Content Warning: This post contains materials that may be offensive to Christians, and Mel Gibson. It contains speech about violence that may trigger. It contains descriptions of Autism as experienced by me that may trigger. Proceed with appropriate caution, or stop now and opt for self care.
Today was a good day. It flew by. I’m feeling far away. I had therapy yesterday, and it went well. We talked about my progress in readying myself to move to Denver. She asked me if I’m ready to set a date. Part of me is grateful that she was blunt about it. Another part of me felt a surge of anxiety at the very idea of setting a date. It’s probably not for the reason one may assume, though. It’s not so much having a specific date, as it is my utter inability to grasp the concept of time beyond a very rudimentary understanding. I can recite the dictionary definition, but if you asked me to explain it in my own words, I probably wouldn’t answer.
Sometimes I hate abstract concepts. At least the ones that don’t interest me. Time is an abstract concept. It exists because we measure it. We measure it because our lives are finite, and we generally live in a manner that requires us to communicate with others in some manner. That means we have to coordinate, compromise, and agree on a denominator. In this age of mass communication, time adherence to some degree has become mandatory for participation in society. You cooperate, or you suffer the consequences. The irony from my viewpoint is that the rest of the world seems to me to be overly obsessed with time. I’m not obsessed with time. It annoys me. Yet I’m the one considered odd. I’m obsessed with computers, and everything about them. Computers are tools that enable one to do incredible things more quickly and consistently. They’re quirky because those who create the software are often quirky.
I love computers so much. I like to build them. I even like arranging the components in a pleasing manner to study the packaging, and ponder the reasoning behind the designs of the logos, and the packaging. I wonder why aren’t there more compliance standards for components between manufacturers. I fantasize about visiting all the factories where the components are made and assembled so I can see every step in great detail. I worry that it’s a dying process, and soon we’ll print out our components at home. I hope when that happens, someone thinks to make a very detailed and high definition documentary that follows a few computers from concept to creation. I know I’d watch that over and over. And then I’d want to talk about it for hours with someone who found it equally fascinating. I think this is what’s meant by pipe dream.
I’m also fascinated with the languages of computers. From machine code to domain-specific language. I like the structure and progression. It’s candy to a pattern finder like me. I love algorithms, and it’s really hard to refrain from constantly obsessing about these things. But I manage. It hurts, in a way. I’ve literally been trained to keep these conversations internal. I think it has something to do with my inability to track time without serious effort and diligence. If I’m thinking about algorithms, I’m not keeping track of time. I’m not participating in society when I’m thinking about the things I love. Most of my life has been spent not participating in society. That probably has a lot to do with my social struggles. It’s all tied together in a tight knot in the pit of my stomach. I try not to resent it.
It feels like I have two states of being. Default, and straining. Default is when I’m joyful. It’s when I cut my connection to society, and allow my attention to return to my interests. Straining is when I’m participating in society. It’s when I try very hard to connect with people, and follow all the rules and requirements that entails. It’s less joyful. I sometimes find joy in this state, but it’s different. It’s more distant, and embracing it doesn’t feel natural. Humor is probably what draws me out most easily. It’s probably why I tend to instantly like someone who makes me laugh. It’s what my Mom used to reach me initially. Most of my memories of her are tied to laughter. My strongest memory is of her laughing really hard when we went to see, Meet the Parents.
I acquired her sense of humor. She would have me sit with her and watch Leo Buscaglia on PBS. We listened to A Prairie Home Companion by Garrison Keillor. We watched The Benny Hill Show. Carol Burnett and Friends was never missed in our home. Hee Haw, M.A.S.H., Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, All in the Family, Fawlty Towers, Upstairs, Downstairs – These were the shows I watched or listened to with my Mom. They played a large part in molding my sense of humor, along with the antics of my big brother, Steve. A lot of the things I saw on these shows were beyond my grasp at the time, but as I gained more information, I would remember parts that confused me, and realize they were hilarious. That still happens a lot. It’s rare for a month to go by without my recalling something confusing that has suddenly become comprehendible.
