Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Importance of Contraceptives in International Relations

I wrote this for my International Relations class, but the information here is so important for people to know. It's based off of someone from Amnesty International recommending a policy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  It's not the best thing I've written (I was sick and on cough syrup & codeine the whole time), but the information still stands.  I also have the sources if anyone requires them.
            Amnesty International has a long history of fighting for human rights.  Since their beginning in 1961, they have brought numerous wrongdoings out of hiding and into the vision of the world.  Many of these discriminations have occurred against women.  In fact, Amnesty International has a specific division for women’s rights.  Included in this section are Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
            Access to affordable and needed health care and information is a human right.  Many women, however, cannot access it due to gender discrimination, lack of education, poverty, societal status, and violence against women.  Health issues that deal with sexual and reproduction issues are particularly challenging for these women to deal with.  Amnesty International firmly believes that women have a right to health care that deals with their specific needs as females.  
            There are numerous issues that are covered under the Sexual and Reproductive Rights division, but a very important matter is contraception.  Education on contraception is lacking throughout the world.  Women need to know basic information about preventing sexually transmitted diseases as well as preventing pregnancy.  Not only do women have the right to protect themselves from diseases, they deserve the ability to plan their families.  When women can choose when or whether to have kids, it affects all areas of life.  All human rights are interdependent, so women’s health is linked to their families’, communities’, and nations’ well-being.1
Statement of the Problem:
            An estimated 222 million women have an unmet requirement for contraception and are currently not using any family planning method.2  This lack of family planning information and materials causes many issues worldwide.  In fact, only 14 of 88 developing countries have reasonably priced family planning available.3  The international community, including the United Nations4, has declared family planning a basic human right.  Contraceptives are fundamental to how women choose to live their lives; they enable women to become more educated, more equal, and more empowered.5  Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights directly affect the United States, because it is intertwined with the world’s population as well as other nations’ economic statuses.
            By providing contraception to women, the overall health and vitality of nations improves.   Contraception reduces sexually transmitted diseases, most notably, HIV/AIDS.  This not only decreases the number of adult with diseases, but also the number of children who will be infected.It also decreases the number of maternal deaths worldwide.  Family planning allows for the spacing of pregnancies and the prevention for women who are too young or too old to have a healthy pregnancy.  Ill-timed and closely spaced pregnancies contribute to the world’s high infant mortality rates.  Adolescent women are more likely to have preterm and low-weight babies.  These babies also have higher infant death rates.  Older women are also at an increased risk for complicated pregnancies.7  In 2012 alone, contraception will prevent 218 million unintended pregnancies in low-income nations.  This will also prevent 118,000 maternal deaths and 25 million miscarriages.8  Women and children’s health is not the only benefit of contraception, either.
            According to Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, an executive director for UNFPA (The United Nations Population Fund), “Family planning has a multiplier effect on development.  Not only does [it] help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also… empowering women.  Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered…, and economically productive.”9  Women, especially adolescent women who frequently quit school due to unplanned pregnancies, can plan their families, enhance their education, and participate in the public life.  This includes paid employment, which helps not only the woman’s family but also the economy of her country.  It also helps the education of her children.  When families are smaller, parents invest more in their children, and these children tend to stay in school longer.10  The World Health Organization states that “family planning is key to slowing unsustainable population growth.”  With too many people, many of whom are uneducated, much stress is placed on the economy and the environment of those countries.11 
Policy Recommendation:
            I suggest that the United States shows support for the worldwide education of contraception.  Numerous agencies have declared it a fundamental human right.   Without education and access, however, this right is not being exercised.12  Contraception is not only an important part of the health of nations, but also of the people’s health within these nations.  
            In 1966 former communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu outlawed contraception and abortion in Romania.  He wanted a larger population, but his people were so poor that they could not support more children.  After his new law, the maternal death rate tripled.  Thousands of children were placed in orphanages, and many moved to the streets.  As of 2001, there were still 20,000 children living on the streets.13  The terrible reality of a world with no contraception is poor, unhealthy, uneducated, homeless, and dead people.  This leads to a crippled economy, an anemic environment, and a weak nation.
            The United States is a world leader in many areas, and I think that the access to and education of contraception should be another part.  It is beneficial to the environment, all nations, and most importantly, the people.  When people are happy and feel in control of their lives, their standard of living improves.  Everyone deserves that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Dream

I used to feel this strong desire to live in New York City.  It was an almost painful yearning for something that I thought may never happen.  My mom told me that I shouldn't, but if I did, that she was coming to live with me as my protection!  Numerous other family members and friends told me that NYC was a nice place to visit but not a preferential place to live.  I felt as though my dream was just that, a nice idea, a disappearing life that I had planned for myself.  With all the negative responses, I kept fiercely fighting back for my dream.  I thought that if I wanted it bad enough, it would eventually happen.

