Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chapter II: Older & Bolder

I first started posting this blog shortly after my 35th birthday. It was a gift to myself so I could live my life without being too scared that I might be discovered for being a little bit crazy, a little bit lonely, and making a whole lot of noise. I started by disclosing my deepest secrets, often exposing to my deepest fears. Initially I chose the motto: "Too old to start over, Too young to forget." Eventually that moniker evolved into something a little more challenging and inspirational, "Too old to start over, Too young to give up." Now that my 36th birthday is just around the corner (actually, more like an intersection) I plan to spend the last few days I have in this demographic bracket uncovering some the essays I have written that still need a little tweaking, and a whole lot of twacking! So be prepared to find a few typos, a few disconnected thoughts without making an obvious transition. Because I am naming the next phase of my life, you know, the "35 and up" phase, "Chapter II: A Little Bit Older, And a Whole Lot Bolder." I have enjoyed the feedback I have gotten from so many people from all walks of life who have written in response to something I have written. Women I have never met, from places I do not know. Women like Joy and Cat who encourage me to keep writing even if they disagree with some of my core values or excessive use of profanity. Women (or men) who have somehow managed to stumble across my writings in one of their many raw forms without realizing that just by contacting me, much of the fear and hesitation I once felt about publishing my collection of personal (and professional) essays have been replaced with a new found sense of pride and accomplishment. Fear and uncertainty have are quickly evolving into confidence and proliferation. Personally, professionally, and spiritually, I hope to continue "kicking ass and taking names," because at this point in my life, I may actually start doing that a little bit more. You will notice that I am reclaiming my name and uncovering the many aliases I have used over the years... I am done hiding. I'm am not perfect, and I will always struggle with my obsession to find just The Write Words, but I'm guessing it is probably good enough. Probably good enough so that most people will won't even notice if I forget to capitalize a proper noun or if I end a sentence with a preposition. So be it. You may also notice that I am reclaiming my name, and will be using try to cut down on the number of anonymous postings I listed under an alias because I was afraid I would be embarrassed if my work was not well received. I am ranges from the less obvious accounts I have created to maintain a bit of distance between myself and my classmates, peers, and colleagues, but in addition to "Miss Elyss" or "Lyssie D." I am even willing to admit that I have created so many login accounts and user names to post anonymously, that I have forgotten most of the passwords to access my own content. But I am rather proud of the creativity I demonstrated when I came up with two of my personal favorites, "I.M.Phobic" and "EyePhobic." I never could get into that whole IM thing, webcam or chat rooms! The way I see it, it is bad enough i need to put on clothes and make-up to leave the house-- I'll be damned if I have to put on make-up to send an e-mail! Yes, they were all me. They are a pert of me, because like so many women-- no... like so many people... I'm a little bit of everything... so for those of you who are listening and even to those of you who just wish I would shut the fuck up already; be careful what you wish for! The more content I create, the easier it becomes to let go... and the more I let go, the more I can heal. The more I can heal, the more I can focus on the academic issues that will always be my first and primary area of interest. However, it seems rather obvious to me now that the only way out is through. So, I will continue to write through the dark and hope that it I can become more present minded rather than being trapped by memories from the past. To Joy, Cat, TA James, and a few others, thanks so much for the gift. I hope I can make you proud! Goodnight to you all,
The curious can find anything and everything! I often wonder why it is so much easier for others to to get my information about me than it is for me to get about myself! I'm a digger. To be clear, that is "digger." I never use the "N" word, and I'm way too proud to marry for money. I'm a digger. I love information. I love to find, I love to collect it, but most of all, I love to use it. I love to dissect it, analyze it, formulate new questions and ponder the answers. I love the journey of natural inquiry... never knowing where my racing mind will take me, often surprised surprised by the answer, but always, always intrigued by the things I encounter along the way. So I set out to find the answer to one question, and instead I find myself asking a million more. It keeps me up at night, and allows me to avoid the day. My life is not unexamined, and my thought patterns may be far from typical, but the things I have learned along the way are by far the most intriguing and most unique. I am not afraid to ask questions, nor am I afraid that I don't have all the answers. As a digger, I do know that it is the path least taken: the creative, atypical mind; that is riddled with creativity, tangential thoughts and questions that often deliver the most interesting answers. But sometimes, it is the answers that deliver us to the most interesting questions. We often think that questions drive the inquiry-- at least that's what they tell us in school. To use the "Scientific Method." And of course, to never, ever color outside the lines. But aren't the best discoveries the ones we weren't searching for? The unexpected gift... the non-occasion. The beauty is in the every day. The challenge is in the unexpected. Call me crazy if you like (and many have) but I can assure you that there will come a day when all of that R.A.M. will come in handy. I am definitely asking the right questions... and maybe one day you will too. Finding my voice has allowed me to appreciate the silence. The hours between dusk and dawn where the rest of the world sleeps and I dig. I dig and I write. I fill the lonely hours with my innermost thoughts, and my very best friend. So as the rest of the world sleeps soundly, surrounded by loved ones in a sanctuary they call home, I fill myself with books, journals and information. Lots and lots of information. Who would have thought that loneliness can become a family in it's own right? It is always there and it is always familiar. That solitude can become our greatest companion and that strangers can become our best friends. I miss New York. I miss Dr. Stu. I miss Jefferey and I miss Todd. I miss my wild, brilliant friends plagued by curiosity, insomnia, and creativity. Hey boys-- guess what? I'm coming home! Let's go to hot and crusty at 3 a.m. when everything really is, yes, "hot and crusty!" Lets go the Internet cafe across from the Hello Kitty store and wake up old friends that actually dare to sleep when it is dark out??? WAKE-UP TODD! I've been calling you for hours! I have a joke to I want to tell you! New York, New York... The "City" that never sleeps? See I don't think it was ever really about the city, I think it is more about the anonymity. Someplace you can be yourself, and never worry about being judged by your in-bred hillbilly neighbors who are, in all honesty, much more focused on raising hell then raising children... To them, I am "strange." I am "weird." I am "Italian." or "Jewish" or "something!" because I talk really really fast! You are all wrong: I'm from New York! So while you sleep, I dig. I learn , I question, and I write. But I do it alone, and I'm starting not to like so much. So for all of you out there who are insomniacs: "writers," "consultants," "perpetually un and underemployed yet overqualified" computer geeks -- please enjoy my video blog below. I chose a few songs have keep me company at night. Just loud enough to drown out the drunk couple outside my window having yet another domestic dispute, but low enough so that the neighbors downstairs won't complain. Hopefully, you will know some of the selections that have kept me dancing in the living room into the wee hours of the morning, and can learn something about my favorite word if you are paying attention... You'll find all of my favorites in one place. So enjoy the trip my friends, it's getting early for some, but late for others, and I've got some shit to do before the world wakes up, because to quote John Cougar (or is it Melloncamp?) I Ain't Even Done With The Night! http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=04EA65F6BD91E91B DESCRIPTION: Everything from my favorite word to my favorite website. There's something in there for pretty much every mood-- songs to make you cry, videos to make you laugh. Political ads that make you sick and some that will give you chills-- but at least they make you feel!!! Finding my voice, and hearing those of strangers has given me the strength I needed to move on. So for so many of you who have contacted me lately, via the web, via your cell phone, or even by way of a nasty website-- stand tall and stand close because much like fear, courage also rubs off on you somehow when you are surrounded by the right people. So a big shout out, and a sincere word of thanks to all of you who have helped to find my voice once again and the courage to say whatever is on my mind... Say it loud, say it proud, just say it! I will not be ignored and I will not be forgotten. But guess what, Here Comes the Sun. I made it through night and now it's time to go, because that was SO yesterday! Thanks for giving, good luck forgetting! Elyssa D'Educrat / Elyssa D. Durant Nashville, Tennessee / New York, New York http://www.youtube.com/user/elyssadurant

