Destiny Herndon-DeLaRosa

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Theology on tap.

In Miscellaneous on August 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically an evangelical outreach held in pubs. Pastors/Priests have started hosting ‘seeker sensitive’ meet & greets at bars in an attempt to draw in more wayward souls. The odd thing about this is, when I’m sober, I get it. I think it’s a relatively good idea; but when I’m drinking, as I was tonight, with some fellow Christians (yeah, I guess we’re all just sinners) debating theology….I dunno, maybe the Holy Spirit(s) moved me, but I totally chose to argue the against it.

I even went as far as to offer up one of my favorite teaching tools (let’s see if I can get the hand gestures to make sense in writing). Ok, so at the beginning the church was here *hand at the far right side of the table* and the world was here *hand about 4 inches over to the left* and then as time went on the world moved to here *move ‘world hand’ 4 inches to the left* and then the church followed *move ‘church hand’ 4 inches behind ‘world hand’ and so on and so on until finally you see that the church and the world might as well be one….and then we see that the world and church start voting far to the left! I kid, I kid, I leave that part out when I’m bar preaching.

(so anyway, go ahead and let it sink in for a minute…..if nothing else, out of respect for the fact that it’s my favorite easy preaching tool)

Ok, so anyway, as I am arguing my point *takes sip of Gin and Tonic* for why this is not the optimal situation for sharing the Gospel, I did not have the epiphany you all would like (“By golly, maybe this is brilliant!”) no instead I realized for the first time, as terrifying as it may be, yeah, the world is totally going to end in 2012.


Say what you will, but guess what, I’m gonna have the last laugh because I’m RIGHT.

And if you’ve read my previous posts you know that I have been thoroughly prepared for this shiznit too (my indoctrination began at birth). Not that I want it….but I am on a much further level of acceptance then most of you suckers. Ok, so to back up my super, spiritual, scientific, splendorific hypothesis, check out this “data”…Rapture Index.

Holy Guacamole. No offense Jesus. But scary.

Like I said, I have my pre-trib-gas mask ready and all, but I just pray that the good Lord takes me up three sheets into the old testament at one of these ‘on tap’ sermons because otherwise you’re all liable to witness the first mid-air, flopping and flailing panic attack as we’re sucked up into the heavens. Because between my fear of heights with my tendency to shy away from the supernatural, my reaction might be anything but divine.

So while I may theologically disagree with them, when it comes to self medicating for the rapture, I understand the need for a bit of alcohol.



In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Death is imminent. If you live, then inevitably you will die, and in the space in between, you are likely to see many others pass along before you.

Susan Cheever said it best: “Death is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.”

When I was younger, I had only personally experienced death in much older people – my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. I wept for the family holiday events they would no longer attend and longed for the smell of their houses that I could no longer visit. After the funerals, though, I was left with what I now see as a very neat and tidy bit of grief. I’m able to think back on the joy their lives had brought me, and honor them through their traditions, which I can now pass on to my own children.

However, when I lost my brother in 2004, it was an altogether different experience. It was beyond any level of devastation I had ever known. It was messy grief, and from time to time it still fills me with overwhelming sorrow even now. Perhaps it’s because my brother was only 18, and I felt like he had been cheated out of a life, or maybe it was because he was the first really close person to me I had ever lost. All I know is that before my brother died, I handled grieving people much differently. I handled their bereavement as though it was that neat, tidy “celebrate the years they had” type of grief.

I remember someone relatively close to me at work losing their sibling tragically, and rather than offering my condolences, I thought it best just to keep their mind off it by making small talk instead. At the time, I assumed I was doing the right thing. I thought I was making their day easier by not asking them to acknowledge what they were going through. But once I experienced the full capacity of grief in my own life with the passing of my brother, I was appalled by how I had behaved.

I realized that you never stop thinking about that loved one for a second, especially when the loss is still quite new. The kindest thing others can do for a person in mourning is to offer condolences and let them talk about their loss if they choose to.

One shouldn’t force the issue, but letting them know that it is safe for them to cry, yell or even laugh with you if they need to is a kind act. Ignoring a person’s grief is only one step better than telling them, “God doesn’t ever give you more than you can handle.”

Seriously, never, ever, ever say that to a person who is grieving, or you’ll run the risk of taking one in the snot-box. A simple, “I am so sorry for your loss” is much better.