Now, I don't feel that strongly about it.  After my boyfriend and I went to visit recently, my fierce passion about living in NYC died.  Do you want to know the reason why?  It's not because I stopped loving New York.  My dreams didn't disappear either.  What happened was this: I finally realized that it was possible for me to live in New York.  My dream was entirely attainable.  I was always told and had always thought that I was dreaming too big or not being realistic.  While I was there, however, I couldn't stop thinking about how attainable my aspirations are. 

I want a big life.  I mean, really big.  I have so many plans, so many ideas, and I plan on doing all of them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Disappointed in Me?

It has been brought to my attention that people in my life are disappointed in me.  It really hurt at first; my whole life I've tried to make everyone happy.  However, The more that I thought about it, the more that I agreed with it... to an extent.

Every one has an idea of what their life will be like, and they project that idea onto the people closest to them.  I have an idea of what my future will be, and in my mind, my boyfriend is there, my friends and family are there.  It's not really them, though.  It's what I believe that they will be.  It's my projection of what I imagine the future to be like.  Life, as we know, is so much more unexpected than that!  People change.  Places change.  Nothing stays the same for long.  When you have those kind of expectations of people, it's a unrealistic.  My boyfriend, my friends, my family- they all have a right to change who they are, what they believe, how they live their lives.  And so do I.

I know I'm not what people have wanted me to be.  I have changed so much within the last few years; it's me figuring out who I am, what I believe, and where I'm going.  It's not wrong.  The fact that I'm not living up to the expectation of others doesn't matter.  It did bother me at first since I really like to please people and keep the peace.  But now?  No.  A resounding NO.  No, I don't like to hurt, disappoint, or let down anyone, let alone those close to me.  But to project your ideals onto someone else?  That is what is wrong.  Changing, evolving, and growing are human nature.  It's how we grow up; it's how we survive.  Humans are rational, thinking creatures.  For me to contemplate and research ideas only to change my mind from how I was raised?  That's not wrong, that's life.  That's how individuals find their true beliefs, their true place in this universe.

Do I wish that I didn't have to disappoint these important people?  Absolutely.  I cannot, however, change who I am because of that fact.  I can only be true to myself.  Right now, I feel so independent, so empowered, so motivated.  I have finally figured out enough about myself to fuel my ambitions and dreams.  The fact that I am no longer disappointing myself?  That's what matters most.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Realization that I'm in Love...

I actually wrote this about a year ago, but I had the same thoughts tonight...    

So I came to a realization tonight.  I figured out that I am in love.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite like a Disney scene where the birds chirp and the squirrels dance.  It was more of an uplifting moment where the world was bright and cheery, and then I spiraled into pit of fear.  
You see, I’m not one of those cynics who hate love or claim that it doesn't exist.  My beliefs are quite the contrary.  I believe in love with all my heart.  Love is the only good and pure thing in this universe.  Without it, our world would be a disaster.  I’m talking about all phases of love, here.  It changes, morphs, evolves.  It can be passionate and practical, sweet and strong.  It can start out with butterflies and grow into the deepest, meaningful relationship you've ever had.  Love can even exist without romance; there are so many kinds of love.  
Why, then, am I so scared, you might ask.  Well, I’ve never had something wonderful in my life last for very long.  Is it even possible for "good" to be continuous?  Or is life just a series of ups and downs, going from good to bad and back again?  This is why I am nervous.  This exciting realization that I’ve come to, how long will it last this time?  How soon before it crumbles and falls, leaving me to once again pick up the pieces of my broken life and start over?  I know nothing in life is worth much if there is no risk, but when will there be some constancy?  Will there ever be?  I’m excited to be a part of someone’s life, to be connected to and depend on that someone.  And I know that no matter what happens, it will be worth everything that we went through, but I’m just scared.  I’m tired of getting hurt, but I know that even if I do, I will be grateful just to have been a part of something so wonderful.

