HBD America

All things being equal America is still a beautiful place to live.

Enjoy the holiday.

In New York City when I was a kid it wasn’t a proper Fourth of July until someone wound up in the hospital from a fireworks accident.

Our street was like a war zone : )

Enjoy.

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Insanity

Wise up:

The current Republican alternative healthcare bill that was voted into law denies benefits to people living with mental health conditions. It’s stricter and more severe and drastically reduces spending on mental health. It increases premiums for the very people–those of us with mental health conditions–that have historically been unable to pay on our own for healthcare.

This is insanity.

Now more than ever none of us can afford to remain to remain silent on the things that matter to us.

It matters to me that the U.S. gets wise and institutes universal public healthcare.

Some of the very people who voted for Republicans are the ones paying $515/every 3 months with their own money for asthma inhalers–thousands of dollars a year on healthcare.

Now Mr. Toupee’s tax reform is supposed to delete from the tax code the ability to deduct medical expenses if you itemize your deductions on your tax return.

That leaves the asthma inhaler folks paying through the nose–pun intended–for healthcare without being able to get a tax break for doing this.

Sane? I think not.

I don’t endorse this insanity.

Getting Older

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I doubt I have to say more about this than the quote above boldly declares.

At the end of April I’ll be 52. I’ve learned this and other things so far:

There’s no safety in playing it safe. There’s no safety in numbers.

You absolutely must get comfortable with being uncomfortable at some point in your life.

Taking the path of least resistance might be easier yet you might wind up wasting your life doing nothing.

I advocate for getting uncomfortable. I advocate for taking risks. I advocate for doing what you know in your heart is the right thing.

Boy, I’m getting older. I’ll talk more about living in my fifties next weekend.

 

 

Jury Duty

The experience I wanted to write about is about being called for jury duty.

In the afternoon I sat in the box being interrogated. On the morning of the second day the court officer came into the hallway and called out my name. The judge had singled me out for further questioning on my own solo in the courtroom. One of the prosecuting attorneys–a guy–turned to look at me. I flubbed my response and wasn’t chosen for the jury.

As it is I have black hair and pale skin and dark brown eyes so I have a striking look. Then I show up to jury duty wearing red lipstick. I felt like an oddity when the judge put me on the hot seat.

The experience of having a judge single me out forever altered my notion of appearance. It’s true that appearance is an illusion.

I’ve always been what I call a creative oddball. It’s likely that I’ll go to my grave as a creative oddball. I look different. I act different and think differently and see things differently.

Today, in Googling the definition of micro-aggression I stumbled across 21 truly unbelievable comments. The lack of civility and sensitivity in society is what’s truly unbelievable.

If you ask me, everyone living on earth is beautiful. Thus I want to focus on beauty in the blog and limit the amount of time I devote to the stupidity in the world. Though I might be drawn like a moth to a flame to exposing what’s not right.

I’ll be 52 in late April. I’ll talk in more detail about recovery at mid life in the coming blog entries.

Always: I’ve started off talks I give by saying that this is my story–it’s the only one I have to give. Yes–I can only be a spokesperson for my own life experience and my own recovery. An attorney I employ used the word unusual to describe my story.

That’s it folks: I’m all too familiar with the unusual.

Why John Leguizamo Inspires Me

I’m so inspired by John Leguizamo now–the Latino actor and producer.

In a recent New York Times article he wrote about how the media, history books, and ordinary people stigmatize Latino Americans and ignore their achievements.

This sets up his fellow Latinos to internalize that they can’t accomplish much so why bother trying.

This is a classic set-up that disenfranchises everyone in America. It’s also been the playbook for how people with mental health conditions have been treated.

Leguizamo inspires me to champion mental health peers whose contributions to society have also been ignored. He inspires me in my own work as an Advocate to champion people who for so long had no voice and no say in how they lived their lives.

The time has come to see beyond “difference” and stop competing with each other to take over even bigger slices of the American pie. The pie is big enough for everyone to have an equal slice.

No one needs to be greedy now and eat the whole thing when others are starving–starving to be accorded the dignity and compassion that those in power denied them historically.

I was the first person circa a year ago to make the analogy of the pie and power and how it relates to people with mental health challenges.

We need to rise up and shout:

“Oh really now? I’m not buying what you’re selling.”

The time has come to stop being invisible–stop being invisible to ourselves and stop being invisible to others.

Every day I’m fortunate to meet and interact with people who tell me their diagnosis.

It’s no longer prudent to live in hiding; denying the truth.

I want the day to come when it’s unthinkable that hate exists towards people who are deemed different–simply because it doesn’t exist.

We’re not there yet, as evidenced in how we voted into the highest office of President a guy who called Latinos rapists, murderers, and drug dealers.

If he can get away with hating people who hide in plain sight; who look a certain way–and become a leader of the free world–it’s a sad day for everyone branded with whatever stigmata befalls us, whether it’s visible on our faces or tucked into our minds where no one else can see.

