Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Powerless? Desperate? Insecure? Insignificant?
My life is pretty unglamorous. I am a stay at home mother that often hangs around in her spit-up covered pajamas and blogs about things that are rather pointless and silly from the comfort of her home.
A lot of my life has been difficult. I have lived through some pretty horrifying things. To quote Steel Magnolias,” When it comes to suffering she is right up there with Elizabeth Taylor”. This past year in particular has been extremely hard on me and my family physically, emotionally, financially and just about any other “lly” you want to throw in.
Many of you know about my insurance woes and health problems and that the State of Utah declared my pregnancy a pre-existing condition. That we lost a 3-month-old to SIDS and that this was our first baby after 6 long years of grief and loss. That I was so sick that I pretty much became a hermit that spent all day in the fetal position in bed, throwing up endlessly into a bowl. Those and many other things have made me feel shell shocked. Scared. Tired. Powerless. Worthless.
Enter BlogHer and The White House.
I wasn’t sure how BlogHer was going to go for me this year. Even though I was determined, I wondered the whole plane ride why I was even going. I knew it would be really difficult for me.
I was right.
I made some embarrassing faux pas. I felt overwhelmed and hormonal from the delivery of my 6-week-old. I had crippling back pain, I kept throwing up for some unknown reason, I missed my baby like mad. I felt like my blog has sucked for such a long time I didn’t even feel like I deserved to be there. I felt insecure about everything from my writing to having a year filled with internet suckitude of mass proportion.
I can be rather misunderstood on the internet sometimes. I am chaotic and disorganized. I have difficulty keeping up with people and things and it has cost me. I get a surprising amount of hate mail. I was on a whole flipping hate blog for hell’s sake. I have been classified as a braggart, a snob, and the biggest cry baby on the internet. Anyone who really knows me knows these things are so far from what I am. Although, I will admit that after the “Ye Olde Snot Fest” called BlogHer and all my blog entries from this last year, I have actually earned the cry baby title.
A low point found me locked in a bathroom stall of the hotel sobbing (again) and throwing up (again). I heard the door open and a large group of woman entered.
My heart sank.
I wanted to be alone in my vomitous misery.
There was the usual banter about writing, work and politics and the rustle of purses opening to obtain lipsticks and brushes. Then one of the women started talking.
There was respect in her voice. For me. For what I do. The others joined in about how much they loved my blog and my writing. How it inspired one of them to start blogging and how they also thought I was one of the best people to hang around at the entire conference.
One woman said she would sacrifice one of her favorite cats and give up her career if she could figure out how to write like me and start a blog of her own.
It was overwhelming to me. Not because of the attention or because someone with multiple cats would give up their career to write like someone who uses the phrase “boobies are magical” on the internet far too often, but that what I do was respected by what seemed to be intelligent, successful women.
I cried some more.
And I left that bathroom feeling much better than when I went into it.
It was a turning point for me.
This huge gathering of my writing and blogging peers changed so many things for me.
My first night there, The Queen of Spain, a blogger that I totally admire, asked me if I had checked my email. My thought was, “Dude! I didn’t even know she knew who the hell I was, let alone that there was an email waiting for me in my inbox!”
It was from Elisa Camahort-Page, one of the co-founders of BlogHer and someone I completely love to bits and admire. The email invited me to a very small luncheon with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. They wanted to hear my opinion about health care reform.
I was floored.
They wanted to talk to ME?
Did they know I wasn’t a political blogger? That I am just a stay at home mom with eleventyhundred credits and no college degree that can carry a decent tune and often blogs in her underwear? That I am a loud, silly dork that wants to start a movement to bring the classic middle-school insult “RENOB” back into the common vernacular? THAT I WRITE ABOUT MY TA-TAS ON THE INTERNET??
But it was true. They wanted me. Loralee Choate. A nobody moderate Republican from Cache Valley, Utah.
I was terrified of looking like an idiot in front of everyone and I spent all day repeating over and over to myself, “Do NOT swear! Do NOT be too loud! DO NOT SAY TA-TAS!”
I called my less-than-enthusiastic-about-my blog husband and told him what was happening.
He told me to make sure I told The White House that my husband would gladly pay every cent than have socialized health care.
I told HIM that if he wanted The White House to know that he could start his own freaking blog.
