Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pretty Hurts

Conform. Sit still and look pretty. You must be pretty if you want to be loved. If you're not pretty, you can't even love yourself.
Well, you know what? Pretty hurts. I'm not talking about being beautiful. I'm talking about being forced into a box of how to feel and be. Of resenting people who are free, because of course we would all like to be like that, but you can't be free if you're trying to be pretty all the time.

Women (and men) are literally broken down into checklists and numbers. 5.0 or 9.5. Graded on our worthiness based on being pretty. Yes, a lot of it is looks. Industrialized looks. But a lot of it is deeper. What if thin lips could be beautiful? What if uneven skin could be beautiful? "No!" they say. It's all science. We aren't intelligent beings, we're animals. We can't help what we like. If you don't conform to what homo sapiens like, you will be unacceptable, unlovable and alone.
It comes almost true.
You fall for someone. You think they're great. But do you know what they think of you? They think your hair is the wrong color. So it doesn't work out.
It's heartbreaking.
You don't know yet that it will go deeper.
You fall for someone. You think they're great. This time, your hair is the right color. But do you know what they think of you? They think you're not entertaining enough. So it doesn't work out.
You start googling what you're doing wrong. There are plenty of people happy to tell you.
You fall for someone. You think they're great. This time, your hair is right. You work hard to be fun and spontaneous for them. You know they like this. But you didn't know that they like you to tell them that they are always right. So it doesn't work out.
You stop falling for people.
You start falling for the lies.
You study and shape yourself. You say it's self-improvement. It works.
But it makes you cry that it works.
You hear a song from years back every once in a while, or run into an old friend. It makes you nostalgic for yourself, before you knew what people liked.
It's hard to reconcile the likeable person you can be if you try and the unlikeable person you can be if you don't. We should try. We should be kind. We should have courage. We should be pretty.
You meet someone, but you don't fall.
You study. You feel something, so you calculate. You think.
You don't say too much or too little. You look good but hide the appearance of maintenance. You laugh but hide the frowns. You're pretty.
It works.
You keep them at arms distance but get terrified when they move farther away than your arm can reach. You are cool and unreachable, then you're desperate and irrational. You don't know why.
They stick around though. After a while, your arm gets tired of holding them at a distance. They're pretty cute, too, you want to be a little closer.
But what if they see? What if they start seeing the frowns? Or the pores? Or the moodiness? What if they see, Heaven Forbid, the dance moves???
Then one day it happens. They see something. Maybe it's a frown, or a rude remark. Maybe it's eyelashes with no mascara or a stretch mark. You freak out. Because you know what that will mean. That it won't work out.
Your knowledge comes from experience. It's not book knowledge, it's wisdom. It's truth. It's reality. We can't control what we like.
But then they don't go. It's confusing.
It's scary.
Because you know they will just see more. Then they will go, and you don't want them to. You never wanted them to.
They'll start saying things. Like that they don't care that you're not pretty. You never realized that that was what you wanted to hear all along.
Not that, "You are pretty."
That they don't care that you're not.
They think you're beautiful. They think your smiles and your frowns are beautiful. They think you're beautiful when you've shaved and when you are paying homage to your cold climate ancestors. They think your cuteness and your independence are beautiful.
You'll remember how it felt before you judged yourself. Before you decided only certain qualities could stay. Before something like the color of your hair could make you cry. You'll remember fearlessness. You'll remember confidence. You'll remember yourself like an old friend. You'll remember strength, not prettiness.
You'll still cry sometimes. You'll still get scared and crawl into your "pretty" box for protection. It's hard to believe, but you will see it with your own eyes. Your knowledge will come from experience. It won't be book knowledge, it will be wisdom. It will be truth. It will be reality. We can choose what we love.
Pretty girls make me cry. Because pretty hurts. Deeply. It doesn't hurt to put on mascara. But "pretty" girls put on mascara to cover up the pain of when someone said their eyelashes were short and it didn't work out. It doesn't hurt to exercise. But "pretty" girls run to run away from the pain of when someone said they were too fat and it didn't work out. Plastic surgery hurts. But not as much as the pain of someone not loving you because you're not "pretty."
Pretty is a mask that hides deep wounds of not being loved. But if we can be brave enough to put down the mask, someday we will discover that we're worth more than pretty. We're actually beautiful.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tree Change Dolls


I love these dolls :)

A beautiful Australian woman removed these Bratz dolls faces and repainted them the way they could be. She added flat feet, and some modest, homespun clothing.

