Category Archives: personal

Reflections on Growing as a Motherless Daughter

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Today is the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death. I had just turned 5 three weeks before she died in the hospital from cancer. My memories of her are scarce and sad, and I can count on one hand the actual number of times I remember her presence in my life. All of my memories are of her sick. I remember more of what happened the days after her death. Like on the day she died (or maybe it was one of the following days?), when I heard church bells ring and my half-sister (I am the only offspring of my father and mother) telling me that my mom now had her wings in heaven. Or the day that I went back to daycare after my mom’s death, and the teacher had told my classmates about what happened, and all the other little kids not knowing what to say to me. This type of response, not knowing how to react to me when people found out that my mom died when I was young, is typical of my life.

As a teenager, I would harness this uncomfortability from others for my own humor, as my own way to try to normalize the inevitable awkwardness that comes with the answer to questions about my mother that she was dead. I would automatically reply to the  “I’m so sorry”s with “it’s okay, you didn’t kill her”.  Or I’d make jokes, like that my mom is lazy and lays around all day… I guess these are coping mechanisms, even if they are a bit dark. I still think I was a funny kid. Anyways, I learned early, and had it exemplified throughout my life, that I was different, and my difference made other people feel uncomfortable, awkward, and sad. So I internalized this, and this unfortunately became part of my identity.

For years I didn’t think much about my mother, and that word, “mother”, still doesn’t have much of an emotional connection to me. As I’m growing older, and my friends have started to lose their own mothers, I realize my connection to my own mother is based on her absence in my life, and that’s okay. I have learned about my own strengths through my motherless experience, and there are anecdotal characteristics which undoubtedly connect me to her life. For instance, how I take pills- I put them way far back on my tongue. My dad is always astonished at this, as this is how my mom apparently took pills. So in ways like this, I am connected to her. I’m reminded how much I look like her every once in a while from people who knew her, which used to bother me, because I wasn’t her. But now, I realize that my resemblance to this dead woman that they loved might be comforting and a reminder of her life.

It has taken me YEARS, wait, scratch that, it has taken me DECADES to figure out my identity, to figure out my purpose, to figure out what it meant to be a girl, a young lady, and now a woman, without a mother. I tell my clients who have experienced any childhood trauma this: when you are a kid, and something crazy happens to you, like you lose your mom, your experience for the rest of your life is different than the other kid sitting next to you who didn’t lose their mom (or who wasn’t molested, or who didn’t witness family abuse, or who didn’t have an addict parent, etc. etc. etc.). So your experience of life is going to be based on an understanding of the world that is totally foreign than the norm. However, through examining your life, and working towards a goal of self-actualization, this experience can eventually be transformed into a “superpower”. Your perspective of life is different, perhaps a little wider, than others. Cultivating this power to see things differently, and to understand that your experience is different, is a long process, but the end result will serve you greater than the damage the loss caused.

I had a conversation with my father last year, and I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but something along the lines of him wishing that I had a mom to help me plan my wedding, and he felt sad about it. My response was that I had accepted my experience of not having a mother in my life years ago. I don’t know what it is to feel maternal love, and that’s okay! I’ve always known that I wouldn’t have a mom to help me pick out prom dresses or give me advice about boys or help me with whatever other things moms typically do. I think this still made him feel sad, but at least he could understand that my motherless experience is my experience- it is who I am.

I don’t really know why I felt the need to write (and share) this. I guess 25 years is a long time. I feel really sad for my friends who have lost their moms in the past few years. I also have always felt a strange and strong connection to other people who have lost their parents, or who were abandoned by their parents, especially if they were young when the loss happened. Growing up, I knew no other motherless daughters, so my identity was always mine for creating, exploring, and forming. As a kid, I would wish I had someone who could understand my motherless experience. I now can realize what an opportunity this is for me- to experience life in my own unique way, to understand that I have an understanding of the impermanence of life deeply rooted in my soul, as a bedrock of who I am, because it is my first memories.  I’m still growing as a motherless woman and forging an identity without a mother, and that’s okay. I know now that maybe my experience can help others, and even if not, I’m lucky to have a superpower of seeing life in a way that many others can’t fathom. And that’s a good thing.

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Healthcare is Confusing I: Medicaid 101

By far, one of my least favorite policy areas, one that I knew very little about until recently, one that I am only now really putting the time and effort in to understanding, is Healthcare. A little under a month ago I started my first post-graduation job and am now gainfully employed as the social worker/social care coordinator at a free clinic in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Thank you sweet, sweet universe for this job, I was getting a little nervous there for a while.