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Brief History of Tennessee Healthcare



(For Historical Reference)



1996: Throughout the three year process of filing appeal after appeal after appeal, I acquired well over 1/4 million dollars in debt due to uninsured medical expenses and student loans. My life will never be the same. My heart will never be the same.

1999: Patient X: Corporate TennCare adjusted the prescription formulary over Memorial Day in 1999 and failed refused to offer a 3-day or 14-Day emergency supply as mandated by Grier.

2001: I have no other benefits. No Social Security checks to count on; no disability payments to pull together; no Medicare to meet me when the bottom falls out, again. This surely is not the first time my Medicaid has not come through as a reliable source of payment. It is not even the second or third time. It more like the eight or ninth, maybe more often than that. I only recently qualified for Medicaid some eight months ago! Since then, I have already acquired several thousand dollars in unpaid medical expenses that have made their way to collection agencies.

2002: Before my benefits were stabilized, learning to navigate the system consumed every waking moment of my life. I was unable to work or attend school on any substantial level and I am frightened to see at might happen if I were to stray from my established, stabilized, treatment plan. If I lose my benefits, will I still be able to work? To function? To be productive?

2005: The massive number of people being dis-enrolled or limited in their access to medical care and other social services will no doubt create significant anxiety, confusion, and chaos for everyone involved in the social service and health care industries.

2006: Without my current level of benefits, I simply do not function.

2007: I remember how difficult it was for me to obtain benefits when I first applied several years ago. I am deeply concerned about how the most recent decision to eradicate yet another class of TennCare / Medicaid recipients (the Daniels class that is made up of SSI recipients by way of a pending federal waiver) will affect the poor and disabled residents in Tennessee.

MAY 2008: And even though my life has become a living hell, I have almost learned to enjoy the sheer irony of it all... for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

JULY 2008: I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land, but I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled at expressing myself without an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

AUGUST 2008: So after all this-- now I face losing my health care once again? Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point spending so much on an education that will never be utilized? I understand the how; I just don't understand why.

LAST MONTH: So for now... I write. Maybe later, I'll read. But if there is any justice left in this world, maybe someday, I'll actually live.

TODAY: Good-bye for now. I need a break.