Pictures of these dolls went viral shortly after she shared them on her personal Facebook page. I think people love them for a lot of reasons. The dolls look soooo different, but nothing too significant is changed, not hair, not face shape, just the makeup and attitude.

I think I love them so much because they look like they've been set free. They look real. They look like they can see. They look like they could say something. They look innocent, curious, kind, intelligent, open. Not hard, closed off, frozen and unfeeling.
Doll makers would do well to take the viral-ity of these dolls into consideration.
But I think the change in these dolls resonates much more deeply for a lot of people. They raise interesting questions, that I think demand some heartfelt searching rather than easy answers. Which version of myself am I? How am I choosing to show myself? Do I bravely show my true self and not present/value myself as just a thing? Are the small, subtle things I choose to do/be making me more kind, intelligent and open? Or, are they making me into a cold, hard THING?
We deserve to speak and see and think and be modest. We are not things.
:* <3

Friday, October 30, 2015

Anna Frozen Halloween

I was a make-shift Anna for my work Halloween costume:) I feel like every year I end up dressing up as a few different things...but that's what happens when you love Halloween!! Different occasions call for different costumes. For work I keep it low key (ish...). I love Anna's colors!! I just happened to have them...but all in shirts ;) I'm wearing a blue V-neck shirt around my waist (it has a perfect sized neck line), a light blue button down with a black t-shirt, and a maroon cardigan draped around my shoulders. I just work black leggings and black booties on bottom, and a gold belt around my waist, pointing down into the V of the shirt.

Yes, my costume consists of four shirts. Anna Halloween costume!!

Also, it was way too much fun piling on the eyeliner and mascara to create that almost cross-eyed Anna look. :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: 7 Things to Remember

Oktober 4-10 is mental health awareness week.
*Those who are currently in the throes of a mental health challenge may think this post is too simplistic or upbeat. Just keep in mind that I wouldn't be writing this if this if I hadn't witnessed, firsthand and through those I love, the helplessness of mental health challenges AND the unfathomable improvement that can come when you finally get the care and healing you need.*

Sometimes people think of mental illness like a viral physical disease, such as chicken pox. Either you have it, or you don't. I think a better comparison is chronic conditions such as diabetes, or a thyroid disorder. While they are as real as chicken pox, they are measured on a spectrum, not dichotomously, and while they are not entirely in our control, there are usually some things we can to that will help us manage (or at least not exacerbate) the condition. Sometimes, even if we are taking perfect care of ourselves, we'll have flare ups anyway. Sometimes we'll require treatment and/or medication to manage. It's something we may or may not actively struggle with our whole life.

I think one reason people tend to not like talking about mental illness, is they don't want to be put in a box. NAMI's focus for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is #Iamstigmafree. If you tell someone you Have Depression, will they think you're broken for the rest of your life?  Will they take you seriously when you're sad? Will they blame your behavior on your disease? Will they want a friend/spouse/employee who is less damaged, more resilient?

Just like no one has complete, perfect physical health in every way, no one has absolutely complete, perfect mental health. We all have weaknesses, and we can all take better care of ourselves.

There's a scripture that I love which I think strongly applies to mental health:
Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them."

The Lord doesn't promise to always take away the things that make us weak. He says that He can make our weak things strong. I think that could mean even in spite of what makes us weak.

We love stories of people who overcome the odds, rags to riches, quadriplegic to Olympic champion. There is glory in triumphing, despite things that make us weak. In fact, that propensity to be weak adds so much more to the glory, it doesn't detract. We all have our crosses to bear. Be grateful for chances to triumph despite weakness.

Now, there are times of crisis, where the things below may not apply. But I'm talking more about people who are somewhere on the spectrum of mental health, who have weaknesses but are still functioning.

Some things to remember if you or someone you love struggles with mental health:

1. Just as no one is in perfect physical health, no one is in perfect mental health.
Admitting you are not perfect does not have to put you in a box, it just means that you have weaknesses, just like everybody else.