So, as it happens, when I graduated I was pretty positive that I didn’t want to be a medical social worker. I am overwhelmed by understanding my own chronic medical issues, I have some anxiety about hospitals, I hate, hate, hate blood (vasovagal syncoper here) and most bodily functions, and healthcare in general is fucking confusing and difficult to understand and navigate. BUT HOW THE UNIVERSE HAS A SUPREME SENSE OF HUMOR and here I am, the new social worker for a free clinic that only has like 5 people on payroll, but a reliable cohort of volunteer doctors, dentists, hygienists, nurses, and receptionists (but if you wanna volunteer, we need you). I actually love working at this clinic so far, even though it can be a little scary to think that we’re one of the only places that is available to working people who don’t have insurance. Luzerne County has a population of about 318,500 with an uninsured rate hovering around 14%... which means that about 44,600 people are uninsured in the county. That’s a lot of people who can’t get sick.

And within the short three and a half weeks that I’ve been employed, I have had meaningful experiences helping people see a dentist when their faces are writhed with pain from a toothache, the kind of pain that has kept them from sleeping over the past week, and I’ve gotten to help them get rid of some of the anxiety they’ve been plagued with not knowing how they would get help for their tooth without having health insurance.  I just started working with a woman from a religious sect that emphasizes the importance of motherhood, and she has been having fertility issues. I am determined to help her find a way for fertility treatments, even if she and her husband are at the 200% of federal poverty levels (PS: Here’s a spreadsheet of resources I’ve been putting together concerning fertility scholarships and information) So far, this seems like the job that I’m supposed to be at.

Anywho, I joined the mostly defunct Vox Weed’s Book Club, and the first book was “An American Sickness”. I read this May-June, and it really opened my eyes to the atrocities that have been able to take place under the guise of “better treatment”, when in all reality these treatments are overpriced and often unnecessary. Healthcare costs has become a burden to many, many people, including myself, so I figured now is the best time to really explore and learn as much as I can about the Healthcare Policy in the USofA. I meant to have this post out a few weeks ago when all the hubbub was happening in the Senate, but alas, life has been freaking busy lately. I figured though that it’d might be helpful if I did a little series on healthcare related stuff, since I’ve taken on the task of learning as much as I can about all things Healthcare. So hopefully this is helpful.

SO I thought I’d start with explaining Medicaid, what it is and what it does, and what the healthcare bills that were floating around would have done to these programs that legit keep people alive everyday.

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“So Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we can’t help you because PA no longer covers pregnant women under Medicaid, but I can show you some helpful DIY blogs that can show you how to deliver your baby yourself”

  • All of the healthcare bills were an assault on Medicaid. Well, Chelsea, what exactly is Medicaid? Is it the same as Medicare? Or like, isn’t it kind of like Medicare? Or wait, isn’t Medicaid actually a part of Medicare?
    • Guys, no. And listen: I didn’t know any of this shit until very, very recently. This shit is complicated to learn about and its freaking boring. BUT THIS SHIT IS IMPORTANT. Okay soooo Medicaid is a FEDERAL program ADMINISTERED by STATES. So, what this means is that Medicaid gets money from the FEDERAL government (when we pay federal taxes, most of our money goes to building bombs, some of it goes to helping sick people by way of Medicaid). So how Medicaid’s financing structure is set up now is in a way that it can respond to need of the states (ie: say, one state coughPENNSYLVANIAcough has a growing elderly population- Medicaid responds to this need by allocating more money to cover the costs of taking care of the people who need nursing homes so we don’t have to worry about Nana dying alone on the street in the gutter).
  • OK- so who gets Medicaid? Back in the day, Medicaid was called Medical Assistance. I wish It was still known as MA because that would be way helpful for people learning the difference between Medicaid and Medicare, two terms that only differ by 2 letters. ANYWAYS. Medicaid differs by states in who they cover (this is what I mean when I say that it’s ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE), but it has to cover some percentage of low income people, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly in some capacity. This is a federal rule that all Medicaid programs have to subscribe to (what I mean when I say it’s a federal program). Ok. Moving on. You know when you hear about “states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA”? That actually translates to “States that widened the eligibility so more people could be covered”. So basically, how Medicaid is intended, is to help the most vulnerable of our society when they are in need of medical assistance. There is federal oversight, and states can decide on whether or not they want to expand who they cover.
  • What the healthcare bills proposed is that Medicaid could be covered under a block grant given to a state. A block grant is a set amount of money given to a state by the federal government and then the state uses it to administer a program. Congress would figure out how much money to give to each state. How they figure out this amount or what they will base it on is unclear. This is a problem in itself, because if there is a finite amount of money, then there is going to be difficulties deciding who will be eligible for coverage. Or, if the federal government says that states still have to cover the same people, the cost of their services will either need to have a lower reimbursement rate (fat chance), which will cause less doctors to take Medicaid, and cause a higher case load for those that are willing to take the lower reimbursement. Or, like I mentioned, States might just change who is eligible for health insurance (Medicaid) and figure out who’s life is more “valuable” (aka, cheaper to cover). For example, states will have to choose between situations like covering a 19 year old with cerebral palsy who is born to a single mother who makes $15,080 a year as a housekeeper at the local Hilton (that’s the current salary of someone who makes the federal minimum wage, working 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks, with no vacation, before taxes, and before other expenses) or the 87 year old woman with dementia, who needs 24 hour nursing care, who’s loved ones and family has all died off. These are the legit questions that we’re going to have to ask ourselves. It’s really fucked up, yo.

