‘You’re exposed’: Scantily-clad models prowl Denver selling Obamacare [pics]

http://twitter.com/#!/Matthops82/status/385430657754607616

Nothing like nearly-naked people to remind you that pretty soon the government will force you to have health insurance — whether you like it or not.

From the Denver Post:

Promoters and health insurers fanned out with multimedia ads to encourage sign-ups. Colorado HealthOP, a consumer-run cooperative selling insurance plans on the exchange, sent models in skimpy clothing — and sporting signs with information — to greet Denver&;s 16th Street Mall lunch crowds.

Move over, SlutWalk.

http://twitter.com/#!/COHealthOP/status/385096045388365824

http://twitter.com/#!/COHealthOP/status/385062830967631872

Without health insurance, you&8217;re &;exposed.&; Get it? Get it?

http://twitter.com/#!/COHealthOP/status/385037629672390656

colorado-nude-obamacare-1

http://twitter.com/#!/COHealthOP/status/385045786696122368

http://twitter.com/#!/COHealthOP/status/385039439829172224

Isn&8217;t Obamacare, like, totally sexy now?

Bow-chicka hell no.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/10/03/youre-exposed-scantily-clad-models-prowl-the-streets-of-denver-selling-obamacare-pics/

‘You’re exposed’: Scantily-clad models prowl Denver selling Obamacare [pics] was originally seen on Health Supplements

Gabrielle Union: “People Want To See Themselves Reflected On TV”

The star talks about life as a jobbing actor, the theft of her nude photos, and her “lesbian short film”.

Everett Collection/REX USA

It’s hard to believe it, but Gabrielle Union has been on our screens since the early ’90s: There she is in Family Matters (1993), for example, plus Moesha (1996), Sister, Sister (1997), and even, as a young Klingon warrior, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1997). In the late ’90s and ’00s, she made the leap on to the big screen by starring in teen classics She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Bring It On, and hasn’t stopped working since.

Universal Pictures

Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures

 

Now she’s back on the small screen, starring in ‘s Being Mary Jane. Of the feature-length pilot episode (created and written by TV veteran Mara Brock Akil), the San Francisco Chronicle said “the script is good enough to bring out the best in this cast”, and the Los Angeles Times called it “thematically ambitious”. The show is now on its second season, and last month was renewed for a third.

Union plays the title character, a TV news anchor in Atlanta trying her best to make the multiple strands of her life — work, family, and love — come together. Mary Jane is a complex woman: For every good decision, she makes at least two bad ones. The entirety of her Season 1 love life, usually caught between the push and pull of Andre (Omari Hardwick) and David (Stephen Bishop), was an object lesson in “How Not to Go About Your Love Life”.

But there is humour and humanity in her alongside the usual TV tropes of “career woman” and “Single Black Female” (which was the show’s original title). As the lead — and a black female lead is an occurrence that will hopefully be happening more and more in this post-Shonda Rhimes world — Union is in almost every scene, a formidable task that she seems to relish.

Akil Productions / BET

Ahead of Season 2 starting in the UK (at 10pm on March 9 on BET), BuzzFeed had a quick conversation with the star about fame, life as a jobbing actress, and the diversity hurdle is still struggling to clear.

So what’s new in Being Mary Jane?

A lot of changes at work. Talk Back [the news programme Mary Jane presents] is taken in a new direction and she’s given a pretty big opportunity… Niecy [Mary Jane’s niece] moves in with her, and of course she’s on her second child with her second babydaddy with no job, no education, so there’s the fun of that. Niecy also has a new love interest — or a returning love interest, I guess…

Frenemies: We explore friendships that are not quite healthy — or equal.

And there are two new love interests, plus David. So she’s trying to figure out what’s happening with David, and get over his Season 1 finale bombshell and try to process that.

Akil Productions/BET

Akil Productions/BET

 

You’ve been working for such a long time. Do you still see yourself as a jobbing actress? What’s it like being famous?

I think as a black actress — because our road isn’t as easy as it appears — like, the jobs just aren’t sort of lined up like how you with see some of our white counterparts, who have, like…80 jobs. (laughs) Like, “I’ve finished this and then I go here, then there’s this, and…” their schedule is filled? It’s not exactly like that for us. So each job feels like a) a revelation, and b) you’re so freaking grateful, and then the worry starts: “OK, when, if this job ends, where does that leave me?”

