“I would be friends with Stalin if he had a ping pong table.”

Welp.  I’m in a dark place mentally.  Surprisingly, I confided in M., (probably because he’s my fiance now, and I’m starting to comprehend it.)  I showed him the articles from mainstream media sources demonstrating the police have been told to shoot blacks on sight.  It sounds unbelievable, but do a search, and you’ll find articles about a cop who held a black man at gunpoint for 9 minutes because he was black.

The black man handled the situation like a rock star.  He remained calm (on the outside) while asking the cop why he was escalating the situation by pointing his gun at the passenger of a car driven by a white male on a standard traffic stop.  The only thing this man did was ride in a car while being black.  The cop spent 9 minutes debating whether or not this non-offense justified murdering him.  I happen to know there’s more than one article, (because I’m black, and even I couldn’t fucking believe it without corroborating evidence.)

That’s enough for me to recognize cops have been told to shoot blacks on sight.  But there’s more.  Sigh.  A cop recently assured a white woman she could calm down and stop panicking because they only kill black people.  I shit you not.  Look it up.  So, yeah.  Cops have been told to kill black people on sight.  Needless to say, it’s led me to make some adjustments.  I think this is at the core of what’s triggered me.  I’m a black woman.  When I hear sirens, it’s not only rational but wise to prepare myself for impending murder.

I guess it doesn’t qualify to be called a trigger because my reaction is spot on.  It’s an early warning system.  I feel better about it, now.  I know in Sioux Falls, the police haven’t murdered any black people for being black in the recent past, (my lifetime.)  It’s good to know, but I also know Jeff Sessions hadn’t given them the green light to become consequence-free murderers at that point.   I nearly hate that lying, Elmer Fudd-looking fuckwad.  (Not enough to acknowledge his existence very often, fortunately.)

So in light of recent revelations, I’m preparing to walk away from my life.  Well…  Hopefully drive away, but walking is still an option.  I have a particular destination.  I’m going off the grid.  I’m unplugging myself from society because I don’t want to be murdered for the pigmentation level of my skin.  (What a fucked up reason to die.)  I can’t say I did nazi this coming.  I predicted 45 would insist on being the king, and do away with elections altogether back when Deez Nutz was the leading Republican candidate.  (I was half kidding.)

Naturally, I’m extremely pissed off.  While I’m mildly excited and see it as an adventure where I get to use the skills I learned in the Army, I’m angry I have to share this planet with hateful murderers who are willfully ignorant, and barely qualify as homo sapiens.  As I’ve stated in the past, I consider troglodytes expendable.  So much so, I’ll be carrying an M-16 A2 and two modified 80-round cartridges at all times in my new home, (just like the good old days.)  🙄

I’m pissed I had to buy a fucking weapon and ammunition while a citizen in good standing in an allegedly first world country.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.  I pay taxes so I can let the police and military deal with weapons.  I’m a civilian.  This is bullshit.  But I’m not going to die easily over bullshit.  I’m going to take out as many Nazis as I can, and I can hit anything within… I’ll keep that to myself.  Suffice to say, for someone who hates violence and primitive behavior, I’m lethal as fuck.  I know.  It’s weird.  (I was surprised by this, too.  And a lot uncomfortable.)

I have incredible faith in my training and a decade of practice.  There will be fewer Nazis when I go out.  You’re welcome.  I’m livid because I’m about to go on permanent guard duty because the GOP put a known criminal in the highest office (again, and several other governmental positions to boot.)  It was a deliberate act of evil based on greed and hatred.  Fuck the GOP.  It’s the KKK in different uniforms.  They don’t even deny it.

I knew I was a short-timer.  My body has been insisting I’m ending soon for months now.  I usually joke about it, because I’m still trying to adjust to evil being interchangeable with Christian conservative.  I did nazi that coming.  (It will never get old for me, sorry.)  I totally fell for Christianity.  I blame my forced indoctrination, (but who’s counting.)  I think I wavered so long because I know people who genuinely believe, and live like real Christians.  I love the shit out of them for it.  (It’s an excellent argument for belief.)

