Archives for category: reality

Here in the U.S. it’s Thanksgiving.  Now, normally I am not a very happy person during this time of year.  However, I have decided to do my best to ‘get in the spirit’ and not have a shitty holiday season.  Don’t get me wrong, I am stressed, tired, and up-and-down on the daily depression meter.  However, I see my Counselor every week at school, which is helping me cope with life at the moment.  The good thing about the state community colleges is that they seem to really care about you.  It’s a totally different experience than the bigger universities, where you are just a number.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (the real spirit, instead of the bastardized version that promotes excessive shopping), I decided to put down a list of things I am thankful for.  Now, this is not by any means comprehensive, nor will be in any real order.

1) The sun.

2) The moon and stars.

3) My Mother, who supports me through the good and bad times and wants only my health and happiness.

4) Raspberries.

5) The Computerized Drafting and Design program, because I really, really like it.

6) That I chose to live.

7) That I have had the opportunity to live in different corners of the United States.

8) My pets, who love me unconditionally.  I love them so much.

9) Mashed Potatoes.

10) Spaghetti.

11) BBC. (Doctor Who, Sherlock, and so on)

12) Tattoos.  My tattoos are symbols of where I have been.  They remind me of the past, of good times and bad, and that I have the strength to get through anything.

13) I am thankful for the strength I have found in myself.  Or, rather, developed.  I still suffer from depression and grief, however I have a stronger character then when I was a teenager.  I have become self reliant, and I love that about myself.

Like I said, a short list, but I wanted to share some of those things with all of you.  In general, I am thankful to be alive, to wake up in the morning, and to know that I am on the right path in life.  Life isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.

🙂 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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So, you guys may or may not know that it’s national suicide prevention week.

I know.  Awesome start to a blog, huh?

But stay with me.  I just want to talk for a minute or two about this.  It’ll be warm and fuzzy.  And afterward we can have coffee and cookies and watch Adventure Time. (Which is an AMAZING SHOW FOR ALL AGES.)

Now, before I start, let me tell you that I’ve started seeing the counselor at school.  It has taken a lot for me to go because I don’t trust normal therapists.  This is the counselor at a community college, which doesn’t earn the greatest money.  She is there because she wants to help people.  People like me.

I have suffered from depression for most of my life.  Over the years I have learned not to talk about it because people of the stigma surrounding the entire thing.  Even the word ‘depression’ invokes a fight or flight response.  Some people simply don’t know how to handle it, or they automatically think you are seeking attention, or even make it up.  I promise you, I’m not.

Personally, I think depression is different for everyone.  In my mind (which is far from scientific), there’s a scale with different levels of severity.  That makes it hard to see in people.  Now, depression isn’t simply feeling sad.  It’s not having a dark day.  “I didn’t get enough sleep.  I am down today.” Isn’t depression.  That’s a shitty day.  Depression makes every day shitty.  It’s an all encompassing inescapable darkness that lives inside of you every day.

Everyone will tell you to tell someone you trust, and seek help.  I tried many times.  It is difficult for me to trust therapists, so I would confide in a close friend.  They would soon stop talking to me, avoid hanging out with me, and generally treat me differently.  They couldn’t handle it.  This happened to me multiple times, and after a while I stopped bothering to tell anyone.

I have spent months and months walking the edge of suicide.  It’s a struggle with myself because I know it’s irrational.  I know that there is a solution to my problems.  I know there should be hope. But no matter how many times you tell yourself that you deserve to live, the darkness feel like it’s too much.

I began to do things to protect myself.  When I have dark times, I don’t use big knives.  I stay away from heights.  I avoid sad songs.  I don’t use large cooking knives.  My family never owned a gun, so I wouldn’t even know how to buy one (walmart?).  I use an woman’s electric shaver instead of buying razors.  I claim they are too expensive, but in reality I don’t want to have access to them if that darkness gets too big.  I take away as many things as I can until I feel more secure.  It’s a false blanket, but it helps.  Sometimes.

Over the past several years, I learned to deal with this alone.  I learned that nobody will be there to help me. Nobody will listen, or care.  Nobody will save me.

This is a truncated version of the whole picture.  It has taken me a long time to say this.  Many people are like me.  They’re out there, suffering alone because nobody will listen to them.

If someone comes to you, please listen.  Don’t walk away.  Don’t find excuses to avoid them.  Be their friend.  Give them hugs.  Give them love and support.  Check on them every day.  If you think they are suicidal, don’t leave them alone.  That person trusts you.  It takes a lot of strength to ask for help.  Please, for their sake, be there for them.  It could save their life.