But fame is something different. So being famous doesn’t necessarily translate to work. Those are two different things. Being famous is a weird thing, just… Today, we got in the car and the driver, I mean I have an alias, it’s kind of funny, and it in no way sounds like me. So he is looking for this weird name and I get in the car and he’s in the driver’s seat and I’m in the backseat. And he’s like (mimes awestruck, open-mouthed silence) but for a full minute. For a long time.

What was your face doing while he was staring?

I was just like, “Hey, how are you?” you know, whatever, and he’s like, “I know you!” but then he pulled it together.

Those are the moments where I feel like, “Oh, OK, shit. Yeah. I guess.”

And it’s funny, because oftentimes, the studios in the States, they’ll be like, “Oh, you don’t need to do any foreign press because your movies don’t do well over there.” And so for the longest, when I would come to the UK, or throughout Europe or Africa, or Asia, I’m assuming because “our movies don’t do well”, no one will know who I am. But from the first time I came to London, it was, “Gabrielle Union!” (points) I was like, “Wait — you haven’t seen my movies, though!” And they were like, “What?”

And somebody took me to Piccadilly Circus, where they sell all the bootleg movies, and all of our movies were doing brisk business! We didn’t know that. We didn’t know that by hook or by crook, our movies are being seen, and we’re known. Every time you’re kinda like, “Nobody’s going to know who I am,” and then they do.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

How do you think Hollywood’s relationship with black actors has changed over the course of your career?

It goes in waves. It’s almost like the colours of fashion week, and someone will be like, “orange is the new black!” or “green is the new black!” So, some years we’re in and some years we’re not. Right now we’re in. But it’s because of the success of the Shonda block.

You know, not everyone includes Grey’s Anatomy, but it has an incredibly diverse cast. With the success of Grey’s, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder — and in the States, they come on in that order — she has a whole block of that has done extremely well. And people want to replicate that success. So there has been more work.

Somebody asked, “Do you feel like it’s your time?” and I’m like, “I think it’s always been our time, we just didn’t all have the same watch.”

But I think finally TV and film are catching up with the diversity that is the global community and the fact that people want to see themselves reflected on TV. As many gains as African-American actresses have made on TV this season — and the last couple of seasons — where are our Latina actresses, where are our Asian, our Middle Eastern, our Native American actresses? And where is the diversity within those groups? We still have a ways to go. I don’t want to get too comfortable and pat myself on the back. There’s more to do.

Kevin Winter / Getty/BuzzFeed

What’s been your most challenging role? Is it Mary Jane? Is she the one you take home every night?

I think, with Being Mary Jane, the way we shoot it makes it an incredible career challenge. We shoot almost 10 pages a day, which is unheard of. The average is four, four and a half. You usually shoot one episode in nine days.

We shoot two episodes at a time, in about two weeks. It’s a lot of pages. And Mary Jane is in most of the scenes. So just the sheer volume of work a day makes it incredibly challenging. I don’t have a choice but to take it home with me because I have to prepare for the next day. So it’s… The physical toll of what we are actually doing is very challenging.

But probably, Cadillac Records was often the most challenging. Very rarely do I get those kinds of roles, and that was really a challenge. We shot that movie in a very short amount of time but I loved it.

Akil Productions/BET

You were recently a victim of the theft and leaking of nude photographs of female celebrities. You called it “a violation and a crime”. What do you think can be done?

Y’know, I don’t know. I wish I had a better answer. I’m not that tech-savvy to understand what can actually be done. As they were explaining it to me, for every new roadblock they put up for hackers, they’re working just as hard to get around it and to create other ways in. So, for sure, it is a sex crime; there’s no other way to look at it. Um, it was a theft. It was, you know, probably a few things, and it’s happening globally.

And that’s just pictures of you know, a naked body. All of your information — your credit, everything you could possibly want to keep near and dear and secure — is vulnerable. You look at what happened with Sony. I probably don’t have as many firewalls to protect my stuff as they do to protect those movies, and people easily got around that. All of your data. Your financial history… I’m glad it was just my boobs, you know what I mean? Like, your financial history is your footprint, is your fingerprint. You destroy that, you take that away from somebody, you’ve literally taken away their life. I mean, that’s how serious it is. So much of how we live and how we are able to live, our opportunities, are all somewhere online. Somewhere. So, they just did something yesterday, trying to regulate the speeds and all of that…

So I’d like to think that if you can regulate internet speeds, you can criminalise this sort of behaviour and be a little bit more — or a lot more — active in prosecuting and finding these hackers that are doing so much damage. And it’s not just about nude pictures, that’s just one aspect. Protect us. You know? Protect us. As consumers.

