The End

I grew up in a family and a world full of abuse: some violent, some physical, mostly emotional, all horrific.  I never learned how to care for myself in that world and was constantly subject to the whims and mood swings of my abusers, be they family or school mates or even the occasional teacher.  Because of this, or maybe in addition to it, I was cripplingly clinically depressed for most of my life.

Almost four years ago, I started blogging.  I didn’t really know what would come of it and it was hard at times, because the truth is, I don’t know how to censor myself or not be open and honest in my writing.  This is a good thing since I’m not really capable of being completely open and honest in my face to face communications.  I’m constantly censoring myself and holding back.  As it turned out, blogging was very therapeutic for me.  Where I’m not any good at developing relationships in the real world, I’m good at dealing with people on-line.  While I’m not able to cultivate friendships face to face, people on-line and in the blogging community are very nice, friendly, supportive people.  Obviously, that’s all about the circles in which one travels, but I managed to develop some good circles; surround myself with good, decent, honest, caring people… Or so I thought.

I let my guard down.  I began to trust people; something I’ve never done easily.  I couldn’t trust my own family, why would I trust outsiders?  But this blog and the people who have been around it showed me that there are people out there one can trust… Or so I thought.

But I got complacent.  And now this safe little world of mine has been invaded.  Now, now that my blog has really gotten a good readership.  Now that there are actually people who like me and want to read my words.  Now there are people who feel it’s appropriate to stalk and terrorize me.  People who think that just because this is a “public website” they have the right to force their way in.  People who think that they have the right to treat me like shit, just because they don’t like something I wrote on MY  blog.  People who relish taking the control over my life away from me.

I have taken the rational, reasonable measures I can take to put a stop to these activities, but unfortunately, the mechanism does not exist in this world for me to protect myself and my rights.

So I have to take drastic measures.

I have to take myself, out of this world.

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Moving Melodies: The Difference

This hidden Track at the end of The Difference on Matchbox Twenty’s album More Than You Think You Are, pretty much sums up how I’m feeling right now…

I found out on a late night drive
In my winter coat with my blood-shot eyes
oh my faith ain’t been no friend to me
and the way I sin is hanging off of me

and I’m sorry you can`t take me anywhere
pretty soon we`re almost there
baby one more night
it`s been a long, long drive
and I’m way, way tired
I don`t need no back-up plan

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
hell I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

one more time with a sad, sad smile
and your white bread friends in the circus life
all the one way rides and the sweet beginners
passing on the left-hand side with a sideways smile

and I’m always one step from startin’
bad trips can make great stories
baby dance all night with your ass on fire
and your hands up high
and feel me one more time

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
well I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

well I learned to love myself and I don`t need no one else
when love moves on cause it gets cold
then love moves in and it can fill the hole
well I’m one more hopeful lyin’
on the bedroom floor no sense tryin’
when the whole thing drops you lose your nerve
I hope you get what you deserve

I said I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
and I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

I don`t want no body
no body don`t want me
and I’m so sad so lonely
and I’m always landin’ on my feet

A Hard Lesson

Well, this has been a kind of stressful week-end, but it paid off in the end.  It gave me an opportunity to do some introspection and really think about what matters and what doesn’t.

After growing up surrounded by unkind, uncaring, hateful, hurtful people, I have managed to make a life for myself without those people in it.  I have been isolated from that kind of behavior (for the most part) and I had forgotten that those people existed.  I guess I got a little too comfortable, a little complacent and I allowed my guard to come down a bit too far.

I had forgotten what matters and what doesn’t and I guess I needed a little kick to remind myself.  There will always be people in this world who mean to do you harm.  You can’t avoid it.  You can only take care of yourself.

But now I remember what matters to me and what doesn’t.  Being kind to humanity.  Doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult.  Taking care of others.  Being honest and fair.  Those are the things that matter.

What doesn’t matter is people who will try to hurt you.  People who don’t respect you and keep their commitments to you.  People who think they have a right to impose themselves on you uninvited.  Those are things that don’t matter.

I care about nurturing and developing the friendships that I already have and developing new ones where the opportunity arises, with people who will show respect and courtesy toward others.  I care about doing the right thing and showing support for the right purposes and causes, things that will better the world.  I care about the health and well-being of the people in my life.   I care about making the world a better place.

I don’t care about the insults or opinions of small-minded, insecure people.  I don’t care about trying to get through to people who aren’t interested in the first place.  I don’t care about justifying myself to people  and I don’t care about people who would judge and condemn, especially ones who do not know about what they speak.

This is my life and my world and I’ll live in it the way I believe is right.  Others can come along, or they can follow their own path and leave me out of it.  But I will not be swayed toward other people’s paths again.  I will not stoop to their levels.  I will not allow the behavior of others to negatively influence me.

It’s too bad I had begun to forget these things and that the reminder had to be such a tough one, but I’m better now.  I know who I am.  I know what I stand for.  I know what matters.  I know what I believe and I won’t be swayed by the arrogance and ignorance of others.

