My Radical Conclusion

Blog May 2, 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

I am still pretty much fuming over yesterday’s ridiculousness over the embarrassment I exhibited in the doctor’s office. But instead of being negative about it, I decided to be productive and spent the remainder of the day searching for a new primary care physician (female this time, and a real doctor not these cute P.A.’s or whatever bullshit scam this country is peddling upon its citizens in lieu of legitimate healthcare). I also found a reputable ENT relatively nearby so that I am able to officially get some sort of hearing aid device for myself. I am sick and tired of being treated like a second class citizen. And I shouldn’t have to explain why I decided to start taking better care of myself. I am doing so because I fucking want to that’s why!

I was born in America. I have worked incredibly hard over the years just like everyone else. My means for someday obtaining financial freedom may be unconventional and not understood by those who were brainwashed into thinking that having someone else signing your paycheck is the only way to be respected and valued in the community. I am fiercely ambitious and you may consider me crazy but I will not stop fighting for a better life, for a better world, and my way of doing that is through my writing and art. This year, I feel that I have seamlessly transitioned from hobby writer to career writer and even though I’m not rolling in the dough, I have value, I am respected in my field, and I do deserve the same consideration and care as everyone else on the planet.

I read this amazing quote by Audre Lorde today. She once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That’s the mantra I am currently adopting. I’m not going to let anyone guilt me into thinking that I’m not worth proper healthcare and I don’t have to justify why I’m seeking assistance in getting hearing aids, or bloodwork, or any other thing that will ensure that I remain healthy and mentally happy and at peace.

For years, I’ve allowed people to bring me down, to mock me, to make me feel inferior. But what have those people truly accomplished in their lives? Anyone can get married and/or divorced, have a slew of unruly kids, settle for a nine to five job making someone else richer, buy a home, a car and buy other materialistic bullshit that they just don’t need. I once prescribed to that notion. I felt hollow, empty for not being like everyone else. I tried the whole relationship thing. I was fed notions of possibly having a happily ever after, living in my own home, and all that. But I realized happiness is found from within and I feel truly fulfilled and free when I’m writing. I feel validated and purposeful and I know that my message is a strong one and others need to hear this message too so that we can all break these damaging so-called social norms that make people believe they need to achieve certain things and reach certain goals in order to make them feel whole. Granted, one may feel fulfilled with the lives that they currently have. I’m not arguing that my way is better than anyone else’s. My argument here is to respect that there is more than one way to fry an egg. Happiness is individualized. My happiness differs from yours. And vice-versa. I realize I give too much clout to others and their opinions. But it makes me fucking furious thinking there are people out there who appear villainous and actually thrive on seeing people fail and falling flat on their faces. This rage fires deep within me and I will not stop until I am recognized for my positive contributions to society.

I noticed right away since I was a little girl that I was not like everyone else. My first bra was a neon green disaster. I wore neon pink bicycle shorts and a playboy t-shirt hand-me-down from my older brother. My hair cuts were never fashionable and always uneven. I always got dirty from doing somersaults in the park falling into piles of geese-poop horribly embarrassing family and friends. I have fallen down concrete steps, knees bleeding profusely, while my dad was part of a Portugal day festival in the city hall where I grew up totally shaming my family and godparents. I have fallen down stairs more often than not, that was a major theme in my childhood. I have fallen after attempting to climb a retaining wall in fear of missing the school bus as my sister watched in horror from the school bus in front of all of her friends. I am shy, I am weird, I don’t smell the greatest all the time, I cry a lot and can’t control my emotions and sometimes appear somewhat of a crazy person when I am horribly triggered by cruel and mean-spirited people. I’m outspoken and feisty and have this unusual blend of soft-heartedness and lion-heartedness that often fight together until they harmoniously decide to get along and help me be the productive person that I am today.

I say and do weird things making others uncomfortable. I curse like a sailor on leave, I burp, I fart, I eat with my elbows on the table, I am comfortable talking about my bowel movements in front of family at the dinner table, I laugh at fart jokes and enjoy potty humor, and I wear dresses with stains on them that are not ironed and have cat fur all over them. My hair is in knots, my mother and sister forced me to dye my hair because it had ten-inch gray roots and they bought me hair dye from the supermarket so that I’d look decent for my latest newspaper interview. I may look like I have it all put together in my profile picture, but I’m a wild, feral, hot mess and I have been this way since the day I popped out of my mom’s vagina.

I say and do awkward shit, I can count the number of friends I have on one finger, I eat noisily and fast, I enjoy Mexican food and ice cold root beer and I am done apologizing for who I am.