2. People with mental health issues can still have valid thoughts and feelings.
Disregarding hurt feelings just because someone has depression is not appropriate. Disregarding someone's concern, just because they have anxiety is not appropriate. It is necessary at times to make adjustments for those who are not super functional, but just like those with physical health conditions, most people with mental health conditions just want you to treat them normally and help them live as close to a normal life as possible.

3. Your disease is not a crutch.
By the same token, if you have a mental illness, don't use it to excuse your behavior. You may need some extra help and understanding from those around you, but you are still responsible for you. Getting as close to your potential as possible should be your goal. Don't let your illness become an excuse to stop trying. It means you must try harder. By try harder, I don't mean that you have to fake being okay more, or force yourself into very uncomfortable situations for you. No, I mean that you must try harder to take care of yourself so that you are able to be more functional during the time you are able to function normally.

4. Take care of yourself.
There are varying diseases, disorders, and complicated mental issues. Find what works for you. Find what you need. Then commit to it. If you have anxiety and you realize you need three nights a week alone to be functional, give that to yourself. If you have depression and you realize that you need to sleep 9 hours and exercise daily to feel functional, give that to yourself. If you have PTSD, that might mean saying no to scary/violent movies that will trigger you. RESIST the urge to feel guilty for self-care. Making yourself more functional is the best way to give of yourself to other people. Don't burn yourself out, that's mean. Treat yourself with care and respect.

5. Get treated when things get bad.
Some people need constant help treating mental health issues. Many people do not require such consistent treatment, but they do require it from time to time. Don't think that just because you've been treated and are in a good place, that you will never need treatment again. Keep in touch with how you are doing. When you feel yourself struggling, get help before it gets out of control. If you need to be put on suicide watch, please instigate that. If you need someone to report to, find a friend or therapist. If you need medication, find a doctor and get access to what you are in need of.

6. There is a reason for everything.
Sometimes, people think/act/feel poorly because they have a weak character, or are not trying. They need to change.
But most often, when people do bad, it's because they are struggling. Learn to give people the benefit of the doubt.
When a friend never wants to hang out anymore, realize that they are probably depressed, not rude or boring.
When someone can't concentrate, is fidgety, uptight and cries all the time, realize that they're not just being a baby, they might have PTSD.
When someone won't stop talking negatively about their body, realize that they're probably not shallow, they may have an eating disorder/body dismorphia.
If you experienced their trama, genes and life, maybe you would be behaving the same way, or even worse.

7. Triumph doesn't just mean being disease-free.
Can you be mentally healthy when you've struggled with depression? When you've been through trama? When you've dealt with OCD or addiction? I think yes :) There is hope. There is learning. We all have our crosses to bear. Like President Holland says, you can't fix everything with just square shoulders and positive thinking. Even with treatment, some people will not overcome mental illnesses in this life. But that doesn't mean there are no victories. Learning to excel in your own way with what you have been given is a triumph. Saying hello to someone when you're depressed is a triumph. Breathing through an anxiety attack and being able to finish the day is a triumph.

In Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, "Forget Me Not," he says of our efforts to improve and succeed, "In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life's sweetest experiences."


8. You can still be resilient.
One of the worst things is thinking that you're broken beyond repair. I testify that you are not :) You can get through anything. And if success for you doesn't look the same as success for someone else, that's okay. We can always work on becoming more functional and resilient, despite our shortcomings, in our own way, and with the help of the Lord. When dealing with yourself and others, remember:


Thursday, September 24, 2015

15 Pro-Marijuana Points I Hear All the Time and Why They Concern Me

"Cannabis Plant" by Cannabis Training University - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cannabis_Plant.jpg#/media/File:Cannabis_Plant.jpg

I work in substance abuse prevention. I'm also a single pringle, so sometimes I go on dates. I went on one recently and as soon as the guy heard that I was into substance abuse prevention, he talked for 10 minutes about why I should be pro-marijuana (aka, pro-cannabis). I finally forced a change of topic, since I didn't want to monopolize the entire date talking about public health. (Okay, that's only kinda true. I'll talk about public health any time, any place.;) )
You would think that knowing that my career is in substance abuse prevention, it would be clear that I have unfavorable opinions towards substance use. It would be clear that I have spent many hours researching the issues and I may be a little better informed about them than the average Joe.
Apparently, those things are not obvious, as this date scenario actually happens to me pretty frequently. ;) It's usually great, just friendly people bringing up interesting points they've heard. But since I don't like to argue on dates, I don't always have the chance for a full discussion. So, here it is!

