1. Smoking pot makes me want to turn each song on my Spotify favorites list into a Karaoke song I can actually visualize myself singing.
2. Smoking pot means I have Spotify in the first place. I didn’t listen to music for 20 years.
3. Smoking pot helps me to at least know what I’m crying about.
4. Smoking pot helps me to live in the moment, not in the thought bubbles analyzing what’s going on down below.
5. Smoking pot means that I laugh 25% as often as I cry (that’s an increase from 0%).
6. Smoking pot means I can feel pain in a tolerable way rather than numb it - and God knows we vilify “addicts” who need pain relief in this country. We treat them more like slugs than people.
7. Smoking pot brings the suppressed version of myself out to play and connect with other human beings again; before, I withdrew to shield myself from Life’s blows.
8. Smoking pot helps me to stop second-guessing myself every second of every day; it stops the onslaught of voices telling me to WATCH OUT!! To STAY SAFE or I’ll get hurt!! Again. Other people - even “loved ones” are dangerous. So is Fate, the Universe and God Himself. Smoking pot turns off that damned robot looping through my traumatized brain screaming DANGER, JENNIFER!! I don’t think most people have a clue how EXHAUSTING it is to live with PTSD.
9. And no, I don’t get a lot done, but it’s not by choice. Accumulated trauma and chronic pain had already leeched my vitality from me. At least now I see some meaning and purpose in what’s LEFT of my life. That’s good enough for me because I HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH.
10. I don’t need your pity or pseudo-compassion, served up cold with an order of Judgment on the side. What I NEED is to not be arrested for engaging in acts of self-preservation.
11. I am willing to testify before the Texas legislature to put my story on official record, just like I did for the Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer program and The Fertility Preservation Bill (which I really hope has become a law by now).
P.S. A special note for my fellow Christians: I love you and I am not “lost” or “deceived.” I haven’t lost my faith, but I did lose my hope and my self-compassion. So I’m still a “Christian,” just not a ‘Good Christian.”