Unfortunately, the vast majority are fakes only interested in the status, not the lifestyle.  It’s a constant, loud, belligerent rebuttal.  Plus, Joel Osteen and his ilk.  (Holy shit!)  Most atheists were indoctrinated Christians at some point.  Ex-Catholics make up a huge portion.  Getting raped by your spiritual leader does it every single time.  Statistically, it’s ridiculous, and it makes me sad.

I wanted to be a Christian.  I live like a Christian, but I don’t believe.  (I just think Jesus’ word in the Holy Bible is a wise doctrine regarding how to avoid being an asshole on a crowded planet, sometimes.)  Plus, a lot of our laws are clearly based on it, so it’s a convenient way to avoid becoming a slave in a for-profit prison.

For those who just thought to themselves, “She doesn’t act like a Christian because she drops f-bombs like there’s a prize”:  Fuck you.  Fuck is a great word.  It’s not taking an imaginary entities name in vain, (which I don’t do out of respect for those who believe.)  It’s the only curse I refuse to use.  Welp… I won’t use the C-word either.  Ew.  I’m fortunate because my fiance insists on going with me.  I have to admit, my heart melted into a puddle of love when he informed me.

If I weren’t black, I wouldn’t be doing this with a weapon.  I’d still be going off the grid, but while maintaining a presence in society, and communication with relatives.  The richest force behind this coup is Putin’s desire to be the oil god of earth.  He’s not going to do it with my assistance, thankyouverymuch.  Hence, fuck the grid.  Solar will suffice until I finish designing me-powered gadgets.  Finally, my incessant pacing while stressed will pay off, when I hack my new hallway with piezoelectric transducers.  It will take time to get set up, so I’ll post updates that aren’t too risky.  (I don’t think many read my blog, so I’m not overly concerned.)

So that’s how my day has been.  Fucking yay.  I’m off to beat my drums like an angry black woman.

 

But I don’t wanna be a pirate!

I’ve devised a new bribe to get myself to exercise.  If I run on my treadmill, I can watch music videos and interviews.  I just need to go a bit slower to prevent vertigo.  I don’t have a forgiving space to land in if I go flying off the back.  I have a credenza full of quilting supplies.  (It would probably only hurt my ego.)  I have an oddly shaped room over a stairwell, (which is the only reason I don’t feel guilty about running in my apartment.)  Nobody uses that stairwell, anyway.  My near-neighbors are funny to me.  I’ve seen most of them working out in the gym, at the pool, on the bike trails, etc., but they all use the elevators religiously.

I’m going to go ahead and apologize in advance for the length of this post.  I’ve been living in my head all weekend because my niece is visiting.  She’s the niece that’s older than me and used to beat me up, (because isn’t that fucking hilarious.  🙄)  She asked me earlier why I never seem to relax.  In my head, Michelle Obama and Lisa Bloom both looked at me and mouthed, “Don’t answer.”  So I’m bugging you instead.  Nope.  They didn’t say, “Don’t blog.”  🙃

LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 26: Drummer Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac performs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 26, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Mick Fleetwood looks a lot like my dad did now, which is an awful lot like Santa Claus.  Cool.

Oh yeah, I promised to tell my cocaine story.  In the Army, when you get promoted to SGT, you have to dump all your friends who aren’t SGT’s.  When I got promoted, the woman who dropped me as a friend when she got promoted became my mentor while I made the transition.  I was delighted to be able to hang out with her again.  She’s probably in the top five coolest people I’ve ever met.  Anyway, the night of my promotion, she invited me to hang out.  I accepted.

I didn’t even realize the NCO’s (non-commissioned officers) were coming together to celebrate my promotion until they brought out the cake.  It was the point where my being upset over losing my few friends became, “Oh wow, I’m an NCO now.”  It felt pretty good to have them acknowledge my achievement.  The only thing I’d ever actually said to most them before was, “Yes, SGT.”  Soon, bottles of beer were passed around, (and I passed because I don’t drink.)  No problem, no pressure, yay.  We listened to music, and they shared stories while I sat listening in awe.