15 pro-marijuana points I hear all the time and why they concern me

1. "It will be a cash cow for the state. I say, just tax the crap out of it and use the money."
This is so false. Utah has THEE HIGHEST alcohol tax rate in the nation. And it still only equals about 1/4th of the cost of treatment. And that's just treatment!! We already have a lot of individuals with cannabis use disorder in treatment here. And it's paid for with tax dollars. In other words, if you pay taxes, you are paying for treatment. When treatment costs rise proportionally with use and taxes can only pay for a small portion (which will be the case unless there is a 100ish% tax on substances) you will pay more taxes to care for addicts.
Even in places like Colorado, where marijuana is recreationally available, still, the marijuana tax makes up far less than 1% of the general tax fund. And there are SO many costs that come along with abuseable substances.
Increased treatment of individuals who can't pay for it themselves, so it's paid for by the taxpayers. Increased law enforcement needed to patrol DUIs and process them. There's no breathalyzer for MJ, it's a more difficult, time and resource consuming process. Paid for by tax payers. Accidents.
Increased days missed from work. Decreased number of individuals able to hold a steady job. They then become a financial burden on society.
Law-makers time.

2. "If we legalize it, we will shut down the black market. Drug cartels will just stop. Why would someone buy illegal pot if they can buy it leagally????????"

Umm, because it's cheaper. If we "tax the crap out of it," it's going to be a lot cheaper on the black market. And with pot legal, it will be much, much more difficult to enforce laws surrounding black market marijuana deals, making it easy for drug cartels to flourish. Some have gone legal. Cool. Now we have cartels running legally recognized entities. Crime rates have risen in Colorado since legalization.

3. "No one has ever even died from it. In fact, there are no side effects."

You mean, other than chemically-induced psychosis? Good heavens. Even my Allegra comes with a hefty list of side-effects and contraindications. If you don't know what they are for marijuana components, it's only because they haven't been documented yet. Some interesting ones have been surfacing though. Like that young frequent marijuana users have an 8 point drop in IQ. That's just sad. Let's protect our kiddos please. They will be leading our nation soon.
Also, this doesn't account for non-overdose, marijuana related deaths. People are killed by those driving under the influence. Violent marijuana-related crime and the dangerous processes of extraction kill people. Those deaths are basically 100% preventable.

4. "It's not even addictive."
If you follow pot talk at all, you've noticed that the marijuana industry and pro-marijuana proponents have stopped making this claim. Sometimes they'll soften it by saying, "Well, yeah, you can get addicted to it just like anything, like sugar or video games." Hmm. Looking at the actual numbers, about 1 in 6 young, frequent pot users will become addicted. The industry is realizing they can't lie about this anymore. *cough* Big Tobacco *cough*

5. "It doesn't make you high."
Okay, this is one no one really says out loud. But marijuana proponents have done SUCH a good job sending out the message that "marijuana is benign" and even "good for you" and that you can "use it responsibly..." that people have kind of forgotten that it even gets you high. That smoking/ingesting THC gets you high. People don't always do dumb, dangerous even literally psychotic things when they're high. Not even the majority of the time. But definitely more frequently than when they're not high. Do you really want to live in a community trying to interact and do business and function in school and the workplace with people who are high? It would not be awesome.

6. "Just regulate it tightly."
Perhaps the biggest myth of all, the myth of regulation. The attempt to "regulate" marijuana is a joke. There has been an unprecedented amount of new law-making in Colorado in order to attempt to control what has been released. It's like trying to rebuild a dam during the flooding.

What if you told someone, "Okay. You can only grow 4 tomato plants. I know tomatoes are very lucrative to grow, a lot of people want to buy tomatoes from you, but I'm telling you- only grow four plants okay? And make sure those plants are all under 2 feet. We don't want you producing too much. Don't breed them, grow more, share with your neighbor. Don't harvest more than twice a season. I don't know how long a season is, I guess it just depends. Just don't harvest too much. Don't let your kids near them. Don't sell them unless we tell you to."
Do you see the problem here?
Some pro-marijuana people who claim they are proponents of freedom of choice, somehow think that people will instead be willing to be controlled. It kills the legal system. It overwhelms law enforcement.