                Even though the bills seem currently dead (thank you, Senators Collins, Murkowski, and McCain for having a sliver of integrity and belief in bipartisan democracy) we know that nothing in the Trump administration is ever actually dead. Staying informed about the actual policies is what is the most important right now, and I hope that this helped demystify at least a little bit about Medicaid and the need to protect from block grants.

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Open Letter to Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department

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Dear Captain Clark, Officer Godlewski, Patrolman Capparell, and the entire Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department,

I am very concerned about your lack of understanding of why posting a picture of a clothed man asking a topless woman, who is hiding her breasts with her hands, for a high five is in poor taste. I am worried about the character of the police force in Wilkes-Barre Township and am in disgust that by all accounts of the media’s reporting on this, that the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department refuses to recognize why this type of behavior is unacceptable. I am shocked that you refuse to take in mind how sexually abused victims in your township feel and how their reluctance to report abuse is potentially heightened because of your inability to empathize.

It is not a matter of being “offended” by the meme. It’s a matter of missing the point of why posting the picture in the first place was wrong. It’s a matter of balking at people who disagree and instead of listening to why people are “offended”, offering up only other distasteful and dismissive responses to legitimate concerns. It’s a matter of not recognizing that there already exists a hierarchical relationship between victims and police officers, especially victims of abuse and police officers, that creates burdens to people seeking help.

Police officers are on the front lines in times of crisis and have the heavy and respected responsibility of helping those in vulnerable situations. Rape victims, sexual assault victims, child sexual abuse victims, these are all the types of people who need the services of police officers. Officer Godlewski mentioned in the Citizen Voice article that Facebook may be acting like a deterrent for criminals to commit crimes because they don’t want their faces plastered all over the internet. Well, the content you have been posting recently also acts as a deterrent for a different population, as now I, along with many other people I know and social service providers, do not feel comfortable around or referring abused clients to the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Force. I feel less safe around Wilkes-Barre Township Police Officers.

Your defense that you are not always going to please everyone and that the department’s utilization of social media is an opportunity to humanize the force is, in all actuality, extremely depressing and discouraging. The message you send online is that the Wilkes-Barre Police Department is a frathouse of sexist, chauvinistic, “good ole boys”. Your lack of willingness to listen to the people who saw the meme and expressed their concern is disturbing for the fact that you are police officers- you are the men and women who are supposed to help victims! Not help contribute to stigmatizing sexual assault and abuse victims!!!

I recognize that you have by far one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and I am grateful for your service. Police officers are real life heroes. However, your police force recently has significantly change my opinion about the motivation of police officers and their understanding of victims’ issues. The worst part is, I have a feeling that you will read and ignore this letter or mock it, and won’t take responsibility for your actions. Your lack of apology and dismissiveness towards the situation speaks louder than any social media post.

 

Sincerely,

Chelsea T. Collins

Throop, PA

chelseataylorcollins@gmail.com

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i’m not trying to be sexy, i’m trying to not be sweaty.

This is inspired by a girlfriend of mine who commented on my “booty shorts” when I thought I was just wearing normal shorts…  Reflecting back now, it does help explain the dirty looks I received from the waitresses at the restaurant under her apartment when I was just innocently trying to pick up my take-out.

