Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh, You're Offended By My Culture?

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I lived in Germany with my dad for a while. While living there I learned German so I could communicate effectively and function in their society. Interestingly enough, I didn't expect them to change their culture and language to suit me. I suspect by now you can see where this is going so if you think you're going to be offended you might want to look at something else on this blog so you can enjoy your visit. For everyone else...let my rant begin! 

See, I keep hearing about how people are coming to America and expecting us to change our rules, customs or whatever else so they can feel more comfortable. If you like your country's culture so much, why the hell did you spend the money coming here?! Our religion offends you so we need to make sure we don't say "Merry Christmas"; now it's "Happy Holidays".

When I spent roughly 20 years living in Texas people used to ask "you don't speak Spanish?!" I'd usually reply that I lived in America and spoke the language of the country and I'd invariably get "you need to learn Spanish if you live in Texas". Nope. I can still barely order at Taco Bell. I usually just have to give them money and say "can I have food, please" and wait to see what's in the bag. Usually it's a bunch of tacos. Sometimes I don't know what it is but it's tasty. 
There was a group of asshats (I mean students and professors) in California that snuck in a movement to remove all of the flags at the school, including Old Glory because they didn't want to "trigger" hurt feelings in illegal immigrants. Illegal meaning not here legally. Wait?! How the hell are they going to college here if they aren't here legally?! 
Secondly, the immigrants that are here legally did so because they wanted to be in America not their country of origin. Now I'm no rocket scientist but I'm fairly certain that when naturalizing and such they did realize where they were living now. In America, where we have a national flag, a national anthem and a pledge of allegiance. On that pledge of allegiance there's also mention of God. I'm not religious but that doesn't mean I want God taken out of our pledge of allegiance. It actually doesn't bother me. (Perhaps I'll discuss religion in one of my posts. Why not, I talk about everything else). 

And here we are with a diner being pressured to remove a sign advertising bacon because it's "offensive to Muslims". Seriously? It's bacon, not some "anti Muslim" sign. Don't like bacon? Don't go eat at that diner. 

The point to all this is this..if you want to move to America legally, go for it. It's a great country with a broken political system but it's probably better than where you were so I understand. However, don't just come over here and demand our entire culture to be changed just because you like your old culture. Millions of people from a different culture slowly coming over illegally and changing the entire culture is an invasion. You don't get to invade us, our ancestors already invaded this country and stole it from the people that were already here. Fair and square. We set up a government and it lied to the people and we stole this land. And that same government has been lying to us ever since. Sorry, I'm just throwing that out there because I know some of you really wanted to use that rebuttal. You still can if you want. 

We talk about "cultural diversity" but what about the culture we already had? Why do we have to diversify for everyone that keeps coming here? If you don't like our culture, move. Problem solved. 


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Transference

She asked me, "why do you write so dark? Why do you write so sad?"
It's not that I'm feeling morose. In fact, I don't even feel bad. 
"Why then, must you write like you're in such pain?"
My dear girl, does the sun not shine after the rain?
They say it's always darkest just before dawn
Does the sun not exist even if we don't see it shine? 
Nor can a line help the way it is drawn 
I may write of darkness but I never said that it was mine
Sometimes you need dark to appreciate light
You couldn't see the stars if not for the night
I write not for me but for those who can't speak
Not for the strong, my dear, but for the weak
Those who can't find the words to express their thought
The darkness is theirs and my words are the light they sought. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Story of a Preteen Mom