The time has come to stand up and say:

“I have SZ (or BP or DP or whatever) and I’m not going away. You stigmatize me at your own peril.”

I have no doubt that people deserve to become millionaires and even billionaires through their own hard work.

What I doubt is that treating people who look different from you with contempt is the way to go. I doubt that it’s right that too many people are homeless, or poor and go hungry, or are denied the right to have universal public healthcare or at least low-cost healthcare.

As far as the pie goes, I can’t bake and don’t care to eat the [unhealthy] pie. I’d rather have a slice of pizza and call it a day.

Here’s the real deal: I was diagnosed with SZ when I was 22. I was and still am a quirky, creative artist. I have no use for apple pies. As an author, I don’t trade in stereotypes. As a human being, I abhor the hating and stereotyping and judging that goes on.

I want to act for mental health peers like John Leguizamo acts for Latinos.

In 1990 I defied the low expectations other people [and mental health staff] had for those of us diagnosed with SZ and other mental health conditions.

Now it’s your turn. I dare you to defy the limits others impose on you. I dare you to think for yourself about how to treat people. I dare you to live out loud.

I dare you to stop hiding. Stop feeling guilty and ashamed that you have a diagnosis.

Start to believe you’re a person of worth simply because you’re alive not because you’ve achieved great things.

I dare you to speak out.

Hot Indie News

I’m going to hopefully start writing for Hot Indie News in the near future.

Most likely I will write about the ongoing hate in the world and about injustice.

I’ve always said that a person should vote for the candidate of their choice. It’s just that our Commander-in-Chief is now rolling back the gains that President Obama made for our country.

We have to live with the fact that the U.S. Attorney General is now starting up another War on Drugs that is destined to catch more non-violent drug offenders in this odious dragnet.

We have to live with the fact that the U.S. Attorney General has stated that violent crime is on the rise.

Or do we? Do we have to accept business-as-usual (or unusual) in the government? Do we have to accept that millions of people will lose their health insurance coverage?

Inside and outside of government: Do we really have to accept the hate? Do we really have to accept abuse? Do we really have to roll over and pretend that we’re not used as puppets when in fact we are used as puppets?

Long ago I turned down drug company representatives who wanted to pay me to get involved in a video and a focus group. I wouldn’t do this. Today I stand by my duty to be independent.

Go on Hot Indie News and read the news articles if you’d like. It’s kind of a radical website. I want to write a couple of news articles for them to spark a lively debate about how to fix what’s not right in society and how to make it better.

Mr. Toupee’s Rodeo

Mr. Toupee has wrangled voters like the Clutter Cowgirl wrangles disorder.

You want to know why people voted for him it’s as easy as pie: you don’t go around calling people a “basket of deplorables” without getting backlash.

The New York Times is partly the culprit because they pay good money to writers to publish editorials that brandish every white person in America as being a racist.

I fie on Michael Eric Dyson and his ilk for this. I fie on the haters who are paid to write editorials in this vein. You haven’t met me–so you have no right judging me.

They’re only alienating the very people who could help whatever cause they’re championing. Liberals who go around labeling people as racists have turned voters into turncoats who fled to the other side.

Thus now we have a president who chose as the EPA chair a guy who is against climate change and SUED the EPA 40 times for its stance that climate change is man-made.

We have a president who is increasing military spending so that soldiers continue to come back from unnecessary wars with missing limbs, PTSD, and the risk for committing suicide.

We have a president who repealed the Dodd-Frank Act that was made law after the 2008 recession to fund the Consumer Finance Protection Agency. Now investment brokerage houses are no longer legally required to act in the best interests of their clients.

So much for not being in the pocket of Wall Street–Mr. Toupee.

My mother called Mr. Toupee a buffoon and yet she still voted for him because she votes along party lines.

In this blog months ago I wrote that no one in our government can help ordinary Americans. I’m not a fan of Republicans and Conservatives–nor am I fan of Democrats and Liberals.

It’s true I must have a sign on my forehead that reads: She’s a Lefty. My mother and two guys were telling each other on Saturday that they voted for Mr. Toupee. One of the guys told me: “I know you didn’t vote for Trump.” Just looking at me he figured this out.

The other guy said: “We shouldn’t be getting attacked because of who we voted for.” This is true. I’ve always told readers in here that I don’t care who you vote for as long as in America you get out and vote.

A perfect storm existed to cause Mr. Toupee to win the election.

In my next blog entry I’ll talk in detail about hate and why it’s corrosive and has burned a whole in the fabric of America.

Let’s face it: people voted for Mr. Toupee. The Democrats and their hatred of so-called White America caused people to run into the arms of Mr. Toupee.

Nobody’s buying what Liberals are selling anymore.

I for one have said “I’m done!” with the hate that goes on.