Things have been rumbling for a while, but the last year was especially strange. Times have always been uncertain and we have always been vulnerable. But when things chug along as normal, we have a way of blocking those realities from our minds.

Things have not been normal. It’s gotten harder to ignore life’s uncertainty and our vulnerability.

What do you trust? Where do you find your peace?  

Politics? The siren song of Tolkien’s ring of power. Expect anything you allow your favorite politicians to do to those you despise to eventually be done to you.

Health? Fragile and fleeting. We’re all terminal.

Control? An illusion.

Hobbies? In themselves, worthless.

Science? Merely descriptive. It doesn’t answer the big questions. At all.

Wealth? It’s not going with you.

Relationships? Even the best of people will inevitably disappoint you.

            These things are not wrong, but they need context to matter. Of themselves they offer no lasting peace.

            “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
                        ~ Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as recorded in John 14


So long, Zuckerberg

If you grew up with me, you might know that I’m not the sort of person who gets into conspiracy theories. You might even know me as the person who gets fired up against them. They stress me out.

I don’t think the earth is flat or that for some incomprehensible reason NASA has been trying to hide that from us. I don’t think 9/11 was an inside job. I don’t think 5G is the real cause of COVID-19. I don’t think COVID-19 testing swabs or the vaccine leaves microchips behind. I don’t think the Sandy Hook shooting was a false flag.

You get the idea.

I don’t like the shaky logic driving these theories. I don’t agree with their understanding of human nature or the complexity of our world.

If you ask me, I think these theories have more to do with the holder’s mistrust of an establishment and the innate human desire to a) find someone to blame b) feel in control over a chaotic and frightening reality and c) to explain said chaotic and frightening reality in simpler terms easier for our minds to grasp.

…Except for the flat earthers. I’m not sure how believing in a flat earth simplifies things.

But I’m not posting about conspiracy theories. I’m posting about my recent decision to leave Facebook.

I’ve had a mixed relationship with that website. I liked it as a means to keep abreast of what is happening in others’ lives. I liked it as a way of sharing my own life. I’ve enjoyed sharing humor and I’ve enjoyed the little dopamine rush that comes with getting Likes and Laughs and Hearts.

I’ve also said stupid things there. I’ve upset people and was upset in turn. I’ve looked away from the screen frustrated, feeling so misunderstood and having so much to say, but knowing it wouldn’t be worth trying to say it. I’ve come away confused about what the truth is. I’ve “come to” mindlessly scrolling through my feed, barely enjoying myself but still scrolling anyway.

It didn’t seem very healthy.  

But it’s the recent behavior of Facebook and other major tech providers that has given me the final push. Like much of the wackiness that marked the past year, said behavior has been brewing for a while, well before January 6th.

This is more than the nebulous correlations so common in the conspiracy theories that drive me bonkers. This is concrete behavior, much of it deliberate, much of it tracing back over the past couple years. And it’s happening more, and more quickly. It hit the standing President of the United States. Then it hit Ron Paul, one of the most consistently pro-peace politicians in the nation. Then it hit Tim Pool, a centrist journalist.

This behavior concerns me.

If you do not like monopolies, this behavior should also concern you.

If you care about wealth inequality and empowering the underprivileged, this should concern you.

If you care about abuses of power, this should concern you.

If you value diversity, this should concern you.

If you value consistency, this should concern you.

If you value broadening your horizons, challenging your biases, and strengthening your mind and your convictions, this should concern you.

If you value freedom over security, this should concern you.

If you value security over freedom, this should concern you.

If you understand that prohibition often only drives the prohibited things underground, this should concern you.

If you love history for what it has to teach us, this should concern you.

It’s quite possible that I’ll end up looking a little ridiculous by leaving. I’m wrong a lot, and about a lot of things. Perhaps the patterns that worry me now will end up sorting themselves into something completely unexpected. This is a complicated world populated by complicated creatures.

But here’s the thing:

I don’t need Facebook to navigate it.