After a while, the SSG (who totally looked like an Ewok, and made me dig a 6′ x 6′ x 6′ hole for pointing it out,) started passing around a picture he took off the wall with lines of cocaine on it.  They passed it around to everyone.  Everything seemed to be in slow motion to me, as my brain sorted through what was going on.  By the time the picture came to me, I knew the wisest choice was to follow suit.  In hindsight, I think it was a test.  But I’m not sure.  Anyway, my ignorant ass took the rolled up dollar bill with shaking hands, arranged a neat line with the razor, and blew it all off the picture.  Sigh.

There was a pause.  To me, it was excruciatingly long, but it probably wasn’t in reality.  Then my mentor punched me in the shoulder while they all laughed weirdly.  (Look.  If you’re not supposed to blow it, then why the fuck do they call it blow?  Which is more logical?  Snorting it up your nose?  Or following the obvious instructions in the nickname?  I still haven’t managed to live it down…)  I just wish more care was taken in naming things, that’s all.  So that pretty much ended the party, but the cake was delish.

The reason I knew I had to go along was this:  These men and women were the backbones of my unit.  They literally ran it from day to day and kept us prepared to deploy to war with 72 hours notice at all times.  Accusing them of using an illicit drug, (a career ending mistake), wasn’t an option.  Fortunately, I was fresh out of leadership training and was able to recognize it immediately.  The unwritten rules.  Had I refused to go along, I would have separated myself from the NCO’s, and become a pariah.  When I was a private, my instinct would have been to refuse and report.

If it was a test, I passed, (but barely.)  I’ve never actually ingested cocaine.  That’s the only time anyone ever offered me any.  Oh no, wait.  When I visited the aquarium in the inner harbor in Baltimore, some random guy waved at me to step outside, so I did.  Then he asked me if I wanted some crack.  I didn’t understand the question, so he walked away.  Now I know what crack is, so that’s my only other experience with it.  I’m a weed only woman.  I’ll vape cannabis, but no on the rest.  (And only in states where it’s legal, because the consequences are out of the question, and a cop could stare a confession out of me in five minutes.  Okay, less.)

It feels like aliens poking at my body.

CW:  suicide, PTSD symptoms (Skip it if you’re not positive you’re up for it. 💜)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today has been rough.  I had the math isn’t real nightmare again last night.  It fucks me up every time.  It usually means my sleeping mind has penetrated my defense system, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Yay. /sarcasm.  These are the times I wonder if testing medical cannabis for PTSD might be a good idea.  I know what’s coming and I’m trying not to wig out.  I’m trying not to let four letters defeat me.

When I first entered mental health services at the VA, I was told the only way to overcome PTSD was to talk about what caused it.  It sounds simple, but talking about it means thinking about it.  Thinking about it means visualizing and reliving it mentally.  Reliving it mentally means willingly stepping into the hell that fucked you up so badly, it altered the structure of your brain.  And do this with whatever mental health professional you’re assigned.  Side note:  You won’t see the same provider more than once for the first five years of your recovery.  Good luck!

I read an article in Wired magazine suggesting the retelling of traumatic events that caused PTSD retraumatizes and worsens the condition.  I gave it to the nursing staff on the mental health ward at the VA.  It aligned with what they concluded for my situation.  They weren’t surprised.  There have been visible changes at the VA since then, many improvments.  For example; the VA now acknowledges the fact women also serve.  (I mean more than just saying they do.)

They still have a way to go before the number of veterans who opt for suicide goes down.  It’s around 20 suicides a day right now.  It makes me sad, but I understand it.  When you’re the one who gives everything you have to the military, and suddenly you find yourself in a hospital, being told you’re no longer fit to serve, (because something that happened while you were honorably serving your country was more traumatic than your brain could process,) it makes a lot more sense.  It made perfect sense to me when I was told I had to go through hell again to get out of hell.  Everything within me said, “Fuck that, I’m out of here.”

