Tag Archives: debt

Student Loans

It’s that time of year again. Time to beg for a reprieve. Time to face the mountain of crushing debt.

If you are chained to a massive student loan debt, you understand where I’m coming from.

If it weren’t for Habitat for Humanity, I would never own a house. That’s how rank the stench is that emanates from my financial pores, and the holier-than-thou banks won’t even touch me.

The reasons I finally went back to school at age 32 are myriad, centering around an accidental pregnancy with a man who was not raised to be a father or a human, and stemming back to all the years that people commented on my wasted potential. Topped off with an old promise to my family. And nostalgia about the good old days of textbooks, class discussions and just having an excuse to study something, which I love.

But I wasn’t cultivating my potential. I was lining someone’s pockets.

Well, promising to line their pockets, anyway.

I know, I know. “You promised.” “You didn’t have to.” “You can’t back out of your obligations.” Blah, blah, blah.

The way I saw life in November of 2001 (and sure, let’s blame some of the unclear thinking on the trauma of 9/11, just to take any bit of the weight off me), I had three choices:

  1. Abortion. (If all the in-your-face wealthy “Pro-lifers”each threw $5 in a pot to congratulate me for my decision not to off my fetus, I’d be out of the hole and then some.)
  2. Have the baby and go back to work, leaving an infant to be cared for by strangers at a daycare (No offense to anyone who chooses this path, I’m simply sharing my emotional response. And I would do just about any extreme thing before I could leave my baby for 40+ hours a week. Some people have an unnatural fear of snakes, I have an unnatural fear of being separated from my baby.)
  3. Go back to school and only be away from my baby for maybe six hours a week while I was at class. (I managed to make arrangements for her to be cared for by close friends and family during the short times we were apart.)

I chose door number three. Got a Bachelor’s degree, only to discover they are the new high school diploma. “Well, of course you have one of THOSE. What is your master’s in?”

And now they want me to start paying back $430 per month. When I’m currently making $400.

I know, I know, it’s my own damn fault. You don’t have to keep reminding me.

Even if my degree isn’t worth a dime, the time I spent with my baby is certainly worth $43,000. Worth a helluva lot more than that, actually, so I guess I’m getting a pretty good deal.

An artist since the beginning

These blue eyes are worth more than all the money in the world

Breast Cancer Close to Home

My Mom and Me, 1973

My Mom is having a mastectomy today. I wish I had any confidence in the medical system’s ability to diagnose, treat or even understand breast cancer. Or any kind of illness, really.

But with breast cancer in particular I’ve seen so many women tortured with the current preventative and curative methods. Maybe it’s because of the obscene amounts of money involved in every single procedure that I can’t help but suspect that the entire system is a self-perpetuating profit machine.

This pink campaign for the month of October, which extends even into the ultimate macho arena of NFL football, makes how much money in socks and hats and banners and whatnot?

Meanwhile there are women in this country who can’t even afford health care to get tested or treated. There are women being treated who are having to spend their life savings, sell their houses, run their families into terrifying debt, just to hope that the doctors have a clue what they’re doing.

My Mom and I in Arkansas, 1971

I hope that my Mom’s surgery today has the best possible outcome. I hope that there is the absolute minimum of pain and discomfort, and I’m including the pain of the extreme fear that is generated by this cancer machine. She, as well as all women, deserve healing, wholeness and peace of mind.

Is there any of this in our current cancer program?