So I'm in Walmart the other day doing a little shopping and trying to not get run over by motorized shopping carts. God, I hate those things but I'll address that another day. (Insert suspenseful foreshadowing music). When I see this mother and daughter looking at makeup. That's when the trouble started. 
See, I'm outspoken and honest. It's a character flaw that I'm fine with. Somehow my "socially acceptable" thought-to-speech filter was never installed properly in my brain. In this litigious society maybe I can sue my old pediatrician. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on that?
Anyway, back to the trouble at hand. This scantily clad duo is shopping for makeup and I might've said "what's wrong with our society today?" a bit too loudly as the mother perked up and asked what I said. Uh oh. 
By way of an explanation I say I was looking at clothes for my friend's daughter and it's sad that they have sizes inverted for our kids' genders...boys' pants are too baggy and girls' clothes are so small they border on pornography. 
Since her daughter was wearing what I could only guess is a miniskirt 2 sizes too small, she took offense. "What are you trying to say? Are you peeping my kid, you pervert?!"
"No, ma'am. I'm just saying that your skirt is small enough to fit her and her skirt is like a cabbage patch kids' tube top. Are you grooming her to be a teenage mother and she's not even a teen yet?" 
As you can imagine, it escalated quickly from there and now I'm not popular at the local Walmart. That's ok, I still got to buy my new socks and DVDs before I was asked to leave. 
My point? What the hell is wrong with some parents these days?! More and more often younger and younger kids are dressing like they're on their way to audition for a Ron Jeremy video. Why? Have you been to a "Spirit Store" to buy Halloween costumes? Seen the Halloween costumes for kids these days?! Are they designed by Larry Flint?! And parents of these children act surprised when their 13 year old little princess comes home pregnant. "How did this happen? Some boys parents are out of control. They gonna pay. Why oh why Lawd!" They let them dress like hookers and wear makeup at 8 and run around town into the night in their early teens. Seriously?! You want precious to grow up like a Disney princess you need to consider more "Disney" in her wardrobe and less "hooker". 
And boys in pants dragging around their knees..why? I don't care to see your underwear either. It's underwear, meaning "to be worn UNDER your clothes". I see them on "COPS" trying to run from the police and not getting far because their pants fall all the way down. I laugh and point and yell at my tv "bet you'd stand a better chance if you wore clothes that fit!" Although, honestly, if you're planning on running you should wear a track suit when you commit felonies. I'm not impressed with your wardrobe or how "thug" you are. You still look like an idiot who can't dress them self. 

We sensationalize things like "teen moms" with television shows and then wonder why teenage pregnancy is a problem. We sensationalize being "thug" with music videos and wonder why kids have no respect. Our society is declining right in front of us while we laugh at it over our morning coffee. Or we whisper about it afraid to speak up because to do so isn't "socially acceptable". Guess what, our society isn't acceptable. Speak up people, let our voices be heard. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Guest Post: Flash Fiction



