Photos by Lydia Hudgens
I want to talk about gingham, how we're inching towards summer, and how I continue to surprise myself with my sort of random style obsessions lately (like bees, or culottes, or super-90s-glossy lips), but my search for escapism mostly brings me back to my real recent obsession: the meshigas surrounding our political system. I really want to talk about off-the-shoulder dresses, cause it's fun, but I really-really want to talk about healthcare, cause it's essential.
I don't have a concrete, designated space where it feels entirely appropriate to talk about healthcare or politics in general (though I do love a good twitter rant), but last week I found myself sharing my concerns and frustrations on Instagram Stories, a day after the House of Representatives voted on the insufficiently vetted ACHA bill that, if passed by the Senate, would most likely put over 24-million Americans at risk of losing their healthcare by 2025, (and this is putting things very, very lightly).
I haven't discussed this at length on my blog, but over the last few years, I have been navigating auto-immune diagnoses that have had a dramatic impact on my everyday life, lifestyle, and work flow. Having to prioritize my health in this capacity forced me to renegotiate my lifestyle, which was truly only made possible because of my access to comprehensive healthcare and health insurance. Without it, there would be no way for me to access the battery of tests, emergency hospital visits, multiple surgeries, scans, and continued care that I've needed in order to stay alive and remain healthy.
Even with an enormous amount of privilege (through my income, my somewhat flexible work life, and access to health insurance), it has still been an exhausting and often heartbreaking space to navigate; this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways healthcare providers, and the system that they work in, have ingrained biases against overweight patients that makes navigating medical care all the more complicated - something which made it seemingly never-ending for me to finally get an accurate diagnosis and the proper medical attention.
Healthcare services are being renegotiated in such a way that further perpetuates biases and prejudice in healthcare against women, the poor, people of color, the elderly, children, and people living with disabilities. It compromises the health, safety, and access to care for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault - and could discourage survivors of abuse from confronting or reporting their experiences for fear that they'll be stripped of their insurance. For gender and sexual minorities, healthcare could be made completely inaccessible. Mental healthcare services could be rendered completely unattainable. (And no, I'm not just hinting at plotlines from The Handmaid's Tale, though each passing day makes Margaret Atwood's fictional dystopia feel eerily more and more like our present).
While the fate of the ACHA is still unknown, I'd like to ask that anyone in America reading this please contact their senators and express that healthcare should not be a privilege extended only to those who can afford care. You can find your senators contact information here. And while it may seem a little out of place for me to be writing about this here, I feel like having this platform (however modest it may be) is a responsibility, and speaking up about these issues and how they may infringe on the lives and access to care of our most vulnerable citizens is something that I do not take lightly.
I'll now resume dressing like a picnic blanket indefinitely while doing my best to balance moments of escapism with activism.