“You’re Asking Way Too Much”: The Response To Publicly Doing What You Love

simpsons old man yells at cloudMy whole life, part of me has existed in a defensive crouch waiting for people to yell at me about my decisions. What made me think I had the right to try to be a writer / apply to a fancy school / move to New York / buy an apartment / try to be a writer for real / have children? And yet all the important people, including my parents, were supportive! Or at least silent.

Wasn’t anyone going to be disapproving? To say out loud the things I feared hearing most? Was I really going to have to torment myself endlessly and forever inside my own head?

Turns out all I needed to do was write a personal essay for the Atlantic.

Some background: I’m pregnant! Again. Due in March. I decided to announce this via the website of a major national publication to which I’ll be contributing this fall, in part because my little family still gets our health insurance from Obamacare and I thought chronicling that journey might be of general interest.

The response has been fascinating. A lot of negative commentary isn’t about me, per se, it’s about the Affordable Care Act or health insurance in general. But some of it is indeed quite personal.

atlantic comment 1

JasonKL might be correct! But of course one doesn’t know for such that one is “asking way too much” until one tries, right? Maybe you ask and then maybe you get slapped down; isn’t that still better than not asking at all out of fear?

atlantic comment 2

Thank you, Bonegirl. I hope so too. You’re right: it is a “highly impractical” gamble. It’s funny that I’m such an anxious person and in many ways so risk-averse and yet here I am. Maybe we never know ourselves as well as we think we do.

atlantic comment 3

We do have savings, actually, and thank goodness. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have proceeded with any of this. But “people with these ‘50% covered plans’ are crazy”? Really? People only choose those plans because they’re less awful than the alternative and those are all they can afford. “Crazy” describes our dysfunctional insurance system, not those who are struggling to make the best of it.

Anyway, it’s kind of thrilling, in a terrible way, to at last experience what it’s like when the mean voices in my head have been let loose. I’ve opened Pandora’s box, y’all! Get some popcorn.

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