Whatever
It’s really not that hard, you just make a decision. You think about what you want to do and then you work at it. Simple. Easy. That’s what I tell him, but it never sinks in.
Lots of people change their jobs, but you need to pick a vocation. You have to start. If you don’t do something you will never be ready for anything, that’s what I’ve been telling him for three years. I keep on telling him, but he never listens. Now I’m trying to show him carpentry, but he’s always distracted.
“I’ve got a splitting headache.”
Lot that phone will do for you son. Yeah, keep on staring at that phone, texting, watching videos.
“Son, will you put that thing down and pay attention!”
“Wait It’s almost done, Dad you should see this.”
“No thanks.”
Boy can’t read you know, that school just passed him through, can’t read a sentence, can’t turn a page, doesn’t know what a page is. Hell doesn’t know what a book is. Last month I bought him a book, he never read it.
“Come on son, put it down we need to cut these boards. I need to get these deck boards cut before it rains.” Deaf as a post. Put your gloves and goggles on and go get that plank over there.”
“What’s a plank Dad? Don’t look at me that way. I asked cause I don’t know. You always tell me to ask, don’t you?”
“The planks are the one by sixes, thinner than the other boards, and they are as long as the shed.”
Always ignores me, don’t pay no attention. I showed him everything as a kid, took him places, took him to Washington, told him about this country, took him to a Chicago museum just to show him a dinosaur. I showed that kid how to ski down a mountain when he was seven, and now all he does is look at that damn phone.
“I will set the guide fence on the saw, but you need to keep an eye on the plank as we guide it through.”
“I don’t like this saw, it’s noisy and I’m kinda scared of it. Can’t you get someone else to help.”
“No, I got you. Afraid you might learn something, huh. Just keep your eyes on the board, it needs to go straight and not bind the blade or she’ll kick back. Now, son look at me, are you ready?”
“Whatever… all-knowing father. Wisest man on the planet!”
Smart ass ain’t he. Got that from me. Only way I’d know he’s my kid. Ain’t got a lick a sense. Start this saw up, and then I don’t need to listen to his disrespectful mouth.
I motion to him to keep the board near the fence, he is shaking a little. Or maybe it’s that damn phone vibrating. I keep pushing at a nice steady speed, watching the fence, watching the board. Darn it! There’s a knot in the board. I should have looked at it. Gonna pop out, kid didn’t put his goggles on. I motion to him about his goggles and point to the knot. “Your goggles not the phone cover your eyes.” I keep putting one hand up to show him. Does he think I’m gonna call him while I’m pushin this board through. Here comes the knot, and there goes the knot, right up to his forehead. He’s not bleeding, gonna be fine.
“I’m done dad. I’m not helping no more. I going to Kaitlyn’s house.”
“Son, I need you here.”
“I’m not staying here cutting these stupid boards and doing whatever you want. I’m nineteen and I got a life. I’m going to Kaitlyn’s.”
“You know son, you got yourself a nice girl. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and she’s pretty. What are you going do when she’s done school and moves on?”
“Thanks for the slap and the compliment. That’s what I love about you dad— can’t say something nice without saying something bad.”
“I’m not supposed to be your friend, I’m your father.”
 I need that kid and he’s not here. How am I going finish this. I just sit sometimes thinking about my boy. I need my boy. I need my boy. I need him. Stop crying you baby. I need him, God bring him back. Why’d you take him. I wasn’t done teaching him, not even close, had so much more to do and you stole him. Gimmie back my boy. Every time I sit on this deck, I hear those sirens going… I think about him. I hated that phone, I hated it so much I wanted to smash it with my hammer. Hate it Hate it… I can see myself striking it, watching the pieces fly into the air, but it never changes, he’s gone. I wasn’t done coaching you boy. You know I tried, you know it, I tried always every day, I kept trying to show you something, wanted you to be ready, more ready than me. Every father wants that… every dad, always wants their kids to be better than themselves. I kept telling him don’t talk and text on that phone while you’re driving. His mother bought him that phone, I was against it, and now she’s damned for it too. It was just a drive back from the market, he was just going to Kaitlyn’s. She was just going to the market, she be back soon. I hear them now, maybe that’s her car, maybe they’re getting a second chance. Them sirens blaring again, who is it now? This deck was for me and her, she liked a little wine in the evenings and watching the sunset, it was all for her. Now they’re both gone, and it’s just me and little Lisa. How do I tell her, her mom’s never coming back?
Dear god, how do I tell her… that her brother killed her mother?

Copyright © 2015 Artemis J Jones

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Al Sharpton I Hope You See This

If you still read my posts then either it's because you're like-minded and agree with some of my statements or it's because I've pissed you off and you want to see what other insulting things I say. Either way, hello again and thanks for coming for a visit. 

I'm very excited to announce in this post that just recently I created an American citizen! It was actually pretty easy and painless. Don't go congratulating me yet, it's not what you think. There's no need for champagne and cigars. 

See, it all started with a little conversation and me showing someone how their seemingly innocent pride in their heritage is contributing to racism. Obviously many people are thinking I'm talking about a white guy waving a rebel flag. Of course not, that's not allowed. Southerners can't be proud of their history, that's openly racist. However, segregation and labels are still holding our nation hostage. I'll agree to that. But it's us doing it to ourselves under the tutelage of deceit. Under the guise of "equality". I know it sounds counterintuitive to say we are racist by trying to claim equality but it's true. These people who preach equality want anything but that. Now I know many of you may get upset when you first start reading this but stick around and read through to the end. As always, there's a moral to this story. And, as always, I welcome feedback and discussions. 

Which leads us back to how I created a citizen. Interestingly, he was already a citizen. I was confused about that though because he said he was a Mexican American. So I had to ask "do you have dual citizenship?" He said he was born and raised in North Carolina. Wait?! I don't follow. You realize "Mexican" is a nationality? As is "American". I'm curious..if you went to say, France, would your passport be from Mexico or America? 
So, if I understand this, you want to be acknowledged as American and equal with every other American citizen but the first thing you do is tell people you aren't American? How is that not designed to create problems? You're American. Yes, your family originally hailed from a different country. News flash...that applies to everyone who doesn't come from a group of people that were here before Christopher Columbus brought a bunch of people over on the Santa Maria, starting the flood that followed years later with the Mayflower.  

