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    Wellness

    5 Things I Love About Maven Clinic and Why You Should Too

    a pair of glasses on an open book

    For those who don’t know, Maven Clinic is a digital clinic that aims to make health care more accessible for women. I’ve written about them before in a previous post about how to get birth control online. As someone who is currently uninsured, Maven has been a lifesaver in terms of getting answers to health questions, mental health services, and prescriptions.

    While an online clinic and video calls are not a substitute for your pap test or blood tests, Maven can be a great supplement to your primary in-person health care, especially for things you don’t need to the doctor’s office for. I’ve been using Maven’s services for almost a year now, so I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things about it and why I think more women should take advantage of it.

    1. Sometimes you just want quick advice from a medical professional without the hassle of going into your doctor’s office.

    Not every conversation with your doctor has to happen in person. Once, I messaged my doctor a question about fatigue as a medication side effect, and she asked me to go see her in person. She didn’t actually perform any tests on me—she just answered a couple of questions and sent me on my way. What was the point of having me go see her in person, other than to collect the copay?

    I also love how easy it is to just message a doctor or nurse practitioner and get an answer. Even more, I love how easy it is to schedule appointments the day of, sometimes even within the next hour or so.

    2. Maven offers a wide array of services catered towards women’s specific health needs.

    Maven tries to make health care more accessible to working mothers by including pediatricians and pediatric sleep coaches to help answer questions that mothers may have about their children’s health needs. In addition to that, Maven providers also include OBGYNs, midwives, sex coaches, mental health specialists, life coaches, nutritionists, physical therapists, and more.

    It’s also comforting to use Maven because I know that providers on the platform are there because they care about making women’s health care more accessible. Most practitioners on Maven have a video bio where they introduce themselves to you, what their specialties are, and why they chose to partner with Maven. For me personally, it’s important that I get care from a provider who understands the needs of women and specifically looks out for that, and Maven makes that so easy.

    3. The prices are relatively affordable and could be a great option if you’re uninsured like me.

    If you’re looking to refill your birth control prescription or have a quick medical question, a 10-minute video chat with a nurse practitioner on Maven costs $18 (though Maven is constantly giving away free appointments and deals, so be on the lookout for that as well). Back when I was on insurance and wanted to see my doctor for basic things like fatigue and anxiety, I had to pay a $20 copay just for a quick consultation in the office—which was usually even less than 10 minutes.

    4. Maven makes getting a simple prescription refill so much more convenient.

    I’m a big fan of anything that makes life easier, and telehealth is one of those things. If you’re on medication that’s working for you, getting a refill should be as simple as scheduling a quick video chat on your phone and then picking it up at the pharmacy a few hours later. And if you need a new prescription really quick for something relatively minor, you shouldn’t have to jump through hurdles to get it, either.

    5. Mental health care via video chat is a great option if you’re anxious about doctor’s offices or leaving the house.

    With Maven, you can schedule an appointment within the hour. That takes away so much of the anticipatory anxiety that can come with scheduling medical or mental health visits. Instead of feeling anxious waiting for days to go see your therapist, you can do it from your house within the hour. It also means that if you have any last-minute needs that come up, you can get immediate care from your fingertips.

    If you’re interested in trying out Maven, you can get your first appointment for free ($25 credit) with my referral code: VQN4X. If you do give Maven a shot, let me know how it works out!

    5 Things I Love About Maven Clinic and Why You Should Too

    Wellness

    Being On the Asexual Spectrum As a Woman of Color

    a lone person standing in front of a lake under overcast sky, with mountains in the distance

    I discovered the true meaning of asexuality—and the existence of the asexual spectrum—at age nineteen, and it changed my life. But it wasn’t until three years later that I came to accept that label, specifically the gray-asexual label, for myself. Looking back, it’s unsurprising why.

    In the heteronormative culture we live in, sex is everywhere and romance is the endgame.

    I spent the majority of my life being told I was straight, and I believed it. I didn’t understand the concept of celebrity crushes or the idea of finding strangers attractive, but I went along with it. I thought it was the thing to do. To this day, I don’t understand the idea of seeing a stranger and wanting to get their number. Or hooking up with someone you don’t know at a party. In a way, these things—so normalized in our culture—are a foreign language to me.