So long, Zuckerberg

Experts Don’t Always Agree

I was with a group of friends one evening. We were making food. Because my mind is a web of internet references, I was reminded of an internet comic. The original of this crudely-drawn comic was titled “Onions”, and it was posted by the webcomic Drawing Board (a). It has since been swallowed by the internet and turned into a meme, with various creators tweaking the comic’s dialogue to suit their meme-making purposes. This was the version I remembered:

The stick figure character, ready to do some food prep, states “This onion won’t make me cry.”

Cut to the onion, who fire back, “There are idiots out there who vote.”

Cut to the stick figure man openly weeping.

End comic.

I described this silly bit of online humor to the folk present. One of them responded with something like, “That’s not the problem. The problem is that smart people don’t vote.” The conversation then shifted to other things, and we went on with our night. We had a lovely time.

But I feel that the assertion that “the problem is that smart people don’t vote” makes a pretty serious assumption.

That would be the assumption that smart people agree on things.

They don’t.

Smart people disagree with each other. A lot. The most brilliant of scientists disagree with each other. Experts within the same field disagree with each other. Experts within the same specialties of the same field disagree with each other. This remains even when you remove the petty human factors such as jealousy, money, power, and so forth*.

You can give two brilliant minds the same information, set them behind voting booths, and get very different results. You can find two seasoned, excellent physicians who will squabble about how to handle a particular patient**.

You can absolutely find highly qualified and capable medical doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists who will not agree with all of the plans and practices and proposals of equally qualified and capable medical doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists.

Smart people disagree on things.

*Smart/science-y people are human beings with all of those pesky human shortcomings. Being a scientist or having a higher than average intelligence does not automatically make one a better, more worthy person or a luminous paragon of truth and virtue. This is weird and dangerous reasoning.

**Seriously, doctors fight all the time, and within specialties. The musical parody linked here is definitely inspired by the tension that exists between medical specialties, and – hah –  no it is not a scholarly source, but it is a humorous demonstration of the reality that there is disagreement in the medical field:


  1. a)
Experts Don’t Always Agree

First Wheels

I’m not a motorhead.

I enjoy figuring out simple mechanics: levers, latches, that kind of thing. Machinery is great.

But I never was interested enough in cars to really learn all of their individual parts and how they integrate into a functional, comfortable vehicle. My intrigue with analysis and diagnostics has taken me towards the much more layered engineering of biology.

This hasn’t prevented me from becoming fond of my old Saturn SL.

When I was in the market for a car of my own, my dad took me to a local auto auction. At one point a humble, dark green Saturn sedan was wheeled onto the floor. We did not buy that car, but I do remember the man leading the auction egging on reluctant bidders with the following words:

“Come on, guys; it’s a Saturn. It’ll run forever.”

It was some time later that I settled on my first set of wheels: a light gray 1999 Saturn SL from a friendly New Jerseyite by the name of Lars. He called it “a good station car”, presumably referring to his use of the vehicle to drive to and from a point of public transport.

We took the car home, and I began the process of learning to operate a manual transmission. It was a skill I would come to appreciate and enjoy. Even then I had a penchant for naming things – be they vehicles or tumors. I decided my Saturn SL was female and I named her Europa. Europa is a moon of Jupiter. The name was an indirect testament to the fact that the manufacturer was named for a planet.

Europa was far from fancy. She lacked basic luxuries such as power steering and a cassette player. The locks and windows were manual. The transmission was forgiving of my habit of riding the clutch.

But Europa was excellent at being a car. She shuttled me across over 66,000 miles and 11 years. The persistent four-cylinder carried me to social events, dates, multiple jobs, nursing classes and clinical rotations, family visits, job interviews, over five years’ worth of night shifts, and early midwifery clinicals. This was done with little complaint and a modest demand for fuel. Europa needed understandable maintenance now and then: exhaust rattles, tires, a rogue spark plug, that kind of thing.

Most of us require tune-ups at some point.

It wasn’t until recently that Europa’s age began to take a true toll. Her structural integrity was suffering. Repair was costing more than she was worth. It was time for an honorable discharge from my service.

Had Saturn not stopped manufacturing in 2009, I would have been a happy return customer. Alas, it seems the market no longer wants what Saturn provided. With that, I’ve relinquished my old girl Europa to live out her last days in the care of other family members.

My new vehicle is a 2016 Ford Focus SE which I’ve named Tsipporah. Tsipporah is a five-speed, 2.0L hatchback with more bells and whistles than Europa ever had.

