A Revisit On a Recent Painful Post

With the recent Harvey Weinstein coverage, the Bill Cosby revelations, Roman Polanski, the fact that Donald Trump is in office and knowing what he has done to women in the past and is about to do again on a national level (keep in mind he walked into a room full of naked minors changing during a beauty pageant, and bragged about it, as well as being charged with the rape of a 13 year old girl which was later dropped because when she revealed this as an adult, she received death threats), along with the ever rampant sexism and exploitation of men, women, and children in our society. I want to elaborate on a few more things. It would mean a lot to me if you would read it:
 
Firstly, let me share something with you. The three people who read my blog know this, and maybe, *maybe* a handful of others whom I consider dear friends.
 
When I was a child, I was molested. I have few memories before the age of 7 years, but that is not only one of them, but it is the most vivid of all. I remember every single detail about it, right down to the words exchanged. It was a relative, a fairly close one (though not my immediate family). He threatened to kill me, to kill my parents, if I ever said a word. What happened afterward is burned into my memory forever.
 
Eventually, it was found out, and while my mother fought to have something done about it, the mother of that family member simply said “boys will be boys.” Keep in mind that I was 5, and he was about to be a legal adult. Things being what they were back in the 1980s, and where we lived, what little money we had, there were few options, and so it became yet one more family secret.
 
Some time later, I found out another family member had sexually abused a dear cousin of mine, but it didn’t stop there. My mother told me (and I have her permission to post this), that when she was a child (back in the 1950s and 1960s), she and her sisters would have to sleep in the same room as male boarders. That is, her mother would rent out rooms to men needing a place to sleep for the night. Apparently, this was common in the country? It was never women, only men who were allowed to stay the night.
 
These men would flirt with my mom and her sisters, who ranged from 8 to 13 at the time. Some of them would sleep in the same beds as these men, not of their own choice, but because they were told to do so. My mother, and her sisters, would be fondled by her mother’s “friends,” and total strangers just staying the night. It went well beyond that, but I will not go into detail here because I don’t have the heart to discuss it to that degree.
 
Once I learned these things, it brought back the memories of what happened to me as a child, and as someone who loves kids, who protects them, nurtures them, seeks to make the playing field balanced so they can grow safe and secure without need of worry or fear, I knew I couldn’t just ignore what was still happening around me.
 
I only had a few tools that I could use proficiently: the computer, and the internet.
 
So, for many years, I have been on my own mission to track down those who exploit men, and women, but especially children. Their sites, their servers, where they try to hide between the cracks of the internet. I didn’t seek them out directly, but when I happened across their handiwork, which is getting all too common in this day and age where they have managed to put themselves everywhere, I took to reporting it to every major agency I could think of at the time (that list of agencies has grown over the years). I saw something either on the internet, or in every day life, that indicated someone was being exploited, and abused, and I did my damnedest to squash it.
 
This year has been especially trying, and I am finding that despite all of my efforts to not turn a blind eye, nor a deaf ear to the cries of innocent people, my effort has not been enough, and to be honest, my heart and mind simply cannot handle what I’ve dealt with anymore. It’s starting to break my mind into pieces. I weep every day, I can’t sleep at night. I have seen too much to ever forget the evil that men and women have done to one another, what they’ve done to children, and to the least of these, and for what reason? I don’t know. Power? Lust? Just the idea of harming an innocent satisfies them in some way? Men, women, children, exploited, abused, and put on display. I don’t even want to know if there’s money involved, I just want it all destroyed. I want it obliterated from the internet, from the dark web, from dark rooms, and warehouses where they hide these awful materials to be distributed to others who want to make it, sell it, or share it with other like minded people who take pleasure in the exploitation of others.
 
So, that being said, even though I have had some successes in stopping the proliferation of those materials which use that exploitation (dozens of websites shut down! YES! Web indexes which lead to awful dark web sites, closed down! YES!), I am only one person, and lack the resources to effectively stop these abuses, especially as I realized recently that their reach goes beyond the dark web, and can be found in places everyone has visited, but no one suspected as a breeding ground. I even learned that such garbage can be found on places like Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook. That means we are ALL at risk of being witnesses to this exploitation.
 
I am now deferring to more capable authorities who can do far more than I can, some of whom I only recently discovered actually deal exclusively in such things, and do exceptionally well in their jobs.
 
Let us save lives, let us rescue the innocent, let us not turn blind eyes and deaf ears to those who need our help, those who experience abuse and exploitation at the hands of family, of strangers, of those who seek to capitalize on misery. Please consider donating to the following organizations:
 
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children
 
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
 
Internet Watch Foundation – (These people are amazing!)
 
