Veteran Tears

I finally got some sleep.  I took a double dosage of Benadryl.  I watched a show on a new channel called Viceland.  It was Weediquette, and the story was about veterans using cannabis to treat PTSD.  I probably should have changed the channel, as this is a touchy topic for me.  Fortunately, it was done well, and they didn’t include any graphic war scenes.  The show still got to me, though.  PTSD sucks so much.  It’s such a horrible thief.  It tries to rob you of everything, and is unrelenting.  It’s invisible, and it has only one goal:  To end you.  It’s as if the traumas that lead to PTSD were meant to kill you, and your survival was a fluke that left you in a tortured limbo.  It holds you there and attacks you from every direction until you somehow find a way exist despite your new status, or you take your own life.

It sucks.  But the worst part is that PTSD has existed forever. It’s had other names, but it hasn’t changed since the first war or life threatening trauma.  But in 2016, they still don’t know how to treat it successfully.  That’s not wholly true.  They know cannabis helps us survive PTSD.  They being the government.  The government doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  The VA doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  But the price of oil is down, and some rich people got a lot richer from government war contracts.  We are expendable.

I wrote a poem after watching the show.

The March of Tears

They say you will adapt to this radical lifestyle.
Freedom is at stake. You won’t see home for a while.
Shoot the targets. Throw the grenades.
Learn new skills. March in parades.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. America is at war.

Travel to your new duty station.
Make some friends in this new location.
Run PT. Eat some chow. Press your uniform. Shine your boots.
Bivouac. Requalify. Go on leave. Revisit your roots.
Left, 2, 3 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Now it’s time to go to war.

POM board, shots. Phone home and make a will.
Verify equipment. This time it’s not a drill.
You volunteered to fight, and you may even die.
Try not to remember that you’re fighting for a lie.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. It’s your duty to fight this war.

Your friends are dead! Your friends are dead!
Your truck blew up! Then the enemy fled.
You’re injured and can fight no longer.
What didn’t kill you did not make you stronger.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. What the hell are we fighting for?

Your body heals but leaves some scars.
You spend most nights looking up at the stars.
You’re finally home, but nothing goes right.
You’re constantly triggered into fight or flight.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD forevermore.

Here’s a pill, there’s a pill. Will these bring your life back?
The sacrifice is over, but in your mind you’re still under attack!
You’re still a soldier in your heart. You have the desire to survive.
But the nightmares and flashbacks make it impossible to thrive.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD is the invisible scar in your core.

Take some pills. Go to support group.
Try not to think about how you were duped.
Make the effort to adjust to civilian life.
Get a job or go to school. Just ignore the strife.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Life isn’t worth the pain anymore.

The VA treats you like a naughty child.
You’re not crazy! Fuck off! PTSD isn’t mild!
You want dignity, and you’re on your last thread.
These pills make things worse. You’d rather be dead.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Suicide would end this internal war.

Fuck the VA! They don’t care about you.
The number of suicides per day is twenty-two!
You’d like to try using cannabis for PTSD medication.
But your country won’t repair it’s misclassification.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. No one cares about the real cost of war.

Autism Requires No Cure

I read a tweet yesterday about an organization called Autism One alleging “cures” for Autism through diet.  These “remedies” including forcing an Autistic child to ingest bleach.  It’s complete and total bullshit.  This is child abuse.  This is monstrous.  Any parent who is seeking a “cure” for their Autistic child is already on the wrong track.  Autism is a variety of human being.  If your child is Autistic, or has the diagnosis of PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), your child requires you to become creative, not evil.  Your child is not broken.  Your child thinks differently, and experiences the world differently than the neurotypical variety of human being.

The desire for a “cure” is a selfish inclination.  The desire is to force their child to become something that they are not.  The desire does not lie in creating a better life for your child.  The root of the desire to “cure” Autism lies in the selfish desire of an ignorant parent who wishes their child to be what they consider normal in order to make their own lives easier, not that of their child.  It’s ignorant because normal is a setting on a washing machine, not a variety of human being.  An Autistic child requires love, patience, and a sincere desire to connect with them in their unique way of connecting.  There are lots of books and websites about Autism, but few are by people who are actually Autistic, and therefore an expert on the condition.