I have a good memory for TV, and music. I tend to memorize the dialogue of TV shows and movies I enjoy. Music is even more powerful in my memory. It’s mind boggling to me how well I can remember music. It would be more accurate to say I can’t forget music. I remember the song my brother sang with his class at his Kindergarten pageant. I was 3 at the time, and it was one of those life moments where something reached through to me, and surprised me in doing so. I enjoyed it immensely. But I only remember it on an auditory level. I don’t have any visual memories of that night. I began learning violin by Suzuki Method soon after. It was a sort of awakening for me. I’ve never considered playing the violin to be an obsession or interest, though. It’s more than that. It’s like breathing. It’s part of my being.
Playing the violin well wasn’t the goal. My teacher was the first adult who ever talked to me, the human being with potential. It blew my mind at age 4. It got my attention. It was like I finally met someone who understood I wasn’t really a child. I was just tiny, so everyone assumed I was a child. But he saw through the assumptions and looked at me. It was the first time I felt respected. I didn’t even know what respect was at that time, but I felt it. And it felt good and right. It interested me, and this surprised me. I remember when I got my little violin. It was just the right size for my body. I liked how it smelled, and that it had smooth, cool surfaces. I liked holding it, and smelling it as often as I could. I’ve had several violins since then, and I still like these features.
It was the first thing I remember that was mine alone. It had it’s own set of rules. It was the first thing I was specifically told not to share with others. Considering the fact that I had nine siblings and six foster siblings, those instructions really stood out. I became possessive of my violin, which was a new concept to me. I was nonverbal during the “terrible two’s”. So I skipped the whole, “MINE!” stage. But I made up for it with my violin. I don’t remember how long I had that first one, but I do remember when I was ready to move up to the next size, and the horrible awful meltdown that resulted from having to switch to a new violin. It was a very intense, very short meltdown. I went from total agony to a new feeling I hadn’t experienced before. I gave it to a little boy as his first violin. He was 3, and smaller than I was at the time. I figure I must have been about 5. In fact, I’m sure of it now that I thought for a moment.
That was a tough year, five. I gave up my first violin, started school, started talking out loud, found out I’m black, and found out my Dad wasn’t Santa Claus all in that same year. I remember feeling betrayed, shocked, disappointed, afraid, and alone. The toll was profound. Prior to that year, I didn’t know parents could lie. Finding out otherwise really floored me. Being mistreated for having brown skin was hard, too. I didn’t know how to feel about it, let alone cope with it. It was the first problem I ever encountered in my life where going to my Mom for help wasn’t an option, (in my eyes). I never consulted with my Mom about racism. She didn’t have brown skin, so she couldn’t help me. It never crossed my mind that I could talk to her about it. In hindsight, I wish she asked me to talk about it. But she didn’t know what other kids and adults said and did.
That’s where the alone part came in. Heather was a year behind me, so she started school the following year. My first year, I was the only black kid in my school district. I was the only black kid all of my peers had ever met. Most kids were not unkind, but were distant. There was a first generation Vietnamese-American girl in my class. We became frenemies. We stood together at recess, but didn’t talk to each other. We were the outcasts. One day, I said something that upset her, I don’t remember what it was. She got angry and called me, “Blackie”. I got angry in turn, and called her, “Potato Face”. Then we both started bawling. We must have made up at some point, because I do remember going with her to her house after school one day. She lived with her parents and grandparents, and also had an older brother who was in Steve’s class. None of the adults could speak English.
I don’t have any visual memories of her home. I was probably too busy listening to the adults speak Vietnamese. I have a thing about languages. I like them. It’s all patterns, puzzles, and rules to me. I didn’t see her for years after that. Then I saw her again when I transferred to her high school. The one in my school district consisted of the sons and daughters of doctors, lawyers, and bankers, for the most part. I got on well enough with the other kids, and most of their parents were kind to me. But I had problems with a few parents, and a few teachers. By the time I got to 10th grade, I decided I was done enduring racism at school. I figured if my attendance was legally mandatory, then I wasn’t going to put up with it from any teachers ever again. Then I found out that I could have dropped out in the 8th grade.
I got so pissed off when I found this out when I was in 10th grade. It felt like I had been tricked into suffering longer than necessary for no good reason. Part of the compromise to get me to graduate involved my transferring to a different school. I went to the one on the “other side of the tracks”, figuratively speaking. The kids who attended that school had parents who were both white and blue collar. There were other minorities who weren’t my little sister, or the Asian girl who was also adopted by Caucasian parents. In my eyes, that meant our minority status didn’t count as far as diversity went. Our culture was Upper Midwestern Caucasian with a Norwegian influence, just like all the other students.