You want our money? Protect us.

Union in Ava DuVernay’s short film The Door. Brigitte Lacombe For Miu Miu

I wanted to talk about Ava DuVernay and the short film she directed you in, The Door, which I loved…

(interrupting) Thank you! OK, so I have a question for you, which has become my new “what colour is The Dress?” Did you see that? What do you think?

It’s black and blue…

OK, thank you! It’s just the three of us! Did you think my character in The Door was a lesbian?

No, I did not. I didn’t assume any sexuality.

It’s about 50:50. It’s clearly… Because you never see “the guy”. You don’t really see who she’s with. But people are like, “It was such a strong, feminist, lesbian…” I was like, a what? (laughs).You don’t really see who she’s with! But there’s no men in the film! Which, I guess people assume, because if there’s no men involved, it must be a lesbian film. So now, I’m like, “Did you see my lesbian short?”

Season 2 of Being Mary Jane starts at 10pm on 9 March on BET.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/bimadewunmi/gabrielle-union-interview

Gabrielle Union: “People Want To See Themselves Reflected On TV” Find more on: http://agelessspine.com/

Pelosi says 9.5 million now covered thanks to O-care; Byron York has reality check

http://twitter.com/#!/Steve_Jaye/status/450651452571021312

is gushing today over an article in the LA Times:

http://twitter.com/#!/NancyPelosi/status/450650031679606784

Just last week, the Dems were rejoicing over a purported 6 million &8220;enrollees.&8221;

http://twitter.com/#!/PydePypper/status/450650783781228544

That&;s quite a leap.

http://twitter.com/#!/ommfgr/status/450651700794122241
http://twitter.com/#!/winojanet/status/450651354550132736

Well, the Dems have made it quite clear that facts just aren&8217;t important to them. But we&8217;re open-minded. We&8217;re willing to consider where this 9.5 million comes from.

The Washington Examiner&8217;s took a closer look:

http://twitter.com/#!/ByronYork/status/450665102145257472

Read it and weep:

The Times says the numbers break down like this: 4.5 million previously uninsured people are now on Medicaid; 3 million previously uninsured young people are now covered because of a provision that allows them to stay on their parents&8217; policies until age 26; and 2 million previously uninsured have purchased coverage on the exchanges. In all, it is &;the largest expansion in in America in half a century,&; according to the Times.

Assume all the numbers are correct, or at least close to correct. By far the largest part of Obamacare&8217;s coverage expansion has come from a) expanding Medicaid, and b) allowing young people to stay on their parents&8217; coverage. The part in which Democrats essentially blew up the health care markets, imposed the individual mandate, caused premiums to rise and deductibles to skyrocket? That hasn&8217;t been such a success. If the Times number are correct, all of that &; placing new burdens of higher costs and narrower choices on millions of Americans, in addition to setting the stage for coming changes in employer-based coverage &8212; has resulted in two million previously uninsured gaining coverage.

http://twitter.com/#!/ByronYork/status/450665201030139904

So, according to York, if we go by the LA Times&8217; breakdown, only 2 million people (21 percent) of the previously uninsured 9.5 million gained coverage through Obamacare exchanges.

http://twitter.com/#!/seanagnew/status/450669427739361280

The number of people who have gotten screwed by Obamacare is much higher:

http://twitter.com/#!/cherilboyer/status/450652307542114305

Millions &8230; and counting.

http://twitter.com/#!/jblanchard8012/status/450655053167067136

She&8217;s just plain misinformed. And we&8217;re paying for it.

