Monthly Archives: March 2017

Last Will and Testament

Here me out.

I’m not dying. I mean, not anymore than the rest of you. But for those poor souls who end up at my funeral, first of all, congratulations — you’ve outlived me, which means one of three things:

You’re a vegetarian.

I met an untimely death at the hands of Nashville drivers (most probable).

Or sushi and yoga were bad for us all along.

I only hope we did not all die in some apocalyptic everyone-at-once sort of manner. Because then you will have been robbed of the absurd irreverence that promises to be my funeral. And what a shame that would be. Please find herein my expressed wishes for festivities marking the occasion.

First and foremost, I wish to be taxidermied. Then I would like you to hire my least favorite people to carry me around the party, Weekend at Bernie’s style. There will be bonus points awarded to those who come up with the most classic scenes to act out with my stuffed corpse. Pics or it didn’t happen.

Other games to include funeral cliche Bingo. Look out for phrases like “long hard struggle,” “she’s in a better place,” and “blah blah God blah blah.” The middle square will read: “she was one badass bitch” because you don’t deserve points for something you’ll hear said that often.

Next, karaoke: dead lady’s choice, meaning songs I choose and expect to be performed in the following order:

1. Both sides now

2. Remix to ignition

3. Hallelujah

4. MmmBop

5. The Boy is Mine

6. One Request from the Audience

7. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (entire album)

8. Sister Christian

9. Adam’s Song

10. Whatever you like

11. White America (to sum up my life)

The most important thing I want for my funeral is joy. I know I’ll reflect on these grueling grad school days with a smirk because I’ve had harder days I look back on with a grin. I’m grateful to be here and happy to be alive. If someone decides to mark the occasion when I’m not with anything other than what’s listed above, you set ’em straight, and do it with a smile.

And if you think life and death ought to be treated with more seriousness than I’ve given them here today, it’s my pleasure to agree to disagree. #likemotherlikedaughter

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Be Wrong! It’s Good For You. 

I love being proven wrong. Seriously. As a chronic self evaluator I feel strongly that having our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions challenged is one of the easiest ways to grow, if we’re open to it. And that’s a big IF. In a culture where we seek out self and thought affirming information both in news and research, I know how scary it can be to step outside the echo chamber of one’s own Facebook page. The like-minded communities we tend to foster are comforting but they carry the risk of becoming so homogenous that we cease to be challenged.

I have spent most of my life in relatively (and often overtly) liberal cities, the culture of which have been mostly in line with my own. The southern cities I’ve lived in certainly have their own individual flavors, as do the northern ones. Anyone who paints with brushes as broad as “The South” or “The North” hasn’t spent enough time in both because this is a big country and we have a LOT of different people living here. And those people each have different motivations, unique lived experiences and when election time comes everyone gets the same number of votes. They don’t have equal opportunity to cast them, but that’s not the topic of this post.

This post is about smiling when you’re proven wrong. Mazel Tov to you! What a wonderful opportunity you’ve been given to broaden your experience of humanity. I have recently found myself spending the 8-5 in a brand new place with people who have customs, perspectives and a vernacular entirely foreign to me. And I’ve only traveled an hour from the safety of my current urban center. I’ve spent 22 of my 29 years below the Mason-Dixon and ain’t never met people like this before. They lend out medical equipment knowing patients will return it, they regularly offer to drive patients to outside appointments they can’t get to and they always ask how your mama or daddy is doing. Based on how many conversations I’ve had/heard about the Bible and Trump this week, I can all but guarantee we come from very different religious and political perspectives and how great is that? Because people are more than who they vote for or pray to.

Healthcare can be a unifying point for people working in or needing it, which makes it a good meeting place for otherwise polarized individuals. Being an eternal optimist (albeit a cynical one) I still believe we have more in common than not but too often we make assumptions about what other people think and why they think it. Some people are just selfish and some people are just racist but assuming these things about entire groups does nothing to foster mutual respect, without which we will never move the conversation forward.

People are more complex than a party platform and time is more effectively and enjoyably spent learning about them and letting them learn about you. This is the only way we break stereotypes, both our own and the ones others hold of us. So add small town Tennesseans to the list of things I was wrong about. Also on this list: olives, running, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, hot yoga, anchovies and marriage. These are all wonderful.*

*Marriage is still pretty dumb, but I love Jared so much it makes the list.

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