OKAY. CONFESSION TIME.  I love clothes. I’ve always loved dressing up and having my own style. When I was a little girl, my dad let me dress myself as soon as I could pick out an entire outfit, and I have pictures of myself in these carefully curated outfits- one that comes to mind is 7 year old me, wearing a pink and white dress, with one pink and one white shoe and matching alternating color socks.  I am still proud that I made all of my high school formal dresses (the best was Junior Semi when my dress was made out of a Twister mat) and wish I still had the duct tape skirt I made in 7th grade. I have always preferred thrift stores and the majority of my outfits are from where I like to call, Salvation Armani.  The tradition that signifies the beginning of spring and that I look forward to all winter long is rescuing my summer clothes from the dark, cold, lonely attic and welcoming them back into my wardrobe. Summer clothes are my favorite, and I’ll take floral flock over flannels any day.

Over the past few years, as I’ve been making the migration from the Junior’s section to Women’s, I’ve found myself in some predicaments over how to dress in the summertime. It is becoming harder and harder to find something to wear that you feel cute, comfortable, and conservative in (when I want to dress conservatively). I honestly think that new lines of shorts, dresses, and skirts get slightly shorter every year. There is little compromise between feeling comfortable wearing the same pair of shorts out in public and comfortable wearing them in 90 degree weather. Case in point: Right now, as I type this out, sitting in an air-conditioned coffee shop to gain a little reprieve from the 92-degree day outside, I keep catching myself subconsciously tugging at my cut-off, mom-approved, high-waisted Levi shorts, trying to pull them down a little bit closer to my knee cap. I’m not wearing these shorts to be sexy. I’m not wearing these shorts for people to look at me. I’m not wearing these shorts to show off the tattoos on my legs. I’m wearing these shorts because it is fucking 92 degrees. That’s it.

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There are hardly any summer shorts/skirts/dresses that are both cute and will make you feel both socially and physically comfortable.

So, I guess one solution would be to buy up a few sizes so that the short will extend a whooping half inch further down my leg, but I don’t really want to do that. All I want is to wear clothes I feel good in and that fit so that I am physically comfortable. Unfortunately, I don’t see affordable women’s clothing lines helping create a trend of extending the length of shorts and skirts anytime soon. The other solution is to exclusively wear longer skirts and dresses to try and stay cooler on hot days. Listen, I’d rather wear a dress than shorts or pants in almost every situation, however a mid-length dress or skirt isn’t going to keep you as cool as shorts will. Plus, it’s way more comfortable to wear a pair of shorts than a dress when I want to go for a bike ride or walk at Nay Aug Park with my dog.

 

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The shorts I’m wearing right now still make me feel self-conscious that they are too short even though they’re ugly af.

 

The ultimate solution, the solution that would actually fix everything, would be to figure out a way for society to stop sexualizing women for trying to stay cool during the hot summer months. I wish there was a magic way to unsexualize all women’s summer fashion and teach people that the girl wearing the short lavender dress isn’t a slut or trying to show off her body,  but instead is just trying to wear something she feels good about- both temperature-wise and self-esteem wise. And we gotta educate other people, especially our boys and men, about this. Because it’s easy to think that a girl is dressing a certain way for one reason, when the reality is totally different.

And ladies, it’s okay to wear short-short booty shorts on purpose. It’s okay to wear a short dress because it makes you feel sexy. I just wish our culture could shift the immediate assumption that a woman is wearing shorts on purpose to show off her body, and instead replace that thought with recognizing that she’s probably just trying to beat the heat because its 92 degrees out. I mean, at least for me, it’s not that I’m trying to be sexy, I’m just trying to not be so fucking sweaty.

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Social Media Isn’t Real (And That’s Okay).

Two quick reminders: Social media isn’t real and I write this blog from a female feminist perspective. My views may be completely off the wall compared with yours (isn’t that cool?!), and whatever the next few paragraphs say, they are no means an attack on anyone I personally know- I feel we can all relate to this shit, na’mean?

i like you more than the instagram you

This is probably true, unless ur a garbage person in real life but super sweet online.

So recently, a few people have commented on pictures of me and my finance on social media, saying things along the line of “perfect couple” or whatever. And I’m not gonna lie, that attention is kind of a nice feeling, but nonetheless I’ve been really, really taken back by these statements. Because a picture alone cannot tell you much about our relationship. I’m not saying that my relationship with my partner is bad or anything like that, but it’s definitely not “perfect”, and I don’t want people thinking that about us, because, well, it’s not true! Also, just real quick: no one’s relationship is perfect.