***

Related:

Media lapdogs trumpet lousy, inaccurate Obamacare ‘enrollment’ figures

Pathetic: Jay Carney says WH still doesn’t have accurate Obamacare data, lies about enrollment goal

Shockah! HHS touts 3 million Obamacare ‘enrollments’ but doesn’t know when they happened

Obama administration’s O-care enrollment ‘good news’ demolished by reality

‘Burn’: Drudge zings Obamacare enrollment with chihuahua-riffic comparison

Ted Cruz has a simple question about Obama admin’s lack of O-care enrollment tracking

HHS touts O-care enrollment of 5 million; Incurious lapdoggies parrot number amid skepticism

‘Take my word for it’: Dems celebrate 6 million O-care enrollees; Requests for proof ignored

Ron Fournier rains ‘stubborn facts’ on 6 million Obamacare sign-ups party

Twitchy coverage of Nancy Pelosi

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/03/31/your-math-is-off-nancy-pelosi-says-9-5-million-now-covered-thanks-to-obamacare-byron-york-offers-reality-check/

The post Pelosi says 9.5 million now covered thanks to O-care; Byron York has reality check Find more on: Health Tips

Mucuna L-Dopa is Amazing!

Mucuna Is Changing Our Lives – For the Better

Our latest discovery here at AgelessSpine.com is an amazing herb called Mucuna pruriens. The main, active ingredient in this herb is L-Dopa, or levodopa. This is one of those herbs that, upon first taking it, you can actually feel the benefits right away.

Mucuna pruriensLately, a few of us have been experiencing difficulty sleeping. We like to blame this on things such as the full moon, but we even couldn’t sleep when the moon was waning…or waxing(?)
After some suggestions from an herbalist friend, and a bit of our own research, we self-discovered an an herb called Mucuna pruriens. We were impressed with the number of benefits this herb has on humans. Although it is difficult for herbal companies to talk about, Mucuna L-Dopa has been found to subside the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The L-Dopa found in the Mucuna plant is more effective than the synthetic levodopa the medical industry has been trying to create.

Best Mucuna Product: http://www.amazon.com/Mucuna-pruriens-Extract-Vegetarian-Capsules/dp/B00KXD4NI4

Some Other Benefits of Mucuna pruriens

Mucuna has long been used to help people addicted to opiate drugs such as heroin and meth. The fact that L-Dopa triggers the “happy” serotonin levels in your brain gives you a healthy, happy outlook on life. This is similar to what drugs do, but in a healthy, less substantial way. This sounds like a great alternative to drug therapy than weening off with the actual drug, which is not healthy.

So, none of us in our household suffer from Parkinson’s or drug abuse. Why are we talking Mucuna you might ask? Well, who doesn’t want to feel happy from a completely healthy, non-toxic herb?
We found that taking Mucuna L-Dopa before bed helped us sleep way better without feeling groggy in the morning. Our theory, along with many others, is that when our happy levels (serotonin) is triggered, those awful night time worries also go away, allowing our brains to rest, in turn allowing our bodies to fully rest.

Is Mucuna Addicting?

Addiction is a difficult thing to coin something with. Is Mucuna addicting in the sense that our body craves it? No. However, I feel if I don’t take Mucuna before bed I will most likely not get the best night of sleep. This is more of a psychological addiction. It’s a good this is a healthy “addiction”.

This is the best Mucuna L-Dopa product we have found: http://www.amazon.com/Mucuna-pruriens-Extract-Vegetarian-Capsules/dp/B00KXD4NI4

Mucuna L-Dopa is Amazing! is courtesy of www.agelessspine.com

You’ve Been Feeding The Ducks Wrong Your Whole Life

Be the responsible duck feeder you know you want to be.

1. Hey! It’s a lovely day outside! Let’s go to the park to feed the ducks!

2. Obviously, you’re going to need something other than just your hand to feed them.

3. How about the last of that white loaf you have on top of the fridge?

Stacey Newman / Getty Images

4. NO. STOP AND PUT THAT DOWN.

5. Bread is not the best thing to feed the ducks.

Zwilling330 / Thinkstock

“We would say that feeding bread to birds won’t do them any harm but it won’t do them much good either,” Gemma Butlin, a spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told BuzzFeed.

“It’s a bit like if we eat too much bread – we feel good to start with but them we feel bloated and sluggish. And that could be detrimental for birds as they will fill up on it and not other, more nutritious foods.”

6. Letting ducks fill up bread and miss out on important nutrients can do them real harm.

Cengland0 / en.wikipedia.org

“If they miss out on essential nutrients, they can get an illness known as angel wing,” Mark Simpson, a spokesperson for the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), told BuzzFeed. “It’s a deformity that can leave them flightless and can be fatal.”

You can see what angel wing looks like in the photo above.