Just Detention International (Works to prevent sexual abuse against prisoners)
 
Planned Parenthood (This organizations helps with all of the major reproductive needs of women)
 
——
 
I realize there are so many more, so please, if you know of one I missed, post it in the comments below. I have already begun donating, but I have little money, so I will be donating in rotation. I am trying for at least two of these organizations a month. I believe the minimum is $10, and yes, every penny counts towards the liberation of another man, woman, and child from these chains.
So if you can, donate. If you cannot, then please spread the word.
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Dangerous Bedfellows

 

So I was reading this article from The Nation, and it got me thinking. As a nation, we’re leaning more and more into a theocratic oligarchy tinged with fascism. The increase in the militarization of police isn’t just a major concern, but of citizens in general, who seem to be edging over to the more authoritarian side of the spectrum. They talk freedom, but they’re pushing conformity while demanding rigid adherence to a warped sense of patriotism.

The church and the state are becoming more and more friendly towards one another, and both have decided that what they consider immoral should be made illegal (that which they haven’t already). Just this past week, Trump spoke at an anti-LGBT gathering this week, one consisting of a number of hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (a civil rights organization going back to the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and made the statement “I pledged that in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before,” Trump said. “Above all else in America, we don’t worship government. We worship God.”

I worry for myself, and for my LGBTQIA+ friends and allies. I worry for those outside of white, protestant Christianity. Combine the militarization of the police, the incestuous  relationship between church and state, and now a President who vows to defend the one true God, and I can say that we live in dangerous times, my friends. Dangerous times.

A Painful Recollection

Anyone who has been reading the news knows about the Harvey Weinstein debacle taking place. The man sexually harassed, intimidated, molested, and assaulted women for years, with the industry covering it up, pretending it didn’t happen because he was a wealthy, influential man who held a lot of power in Hollywood, and even in the political sphere with both Democrats and Republicans alike. Yet, even at the time we saw all of those smiling faces, many people in those circles knew who Harvey was, they knew what he was doing to women. One of them was also engaging in similar acts towards women, though he would go on to become President of the United States.

Seeing these news stories, and so many similar ones that are on the local level, keeps throwing what happened in my childhood right back in my face. I don’t discuss this often, though some of you know since we’ve had private conversations about it. It’s not something I like discussing, but with all of these things going on, with the prevalence of so much of this taking place, here, on the internet, and out in the every day world in which we live, my mind just cannot handle dealing with all of this.

I try my best to do good, to protect the innocent, to fend off those who prey on them, and I do it for more than just wanting to do good. Now, my ability to do this is limited to the internet, because of my responsibilities, but even here I can do much good. So why do I do this good, aside from wanting to do the right thing?

It’s like this, and forgive me for taking so long to get to the point, because this is not easy for me to talk about with close friends, let alone people I may have never met, but this feels important enough to talk about, that it needs to be voiced. See, here’s what it is: when I was a child, I was sexually molested by a family member. It was not an immediate family member, but we are related by blood. I trusted them, and they used that trust to take advantage of me, to physically violate the sanctity of my person. To this day, I can remember everything that happened, and I remember it vividly, painfully. I don’t remember much before the age of 7, but I remember this quite clearly, and always will. As I grow older, as other memories fade, this one doesn’t. I felt so much *shame*, even though I had done nothing wrong.

There are other members of my family who have done such things, not to me, but to people I know and hold dear in my heart, and they have never said anything to anyone else other than myself. One of them was repeatedly molested when she was a little girl, well before I was born, and it brings tears to my eyes to know these men who did it have since died, or entered into senility, and will never have to pay for the horrible things they did to her.

So you can see why I take these things personally, not just for me, but for people I know and love. Every time I see stories like these, every time headlines read about some serial molester, whether of children or adults, my heart speeds up, my head starts swimming, and I can’t breathe. I’ve never sought help (not like I could afford it), nor have the people who have confided in me about what happened to them. In this country, there is inadequate mental health counseling for those who desperately need it.

So I self-medicate. I don’t do it with drugs, I do it with action. I watch for signs of abuse in children, in adults, doesn’t matter, I watch for anything that would indicate they are being sexually abused in some way, but since I’m not active in meat space as much, I have to take that task to the internet. When one encounters links or websites that promote something illegal, for example, something we all know as vile which I will not name here, report it. Images? Videos? Report it.

Even so, you may feel like you’re not doing enough. It’s not enough to report. We have to act to, to do something more productive, since reporting these sites is like playing whack-a-mole. You hit one, a dozen more pop up.

So I plan on donating to several organizations, and I ask you to do the same if you can. Together we can protect the exploited, and abused. Those organizations are as follows:

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children
https://secure.missingkids.org/Donate

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
https://donate.rainn.org/

Just Detention International (Works to prevent sexual abuse against prisoners)
https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/JustDetentionInternational

Planned Parenthood (This organizations helps with all of the major reproductive needs of women)
Donate To Planned Parenthood Here

If you have any suggestions for an organization to be added, make note in the comments and I’ll add it here. We can put an end to this. There should be no need for anyone, whether they be man, woman, or child, to feel shame for what has happened to them, or to have to ever experience such a violation of their rights.

