Nicole

Insurance vs. Independence.

I love my parents. Love them. They've been such a positive influence in my life...there's no way to thank them enough for what they've done.

However, I'm 21. I want to be on my own. But...

...I have to stay on my parents' insurance plan. Since there's no way I could pay for the cobra policy, they pay for it. They pay over $500 a month- not including co-pays for doctor appointments and visits- just to keep me on the insurance plan. Medical care just costs that much for me.

This is necessary care. The medication and doctor's appointments are not optional. And, there's no way on my barely-there "salary" that I could ever, ever afford this on my own.

Heartbreak and Lebanon.

About 24 years ago, my parents were married. My father is Lebanese- no one in his immediate family was able to make it all the way to Pennsylvania for the wedding. However, they were making up for that- they were honeymooning in Lebanon.

At least, they were planning to. The week my parents got married was the week the Beirut airport was bombed. They couldn't go.

The airport was bombed by then-general Ariel Sharon. My mom's first name: Sharon. It was morbidly funny. The headlines announced "Sharon invades Lebanon!"

And, now- the Beirut airport has been bombed again.

I feel so stupid- I honestly thought that things in Lebanon, after I witnessed all the growth and rebuilding everytime I went there to visit, were going to be okay. Sure, not as safe as the US- but safe.

Body Hair and My Senior Year

My senior year of high school, I stopped shaving under my arms. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Most people think of women/girls who don't shave as "butch ugly bulld*kes." Sorry for the language, but I can't think of any other way to express how repulsed by the idea as well as ignorant some people were(and are, for that matter).

And, here I was, this thin, feminine girl dressed in cute little tanks and skirts, fond of pink, with long, flowing, curly hair. Aw, how adorable...

...until I would stretch my arms. Oops! It was wonderful. Other kids had trouble reconciling their mental image of the girl who doesn't shave and the actual, real life thing.

Sex and the Nicole.

My vast majority of my sexual experiences have been extremely positive, from several different viewpoints, including emotionally.

This isn't the case with a lot of women. I don't want to go into specifics about my experiences, or those of my friends, but, let's put it this way: I'm lucky.

There's a book I read, Cunt, that properly expressed the feeling I get when I think about this. If a girl's or woman's sexual past hasn't included anything bad- she says that "She's lucky."

What the hell? What kind of society do we live in if that means that we're lucky?

What's been interesting me over the past six months or so is becoming a women's health and sexuality educator. Especially to adolescents, because, and I'm speaking from personal experience, most health classes are far from helpful.

My Feminist Utopia

I moved into an “intentional community” this year at the beginning of May. I like to call it the hippiehouse, although it’s technically two houses. There are about eight or nine people living here, give or take- and all are focused on progressive, activist issues. It’s a very positive environment to be in.

It makes me feel as if I’m not so alone in wanting change. It was a similar feeling that I got when last year I went to a huge anti-war protest on the Mall. It was knowing that other people “got” what I was so upset about- they understood why I thought things were wrong. Not only did they understand- they agreed with me.

Dear Me.

Dear Nicole,

This probably sounds a little dumb- I'm sure you know a lot know than I do at this moment.

I just want to remind you that things are going to be okay. I hope you're gloriously happy and fulfilled, but just remember, even if you're not- you've been through a lot, and even I know that you'll come out alright.

Even though things have already been tough for me, they’ve probably been tougher for you. A mental disorder like yours just doesn’t go away. And that’s okay- you don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay if you’re not off all, or even some of the medication by now. Hell, it’s okay if you’re on more. I know you were hoping to be completely free of it, but even if you’re not, know that the 20 year old you thinks that will be okay.

Mom.

If you ask about my favorite feminist, my female role model, my inspiration for my beliefs, one person comes to mind: my mother.

What can I say? I’m not only a feminist, but the daughter of a feminist. I’ll probably have little mini-feminists of my own some day (or maybe not). However, the situation in which my mom discovered her feminist views was very different then my own. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where the majority of people were feminists- whether they realized it or not. My mom wasn’t.

My mom was the valedictorian of her high school. Her guidance counselor sat across from her, looked at her grades, and replied that she’d have no trouble getting into a very nice two-year women’s college. After attending Trinity College in Connecticut, she was accepted into Yale graduate school- on scholarship.

Not all who wander...

I grew up comfortably in the suburbs, with parents who were well-paid computer scientists with pHds from Harvard and Yale. My years were pretty much laid out before me: I’d go to the preschool down the street, then the elementary school down the street from the preschool, then the middle school down the street from the elementary school, finishing with the high school, which was, of course, down the street from the middle school. Of course, after that I’d go to college, which would probably be the one where my dad taught.

Somewhere along the line, this plan started to fall apart. I went to the high school, but barely graduated. I went to the college, but dropped out. I even went to art school, but only completed one year.

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