When the time came for the luncheon, I didn’t really think that I would even say anything, but then a blogger from Mom-o-crats brought up that she felt that the GOP was spreading misinformation. That they didn’t really get what the Democrats were trying to do with health care refrom.
I timidly raised my hand and asked to respond to her as a registered Republican from Utah.
I stated that there is HUGE concern that this is a ploy and step on the path to socialized health care and government. There is no dirtier word than ‘socialism’ in my state and with my family. I don’t see this plan as socialism. I also admit that I don’t start frothing at the mouth in anger and fear like many around me do when they hear that word. I don’t think a lot of them actually know what they mean when they start spouting off about socialism, but that is pure conjecture on my part.
I come from an uber conservative place, my family is very conservative and my husband is so right wing he is probably two steps away from moving to Idaho and starting his own militia.
(For the record, he is unhappy I keep saying that. He thinks I am saying that he is a racist skinhead. I’m not, I just think it’s hilarious. Yet another thing we see differently.)
Living with him and his politics can be…interesting. I wake up most mornings of my life hearing conservative talk radio or Fox News.
(Also for the record? That can lead for some weird-ass dreams, people.)
I actually consider myself more of an independent. If I didn’t want to vote the way that I do in Utah I would probably register as one. While I don’t consider myself a real conservative I do have many conservative stands and points of views.
I love charter schools, I am pro-life, I am for tort reform, I am a HUGE supporter of our military. While I think the war has turned into a huge mess I am unwilling to have a rapid pullout (as much as I despise that my loved ones have to be deployed and put in harms way). I am dismayed and alarmed at the thought of our service men and women’s bonuses, hazard pay and basic funding for them in general being decreased. I have loved ones who depend on that funding. For their families. For their very lives. Our soldiers are already so stretched thin, as are their families and loved ones. Please don’t let them down.
There are things I am liberal about. The thing I am very, very liberal on is gay marriage. I want gay marriage. Not unions, not “separate but equal”, MARRIAGE. And I express that opinion with pride. I want it as much as I want health care only I have no conflicting issues with it. I do with health care.
I deeply hope that the administration does something about both of these. Pretty please?
* Yes, the above is shameless platform plugging but if you knew that your words were going to be read by the administration (because they asked you to email it) you would TOTALLY put in a few other political issues you want tackled and you know it. ;P
I want health care reform.
I wanted it before the hell that happened to me.
I started talking to Ms. Jarrett about everything my family has been through the last year-from my insurance situation to how hurtful I found it that many in my family saw me go through so much and STILL does not want change.
It felt so GOOD to talk in front of people who mainly agreed with me. I am sickened by the behavior of some people in this debate. The horrible mud slinging and sickening signs and behavior some choose to exhibit. Thankfully, I have not experienced any of that, but I have been strongly disagreed with. Where I live when I talk about health care reform I usually feel like a small fortress surrounded by warring hostiles. You know, kind of like General Custer. Only with shorter, less attractive hair. It gets tiring to be hugely in the minority and to speak out at such personal cost.
I was grateful to have the platform to vent.
As I told my story, and as I suspected I might, I started sobbing my guts out. All the frustration, the pain, the stress, the hell just poured out of me.
The whole room was crying with me.
I expressed my anger about how broken the health system is. How ticked and sad I was that Senator Orrin Hatch pulled out of the bipartisan discussions the day before. I also may have also referred to him as “ugly-tie guy that writes cheesy music”, because I was mad and hormonal. (I regret saying it and sincerely apologize. An example of how things in this topic can get heated and you can cross the line, apologize and continue to fight to continue on with civil dialogue. Just because you fall off the wagon doesn’t mean you can’t get back on, people. )
I also may have cursed AND said “ta-tas” in that luncheon but I TOTALLY BLAME MOCHA MOMMA FOR THAT.
As I cried I apologized all over the place for my tears because I was embarrassed.
It is deeply embarrassing to me that I am in the situation I am. That at 34 years of age I don’t own my own home yet and wonder if I ever will. That there is no “American Dream” for me. MY American Dream is to be able to GET AND AFFORD insurance and health care. To take my kids to the doctor when they are sick without getting an ulcer about where the money will come from.
It sucks a duck.