I’m enjoying the ride.

In the meantime, here’s to one great old Saturn SL, and her many years and miles of faithful service.


First Wheels

Turning Thirty

I had a milestone birthday last month

I turned thirty.

The big 3-0.

It was good.

Now, if 18-to-25-plus-year-old me knew I would hit this ripe old age and still be a single cat lady, she would be horrified and depressed.

That is, more horrified and depressed than adolescent and young adult me was already.

30-year-old me, however, is okay with it. In fact, 30-year-old me feels good about the next decade.

It is something, isn’t it, how we tend to think of age in intervals. We compare “the 20s” to “the 30s” to “the 40s”. But at some point, we understand that age happens on a continuum, not in blocks. At some point in the transition to adulthood, we realize that no great shift happens on a birthday. Being 15 years, 364 days, 23 hours, and 59 minutes old feels no different than 16 years, 0 days, and 0 minutes. The person that we are doesn’t undergo any fundamental adjustment just because the earth made another revolution around good old Sol.

Yet people continue to create celebrations, and those celebrations center around transitions. Baby showers, birthdays, coming of age, graduations, weddings, leaving the office parties, and even funerals are founded on transition from one stage of life to the next. We seem driven to create compartments for what in reality is a seamless and gradual experience. I suppose it helps our minds handle what might otherwise become one great blurred mess.

At any rate, 30-year-old me looks forward to what life has to offer.

I’m blessed with a stable, loving family… both immediate and extended. I’ve got ten niblings, all of whom are growing and changing. It truly has been a privilege being a part of each of their unique unfolding personalities. I’ve gotten to experience those relationships in ways not every aunt and uncle can.

When I’m not working or doing school, I also get walked by my cat, make some effort to look after the other cat and two lizards, pound down caffeine and carbs, hang with family, go to church, and attend the occasional social event. I don’t make art as intensely as I did back in my high school days, but I’ve managed some sketches, homemade cards, and even a couple official projects.

Writing remains a part of my life. I’m working on a book with a friend and have another novel project that wonders how I expect it to write itself. I have several ideas for blog posts but apparently prefer mindless internet consumption to, you know, actually writing.

I’ve also done more cooking. I been impressed and pleased by the nutritious versatility of squash.

As for the career, working as a nurse has helped me develop confidence and some much-needed people skills. See, it turns out animals and infants may not care about the awkwardness factor, but adult humans do UGH.

I’ve also survived additional schooling and continue work on that. After this nice light summer semester with a single statistics course I will begin clinicals, in which I’ll be seeing patients as a student midwife with the guidance of less clueless preceptors. I know this stage of my schooling will be demanding, and I’m not sure what to expect. There will be traditional scholarly work on top of those clinical hours on top of work. But people have managed with more responsibilities and more work hours, so I can get through the upcoming three semesters with both my sanity and my finances intact.

Assuming I make it all the way through to next summer alive, I should then be qualified to sit for boards and, Lord willing, become a true certified nurse midwife. That’s been a thing several years in the works.

Where I’ll go after that is uncertain. The nice thing about this line of work is that it’s useful in a wide range of places. The less nice thing about that is I am only one body and I cannot actually be in all of the places at once. I’ll leave such shenanigans to the electrons and other quantum particles.

For now.

I like to think I’ve also grown in my faith, though I’ve got an obscenely long way to go  before I’m the Apostle Pauline. Learning to embrace grace for myself has been a freeing experience, and I want to use that freedom to become more Christlike. At least in theory. That stuff is hard.

I had a good birthday, and I’m positive about the future.

Onward and upward, I suppose.


Turning Thirty

Pyramids, Pneumothoraces, and Presumptions

You know what bothers me?

It bothers me when people don’t corral their shopping carts.

It also bothers me when people act like ancient peoples were stupid.

Take the theory that aliens built/helped in the building of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and other ancient monuments (1). Some people have decided that the ancient Egyptians couldn’t possibly have pulled off those constructions on their own. Therefore, aliens. (2)

You mean you think people noticed the behavior of the stars back then and built around it?? Naw, that’s crazy talk. Ancient people were too busy huddling in caves, scratching themselves, and grunting at each other to actually notice their surroundings. Surely they didn’t envision and build grand things. Only aliens would have been capable of noticing and taking advantage of celestial patterns.