It might surprise some people, but the kindest words I received were not even from those closest to me, as they were also grieving, but from the people I barely knew who so compassionately offered me an ear. I didn’t feel as though I was going to cause them more pain by sharing my despair with them, because they were removed enough from the situation that I could talk unabashedly. Those people, those kind words, those selfless gestures are what helped me through a very sad time in my life, and to this day, that keeps me looking ahead.

I write these words as kind of a public service announcement, because it is only a matter of time before you are in a situation where you will have to choose your words, or lack thereof, wisely. As “ordinary” as death might be, you still have a chance to show extraordinary kindness in the face of it.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News and posted here on their website}

Masochism 101: The art of Spanxing.

In DMN Moms on August 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Some people fear dying while on the toilet, others while on the stair stepper at the gym, but I have them all beat.

If you are a woman who has ever put on a pair of Spanx in the privacy of your (3,000+ degree) closet, when suddenly you hear “mommy…..mommy….MOOOOOOOMMY!’ you know exactly the moment I am talking about. “DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! DO. NOT. OPEN. THAT. DOOR!”

Perhaps I should give you a bit of the products history first: Spanx are some kind of poly-carbonate product created by NASA (I think) that have been molded into in the shape of their designer, Sara Blakely; it should be noted she is a very thin woman. The goal in putting on a pair of Spanx is in essence to body snatch Ms.Blakely disregarding all laws of gravity and mass re-distribution in the process.

Now I must tell you, there is an art to this ritual. I recommend you start with some simple stretching as it can get a bit strenuous at certain points (the thighs, specifically). And by stretching, I mean you and your garment. Don’t be shy; really give those satan fibers a work out now, ya hear? Also, now would be a good time to open a bottle of wine.

So, once you’ve worked up your starter sweat, go ahead and slide your feet in. You may be thinking, ‘oh, this doesn’t seem all that bad- just like regular panty hose, what on earth was Destiny talking about?’

Save that confidence, you’re gonna need it here in a second.

As you begin to roll the satan fibers up your legs, you’ll notice that there’s some lag. Enjoy it while you can because this won’t last. Here in a minute when we get to the ‘adjusting technique’ you might actually give yourself a blood blister trying to separate a fingertips worth of cross fibers from your skin.

Ok, at this point you’ve made it past your knees. Take another sip of wine if you need to (you do) and wipe the sweat off your forehead. Now try to conjure up every mental image you have of one of those Olympic heavy lifters. You got it? Ok, you know that move where they go from straining to throwing the weight up over their head really fast? You MUST mimic that exact same move! If you try to slowly jimmy this skinny lady mold onto your body your muscles will probably atrophy and you will have wished you died in there, because seeing the look of horror on the EMT’s faces would make anyone suicidal.

Also, at this point you might want to cover up any full length mirrors before you get to the next juncture, as it can cause some women a lot of emotional distress to see themselves as a human soft serve ice cream cone. We all know that you didn’t have that many rolls just a minute ago, and look how thin your legs look! Now seriously. Mirrors. Covered. Pronto!

You’re almost there. In just a minute all of that fat is going to magically disappear, I promise. Magic.

(*On a side note, I would like to mention my daughter always tries to walk in right at the soft serve ice cream step. ALWAYS!)

Ok, so you’ve done the Olympic hoist, pat yourself on the back if your shoulders are still in their sockets. You’re in the home stretch, girl!

Now this next maneuver is very small, but very mighty. You are tediously going to shimmy up the satan fibers an inch on one side then an inch on the other. Repeat until they’re just over your rib cage.

This is the point at which I always realize I should have taken more advantage of the before mentioned shin lag because now it will be like turning the Titanic to re-adjust. (See: Earlier talk of blood blisters.) If the Spanx make it only half way up to your abdomen you may think you are in pretty good shape, but you’re fooling yourself, sister! Don’t bother getting dressed yet, because every bit of excess fat that you just shoved up your torso has now become the ultimate atomic blast shaped, muffin top. You’ll be lucky if your arms can rest at your sides comfortably with that inner tube hang around you there.

It won’t be easy, but here’s what you gotta do. Take another sip of wine while you’re still upright. Wipe away sweat. Take a deep breath, hold it…..and bend back over. Grab every bit of excess fabric you can, if you’re wearing the ones with feet, don’t stop until you have toe wedgies, and tug up! At one point, likely up around the thighs, it is pertinent that you NOT let go of your grip, or you will never regain it! Shimmy up, shimmy up, shimmy up.