I saw this today while reading my newsfeed.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/karla-begley-autistic-letter-teen_n_3780378.html

An Ontario mother got an anonymous letter that said (among other things) that her autistic son was disgusting, retarded, a nuisance, and she should euthanize him.

Let me repeat that.  A ‘mother’ told another mother that she should euthanize her son.

The picture was tweeted, and has been retweeted thousands of times since Monday.  This has made Canadian news, and I hope it makes the news here in the U.S. and across the world.

I have a message for this ‘mother’.  Are you ready for this?

Dear Ms./Mrs. One Pissed Off Mother,

You do not deserve to be a Parent.  You shouldn’t be caring for anything – even a houseplant.  ‘Mother’ is not an appropriate term for you.  ‘Inhuman monster’ is better suited for people like you.

A Parent is is an important position of respect.  A parent teaches their children how to thrive.  A parent does more than make sure the child has food, water, and shelter; they teach their children how to become a part of their community.  They teach their children how to exist in society. That means being tolerant of other people.

Have you ever heard the word ‘tolerant’?  It means that you understand that every person deserves respect.  Every person deserved to be treated with fair, decent respect.  That isn’t dependent on gender, color, creed, sexuality, and physical or mental states.  That means that everyone deserves to lead a healthy, happy life.

You are not teaching your children these things.  You are teaching your children how to hate.  That isn’t what a mother does.  That’s what a monster does.  And you know what? That is exactly how the planet now sees you.  As the monster you are.

No child deserves to be treated in the manner which you proposed.  You say he is loud.  He makes noise.  Well, if you were a Mother you would know that EVERY CHILD MAKES NOISE.  Maybe we should euthanize your children because they make noise too.

Oh, is that the only reason? Or is it that you are afraid of what you don’t understand?

Why didn’t you just ask?  Are you so afraid that you can’t ask anyone about autism?  A doctor?  A Psychologist?  Or – GASP!- The child’s mother?

If you are raising your children to behave like described in this letter, then I pity them.  I feel so sorry that they are forced to have a ‘mother’ like you.  There’s one other thing that I am sure you’ve noticed by now.

You are now globally known.  You, your significant other, and your children must live your entire lives knowing that you are a terrible person.  I really hope that you can grow and change as an individual.  I hope that you can learn to accept everyone, no matter hoe different they are from you.  I hope that your children can grow up to be good people.  I hope that you can learn to be a better person.

Remember this: nobody deserves to be treated as described in the letter.  Nobody deserves to be hidden from society. Nobody deserves to be killed for being different.

Everyone has worth.  Everyone is beautiful.

Every Sunday morning my family watches ‘talking heads’ – Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation,etc.  I haven’t talked about this before because I wanted to be seen as more than a liberal in a conservative community, but there’s something I want to discuss.  It’s that is a definite problem, but nobody seems to have any answers.  “Sexual Assault” in the military.  Or, as I put it, Rape.

This morning, They (and I use the term ‘they’ because the end result of their endless ranting and raving is the same useless nothingness) were talking for a time about Sexual Assault in the military.  They said that in 2012, there was more than 3,000 reported sexual assaults, but the military estimates that the real number is 22,000, including unreported assaults.

That is sickening.  What are they doing about it?  ‘Making new rules.’ That’s what they said.  That their making new rules to combat this problem.  Okay, maybe the problem is complicated?  I mean, there’s the old joke ‘military intelligence’, right?

Then you (I hope) use your brain and remember that it isn’t that complicated.  You don’t rape people.  Kind of simple.

This whole Rape problem (and I see it as a mental disorder, by the way) isn’t simply women.  Male rape is the most unreported crime in the country.  When you are raped, the loss of power is crippling, and all you want is to feel in control again.  You don’t want to admit to yourself that you were powerless, let alone the rest of the world.

It also doesn’t help that the military beats you down anyway.  Which is where the ‘new rules’ come in.  I love new rules, change is amazing!  What is taking so long?  This has been the issue of the moment for months (longer than that, but who’s counting?) and how much has happened?  What is changing?  What are They doing to help our brothers, sisters, mother, fathers, husbands, wives, uncles, aunts, and loved ones?  Who protects the people who protects us?  What are they doing?

They are making new rules.  They will get the Commanders to ‘sign off’ on the rape claims.  (I didn’t know that it was so hard to do.)  They promise the will not stop working toward fixing this problem.

Wow.  That’s a really big comfort.  I am so glad you are working so hard on this problem.