Italian American, Mexican American, African American, the list goes on. Yes, you're proud of your heritage. I'm proud of mine too. I'm a mutt. But I'm an American. How can you claim that racism is a problem while telling everyone you aren't American? I get it, your ancestors came from Africa, Italy, Scotland, Ireland or anywhere else hundreds of years ago. I'm pretty sure you're integrated by now. When black people from America go to South America do they have to tell customs that they're African American or do they just claim "American"? Is there an "African American" embassy? "Italian American"? No? Hhmm. Maybe you're just an American like me. Only difference is, most people obeyed the law about desegregation. Yet here I am still not allowed to try out for Miss Black America. Isn't that the very thing we tried to prevent? 
Segregation is real. We see it every day without realizing it. 

Like a "Miss Black America" that excludes white people.  Or a college fund for blacks only. Or a blacks only television channel. Or blacks only magazine. Oh wait...uh oh. I thought we did away with segregation back in the 1960's?  That's odd, seems segregation and racism are very much alive and thriving. Only difference is, if white people mention it they're racists. Interesting turn of events. 
So what if we had a White Entertainment Television? Let's face it, WET sounds like a fun name for television. Opens all kinds of fun doors. We could have guest speakers from Black Entertainment Television. Maybe call it "BET on WET". Sounds like a Las Vegas based water park. 
Me, I think we should just have TV. No restrictions based on color. Notice I didn't say "Nationality". Why? Because we are American. That's our nationality regardless of skin pigmentation. That's where the trouble starts these days. 

Al Sharpton calls for a meeting about race because of the Oscars. Let's talk about ole Al, shall we? The "reverend" Al Sharpton. At which church is he a minister? Do they allow white parishioners? I don't hold him in any reverence. He travels the country talking about race. Hey, Al, black and white aren't "races", they're colors.  Human is a race. Is he actually preaching that there are different "races" of humans?! He believes in God and Creationism and says there are different races of humans. And people hang on his every word. 

So it was predominantly white nominees at the oscars this year. Big deal. Maybe there were just more good white actors and actresses this year? 
Tell ya what, just give them all "participation awards" so no one gets their feelings hurt. You know, like they started doing with kids in sports. That way no one feels bad. 
Meanwhile, at the BET film awards, make sure they invite a few "Anglo Saxon Caucasian Americans"

Why, in America, is it necessary to announce what country your ancestors are from? I've never heard of "African Brits" or "Italian Russians".  What the hell is wrong with us here?! Racism is a problem, but is it truly caused by "Anglo Saxon Americans"? Is there a white "reverend" traveling the country pointing out the skin color of everyone involved in any conflict? No. That would be considered racist. People of every skin color and ethnic background get shot, beat up, abused and so forth. The only problem is, not every story makes the news because not every story can be used to fuel the fire. Just like people die every day but those aren't "breaking stories" because they aren't famous. Sensationalizing things sells news. Controversy makes people famous. That's why there are people like Al Sharpton dragging skin color into everything. Unless it doesn't meet his agenda. It's his agenda, not ours. It works in his favor to keep us fighting. We don't need to fight one another. It just fuels his financial purposes. Maybe we should try fighting alongside one another to actually end racism and bring about unity. 

Interestingly enough I've heard people like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson say that all of this stems from slavery and unfair treatment over 100 years ago.  Ok. Let's review that then. 2,000 years ago Jewish people were slaves treated unfairly in Egypt. Egypt is in Africa. Where's their "Jewish only" television, college funds and such? Where does one find the entry forms for "Miss Jewish America" pageant? I've never heard anyone call themselves a Jewish American. Have you? 
What's that, you say? "Well their slavery and suffering was different."  Hhmm. How, exactly? Oh...that was too long ago and there wasn't a war to free them. Excellent point. The Civil War was in the 1860's so you need something more recent to compare it to because times changed? Gotcha. 
That's a stumper alright. If only there was a war to free them from unjust persecution more recently. How's the 1940's sound? Yet, when I lived in Germany, I never heard anyone call themselves a "Jewish German" and demand segregation. Especially not after fighting for equality and desegregation. 
At what point do we quit being racist? At what point does "equal" mean we are free to point out how unequal things are without fear of retribution? 