Trying to “cure” it is like trying to “cure” Down Syndrome.  It’s a ridiculous notion.  The time and energy wasted on this futile task could be better served by loving your child as they are, and discovering how your child communicates and learns.  This is the case with all children.  They are all beautiful beings that are new to this world, and need gentle guidance in a manner with which they can comprehend. But above all, they require your love.  If you are the parent of an Autistic child, seek advice from the true experts.  Adult Autists.  We understand better than anyone how to live with Autism.  We vary in many ways, but we are the true experts.  Many of us use alternative means of communicating, such as typing on a computer.  We are human beings who have the ability to feel joy and sorrow.  We feel empathy.  We have a sense of humor.  We love and desire to be loved.  We understand what it’s like to feel like we’ve been dropped off on an alien planet at birth, forced to struggle in order to connect with our families.  We know several creative ways to accomplish this task.  We are human beings with the full range of emotions, levels of intellect, and personalities.  We are part of humanity.

So stop seeking “cures” that don’t exist.  Stop falling for the misinformation that claims harming your child will help them.  And most of all, stop killing Autistic children.  This is monstrous behavior.  Nobody has the right to murder a child for being Autistic.  I hate that this happens.  I hate that one of my childhood neighbors murdered her daughter, and then took her own life with a shotgun in their basement.  There was no honor in this action.  It was a vile act of selfishness, ignorance, and evilness.  There are organizations that have the audacity to sympathize with parents who commit this atrocious crime, such as Autism $peaks.  They view Autistic people as burdens on their parents, and broken children who will never experience a joyful life.  They are not in the business of helping people who are Autistic.  They are in the business of collecting money from the ignorant, and using it to increase their personal wealth, and that of their friends.

Autism $peaks is the “charity” endorsed by Ed Asner.  They spend the majority of the money they gather from the unwitting people who intended their donations to help those with Autism for advertising.  Here is a link to their financial statement for 2013.  You will see that they are not only making a profit in excess of $1.5 million dollars, they spend the vast majority of their funds on advertising, and research to find the cause of Autism, potential “cures” for an incurable condition, and treatments for Autism.  I boycott this “charity”, because it’s clear to me that they are not in the business of helping people with Autism.  They are in the business of spreading misinformation, such as claims that vaccines cause Autism, which is scientifically proven to be untrue.  They are in the business of sympathizing with evil parents who murder their Autistic children.  They are in the business of ignoring the advice of Autistic people, which makes the name of this supposed charity ironic at best.

Any supposed charity that raises the ire of those it’s supposedly trying to help is a red flag.  When said organization deliberately refuses to heed the advice of the people they are supposedly trying to help, they instigate boycotts, and represent a fraudulent predatory organization in the eyes of those of us who are Autistic.  Among us, Autism $peaks is infamous, and only gives 4% of the money they collect to services and supports for Autistic people.  That’s not a typo.  4%.  This organization sees Autistic people as burdens, and promotes a center that is under investigation by the FDA for torturing Autistic people.  It’s despicable.  This link to Boycott Autism $peaks gives further and more detailed information.  Here is a link dispelling the misguided correlation between vaccines and Autism.

I’m Autistic.  I was born this way.  I’ve served in the US Army where I earned awards such as the Army Commendation Medal for excellent service.  I’ve earned a PhD in Software Engineering, and am currently a freelance programmer, as well as the CEO of an independent gaming company that hires Autistic programmers exclusively.  I’m a human being.  I am one example of an Autistic person.  I had loving parents who were patient with me.  They did not waste time seeking a cause or cure for my condition.  They loved me.  They figured out how to communicate with me.  They helped me learn and become a person who loves learning.  They accepted me as I am.  They never saw me as a burden, or considered murdering me.  They didn’t torture me, or force me to ingest vile potions in an effort to make me “normal”.  They were loving parents, and because of their willingness to be loving people, I am now an adult whose goal in life is to be joyful.  There is no better ambition, in my opinion.

Once Upon a Time

It’s officially Thanksgiving Day here.  I don’t celebrate holidays.  I’ve learned too much truth since becoming an adult.  This particular holiday is the worst one in my opinion.  Today marks the day that the genocide of humans with brown skin began.  Starting with the spread of disease to the Natives in America during the festive feast day.  We’ll never know how many were killed in the initial onslaught of smallpox, and the like.  That, of course, was followed up with war, massacre, and the systematic stripping of all Native heritage, which was forcibly replaced with Christianity.  We took their lives, their land, their pride, and their livelihood.  But that wasn’t enough.  We even went after their spirituality.  And when we were done, we forced them to live in poverty on reservations of land we didn’t want.