And the Nasca lines, which are truly enormous depictions of shapes and animals (1). People made those. Not aliens.

Whut? B-but people couldn’t possibly draw big spiders!!!! IT MUST HAVE BEEN ALIENS. ONLY ALIENS COULD DRAW BIG SPIDERS.  

I get it. Aliens are cool to think about. But must everything mysterious be attributed to aliens? It’s like the conspiracy theorists don’t believe people were the same species we are today. It’s a slap to human ingenuity.

Humans are smart. They were smart. They are smart. They will continue to be smart.* Just because they didn’t write down every idea and accomplishment doesn’t mean they didn’t have any ideas or accomplishments.

To affirm that humans of the past were smart, let me tell you about Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu. You know, that guy. Everyone knows about him. They have a whole week about him in grade school. Kids dress up as him. There’s a Broadway musical in his honor.

I’m kidding. Very few people know about Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu. But now you know about Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu! So, what is it about Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu that is worth knowing?

Serefeddin was a very smart man. He was also a physician living in the Ottoman Empire in the 1300s-1400s (4). Serefeddin left his mark by writing the Turkish piece Cerrahiyetü’l Haniyye, which translates as “Imperial Surgery” (3).
Serefeddin knew a lot of crap. But I’m going to tell you about the crap that impresses me the most.

First, a quick lesson in anatomy and pathophysiology. That’s dork talk for where-people-parts-are-and-what-they’re-called (anatomy) and how-things-go-wrong-with-people-parts (pathophysiology).

Imma gonna tell you about the pneumothorax.

Pneumo = air. Thorax =chest. It’s dork talk for what normal humans with lives call a “collapsed lung”.

What’s a collapsed lung?

Lungs work thanks to changes in air pressure. When you inhale, your diaphragm  tightens and the lungs expand. This lowers the air pressure in the lungs, which pulls in air from the outside. The lungs fill with air and oxygen is absorbed into the blood. You exhale: the diaphragm relaxes, the lungs are smushed, and air is pushed out.

That’s how things normally work.

But what happens when you get a pneumothorax?

Let’s say something screws up this lovely little rhythm you and your lungs have got going. You’re just sitting there, minding your own business. You and your lungs. Then an Ottoman warrior buddy of yours decides to engage you in a wrestling match and tackles you to the ground. But you land on a rock and a couple of your ribs snap. And then one of the ribs pokes a hole in your lung.

BAM. Your lung has a leak, and now you’re growing a pneumothorax. Thanks a lot, Ottoman warrior buddy. Air pushes out of your lung and into the space between the lung and the chest wall.

Here are pictures, because visuals help:


The more you inhale, the more air may end up in this space. The more air ends up in this pocket, the more  that air pushes on the lung. The more the stupid air pushes on the lung, the more the lung deflates. The more the lung deflates, the less air gets in it. The less air gets in it, the less oxygen you absorb.

The less oxygen you absorb, the sicker you get.

You’ve got yourself a pneumothorax. How do you fix it?

Tiny pneumothoraces can patch themselves up, but larger ones need help. The trick is to remove that misplaced air pressure – restoring the proper settings – so the lung can re-inflate like a happy lung. Nowadays, we often use chest tubes to do this.

But Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu did not have chest tubes. Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu would have been helpless in the case of a pneumothorax, right?

Wrong! Serefeddin Sabuncuoğlu knew how to encourage a collapsed lung to re-inflate. In cases like these, Serefeddin used a cupping technique called mihceme, which had been in use before to draw out blood (5). To treat a collapsed lung with this, Serefeddin would cut an incision over the injured area. A glass container of sorts was then placed, and a flame was started in the container. The fire would consume the oxygen in the glass, which created a vacuum. (5) This vacuum would pull the air (and blood, if you had a hemothorax going on too) out of the pocket causing the pneumothorax. This gave the damaged lung a chance to re-inflate. That made for a more comfortable Ottoman warrior.


The end.


References (and a Footnote)

*I also think humans are stupid, have long been stupid, and will continue to be stupid until things change on a fundamental level. But hush – I stand by both assertions.








