Dear Sister Queens,
To recap, this has essentially been my life for the last two months:
Craig (I’ve given the nameless insurance bro a name): So, how exciting for you! We have given you a medication that’s way more affordable for all of us and you’re completely happy, right princess? Good job, Craig, up high!
Me: No, Craig. This is not a good job. No up high. I am having brain fog problems that I generally no longer had, I’m in more pain and I’m more tired. Also my digestion is fucked and I’m having headaches.
Craig: Hmmm. But you’re able to go to your full time job? And do basic housekeeping? Because let’s be real, those are your primary functions. As a woman.
Me: . . .yes. But I can’t do anything else. I’ve had to cancel so many plans. I’m going to bed even earlier and I run on a toddler clock to begin with. I need so much more help to accomplish anything at home past very basic things. I’m worried I could lose my job because I’m hiding how hard this is for me right now, but I’m not going to be able to hide it during Busy Season. How am I supposed to be on my feet for ten hours in the copy room? I almost forgot to lock the front door last night which would have been very bad for me at work. I can’t write anything and I can barely have the energy to read.
Craig: Listen, listen, princess! You’re not looking at this right! Your old med was like a mochaloca Starbucks frap, right? Where you could almost taste colors and made you super powerful. And the new medication is like a decaf Irish Breakfast tea. And maybe it doesn’t give you super powers, but what you’re not looking at is the fact that they are both beverages! Yeah, we did that for you!
Me: I don’t feel like you are listening to me, Craig–
Craig: Hey, hey, hey! Don’t get upset, princess. Let’s fix this. Oh I know! You wanna try that old medication again? It’s been ten years, maybe you’re somehow a completely different person now!
Me: What! No! No, I do not want to do that, Craig. I told you. It’s even shittier than this medication. It made me gain fifty pounds, literally. I had vertigo. And it did jack shit for any of my actual symptoms. It was just better than nothing at the time.
Craig: Chill, chill, princess. So, we need documents that you actually took that med. Btdub. Or we’re gonna make you take it again. Just as a little sumpthin sumpthin to keep in the back of your head.
Me: But my doctor’s office got computerized during that time and they’re concerned they may not find the paper records —
Craig: You could always take it again.
Craig: Well, then if there’s no paper work then you can keep taking this.
Me: No. No fucking way, Craig.
Craig: Well, you better hope they find it. But even if they do, we’re probably going to say no to the medication that actually works because we talked about it and we feel like your life isn’t really worth that much money once you really get down to brass tacks. Because you’re close enough to functioning, really. And isn’t that all you need for this quality of life you keep talking about? Because me and the other dudebros who do not have medical degrees but feel really comfy cozy making decisions for you and your body think it is.
Me: Now you listen to me, Craig. I’m filing a formal complaint. Also, I saw on CNN that you guys and your company literally almost killed a teenaged girl recently because you didn’t feel like paying the money for her life saving medication. Must have been a PR nightmare, huh Craig? Did I mention I’m an author with one of the oldest publishers in the country with a very deeply rooted social media following? So then it’s probably time I start naming names about who you guys are so everyone knows yet another shitty thing you did. And hey! If I’m on a medication that you think is best for me, how would I really know how many times is too many times to call and have a nice long feels talk about how much I hate all of this? Like, crazy exgirlfriend levels seem completely appropriate here. Also, I’m going to appeal as many fucking times as I have to. I’m going to appeal until I fucking drop dead, just to generate more paperwork for all of us to enjoy together. Maybe I get fired due to my complete inability to handle my career on this medication and I start talking to my lawyer friends about lost wages. How’s that sound, princess?
Craig: So, we’re decided to go ahead and give you back your medication. But we’re going to give you a final salvo at the pharmacy. I want to make sure my penis is still really strong after this and that will really make me feel like that.
Me: I expected nothing less from you motherfuckers.
So during this time, while this sounds completely badass with the abridged version, the reality was that I wanted to curl up like a tiny pill bug. I didn’t want to fight. I got depressed because being told that your ability to produce creative work and have a rich life isn’t worth the money is, as you may suspect, depressing. And I had to fight with literally everyone involved in this sorted mess to prove that I wasn’t just expecting more expensive medication for shits and giggles.
When I found my power again, I took a breath and started considering my options. I can’t afford a literal full paycheck every three months to go to this. I could either produce and sell 60 widgets every 90 days or I could really do a full life overhaul in paring down everything I love to do, exercising more somehow while in more pain and really working on my brain and turning nearly full attention to my career. This would leave very little time for socializing and even less time for creative endeavors. My creative output would be nearly nothing.
You put my back against the wall like this, and I find every time, I’m going to get full on Penelope crazy. I’m going to sell 60 widgets ever 90 days, motherfuckas. That seems way easier and way more enjoyable than a full life overhaul that leads to a shittier life. I was also having identity problems. I had just really settled into becoming who I am – a badass Amazon author who leaves a trail of glamour bombs behind her. Who the fuck am I supposed to be with this bullshit? I was fading back into being a sick girl. On one hand, it was less stressful. I could only do a few things, only certain things were expected to me and with my brain wrapped in cotton candy, I had no will for much of anything. I was quiet, I was docile, I was well behaved.
When I finally had my meds in hand, those close to me were so sweet. You did it! You advocated for what you needed and you won! You determined the life you want to live and what you need to live it and you got it! We’re so proud of you!
But I was so shaken up from this. So very shaken up. Because it’s really hard to advocate for yourself when you don’t have much. And that’s not unintentional, Sister Queens. Never think for a moment that the people in control do that unintentionally. They do not. They weaken you, they make it almost impossible to fight and then they make it as hard as possible to get what you need to survive. This is another exile story. This is another real life modern battle we fight in the modern royal courts.
I’m telling you this story because it was hard as hell and it required some real shady shit that I had to do that I’m not even publicly discussing. I’m telling you because there are times where I’m disempowered still. Even with my book. Even with a tiny bit of public recognition. Even, even, even. When you have been in exile, even if you are allowed back to court with all of your lands, titles and honors, don’t think for a moment that you aren’t aware that it can all be taken away again. Don’t think that everything that happened to you in exile magically goes away. Don’t think that every time something starts to go sideways again, there isn’t vomit in your throat and fear in your belly as you swear to yourself that you won’t be taken again while still being terrified that you may not be strong enough to fight this battle again, let alone win it.
This is what makes us sisters.