...This feeling of anxiety is something that I felt again tonight.  Though Ben and I have been together for over a year, I'm still scared about the future.  Especially now, since we just moved in together this week!  I am so very excited about that, but at the same time, I dread what may happen.  The last time that I lived with a romantic partner, it did not end well.  What if this concludes in the same manner?  I guess part of life is not knowing and embracing that fact.  I'll just have to think optimistically and live one moment at a time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

*Mild Spoiler Alert*

Recently, I saw Moonrise Kingdom.  It’s a story of love, belonging, and acceptance.  The two main characters are a pair of misfit 12 year old kids who run away together.  Sam and Suzy cling to each other so desperately because even though the world doesn’t understand them, they get each other.  It isn't a particularly moving film, but I cried quite a bit during this movie.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Wes Anderson, and the movie is wonderful.  However, it touched something in within me that I haven’t dealt with in a while.

Sam, the male protagonist is an orphan who has lived a rough life in foster homes.  He is an intelligent, socially awkward loner.  His character saddened me so much because he reminded me so much of my ex.  This character, Sam, could very well have been based off my ex.  Their life situations are similar, their personalities the same.  Their manner of speaking is eerily alike.  Even the love of cartography is shared between them.  Both are searching for something when a girl appeared in their lives.  Sam is all alone until Suzy, the heroine, entered.

Sam and Suzy’s relationship is exciting and new.  Neither of them have people in their lives who understand them, until now.  They are instant best friends, and they run off together to escape the lives that they hated.  This is so similar to how my relationship began with my ex.  We were coworkers, friends, and then lovers.  Just like Sam and Suzy, we felt as though we didn’t belong anywhere, yet somehow, we fit together.  It was great for a while, until I realized that unlike Sam, my ex had never dealt with his past.  He pretended that it never happened.  His lack of emotions and communication made me realize that something big was wrong.  Even though I wanted to, I couldn’t fix him.  I could never undo the horrible things that had happened to him when he was younger.  I couldn’t love him enough to make up for the lack of affection that he’d received throughout his life.  That’s how we ended.  

After the movie, I cried for a good ten minutes.   I haven’t spoken to him in a while, and honestly, I haven’t thought about him much either.  This movie and those characters were such a portrayal of our life, though, that I couldn’t brush it off.  Unlike Sam and Suzy, we didn’t have a happy ending.  He still hasn’t found himself or the acceptance that he so desperately wants, and I still haven’t been able to help him.  I hope someday he can find a place of belonging; meanwhile, I still have to remind myself that no matter how much I may want to help someone, the only person who can help them is themselves.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


This is my blog! I've been thinking/planning this for over a year now. It's not to the state of perfection that I would like, but it'll do! I'm so excited to be sharing with everyone, but more importantly, I'm happy to be writing for a purpose. My life never seems more balanced than when I'm writing. Sometimes the thoughts in my head get so jumbled and overwhelming, the only action I can take is to write it out and make some sense of it!

Passion is what makes life worth living, and I have quite a few passions of my own. Of course, I will be writing about all of them. They range from complex issues (human rights, the environment, politics) to the simplest of pleasures (things that make me happy, how wonderful life is). Most of all, this blog is about all aspects of LIFE. I want to discuss, criticize, debate, and reflect.

I decided to name this endeavor "A Fine Frenzy" for numerous reasons. First of all (and quite lame, I admit), it's the name of my favorite band. More importantly, it's a quote from a monologue in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I had to memorize the whole speech for a Shakespeare class that I took, and I think it is beautiful. In it, Theseus is describing poets and their ability to ornately describe their surroundings. Thesesus is almost disgusted by how poets get lost in their imagination, but I love it. I lived in my imagination when I was little, and it has continued to keep me company as I grow older. When he calls poets' imagination "a fine frenzy," I understand it to be describing a beautiful madness, a perfect insanity. I love his phrasing because that's what life is! Life is tedius, crazy, boring, unpredictable, sad, joyful, hideus, and beautiful. It's so full of wonderful oxymorons, and that's what makes it so fulfilling.