Pyramids, Pneumothoraces, and Presumptions

How Good is Too Good? – Scrupulosity and Mennonites

Have you ever had the nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something extremely important?

What about that sinking or jolting feeling when you miss a step and your foot hits air?

Imagine this feeling was constant. An ever-present buzz in your brain. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes it is the mild drone of a small fan, noticed only when all other distractions cease. Sometimes it’s an urgent murmur that’s difficult to ignore.

Sometimes it swells to a roar that swallows you whole. It wraps its fingers around your chest and throat and squeezes. Hard. It narrows your vision. It swirls in your ears. It sends your thoughts into a tailspin, and you know for a fact that you are spiraling into the deepest pit of hell.

But no matter the volume, the dread is always there. Even in your dreams.

Your brain scrambles to explain the unease. It tries anything to make it go away. Anything for peace.

This is what happens when your mind has become a slave to fear.

It happened to me. It could happen to me again. I’ve seen it happen to others.

In conservative Anabaptist circles, anxiety can manifest as scrupulosity. That’s a big word for a form of obsessive compulsive disorder which targets moral or religious thoughts and behavior. It is an unhealthy guilt which drives the affected person to perform rituals as he or she attempts to silence the sense of doom.

These rituals take different forms. Prayers, chants, attending church functions, and more unorthodox things. One might be so terrified of telling a lie that he can barely answer a question for the fear of not answering correctly. Someone may make so many overlapping promises to God that she’s somehow promised herself into being unable to click “like” on Facebook without sending a scriptural card to someone first.

However it manifests, the individual suffers. They become paralyzed. Crippled. Exhausted. Any joy they would have had in their relationship with Jesus is stripped away and replaced with fear and despair.

It is a living hell, and I hate seeing other young people walk through it.

I don’t know whether or not conservative Anabaptists have more anxiety than the population at large. I doubt that we do. Anxiety is a massive problem in the general population. Obsessive compulsive disorder is found across the country. Scrupulosity is not at all limited to Mennonites.

But I do think that when Mennos have anxiety and other mental problems, those problems tend to build themselves upon spiritualized rationale as opposed to things like a fear of germs.

Disclaimer: I don’t mean for this to be some venomous attack on my denomination. I’ve had a truly blessed experience with my home church, and I continue to do so. I think my upbringing holds tremendous value.

But there are a few things we do that seem to contribute to the problem of spiritualized mental illness.

A.) We disavow eternal security

The average Mennonite is no Calvinist. We do think you can lose your salvation. We believe that there is no small sin, and that a holy God cannot be in the presence of any degree of sin. We believe that Christians must live a life of repentance, constantly turning from evil instead of relying on a one-time prayer.

I do believe these things are true. However, an anxiety-vulnerable person is, well, anxiety-vulnerable. When he or she hears something urgent but somewhat vague, or even not that vague, his or her mind defaults to a position of doubt.

“Am I saved? Was I saved? Have I lost my salvation? I don’t really do anything that special. I just live my life like I was raised to. That’s not special.”

B.) We handle grace clumsily sometimes… I guess that’s why we need it

Grace is a tremendous and mind-blowing concept. It also doesn’t seem to sink in properly until each of us is ready for it. I grew up in a church where we at least try to teach it.

Even then, things have gotten awkward. We speak of grace, but then we imply that every wrongdoing must be made right with God before we’re safe to meet Him. Snapped at someone this morning? Better pray for forgiveness in case you die today.

We speak of grace, but a well-known minister stands behind the pulpit and says, “Young ladies, don’t you know that if your dress causes a man to sin, you are going to hell?!?

And it doesn’t seem all that gracious.

C.) Sometimes we insist on further spiritualizing a mental problem

As human beings, we have a knack for complicating what should be simple and simplifying what should be complicated. I think the idea is fading, but there are still those who believe mental problems such as depression and anxiety are more like moods or character flaws than illnesses. Depressed people should try something that makes them feel good and stop feeling sorry for themselves. Anxious people should just be rational and stop being so insecure.