For those who question why I dress well and have nice boots even though I don’t currently make a lot of money with my writing, don’t realize that my clothes are either donated to me by my mom since we are the same size, or clothes I have purchased years ago when I was teaching. I am not fussy about clothes and just wear old stuff that I take care of because I’m not a behemoth beast. I also notoriously hate wearing shoes and I only own 5 pairs of shoes. I own flip flops to wear around the house, sneakers to go walking in outdoors, my very old Doc Martens flowery boots which may look nice on the outside but smell like your grandma’s crotch on the inside from years of wear, my sandals for the summer that are on their last leg and are about to bust apart at the straps, and my winter boots to ward against ice and snow. I am sick of justifying who I am to others who lack any sort of emotional intelligence or even general intelligence. The amount of willfully ignorant people around me are astounding and no amount of education can create the level of self-awareness and common sense people need to really pay attention to the things that really matter around us.

To the person who stole my quarter bug juice at snack time consecutively every day for 180 school days in Kindergarten and I never said a thing to stop her, to the kid who spat in my face with a mouth full of ham and mayo every day at lunch consecutively every day for 180 days in 1st grade and I never said a thing to stop him, to the little bitch who lied and told the teacher I threw her down the stairs during dismissal when I was nowhere near her in line and I never defended myself, to the teacher who shamed me when I didn’t understand long division showing the class my paper with a zero on it trying to shame me into somehow magically passing not realizing it wasn’t because I wasn’t studying, it was because I just didn’t understand what to do and she did a lousy job teaching me, who will also never know that I got straight A’s in math from senior year in high school all throughout my college career including bachelors, masters, and doctorate years, to the bullies who called me fat and have compared me to every fat actress out there like that is some sort of insult when all of those so-called “fat actresses” are the people whom I admire the most in Hollywood, to the student who called me an idiot who provided the final straw on my last day of substitute teaching and made me finally realize that it was time to move on and taught me that I deserved so much more than the bullshit I was being served, to all of my abusers and oppressors of all forms who have created this neurotic, anxious, and often, depressed individual, I will continue to fight not for you, not because of you, but in spite of you and your patheticness. I continue to write in spite of you. I pour my emotions on this page in spite of you. To send a message to the world, who so desperately needs to hear it that whatever someone does and whatever their circumstances are, happens to be none of anyone’s business but their own, and what works for one person does not work for all. Everyone is on the same team and we are all battling the same villains. Instead of turning on each other and being cruel and meanspirited, reach your hand out to heal, not to destroy. Because you don’t know what is going on in another person’s mind. You’ll never know. I’ll leave you all with another one of my all-time favorite quotes from R.J. Palacio’s marvelous book, Wonder, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” Believe me. It makes all the difference!

By the way, I chose today’s photo because it looked like the middle flowers were flipping the bird. It seemed apropos given today’s topic. Alright, NOW I will choose kind! 🙂

(Of course, I appreciate all of my readers and followers but I wanted to give a shout out to one new follower in particular who gave me props for yesterday’s blog–My message to you is to always keep fighting for what truly matters in life and never let anyone tell you no!)

 

The Healthcare System is Failing Us All

may 1 2019_blog

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

For many who truly know me, understand that I have not had the easiest life. I have endured several traumas in my life and as a result, I have been a lifelong sufferer of depression and anxiety. It has always been difficult for me to muster up the courage to go to any doctor and I usually only go during emergencies when I have an infection or bronchitis or anything like that. My anxiety is quite severe and I often have to coach myself to go and it takes me a few days of mental preparation unless it’s an absolute emergency that I can finally concede and buckle down and make the appointment.

I have never been fond of doctors. Every time I  go to the doctor it’s always the same thing, “you’re fat and you need to lose weight” and they’re always trying to pump me full of pills. Doctors have become pill pushers and develop creative ways of keeping patients coming back so they can keep siphoning people’s insurances. Doctors also want it easy for them too. They’re not interested in helping patients when there’s an actual problem that’s easy to fix for the patients.

After all of the things that have happened throughout my life, I have developed quite a complex. I am impossibly shy, I lack any sort of self-confidence, and for me to actually develop the courage to go to the doctor, those who know me well, realize how huge that is.

The other day I noticed that my town opened up a new hearing aid store. I was so impressed by my sister’s hearing aids (she went to a much fancier place because she has decent insurance), that I mustered up some courage to actually make the appointment and go get my hearing tested. I have been hard of hearing my whole life and that has been such a huge burden I have been carrying since I was a little girl. I remember being tested several times as a kid and my parents were told that I needed hearing aids but I never got them because my parents could never afford them for me.

The test was bittersweet. It indeed confirmed that I needed hearing aids and that I could get a reasonable pair with the crappy insurance I have. I actually got emotional during the test because I remembered the same words they spoke during the verbal part of the hearing test from when I had the same test done as a kid. When I heard the words “hotdog” and “baseball” I immediately started crying because I remembered what it felt like being a kid and being told I needed hearing aids and also being told I could not afford them. It was heartbreaking for me for so many reasons. But going to that hearing aid place I finally felt hope, which I don’t allow myself to feel very often because it’s always a terrible letdown. Today was no different.

