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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This EP is brought to you by Obamacare

Things are going great right now! The EP's in mixing, I've worked out plans to shoot a music video, and I think I've finally figured out what I want on the cover. I'm so looking forward to having new music out. (Sleepwalking came out waaaaaaayyyy too long ago!)

As to how I'm financing this project, I don't have a label, and I'm not planning on running a crowdfunding campaign — so put away your wallets! ;) This is something I'm doing for myself, on my own. When the time comes, you can support me by coming to shows and spreading the word. I have the money to pay for all of this myself… mostly because of Obamacare.

Let's back up.

So, as you may or may not know, I graduated college at 20. I came in with a lot of credits and I left early to get cracking on this music thing sooner rather than later. Up until graduation I had wonderful health insurance through my mom's employer, but as soon as my diploma was in hand I was given the boot.

Now in what world is a 20-year-old expected to have health benefits through their job? I suppose I could have gotten them by staying a latte slave at Starbucks, where I worked part-time during my unpaid music business internship, but I chose to follow that internship to the job that I have now— a job that still does not have benefits.

Being too paranoid to go without health insurance in a crazy city where I could be hit by a car (or a train, or a bike [as happened this weekend], or a drunk person's fist) at any second, I decided to pay for COBRA through my mom's employer. Sadly, it was $300/month for less coverage I'd had previously. It's a good thing I had it because I ended up needing it to check out some mysterious health problems I started having (long story for another day, but if you hang with me just know I eat weird food now), but every time I got a bill back it would be like "Why am I paying $300 a month for insurance and still owing this doctor $170?" It was ridiculous. Health care was eating up almost as much of my meager income as my overpriced NYC rent.

And then Obamacare happened! In 2011, I was able to go back on my mom's health insurance. I went from owing the insurance company $300 a month to something like $150 a year. That's over $3000 back in my pocket just in premiums, not to mention what I save by having better coverage. I think the total is closer to $5000.

Before Obamacare, I was literally living paycheck to paycheck. There's no way I would have been able to save up to finance this EP if that money had not come back to me. Now in this new reality where healthcare isn't my biggest expense after housing, I've saved up money for some financial security, and I put the rest back in the hands of musicians— people who definitely don't have employer-based health insurance.

This is the first time that a change in government policy has directly affected me so dramatically. And that's why I was a nervous wreck waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether the Affordable Care Act was constitutional or not, because I simply can't afford to go back to the way things were. I don't know what I'll do when I turn 27, but hopefully by then health care won't be such a make-or-break expense for me.

I usually stay away from political debates (that may change ... been listening to too much Rachel Maddow), but this issue is obviously very close to my heart. The ACA isn't some specter of socialized medicine waiting to take away our rights. It's a real thing that benefits real people. And it's (if indirectly) bringing you a little EP called Ideals & Deals, and hopefully several more to come.

Much love to all my friends without health insurance. May this period of your life sans safety net end soon.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Sleepwalker's Bed: Snapshot of a Sleepwalker (Outro)

Life is really complicated when you're 18.

That's what I've learned from this blog series. A History of Sleepwalking is a snapshot of an emotionally dense and complicated teenager, a person who seems almost a stranger to me now. I don't know about you, but I find that as I get older, the world appears more and more multi-faceted, nuanced, and layered, while my little life grows smaller and simpler.

It's comforting to wake up to be more or less the same person every day. Even though I'm constantly changing — and nothing scares me more than the prospect of becoming stagnant — my growth is linear. Each day starts with the same struggles, right where I left them. And it's nice that I can count on that, you know?

No matter how hard things get, I can always look back on the path that I'm on and be reassured by how far I've come. If I could make it through all that, I can do anything.

That's what I'd like to tell the Sleepwalker now— that even though the world outside is terrifying and ugly, the things inside her are not.

The Sleepwalker is beautiful.

I think I can admire her for what she is and close the book on that chapter of my life.