Every day it's on the news, "racial violence". "Racial tension".  Only in America. Why only in America? Our society is declining right in front of us while we laugh at it over our morning coffee. Or we whisper about it afraid to speak up because to do so isn't "socially acceptable". Guess what, our society isn't acceptable. Speak up people, let our voices be heard. No, the racism that's still holding this country captive isn't necessary, but it makes for good tv. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I'm Sorry, You're WHAT?!

Yet again I found myself immersed in conversation wherein logic and reason were viewed as "close minded radical thinking". So it's both close minded and radical? I don't know which disturbed me more, the fact logic is considered "radical" or that "close minded" and "radical" were used together like that. Maybe I'm due for one of those new "socially correct" dictionaries. 
The topic in question, you ask? Oh. Cross dressers and the like. I know what you're thinking..."no, he's not going to say something about those poor souls who don't know what gender they are!" Well I kinda am. Or I'm hoping to use logic to make it easier for them. I'm helpful like that. 
See, it should be pretty simple. Really. I'm going to use the amazing power of science. That's like "magic" for non logical thinkers. Apparently it's also a dying concept these days. First, let's try a little experiment. I want you to picture a lion. Majestic symbol of strength and courage. King of the jungle. Can you see it there? Are you singing "In the Jungle"? Maybe seeing clips from "Lion King"? Excellent. Now imagine that that lion can talk. Some of you are still seeing "Lion King" others are envisioning a Cowardly Lion on his way to see the Wizard. That's ok too, you can be Dorothy for a second. Here's the kicker...your talking lion just told you he thinks he's a turtle. 
Wait...what?! Dude, you're a lion. I don't care if you think you're a jellyfish, you're still a lion. You're the king of the beasts. Sorry about you're identity crisis but those teeth and claws still exist. It's pretty unmistakable that a lion is a lion no matter what it wants to be. We've seen "Madagascar", right? 

That scenario didn't work for you? Ok. Next time you want a slice of cake can you eat asparagus and just tell yourself the asparagus thinks it's a cake? No? But but...isn't that discriminatory? Same concept we've been facing.

 In Michigan a transgender person used the women's locker room. A female gym member got upset and complained repeatedly. Planet Fitness says the person identified themselves as a female. That was good enough for them. That's their policy. If a gym member feels unsafe having a male in the locker room and complains, they revoke her membership. Yes, that's right. A woman whose gender fought for their rights isn't allowed to complain if she feels unsafe at Planet Fitness. I'm not female but even I think that violates her rights. 

Am I missing something here? Look down, what parts do you have? Girl parts? You're a girl. Boy parts? You're a boy. How is this confusing?! For those unaware, "transgender" is someone of one sex feeling they more closely identify with the opposite sex. Anatomically they're still the gender they were born as. So, in this situation, it was a fully anatomically correct male who feels he's a female inside. Calls himself female. Wants to shower with the women even though he has dangly bits. 

There's even a few associations to protect "transgender rights". So this guy has a right to use any restroom or shower he wants because he has a "gender identity" crisis?

 In Colorado a family filed a discrimination case against the school for not letting their first grader use a girl's restroom. Here's a first grader boy who identifies himself as a girl. First grade. They say this child has "identified as a girl since she could express herself". 

I'm a father with custody of my two young sons. A kindergartener and a second grader. In first grade my son was just learning to "identify" a plus sign from a minus sign. Yet this kid in Colorado can identify that's it's a girl despite having male anatomy?! This kid isn't old enough to really understand the difference between male and female. 
When my 8 year old was about 2 he would try to eat out of the dog's dish and pretend he was a dog. I didn't kennel him because he "identified" as a dog. I understood that he was just a kid. 

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the school allowed this kid to use the girls' facilities from here on out. What happens when puberty sets in and testosterone starts getting manufactured on a large scale and this "boy turned girl" starts showing an interest in girls? What then? Remember, the parts are still there and in perfect working order. 