Being hearing impaired always has been a source of contention for me my entire life. Since my parents could never afford them for me, I basically lived my entire life as if I was submerged in water. I learned to read lips and basically “faked it til I made it.” If I didn’t understand someone when they spoke to me I would ask them to repeat once, maybe twice, and by the third time, I’d just laugh awkwardly as if the person made a joke and would just awkwardly walk away. This became the norm for me, a coping mechanism. I avoid the telephone at all costs. I don’t like to socialize because I’m too embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves over and over again. It became such a huge complex of mine that I consider myself somewhat of a recluse. I just prefer solitude most of the times because I have developed such a fear of being mocked, shamed, or embarrassed because of my hearing loss amongst my other shortcomings– real or perceived.

When I got colds, my hearing would be even more severely limited. I remember one time I had gone to school when I was fifteen years old and gave my English teacher a doctors note asking that I not be called upon to read aloud in class because I was profoundly hard of hearing due to my cold. I was essentially deaf that day. I heard nothing. It was like life was completely muted and I was living in a world that lacked any sort of depth in terms of sounds. My English teacher, being a nasty bitch, of course, had to call on me. I had no idea she was speaking to me and I had my head down pretending to follow along with what the class was reading. One of my classmates happened to shake my sleeve to get my attention and told me that I was being asked to read. Not knowing where we left off, I just randomly started reading any passage. I looked around and everyone was visibly laughing at me. My teacher finally showed me mercy and told me to stop reading. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. And one that I still carry with me to this day.

This was the norm in my life. Constantly being mocked and shamed. The shy, nice girl always getting shit on by the world and today was no different.

I went to my primary care provider to ask for a prescription for hearing aids because that was the only stipulation from the hearing aid place that I needed the prescription. When I made the appointment on Monday, the doctor’s office never told me that they could not write me such a prescription and that I had to go to an ENT in order to get the prescription I needed. I wouldn’t have cared about this bit of news in the least, except for that fact that my doctor dragged me into the office unnecessarily when the receptionist could have told me right away that he did not write prescriptions for that. To make matters worse and to add insult to injury, his assistant, who looked like she belonged in a Britney Spears video, mind you, told me that I needed routine bloodwork and to continue taking medicine that I was never prescribed and to come back routinely to be checked up periodically. I laughed at the little girl’s face and said that I only go there when I have a cold but thanks anyway and took my paperwork and left. I had informed the hearing aid place of the situation and they had tried calling on my behalf but also failed to get anywhere with the doctor’s office as well.

I was so enraged by how horrifically I was treated from the very moment I walked into the office. Because I have such shitty insurance I am always treated horribly whenever I am in need of medical attention. I am always asked questions that no one would dare ask the elderly or a man, for that matter. People also question the clothes that I wear as well which is so beyond rude and don’t realize that the majority of what I wear is donated to me and I do take immaculate care of my clothes so they are always in good shape. I also live at home, so yes I am well taken care of in that regard. Even though I don’t have the typical 9 to 5 job with steady pay and traditional insurance that by no means makes me lazy, and many don’t realize just how much I bust my ass every single day doing so many things not just for my own business but for my family as well.

After my despicable treatment, I ran home and immediately signed up for a different primary care doctor. I deserve much better and I also deserve a female doctor and not that crusty old man that keeps trying to get me to use a sleep apnea machine or pump me full of pills. Instead of shoving pills, why not sit down and talk to your patients? Get to know them, know their struggles, and teach them ways of fixing their problems, not simply trying to shove pills down our throats and make people think they can’t live without them. Granted, obviously, people out there do need everyday care and rely on medications in order to continue living, I’m not referring to those individuals.

But this guy doesn’t even know any of my background because he never took the time to ask. He doesn’t know I have depression and anxiety and that I was treated by my old doctor before she passed away in my 20s and I never found anyone after that to help treat my condition nor got the courage to find someone who was as good as she was. He doesn’t understand that I’m an emotional eater and I eat myself to death because I’m so fucking miserable over my situation. Of course, I hate being poor, of course, I hate being fat, of course, I’ve tried so many fucking times to find paying jobs. And I, PSG Lopes, don’t need you or anyone else to validate my existence.

I’ve learned how to live my life in a way that’s just good enough to get by without the help of others who lack empathy and sympathy for myself and my situation. I know nobody will help me, I know nobody will listen. Everytime I try to open up and develop the courage to go out there and try to fix something wrong with myself I’m always horrifically embarrassed and that really sets me back months. I can literally spend a lifetime recalling those few moments beating myself over what happened and I will constantly find new and creative ways to completely hate myself. So if that guy accomplished anything today, it was making me feel even shittier and making me feel like more of a loser than I always do anyhow. So thanks for that, dipshit. I hope you choke to the death of the food you buy with the money you stole from me today!