The new high school was amazing to me. The teachers were noticeably better with only 1 exception, (my former Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Lauer was awesome). The options for classes were different and intriguing. I took a class called, Death. I took Mythology, and World Literature. I worked for my Senator. I read several books that had strong impacts on my character, such as ‘The Divine Comedy, Atlas Shrugged, War and Peace, Faust, etc. My Calculus teacher drove a Trans Am. My Physics instructor was one of the candidates chosen to compete to go on a space shuttle, but wasn’t picked in the end. I wrote for the school newspaper. I ran with the cross country team. I started taking college courses as another part of the compromise. I started to love school. And I enrolled in the Army Delayed Entry Program. It allowed me to go with a small group of other teens to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on a bus to observe a basic training unit, and stay in some barracks to get a feel for what Army life would be like.
I remember watching them do an obstacle course that had a burning Jeep in the pathway at one point. That gave me pause, but nothing else I saw did. They just had to run around it, but it startled me that it was actually on fire, and someone could have gotten burned. It’s funny to me now how naive I was. My basic training didn’t have any burning Jeeps, but we had Victory Tower. That was basically a day of torture for anyone with a fear of heights.
Despite that, jump school, and rappelling down Elephant Butte, I never got over my fear of heights. I just learned how to function with the fear. It just occurred to me that perhaps that’s what getting over it means in this instance. We had a blast watching them train, and then went to our designated barracks and ordered pizza. It was a mini adventure that solidified my desire to serve in the Army. I still have my recruiter’s business card. My Mom put it in my photo album. I lost my high school diploma, though. Not that I’ve ever needed it for anything. I’m not one for ceremony. I was in basic training during my high school graduation. And graduating from basic training is still the most significant accomplishment of my life so far. At least to me. I’ve never gone to a graduation ceremony for university, either. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to attend one.
I don’t display my degrees or Army awards. It tickles me whenever I see them hanging on walls. It seems like such an insecure thing to do. “Look everyone! I have an extremely expensive piece of paper in a frame!” I guess I don’t get the point when we all know that degrees are overvalued by our society. Whether or not you’re good at the profession you chose would be useful information. Where you attended, and for how long does tell me some things, but probably not what most people zoom in on. If you went to Harvard for a degree in anything that doesn’t earn a six figure income, it tells me you either come from wealth, or you have unique aspirations in life. I met a girl in a waiting room who was attending Harvard and majoring in Museum Studies. I asked her if she got a full scholarship. Nope, her parents were paying her tuition. I got up and went to sit somewhere else.
Don’t get me wrong, I love museums. I just don’t see the point of attending what’s often considered the most prestigious institution of higher learning in America, with tuition costs that reflect this. What bothered me, is the fact that her education will absolutely cost more than she’ll make in her lifetime as a museum docent. Especially considering how many people do this job as volunteers. The coveted positions in such a field will require a penis for at least another 20 years. It just seemed frivolous for anyone who isn’t a trust fund baby, or the bored wife of a billionaire. I may be too rigid in my thinking here, but when it comes to choosing career training, I think the end result should be able to financially justify the cost of the training. Don’t even get me started on Ivy League Drama majors. I served with several, and am under the impression that Army officer is a common end result of an Ivy League Drama major.
In my opinion, they would have been much better off going to West Point, or one of the other academies for free, and had that going for them when they entered their military careers, minus the soul crushing debt. The only ones I know of that made good with such a degree were famous child actors, (some of whom still didn’t major in drama) Like Natalie Portman, and Jodie Foster, and Lupita Nyong’o. She was a drama major at Yale, but she won an Oscar while still Hollywood young. Not that you could pay me to watch that movie, though. I’m sure she did an outstanding job, but I’ll take the academies word for it.