Once you get past your hips you have a wonderful opportunity to shape your daireair a bit. All you have to do is pull up on the super-dooper-reinforced area at your hips…channel Michelangelo sculpting David, ok? Now, a true pro will still be able to bust a run after enough tugs, even through this galvanized material. I just like to pretend I’m part of a 1970’s punk band under my clothes…there ain’t enough clear nail polish in the world to patch up these holes. All a testament to Spanx, though! The fact that I am still able to use them even after it looks like a cat in heat was trying them on, means they are a quality investment!

So you’ve finally shimmied them all the way. You’re probably feeling a bit light headed, it’s ok, keep in mind you’ve been drinking a lot. Now if you reach the conundrum I sometime do, you might realize you were a bit vigorous in your shimmy pinching and David sculpting and now you’ve pulled too much of this full body blood pressure sleeve up your midsection. You’re faced with a decision. Do you try to go ahead and pull the excess over your boobs, after all it did such amazing things to the rest of your body….No. You quickly realize that is not an option. My advice: go with the trusty old fold over. With any luck the polymers might actually weld together with all of the sweat your producing and you will end up with extra-extra-extra reinforced back fat protection….or who knows, you could just end up with ‘Extra-extra-extra, read all about the chubby lady who was found half naked, sweaty and drunk on her closet floor!’

Spanx are a great product. I owe my foxy-fake-figured life to Sara Blakely…and hopefully I will never owe her my death. On that note I’ll leave you with this sweet little prayer which I personally think should be inscribed on every package of Spanx:

As I lay me down to sqoosh’
I pray the Lord would shrink my toosh.
If I die before I fit,
I pray the Lord….would just go ahead and let the planet spin off into the sun because I swear if anyone ever found me halfway digested by this spandex cobra they would probably gouge their own eyes out.

I have two daughters.

In DMN, DMN Moms on August 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

The weight of this truth in no way escapes me. My husband and I both are utterly terrified by this basic fact. It’s not that we aren’t worried about our son; it’s just different with him. He is different. We will be facing a whole different set of issues and decisions as our daughters come of age, and being the type A individual I am, I have already started planning ahead for those delicate teen years. At what age will we allow them to wear make-up? Drive? D-d-d-d-date?

You can see how quickly the duty of raising girls turns to their virtue. If it were up to my husband, the answer to all three of those questions would be much less numerical and much more, well, ‘no.’ As their mother though, and someone who faced her own teen pregnancy, I am expected to be the voice of reason- the one who jokes about crushing up birth control pills in their oatmeal as soon as they “blossom;” the one who suggest we get them injected, protected or prescribed something before they leave the house. However, having this gift of preemptive time on my hands right now, I find myself really thinking all of these options through thoroughly.

What happens if we are “the responsible parents” who get our daughters on birth control when they become of childbearing age?

Once we’ve had them safeguarded against the possibility of pregnancy are we out of the woods? What about that virtue I mentioned earlier? Is it not supposed to concern me now?

As I look at my sweet, innocent little girls playing in the sand box I wish I could just freeze time. I know that is not possible and they will not stay this way forever, but as their mother it is my duty to protect them; to keep them from being hurt-both physically and emotionally. Am I wrong to think that by ‘safeguarding’ them I am leaving them wide open to exploitation?

Now you can tell me all day long that being on birth control is a private and personal decision and that no one in their high school will ever need to know, but unfortunately I fear you are simply out of touch. I only graduated in 2002 and can tell you that in this day and age half the school knows who’s got a pre-prom pimple before the toxic smell of Noxzema’s even hits the air. Kids talk. Girls TALK. It would only be a matter of time before word got out that my daughter, MY DAUGHTER, was protected, a.k.a. up for a good time. Even if it’s for medical reasons, try explaining that to a 15-year-old boy.

When did it become this way? If we don’t do anything and expect our children to learn self-control through these trials and temptations then we are idiots, feeding them to the wolves. While if we do prepare, make them “safe,” them we are setting them up for auction.

What is a parent to do?

I love my daughters endlessly, unconditionally, and irrevocably. I will teach them self-respect, I will teach them right from wrong, and above all I will teach them that they can talk to me about anything and everything.

However, at some point, we must acknowledge that as parents in 2010 we are up against television shows, song lyrics, and billboards that glorify commitment free sex and exploit women as nothing more than consequence-free sex objects.

