15 October 2013

Don't Pray for Me

Whenever shit goes wrong in my life, other people (family or friends) feel bad that my life sucks. Sometimes they honestly feel bad and want to help. However, depending on the situation, their ability to help is very limited. Truth is, they can't make life not suck. They can't bring back a dead dog or make someone get over a hard breakup. Even though they know that they can't fix the situation, they want to do something--anything--to make it better.

So they give that irritating line: "I'll pray for you."

Let me make this very clear. You praying for me does absolutely nothing for me. Nothing. It doesn't make my problem go away, and it sure as hell doesn't make me feel better. In fact, it makes me feel worse. It says to me that you feel bad for my crappy situation, but the best you can do is talk to your imaginary god about it. What this does is makes you feel better about the situation without you actually doing anything to help.

I think the time this pissed me off the most was when my grandfather died. At the funeral, some woman (not sure if she was family or friend) told me that she would pray for me and my family. Clearly, she felt bad enough to feel the need to do something for us. However, instead of offering to actually help us (see below), she just said that she would "pray" for us, thereby alleviating the guilt she felt about our loss without actually doing anything for us.

Long story short: Praying for someone does not help the situation. It only makes the person doing the praying feel better about a situation that they can't fix.

If something bad happens to someone you know and want to help, try some of the following things that might actually help them:
~Give them your phone number and tell them to call you if they ever want to talk and/or vent about what happened. Be sincere, but don't push them. If they don't want to talk, then don't force it.
~Offer to cook them dinner. Be sensitive to dietary restrictions or allergies.
~See if they need help with other household chores. Grief can make cleaning or babysitting even harder than it usually is, so offer to clean their house or watch their kids for an evening.
~Send them a nice email, but don't expect a response. If they're feeling lousy, they might not be up to answering emails, but it is nice to get a friendly message.

If you have a neurotic impulse to pray to your imaginary god about me, and you can't resist or your head is going to blow up, fine. Just don't tell me about it. Seriously.

10 October 2013

Teenagers and Abortion

I work at Planned Parenthood. When there's something about our services that I don't know enough about to answer questions about it, I do research. Sometimes, I get questions from teenagers about pregnancy options, including abortions.

First of all, let's get this out of the way: (some) teens have sex. Some of them get on birth control, some don't. Some use condoms, some don't. Some of those condoms break. Some teens are raped. Some get pregnant. Some decide to become teen parents. Some put their child up for adoption. Some decide to get an abortion.

The problem with Pennsylvania is that teens need a parent's permission to get an abortion here. While some parents have no problem giving this permission, some will not grant it. Furthermore, some teens are too scared to ask their parents, or they don't want their parents to know that they're pregnant (or even that they're having sex). Those that can't or won't get permission from their parents have one more option: to get a judicial bypass.

The teen seeking an abortion can "bypass" her parents by meeting with a judge, who can give the permission necessary for the procedure. The judge asks questions to decide if the teen is mature enough to make her own decision about getting an abortion. If she is not deemed mature enough, then the judge has to decide if an abortion would be in her best interest.

Although it seems to be uncommon, the judge can deny the teen permission. Here's an article about a case in Pittsburgh where that happened: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/teen-rights-to-abortion-in-dispute-285291/. In 2010, "Jane Doe" went to a judge for permission to get an abortion, and she was denied. According to the article:

"After questioning her for more than an hour, the judge decided that she couldn't have the abortion, ruling she was not mature and capable of making an informed decision about the procedure."

Forgive my language, but: What. The. Fuck.

A 17-year-old young woman is not mature enough to make an informed decision about what to do with her own body? Even though she has to watch an informed consent video at least 24 hours before her procedure (by PA law). I call Bullshit.

If this young woman is not mature enough to get informed consent and decide to get a medical procedure that is arguably safer than nine months of pregnancy and childbirth (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/23/us-abortion-idUSTRE80M2BS20120123), then how the hell is she mature enough to take care of herself and a developing fetus, handle the stress of pregnancy and childbirth, and then parent or put a child up for adoption? That was a rhetorical question.

Like other backwards states (i.e. Texas and Mississippi), Pennsylvania is making it more and more difficult for women to get an abortion. If lawmakers could overturn Roe v. Wade, I believe that they absolutely would. Politicians would love to control every aspect of women's reproductive lives, and we cannot let them do that. If you do nothing else, at least pay attention to what's going on around you. This is not an isolated incident.

Sources/further reading:

Obviously, I'm writing this on my personal blog, and my opinions in this and other posts are my own, and should not be seen as representative of Planned Parenthood Keystone or Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

08 October 2013

Dressing Up for Class

For those of you who don't know me, I went to an all women's college for my first year of school, Bryn Mawr College (BMC), before I went to a "regular" school to finish my Bachelor's degree at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP).

When I was still a lowly high schooler, touring college campuses and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I remember staying at BMC overnight for a prospective student weekend. One of the things we would talk about most is the supposed benefits of attending an all women's college. The current students went on and on about what a relief it was not having to get "dressed up" to go to class--as if women at "regular" schools have to spend hours every morning before class to primp just because there are actual men in their classes.

Let's just pretend for a minute that there were no men in my BMC classes (people from three other colleges could attend BMC classes, so we usually had a few men in each class).

Even at YCP, where the classes were usually half women and half men, no one cared what anyone else wore. People wore pajamas to class regularly. Sure, some people went out of their way to look nice to go to class, but not many people cared enough for that. I usually wore ratty jeans and an old hoodie to go to class, both at BMC and YCP. The point is that no one cared, at either school, what you wore to class.

The point of going to college is to get an education (and/or a degree), not to pick up a hot date. If you're looking for a date, go to a bar. It's cheaper and a LOT less work.

07 October 2013

Upward Dog, Downward Dog, and My Dog

I've been practicing yoga on and off for the past six years, and I've recently been trying to practice more regularly. My dog, Peppy, feels the need to "help" me. I think he just likes licking the sweat off my face, but it's adorable nonetheless. I got my boyfriend to take some pictures of me practicing, so that I could see how I was doing some of the poses and how I could improve. Unsurprisingly, Peppy ended up in most of the pictures. Here are a few of them:

Upward dog

Bow pose

Cobbler's pose
Yoga helps me feel a lot better physically and mentally, so I'm going to continue practicing at least 2-3 times per week. Thankfully, my boys are very supportive.