I live by the garbage in – garbage out rule when it comes to movies and TV. Garbage to me are things that are painful to watch. Either painful subject matter, or violence. The Passion of the Christ was the most violent movie I ever saw. It offended me to my core. It’s part of why I’m agnostic, and it made me want to punch Mel Gibson in his junk. Hard. It was way more offensive than that TMZ recording of him using racial slurs and being a drunken asshole to his ex-wife. How he managed to make a movie that proved he doesn’t understand his own religion is beyond me. It was a snuff film with an interesting portrayal of satan. It should have been rated HN for Hell No.
He made that film with a heart full of hatred, and it was obvious from watching it. I wish I could unsee it. It made me feel stained. All just so he could proclaim his hatred of Jewish people. That was the message of that film. It had nothing to do with the life of Christ, and that’s what showed his hand. It’s not a difficult or abstract concept, so it’s amazing to me that anyone could miss it. Pontius Pilate was a people pleaser. He cared more about what the people wanted than what was right or wrong, because in doing what they wished, he didn’t feel responsible for his actions. So far in history, he was right on that point. Nobody hates on his descendents to death. The people were Jewish. It was in Judaea. They called for Jesus’ crucifixion. It was mob mentality. Human mobs always do shit like that.
But in this instance, and as far as I know, only in this instance, a lot of people got things twisted in a very evil way. They are antisemites who blame Jewish people for murdering their savior. That’s the dumbest shit I ever heard in my life. It’s astonishingly dumb. First and foremost, and really the only thing that matters at all, is the fact that Jesus died to cleanse the sins of all of mankind who accept him as their Lord and Savior. This is what Christianity is. Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior for cleansing us of our sins by dying and suffering for 3 days, rising again, then ascending into Heaven. That’s Christianity explained. See? It’s not abstract or unknown. If you grew up in America, there’s a very good chance you know this information.
So what I don’t understand, is why the FUCK would we be upset with Jewish people? A mob of them did what all mobs do – wreak violent havok, and act out in ways they wouldn’t under any other circumstances. This is also fairly common knowledge. Shit, you can buy a t-shirt that says, “Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups”. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. We know that saying. We laugh when we hear it, and nod our heads in agreement. Now tell me this. If you’re a Christian, how fucked would you be if nobody called for Jesus to be crucified, and he didn’t die and pay for our sins? According to my indoctrination, we’d all be going to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. There wouldn’t be Christianity. We’d be pagans, or atheists, or Jews, or Muslims, or Hindis, or Buddhists, or something. So again, I ask, why would anyone do anything but be extremely thankful to that mob of Jewish people, who according to Christianity, did their part in saving us all from eternal hell and damnation by putting his Messianic prophecy in motion?
This is why I refuse to tolerate anti semitism. There is no logical reason to mistreat Jewish people. There is, however, strong reasons for Christians to treat them like the descendents of the mob that helped set in motion the basis of Christianity. In my view, as an agnostic, I think persecuting, hating, and mass murdering Jewish people is insanity. And if I witness it, I do something about it. I don’t mean I just call someone out as an insane bigot. We’re past that by a Holocaust. I’ll do whatever I have to do to make it stop. I drew that line in the sand the day I visited Dachau, and there’s no getting over that. If that means I have to kill to prevent another Holocaust, then that’s what I’ll do, as much as I despise violence. That’s one of the very few things that will make me overcome my disgust for violence instantly. The other involves harming children. I don’t tolerate that either.
I wonder if other people thought out the things they would kill for, and thought through the consequences, and also decided right is right, come what may. I calculated several years ago the likelihood of a violent, premature demise. It’s higher than I’m comfortable with. The probability of my being violently killed for refusing to commit evil acts is not something I share, but I think about it often. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ll probably die by being beaten to death. Not a fun thing to look forward to, but I think about it often in order to strengthen my resolve. I’ve accepted it as much as one can for a probability in an uncertain future. I may have to recalculate if Trump becomes president. That would be really bad for my life expectancy. Not that Clinton as president would do anything but also shorten my life span.
Bernie or bust has a uniquely literal meaning for me. From my viewpoint, he’s the only candidate that will not actively work toward ending me by one means or another based solely on my melanin levels. I decided I’m not going to flee to another country if either of those racists get “elected”. I’m American. That’s not negotiable. I’ll stay and fight in the impending revolution. It frightens me, because I know it’s going to be extremely violent. But come what may. And now that I’ve overshared so much, I’m off to read.