7. So what should you be instead?

Tom Blackwell / Flickr: tjblackwell / Creative Commons

“WWT supplies a grain mix for duck feeding at its wetland centres, and recommends that people use similar specialist water bird food, available from pet stores and garden centres and feed only in moderation,” says Simpson.

So that’s the ideal. But if you’re looking for something you might already have in your kitchen cupboards that’s better than white bread?

“Birds need food that give them energy,” says Butlin. “Brown bread is marginally better than white bread, as it does contain a bit more nutrition,” but it’s still not great.

“Far better would be things like porridge oats, grated cheese, cake or biscuit crumbs, cooked potatoes, cooked rice, breakfast cereals or frozen vegetables for example.”

According to a leaflet produced by the Royal Parks Press Office, swans “really like” lettuce. They also suggest cooked brown rice, lentils, pearl barley or split peas.

8. And then the ducks will have plenty of energy for cute little stamping (and nesting and feeding their young and stuff too).

Read more: http://ift.tt/1DFb6ey

You’ve Been Feeding The Ducks Wrong Your Whole Life is available on http://ift.tt/1V0QtmS

Some California Students Without Measles Immunization Banned From School

Almost 70 students were dismissed from Palm Desert High School for two weeks or until they show proof of immunization.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

School is out for 66 students at Palm Desert high School in who have not been fully vaccinated for measles.

The students were dismissed from classes Wednesday afternoon, and will not be allowed to return for the next two weeks — or until they show proof they’ve been vaccinated, Mary Perry, spokeswoman for the Desert Sands Unified School District said in a statement. Permission to return to school will be given by the Riverside County Public Health Department.

The ban came after another student was possibly infected with the . After being cleared by the Riverside County Public Health Department, the student is now allowed to return to school.

Schools in other districts of California are also taking precautions against the spread of the virus. In Santa Monica High School, a freshman baseball coach was diagnosed with measles. After examining the situation, the school district determined the students were not at risk.

In Huntington Beach, after a student was confirmed with measles, 24 classmates were asked to stay home for three weeks since they couldn’t provide proof of immunization.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

And a father of a 6-year-old with leukemia has asked the Marin County school district to keep unvaccinated children out of school.

“I respect people’s choices about what to do with their kids, but if someone’s kid gets sick and gets my kid sick, too, that’s a problem,” the father, Carl Krawitt told the New York Times.

Approximately 7% of children at his son’s school are unvaccinated.

The decisions come as the measles continues to spread in California. The number of confirmed measles cases has risen to 95, with 65 those stemming from Disneyland. The majority of measles cases are still in California, but other confirmed cases include five in Arizona, three in Utah, two in Washington and one each in Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado, and Mexico.

The patients range in age from infants to adults. Some are partially vaccinated and at least two were too young to have been vaccinated. Infants too young to be vaccinated face the highest risk. The first dose of the vaccine is administered at 12 to15 months old. The second dose is given before a child enters school, at 4 to 6 years old.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, red eyes, and a runny nose. Typically, patients develop a rash after being exposed to the virus.

Read more: http://ift.tt/1ty2HKW

The following post Some California Students Without Measles Immunization Banned From School is courtesy of Ageless Spine

What I’ve Learned About How To Be A Girl

Being a capital-G Girl is something that works for other people, and does not work for me. But it took me a while to get there.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

I am 4 or 5, preschool age, running around alone on a playground that only appears in this memory and no others. Two older girls (are they older or do they just seem older because they have long, beautiful hair and the right clothes?) ask me if I’m gay. They laugh, but together, at me. I think “gay” means “happy,” and I am, because it’s fall and I love fall and I am having a good time. I say yes. They’re so surprised, and they laugh more, scathingly, and my skin prickles with shame. “She said she’s gay!” They cackle. “You have hair like a boy,” they sneer, and I don’t yet understand why this is bad. The differences between myself and these girls seem very obvious, and very sharp, in a way they weren’t five minutes before.

I am in elementary school and I spend the vast majority of my time pretending to be someone else — anyone else. Characters I made up, characters I didn’t, versions of myself that I mentally insert into whatever I am reading at the time. Pretty much all of the versions of myself I envision have the following in common: They are older than I am, they are a thin version of myself I erroneously believe I will someday become, and they have Disney Princess hair that never has to be thought about or maintained. They are, essentially, the Perfect Girl version of me I really wanted to be. They’re exaggerated and do not allow for nuance. They’re the version of Girldom that just walked out of a 1950s ad for futuristic dishware. They still have an edge of hope.