This mentality fails to account for the fact that the brain is an organ with as much potential to misfire as the pancreas or the heart. Given the astounding complexity of the brain, I’d argue that it has even more potential to mess up. It can often be rewired, with time, but it definitely messes up and will always have weaknesses.

The misinterpretation of mental illness gets even uglier when spiritualized reasoning is thrown into the mix.

I remember sitting in a class at a Bible school as a classmate expressed concern about a friend of hers. This woman appeared to be dealing with a hypersensitive conscience. She was acutely worried about doing wrong, and the fear had robbed joy from her life. The teacher attempted to justify this by explaining – with the help of a diagram – that my classmate’s friend may be projecting the guilt over a truly severe mystery-sin onto a bunch of other, smaller wrongdoings.

That was years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if said teacher since changed his views on the subject. It was, however, just the sort of ominous insinuation that could send a vulnerable person into a tailspin.

And what of skepticism of modern medicine? Do you know of anyone who believes that taking medication for mental illness is a sign of faithlessness? There are those who assert that a mental problem is solely a spiritual one with only a spiritual solution. Perhaps, if the person suffering from serious anxiety just believed in God’s protection harder, he or she wouldn’t be going through this, right???


Spiritual problems exist, but we must be careful not to inject them where they don’t. A person with scrupulosity already overly moralizes and spiritualizes things. That’s part of their problem.


Those are some of my thoughts. Again, this is not meant to be a scathing attack, nor is it really meant as blame. These are things I think we could do better to help those suffering and perhaps prevent it.

I want to help. I want to use my journey to help those with the same struggles. I want this to help those who don’t have those struggles to understand. I want it to help us as a community to notice when someone is suffering, and to know how to point those individuals to grace.

There is healing. There is hope. There is joy. It can come.

It might not come in a tidy formulaic package, but by the grace and timing of God it can come.

How Good is Too Good? – Scrupulosity and Mennonites

A Call to Fashion

Boys, we need to talk.

There’s something I’d like you to bring back to everyday fashion.

It’s the waistcoat.


Do you see this? Do you see the mastery behind this article of clothing?


Do you see how it slims the waist?


Do you see how it reinforces the natural “V” of your torso? Do you see how it simultaneously frames your face?


Insta-dapper. Insta-well-groomed. Pop a nicely tailored one of these babies over a good shirt and BAM, you’re Hugh Jackman.


…well, okay. Maybe not Hugh Jackman. We can’t all be Hugh Jackman.

Still. Wear more waistcoats.


A Call to Fashion

Surgery and Confounded Pathologists

February was a wild month.

It started with the discovery of a large mass in my pelvis. It continued with cancer markers, a CT-scan, an appointment with a gyn-oncologist, and an MRI. I named the tumor Lolita.

It culminated in major abdominal surgery that consisted of biopsies and the loss of my left ovary and fallopian tube.

It ended in the process of recovery. And the revelation that, while the surrounding biopsies were clear, the in-house pathologist could not diagnose the mass. Now I’m awaiting the diagnosis from Brigham and Women’s.

It’s just a relief to hear that whatever the tumor is, it kept to itself. That is a tremendously good sign.

Now I’m sitting at home on medical leave and have no excuse to avoid writing.

My first major health issue has been a stretching and strange experience. It has driven home my own mortality. It has given me a whole new understanding of what it is like to be a patient, and what my patients might be looking for in their nurse. It has rendered me vulnerable in my youth. It has brought out depths of love and support that have made me feel safe in the midst of danger. It has reaffirmed the importance of a having a network of people that care for you.

It has seen me poked and prodded with all sorts of foreign objects. From needles to intravascular contrast to the dreaded urinary catheter to IV lines to a scalpel and cautery to sutures, my body saw quite a bit of intrusion last month.

Pity it can’t tell the difference between something done for its own good and being disemboweled by a rampaging wolverine.

A board-certified rampaging wolverine wielding a scalpel.

Surgery stinks. The drugs involved are incredible. Just… losing the hours during the operation was a surreal experience. I was laying in PACU commenting on the fact that I was feeling the effects of the versed. Then I was dreaming about the squeeze of the sequential compression devices on my legs. Then I was awake and listening to the chatter of the recovery room staff. Everything in between is simply gone.