    Every time someone spoke about an attractive person, I would say, “They’re not really my type.” And then they would ask me to describe my “type,” and I’d discover that I don’t have one. For the longest time I thought I was just an extremely picky straight woman (with seemingly no actual criteria beyond “I like good people”). And I certainly passed that way, too, so I went along with.

    Then I stumbled across a Tumblr post explaining what it means to be asexual and have a sex drive. I didn’t know that was possible.

    Up until that point, I thought being asexual meant you weren’t interested in sex and didn’t have a sex drive. I didn’t realize that asexuality referred to sexual attraction to others, not the presence of a sex drive or sexual desire. To be clear, there are many asexuals who don’t have a sex drive or an interest in sex. But as I’ve learned, sex drive is not the defining characteristic of asexuality.

    In the best comparison I’ve read on the subject, this Tumblr post said:

    Do you ever go to your fridge because you’re hungry, but once you open it you just stare inside and want none of it? You open your pantry but still nothing appeals to you. Maybe someone even comes and suggests something, and even though you don’t know what you want, you still know that everything they said isn’t right. So you just stand around confused and hungry for no reason. That’s what it’s like to be an asexual with a sex drive.

    Sometimes I think of sexual attraction as an inside joke that I can’t understand. I realize I sound obnoxious whenever someone points out an attractive guy to me, and all I can say is, “I don’t see it” or “Not my type.” I suppose if you don’t understand asexuality, that’s how it comes across. It’s frustrating to speak a different language on sexuality, where the dominant culture rejects or ignores you. At least now I know I’m not in the wrong.

    But what if you’ve been sexually attracted to someone before? What about that crush in middle school? Do they negate the fact that you haven’t been into anyone for the past five years of your life?

    This is where the asexual spectrum comes in. While we often split people into the category of sexual and asexual (that is, if asexuality is even acknowledged at all), sexuality isn’t quite so simple. What about people who live in those in-between spaces, with once-in-a-blue-moon sexual attraction?

    It took me years to accept the gray-asexual label. Why? Mostly because of all the negative reactions I was seeing on social media. People calling ace-spectrum folks “special snowflakes,” saying we’re actually straight people who want to feel different (nevermind that queer aces exist). Maybe I was straight once, or maybe everything I thought I felt was a result of heteronormative indoctrination.

    Do I need to prove it? If I say I haven’t been attracted to anybody in the past five years, is that asexual enough? What if that changes next year? Am I no longer asexual then? This is where I’m grateful for the gray-asexual label. It allows me to name my experiences, to acknowledge that there is a space for me somewhere, and to know that I’m not “weird” or “overly picky” as people have said. Because I just don’t experience attraction that way.

    Once I realized I was on the asexual spectrum, everything made so much more sense. I went from feeling like a cultural outsider to having a word that describes who I am.

    This is where things got tricky for me as an immigrant kid and a woman of color. I always assumed that my lack of interest in dating and my lack of attraction to people was a cultural issue. All this time, I’d blamed it on coming from a country where the most PDA you see is handholding, and where cheek kisses were rare even on TV. I thought the sexual conservatism of my homeland was the reason why I didn’t fit in to dating and hookup culture in the U.S. Now I know that’s not true.

    Knowledge of the ace spectrum unlocked a new world for me, but it’s also not quite complete. Because I’m seeing another gap here, a conversation that needs to take place. Where are the spaces for asexuals and ace-spectrum people of color to connect? I blamed my lack of attraction on my cultural identity and its “foreign-ness,” and that’s why it took so long for me to realize I’m gray asexual. What if I had found an ace community of color to help me unpack that?

    It’s hard enough finding asexual communities; it’s even harder finding communities for asexuals of color.

    To my knowledge, the largest online resource and community for asexuals is the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). But AVEN has always felt like a predominantly white space. It’s not the community for me.

    What spaces will allow me to talk about being gray-ace while being hypersexualized as an Asian American woman? Where are the aces who will understand why I blamed my lack of sexual attraction on cultural differences? In other words, where are my people?

    It’s a liberating experience to finally understand and name my identity as a gray ace. The next step in the journey is to connect with others like me. I want the next article I read on asexuality to be written by an ace of color, and I want to see an active community for us, by us. I’m committing to this by writing more about my experiences as a gray-ace of color. And I’m hoping to meet my community in the process. Anyone care to join me?

