Piggy and I decided to halt our regularly scheduled programming to talk to you a little about what’s going on in the world right now.
We will be writing more about this topic very soon—particularly the financial and economic aspects, as they are ~*kinda our thing*~. So if you’re worried about how to handle absences at work, or being fired, or what to do with the money you have in the bank right now, stay tuned for more. We’re speeding up our normal writing schedule to answer questions as fast as we can. (Anyone can submit questions through our Tumblr. Patreon donors can message us directly.)
Today we’re going to reinforce the most important advice: how to be good at coronavirusing!
Which is to say: how to be a safe, respectful, engaged, and helpful member of the global community during this crisis where we need each other desperately, yet ironically should be physically avoiding each other!
And for that, we’re gonna need any viral researchers, vaccine synthesizers, medical professionals, state governors, and similar to go ahead and stop reading BGR articles. Piggy and I really agonized over this decision, but it’s final. I know we have a very witty and relatable writing style, but it’s time for you to Go Do The Thing. So go on now, y’all—git!
… Are they gone?
Okay. For the rest of you: we have great news! Your job is significantly simpler and easier. In fact, there are really only a few things you can do. Here’s what you can (and must) do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Today’s question is from a Patreon donor I’ll call Star. It will include a lot of discussions about abusive parental relationships, so please be forewarned.
Star is in a Patreon tier that guarantees we will answer one question. We often do so privately, as the circumstances are often quite particular. But sometimes we post them publically as articles if we think they would be helpful to others. That’s the case with today’s letter.
Hello! I just became a Patron. I’m currently in a situation where my family has been threatening to kick me out of the house. I just turned eighteen two weeks ago, so my adult legs are a bit wobbly. I’m trying to save up for a car, as that’s most important to me right now. My question is: Do you queen genius bitches know if there’s any way I could get government assistance? Or any advice as to how I can move out from my abusive home on my own terms, but as soon as possible? Thank you in advance.
We’re so sorry you’re in this situation.
Eighteen has to be the most fraught age for the relationship between children and parents. It’s normal for once-loving family relationships to feel strained as you all struggle to adjust to the transformation from dependent child to independent adult.
But it is not normal for parents to hang the threat of homelessness and poverty over their teenage child’s head. I really wish you weren’t going through this.
Piggy and I are here in your corner with you, Star. And so is every other BGR reader. We have a substantial population of Hip Mom™ readers, and I am hyper-aware of them right now, because I can feel their simmering rage at reading your letter. It’s warming my keyboard. Ow ow ow.
I hope you have a lot of people in your corner besides us, both because you deserve love and support, and because we’re dumbasses who will probably get plenty of this wrong.
But we’re going to do everything we can to help you regardless. Let’s get into it.
We have a question today from a Tumblr follower. If you don’t follow us on Tumblr, you should! Piggy is one of the Tumblr Deep Ones. She’s been on the platform since its infancy, and she answers tons of reader questions.
Like this one!
I need to move out, but I don’t have any money actually saved up. I do have a job that can cover my monthly costs and still have some left over. So I was wondering just how bad of an idea it is to take out a student loan to get me out of my situation and then immediately work on paying it off.
Ah. A very relatable dilemma.
For most people (and families), housing is the largest item in their budget. Young people spend, on average, a quarter of their income on housing—more than any other age group. Which means that saving money on housing can have an enormous positive impact on your finances. Especially when you’re young.
But is it ever a good idea to strategically spend a lot more than you have to on housing? Spoiler alert: yes, it absolutely can be.
Sometimes I feel really in-touch with America’s youths.
Like when I read a headline about how they don’t care about Joe Biden. “I, too, don’t care about Joe Biden!” I cry, pulling off my readers, rising up out of my Chesterfield, knees cracking, brandishing the physical copy of the newspaper, feeling positively nineteen again!
On the other hand, young people like a lot of wacky shit that I just don’t get. Like the D*va x Lucio ship. And the word “yeet.”
One of the trends I find a little mystifying is the return of interest in astrology. You know. Them little amminals that live in the sky and make us impulsive or conflict-avoidant or whatever. These proto-Pokemon (Capricorn = the Water Goat Pokemon, don’t @ me) are part of an ancient tradition of what we now call woo.