We must acknowledge that no matter how physically prepared, you can neither put a wise head on young shoulders nor a prophylactic on a vulnerable heart. And while, yes, we may be able to prevent pregnancy, birth control is merely damage control, like it or not. There is nothing at the drugstore that can safeguard my daughter’s self-worth or dignity

So I ask again, what is a parent to do?

{Posted on the Dallas Morning News website here and here}

Glorifying mistresses, porn stars and morally bankrupt pop tarts.

In DMN Opinions on August 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Ever since my daughters were born I dreamt of the day they would split up a high profile marriage, take it to the trashiest news outlets and land a 3-page spread in Us Weekly. That’s every parents dream, right? Right?

Of course I am being facetious, but with the way society seems to glorify mistresses, porn stars and morally bankrupt pop tarts, unfortunately, I don’t think I’m that far off base. Since when did sleeping with someone’s famous husband equal a free ticket to stardom? Since when did society’s shame give way to celebrity spotlight?

My earliest memory of adultery parlaying into profitable infamy was Monica Lewinski. I was a young teen at the time, not even old enough to really understand how you could not have “sexual relations” with someone, but still have, well, “sexual relations” with them. My parents tried to guard me from those illusive Starr report details by flipping of the nightly news and forgoing the water cooler chitchat at the dinner table but I still caught on for the most part. I was inundated with information about the president’s impropriety at school, from the kids who were less sheltered, and what details I missed I was able to pick up while walking past a newsstand. After gathering all of this information in my adolescent sized brain I came to this conclusion: If you have sex with the president you will become famous and through that you will be able to turn a profit by creating a line ugly handbags, requiring little to no skill, talent or effort on your behalf because EVERYONE knows you now.

Flash forward to present day; is there a night that goes by where another celebrity sex scandal isn’t breaking on the 6 o’clock news? We see wonderful mothers and intelligent hard working women like Elizabeth Edwards and Sandra Bullock and even Elin Woods who, after years of loyalty, are being embarrassed by their spouses, while the women who truly deserve the shame, the mistresses, are being offered interviews, endorsement deals, and even reality shows. Has the world truly become flipped upside down?

The gossip surrounding these scandalous strumpets has led to society as a whole glorifying bad behavior everywhere we look. We no longer shun; we celebrate! We’ve gone from a scarlet “A” to a neon blinking “A.”

As a mother I really struggle with this reality. I cannot watch the nightly news while my children are in the room because rather than covering the war, the economy, or even local government, two thirds of what I am watching involves the paparazzi chasing down another great role model like Britney Spears. I can’t turn on the radio in my car because she’s telling my kids that “living in sin is the new thing” and I can’t even take them with me to the grocery store with me because her thonged-out derriere is on every checkout rack, no pun intended, along with all of these other scandal success stories starlets.

So how do we turn the tide? How do we stop this country from becoming a septic tank of sensationalized gossip?

Well, for starters we can quit throwing so much money at it. We can stop acting like 13-year-old girls, dedicating huge chunks of our free time to gossip sites, celebrity reality shows, and tabloid smut just so we can quench our compulsive thirst for gossip. And we as parents can stop showing our children that swill like this is worthy of our attention, because after all, if they see you condoning it in Hollywood, why wouldn’t you be okay with behavior like that in real life? Another idea is we can take back the spotlight as the hero in our children’s lives. We will never be able to control the actions of the athletes, singers, politicians or starlets that our children might idolize, but we have complete control over the role that WE model.

{Posted on the Dallas Morning News website here}

Donation as default.

In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Three years ago, I met the man in whom my brother’s heart now beats. He was an older man, and I’m not going to lie, that bugged me at first.

My brother was only 18 when he died in a car accident, and I felt as though his heart should have gone to a person equally young. But as this sweet man began to tell me about his life after the transplant – about the daughter he was able to walk down the aisle and the grandchild he was able to welcome into the world – I realized how valuable every day is, whether it comes in your youth or during your more seasoned years.

Likewise, after meeting the man who received my brother’s liver and the woman with one of his kidneys, I was able to experience a small bit of joy as I walked through the desolate valley of my grief.

It turns out that choosing to donate my brother’s organs allowed my family to feel something again. We were able to nudge aside some of our pain and hopelessness and replace it with a bit of acceptance and purpose. My brother’s donation became more of a gift to us than to his recipients.

Last month, a controversial bill was introduced in New York that basically presumes that all people want to be organ donors unless they explicitly choose otherwise by opting out of the program.