It makes me wonder what kind of people the put in control of the military that rape is so accepted in the organization.  It’s not that difficult to not rape someone, beat someone, attack someone.  You don’t do it.  Simple.

I try to figure out why an apparently staggering amount of soldiers think it is okay to do these things.  Bad upbringing?  War makes you insane?  Inability to control urges?  The problem with those explanations is that it takes accountability and responsibility away from the rapists, abusers, and people who commit these terrible acts.

You are trained as a unit.  A team.  You should treat your fellow team members with respect.  That doesn’t include sexual assault.

I understand that war is hell, but if you treat your team members and your enemy with uncontrollable hatred, you shouldn’t be there. That’s called Psychotic.

If you the only way you can feel powerful is to sexually assault someone, then you are either lying to yourself or need therapy.  Or both.

If you need to get your rocks off, use your hand.  Like the rest of the world.

If you are is the military, then you are respected.  You should treat your fellow military personnel with even more respect than you receive.  You have a responsibility do respect them.  Not raping them is just common sense.

I am sorry if you don’t like what I have written, or if you don’t agree with me.  Along with working so hard of new rules (like NOT RAPING PEOPLE. THAT’S A RULE.) maybe we should work on teaching our military that sexual assault is fundamentally wrong.  It isn’t a secret that war tears people apart.  I know the after effects of war first hand.  For many, the war is never over.  Coming back to productive lives can be nearly impossible.  With all that terrible baggage, why should our own soldiers add to it?

If you have a child, teach them how to be a good person.  Teach them to value life, value other people, and that everyone deserves respect.  Take responsibility for your actions.  Accept the consequences.  These are values that used to be common sense, but seem to be disintegrating.  We need to be bett

A lot has been going in with my family. People are on pins and needles, and it feels like it will never end.

Are you a crafter? That’s how I take the edge off these days. I have been working on edging my granny squares the last day or two. I didn’t realize how many I made until I have to finish them! I have also started learning quilting from my mom. We are starting simple, with a small crazy scrap tie quilt. It is in the beginnings, so it will take a bit, but it is a nice way to think, or lose your stress in the stitches and music or tv. Crafting has been in my family for generations. We still have my Great Grandmother’s quilts, my other Great Grandmothers afghans, my mothers quilts and knitted afghans and scarves. All this is very important to me. It feels like they are here with me when I an working on a project. Maybe they are. I hope they can be proud of me. Someday I will be as strong as they were.

Thank you for reading. Good night.

One of my family members is a drug addict.  For over ten years, this family member was addicted to pain medication.  The doctors gave her more and more pills for her pain, never thinking or caring about the fact that she was completely dependent on them.  The fault lies with both the addict and the patient, in my opinion anyway.

Last year, my family member overdosed one night, and was hospitalized.  They went into rehab, but checked themselves out after a few days.  It was about six months before this family member went back to rehab, on her own dime.  We were proud of them, and we offered all the support that was needed. I was cautiously hopeful.  All I want is for everyone, family, friends, and so on, to be happy and healthy.  Isn’t that what we all want?

My family gave this family member money when they needed it.  It started out occasionally – a little here for gas, or to help with the phone bill.  We understood and wanted success through this journey in their life, so my family helped when needed.

Then things started to get bad.  This family member had problems at work, and more problems with their ex-spouse.  Money got tighter when there was only one income in that house instead of two.  This family member began to borrow more and more money.  My family obliged.

And they are still obliging.  Despite all the history, and despite the fact that the family is becoming divided over this.  The money borrowing began once or twice a month.  It escalated to every other week, then every week, and now it is every day.  Every day the phone rings and I wish they wouldn’t answer it.  I wish that they would let it go to voice mail.  It isn’t the money that bothers me (though it really pisses me off!).  It is the fact that my family member never wants to be with us.  They never want to have coffee, or come over for dinner, or host a movie night at their house, and so on.  They never even call to see how we are doing.  That didn’t bother me as much long ago, when they simply ignored us all year.  But now, it feels like to them our only worth is a bank account.

It hurts that my family gives them money when we know they are using again.  They gave away signs here and there, accidentally sending us text messages that were meant to other people, or tremors, mood swings, weight gain/loss, etc.  They ask for more and more money, and my family gives it to them.

It hurts that my family is going through this again.  My Father was an alcoholic for many, many years.  I know what it is like to see someone deteriorate.  The difference is that my Father wanted to be around us.  He played with me when I was a child, took care of me, cooked for my mother and I. We went to the zoo every year.  Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, weekends, phone calls every day: all I have is memories of how much my father loved me.  That means more to me than his vice.  It means more than all the bad times.