Woo (also called woo-woo) is a catch-all term for pseudoscientific models of thought that don’t hold up to much logical scrutiny, but are popular nonetheless because they simplify the world and appeal to the base human predisposition to find patterns, connections, and order in our extremely strange world.
The term woo can encompass a lot more—everything from the belief in ghosts to the belief in chem-trails. But I’m focusing today on types of woo that are meant to guide adherents through an understanding of the future and/or themselves, like astrology. Because consumption of those beliefs are growing rapidly.
In my day job at a major technology company, I mentor a lot of young adults. Most of them are college-aged interns and recent graduates.
You’ll be shocked—shocked!—to learn that my mentoring sessions are popular because of their “no bullshit” vibe. If we’re getting coffee for thirty minutes, we’ll spend two of them introducing ourselves and making pleasant chit-chat about the weather. That leaves twenty-eight minutes for me to break the speed of sound delivering my very best general adulting advice.
I live for the moment when these young folks realize I’m here to talk straight to them. They go from having no questions (because they’re terrified of looking unprepared) to having dozens.
One question I get asked a lot is, “Should I go to grad school?”
I always say the same thing, without any hesitation.
The last young person I was mentoring specifically asked if he should go on to grad school to get his master’s degree in Marketing Operations. Which did get me to change my stance a little bit.
There are exceptions (obviously). Every person, career, and life situation is different. There are some people who can confidently move straight from their undergraduate degree into a graduate program. And good for them! But I suspect that population is small compared to the total number of people who consider pursuing advanced degrees.
So today I’ll break down why my knee-jerk advice is always “no.” (Or “fuck no,” as the case may be.)
… okay okay, that’s enough pleasantries—I’m worked up about something!
I recently read an article about queer teens being thrown out of their homes by unsupportive families. It had a lot of advice that sounded pretty good. Pursue legal emancipation. Talk to your teachers and guidance counselors. Seek therapy.
“Bah,” I scoffed through a mouthful of Babybel cheese. “Amateurs! Someone needs to write a real guide. Someone who actually knows what it’s like!”
I left home when I was a junior in high school. The reasons were complicated and sad. Suffice to say it was driven by a need for physical and psychological safety I wasn’t getting at home.
Everything worked out for me. I got lucky and landed on my feet. A few psychological scars added to my roguish charm! But it’s not the best strategy. Sorta like throwing yourself down a mountain and hoping you learn to ski on the way down. (Also a thing I did once. How am I alive?)
There are many reasons a teenager might leave home early. Among them: poverty, instability, abuse, neglect, addiction, incarceration, system involvement, and mental and physical health issues. Some are thrown out or kicked out in stark, dramatic fashion. Others are slowly, painfully squeezed out or frozen out. Still more are ignored, unsupported, or victimized to the point that the child must take the initiative to leave.
Regardless of the method, one of the most prevalent reasons teens become homeless is due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Nine in ten homeless LGBT teens “ran away” (46%) to escape family rejection, or were actively forced out (43%) by unsupportive parents.
So I dedicate today’s article to our young queer readers. May you never need the tips I’m about to lay out.
I’ve been gardening a lot in the month of May. And pulling weeds.
So. Many. Weeds. And none of them the fun kind.
I was struck by how suddenly they appeared. In the space of a few days, my empty flower bed was suddenly full of wild violets, dandelion, creeping charlie, and worse things. Prickly things. Toxic things. Deeply rooted things. Weeds that can grow so powerfully they rip apart concrete.
… also whatever that one plant is that smells like old cum. Ugh. Weeds.
The thing is, they didn’t really appear out of nowhere.
I knew they were coming.
They left their seeds and their taproots behind last autumn. Their seeds stayed quiet and waited for conditions to be right. When the planet tilted in their favor, and the sun shone warmly down on them, and the snowmelt watered them, they began to unfurl, out of sight, under the crust of the earth.
I’ve felt the warm air and stomped through the puddles left by the rain. Even though I can’t see them, I have always known that they were there. I’ve watched my flower beds like one watches a door they know is about to open.
When they finally make their move and show themselves, I am ready.
The recent changes to the state laws of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah regarding abortion and reproductive rights shocked a lot of people. Suddenly, everything was happening everywhere, all at once.
But these new laws didn’t appear out of nowhere.