    Being On the Asexual Spectrum As a Woman of Color

    Lifestyle

    Six Things I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

    Trees with yellow leaves under overcast sky

    I’ve been absent from this blog and Twitter over the past couple of weeks because I haven’t felt inspired. I haven’t felt like writing, reading, or doing much of anything that I normally love. So while I’d love to create a post that’s more content-heavy and useful for folks, I think I need to post something simple to 1) get myself back to writing in an easy, accessible way and 2) lift my spirits a bit.

    And what better way than to think about all the things I love about my favorite season? I realize that we’re technically about halfway through the season, but… it’s going to be 103 degrees tomorrow. Fall has not yet reached LA. So I’m going to post this list now.

    1. Hot apple cider, mulled wine, and all the hot drinks.

    I generally don’t like hot drinks (as in I’m not a tea or coffee person at all), but I do make an exception for some seasonal drinks. I didn’t grow up in a household where we celebrated seasons in any way. In fact, I recently had to explain to my mom that when I said I wanted apple cider, I wasn’t talking about the vinegar. So while fall drinks may evoke childhood memories for others, for me they’re more of an adult discovery that I’ve come to love.

    2. Overcast skies and cooler temperatures. (And maybe rain for once? I believe in you, LA.)

    As someone who comes from a tropical climate and grew up in Southern California, I’m done with heat. There are only so many layers of clothing you can take off to cool down. On the other hand, bundling up with blankets in the cold is much cozier, much more satisfying. And it gives you a nice chance to warm up with comforting drinks as mentioned in #1!

    I would talk about pretty leaves and foliage if that were a thing here, but it’s not. Luckily for me, I was in Wisconsin last weekend and got to see some lovely real fall scenery that I won’t be experiencing in LA.

    3. Sweaters, boots, scarves, and everything about fall clothing.

    I have been dying to put on a sweater this entire month. At this point, I’ll settle even for light jacket weather. If I go out wearing more than one layer, I feel like I’m cooking in an oven. Also, there are like 40 scarves (the one clothing item I never donate or discard for some reason) in my closet waiting to be worn. It’s way past time for me to put away these summer clothes.

    There’s also the matter of footwear. My feet give me a lot of trouble, and somehow boots are the most comfortable (and stylish) shoes for me to wear. So far, boots are the only shoes that I haven’t needed to switch over to a comfort shoe brand for. It’s during times like these I miss living in DC and having to wear boots almost 8 months of the year.

    4. The holiday, coming-home, winter-is-almost-here feeling.

    Since I was a kid, fall has always felt like coming home. It’s the only word I can think to describe the back to school shopping, going back to school, and just everything (including TV shows) starting over again. I guess as a child, I measured my time by the school calendar.

    As an adult, though, the coming home feeling holds true. When I moved across the country for grad school and for my job, I did come home in December for the holidays. Fall is broader anticipation for that, complete with celebratory feeling. I mean, what season do you see people decorating their houses as much as for fall?

    5. Seasonal movies!

    I get excited for when Hocus Pocus comes on TV in October (like today, thanks Freeform). And when there are Home Alone marathons in December. Or when there are reruns of Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas episodes of my favorite shows on TV. I generally don’t like seasonal things at all other times of the year, but fall brings out a more festive, appreciative side of me.

    6. Food blogs and their fall recipes. Bring on the chili, the soups, and the chicken pot pies.

    One of my favorite things to make is chili, and while I don’t use recipes when I cook, I appreciate food blog photography a lot. Especially when it’s fall food with deep, hearty fall colors. I have also never made a chicken pot pie but I would love to eat it sometime within the next couple of months. I miss my rich, starchy foods a lot, and I only wish the weather would change so I can finally have them without overheating.

    Other things I’m looking forward to that aren’t season-related: concerts!

    I’m going to see Tegan and Sara (again!) this week and I couldn’t be more excited. Music hasn’t been inspiring to me lately, but Tegan and Sara always make me feel better and their music always makes me fall back in love with music again. I’m also seeing Lizzo next month! She’s badass, body positive, and makes amazing music, so I’m super excited to finally see her live.

    What are some of your favorite things about fall? Let me know in the comments! And if you live in a place where there’s beautiful foliage, I’m jealous.

    Six Things I'm Looking Forward to This Fall