I was high as a kite on the first night. I went home on the third day. My spirits and my physical comfort came crashing down on the fourth night. The trend has been upward after that.

I am recovering very well. It has been two weeks since surgery, and my discomfort is mild. I feel like myself again. I’m able to take walks. Today the incision barely bothers me.

February was a wild month.

Surgery and Confounded Pathologists

Self Awareness, Anyone?

American politics is toxic.

I haven’t been around long enough to know if it’s always been this way, and I’ve definitely contributed my share to the madness. But I am ready for a change in the way we dialogue.

Can we have campaigns with actual debates about policy? Can we have campaigns without moral grandstanding? Can we have campaigns without the silencing of opposition with nothing more than a label? Can we have an election that doesn’t end with people hoping for an assassination? Can we have an election that doesn’t result in wounded emotions and bouts of depression? Can we have an election without calls for violence and revolution? Can we have an election without remarks that will only fuel racial tension?

The bipartisan system has become a self-perpetuating machine that doesn’t even make sense anymore. The amount of confirmation bias and ideological inconsistency within both the neocons and the progressive left is simultaneously laughable and maddening.

To the progressive left: I’ll paraphrase Jason Stapleton. You are not scared of Trump. He’s been around. You are scared of the power Trump would wield as President. You have no problem with executive power when it’s in the hands of those you like or even abused by those you like. But in the fall of 2008, Obama’s opponents found that power genuinely scary.

To the neocons/alt-right: I’ll keep paraphrasing Jason Stapleton. You were not scared of Obama in 2008. He’d been around. You were scared of the power Obama would wield as President. You have no problem with executive power when it’s in the hands of those you like or even abused by those you like. But in the fall of 2016, Trump’s opponents are finding that power genuinely scary.

To the progressive left: Insisting on the right to abortion after fetal viability “for the life or health of the mother” is patently nonsensical. Six words: Induction of labor or cesarean section. There’s no medical advantage to killing the fetus first.

To the neocons: Late-term abortions happen, but the vast majority of abortions happen much earlier. Also, people generally do not like abortion. But some of them think it should remain a legal option. Address their rationale.

To the progressive left: Just because a disproportionate number of blacks are killed by police does not mean the American police force is racist and genocidal.

To the neocons: Just because a disproportionate number of black women get abortions does not mean Planned Parenthood is racist and genocidal.

To the progressive left: If the government has no business in the bedroom, then why does it have any business delineating what is and is not a marriage? Isn’t marriage personal?

To the neocons: Why keep the government involved in marriage? Does the government have any business telling people and religious communities what a marriage is?

To the progressive left: People should be allowed to decline to participate in things to which they personally object. Any government force you wish to use on your enemies can just as easily be used on you. Be consistent.

To the neocons: Just because you personally object to something doesn’t mean there should be legislation against it. Any government force you wish to use on your enemies can just as easily be used on you. Be consistent.

To the progressive left: Your methods of handling race relations are terrible and counterproductive.

To the neocons: All of us practice prejudice. Racism exists. Introspection is okay.

To the progressive left: Hillary Clinton is corrupt, unoriginal, and seems intent on war.

To the alt-right: Trump is an immoral and egotistical buffoon. He’s also kind of an ass.

To the progressive left: Censorship is stupid. Hate speech is subjective.

To the alt-right: Don’t be rude and nasty and inflammatory just for the sake of it.

To the progressive left: Stop the completely skewed take on race and gender. It makes you collectivists. Collectivism has a bad habit of mistreating thousands of people because it tramples the individual.

To the alt-right: Stop reacting to the “cultural Marxism” of the left by becoming collectivists. Collectivism has a bad habit of mistreating thousands of people because it tramples the individual.

To the progressive left: If Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic nomination and then the presidential election, there would be excited communists. There would be waving of the hammer and sickle. Huge numbers of people died under the hammer and sickle. Would the celebration of said communists and the waving of such a flag bother you? Would you like seeing Sanders conflated with Stalin?

To the alt-right: Stay far, far away from Richard Spencer. Also, there’s nothing wrong with being happy about an election. Just be adults and do your gloating within your own circles.

To both the progressive left and neocons/alt-right: Take a good, long look in the mirror.

Self Awareness, Anyone?