I know a lot of people have been feeling less-than lately because of internet culture, and I just want to reiterate that social media is not real, and perceive people’s “realness” based on their social media persona can be super toxic, yo. What we see online of people is just part of their cultivated digital personality. Ok, wait a minute. Let me back up real quick. What we see online is of real shit, but the meaning we infer from it is not real. I like social media. I get to see pictures of my friends kids, of my family that lives far away, and just funny shit that my friends post. However, thinking that these pictures are actually a true, complete representation of these people’s lives is way misleading.

Yo, you wanna know the real kicker is? It’s that our feeling of less-than in comparison to someone else’s social media life actually has everything to do with our own perceived inadequacy. Feeling envious of anything or anyone is totally based in how we feel about ourselves, right? We can’t be envious unless we are comparing ourselves to someone else, and if we feel shitty about ourselves in the first place, than jealousy is gonna come around a lot quicker. It sucks that social media makes people think that their lives have to be a certain way because their “friends” lives look that way. Also, this is a pretty big realization that I had to learn the hard way, through years of being jealous (including being jealous of people online). I totally was in the camp of “I suck at life because my house is always messy, I don’t know how to be super crafty/good at makeup/athletic/rich/someone who travels a lot/insert whatever here, plus I have split ends and acne on my face”. It wasn’t until I learned that it is freaking impossible to compare my true, authentic personality to anyone else’s, that I started to feel better about my less than perfect life. We are all unique, and that’s a freaking wonderful, crazy, amazing thing! If my house was spotless, and super beautifully decorated from shit I made, and if I went surfing every weekend after having a brunch of grass-fed grass, well… I probably wouldn’t be super thrilled because that’s not being authentic to myself! It honestly took me basically my whole life to understand this- that there is no reason to compare myself to anyone else because it’s comparing apples and anti-freeze. We’re all different and that’s dope.

Ok, ok ok, I’m being a little overzealous. I totally still get jealous sometimes. I look at people’s Instagram posts and that thought will come in my head- the “I’m not worthy” thought. The thing is now I have a following thought that is, “oh shit, social media can’t communicate what the real truth is behind this picture, and this person strategically picked this photo to post”. ALSO, I don’t know what your motive was for posting that photo, just like you don’t know what my motive was for posting another picture of my dog (it’s because my dog is the fucking cutest and I want the world to know).

And also- it’s totally okay to post whatever the fuck you want. Who gives a shit. And if you post something like a selfie because you are feeling shitty, and want some superficial attention- dude, that’s okay. Or maybe you’re really feeling yourself and that’s why you post a selfie. Dude, do you. Sometimes, when I’m down, I’ll take a selfie and filter the fuck out of it because it makes me feel better. But here’s the deal- it’s still not real, and once we all start realizing that about social media, I bet you $5 that a lot of people will start to feel better about their lives. I think social media can be a really great thing. We just have to keep in mind that it’s not real before actual, real emotions develop in response.

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anxiety, insecurities, and sunshine

Thank you, sweet universe, for giving us hope in the form of such a beautifully sweet spring day! Ahhhh, I’m so grateful that it’s nice out and jeez louise, how powerful a change in weather can be to our psyche.

flowers are a'bloomin', there's hope, y'all!

flowering bush is a’ bloomin! there’s hope, y’all!

That past few weeks have been really hard. I feel like I’ve been tirelessly running the final stretch, for like a whileeee now, and I thought that the finish line might have evaporated…but, …hey! today the sun shined! What a good, glorious thing! I don’t want to get too personal, but I’ve been really stressed lately (hello final semester of grad school! hello not knowing what the future will bring!), and I allowed myself to get tired. I stopped trying to proactively find good things in my life. Everything bad and cold and stressful seemed to be snowballing in my life, but maybe, if it gets warmer, these things will melt away; that life can be good. I know this much: the future will not be better, if I am not better. If I am better, the future will be better. Better said then done, am aright,? 😉