I came very close to succeeding at offing myself.  My memory of the event is spotty.  I won’t go into detail, but what I remember most is the suicide prevention counselor telling me the police were surprised I survived.  It stuck with me and helped shake me out of my tunnel vision.  I was (final) acting on only my initial perspective of my situation.  It was bleak as fuck, don’t get me wrong.  However, I tried to bail before going through the entire mental exercise.  It didn’t cross my mind I might be playing tag with PTSD.

My perspective broadened, and my situation stopped appearing so black and white.  I remembered I’m a survivor;  Of course, I can handle whatever PTSD throws at me.  It’s sometimes painful, I’m rarely well rested, I startle like the calls are coming from inside the house, and I can’t watch anything with suspense or would frighten a five-year-old.  Additionally, July 1-July 10th, I have to wear noise canceling headphones all day, and earplugs all night.  I used to love fireworks.  Now they’re torture.

It’s also best for me to get out of town when the airshow is going on.  I was in Air Defense Artillery for the first five years of my service.  Nothing moves in the sky when I’m outside without my noticing (and identifying it as friend or foe.)  Probably for the rest of my life.  I used to participate in wargames at 29 Palms, California.  It’s basically the most incredible game of laser tag on earth, (tracked vehicles, copters, aircraft, huge teams,etc.)  While it’s easily in the top five most exciting things I’ve ever done, it also scared the shit out of me several times.  Let’s just say showoff pilots who do flybys of ground troops who are under camo are assholes of enormous proportion.

I know what’s coming, and part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cry.  Sigh.  Instead, I’m going to dig deep and find what I need to get through, even if it’s by the skin of my teeth.  (Who thinks of these?)  I have my Wanda Syke’s: I’ma Be Me DVD if things get too bad.  I’m going swimming with some neighbors soon.  They’re Muslim and wear suits that are quite modest.  They gave me one when I asked where to get them.  I have super nice neighbors.  I have it on now, and I like it.  It’s too humid to run outside, which sucks.  But swimming is better for me anyway.  I’m off to focus on fun like there’s a prize.

I’ve always wanted to see the two of you get back together.

A friend I served with in the Army was in town this weekend, (S.)  We were inseparable before she got sent to Germany.  It was the first time I had a BFF.  I was eighteen when we met.  We were the self-appointed cut-ups in our unit.  (It may have been a factor in my extra time as a private.) For some reason, everything was hilarious to me back then.  (Except the times when I was bawling, which was often.)  It took me an embarrassingly long time to recognize the correlation.

S. used to hang out with me while I did whatever extra duty I acquired (for saying what I was thinking.)  When people would honk and laugh at me while I picked weeds, she would flip them off on my behalf.  We spent most of our free time noticing funny shit about the Army and laughing about it.    I didn’t watch TV when I was in the service.  We made our own entertainment.  We spent a lot of time singing harmonies in the latrine.  The acoustics were outstanding.  We had a woman Executive Officer, which meant we were automatically signed up for every women’s event.

We ran a 10K (in El Paso when it was 104° F.)  We played on the softball team, (I was benchwarmer/babysitter.)  I’ve never played softball in my life.  (But I did note the ball is not soft.  It’s not soft at all.)  I know this because the few times I was forced to go on the field, it was either left or right outfield, I forget.  All I did was pray the ball didn’t come to me.  The one time it did, it hit me in the forehead.  I’d like to say I was lined up under the ball, preparing to catch it, and the sun got in my eyes; but actually, I didn’t see it.  I was too busy thinking of what to offer God in trade for preventing the ball from coming to me.