 

 

The Tide of Tears

I cried this evening.

That in and of itself is not newsworthy, nor really is what I post here newsworthy, but I note it because tonight I cried for many things:

I thought of the victims in the Las Vegas shooting.
I thought of desperate people clinging to survival in Puerto Rico.
I saw a video yesterday afternoon where a police officer shoved an 8 year old black child to the ground in order to handcuff him.
I read a news article where a young boy, who was allowed to graduate earlier due to a terminal illness, had died yesterday.
I read that every single day, more than 21,000 children all around the world die of starvation. 21,000 a day. A day.
I read that the President of the United States rolled back LGBT protections, meaning that anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, can be denied service, housing, or employment, based on their orientation.
I read an article that says there are more than 148 million images and videos of missing and exploited children out there in the world, whether on the internet or by other means. 148 million innocents.

I felt so overwhelmed. As I have said in the past, and quite recently, I do good. I do my best to do good. I am flawed, I make mistakes, I take missteps, but my intentions are always to do good, to do the right thing. This? This is too much. My heart can’t take it. Wave after wave of anxiety attacks, as my body tries to deal with what my mind can’t handle. It’s like my soul just wants to separate from this body and flee, to find a safe corner to hide in, to never again make contact with the world, for fear of the evil that resides there.

It is not that I am pure, or that I have no flaws. I, too, have evil inside of me. We all have evil inside of us. It is a part of our nature. The key is what we do with that nature. Do we fight the evil and embrace the good? Or do we gather up the evil and do horrendous things to others? Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I know that there are millions of good people in the world, and for all of my faults I consider myself one of them, but how do we combat the evil? How do we fight back against this tidal wave of hate, bigotry, greed, the naked lusts for power, the unchained avarice, and the unbound, lecherous souls of men with influence?

So I cried. I wept. The tears just kept coming and coming. I just felt so powerless, these past few weeks just working on my every hope, and my last nerve. I do not wish to take away from soldiers who experienced battle, but it almost felt like I had some kind of PTSD, that my brain was trying to cope with a trauma I couldn’t process, so my mind kept moving in a loop, causing one anxiety attack after another, raising my paranoia, crushing my conscience with the weight of all I had seen, and cannot forget, no matter how much I want to do so, how much I want to go back and unsee it, how I wish to cast it away into outer darkness, banishing all of it from the earth in one mighty blast of bellowing, righteous fury.

I cannot. I cannot remove the evils, I cannot make them all go away at the sound of my voice, or the clatter of my keyboard as each keystroke places these words on your screen, and into your mind. So I just keep telling myself “do good. Don’t stop doing good. Keep doing good no matter what. Some people will love you for it, others will hate you for it, because you meddle with their ambitions. Some will not care either way.”

The last part hurts the most, I think. There are evil people in the world, people who exploit the innocent, who violate the rights, the hearts, the souls, the bodies of innocents, and they roam free. There are the good who chase after them, trying to catch them, to make them pay for that evil they have wrought, but then there are those who simply do not want to be a part of it, they have no desire because it does not affect them. I cannot do that. I have to help, I have to do good because it is in me to do good.

Now, of course, I repeat myself. The crying, it helped, but now that it’s done, now that I could let it all out, all of the pain, all of the heartache, the confusion, and the grief for those who are abused, exploited, murdered, curtailed, erased, disconnected from their humanity, I find that the problem still remains. What do I do next? My mind still wishes to flee, my body still tries to cope, my heart feels so weak, so dispirited.

I see their faces every day, the faces of the innocent I wish to protect. What can I do? How do others go about their lives every day, and not feel these things like I do? Oh, I don’t judge them for not having the same depth of feeling, I know there are people who feel this deeper than I do, but how do any of us manage to get through each day without falling to our knees and wishing for the sweet release of death? Because I have wished for it, especially when I have felt so overwhelmed, like I have these past weeks.

I don’t want these feelings anymore, I don’t want to feel this constant disassociation with my own body, with my own mind. I feel like an outsider, like a leper, as if I were being instantly judged by everyone, as if my words, my intentions, none of it mattered anymore, as if I were never to be loved anymore. That people would believe a lie over me, and while some may think that silly, it’s happened in my life, where I have been accused of things I never did, assumptions made against me that had no foundation in truth, but people chose to believe them because I have always been the odd duck, the black sheep, the weird one. Remember yesterday’s post? Yeah, that.

These days, every time I smile I feel like a fraud, like I should be ashamed of smiling, of taking joy or happiness in something. Because I know how much evil is in the world, I’ve seen some of it, and it is truly vile, it’s reprehensible, and though I have tried to negate it by doing good, by trying to make it go away, it hasn’t gone away. There’s always more evil to take the place of that empty space.

