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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

Proud of my workers; looking ahead to hip surgery

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why you are being violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system, he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
-- J. Krishnamurti

Please realize this includes women as well as men. Humankind.
Remember -- one race, the human race.

We have some amazing workers this year from S.J.T.A. Four of them, three females and one male. And some sexual confusion, but out of the closet. Teens can be more understanding and forgiving than adults. And all four of them attending the weekly AIDS program helps them to be more aware of bullying and inclusion. And my not making your sexual preference stand as your only identity you can really open your arms to acceptance, by yourself and others. I am proud of these workers.

And my very favorite came to work last Friday and said, “I have a surprise for you!” It was a notebook filled to the brim with her writing -- over 70 pages of it. I do not identify her with her troubled past but just see it as a conduit to push her on to a shining future. I really love and respect this young lady and I am honored that her trust in me allowed her to show me some of her work.

That being said, when I asked if I could use some of it in my blog her pleasure was grand. This is a big-hearted, generous young woman. So I offer here her view of her life and follow it with a short poem. I will show her any comments we receive on this post and offer her encouragement about her life past. She is one of my Car Club people and we spend much time just talking. Unless, of course, the waiting line gets too restless.

My walking issues have been in some ways a blessing. I am often besieged by people who want to help. And I choose this time and space to say, “thank- you.” This world of Schenectady does have it in themselves to be gracious after all. But I digress.

Here –TA DA- is K.S. writing:

"My name is Kyela, better known as Ky-Ky. I was born August 4, 1996 at 7 something in the morning. I have the same birthday as Barack Obama. That means I am special. I am a miracle baby; I was born not breathing. My life was not the ideal life. Growing up, I never had a real father. I just had men playing Dad, walking in and out of my life. My mother has always been there for me.

"As I got older my life started to develop fast and so did my body. But my mind was smart and my mother taught me right. So boys were mad. My life was like a puzzle and I had to start finding the pieces before it was too late. I found my father, or should I say he found me when I was 13 years old. It was November 6, 2009. He’s something else. There are people trying to bring me down. I have had people walking in and out of my life, everyone close to me dies or leaves my life. I have trust problems, but I don’t bother talking about it. I keep it bottled up inside, so I found writing poetry as a way to express myself. I have so much to say on paper but slur my words when it comes to talking, if you know what I mean. I speak my mind but in a different way because my mouth often seems to get me in trouble. My name is Ky-Ky and this is one of the poems of my life and experiences of growing up."

-- Ky- Ky

Confession of My Needs
I don’t wanna die
I just want hard times to pass by
I don’t wanna go away
I just need a stable person
I don’t wanna be hated
I just wanna be understood
I don’t wanna be judged
I just don’t wanna talk about my problems
I don’t wanna be a failure
I just wanna be successful
I don’t want my father
I just want my mother to understand
Success Through Failure


She is so excited about seeing this in print, and I am so excited about getting the chance to see it in my blog. This is what makes the sun shine down on us. And here I go getting teary-eyed and corny -- but couldn’t we pass this on and help each other and ourselves to be better people just by doing one small thing to help others. By doing so we change our own outlook. Just like seeing the man in the wheelchair not as a battered and stained street guy, but as a guy who has a new green shirt and tells jokes and can laugh at himself.

Retiring my cane soon?

I note now who helps and who doesn’t, who holds a door for me or carries my groceries or brings my cart back. I see who avoids my eyes and who smiles and says, “Good Morning.” I love when people stop to admire my cane, it is a special one topped with the head of an Irish Wolf Hound. We have gone through a lot together my cane and I and I am hoping I will be able to retire it soon. It’s even more tired than I am.

My operation is scheduled for Sept. 17 and I am stashing books everywhere for my convalescence. I am both frightened and hopeful.

I remember clearly a stranger coming up to me in a Staples store. Noticing me clutching the shopping cart as if I were drowning in a stormy sea; she said, “Knee or hip?” “What?” I replied. She then told me about her hip surgery saying, “The one thing I remember is waking up and no more pain.”

For years I have put this off but now here I go full speed ahead. I have tried yoga, steroid shots directly into the hip socket, and acupuncture (2x a week for 7 weeks); all that did was lighten my wallet. Two kinds of health insurance and all they cover together is $300; it goes under Wellness, now that is bizarre. You don’t use acupuncture to stay healthy, you use it to relieve pain. And at $75 a pop, $300 goes nowhere. Also folks start reading the fine print on your insurance. Any Silver Script prescription coverage covers $2,900 per year. That may sound like a lot, but I got my overview for 6 months last week and that was already $1,300.

OK, you say, plenty for the rest of the year, even a couple hundred left over. But hold on, I am having major surgery (surgery lasts one hour). I’m sure I will be going over my limit, and once you pass that limit, I must pay 85% of med payments. And $500 of hospital stay plus any extras, plus percentage of doctor bills. And I am lucky enough to have Skidmore pay 60%of my coverage plus I pay for Medicare, $160 per month.

I constantly hear folks saying “best medical care in the world” -- so not true, we are 27th -- 27th in the world -- a long way from number 1. But I can wait no longer; the ball joint of my hip socket is gone, totally disintegrated. God knows where all the little pieces went; the pain is intense, and this woman (me) can no longer stand the pain. So I am scheduled for Sept. 17 and I will keep you posted; my doctor is delighted that I will write about this journey in my blog. So, dear reader, we can travel this highway together one step at a time.

I am taking my summer sojourn to Nova Scotia in August -- Aug. 16 to leave date, and back Sept 11. Then a week for pre-opt exam and settling QUEST issues, including board meeting. I am piling up books I want to read as there will be 2-3 weeks before I am let out of the house, but my phone has Internet -- Facebook -- and Solitaire.

So I am set -- almost. My bed is on the first floor and shower is on the second. We are working in setting up a hose on the deck, which is right outside my bedroom door. Thankfully we do have a downstairs toilet. And of course I will regale you with hospital stories.

Here I transgress and want to say “Thank You,” to Andre. I have bitched for years about people saying they were coming to QUEST to do grunt work and who never showed, but here’s Andre -- contractor extraordinaire -- showing up with two skilled helpers and paper and pen to write down what needs to be done. Bless all 3 of you.

Then there’s Tek, who showed up to run a Fri. night kids party and stayed to run a permanent hip hop class. This meets on Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:15. It is worth stopping by just to see Tek dance, his long waist length dreads flying around his head as he performs. Best of all we know many of the same people all of whom gave him outstanding references. Like everything else at QUEST this class is free.

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.”
-- Terry Tempest Williams

I leave you with an interesting business tip. All those lovely expensive cars driving around the poor streets of the city. Last week I saw a brand new black Jaguar, and I commented about this to my staff. And the response was, “You didn’t know?” “Know what?” I said stupidly. “The Car Shack.” “What?” “You can rent these cars for $100 per week -- if you don’t pay they are connected to a central computer and it will shut your car down.” LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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