Of course, there were a few times that the land turned out to have value, such as gold or oil.  Then we took it back, and told them to move.  I can’t think of a single atrocity that wasn’t committed against the Native peoples of this continent.  If I left one out, I don’t want to know about it.  I can’t sleep as it is.  I feel the weight of the evil perpetrated on the Native Americans.  I feel guilty.  I didn’t exist at the time, and had no voice to object to these actions.  But I have always lived on their land.  When I discovered how we acquired these lands in graphic detail and photos, I didn’t run away in horror.  I stayed and continued living my life.  I didn’t know where to go or how to get there when I was a child.

After I got my drivers license and a car, I drove to the nearest reservation and asked to speak with the chief.  An old man came and talked to me.  I don’t know if he was the chief, or if they even had one.  I knew nothing of tribal government at that time.  I apologized for living on their lands.  He didn’t say anything to that.  He didn’t forgive me, or tell me to burn in hell.  Just silence.  I took his non-response to mean, “Live with this knowledge.”  It wasn’t a friendly chit chat by any stretch.  Some questions I asked, he ignored.  After the silence went on for a while, I’d ask a different question.  I didn’t know how to tell if someone was angry or bitter at that time.  I’m pretty sure I still don’t.  So I don’t know how he felt about my showing up with questions out of the blue.

Part of me expected him to impart some wisdom on me, and tell me that they recognized my brown skin as a commonality among us, along with the struggle it causes.  Instead, he told me that most of them didn’t like black people.  It hurt my feelings, and made me feel a little bit unsafe.  He went on to say that he didn’t hate black people.  He said we’re all niggers to the white man.  The Natives are prairie niggers, and I was just a regular nigger.  It was my first time hearing the term prairie nigger.  Not my last.  The entire exchange showed me that I was ignorant of their culture, even though I felt like I was part of it because of my Native foster siblings.  It was a hard day.  I was 14 at that time.  I went back several times after that with more questions.

The east river tribes are Oglala.  They have it better than the west river folks on Pine Ridge reservation.  My Mom refused to accept foster babies from Pine Ridge.  I never got an answer out of her as to why this was the case.  I figured it was too far away.  It’s about a 5-7 hour drive, depending on whether or not you’re afraid of highway patrolman.  It’s flat and you can see for miles in all directions.  You can drive for an hour without seeing a single other vehicle.  So if you want to drive 90 MPH, and your car is in good repair, go for it.  Just slow down if you see a patrol car in the median.  I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, and I drive 90 when I go west.  And south.  I did get pulled over in Nebraska or Iowa.  I just got a warning.  I was doing 85 MPH in a 75 MPH zone.  Like it matters at that point.

I went to a few Powwows.  I liked seeing them fully dressed in headdresses and the rest of the garb.  They dance and sing and beat on drums.  The things I noticed that are differences are that the Lakota people speak with an accent that is very distinct to my ears.  And their urine smells different than African and Caucasian urine.  It’s sweeter smelling.  I know that’s a strange thing to observe, but when you consider how I helped my Mom with the foster babies, it’s easier to understand.  My Mom used cloth diapers, and safety pins with plastic protectors on them.  I never changed a single diaper.  I didn’t have the dexterity and strength in my hands to safely replace the pins.  My Mom would have me stand beside the changing table and make sure the baby stayed on it while she answered the phone sometimes, though.

I’m sensitive to odors.  In my last apartment, the teenaged girl who lived above me spilled her nail polish remover on the kitchen counter, and I smelled it in my apartment.  When I asked her about it, she thought it was amazing that I could smell it.  Amazing is not the word I would have chosen.  Sensitivity to odors is a curse.  Try running in formation while several guys around you are sweating out Tequila from the night before.  They weren’t the only ones sprinting to the curb periodically to vomit.  But I’d rather run with that all day than get in an elevator with a guy who bought into those Axe commercials.

I know a lot of people who have no idea that Native Americans still exist.  They live their entire lives without thinking about them a single time.  It’s a hidden problem.  Most stay on or near the reservations.  Many join the military, but are often thought of as Latinos.  I don’t fault them for the misidentification.  It’s purely ignorance, not malice.  So many people grow up without ever being exposed to people of color.  They see us on TV or in movies, but that’s the extent of their knowledge.  And TV and movies are fantasy.  You can’t rely on the information, and should probably assume it’s wrong until you have a chance to do your own research.