I don’t know what lies ahead for me. Deep in my heart, I believe that no good deed goes unpunished, that we live in a world which will sacrifice anyone in the name of justice, whether or not that sacrifice was just, because we live in a world now where legality is the same as morality. I know my own country has skewed terribly in that direction, that it has become more authoritarian. More people will suffer, more will face the wrath of a system that behaves as a hammer in search of a nail, that governs itself based on its own ends, rather than for those it claims to serve.

My heart aches, and I know there will be many more tears, because we have not seen the end of this. There will be more horrors, more evil, more malicious intent disguised as law and order, more knees in the backs of the innocent, more souls taken out of fear, greed, and ambition.

It is my fervent hope that I can continue to do good, that I can keep on fighting for the innocent, protecting the weak, uplifting the poor in spirit, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, bringing the outcast inside where it is warm and inviting.

Where are the lights of the world? My beacon is lit, how long will it last? Will it be snuffed out? Will it eventually flicker and die? I don’t know what will happen. For now, though, I cry. I weep. My chest heaves with the torrent. The tide comes in, and it goes out, and always there are tears. Always there are tears.

Gray Matter Blues

Following up on a previous post (this one), I live by a number of rules that guide everything I do, and I’d like to share them with you in this likely incoherent, rambling post today:

  1. Love Everyone. The innocent, the guilty, the adored, the despised. Love everyone, and recognize their humanity. You do not have to agree with their words or actions, but you are to love them.
  2. Respect The Whole of Each Person. The body, mind, spirit of a person (here, spirit refers to emotional well-being) is sacred. You are never to intrude upon, or violate that nature. Do not harm it, do not move upon it without consent, do not act against it with hate, greed, or lust.
  3. With respect to rule #2, you are to always protect the weak, powerless, and disadvantaged against those who would exploit them, even if it means risking your life in the process.
  4. Give of what you have to those in greatest need.
  5. Your word is your bond. Though being human means failing at times, do all that is within your power to keep your word. It is a most valuable possession.

There are more, of course, but this is who I am, and this is how I try to live. There are many times when I am cynical. I suffer from anxiety, which feeds into self-loathing, paranoia, and depression. I try to combat these things, often by searching for things that bring cheer.

Some of you know I like a show called My Little Pony. Those of you who know me well, understand that I find it a joyful, happy fantasy world free of cynicism, and filled with adorable animated ponies. Of course, as an adult male, I have received flak for this, but what do you expect in a culture that pushes a toxic masculinity which forces men to deny they cry watching movies, laugh at the antics of their cat, don’t enjoy sports like other men might, or who like to cook, sew, knit, write poetry, daydream about clouds and flowers, or who like candy colored ponies doing silly things?

For liking these things, my very motivations are put into question. I can’t enjoy these things, so there must be some kind of nefarious reason behind it. All I’ve ever tried to do is defend the innocent, to protect them every way I know how, even being a watchdog at times from those who seek to exploit them, but that gets questioned, too.

Do you know what it’s like to do something good, and to be questioned for it? “Why would you do that?”, “what’s in it for you?” “You must have done something really bad and are trying to make up for it.” It never occurs to some of these people that my intentions are pure, that my drive and motivation is simply to do right by others, to be there when no one else will, to help them, to support them, to lift them from whatever pit they’ve found themselves in. I wish to instill in them the belief that human beings can be good, can do good things just for the sake of doing them.

I will say, honestly of course, that I would hope someone would do the same for me in return. That if I ever find myself in a pit where no one will come near me, where I am being treated as a leper, that someone will step forward, take my hand, and lead me back into the light of day. Do those humans still exist? I say surely they do, because I exist, and I do not believe I’m the only one, not by far.

Do you know what my greatest fear is? I will share it with you (if I haven’t before): My greatest fear is that I will one day find that no one will love me, that all of my love will be rejected, and I will be cast out as a pariah. It is, deep down, my greatest fear, greater than any phobia, than any situation that may cause even my death. My greatest fear is not just to be hated, worse, it is that I would be unloved.

I see how people treat those they believe are lesser than they are, and I’ve witnessed the cruelty bestowed upon those labeled as inferior and unfit for civilized society.

I have had so many conflicting emotions lately, so much anxiety. I strive to do the right thing, and then I fear whether or not it was truly the right thing to do. I go by my internal compass, but even an internal compass can be waylaid by outside interference. You can have all the self-confidence in the world, and still fear a society that rejects what you do as somehow wrong or, worse, doesn’t believe you regardless of how loudly you speak the truth.