I do not want a free pass from the government. I don’t expect them to foot all medical care for everyone. I don’t want a single payer system. I don’t mind paying my reasonable share.
I do want options.
I do want change.
I want it bad.
I am not saying that the bill is perfect, it is not. I can actually see many issues with it. (My conservative side rearing its head.) Even with my concerns I.WANT.CHANGE. It is beyond ridiculous to me that such a weathly, awesome possum nation cannot figure out a way to make sure that people get and have access to affordable health care. That you don’t lose everything you own or bankrupt your family because you became ill. That you don’t have your high-risk pregnancy declared a pre-existing condition when you were doing everything you could to make sure you were covered. It isn’t right.
I am also the very first to say that honestly I have NO IDEA how to make it happen.
Guess what, though?
It isn’t my job to figure it out.
Surely with all the resources available to us, SOMEONE can figure out how to make it happen and work.
I know that many disagree with me and I suspect (and actually hope) to see it in my comments. (Which is fine as long as it is respectful and hopefully they focus on ideas and solutions.) I am used to being disagreed with about this. I live in one of the most conservative places in the nation. I married into an extremely conservative family. A family that I love. I know, love, and respect so many people who want such very, very different things regarding this. ALL of them have good hearts and intentions.
While I confess to being on the liberal side I also understand where the right is coming from.
I just disagree with them.
After years of bickering and disagreeing with my husband, I have come to the conclusion that it comes down to the fact that we have radically different ideologies. My husband believes that it is immoral to put a gun to the head of a man and force him to pay out of his earnings for the greater good of all, where I find it much more immoral to NOT provide for those that truly cannot in the case of health care and to make it accessible and economically possible for people. He doesn’t believe that health care should be a right and I do.
He despises decisions made by “emotion”. I say why is it a bad thing to be fueled by emotion and compassion? The kicker for me is that I would like it to be emotionally fueled AND fiscally possible. This means that I end up being unhappy a lot.
As I relayed my thoughts to the room I said that if they truly do not want socialized medicine and a single payer system, and that they don’t want an over-all socialistic government then they needed to focus on trying to get that message out to conservatives.
The problem is, I don’t know how many of them would believe that.
Especially my husband.
Then Valarie Jarrett said something I love.
She said that thought many do not believe it, the President truly loves hearing ideas about solving this problem from people with differing points of view.
I chuckled and said that I would be sure to tell my husband that.
Then she said something unbelievable.
“After this meeting is over I would like you to go over to my assistant, Adam, and block out some time on Monday morning to have your husband speak with me on the phone. I would love to hear his ideas for change.”
I think that every jaw in the room was open. Mine pretty much fell all the way to China.
My uber-conservative husband was going to have a one-on-one conversation with The White House.
With one of the most politically influential people in the nation.
All because I write a little blog in my babybarf-covered pajamas.
When I told my husband that because of me he was about to have a conversation with The White House I was prouder than I can say. After we discussed what was going to happen (with emphasis that he behave himself) I added something that has been hurtful to me for years.
“You know, Jon. I know you have had problems with my blog in the past. That you consider what I do a waste of time and that it is a silly, pointless thing to do. You get this opportunity because of that blog. Because of me. I have worked hard at this. I have stuck with it for four long years. I am proud of what I do. I think it is time you were, too. I NEVER want to hear or even sense that what I do is silly. Pointless. A waste of time. Never, EVER again. It is so hurtful to me. And if you do? I will totally kick you in the testicles. And we can’t afford the health bills that would produce.”
We both laughed and as the days have gone by we have spoken about it more and worked many things out in our personal relationship, which has been wonderful and if nothing else came from this experience, I would rejoice the most for that.
And Jonathan’s phone call with Ms. Jarrett?
It totally happened. Just like she promised it would.
However, I will let him tell you THAT story himself.
Mr. Looney Tunes will be writing a guest post on my blog. (That cracking sound you hear is hell freezing over. Just so you know.)
At the end of the day I highly doubt that anything I had to say will really change or mean anything for the greater picture.
But that lunch and conference changed everything for me.
I survived it and I stayed exactly who I am. No pretense. No false front. I showed the people in that room the real me-silliness, snotting, ta-tas and all.
And it was fine.
For the first time in a long, long time I feel worthwhile.
I am woman, hear me roar!
Now let’s go burn our bras n’ stuff.