Dear Mitt Romney, Here’s My 47% Story

In 2003, I was unexpectedly pregnant. But, oh, I was in love with my child.

I began working at a low-paying job, at all kinds of stupid hours, so I could provide for my child, for myself. I did sign up for Medical Assistance through state assistance because my employer did not offer (affordable) insurance, but I didn’t sign up for Food Stamps or Cash Assistance through the state of Pennsylvania because certain groups of people made that a shameful action. I believed I was stronger and better than people who needed such things. I was going to Make It in the world, without help, without assistance.

Ah, how pride cometh before the fall.

At 18 weeks pregnant, I was at work when I started to feel a little woozy. My back hurt horribly, and not in an “I’m Pregnant and Achy All Over Way.” I wasn’t even showing yet, so it wasn’t even an “I Gained Too Much Weight Already And My Back Hurts.” I knew it was different. I felt whiny, but I left work early, ate a sandwich, and took a nap in my modest, self-funded apartment. I woke up with a fever of 104. After calling my doctor, I went straight to the Emergency Room.

What follows is a story that no young mother expects to live. I went through an emergency surgery on my kidney. I was placed on Level III bed rest, suddenly unable to work or even get out of bed to shower everyday. I had to go on Cash Assistance to make my rent. I had to sign up for Food Stamps in order to eat. I was kicked off assistance three times during my pregnancy because I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t drive myself to appointments to keep that assistance. I had to fight to keep enough money coming in to eat food — food that I couldn’t get out of bed and prepare for myself.

Due to that craziness that ensued because of an undiagnosed kidney disorder and the panic of not being able to work, not being able to keep assistance, I relinquished that baby — my only daughter — for adoption.

Needless to say, I did not earn enough money in 2003 to be required to pay federal taxes, like the 47% you chastised and called entitled. I also didn’t spend all of my Food Stamps that were allotted to me in that year. Nor did I use all of the Cash Assistance. I simply couldn’t go out and spend the money. It was a year of bare necessities, a year of bare minimum. I only gained 19 pounds that pregnancy, partly because of my health and partly because I couldn’t get up and get food, make food, find the energy to consume food.

As for my “entitlement” to the health care that I received during that pregnancy, I felt no such entitlement. I simply needed it. I felt shame then, and it angers me that you are still shaming me now, nine years later. Without that medical coverage, Mr. Romney, I would have died. Plain and simple. My life was on the line twice during that pregnancy. But you see, I paid taxes before that pregnancy and have paid taxes every year since that pregnancy. I have worked my ass off. And, even if I hadn’t, even if legislation and economy failures and poor choices I could have made would have kept me from finding stable employment and building my life — even if I hadn’t wanted to do right by my daughter and prove myself to be more than a failure — I believe that my living, breathing self was worth your tax dollars. I believe that the doctors working hard to save my life, to help keep my unborn child safe from my own toxic body, oh, I believe we were both worth it. Especially her.

I will vote for a President who doesn’t make me feel guilty for signing up for Medical Assistance when I needed it. I will vote for a President who doesn’t villainize me for a health condition that we didn’t know about, that landed me flat on my back and in need of help from others. I will vote for a President who doesn’t make me out to be the bad guy for accepting that help. I will vote for a President who doesn’t throw me under the bus in the name of campaigning. I may not have paid taxes in 2003, but I can assure you that I will stand with those who need assistance, who need help, and vote for Obama in 2012.

Obama Plate

 

This post originally appears on The Chronicles of Munchkin Land, my now defunct adoption blog.

 

This post was syndicated by BlogHer on September 18, 2012.

 

 

Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids

In the Spring or Autumn of Anger

Sometimes you just want to hear, “I’m sorry you’re sad.”

Or even, “I understand why you’re angry.”

“That must be hard.”

“I’m here for you.”

I don’t necessarily want everything to be fixed, made better. I want arms to wrap around me, pull me close and hold me while I cry tears of confusion and hurt. I want a hand to pet my hair, rub my scalp. I want fingers to wipe away my tears, smear my not-quite-waterproof mascara and kiss the marks on my face.

Maybe mostly because I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t understand why I feel this a crushing blow, a personal affront to everything I have done and worked for and fought for and achieved. For me, not understanding something makes my anxiety skyrocket. I hate that feeling of confusion, of not being in control of myself — let alone a situation over which I will not, do not and should not have any control. The fact that I am feeling something that isn’t logical makes me angry, with myself as well as the situation at hand. It’s a cycle of messy feelings, confusing thoughts and general angst.

I hate myself in these moments, in the deep thick of trying to make sense of things that might not ever make any sense. I avoid looking at myself in the mirror — though my dreams are haunted by the reality of what was and what is. I wake up mad — not at the world, not even at the one who doesn’t even know I’m mad — but at myself. For being mad. For being sad. For being.

Today I stood in the bathroom and stared at myself. I allowed myself to go to the place I had stayed away from, avoided. I hope every time you look at her, you feel guilt for what you did. Bile rises in my throat, an instant reaction to anger and hate so deep and so pure, not watered down with politically correct filters or kindness or gentleness. Pure, unmitigated, the stuff that kills — usually the one feeling it, not the one to whom it is directed. I bent over the toilet, spitting out what I can.

But the truth remains; I feel that way. It makes me even angrier that I don’t know when or if that feeling will eventually lose steam, run its course, live its season and fall from the tree, from me.

Red Red

I stand with it now, hoping this is the autumn and not the spring.

 

This post originally appeared on my now defunct adoption blog, The Chronicles of Munchkin Land.