I ended up finding a new doctor and making an appointment with an ENT that actually accepted my insurance but it will take a few months but I am determined to not let pieces of shit like that legalized drug pusher and his back up dancer assistant to make me feel inadequate. He and his playboy bunny assistant can go eat a bunch of dicks for lunch.

Despite all of my shortcomings, I was still able to put myself through college and I worked on my bachelors, masters, and doctorate. I worked since I was eighteen years old and have held several jobs over the years. Sadly; however, I was never able to find a lasting full-time position in the education field. I was a substitute teacher for over fifteen years and have worked in several districts and have taught all grades and all disciplines over the years. Whether I was flat out fired, laid off, or I’d quit, I realized I was stuck in a vicious cycle and I couldn’t continue on this way. My last teaching position, which I actually enjoyed and did exceptionally well at that year, I was laid off from due to lack of funding for the following school year. Realizing that I couldn’t keep going backwards in life and couldn’t face going back to substitute teaching yet again being laid off prompted me to leave education once and for all and that’s when I decided to create The Moonlit Goddess Writing Line and become a full-time writer. Aside from my writing, I am also one of the full-time caregivers of my father who has been suffering from advanced dementia for the past six years. Now because of all of this together, I realize I don’t make much money so my insurance is god awful.

People hear that I’m a writer and that I work remotely from home and they come with all sorts of conclusions about it. They assume I’m lazy, that I don’t want to work, and all of these other silly assumptions that couldn’t be further from the truth. I just happen to have a vision, I am ambitious, my degrees are in business administration and I hope to someday expand my writing line to a small publishing company. I am working hard every day and engaging in many opportunities to help me get there. I am nothing but proud of my accomplishments to date and I have nothing to be ashamed about but yet I still feel compelled to explain myself in order to get the message across that this is my chosen path and I will not allow anyone to mistreat me or disrespect me in any way, shape, or form.

To date, I have won an award for my short story “Breath of Freedom,” I have self-published eight pieces of work: Dark Musings Poetry Anthologies: Volumes 1 (1st and 2nd editions), 2 (which features my award-winning short story “Breath of Freedom”, and 3, two children’s books: My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia and Little Stan’s Lucky Day, a novella: A Wynter’s Tale, and my single, “In Recovery.” My novella was just made into an audiobook. I have been featured in two newspaper articles this year. And I am nowhere near done with my ambitions for this year! Every artist and writer goes through a rough patch in the beginning as they begin to build their portfolio and start networking with individuals. Just because I’m not loaded doesn’t make what I do any less meaningful or important and I am incredibly fortunate enough to have a family who understands me and takes care of me as I pursue my dreams.

My father’s healthcare is not that much better. He is also treated like shit within the healthcare system and that infuriates me further because that man did nothing but work his entire adult life consistently putting money towards Medicare for others over the years and when it’s finally his turn to get people to help him he is denied or it takes months to see any progress. He needed a walker, it was denied. My mother ended up buying one out of her own pocket. He needed a wheelchair, it took forever and by the time we got one he was basically bedridden. The diapers, the wipes, the toiletries, the medicines, everything that my dad needs to ensure he is cared for properly all costs money and insurance doesn’t pay for any of that except for a portion of the medicines. The insurance won’t cover a home health aide past a certain amount of time and that too my mother pays out of pocket. We are lucky to have a nurse practitioner come and visit him once a month. The second the insurance stopped covering it, the social worker stopped accepting our calls. The system is corrupt and only the rich get the help that everyone should be entitled to get.

My family has basically always been blue collar our whole lives but we all worked hard and all deserve the same amount of respect. We deserve to be treated with dignity and equally despite our socioeconomic differences. Don’t judge a book by their cover. You don’t know what everyone’s story is. You don’t know what burdens everyone carries. Before you say, “that woman has nice boots, I wonder how she can pay for them if she’s not making any money!” My boots were bought with my own money when I was working as a full-time teacher. The things I have I keep and take very good care of them. People have this antiquated image of poverty but it really has many faces. I am lucky to have a mother and sister who have always been there for me through my hardest times in life. The things I can’t pay for, they help out. What I do in return is I drive everyone around to their appointments, I run all errands for the household, I help with gardening, feeding all of the animals my family takes care, taking care of dad’s daily needs, and so much more along with all of my own writing responsibilities whether it’s my passion projects or freelance work that I’m paid to do. So, call me fat and lazy all you like. Everyone has a purpose on this earth and I know mine and I don’t feel sorry or guilty for anything because I go to bed with my body in bits with all the physical work I do for my family day in and day out. I’m invaluable and I do have worth and I do contribute positively and I don’t need to be shamed, embarrassed, or discriminated against because of a lack of empathy or understanding from others.