don’t need to do a pap this year unless you want to.”

Serious question- Who would respond to this with, “Yes, please. I would very much like you to fondle my lady-bits for medical purposes?” NO ONE WOULD!

I sent Harrison a text when I left thanking him for not giving me HPV… although it’s more surprising that I didn’t get it from one of the idiots who preceded him.

My doctor did want to do a breast exam. Fine. Necessary. Important. While, she was feeling around my boobies, she also had her head cocked to the side to read the tattoo on my rib cage. I love that tattoo, so I was happy to discuss it…while lying on my back…arm overhead…her hand to my tits. I can’t decide if it would have been more weird if we had been silent.

She also wanted to do blood work and look at all my “levels.” A couple days later, I got a phone call that went like this:

Medical Assistant: Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Leopold’s office. I have your results if you have a sec.

Me: Ok.

MA: So she wanted to do a full panel and check your liver, kidney function, cholesterol… all of that.

Me: Ok.

MA: Everything’s normal.

Me: That it?

MA: Yep.

Me: Ok. Thank you.

It was a lot of build-up for normal. On that note, I will say that I am incredibly grateful for my health.

Bring it on 3rd decade.