I do not understand the growing controversy. Why would anyone fight a bill that could save hundreds of thousands of people a year?

Upon researching this issue, I found that one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that if you’re a donor, and the doctor knows it, he or she will let you die so they can harvest your organs for one of their other patients. To me this fear defies logic. First of all, we’re not living in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The physician removing a donor’s organ does not know the recipient, just as the doctor who transplants the organ does not know the donor. All of my brother’s organs were flown to different hospitals, so there was no way for the surgeons at Methodist to know who was receiving what, let alone hand-pick them for a patient.

Another apprehension many people have is that they think the transplant organizations are like vultures waiting to pounce on someone who is still capable of being revived. That is completely false. Organ donors actually undergo very extensive screenings to confirm that they are no longer viable.

My brother received a litany of tests to confirm his brain death. Painful for those of us waiting to hear the results? Yes. But at no point did we feel as if Southwest Transplant Alliance, the donation agency we chose to work with, was ever rooting for him to die or rushing us in our decision. They were there to answer all our questions and went out of their way to console us; listening to stories about my brother and suggesting support groups that could help us heal. They grieved alongside us. I remember one of the female representatives crying with me and sharing about a loved one she had lost.

We donated everything of my brother’s, and as a result, up to 50 lives were either saved or enhanced. Fifty. Nothing will ever make his death acceptable, but being able to give life to others gave my brother a legacy.

I can only hope that a similar opt-out bill is introduced here in Texas so we can see more lives and more loved ones who were taken too soon remembered as heroes.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News & posted here on their website}

The community center.

In Miscellaneous on August 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Every year when my birthday rolls around and my husband asks me what I want, I always tells him the same thing, “Oh, nothing, just for you and the kids to be happy and healthy; that’s enough for me!” He’s a smart man and knows he better get me a very thoughtful and heartfelt gift, or else. And a few months later when it’s his birthday, even after being fed the same line, I, being an equally as smart woman, know I better get him something.

I tell you this, because to me this is the same way ‘Political Correctness’ must be done if we expect it to work properly. It’s a mysterious set of unwritten rules, and if both parties do not subscribe to them, one party will simply get taken advantage of.

There has been quite a bit of debate over a mosque that was to be built two blocks from ground zero in New York City. Immediately upon learning of this, a local radio show host made some extremely offensive comments about the Islamic faith and their God. The leader of this proposed community center made a powerful plea at city hall, stating that to eradicate terrorism from their faith they must teach of it’s foundation in peace, and in order to do so this new building was pertinent. He received a good deal of support from Mayor Bloomberg and many others on the city council. But, was it due to his powerful speech or could it have been influenced by the fact that to compensate for this talk show host’s tirade they felt the need to be overly ‘politically correct?’

I can understand if they did. No one wants to be seen as a bigot. However, the very basis of political correctness is going out of ones way not to offended, right? Even though you might naturally be inclined to do otherwise? So I have to wonder, had the Islamic community center done that themselves? Had they taken every precaution to make sure they would not inflict emotional pain on their community, or had they simply assumed their opposition would take those precautions when dealing with them? I f the local Islamic community had been appropriately sensitive to the pain of the families that had lost their loved ones due to an extremist faction of their faith, or “politically correct” in a balanced sense, they would never have asked to build a Mosque that close to the location of the most horrific and racially motivated event of this generation. I’m not saying either side is right or wrong, I’m simply pointing out what I see as a politically correct imbalance. Like someone giving you a gift, without you giving them one back.

More recently, we have heard reports of the New Black Panther movement that is terrorizing – excuse me, intimidating (to be politically correct) – polling places while playing upon the sympathies given to a repressed people by assuming they will not be held accountable for their actions. And so far they have been correct

The system of ‘political correctness’ will work if we all participate, but unfortunately that never seems to happen. One party will always, even innocently, take advantage. So now in turn we see a society that is being killed with its own kindness. When compromises are one sided the ultimate goal caves in on itself, and always at the expense of the accommodator. I am not saying minor compromises can’t be made, but they must not be made by sacrificing the final result. Often it feels as if we are asked to sacrifice in the name of ‘political correctness,’ yet, I do not often see that same level of sensitivity being reciprocated, and until it is, I have found it’s better to be unwavering than a politically correct. Not hateful nor malicious, but unwavering. Decide where you stand and do just that, stand there. Then, if you later find that you genuinely agree with someone’s rationale that is perfectly fine; you will be that much more prepared to fight beside them for their cause. However, if we continue to let others impose their views on us out of fear of being insensitive we will forever be dissatisfied with the state of our nation, our state, and our communities.