I start middle school and my body feels separate from me. Nothing ever fills it, and I have no interest in adorning or primping it. I make a satchel out of felt and twine and tie it around my waist and ride my bike through the woods, pretending I’m an elf. My hair is long and tangles easily and I hate brushing it. My stepmother digs her fingers into it, picking as gently as she can at the rat’s nest it always becomes. I don’t wear jeans or dresses; I wear soft clothes that are too big for me. My mother picks at me — she wants me to be more feminine, she wants me to wear makeup and part my hair and wear nicer things that we can’t even afford, and I understand now that she wanted these things because she believed they would be armor between me and a world that hurt. She wanted them not because I wasn’t enough, but because she was afraid. It will take me 10 years to understand this. For now, I feel like I am not enough.

I am almost done with middle school, which has felt like a never-ending gauntlet. My body has shapes that I don’t like, that feel foreign and wrong. Other people notice. I’ve started wearing jeans and black oversize T-shirts with band names on them. I wear a lot of my father’s old clothing. Other people start calling me a slut in addition to a whale and a hippo. Once in art class a boy who never leaves me alone loosens the screws in my chair, and when I sit in it, it falls apart to a chorus of shrieking laughter. Two girls throw spitballs at me every afternoon on the bus; they jeer and snarl and I understand that this is what I deserve, because I am not good at being like them. I have friends, but only one of them is really nice to me, and even she sometimes caves. She doesn’t want to find herself outside, like I am. I forgive her over and over. I would do the same thing if I was her.

I start high school and I cut my hair short, short, short to my shoulders. I can’t hide behind it as much anymore. I make other friends; one teaches me how to put on eyeliner (incorrectly, it turns out). I start listening to music that makes me feel like there’s champagne under my skin, like I am understood. I learn that I can’t go without a bra anymore; I learn this by not wearing a bra and being quietly, snidely mocked all day. I still wear oversize things, but they’re bright. As time goes on, I find that I cannot be a girl the way that other girls are girls. I can’t find stylish clothes that fit me; I can’t afford them anyway. I start cutting up my old clothes to make them less ugly. They’re still ugly, but now I’ve made them that way, so it feels like a choice. High school is less overtly cruel, but there are still people who hate me on principle and make no secret of it. They are largely men. I don’t know what to do about it. I stop trying.

I am diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome when I am 13-almost-14. I start seeing a new endocrinologist when I am 15 and she puts me on a medication that will help with my insulin resistance, a symptom that baffles me. I understand that it has something to do with hormone production, but this understanding is fuzzy. I mostly feel like my baby-making parts are trying to kill me. I’m so bad at being a girl, I think, that being a girl is making me sick. She explains my weight is not my fault. It’s a symptom too. I feel complicated. It is not quite relief.

The medicine that helps with my insulin resistance makes me very sick.

I don’t tell anybody.

I figure: A doctor gave this to me, so it’s OK. She told me I need to lose weight, so maybe this is how.

I don’t feel like my body is really part of me. I don’t feel a connection to it. I don’t touch or look at it if I don’t have to, but there are mirrors all over my house, and I spend all of my time dodging them, because if I get caught I can’t stop looking, with the same kind of revolted fascination I recently saw on the face of a man contemplating a bad taxidermy website.

Everything I eat leaves my body almost immediately, leaving no footprint of fullness behind.

I start fainting.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Around 15 I dye my hair for the first time. I figure if I have to be different, I might as well be really different. All along, underneath this, there is a kind of level despair — a part of me feels anguished, always, even when I am happy. There is a war in me, and I have learned to ignore it. I dye my hair before my mother gets home one day. It’s red dye. My natural hair color is almost black. I don’t bleach it first, so what I wind up with is this sort of rusty auburn. I love it. I look in the mirror and for the first time I see someone that looks like me.

When I wash it out in the tub, it looks like the tub is full of blood. I think about what it would be like if it was my own, but idly, without any active interest. My scalp itches.

I lose around 70 pounds in six months. (This is a very dangerous amount of weight to lose that quickly, for anyone playing along at home.)

One day I notice my clavicle. I can fit two fingers in the hollows of it. It feels like an achievement.

“You’re doing so well,” everyone says. “You look so good.”