Males have different musculature than females. It's just a naturally occurring thing. This now teenage boy gets picked on by teenage girls, it's gonna happen. That's a male with male strength. The same with the one in Michigan. That's at a gym even. A place to go and build muscles. Male muscles enhanced by testosterone because regardless of how they "identify" the body is still manufacturing this muscle building hormone. In the women's locker room. Is this really a recipe for "safe"? Aren't we infringing on women's rights by forcing them to allow a man in their shower? 
Let's take the Planet Fitness situation a step farther. A male only has to say that he "identifies" as a female, but doesn't have to BE female to be in the women's locker room and showers. Any male can do this. I stress ANY. This includes rapists, men with violent tendencies, sexual predators of any sort. Because they say they "identify" with being female they are allowed in your locker room and shower. 
Now, I'm not saying that's what this individual was or the little boy will grow up to be. I'm simply pointing out that, because of "transgender rights", this loophole is there. I'm not talking about those who have had "gender reassignment surgery". Those individuals truly are a different gender and lack the anatomy to violate one's person. That's a different story.
I'm not arguing against sexual preferences. What you do in your bedroom is your own business and not mine. I have enough trouble just trying to have a sex life so I'm not out to judge anyone else's. I'm only talking about transgender. If they've chosen to actually change genders, that was their choice and we should respect that. 

However, this transgender business has me thinking. Maybe I could apply for a job as an airline pilot. A black one, why not, it's my identity and they have to recognize that. Even though I'm so pasty white I could catch a tan at a candlelight dinner. And, granted, I've never had a flying lesson or even played any flight simulator games, but I could tell them I'm "transprofessional, transcolor" and I identify more closely with black pilots than I do with being a white truck driver. If they don't give me the job it's discrimination because it's not about what I actually AM or am qualified to do but about what I THINK I am inside that counts these days. You guys would feel comfortable with some guy that's never flown a plane taking the wheel, right? If you don't suffer PTSD now, you surely would after that flight I assure you. Yes, it's a ludicrous thought and analogy. But where do we draw the line? 

I've heard one argument that says "why are we so concerned about gender separation? Why not just have all locker rooms and showers coed? Other cultures have started embracing this idea of commingling."  Ok. Fair enough question. However, here in America, until everyone becomes androgynous I still don't see why it's ok for anyone to allow one man in the women's showers and not the rest. Don't get me wrong, the idea of watching athletic, fit women shower is appealing. I'm a guy after all. The idea of sharing a toilet area? Not so appealing. Couples sharing bathrooms at home...you know there are times you don't even want to be on that side of the house. Much less actually IN the bathroom. That'd kill your sex life that day. 

Everyone is fighting for "equality" but in some things we just aren't equal. Back to "look down" and you'll see a difference. But if you're going to have a rule in place about gender separation in the locker room and shower, be fair about it. If you say "no men" then it applies to ALL men. Not just the ones you feel are special. 

Kids are wanting to claim now that they identify more closely with the opposite sex. Yay, let's applaud Brad  Pitt and Angelina Jolie for supporting their confused kid. I get that they are "cutting edge" socially and everyone looks up to them. Let's glamorize how progressive they are. Let's overlook the precedent we are setting. Before long pedophiles will say they were just "identifying" with their inner child. Yes, it's a ridiculous defense for a deplorable crime yet we are laying the groundwork without even realizing it. 

If you're a grown ass man and decide you want to be a woman, get surgery. Have your "outie" turned into an "innie" but until you do you're a guy. It's not that complicated Buffalo Bill. Don't make the rest of us put the lotion on our skin just because you have fantasies. 

You know folks, we make life more complicated than it has to be with all of these "rights" associations. If there were a zombie apocalypse it wouldn't be long before someone started advocating "zombie rights" and we couldn't defend ourselves for fear of violating their rights. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar (no matter how tiny your cigar might be.)



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Unmasked

You don't know the real me, the one I wear behind this mask
You don't know the pain that shaped me or the pain I've known
No one does. No one cares. No one has ever bothered to ask
So now I'm going to remove the fa├žade and let my true self be shown
The me that is worn and weary from sleepless nights
The one quivering in fear as my mask melts away 
You don't know him, you just enjoy the words he writes
This golem behind the mask hides from your ridicule every day
I've been hurt so many times I think I've lost count 
Broken bones and heartaches have ripped me apart 
I've taken the abuse it's an inhuman amount
I'm not as pristine as I was at the very start
I've cloudy eyes above a bearded muzzle
Scars on my head from too many fights
Bones that look more like a jigsaw puzzle
Bags under my eyes from sleepless nights 
A heart stitched back together with old twine
A soul half used and half tattered and torn
I am becoming my own Frankenstein 
Only through my clever poetry am I reborn

Friday, March 13, 2015

Caution: For Mature Audience Only

I share this only to make a point, nothing more. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. Nor do I seek pity. What I'm about to share is actually true with no names changed to protect anyone. This is my story. 

