Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I don't date

I do not date.  No matter what your definition of the word "date" is, I don't do it.

After a relationship into which I had put every ounce of trust and respect ended, I began examining what was really important.  My trust was destroyed.  My faith that humans could be true and honest was destroyed while the stereotypes we hear about men were magnified before my very eyes.

When I was in college, I worked at a Blockbuster Music store.  Young persons who chose to wear certain baggy pants and often smelled of pot smoke were targeted by management as probable shoplifters.  We would be assigned a target.  I HATED this.  I hated the idea that a particular image brought with it a reputation, a stereotype that made stores suspicious.  One day I was assigned a young man who absolutely reeked of smoke and included the entire droopy pants aesthetic.  I was so annoyed with this assignment.  I followed him at a distance and straightened shelves as I went.  As I came around the next corner, there he was slouched down shoving CDs into his pants.  I wanted to punch the crap out of him.  I wanted to grab him and shake him by the shoulders.  This asshat just lived up to exactly what Corporate America expected him to do.  I was so mad at him for all the times I stood up for him and his fellow baggy pants brothers.  How could he go and prove me wrong and prove all of them right?!?!?  And all I said was, "Excuse me, I see you're shoving some CDs down your pants.  Maybe we should talk about this in the back room."  The police came.  They probably sent him home with his mother.

The thing is, I believe in people.  I believe in trusting people.  I believe in innocent until proven guilty, and I expect the person to come to the guilt rather than the truth being forced out.  Unlike this short example, the relationship involved a person I loved, a person who claimed to love me, but by his dishonesty risked my physical health without my permission.

Now, my world of trust is destroyed.  I can't believe in people.  I can't trust someone's direct words, promises, "love."  Even saying that, I know that's not true.  Trust is in my DNA.  Therefore, I'll stick with friends.  Friends are easy to trust.  The stakes aren't as high.  If one lies to me, it's not like they are risking my physical health for me.  My body is mine to risk.  Honesty is the only way that both persons can choose what is healthy and right for them.

Before you say, "you'll get over it" or "men aren't ALL like that," I AM over it and I know not all men are like that.  My life is good and happy and full of friends.  It's amazing what happens when you remove the idea of sex and relationships from a man's objective.  I have better, deeper, more awesome male friends than I have ever had.  No more longing looks, bullshit flirtations, compliments that mean nothing.  Men treat me like a human being now.  They talk to me in a way that they know they can because there is no gain or loss with me.  This restores my faith in human beings and in men specifically.  Maybe, someday, one of these dear friends will be the right match for what we both need in a partner.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

40 years old

Good morning, world!  I made it!  I lived to be 40!

I *LOVE* making lists, so what do I have to say at 40?  These are things I have learned and attempt to uphold every day.  I'm not perfect at all of them all of the time, but I always come back to these truths and goals.
  • The world is big enough for EVERYONE to do what they do.  Even an artist who isn't up to your personal standard still deserves to be heard.  Their art does not steal from yours.  It's ok to encourage everyone.
  • Be honest with yourself and with others.  If you aren't honest about who you are, how can anyone love the real you?
  • If it's been done before, YOU can also do it.  Do whatever you dream of doing.
  • If it hasn't been done before, show the world it can be done.  The world needs inspiration.
  • People will nay-say.  Tell them to shut up and find better friends.
  • Be nice to people.  You can not know what they might be going through.  You might need kindness sometime.
  • Worry is not a sign of love.  Worry is a waste of energy and worry thinks you aren't intelligent enough to take care of yourself.  Do not let people worry for you.  Let them know that you have a brain and you will make the best choices for yourself every step of the way.  Let them think nice thoughts, pray, or whatever seems appropriate, positive, and helpful.  Worry is never helpful.  'If a problem is fixable, there is no need to worry.  If it's not fixable, there is no help in worrying.' paraphrased Dalai Lama
  • Do not envy.  Nobody is out there doing anything you can't do.  Prioritize, save, move in the direction you want to go.  
  • Be grateful.  Outside of work and legal agreements, no one owes you a single thing - not one single thing.  If someone grants you a smile, holds a door, gives you a cookie, buys you a beer, be overjoyed with gratitude. 
  • Send things in the mail.  Thank you notes, random cards, postcards, tiny presents.  It takes quite a bit of effort to go to the post office and make this happen, but getting something besides junk mail is priceless.  Be the happiness in the mailbox.
  • Write positive online reviews and send positive letters/emails to businesses about good things that their employees are doing.  We all need praise in a world of complaints.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Doctor!