I grew up in a city that was named, The Whitest City In America, by U.S. News and World Report magazine.  I wasn’t surprised.  I was the only black kid in my school district at times.  Heather was a year behind me, so each time I advanced to a new school, I had to be the only black kid all over again until my Junior year in High School.  Then a few black families moved into town.  I hated school until university.  I did well on the Iowa Basics, PSAT, and SAT.  I made the honor role each time.  I also had the record for most days missed.  I skipped a lot.  My Mom got tired of fighting to get me to go.  My last semester was at Augustana University as a compromise to my desire to drop out.  I liked that much better.  I lost my High School Diploma after only looking at it once.  It probably ended up with Heather.  After she died, my sister, Greta, went through her things.  I was too stunned to be of any assistance at that time.  I don’t communicate with Greta.  She’s a sociopath, and tried to kill me when I was an infant.

The last time we spoke, she told me that my Mom should never have adopted us. (Me, Heather, and Steve).  It was creepy.  She doesn’t communicate with any of my remaining siblings.  My Mom had a strained relationship with her.  She came to visit once, and stayed with my brother, Guy.  While he was at work, she snooped through every inch of his house.  I don’t remember how he found out, but he vowed to never allow her in his home again.  The older, birth kids were not close.  There’s a lot of history that I probably won’t get into much.  My oldest brother, Gary, was forced to get shock treatments when he was a teenager.  I think it had something to do with depression and drug use.  I wasn’t alive yet.  I overheard that he never forgave my Mom for putting him through that.

I only saw him a few times in my life.  My impression was that he was my coolest brother.  I was completely fascinated by him, and loved him immediately.  He was soft spoken, and quiet, but when he did speak, it was deep and wise to me.  He even looks gentle.  I’m glad I got to meet him, even if it was just those few times.  I never met Skip.  He was my Dads oldest son from his previous marriage.  Skip moved to Canada during the Vietnam war and never came back for obvious reasons.  The 60’s had a clear impact on my older siblings.  I have mental images of how they dressed, and the music they favored when I was young.  Bell bottom corduroy pants in a burnt sienna brown that made a swoosh noise when my brother walked.  But I don’t remember which brother, or any other part of the clothing.  Weird.

I should be sleeping as it’s the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  I couldn’t sleep knowing today will be celebrated by millions of oblivious or callous Americans by stuffing themselves with food, watching football, and the like.  I doubt the vast majority will think about the Natives at all.  And if they do, they will think of them as Indians, even though it’s an incredibly ignorant way of thinking.  It blows my mind that it’s 2015, and most people still refer to Natives as Indians.  There is even a school debate topic titled Indian Country, that was drafted here in South Dakota, within a few miles of a reservation.  When I told them how astonished I was that it was being used, they told me that it was okay, because the Indians are okay with it.  Unfuckingbelievable.

Reality is more like, they asked 1 Native about it, and he or she didn’t care either way, and just wanted to go about his or her business.  They became the spokesperson for all Natives on the issue, and validated the ignorance yet again.  Obviously, it wasn’t going to get changed no matter what the Native they asked thought about it.  If 100 Natives gathered outside the building where this decision was made, and peacefully protested to show their disgust at the ignorance, it wouldn’t have made any difference.  They do what the fuck they want to do, and we have no right to feel offended by it.  America.  Where you can buy absolute power in order to practice absolute corruption.  The peasant majority doesn’t know they are the peasants yet.  Denial is strong.  White people are not used to being subjugated by other white people on this scale, and have a hard time recognizing when it’s happening.

So we peasants, in our denial, fight against one another, causing the corruptors to gain even more power. Until finally, many band together in order to kill off the rest of us with brown skin.  And then we all lived happily ever after.  The End.  Sigh.

Reality

I got a job offer in Estonia.  I don’t speak Russian, and I don’t see myself learning Russian in a timely enough manner to take the position.  This was an attractive offer because I like the Russian spirit of brutal honesty.  I like that even their corruption is honest in that they don’t bother to hide it.  They enforce it with brutal violence, and it becomes the way of life.  The Russian people, regardless of how they feel about such a harsh world, go on living their lives.  They’re very fatalistic, too.  I watched a portion of a video of 3 Russians in a car that was submerged in a lake.  They were absolutely going to die from this predicament, and not one of them showed any signs of fear or alarm.  They had a very, “Oh, I’m going to die.  Goodbye”, attitude.  They accepted the inevitable, and didn’t try to change reality by wishing or praying or any other futile method of self deception.  I like that.