What the pro-life movement means to me.

In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

The reformed pro-life movement is not about shouting at frightened women. It’s not about hate-filled debates or holding up signs containing graphic images at organized protests.

It’s about helping women utilize resources that will allow them the option of choosing life for their unborn child, plain and simple. It’s about education and assistance. It’s about cultivating informed and well thought-out decisions.

As a member of this movement, I don’t see myself as a baby savior. My apologies if that offends you.

I have a heart for women – especially women who are feeling terrified, alone and desperate. These emotions are all too vivid to me. Nine years ago, at the immature age of 16, I became pregnant.

My universe imploded.

Suddenly, the big-girl choices I had been making caught up with me, and the little girl inside was petrified. I was a good girl, a good daughter, a good student. How had this happened to me?

I quickly found myself single, humiliated and the hot topic of conversation within my sophomore class and beyond. I went from being a blip on the screen of social existence to a proverbial El Nino.

Though I was hardly the first to get pregnant in my community, I was certainly one of the few who would carry my baby full term. I was ridiculed and mocked, teased and judged. At one point they offered me the option of going to an alternative school across town, but I chose to stay at Allen High School to maintain that small remaining sliver of normalcy I needed so desperately.

When I was not in school, I was working, saving every dime in case I chose to keep this child rather than placing him for adoption, a decision which I did not make until I was in my sixth month of pregnancy.

Throughout this I had something many girls did not, though: a heroically supportive family. They discussed all of my options with me at length and vowed to support me in whatever decision I made. There is not a day that goes by that I do not realize how incredibly blessed I was to have that wise counsel available to me. Based on the grace with which my experience played out, I have dedicated my life to making sure other women are also given this gift.

It’s not politically correct, but it’s where my heart is, and logical or not, I feel like I am commissioned to pass it on.

Too often in our community, low-income, minority and teenage mothers are bullied into the “logical” choice without first being able to weigh all their options. Peers, parents and well-intentioned people might tell them the only answer is termination. They might say that if they choose to keep the baby it will prevent them from reaching the success they expect in their lives. I am living-proof that this is simply not true.

On Jan. 16 in downtown Dallas other members of the reformed pro-life movement will march in a unified belief that women deserve better options. I am well aware that this event strikes a nerve with many in the community, but I choose not to judge pro-choice activists by their extremists, and I ask that you not to judge us by ours.

I have shared my story so that you might understand who that is in front of the Earle Cabell Federal building, where Roe vs. Wade was first filed 37 years ago. I hope you see past our chants and into our hearts, where our true intentions reside.

We want to help. We want to do good, and while, yes, a few of us may be Glenn Beck-droids merely set out for world domination, many of us are simply the victims – or victors, rather – of our own experiences here to give others what we have so mercifully received.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News & posted here on their website}

Uninsured is not the same as unemployed.

In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Recently I attended a town hall meeting, because that’s what Republicans like to do. Congressman Pete Sessions was discussing the hot topic of health care, also something Republicans like to do. He took his point a step further though by asking everyone with health insurance to please stand up. Suddenly there was a wall of people all around me, standing.

I remained seated, not something many Republicans did.

Sessions made a comment along the lines of ‘wow, what a very blessed community we live in’ and I couldn’t agree more. The residents of my town are abundantly blessed, although I doubt many of them know it; a point proven by what happened next.

This united moment of health care comradery was soon shattered by the voice of an older man who shouted out ‘Why don’t you ask those of us who DON’T have health insurance to stand up?’ I had the same thought, but upon realizing I would personally suffer at the hands of this question, chose to keep my uninsured trap shut.

Before the man even had time to reclaim his seat, one of my fellow Republicans hollered back “Get a job!”

I was astonished. You really think not having insurance means you are some sort of lazy, unemployed bum?

Perhaps someone should have told my gainfully employed husband that. He worked for a small recruiting firm last year and because of their size they were unable to provide insurance benefits to the employees. Instead they gave him a $200 monthly allowance for health insurance. After discussing our options at length with a reputable broker we decided on a plan that would cover my husband (the employee) and our 3 children for $256 a month. Adding me would have upped the price exponentially. Co-pays were $40 a visit and we had a $1,000 deductible. Hardly a steal, but it was what we could afford based on the allowance, plus a bit more. Over the next 6 months our premium raised 3 times. No major injuries or illnesses, just a well baby visit and some vaccinations. But yet, here we were paying a hundred dollars out of pocket on top of my husband’s allowance for insurance that we barely benefited from, all the while our premium’s rising.