I had a mild concussion, and I never had to go on the field again.  (Yay.)  S. still claims it’s the funniest thing she ever saw in her life, but she exaggerates sometimes.  She told me what it’s like to be a mom.  First, she thought about it for a while.  She has two kids, both adults now.  (She named her daughter, Heather!!)  Then she laughed and started telling me.  I have no idea how long we talked, but it was several hours.  It felt like watching over her shoulder while she grew into this remarkable woman.

I haven’t slept since she left, so I’m still processing what she shared.  I laughed when she told me it felt good to talk to someone who doesn’t interrupt.  It’s sort of an inside joke.  When we first started hanging out, she told me I listen like I’m memorizing everything she’s saying.  I told her it’s because in a way I was, but I couldn’t elaborate.  I got diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome not long after S., and I met.  It’s funny because I used to get in trouble for constantly interrupting as a kid before I figured out I got more information by just listening.

I decided to watch more of the Stevie Nicks documentary (instead of sleeping.)  I usually watch things in small segments when it’s my first viewing so I can process what I’m observing in between.  I love that Stevie made this album in her home.  It’s a big old house.  It has a dramatic staircase that curves and a massive crystal chandelier in the foyer.  She talks about her writing process, and how she’s been writing virtually her whole life.  I smiled when I saw her with a stack of handwritten notebooks.  I still have mine from ages six through eleven.  It shows the deterioration of my handwriting as I began using a computer.  I’m steadily devolving into just scratching an X for my signature.

I ordered all her live DVDs and music on CDs.  Whenever I come across an artist I would love to experience live, I do this.  It’s to make up for not being able to support them in person, (massive overstimulation.)  It’s hard to grasp the fact I can own a copy of their music for less than $20.  I struggle with this concept when it comes to authors and musicians.  I feel in debt to some fascinating people.  It doesn’t stress me out, though.  It makes me feel very fortunate.

I squeed when I found out Stevie likes Twilight.  She said she could relate to Bella when Edward abandoned her in the woods.  Now I have to do a Twilight marathon, again.  It’s been at least a year since I watched them.  Honestly, I’m baffled by the people who insist they didn’t love the films.  I usually suspect they’re lying, because who doesn’t want to watch beautiful vampires run around doing amazing shit like they have bionics and giant wolves and everyone is gorgeous?  It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.

Still with the neck hole?

Content Warning:  Descriptions of severe depression, the aftermath of sexual assault.

 

 

I’m feeling much better.  Turns out, it wasn’t a round of severe depression, as evidenced by my improved condition a few days later.  I believe the suddenness (that word is spelled so redundantly) in which my happy-go-lucky stasis was shattered led me to panic and overreact.  My bad.  (Please, dear Universe, don’t use this as an excuse to teach me the difference between mild and severe depression.)  I do remember on some level.  A level I can push away at will.  Usually.

The scenario that stands out the most for me is when I was an inpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  I was severely depressed.  I remember walking outside to a roofless enclosure within the ward.  I don’t recall any thoughts.  I crashed in a moment.  I had to lay down on the cement.  I remember only being able to muster the necessary energy to lower myself somewhat gently.  Then that was all I had.  I could only breathe and lay there.  It was like I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t move, but I had no idea why.  I didn’t even feel upset or concerned about it because it took more than what I had.  I’m the type of person who seriously considers abandoning my apartment over a spider.  I hate bugs.  I have the willies just sharing that fact.

That’s how I remember severe depression.  It’s nothingness.  No control, no abilities, and no drive.  It’s laying on the bare ground while a Daddy Long-Legs spider crawls on my face (when typically it would have resulted in a frenzied attempt to practically peel the skin off my face.)  It took 18 months of my life to get from that point to the person who could do a task without weeping.  I remember my Mom suggested I do a load of laundry one day after I was out of the hospital.  The question filled me with panic.  I learned how to do laundry when I was 12.  I relearned when I was 28.