For the first time in my life, I called and made an appointment to see a doctor.  I announced this on facebook.  Lots of "wow" and "lucky" comments.  We should all have a doctor.  My cat has a doctor.  Until January this year, I was uninsured.  I simply could not and can not afford $300 per month.  I have 5 health complaints.  One is 16 years old, one is 11 years old, one is 6 years old, another is 4 years old, and another is only 3 years old.  I am scheduled to discuss the 11 year old problem.  It could be almost nothing, some strange lymph node problem or it could be, well, some strange lymph node problem that is more than nothing.  It could require a simple prescription or a series of tests.  It could require a follow up exam or a trip to a specialist.  The point here is the unknown.  The point is, I can move my arm, so I can continue to work even if the pain keeps me from sleeping.  The point is, this could have been solved 11 years ago if I wasn't afraid of the unknown, the potential cost, the potential "pre-existing condition" on my file.  But what if the problem is more serious?  It could be, and I couldn't afford that last year.

I am most certainly lucky.  Any acute problem I have ever had was solved at the minor emergency clinic or wasn't causing impending death, so I couldn't take the above mentioned risk of expense.  Now that I have insurance, I have had to learn to wade through a system that doesn't actually want me to use it.  I made four phone calls this morning just to make one appointment.  The website for Blue Cross Blue Shield asks questions, and claims the answers are on my member card.  Let me assure you, they are not.  There are no doctors in my network anywhere close to my home.  I have to travel to Austin or Houston, so I chose Houston.  I have more friends with ultra flexible schedules and spare bedrooms there than in Austin.  It will cost me $35 in gas to go to the doctor, plus the co-pay of $30 for ordinary doctor and $50 for a specialist if my complaint is approved.  I have been paying for insurance since January and only just now decided that my time and money were stable enough to call and make an appointment.  I make most of my income August thru November - now is the time for extra expenses.

I am definitely lucky that nothing severe has ever happened to me.  I am also lucky that I don't have to miss work to go see a doctor.  I'm self-employed, so I can arrange my schedule and not miss out on hourly income.  Also lucky that my work has me travelling in and out of the Houston area for the next two months.  I am seriously lucky to be making a living that allows me to eat and basically enjoy life.  I'm not in danger of starving, yet the fear of financial death has kept me from the doctor's office.  Maybe I'm crazy for choosing to ignore pains and skin issues in favor of ignorant financial stability.  If I can't afford the biggest treatments (cancer), I'd rather live out my days not knowing....  and if an ailment doesn't require the biggest treatments, I'll probably be fine anyway.  Now that I have insurance and one of my problems escalated recently, I'll go see what is going on.  If it's nothing, $65 is peace of mind - I can afford $65 right now.  If it is something, I'm insured with a deductible I can pay and we'll just figure it all out.

In the end, you could say I have been gambling with my health.  I am lucky, maybe....  or maybe this will all be much more complicated and expensive than it would have been if I had been able to go to the doctor at the time of the onset.  This is why uninsured people end up in the emergency room.  This is, in the end, more expensive, more stressful, and less healthy than being able to see a doctor when you first need a doctor.  Prevention and catching problems early is cheaper for everyone.  If a person is uninsured, it is a good bet that they can not afford the emergency room bill.  We tax payers either pay that expensive emergency room bill or the less expensive prevention and early stage problems via government programs, insurance premiums, and absorbed bankruptcy debt.  One way or another we all pay, it's only a matter of choosing which way and whether we spend less for prevention and early detection or more in the form of bankruptcy and unpaid emergency room bills.  Making affordable health care accessible to everyone is, in the long run, cheaper and healthier for all humans.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

7 Days Left

In celebration of the last 7 days before I turn 40, I have decided to do one youthful thing and one grown-up thing each day.