When I was a kid I was pretty thin. I mean I was built like a stick figure. I could hide in front of a window by turning sideways. I was abused in many ways when I wasn't neglected to the point I was left alone a week at a time at age 7. To make it worse we were poor. Not just poor but "white trash" poor. I'm not sure how we did it but at one point I remember we got kicked out of the projects. (That's called the "ghetto" these days).
To make things worse, my legal name is Butch. Seriously. I was named after the bully on "The Little Rascals". Clearly my biological mother, with whom I lived until I was 12, had a drug problem. I used to say she had been to "one too many Grateful Dead concerts if catch my drift". The weeks when she did actually make it home there was a new guy with her. Many of them felt I needed a "father figure" and an occasional beating. 
Fortunately for me, my dad was in the military and the benefits he provided (part of the divorce/child support agreement) paid for the multiple "mental facility" stays my estranged "mother" used as a means to be rid of me periodically. 
These visits were because her step dad had twisted ideas of what little boys and little girls were useful for. Well, that and the fights I got into with the kids in the neighborhood who picked on the skinny kid with "a dog's name" whose "mother" was a drug addicted part-time prostitute. Yet I was the one that was labeled as "troubled". 

Flash forward half a decade knowing that this cycle remained this way until I was 12. At that point my dad was back stateside from a European tour. He agreed to take me in because he's my dad and he loves me. That and he hadn't been informed of why I was getting into fights or that nasty sexual misconduct mentioned earlier. Well of course I was welcome to move in with him. For the low low price of $3,000 the mother I'd come to know and hate struck a deal wherein she sold me. Excellent. 
Imagine, if you will, a 12 year old who has practically raised himself suddenly going to live with a military family. That was a recipe for disaster. They didn't know what they were in store for or how to deal with it. Have you ever LITERALLY been forced to eat a bar of soap? I'm talking bite, chew and swallow. No? I have. Many times. Had your eye cut open with a belt buckle? Turns out it leaves a scar. If we ever meet up I'll show it to you. Half a bottle of dishwashing liquid squeezed down your throat while your gasping from having the wind knocked out of you can cause you to miss school for 2 days from vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes simultaneously which is very unpleasant by the way). 
While we are viewing the highlight reel, I should mention that also got to go to Germany with my new, loving family. During our stay I got the opportunity to work on post when I was 16. That was pretty fun. I worked at the Audio/Photo center on base. One of the perks was I got great seats at an air show that year. It was called Flugtag. The only real drawback was when 3 jets collided and one crash landed in the crowd. I promise you will never forget the smell of human flesh burning. There were at least 8 people whose screams of agony I'll always remember as they stumbled around on fire. 
There were other events in my life. I'd be happy to share if you really want to know. I'm pretty open, obviously. What was my point in all of this you may wonder. Simply this...I coped. I still wake up every day. Do I have "PTSD"? No. I wasn't in a war zone. What I experienced is called "life". 

I hear more and more people talking about how they have PTSD because they had a rough life. Or they got picked on. Or they were different. So now they claim PTSD. What you have is a condition called "life". Learn to cope and let go of the "oh, poor me" crutch. We all undergo adversity, does that mean everyone on the planet has PTSD? Hell, from what I understand, child birth is pretty traumatic for all parties involved. Does the affliction start there?Soldiers who see battle, yes, I can certainly understand them having PTSD. Police, firefighters, paramedics who see traumatic stuff, anyone who puts their life on the line for others, yes. Ironically, the number of PTSD claims is rising among just ordinary people with ordinary lives. Don't devalue what they went through just because you're ill equipped to cope with reality. 
Where does the blame start? In my opinion it starts with us removing our kids' ability to cope with the harsh reality of living. Instead we have parents that make our kids unable to cope. Why? Because someone said punishing your kids is bad. "Spank them and you'll damage their self esteem." "Life Coaches" who give us advice. Well if there's a coach then surely life is a game, right? Then you end up with things like Columbine. That was no game. That was life and kids unable to cope with it. Afterwards we blame guns, video games and TV when the real blame starts at home and with campaigns designed to weaken our future generations' psyche. These "awareness campaigns", all they do is teach us it's not socially acceptable to publicly voice our opinions and it's better to just post anonymously behind people's backs. Congratulations, you're removing one group's ability to cope with adversity while teaching censorship and dishonesty. Maybe, just maybe "bullies" aren't the real problem here. PTSD is just being overused in society.