Are you getting a good grip on how my psyche seems to regard itself? While I am a part of this world, there are often times where I feel I don’t belong, that I am an odd duck, a black sheep, a square peg. Oh, I see all kinds of memes on Facebook about people saying they’re weird, but I’ve actually been called weird in the truest sense of the word, and I’ve been at the receiving end of contempt for it, much to my befuddlement.

As a child, I was considered weird because I wanted to read all of the time, because I wanted to know the correct answers to questions, because I liked talking to people, hugging people, asking them questions about themselves. When I grew old enough to where it was no longer cute to just hug people and ask interesting questions (that shit stops being okay around 8 or 9 for boys, I think, at least according to the environment I grew up in), I started realizing I was not a proper fit.

I tried and tried for years to be a proper fit. I tried to like sports, I tried to get into roughhousing, and being loud and obnoxious, and it did not last. I went right back to quiet, reserved, bookworm John. Quiet? Reserved? Yep. Between 9 and 14, I spoke very rarely. Before that age, I was the intellectually curious hugger who wanted to make other kids happy. After that, I became more comfortable talking, and expressing interest in participation with others in my school courses. This, of course, cemented my weirdness, as I seemed to have a vested interest in learning, to the exclusion of most other activities teens my age were engaged in.

When I had my school pictures in elementary school, I remember my 6th grade year that, while every other boy chose a football, basketball, or volleyball, I chose a stuffed racoon from the “girls” pile. I received a ridiculous amount of shit for this (not from my parents, btw) from some family and a lot of fellow students, as it was seen as effeminate. According to a lot of people, I was totally gay, and this was back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, when that was far from being a compliment, or even just an acceptable orientation.

I have forged my own path of self-discovery. Unfortunately, it seems to continually put me at odds with much of society around the time I discover it. Some people may feel I do it on purpose, to be seen as special. I’ve had that thrown at me a time or twelve. It isn’t true, but then how do you change the preconceived notions of those who simply aren’t going to care what you think because you’re different, undesirable, not one of them?

So it is easy to see why my greatest fear is wholesale rejection. Do you know what it feels like to want to hug someone you’ve never met but is obviously in pain? Yet you don’t because even asking might get you labeled as a pervert?

Do you know what it feels like to be self-conscious because you can’t buy a group of kids ice cream, or sit and laugh with a bunch of teens in the park because you must be doing something nefarious?

Can you imagine what it feels like to have conversations with women, to be a feminist, to stand up in solidarity with your sisters, and be told there’s something wrong with you? That you’re a traitor to your sex?

What went wrong? Is it really me? Is there something wrong with me that I reach out to others without provocation? That I work to rectify a wrong without any motivation other than “this must be addressed,” as if that isn’t enough? That I use what few resources I have (my time and my access to a computer) to protect the innocent, or to bring comfort to those in need whenever possible? That I do this without expectation of a reward?

Believe me, there is no reward worth the constant pain, the torment of being outside of what is considered normal, of what is considered acceptable. Maybe I was born in the wrong country? Maybe there is nothing left here for my heart to latch onto?

No, that last line can’t be completely true, if only because I am here for several people. I am here for my mother, who needs me now more than ever. I am here because I have friends who need me, and who come to me for comfort. I am here because I have a niece and nephew whom I love dearly, and would give my life to protect. I am here because there are friends and family who know they can count on me to do my best for them.

There must be other reasons why I am here, but I can honestly say none of them require reward or compensation. How does one compensate a mind, a heart, a body that has been exhausted, and used up? No amount of money, fame, or accolades would do.

Love, though, love is a different story. I do seek love, and I seek to be loved, but not as any kind of payment. Love as a payment just seems wrong to me. Love should be freely given from the heart, and should be received by the heart as freely as it was given. No strings. No provisos, no addendums.

If I’ve learned anything over the past few weeks of constant anxiety attacks, schisms within my own mind, and the ever-present nervous breakdown I must be experiencing from seeing all of these events taking place around me, it is this: I am an insecure human being, and that may be my greatest flaw.

There are many times when I believe I am unworthy of love, that if people were able to see into my heart of hearts, there would be something there that made them scared, or angry, or something, and that I would be rejected, and that my greatest fear would come true. Maybe it’s the paranoia, maybe it’s the self-loathing, because I am aware that all humans have thoughts and feelings they feel others would hate, deride, or mock them for having. It’s a part of the human condition.

For what it’s worth, I would not hate you for whatever thoughts or feelings you have deep down, even if you think all the world would do so. You may not believe me, as I would not believe it from others telling me the same, but it is true. I cannot convince you, I know, but it is true.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. All I really want to say now is that I love you, and if you haven’t read this far, I still love you, even if you don’t know it. The words I speak do not come cheap, they drain me. So do not think I say them as some kind of trite farewell, or as some kind of fleeting Hallmark moment. These words labor to come forward, especially in light of recent events.