I knew they were coming. And so did a lot of other people.
It’s a fucking travesty that the leading cause of bankruptcy in these United States is medical bills. Not credit card bills nor risky investments. Not even student loans, but hospital bills. Invoices racked up through freak accidents and diseases the patient certainly didn’t ask for and would probably prefer to live without.
To our readers in other, more civilized countries, you’re dismissed. This week we’re going to be dissecting a uniquely American problem: exorbitant medical bills and how to pay them.
The CEO of GoFundMe, an online crowd-funding platform, never dreamed that his company would become synonymous with “I’m broke and need $300,000 to pay for my child’s cancer treatment.” What he envisioned as a way for entrepreneurs and artists to raise money for their passion projects has become the last desperate hope of sick and injured Americans on the verge of total financial ruin.
It blows, dear readers. It fucking blows.
Which is why we need to get creative with some of the lesser-known and best ways to pay for medical bills. Sure, it might be cheaper in the long run to move to Canada, Sweden, or Namibia. But if you bleed American blood on American soil, here’s what you do.
Hey Bitches, Patreon supporter here! Friday I had my very first physical, which was covered by my insurance. I told my new doctor about starting back up on antidepressants to save me a visit/copay. He gave me a script based on the ones I tried before, plus Zoloft has been around long enough it’s super cheap instead of the couple hundred/month my last one was to start. The doc also agreed gardening would help with the depression. Any produce growing tips or motivation to make sure I actually stick to my meds this time instead of ditching after a few weeks?
Before I get too deep into this, I want to remind y’all that I am not a medical professional of any kind. I’m not even a financial professional. No—I am a self-important PowerPoint jockey who came this close to opening this site under a .net address! If you’re torn between listening to yourself, listening to your doctor, and listening to a random bossy Internet nobody, choose the bossy Internet nobody last, okay?
I’ve never personally been on antidepressants. So my direct experience here is somewhat limited. (Any depressive periods I’ve had in the past have been solved by irresponsibly ignoring the problem while feverishly spending all of my spoons trying to convince the people around me that everything is juuuuuust fine until suddenly, one day, it is. Don’t be like me. I’m trying to change.)
HOWEVER! I certainly know the joys of going on and coming off of meds.
O! The joie of hormonal fluctuations!
For various reasons not related to the desire to become pregnant, I’ve been on and off of birth control pills over the past few years. And lord, what a trip that has been.
Birth control is pretty damn weird. It’s a well-established drug. Millions of people take it. It’s not thought of as particularly volatile or significantly mood-altering. Some people feel no side effects at all. And yet… let’s go to the tape.
Kitty’s thoughts restarting birth control:
“Thank goodness for the overwhelming feeling that my body is hideous and disgusting—this sudden wave of self hatred is the helpful alarm clock announcing my period is starting soon!”
“Gosh, I can’t believe that guy cut me off in traffic! I’m gonna find out where his ancestors are buried, dig them up, and pose them humping each other on his front lawn.”
“Whither my dear friend Jawline Acne? O’er the purple moors? Beyond the mountain made of glass?”
“Now seems like a fine time to lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling until I muster the strength to attempt the impossible: move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.”
“Google, is this amount of period blood a ‘go to the ER’ sitch or…?”
Kitty’s thoughts coming down off of birth control:
“If somebody doesn’t bring me the puffy kind of Cheetos within the next nine minutes, the precious life my confused body is convinced I’m nurturing will NEVER GET INTO HARVARD.”
“I am actually kind of sure that if I concentrated hard enough, I could just Code Geass people.”
“I can’t believe how attractive I am. Oops, lil’ blood on the pillow from that painfully massive zit rupturing in the night. Anyway, regarding my undeniable sexiness, which rages around all of us like a wildfire—”
“I should probably sign up for skydiving now. Like, RIGHT now.”
“Google, can I get so horny I die?”
… So, letter writer, I feel you. I know exactly why someone would really want to start, but also really want to stop taking medication.
I’m going to assume that anyone who wants to start or stop a medication has thoroughly weighed their options, considered their best interests, and gotten their doctor’s blessing. I know that the awesome members of Bitch Nation will join me in this assumption! And none of you will leave judgmental, concern-troll-y comments about people’s medical shit.
So here are some strategies for sticking with any kinda meds!