October 4
Because I'm old: I will panic with the realization that my family will be here soon and I'm writing this blog instead of cleaning up...  but really, as a person with a growing sense of wisdom, who really cares?!?!
Because I'm young: I will welcome not only my parents, but my grandmother too.  I am lucky to have both of my grandmothers alive and well in my life.  One grandmother will be here soon, my other grandmother will continue to beat me at scrabble online.

October 5
Because I'm old: I will organize my vitamins in one of those daily vitamin organizers.
Because I'm young: I will take note that at least they aren't PRESCRIPTION!

October 6
Because I'm old:  I will enjoy my morning coffee sitting on my front porch watching the sun come up.
Because I'm young: I will enjoy a traditional Dad-style breakfast.  He'll be here, so maybe he'll even cook it.  For as long as I've known, he has cooked for the masses even if it's only our family in attendance.  I will always be 10 years old when my dad cooks.

October 7
Because I'm old: I will sit on the sofa and enjoy my peaceful empty house after everyone leaves.
Because I'm young:  I will open presents before my birthday!  This is done in honor of my mother's equally impatient nature when it comes to presents.  When it comes to presents, we should all stay 10 years old!!!

October 8
Because I'm old: I value gratitude.  I will write thank you notes to 10 people.  So many people have done so many kind things for me, but I will limit this task to ten in order to keep it joyful rather than a chore.
Because I'm young:  I will draw in crayon a picture for each of my thank you cards.

October 9
Because I'm old:  I will go to bed early.  Tomorrow will be a long day.
Because I'm young:  I will pack the car to go to camp!

October 10
Because I'm old:  I will have a margarita with my friends.
Because I'm young:  We will all eat CAKE!

October 11
My birthday!!!  Being old or young is what you make it.  I feel wiser and therefore more efficient about my choices - why waste time, just do it.  Yet, I am still on a road of growth and discovery.  Life is good.  Life is a journey.  Stay young, grow old.  It's all the same, really.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Which Way?

I feel like I am living several lives at once right now and it is becoming clear that those lives are thinner than I would like to live - I am sacrificing bits of each area in order to devote time and money to another rather than focusing on any one thing.  I have my music life.  I have major goals including several CD ideas and projects I would like to coordinate with others.  I have my property where I would like to share green building style ideas.  This is money dependent as it does not draw income.  I can only build as my own income allows, so things are slow but somewhat steady.  I also have my organizing business which is very important to me.  I love organizing and the more I do it, the more I see it as a mental health service.  For most of my clients, it seems simple enough, just organize the stuff, but when you see the relief at seeing the finished product, you know the mind has also been changed.  A weight has been lifted and I LOVE that.
Being self-employed means going with the flow, working when there is work to be done and saving so that when there is no work, you can still eat.  Having multiple sources of incomes can help even things out, but if one or two businesses grow so much that you have to cut back on work that you love, it gets just as tiring as fighting to grow a business to support you in the beginning.  While I do not make any income from my property, it is still very much a job.
As I travelled and sang for the last 5 weeks, I received word from the owner of the horses that lived on my property that the owner would be moving them closer to home, Houston.  This is completely reasonable and more than one person (including myself) told her she should do this from the beginning.  She has been driving out to my property to spend just a couple of hours with her horses every single weekend for a year.  My property is two hours away each direction.  And still, during the entire planning process, she refused to look at the possibility of boarding close to home and insisted on looking for property with me.
I am thrilled that her dream is made more possible by having the horses closer to home.  I am also thrilled to have this property.  The only problem is that the horses were part of the point of living out here in the boonies.  They were also part of the financial plan eventually.
I'm not saying I want to cancel my plans with the property or sell the property, but I need to be free to make choices about my life as things shift.  I have a constantly brewing list of ideas.  If one sort of dies down so another can rise, that's ok, right?  I don't like letting good ideas fizzle down and I guess that's why I'm writing today.  Usually, I just let go of a mediocre or not-so-good idea and that's just fine.  It's harder to let things rise and fall if ALL of the ideas are good and close to your heart.