Every time I say it, one more tiny thread of my soul, one more mote of my heart, breaks away from me, and attaches itself to your own. If faith moves mountains, then surely love can do likewise in the hearts of people, one grain of sand at a time.

I love you.

My Enemy, My Friend

I have a love/hate relationship with my brain. Is it odd, by the way, that I see myself and my brain as two separate entities? It’s not anything like dual personality, just that I can talk to my brain, and it talks back, and at the same time we’re both aware we’re the same organism talking to itself, but from different perspectives, it seems.

Anyway, the love/hate thing. My brain coordinates nearly all of my body functions (leaving some delegation to my spinal column, of course, because every good brain needs a production assistant who can quickly act on their authority in times of trouble) and keeps me alive. It is a repository of my knowledge, what’s left of it after Simpsons quotes and Star Trek trivia. It makes it possible for me to interpret the world around me in the best way it knows how, and all of that is wonderful.

Unfortunately, my brain also likes to jump to the worst possible conclusion at the drop of a hat, before the drop of a hat, when there’s someone in the room with a hat, or when there’s a picture of a hat in a magazine sitting on a table.

Yeah, the anxiety attacks are trying to come back. It’s not that they left, but for a while they seemed to reduce in power and frequency. Since about 4 days ago, though, I’ve been feeling this weird buzzing inside, like there’s a live wire running through my body. On the outside, things look still and calm, but on the inside, I cannot help but feel this need to move about, to make the jittery feeling go away. Instead, it just keeps humming, and buzzing.

I can easily explain some of it: the current state of the world. I know full well I’m not alone, but for some reason this has been deeply affecting me more than usual. I’m watching our police become more militarized, I just saw a news article giving detailed information about Spanish police brutally beating, and violating the rights of thousands of Catalans as they attempted to vote, peacefully I might add, for independence.

As I’m sure all of my readers are aware, there was a recent shooting in Las Vegas. It was a terrorist attack perpetrated by a white, Christian male, who legally modified a semi-automatic weapon to create a simulated fully automatic one that resulted in 59 deaths and over 500 wounded. Immediately, I saw an immediate demand by various human rights groups that something needed to be done. That demand was met by ferocious opposition, claiming that to do anything to curb gun rights was unAmerican, as if this was some kind of outlandish, one-off incident when it isn’t.

This was the latest worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history (conveniently disregarding mass shootings where people of color and indigenous populations were murdered). How long until the next one? My heart hopes never, but the pattern doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

So, sure, the NRA might agree bump fire stocks should go (they’re what makes a semi-auto fire like an automatic weapon), but since few knew what it was until the other day, it’s nothing for them. They’ll still get their way regardless, which is the will of the gun manufacturers. They make their money on the bloodies bodies of the innocent. If one doesn’t believe that, watch how their stocks go up in value after each mass shooting. Watch as people flock to gun stores to buy whatever gun was used in that mass shooting. It’s sick. It’s utterly vile. The ceaseless machine grinds more bones and sinew into profit.

I’ve become so heartsick lately. The country in which I live is embracing more authoritarianism under the guise of patriotism, bridging the notions between legality and morality. We’re starting to accept the idea that because something is legal it is moral, and that something which is illegal is immoral, regardless of intent or outcome. No good deed goes unpunished, and I’ve said that before, but more and more I find it to be true. The letter of the law is becoming holy writ, but only for the masses. The elites, the people at the top, are still free to live however they wish, as long as they grease the palms of our arbiters of so-called justice.

Is anyone else seeing this and wondering why this is happening? Are they seeing these things and is their heart racing? Is their mind beginning to fret at the dissonance of it all? No, not everything in life is fair, but can anyone else see that while the rule of law is rigid as ever for the poor and underrepresented, while the spirit of the law is being bent to the point of breaking for those who can sidestep it by whispering in a few ears with messages from friends in higher places?

I have lost faith in so many things. These times they seem so dark. My brain cannot handle watching humanity attack itself in this way. There has always been war, there has always been violence, civil unrest has been a hallmark of every society since before the city of Aleppo was just a caravan and trading post. (For those who did not know, Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, and currently in turmoil, is one of the oldest known cities in the world).

Human nature appears to be cyclical, when viewed through the lens of history. I worry that our nation, the United States, is preparing for the next go-round in its cycle of massive civil unrest, mob anger, and bloodshed, and I do not wish for it to happen. We live in an age of overwhelmingly complex technology. A civil war in our nation would make the first one seem like a scuffle by comparison.

I worry, too, for my friends on the other side of the world: first world nations, once places of flawed but enlightened ideology (compared to our own in terms of human rights), engaging in political upheaval, civil unrest, an oligarchy of rotten privilege pressing down hard upon the masses. They, like ourselves, live in an age of ignorance and passive apathy. We (generally speaking) don’t care enough about our neighbors as long as our three major needs are met. Remember those? I’ve spoken on that subject before.