It’s a way of thinking with which I can relate.  As an autistic person, I could communicate with people who think that way.  They are honest and accept reality for what it is, as it is.  I can understand them.  Where I live, it’s almost the opposite.  I live in a red state where people are always kind to your face, profess a deep religious faith, and live the lifestyle of an atheist in secret.  When you go online, you find a lot of them on Reddit subforums engaging in orgies of hatred.  You see them on the news getting caught with child pornography on their computers.

I was raised here, but fortunately, I’m autistic,  African American, and I have always been an outsider in this world.  Not everyone here is like what I described above.  But they are the majority.  It’s not hard to live among them, because they are so concerned about how they appear to others, that they don’t spew their hatred publicly.  It’s supposed to be a secret.  The irony is the fact that the people they put forth the most effort to hide it from are the people who are doing similar shady things.

I can walk about town without a single person mistreating me.  It’s not that they respect my basic human right to exist unharmed.  They just don’t want anyone else to see them mistreat me.  I figured this out at a young age, and decided to be amused by it.  I didn’t vote for Obama, but as I stood in line, cursing McCain for partnering with Palin, a lot of people felt the need to tell me they were voting for him.  It was like they thought since I’m black, they were obligated to tell me they were voting for Obama.  I thought it was funny at first.  Then it felt wrong, so I left.  I don’t like it when people feel they have to overcompensate in order to avoid being identified as a racist.  Nothing about that is funny.

I don’t like phoniness or lies.  I don’t like it when people use manipulation in order to try and skew reality, or in an attempt to control another human being.  The fact is that all of these behaviors lead to self loathing.  Anything gained by lying, cheating, or being phony will not present the desired result in the long run.  It will only require you to continue lying, cheating, and being phony in order to convince yourself that your misbehavior was successful or justified.  In the long run, it hurts you far more than those you prey upon with deception.

Right now, I feel a lot of pressure from society to abandon all of my autistic traits, and accept their idea of normality.  I reject this.  I have a solid basis on which I make this decision.  While I don’t expect neurotypical people to conform to my way of thinking, I don’t appreciate their efforts in doing this to me. I’m not ill.  I don’t need some form of a cure that murders some of the traits that make me who I am.  I don’t buy into these subtle ideas of treatment, special diets, and therapies as a means of improving myself.  I see them as an opportunistic way of generating income.

This is why I want a physical world where I can live my life unmolested by these ignorant vultures who think they understand autism.  I want a large acreage where autistic people can live and support one another without the interference of those who are eager to fix what isn’t a problem.  It’s a symptom that some neurotypicals suffer.  A need to make everyone like them.  It’s a pretty primitive mindset.

I’m going to pursue my choice of living in a village where the population is mostly made up of autistic people.  It won’t require people there to be autistic, nor will it shun those who are neurotypical.  It will shun those who refuse to accept us as we are.  They have no place in my world.  I don’t know yet if I will continue living in the USA.  Serving in the Army was a great way to see my country naked.  I love the American people, and I love the land where we live.  But I do not love the corrupted government.  I don’t love the fact that money is the real god here.

When I joined the Army, I was a gung ho, naive patriot by default who thought America was the best country ever.  Now, I look back at that belief with sadness.  I fell for the lies they taught us in school, just as many others do.  The truth is, there is no perfect country.  Every nation has blood on her hands, and has committed atrocities in her history that explain why ‘The Game of Thrones’ is considered entertainment.  Patriotism is another word for ignorance.  It was a painful lesson.

Now that I’m aware of the fact that nationality is irrelevant in the big picture, my views have expanded to include all of humanity.  I don’t care about the color of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexual identity, or your neurological variety.  I care about your character.  Do you choose to be a loving person because it’s what you want to be?  Than we can connect.  It’s about what you choose, not where you happened to be born, or how you were raised, or how much money is in your pocket.  This is what makes you who you are now, and who you’ll become in the future.  This is the only thing about a person that matters to me.  These are the people I can love, learn from, and live beside.  These are the people I care about, and want in my life.  The rest are on ignore.