7. "Once marijuana is legal, cops will be free to focus on bigger problems."
Not only is this a new burden, but it's taking away valuable time from lawmakers and law enforcement doing actual important things, like making improvements and reducing serious crime. Like going after bigger things than smoking pot.

8. "It would free up alllllllllllllllllll the prison space we have which is currently filled with people who smoked marijuana one time.
I asked them last time I visited the prison what they were in for, and they all said they were just doing their thing, smoking marijuana, and an evil cop appeared. The cop said, 'Ten years for smoking marijuana!' now the prison is full of, hmm, like 85% marijuana smokers I think."
Okay. Okay, okay, okay. No. Fallacy. Just think about it. Do you really think this would happen? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only about 0.4% of prisoners with no prior offenses are in state prisons for marijuana related offenses, usually things like trafficking/violent crime. Not smoking and possession of a personal supply. According to the United States Sentencing Commission in 2008, 6,337 people were sentenced in federal court for drug crimes related to marijuana. Only 1.6% of these 6,337 were sentenced for marijuana possession. Now, I'm no mathematician, but that comes out to about 101 people in federal prison for marijuana related crimes. In. The. Nation.
Really. Look it up.
And the funny this is, most of these cases were argued down. So, people's charges were way more than marijuana-related crimes, and they were graciously plead down to a marijuana charge.
Our prisons are not filled with innocent pot users. Gosh.
Yes, we have a prison system problem. That's another issue, or as some would call it, a red herring. Don't get confused. Legalizing a substance won't automatically fix deeper problems.

9. "It's better than/just like alcohol, and that's legal."
Look around. Do we really need another alcohol? Do we really need more of the social, financial and relationship devastation caused by this substance? Did you know problems caused by alcohol use costs Utah tax payers $3,000 per house hold per year? And we have the driest state in the nation. Imagine states where alcohol use is at or above the national average.
You might think to yourself, "Other than our expensive taxes...I haven't felt like $3,000 is missing from my household. This must be false." Well, the thing is, it's not evenly distributed among every household. No, it hits the most vulnerable the hardest. A family loses their income because a parent can't keep a job. Emergency room costs to teen who has been binge drinking. Funeral costs to someone who is the victim of alcohol related violence. We don't need more intoxicated people. I know it can be fun and enjoyable to some people. But no, I don't think some people's relaxation/enjoyment is more important than the morbidity and mortality experienced by those who are most vulnerable as a result of these substances. And MJ doesn't replace alcohol. In fact, marijuana users are more likely to use alcohol than non-users.
10.  "It's medicine. It helps people, why wouldn't you want to legalize it? #heartless..."

Wait, I thought this was like alcohol. Alcohol makes a lot of people feel better, right? Calms anxiety? Reduces insomnia? Temporarily numbs PTSD? Why don't we prescribe it for these things??
Because it's bad for you. The small benefits are not worth the extremely detrimental effects. It would be unethical to prescribe it to ill, and (especially) mentally vulnerable people.

Also, since when do legislators determine what's effective as medicine? I thought we let the medical community do that? If it's really medicine, make it go through the channel every other medicine has to to get approved. Study it. Test it. Can't? Then push for research, not legalization. We DO NOT HAVE adequate research to openly legalize cannabis as "medicine." There has been some really interesting and promising things shown in case studies. Let's test them properly. Let's dose it. Let's get it down to a measureable substance, not a random form of some "strain" that no one is regulating. Test for mold and pesticides. Let's help, not hurt sick people.

It would be awesome if simply writing into law that cannabis cures cancer and epilepsy and glaucoma made it so. But laws can't change the actual effectiveness of a drug. Whether it's even viable is not determined by legislation. It's determined through rigorous research and the scientific method.

11. "It's better than/just like prescription pain killers. You can't overdose on marijuana like you can on opioids."
As far as I know, it is very difficult to hit a deadly amount of marijuana components based on the way people are currently using it. It's also hard to overdose on smoked opium. Buuut, look at how opioids have been developed over the years. If we see something similar with cannabis, then we may have to revisit the issue. BUT for now, even if marijuana is less dangerous on its own, users are more likely to use opioid prescription drugs, heroin and benzodiazepines, all of which can lead to overdose. It's almost like there's an underlying problem here. That needs more help than just medication.