We’re becoming intellectually lazy. Hell, forget intellectually lazy, we’re becoming downright anti-intellectual. We’re dismissing scientists, teachers, historians, journalists, anyone who tries to add an objective, fact based contribution to the world around us is being met with hostility. I’m not sure how long we can maintain this schism, because it is growing.

How long until people are shunned for advocating science? Critical thinking? Compassion? The basic tenets of Humanism? How long until those who seek to protect the rights of the downtrodden and alienated are seen as nothing more than agitators? As troublemakers? People who are to be thrown in with the other undesirables?

All of this, ALL OF THIS, runs through my mind all day, every day, non-stop. I will tell you with all due honesty that I am a naturally paranoid person. As someone who is a problem solver by nature, my mind spends its free moments breaking down issues, troubleshooting them, and reassembling them in a way that makes them work again. My mind tries to repair things, in other words. All things. My mind tries to repair all things. At any given moment, my brain is working on finding ways to feed humanity, reduce the prison population (safely and for all with rights intact), bring about peace for all nations, protect the rights and physical, mental, emotional well-being of every person from children to seniors, repair the environment, and that’s just on the macro level.

On the personal level, I’m still working on taking care of my mom, balancing our budget, finding ways to get medicines, medical equipment, access to rehabilitative methods of care, keep contacts and schedules with various doctors and health organizations as required, maintain our home as best as I can, take care of the needs of my friends, whether it be emotional, mental, or physical, set to my own tasks that keep my mind otherwise occupied like building websites for friends and family, and even allocating time for myself, if any.

I know some folks might think I’m trying to toot my own horn, or make it seem like I’m some unsung put-upon hero, bravely soldiering on in the face of overwhelming adversity. Well, I’m not horn tooting, because I don’t have a horn to toot with, firstly, and secondly, I do this because it gives me purpose. Granted, I’m in way, way, way over my head, but if I don’t do this, I have time to think, and having time to think is a real problem for me, because while my brain is my greatest ally, it is also my bitterest enemy.

I have sought my whole life to do good, not for reward, not out of some sense of guilt, but because I believe that a person should do good, that good should come from within, and that we should do our damnedest to make the world better when we’re gone, than it was when we arrived.

I just want to love, and to be loved. This is how I express my love to the rest of the world. This is it. For some, it’s not enough, but it’s all I have. If I were to die tomorrow, and by some amazing miracle, I stand before whatever deity controls this universe, they could bring to bear all of my supposed sins, and when asked for my response, I could say “I gave all that I was, all that I had. There was nothing left of me to give. Can you say the same?”

Then I’d get my ass kicked into whatever hellfire awaits those who backtalk to capricious deities with delusions of self-hood.

You know, this is all a long and roundabout way of me saying that I wish the world could just embrace love, compassion, kindness, understanding, a desire to lift people up rather than tear them down.

All I know is that my mind is fractured in so many places, and my heart in constant pain. The anxiety attacks, the self-doubt, I suspect they will continue even as my country, and as the nation, continues to propel itself into whatever chaos it has deemed desirable.

It is my hope we emerge from it, all of us, safe and sound.

Sync Sanc Sunc

Every morning, after taking care of my mom’s needs, and getting things in order, I take some time to read the news, which is always a mistake, because ignorance is clearly bliss. That said, if I’m going to be miserable, I’m going to be informed in my misery. I cannot abide ignorance, even at the cost of my sanity.

I read the news, I zip about Facebook for a little bit, I check comments on message boards, check my email, and then I go back to taking care of what I need to take care of. I get several stops during the day to come back and look around, because let’s be honest, the internet is my only window to the outside world, and I will take every opportunity I can to glance outside and see what fresh new hell awaits us all.

Something I have always loved engaging in, and I mean always, is people watching. When I was a child, while other kids would run around playing cowboys and indians, I would watch the adults sitting and chatting on the porch, or in the kitchen. I would listen to their conversations. I’d pick up new words, learn ways to say things and to not say things, and to conceal what I really thought, because I had heard in private things that some adults would never say in the company of others.

As I grew older, I began to understand all of the context surrounding the memories in my head. I learned about public faces, and private faces. I learned about what you said in polite company, and what you abstained from saying. It was all issued under the guise of being cordial, of not appearing rude. You may not have agreed with your relative/friend/acquaintance, but you didn’t openly rebuke them, at least not as a general rule.

We, of course, don’t follow this quite as closely anymore. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and dozens of other social media sites that allow direct connections with others, many of us just lay it all out. If we don’t like what you say, we can ban you from our page, we can scream at you, or call you a piss wallowing scrotum gargler with delusions of grand fuckery.