When I worry about things, I sometimes let these worries (see: self-hatred, negative thoughts) get the best of me. I get anxious and I bring that anxiety-fear with me and it can make me really uncomfortable, especially in social situations, (sometimes I’ll apt to duck out of social things because of this anxiety, whatcha know ’bout dat?). But you know what helps me to feel better, what helps me to experience life in a more loving way? When I don’t worry about things in the first place. I’m not saying to suddenly stop worrying about your life, but I urge you to try to worry less about things. It’s hard to be totally fearless, but life is way better when you at least try to inch away from the fear-end on the life continuum. And I know, I know, who am I to say “worry less, your life will be better!”. I don’t know your struggles, I don’t know how heavy your heart is. My experience in life is different than your’s, so there’s no way that we’ll ever be able to comprehend exactly what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. I’ll never be able to see out of your eyes, to know what it feels like to hug your mom, to experience your life. Our own experience of life is totally subjective. So, I don’t know. But I promise, just try to not be so mean to yourself about the things you don’t like about yourself and you’ll feel better, a little better, at least.  I mean, it doesn’t hurt to try.

So where does anxiety come from? I think it comes from our insecurities… and insecurities are ugh, so painful, right? It sucks to think about them, they make us feel sad, especially when we dwell and ruminate on them.  So how can we shed the things we don’t like about ourselves? How can we rid ourselves from the things that we can’t think positively about in ourselves? First, we need to recognize their existence. I know what mine are and where they have come from (hello, being called ugly in freaking elementary school; hello, not getting into my first choice college), but figuring this out for yourself might take a little bit of time. (And if you have trauma in your life or childhood, you should process your feelings with a counselor or therapist or even a trusting friend, if that’s at all a possibility. Just ‘cause trauma can really fuck up cognitive development and processing. Dealing with deep deep sludge takes time to really deal with- to really accept. It’s not easy, no matter how far removed you may be from your past.)

So once you recognize what your insecurities are, you can start to change your perception. Once you get rid of those insecurities, you start to let go of your ego. Ego is hard to define. I don’t mean ego as in confidence or over-confidence, I mean it more as like the onion layer analogy. I like to think about ego as a shell made of fear which surrounds us, and the more you grow in this shell, the harder it is to believe that it can be shed. It can become like a second skin, and won’t let any good things in or negative feelings and anxieties out, unless we consciously work to chip away at it.

Dude, none of this is easy. It’s really hard. I’m just figuring out this shit. And I’m so used to not dealing with feelings and letting my ego overpower me. I’ve spent so much of my life constantly worried about what other people think about me, but once I started to understand that life is life, and my insecurities aren’t making my time on this earth any more enjoyable, I was able to become a little more fearless and a little more loving. I still think about what other people think about me, but not nearly as much as I have for almost my entire life. And that’s progress, and that’s good. So I urge you to try and be a little tiny bit more loving toward yourself today so you can break off a little bit of that ego shell and let some sunshine in.

 

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My 2017 Goals

After meditating on the subject, I decided to share my goals for 2017 in order to be held accountable throughout the year. So, if you read this, please do not hesitate to call me out on my bullshit this year.

2017 Goals and Intentions

I will be the best version of myself. I hope to do this by being mindful of each situation, each interaction, and each thought I have. I know this is impossible, but this is the overarching goal of the whole year.

I hope to rid myself of toxic people and spend time with the small, but close, kind, and loving people I have in my life. I don’t need to waste my time on people who make me feel bad.

say-no

I just found this pic online, and boy, what a good way to think about saying “no”

I’m going to try to say “no” more. I say yes to so many things, which then stresses me out when my schedule is crammed. I become miserable and hold resentments towards the people WHO ASKED ME whether or not I could help with such and such. When I do say no to different thing, I often experience so much guilt and self-hatred for not being the best helper person in the world that I’ll beat myself up for days/weeks.

I will mediate everyday in some way.

I will have my two research papers published. I am the author of one research study that I’ve been tirelessly working on for the past 5 months (I’m currently taking a break of analyzing data to write this blog post), and am the sole research assistant for a professor at my university- we’re working on a quantitative study which is really exciting. My dream is to get these published, and I will. I’ve never had anything published, let alone a scientific research paper (who would’ve thought?) and I really hope I can make this happen.

I want to write more. Write more music, write more blogs, write more research papers, write more personal stories, journal more, write poems, write lyrics to songs that yet have to be born. I also will write these in a way that is most pure, and for the sole audience to be me when I’m writing. If I want to share them with others, I will, but the real reason is to strengthen creativity in this therapeutic process.

I am going to take advantage of as many moments as I can to be happy. I don’t want to get too personal, but my whole life has been a struggle with this subject, and I vowed in 2016 to try and experience as much happiness as possible, and I did a pretty good job. So I plan to keep this up this year.