The second time required me to trust in myself and my abilities again, after spending so long as an inpatient.  I wish I didn’t remember that part so well.  My mom’s suggestion sent my mind racing immediately.  What else am I going to have to start doing again?  Why is this so hard?  Why are you doing this to me?  Can’t you see I’m broken?  I deeply resent the interruption to my life, the termination of my military career, and the murder of who I used to be.  All because a man decided his momentary pleasure was more valuable than my existence.  The mindset is where I focus my fury.  Those who view women as mere sex toys and worse.

Severe depression is traumatic.  The women who slept on my right at Walter Reed was undergoing ECT for depression at the time.  She was funny, I liked her.  There were people from all branches of the military at Walter Reed.  I met a lot of individuals who were there for attempting suicide, often over their sexuality.  They were always quickly processed out of the service back when it was Don’t ask, Don’t tell.  I’m glad they stopped that bullshit.  It should have been, Don’t treat humans like shit, Don’t drink and drive.  I bet my slogan would have resulted in far fewer deaths.  (Don’t worry, I’m keeping my day job.)

I just needed to clarify the varying degrees of depressive episodes.  It’s easy to get the impression PTSD is a walk in the park based on what I share when in actuality, I’ve been living with it for several years.  I’ve had psych nurses teach me all about coping skills, how to distract myself, and most importantly, how to trust my ability to endure.  Then I had the remedial course, the refresher, and the graduation ceremony, (when the nurse kindly but firmly reminds you about having the skills but needing to actually use them.)  I earned my walk in the park through endurance, experience, and a blessedly short attention span.

Side note: Thanks, J. and M.

How long have I been asleep? What year is it?

Today was good overall.  I’m saddened by the news of more violence against the police.  Another veteran utilizing the skills obtained in the military.  His motivations seem obvious.  Retaliation.  I see more there.  I see another young veteran who got out of the service, and had to face racism in America for the first time as an adult civilian.  I speak only based on my experience serving for several years in the US Army.  I’m sure there are others whose experiences differ from my own.  From my perspective, racism is not tolerated in the military.  Period.  I wasn’t a minority in the Army.  We were all green.  As enlisted soldiers, we all had a fair shot at success.  (Being female, gay, or transgendered are another story for another time.)  Racism just wasn’t an issue.

From my observations, the few who were diehard racists didn’t remain racists, or didn’t remain at all after their initial enlistment contract ended.  If you have a bad habit, (and to the Army, racism is a bad habit to be broken) than the leaders in your immediate chain of command will devise a program to eliminate it.  Usually by making you spend 24/7 with someone of the race you habitually despise.  It’s not tolerated, and the cure is usually a little sadistic.  The bottom line, is that the military is a machine.  If a cog is causing friction, it’ll be greased.  The machine doesn’t give a shit about what’s politically correct.  It’s a logical decision, not compassion.  The military machine has no compassion whatsoever.

I think this killer acted on his frustration, rage, pain, and despair.  He was trained to use overwhelming force to eliminate an enemy.  As are all American service people.  However, he was not properly debriefed.  This is where the military machine fails on an epic level.  The percentage of veterans acquiring PTSD is increasing dramatically.  PTSD is not a new disorder.  It’s been around as long as trauma has existed.  It’s something that needs to be addressed differently, immediately.  They need to develop a debriefing for all leaving the services to reinter civilian life.  One that includes processing trauma, developing coping skills, understanding the signs and symptoms of PTSD, and what can be done to lessen its severity.  This needs to become a mandatory step in out-processing.

It’s not a difficult problem to address.  It would save lots of money and lives.  I see it as a responsibility that has been ignored since the Vietnam war.  It’s troublesome.  Things aren’t going to get better by sticking with the status quo.  It takes a few months to train a soldier from anyone on the street, to a lethal cog in the military machine.  I imagine it wouldn’t take as long to train a lethal cog in the military machine to be a civilian again.  Or cost as much.  The infrastructure is already there.  Tack a month on the end of every enlistment contract for debriefing prior to separation.  Develop the program with psychologists and psychiatrists, and set up a pilot program at a single base using existing barracks.  It’s easy.  I could do it.  It just needs to happen soon.