There’s not much that hasn’t been said. In fact, the things unsaid list has grown quite anemic these past 10 years, which is when social media started hitting its stride. Of course, now there are people growing up who have never experienced a conversation where there are things left unsaid. It’s rather fascinating to observe.

This avenue does allow for positive things: it’s easier for us to praise the people we follow, those we admire. They can hear directly from their fans and supporters exactly what is running through their precious little minds. Social media sites can help us keep connected to old friends whom we never thought we’d see again. It’s even possible to make new friends, migrating from a forum to Facebook, and build lasting friendships we’d have otherwise missed out on.

Of course, that leaves the rather considerable downside: assholes. Yep. Assholes control the internet. They make it dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge its way through the human psyche, and around the globe. That’s “across the disc” if you’re a flat earther. Just trying to help you keep up. Anyway, if it were confined to the internet, that would be one thing, but as always art imitates life imitates art, and what was once online and never spoken in public, has now moved its sorry ass offline and directly into public.

Now we get to live the human experience of reading about assholes, only to go to the store and encounter those same assholes, but without the things best left unsaid. I’m not painting a picture that says no one was ever rude before the internet. Fuck my balls, I worked in customer service back in the mid-1990s, right before the internet became a huge phenomenon, and I can swear to you that there were glorious assholes who would give any Youtube commenter a run for his or her money.

What I’m saying, though, is that we are becoming meaner, and we are expressing it more vocally, whether it be through text on a screen, or up in someone face at the grocery store. We’re seeing it at town hall meetings, and at football games. There is the understanding that, in U.S. economics, the gap between the super rich and the very poor is getting wider and wider exponentially faster every day.

I think the same thing is happening with our ability to deal with other human beings. Those who are raging assholes, and those who don’t wish to confront others at all are in an ever widening gap. Tell somebody that Star Trek is an awful TV show, and you’ll either get “eh, whatever” or “FUCK THE FUCK OFF YOU CUNTFUCKING GIBBERY FUCK! SUCK MY DICK WITH A BADGER COCK!”

The wretched hive of scum and villainy has expanded considerably. I find myself falling out of sync with a great many people because of it. I’ve become so tired of jumping from one extreme to the other over simple opinions, and the field of politics is worse! Granted, heated debate and even caustic sloganeering in politics has always existed, but now we’ve got the government in on it. Our President called peaceful protestors of institutional racism “sons of bitches,” and he got a great many people to echo his sentiments.

Suffice to say that this is not normal, but it is becoming the new normal. I never thought Idiocracy would come so soon, but yeah, if the President came out in a flag tank top, and fired a machine gun into the air telling people to shut the fuck up, there would be loud cheering from a significant number of the population. It’s terrifying, and the more I observe all of these things happening, the more I realize there has been a fundamental paradigm shift between what used to be discourse, and what is now acceptable discourse. It’s not that I want true feelings to be hidden, what I don’t want is for people to consider dehumanization of individuals, or whole groups of people, to be a valid political conversation.

There’s a reason why words have power. Words are attached to concepts, ones that guide our brains in how we interpret the world around us. The more we start to accept that people don’t have to be people, that they can be something less if we just use the right terminology, well hell, we know where that leads. We know what happens when people have their humanity removed by anonymous hordes who face no punishment for their actions.

It makes me sick to my stomach, and we’re not even a year yet into this current presidency. The more people become numb to this, the more they decide that an opinion is enough to silence others, to retaliate against others, to *murder* others, we have truly lost as a nation. How much longer do we have? Every day I see us descending gleefully into this pit, further and further, picking up speed, and handfuls of mud to throw at each other in terrifying glee.

We’ve gone beyond insults. This isn’t really about insults. It’s about things said and unsaid, and how they once balanced each other out. Now everything is spoken, including the words that were once used to eradicate populations. Some feel it is better we hear these unsaid words now, so that we know what people are truly thinking, but the thing is those unsaid words were only unsaid because they were too reprehensible to speak. Now that they’re out in public again, they will gain strength. An outrageous idea that is repeated over and over again eventually loses the quality of outrage. It becomes normal to hear it, normal to experience it firsthand, or even to use it against others.

Words are powerful tools. Our current president uses his words like a sack of doorknobs, clobbering all who stand in his way. It’s brutish, vile, inelegant, and barbaric, and he has no intention of stopping. The people he has brought with him, that corrupt gang of fools, those harlots of avarice and greed, use this to their advantage, and we’re all suffering for it.

I no longer feel like I’m in a society that once praised education, that valued intellect, that rewarded ingenuity. While individual elements fight to rectify this, many instead choose to embrace it, delighting in the bloodbath of fact by the guns and knives of ignorance. More and more I wish to step back, to step out, but I can’t, because I sit squarely in the center, the midwest, the heart of it all. Where do I go from here? Where do we go? I wish I had another way to end this entry today, but I don’t. I simply don’t know.