I want to be the best friend/fiancé (or wife?!)/daughter/sister/daughter-in-law/dog-mom etc. I want the closest people to me know that I can be depended upon. That I will do what I can to make sure they have the same amount of happiness I have.

I want to be happy and feel fulfilled at whatever job I get after I graduate. I will not be scared away by the idea of relocating or being inadequate or whatever.

I will practice yoga, I will go running, and exercise on a regular basis. My goal for January is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Revolution videos on YouTube. I have done each day so far. If you see me this month, please ask whether or not I did a yoga practice today.

no-pizza

This will be the hardest.

I want to eat healthier. Everyone who knows me and Ed know how much we love pizza. I really really want to limit myself with food like this and start eating balanced meals. I expect this to be one of the most difficult goals because I love sugar, cheese, and bread so much it brings tears to my eyes. This also means that I’ll probably have to, like, meal plan, and shit that sounds awful to me. BUT I WILL PREVAIL AND FREEZE FOODS AND THEN REHEAT THEM LATER AND EAT THEM AND NOT JUST LET THEM SIT IN MY FREEZER.

I also want to help the world more. I want to donate the things I don’t need and volunteer. I am really busy all the time, but somehow I can find myself sitting on my phone for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon when I could easily be doing something beneficial for the greater good.

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Green Party of Lackawanna County, I will do as much as I can to help you grow!

I want to be as politically capable as possible. I want to be as educated as I can about the issues that matter most, and really do all that I can to help promote the Lackawanna County Green Party and our efforts. This includes writing more political blog posts, and continuing to do so in a way that allows others to question and challenge my beliefs. I also want to write political posts in such a way that does not come across as intimidating to read, nor pretentious. I think so many people get overwhelmed by politics, and I hope to use this blog to show that it’s not as complicated as it seems.

I also am going to try to love myself. This sounds stupid, but its so hard! One way that I will do this is by not wasting so much of my life on social media (especially Instagram). I like social media to stay up to date with friends, but I often find myself going down these rabbit holes which result in total self hatred because I don’t look like the girls who post pictures of their beautiful faces, beautiful bodies, and beautiful lives. I know its all fake, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of shittiness that accompanies an Instagram binge.

Okay. I think this is a good start. If you read this, what are some of your goals for the year? Do you feel confident in your goals? If you see me out, please feel free to ask about how I’m doing accomplishing these things. One reason why I just confided all these personal junk is to be held accountable! Honestly, next time you see me eating Doritos ask me wtf am I doing

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In Defense of the Green Party

In Defense of the Green Party:

Full Disclosure: If it matters, I am a registered member of the Green Party but the following is in no way affiliated with the Green Party of the United States, or any political party. This is my own opinion, and only my opinion.

I feel scared to openly admit that sometimes, that I’m a registered Green Party member, and that’s a weird thing. So I want to break down how I feel about the democratic process, in a brief nutshell:

What I want and value: love & world peace & fairness & equality in the world. I know that’s huge and subjective and metaphysical, and I don’t know how to get there, but I do know that the Green Party’s Platform aligns best with what I believe in. Concerning the real, the big, issues, I think that we need a whole transformation. I don’t know if it should come in the form of a revolution, but we need a freaking big change. And listen: Everyone, one day, can be alright. I truly believe that. We’re all in this together, we can make it work. What we need to do is to put our heads in collaboration conjunctively, and figure it out. But that can’t happen when we are constrained to a two-party system.

So, here’s what’s up. The shit that we see on mainstream media and a lot of the internet is only a piece of the pie. The “Can you believe what she just did?”, “Oh, you won’t believe what Trump just said!”,  “So-and-so is back up 2 points in the polls!”, “So-and-so drops 2 points in the polls!”.None of that matters. Seriously, it doesn’t, but it makes up everything that a lot of people know, and that’s a real big problem.

Listen, there is anger on all sides. There’s a lot of hate and darkness, and it exists everywhere. You can’t get away from it. It’s smeared all over the place. Hate is fear is fear is hate.

So here’s what I want: I want to vote for someone. That’s how I’ve always felt about doing my civic duty and casting my ballot. I always want to vote FOR someone. Because that’s where my true values lie. I want to live in accordance with MY values. I want MY goals to come true. And not to come off too cozy (or snotty), but I think I have pretty good values. And that’s what it all comes down to, ya’ll. No matter what my party affiliation may be, I’m always going to vote where my heart and conscious are. And right now, that happens to most closely lie within the construct of the Green Party.