I was fed up, but couldn’t shake that voice in my head saying, “You may need it one day, and then you’ll be glad it’s there.”

Two months later our middle child fell and needed stitches. Of course it was on a Friday. Of course it was after 5pm. Of course it was at the end of a very healthy year where we had yet to touch our deductible. Finally we had a need, and was it there? Absolutely not. Our insurance covers cancer. It covers heart attacks. It covers life threatening illnesses and really nothing else. Sometimes I wonder if our money would be better off crammed into an empty coffee can.

At this point, my husband is with a new company and we are considering a health savings account. However this does not change the fact that my generation-young, middle class, WORKING families- are receiving so much less from their insurance coverage all the while paying so much more. And my fellow Conservatives, most of whom grew up during a different era of health coverage, have no clue. To them, being uninsured is the same as being unemployed, because that’s what Republicans like to think. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise.

I know socialized medicine is not the answer, but ignoring this growing number of uninsured middle class families is not the solution either.

The fact that I am trying to telekinetically focus my bitter health insurance hating energy into the formation of cancerous cells within my body just so I can finally have the last laugh when they are forced to pay for my chemotherapy, is a sad sign of our times.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News & posted here on their website}

On a recent trip to the local tattoo parlor…

In Miscellaneous on August 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm

which I would like to point out, here in suburbia, looks more like a Pro-Cuts (strip shopping center locale and all), I took along a friend of mine whom I know through city council dealings. She’s amazing, and by far one of the coolest people involved with local politics, but still, I had to acknowledge that this was an odd place for us to end up on a Friday night. Here we are, two conservative, suburban housewives, both mothers, giddy about the fact that my face is soon to be impaled with yet another large, metal harpoon.

It’s assumed that we conservatives congregate on golf courses, at fundraisers or in the confines of our country club, but rarely do we turn up at tattoo parlors, even a tame ones as this.

Such a subtle happenstance really got my wheels turning. Perhaps I am just that unique of an individual, yeah, a truly non-conformist middle class, suburban Independent! Sure, me and all the rest of us.

I know I am not alone in my off the beaten political path lifestyle, Rod Dreher has shown me that much, but can I really claim to be that ‘crunchy’ of a Conservative? Honestly, no, not really.

I’m progressive in the sense that I was born during the Reagan administration, so my youth and global consciousness is a bit fresher than some of my fellow conservatives, but at the same time my husband still has to remind me which things have trans fat in them, that we shouldn’t water the lawn at 11:35am, and where exactly it is that we put the recyclables.

Labels are so un-cool these days that they are back to being cool again. And in the spirit of self-absorbed revelation, I’ve hereby decided to invest much of the time in which I could have been rinsing and sorting aluminum spaghetti-o cans, into labeling myself. So here it is. Wait for it. Wait for it. I am…………A PunkyCon.


Why thank you, thank you, you are all too kind, no seriously sit down….this is just too much…oh, I love you too!

A sect of Dreherism, PunkyCons are conservative only in name, morals, convictions and voting records. They are often times known as the “pro-life nut jobs” in their circle of friends, they show up late to weekend music festivals because the pastor’s sermon ran long, they have as many bumper stickers on their cars as their liberal counterparts, they believe in the Bible, but they also believe in dinosaurs, they are actively involved in politics – meaning they actually do what their shirt says, and vote.

Among fellow conservatives, PunkyCons are often thought to be defectors, and are very familiar with the phrase “If only my grand babies saw things the way you do.” They are credited with making their political activist groups ‘cooler,’ and are usually put in charge of ‘Technology,’ which means they handle anything more difficult to operate than a remote control (a.k.a. a ‘clicker’). They help their ‘more seasoned’ conservative peers understand where a lot of younger Americans are coming from on issues such as health care, global warming, and why it’s not o.k. to say ‘colored’ anymore. They spike their tea and fight for their right to party.

Punkycons are exactly what their name says they are, because being anything short of this dichotomy would simply be too mainstream, too conformist.

I will fully acknowledge that we tend to fit awkwardly amongst our peers and our party but someday you will all realize and appreciate how we are a vitally unconventional spike in the American mohawk.