12. "It's better than/just like tobacco."
Just kidding. This is one is actually not used that much, because it doesn't really persuade people to be pro-marijuana. Because tobacco is an industry that targets vulnerable populations, only seeks to profit, doesn't care that the product causes harm. The tobacco industry straight up lied to the faces of American judges and prosecutors for years. It blows my mind that tobacco is still legal. Blows my mind. But, they have dollars. They have an addicted customer base. How many people do you know that die from cigarette overdose? Okay, I see what you're saying. There are other ways things can be detrimental to society and individuals other than causing immediate overdose deaths. And it could take decades to fully understand those societal costs. And cigarettes don't even get you high...

13. "Don't listen to those prevention people. It's propaganda. They LIKE spending time and resources on things like stopping substance use, rather than working on actual protective factors, and proactively taking their communities to the optimum public health. They do it for MONIES!!!!! To keep their very high-paying, lucrative jobs in substance abuse prevention. Listen to someone you can trust, like the for-profit, unproven marijuana industry! They have no reason to lie!"

Ha. Ha. I love this one. Some people make jokes (I call them jokes) about how prevention people really just want to keep everyone addicted so that they can keep working in the substance abuse prevention field. If you ever want something to cry on your pillow about at night, cry about how much prevention funding gets designated to other things. All I have to say is, there are one million other things that could be worked on if substance abuse went away.

Then there's the absurdity of trusting information from the Marijuana Industry, only people who stand to profit if you start using their substances. Yeesh. It is hard for me to believe that everything they say is purely out of the goodness of their hearts when you see operations popping up all over for the sole purpose of making a profit. I think some do it out of the goodness of their heart. Especially those looking to truly research medicinal properties of chemicals in the cannabis plant. I tip my hat to anyone trying to do good.
But even if people pushing for fully legalized, open marijuana access are trying to do good; they simply are not. It is not a good thing for society. And it's hard for me to put my blind faith in someone who has the chance to become a millionaire based on my choice to use.

*Warning* this one gets religious!
14. Religious person: "I support marijuana use."

Using drugs is against most religions. Why would you directly oppose the teachings of the church you choose to belong to? Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. But before you go parading your support of substance use, question what your opinion really is. Question if you truly believe the teachings of the church. What if marijuana became legal recreationally? Would you use it? Alcohol and tobacco are quite legal, but many churches don't support their use. So? People will choose to use them. That's their choice. But if you really believe that those things are not good, and that you will in fact be happier without them, why would you wish on someone less happiness?
Looking at addictive substances, why would you ever, ever wish that on someone? With your increased understanding of what's good and bad, wouldn't you want to help people rather than keeping them in the dark to make a decision without full knowledge?

*Warning* this one gets moral!
15. "I support people doing whatever they want. If they want marijuana, sure, bring it here."

For all of the above reasons, it's a false idea to think that substance use won't affect anyone besides the user. No man is an island.

But this one is rough for me on a personal level. This one's deeper than being angry.
Deeper than being frustrated and annoyed.
More like being heart-broken.
I don't want to keep marijuana away from people because I want to control them. No. It's because I love people. People are absolutely wonderful and inspiring. All of them have value.
Have you ever been there, have you ever seen a grown man break down and cry, because he's tried time and time again to quit and he just can't? Have you ever been there in a home where addiction has taken a father by storm and his kids live in fear and poverty? Have you ever been there at a funeral of someone's son who was killed by substance related violence? Have you been there while a beautiful, innocent young person waits for an HIV diagnosis after having unsafe sex under the influence? Have you, personally? It sucks. It changes you.

Take Home Message:
I'll get off my dramatic soapbox, but seriously, look at the whole picture. I've seen some of these effects, and substance use is no joke. It's costly and causes unhappiness. In the short term it may be fun or numbing, but please, consider the long term. Consider the good of society; of the rising generation. I support research for medicinal value of some of the components of marijuana but I do not support the use of marijuana for recreational or unregulated, unproven "medicinal" use. There are too many adverse effects.

The end, thanks for reading. :)