 

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Happy Birthday, to my Awesome Dad

My dad is awesome. He turned 75 years old yesterday which is crazy. He’s the smartest, kindest, and insightful person I know and I hope that I can be half the person he is.

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me and my pops

He’s gone through so much trauma and heavy shit, more than anyone I know, and still is the most loving and kind person I know. He told me that that the reason for life is to love as much as possible and experience as much joy as possible. Seems pretty legit to me.

He raised me, and raised me to not be an asshole, and for this I am forever grateful. He’s the person I get to have the best political and life conversations with. He has always taught me to keep an open mind and to treat everyone with as much kindness as possible. He always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up, and when I asked to take piano lessons at 6 years old, he allowed it. I’m so grateful for this and that he dealt with listening to a little girl practice piano… because I’m sure that was probably headache inducing.

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Anyways, this is his mail from one day and all the charitable organizations he contributes to. He’s a 75 year old single while man, and this is what he cares about. I admire my dad the most out of anyone in the world, and anyone who has met him can understand why.

 

So happy birthday dad. Thanks for being really wonderful and not letting me grow up to suck.

 

Love,

Chelsea

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What its like to have Chronic illness and medical debt.

I’m writing this as I miss my umpteenth day at my school internship due to sickness. I have always been a sickly girl. My immune system seems to be nonexistant during the winter months, and my allergies pressure my chest throughout the rest of the year that my inhaler must always be constant. These type of illness I can deal with. Its a chronic illness that I’ve been dealing with that cripples me, and I currently have no choice but to deal with the pain and continue to loose work days and school days.

I have endometriosis which is when my lady inside parts have extra cells and then they’re really painful and grow in places where they shouldn’t. I also am polycystic. I’ve had it all my life, but its come in spats. Birth control had helped in the past, and in fact I went 3 years without getting a period due a weird birth control I was on. After getting off that birth control I still didn’t have a period for a year because my body was still recovering from whatever funkiness it had been through.

childs pose

child’s pose aka screaming uterus pose

Lots of women have endometriosis. I’m grateful to know a close friend who also deals with this and am able to commiserate with her. As which most women’s health issues, endo affects women in different ways. How I’m affected is that I can feel it coming for the week before I get my period- its minor cramping in my back and my legs, nothing worth crying home about. But then, the day before, the first day, and the second day, and hell. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like a knife is being dragged across my lower back and up and down my thighs. It’s way uncomfortable to walk or even sit up normally. The best position I have found is laying basically in “childs position” with my hands under my head and rock back and forth. Sometimes it helps if my finance rubs my back, sometimes it makes it worse. Sometimes I throw up, sometimes I don’t. No medicine helps EXCEPT for this one magic medicine I was prescribe about two years ago. It was called Mefan Acid and it was literally the only thing that I could take and be a normal human being. However it was $212 WITH INSURANCE for 12 pills. I couldn’t afford it then, and I certainly can’t afford it now.

So what is a girl to do. My medical pills are crushing. I don’t even like to talk about it because of all the times I didn’t have insurance and had to go to the doctors, or the times when I thought my insurance was going to cover the appointment, but it didn’t, and now I owe $200 for seeing a PA for 15 minutes. It’s honestly all too much to think about it, it makes me just want to cry.

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at least it tastes good…

I can say this: THANK YOU OBAMA. Seriously. Thank you ACA. Because without you, I wouldn’t even have the insurance I have now through college. I was able to go to a general doctor in November for the first time in probably 12 years for just a check up. It was a like a holiday. And I just spend time trying to call different OB/GYN offices that are covered by my insurance through college, however I’ve been told by three that I already owe money and can’t make an appointment until I pay the balance off.  So I guess I won’t be getting any help for my endo anytime soon. Plus I loose this insurance at the end of the school year which is in about two months.

I can only imagine how awful it must be to have chronic illness when you have no insurance. When you’re diagnosed with stomach cancer, but can’t even pay your bill for the check up that got you to the oncologist in the first place. I don’t know what that is like, I pray to God to never know what that is like. To anyone and everyone in that position, I can only hope that it’ll somehow get easier and you won’t have to die because you’re poor.

I wish there was an easier way. I wish I could just call these huge for-profit medical CEOs and be like, “hey, can you help a sister out? ” but I know I just have to keep saving up my money and paying off the bills $10 a piece a month that I do already. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to the gynecologist before menopause.

 

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