I don’t know where I am going with this.  I am so angry, so hurt, and so frustrated with this whole situation. I wish this family member cared about what they were doing.  I know they will never make it up to my family.  They will never even say thank you sincerely.  I am afraid they will never pay my family back all the money they have manipulated out of us.  And that is what they do – manipulate.

Not all addicts are bad.  I said that earlier when referencing my father.  If you know someone who is an addict, please get them help!  But remember that you need to care for yourself too.  They are sick, and need help, but not everyone wants help.  

I wish my family member wanted help.  I am trying to get the family together and seek counseling.  It is hard because not everyone wants to.  I feel like the whole situation is too bad.  Everyone is so angry, so frustrated, and so tired of it all.  I don’t want my family to be angry anymore.  I don’t want them to be so stressed, because it is bad for your health.  I don’t have much family to begin with.

I don’t know if anyone had read this, but if you have, thank you for listening.  We all need someone to talk to.  Stay cool out there.

When people hear, “New York” they think of the big city – lights, cars, skyscrapers, business, stores, the crazy guy on the corner holding ‘THE END IS NEAR’ sign, and people as far as the eye can see.  The city has everything you need to survive (and many things that are just icing on the cake). Endless numbers of people move to New York City and others all across the world.  Some love it, some hate it.  But everyone has big dreams of what their life will be.  Whether it’s the next big music producer or an upscale chef with your own restaurant, New York City is the mecca of the Eastern Seaboard. That’s not anything new. It’s always been where the-next-big-thing hits the market.

But there’s so much more to New York – like, a whole state attached.  With people living in it – and cars – and color television.

I know that most people don’t think about that. Country!  That’s down south!  Farms! Those are out in Kansas!  I have heard it all.  Most people don’t realize that there are rural places in the North East United States.

I come from Western New York – right on Lake Ontario.  For 18 years of my life, I lived in the same house.  I graduated High school with nearly everyone who was in Kindergarten class.  My town has a Post Office, some houses, fields, woods, and nothing else.  ‘Going to town’ is a big thing out here… mainly because you have to drive about thirty minutes to the nearest grocery store. The corner store is 5 miles away.

I live in Rural America.

I graduated high school and went to college.  Small town kid in a big city.  I went out of state, far enough away from farms and livestock because I wanted to experience life in other places.  I earned my degree, bounced around a little, and worked in dead-end jobs that barely covered my rent and student loans.  I was tired, unhealthy, and not in a very good frame of mind.

And now I moved back home for good.  I have lived in several states and cities, with friends and roommates, near the streets and cars and skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of people living on top of each other.  I returned home with no job and too much student loan debt – like so many of my peers.

Two months ago I felt like a failure coming back here.  I felt like I was worthless, like I wasn’t good enough to do anything.  Why can other people make it while I can’t?  Why?  There are many different reasons, but my mother didn’t care about any of that.  She wants me happy and healthy – and for me, that meant here in the middle of corn fields, horses, and the summer humid heat.

I have always looked for my place out here, but I never really fit in.  When I was younger I thought it was because I was meant for city living – and I met many people who agreed with me.  But over the course of seven years I have found that my place is out here – I just have to find it.

So, I am finding the beauty in rural, small town America (Small is a bit of an understatement).  People who are born in a small town grow up and leave.  They want bigger and better things, and rightly so.  The result of that is the rural community is dying.  Small businesses easily parish under the poor economic climate that has plagued us for over twenty years.  It is harder and harder to make ends meet.  The cost of living keeps rising while income stagnates or declines.  We have the same problems that people who live in the city have.  The difference is that out here, all we have is ourselves.

This past April, the closest hospital closed it doors.  It was in the nearby college town, 30 minutes away.  Now, we have to drive an hour to the nearest emergency room to receive care.  I heard the message loud and clear: We don’t care about you.  People who live in rural America don’t matter.  Just die, because you don’t even deserve a hospital.

I don’t accept that message.  I don’t accept the fact that the world is blind to us, our hardships, our people, and our community.  I don’t accept the fact that we are powerless to change that world view.  I don’t accept the fact that the world thinks we are worthless.  I don’t accept that we are invisible.

That’s why I am here.  I am on a journey to chronicle life out here in rural, small town America.  I am going to show you that we are beautiful, vibrant, and filled with sights, sounds, places, food, and more.  I am going to show you that the heart of America is worth saving.

Come on the journey with me.