Truly traumatic events...that's one thing. But the ridiculous shit people are claiming these days? Seriously? 
Unless you're born in a bubble and live in that bubble there's going to be events one can call traumatic. But this "I have PTSD because I wanted Malibu Barbie and didn't get it" stuff is getting out of hand.
You got teased in school? Welcome to reality. Picked on by other kids? Here's your membership jacket, welcome to the club. 
You had a rough flight? Take the bus. Ever try sleeping on a bus?! Now THAT could be traumatic. 
Did your "traumatic" event involve being violated or nearly dying? Witnessed or experienced truly traumatic events? No? Then you don't have PTSD. You have a handy "cop out" for "I am not equipped to cope with real life."
I understand "trauma" is subjective. I was upset when kool aid got rid of my favorite flavor but I didn't need to make sure everyone understood my "struggle" with finding a new favorite flavor. I got counseling and learned how to deal with the disappointment and stress it caused. Problem solved. 

Here's a woman claiming PTSD from a flight that experienced turbulence but didn't crash and landed safely. Ironically, she says her PTSD cost her a promotion at work. She worked for Emergency Management. Really?! You work in Emergency Management and got PTSD from a flight that landed safely?! Yeah, I wouldn't want you working in that field either. Was she not able to check the weather before she got on the plane? See, the way it works is, weather affects how smoothly a plane flies. Twit. I mean, had there been an ACTUAL emergency how much more traumatic would it have been? Time to switch to something you're more suited to. Librarian maybe? 


Here we are trying to set a precedent for even more PTSD claims. I can remember what I got for Christmas when I was 3. I can draw the floor plan for where I lived at the time, and have for my dad because he thought I was bullshitting that I could. I don't remember my circumcision nor am I traumatized by it. These guys must be superhuman. 

We see it all too often. Kids cutting themselves, kids killing themselves because they can't cope. School shootings because they can't cope. Kids becoming adolescents and escaping into drugs and alcohol because they need to escape reality. We need to teach coping skills instead of setting them up for failure. Our society is declining right in front of us while we laugh at it over our morning coffee. Or we whisper about it afraid to speak up because to do so isn't "socially acceptable". Guess what, our society isn't acceptable. Speak up people, let our voices be heard. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Skeletons

First, I would like to say thank you to Christian for inviting me to be a guest blogger.  It is an honor.  And thank you for giving me that little push to write outside my realm.

They say that everyone has skeletons in their closet.  Coming to terms with your skeletons makes you a stronger person.  I never wanted to do that.  Come to terms with them that is.  I preferred to play pretend.  Pretend that the memories I had were but dreams, that way I could turn the dreams to good use.  What better fuel for the characters in my writing.

However, sometimes these skeletons demand attention.  Typically when you are not expecting it and definitely when you don’t want to.

The closet door has been opened
And the memories flood back.
You left me in a burning car
And I got to watch you pack.
 
You taught me in the time of crisis
To simply turn the other cheek.
I thought it good advice
Then I didn’t appear to be a freak.
 
But pretending something does not exist
Sadly, does not make it so.
I cannot close that closet door
And I cannot simply go.
 
So now I am faced with the struggle
To lay these skeletons to rest
Of dealing with my exposed emotions
Because that really is what’s best.
© Rachel Rennie

How about you?  Have you put your skeletons to rest?

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Rachel is a romantic at heart who likes to explore the paranormal universe.  Writing fantastical adventures for adults, both young and old.  

Born and raised in a small Northern town now raising her own family in a Western Canadian city, Rachel has many stories to tell.  She spends most of her time dreaming up new adventures as she ventures out in the world with her family gaining wonderful insight into new words and new worlds. 

Rachel is always searching for the silver lining in every situation and that is where her passion with words comes through.  Her imagination often gets the best of her when she takes an ordinary, everyday occurrence and romanticizes it.