Sunday, March 28, 2010


The moonlight tonight was exquisite and sad. Beauty is always akin to sadness, I think, because it is so fleeting. Our enjoyment is also a form of mourning, because to behold it is to know it is fading and will soon be gone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care

I just read an article about Ted Kennedy's youngest son leaving a note on his grave: 'Dad, the unfinished business is done.'

It is done, indeed.

Today the Health Care reform bill that has been the cause of so much drama in our fair land was signed into law.

Which is inevitably followed by the question (at least, in conversation): What do you think?

This has been an awkward subject for me to tackle. My parents are both Republicans, as are my older brother and his wife. My younger brother is... I don't know what he is, but if I had to guess I'd say Independent. My parents have always been very clear that we should vote our conscience and not register as one thing or another just because that's what they are. So, my voter registration card states that I'm a Democrat. While I'd love to go on a whole other rabbit trail about how I wish the U.S. wasn't a two-party system and how it would do us some good to have a serious third party contender at the next elections, I'll save that for another day. The fact is, I looked at the platforms as they're laid out by various parties, and I felt like most of my beliefs aligned with the Democratic views. Most, not all. I'm anti-abortion, for example. But when it comes to other issues: education, taxes, the environment, and marriage equality, to name just a few, I find myself leaning in a different direction than most of the Republican views.

My parents know none of this. They don't know that I voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential elections. And they have no idea that I'm thrilled to pieces about this bill passing. That I think it will actually do some good and is a step in the right direction (not perfect, but a start). They speak about it as if it is the end of the world. As if the bad guys have won and we're all doomed.

I don't want this to be so political, but this whole issue has just made me realize how much of myself I feel like I have to hide from people I care about. I self-censor myself on so many occasions: in conversation, on facebook and twitter. I feel like I might offend someone by saying something I really believe to be true. So rather than putting it out there and risking having a confrontation with someone, I decide to keep it to myself.

Very few people, if anyone really, ever read this blog unless I link to it from somewhere else. In that sense, I feel safer. This feels private. Anyone could find it, really, but in all likelihood they won't. It's like being at a party and finding a deserted room just down the hallway a bit, away from all the noise.

Here's what I think: I don't know enough about this bill to know the nitty-gritty facts. I know people who are doctors who hate it and will probably retire early from medicine because of it, which scares me a little. What's upsetting them so much? I like the idea that insurance companies can no longer amp up prices sky high for people with pre-existing conditions. I like the idea that medicines will be available at cheaper rates to those who need them. There are more things I like, but I'll leave it at that for now. Basically, I like the idea that people who need help will be taken care of and not turned away because insurance companies have found loopholes that allow them to profit from someone else's misfortune. The movie 'Sicko' really influenced my thinking about some of this stuff. It was advocating a total overhaul, which I think would be a bit extreme, but gradual steps in the right direction (like the one made today) are a better approach, I think.

As for self-censoring, I really don't know what to do about that. I do it on non-political things too. Like, I don't curse on there because I know it might offend people. But this goes deeper than cursing. I hate the idea that I'm censoring myself on an ideological level. I think that might need to change.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Scrap Heap of Humanity

I used to have this theory, when I was in my deepest state of depression, that somewhere out there is a scrap heap of humanity. I was never suicidal; instead, my idea was this: I wished I could put my life there, the whole of it, on that scrap heap of humanity, and that people from all over the world could come and take from it what they needed. There is no denying it. I have been blessed. I have parents who love me, who would never harm me, who support me in whatever it is I want to do with my life, who have never pressured me to be or do something else. I live in a nice house, am never too hot or too cold. I always have plenty to eat--in fact, I have an excess of things to eat, to the point that I'm overweight. I've been so blessed, but I've never done anything with it. My life is a waste. So my idea, back then, in my deepest of down times, the medicated times, the times that hope was always a distant and unlikely companion, was that I wished I could offer my life up to be broken down for the parts, much like a stolen car is sold in pieces on the black market.

Are you poor and starving? Take my excess of food. Do your parents not understand you? Take my loving, awesome folks. Do you need money to get by? Take the cash that flows through my fingers like so much sand.... why should I waste it on DVDs and iTunes downloads when you could use it for food or to put clothing on your back or to buy groceries? Do you have an incurable illness? Take my good health. Do you have only months to live? Take all my time, every year of it, because I'm doing nothing worthwhile with it. Why waste it? Take it. Take it all. Even little things: do you struggle, spending hours studying for tests, only to bomb them because for some weird reason you just don't test well? Take my ability to glance over something 5 minutes before the test and get at least a 97 every time.

I have been given so much, and I have tried to be something, but I feel like I'm a waste of space. I feel like everything I try to do or be just falls so incredibly short of the mark. And I think if this were possible, if I could put myself on the scrap heap of humanity like this--even if I was, in the end, nothing more than a picked-over skeleton, I feel like that would be the most meaningful contribution to humanity I could ever make.

Take my comfort. Take my confidence. Take my health, my wealth, my happy childhood. Take the clothes off my back. Take the ideas out of my head. Take my past, my present, my future. Take any and everything. Take it all.

I am blessed, and I am a waste, and I am sorry.

If only such a thing existed.

But since it doesn't, I guess I'll just have to live.