I’m completely fascinated by the military machine.  So much so that it was part of what motivated me to serve.  I saw it as a giant sociological experiment that I was observing and participating in for the most part.  The honor system was and is my favorite aspect.  When the stakes are that high, honor has a big role to play.  As a civilian, the only time I see it even being a factor is in books and video games.  It’s disturbing to me that today, if you do something unethical, but you make a lot of money in the process, it’s considered acceptable.  So long as you share some of that money.  Honor and ethics play a big role in my work as an AI developer.  I have to think not as me, but as we.  I’m making decisions that will eventually affect others without their permission.  So honor and ethics require that I do so with great caution, much consideration, and a firmly humanitarian philosophy.  Even though I could make a lot more money if I didn’t give a shit about anyone but myself.  You’re welcome.

I don’t know if I can be friends with you anymore, after this display.

Today was good.  I talked to my therapist, again.  She makes me laugh a lot, which is awesome.  I chatted with an Apple Support rep. online, and we fixed my main issue.  I was ecstatic, because I thought I’d have to take it to a tech in person.  I went online to check my AppleCare dates, and figured I may as well check their database to see if it was an easy fix.  Nothing came up, so I went into the chat.  It was an easy, albeit time consuming fix.  However, I’m still having problems with powering down.  I wasn’t planning on seeking support for that, as it’s an OS X issue, and contacting support for a software issue is against my religion, (as a software engineer).

I got my case number and thanked the guy who helped me.  He did a good job, and didn’t make me feel frustrated by over-explaining simple tasks.  I think the way I explained my issue was enough to inform him that I wasn’t a computer neophyte.  That’s all just pride and ego flexing.  I think it’s practically a human trait to dislike being told how to do what you already know how to do.  It could just be an American thing, though.  I’ve had more than one non-American imply that we tend toward arrogance.  I don’t get upset when non-Americans criticize our nation because it amuses me.  When there’s over 300 million people being insulted right along with you, it’s kinda hard to take it personally.

The whole concept of nationalism amuses me to a degree.  My amusement over it increases with age.  The older I get, the more I see myself as an earthling, and less as an American.  My time in the service helped me see beyond the lies we’re taught in school.  I suppose that’s what experience does.  It alters your focus and perspective.  I still have mind boggling (to me), experiences on a regular basis.  Sometimes I think it’s because my world went from being very small to huge overnight.  But I think it’s probably more complex than that.  I’ve always been the kind of person who faces fear like I’m secretly participating in a lifelong game.  I jump in with both feet, and come what may.  The more it scares me, the more likely I am to rush in and get it over with.

Even as a little girl, I would jump into the pool rather than slowly allow my body to adjust to the temperature.  I think it’s because there’s not a detectable difference in how I experience fear, be it from a spider, or jumping out of a perfectly good plane.  Both scenarios scare me as far as I can be scared.  So I kill the damn spider, (after trying to get anyone else to do it for me).  Or I just say, “Fuck it”, and jump.  I’d like to say this strategy is working well for me, but who knows.  I can say that it makes my life pretty exciting, sometimes.  Usually, the exciting parts are far better in hindsight, though.

My brain tends to forget the sucky stuff, and put a red bow on the rest.  For example, I have fond memories of basic training, and remember it as a fun time in my life.  But if I challenge that ridiculous notion with a little thought, I can recall sitting on a bench in the latrine, wondering if it was possible to lose weight from crying.  When I had that thought, I was extremely stressed out, and spent an indecent amount of time wishing hateful things on my Drill SGT’s.  Now, I look back and laugh.  I was such a spoiled child when I showed up for basic.  The Army cured me of both being spoiled, and being a child.  Uncle Sam had a lot of practice long before I came along.  Although, according to my Drill SGT, I was the most suggestion making, why asking, Private he’d ever trained.  So there’s that.

You had to have the BIG salad!

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.

7369473136_e25d410bfc_b WarriorTower044

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.