I am doing absolutely nothing to hide the fact that there is something very wrong with the volume of food I am taking in versus the weight I am losing. I am hungry all the time. I am so hungry that hunger begins to just feel like something that always has been and always will be. I am the human equivalent of the sound of grinding teeth.

“You’re doing so well,” everyone says. “How much weight have you lost?”

Eventually I see a doctor. I see two, actually — my endocrinologist and a cardiologist, to see if there’s something wrong with my heart. There isn’t, and I’m surprised, because something feels very wrong with my heart.

I start gaining the weight back before we all leave for college and I gain the rest back during my freshman year. My boyfriend — we are trying long-distance because we’re idiots — tells me that I’m beautiful, and maybe we should work out together. (We live two states apart.) I’m stunning, and am I sure I want to eat that? I have never fully believed that I am desirable, and I can feel whatever tenuous certainty I have start to shrink.

I cut the rest of my hair off when I go home for winter break from school. I dye it red again — I had stopped, I hadn’t felt the need, I hadn’t wanted to. But I don’t feel like I have control over myself; I feel myself slipping. Desirability and femininity are so entangled in myself that I feel I can’t have one without the other; if I am failing at one, my attempts at the other must be laughable. Everyone must know. My hair looks terrible, but that’s mostly because the person who cut it didn’t know how to cut short hair on girls. I don’t hate it. I don’t like it, either. I feel, very carefully, not much at all.

When my boyfriend breaks up with me it blindsides me in the way only very obvious things can. I eat two meals in seven days. I want to shrink myself into nothing.

I grow my hair out. I grow my hair out for the better part of two years, thinking that all I want is to look like someone he never knew. I want to finally win at the game of Girldom I have been half-assing for my entire life. I wear dresses, I wear makeup, I get layers and Zooey Deschanel bangs and I blow-dry them. I wear things that fit. I paint my nails. I am aggressively, determinedly Normal. I am sick of being outside. I am sick of fighting.

Being a Girl is so much harder than being a girl and it feels like a Sisyphean task, because no matter what I do I take up too much space. There is too much of my personality, too much of my body, too much of my feelings. I am always, internally, a glass about to spill or a boiling teakettle. This is unacceptable if I want to be a Girl, so I learn to never talk about it. I almost never think about not eating. I almost never think of figuring out a way to make myself sick. (I think about them all the time.)

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

I get a job immediately out of college because I am very, very lucky. I feel good; I feel better; I have done a year of therapy and I am not in therapy now but I think maybe I can manage. This is a new feeling. The anguish that has been my constant companion, a tight knot in my chest, a little voice chanting you’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong, is not gone, but is quieter.

I dye my hair a couple shades lighter than normal. I don’t have a bathtub in the apartment I’m renting with three friends who are still in college, so I do it in the shower. The color stains the old grout the color of old blood for a couple of weeks. I stop trying so hard to be a Girl and try a little harder to figure out how to be myself.

I move to New York. I relapse — sort of. I pre-relapse. I prelapse. At first I blame the summer sun and the smell of garbage for my lack of appetite, but I know I’m deluding myself. I get my shit together and find a therapist — quickly this time, before I can really hurt myself, and I learn that recovery is not a straight line. It will take me another year and a half to understand that recovery isn’t even a circle; recovery waxes and wanes, goes in and out like a tide.

I learn that being a girl is not a straight line, either. And I learn that being a Girl is something that works for other people and does not work for me, and anyway, such a narrow definition feels like a cage. I decide that I can be a girl, and that sometimes I will be too much, and that’s OK. (I sometimes need to repeat this to myself; I sometimes need a reminder.) I start cutting my hair again. Every time I cut it, I am shocked at how much lighter my heart is. The shorter it gets, the freer I feel.

One night I feel like one of those coiled springs with a fist on the end of it. I feel like I could hurt. I itch everywhere, in my marrow. I feel like there is a tiny goblin sitting on my shoulder hissing in my ear about how disgusting I am, how horrifying, how too much, how not enough. Nothing I do will shut him up. So I dye my hair bright blue. It takes four hours. I don’t do it carefully, and I end up burning part of my scalp (by accident) with bleach. When I’m done, I feel quiet and eased. I feel like enough.

Lately, I feel like this more and more often. It feels normal to feel like enough, and not an anomaly whose end I have to defend against.

I do not have it all figured out, but I am here now, and I am trying.

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What I’ve Learned About How To Be A Girl is republished from Ageless Spine