Know What I Can’t Understand?

How anyone could want to hurt someone else.  That’s what I can’t understand.

These people set out to harm other people, either physically or emotionally.  Somehow they think it’s fun.  Somehow they think what they’re doing is right.  Of course it’s not.  But they do not seem to understand that.  Day to day, some people set out to deliberately hurt other people in the simplest, smallest of ways.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, either.  I’m not saying I’ve never hurt anyone.  I’ve hurt people.  I certainly didn’t do it on purpose and I’ve felt terribly badly about it afterward, and I’ve done the best that I can do, while still being truthful, to make it up to the person.  Unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing you can do.  Sometimes you can’t make things right with the person and still be honest.  Sometimes the person is just determined to stay hurt.  That’s a terrible situation to be in, but occasionally unavoidable.

But I cannot understand deliberately setting out to hurt someone else.  Not that I haven’t wanted to do so.  The truth is, on almost a daily basis, I want to hurt someone.  Someone will irk me so much that I want to just punch them, or slap them, or stab them, or say just the right thing, in just the right way that it will get under their skin and make them feel small and worthless.  This makes me less of a man and I’d really like to see it change, but it’s true, nonetheless.  I’m grateful, however, that I am man enough to keep my mouth shut and keep my hands to myself.  There’s no benefit to hurting someone else.  It doesn’t make me a better person.  It doesn’t elevate my worth in any way.  And if I need to hurt someone else to make myself feel better, well then, I’m a really sad human being indeed.

I hate hurting others.  It makes me feel horrible.  And I hate seeing anyone or anything hurt.  When I’m watching late night, or cable television and those awful animal rescue commercials with the Sarah McLachlan song come on, I have to fast forward over them so I don’t see those poor animals’ faces.  Today I drove by a dead animal on the side of the road and I felt badly because it had been hurt.  I hate seeing children cry.  I hate when someone feels helpless and alone because someone has mistreated them.

I simply cannot understand how harassment and abuse is the solution to anything.  I can not comprehend how treating someone this way can make the person doing the harassing feel good.  How someone can wake up in the morning with the determination to harm someone else is beyond me.

When you consider the number of teen suicides and attempted suicides over the last year or so, all because those children have been bullied by people who made it their goal in life to belittle and humiliate the victim, it is simply incomprehensible that anyone, particularly adults, could behave this way, but it happens just as much among adults as it does children.

So, if you’ve been the victim of this kind of abuse or harassment, what have you done about it?  What have you done to make it stop?

And if you are, or have been guilty of abusing or harassing someone else, please dig deep and really think about what is damaged within you, that you feel good about your behavior.  I promise you, you are in the minority.

 

Probably Not So Popular Opinion

I usually look forward to Fridays here on ye old blog.  Well let’s not kid ourselves.  I look forward to Fridays in general and I know I’m not alone in that.  Fridays are meant to be wind down days.  If you can work from home you probably do (I, sadly, do not have that luxury).  Certainly you work with less vim and vigor than you probably do the rest of the week.

I have been looking forward to Fridays here on the blog lately though, because that’s when Write on Edge posts the link-up for the Red Writing Hood prompts that I’ve been participating in lately.  It is not my intention to be bragging (so if it sounds that way, I’m sorry) when I say that I usually bust those short fiction pieces out in the course of an hour or so.  The hard part with those prompts isn’t writing the pieces, it’s deciding what I’m going to write about.  Sometimes the prompts seem so vague and indecipherable.  I usually figure out something eventually though.  Most of the time I just have to kick my literal thinking mind out of the way and let it be a little more – well, vague.

This week though, that just didn’t work out.  This week’s prompt goes something like this:

This week we’d like you to stir up some conflict, using the following quote as inspiration.

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Well…  Not “something like” that.  That’s a cut and paste, so it goes exactly like that.  Only the problem is I’m not sure if I truly understand the quote, and what I think I understand of it, I do not agree with.

Honestly, the quote seems to be self-contradictory.

I do not believe in violence, period.  There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I do not believe in violence.

I also do not really see a connection between “be violent, if there is violence in your heart” and a “cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”  How these two things even relate to each other, I do not know.

When I read the quote though, the first thing that comes to mind is some of the recent political protest activity that has happened around this here country of ours.  Thinking specifically of the “occupy” protests or, going back a little further, the Oscar Grant riots that happened here in Oakland a while back.  Things that were supposed to be “peaceful” but turn violent without much provocation.  Things that I heard lots of people argue in favor of, under the guise that “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”  Sounds like a “cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence” to me.

Only we aren’t impotent.  We can do something.  There are steps we can take that don’t involve breaking laws and destroying public or private property.  There are ways we can get our point across without belligerently disobeying the police.

Angry does not have to mean violent.  It does not have to mean disruptive.  It does not have to be destructive.

Impotence is laziness.

Impotence is an excuse.

If anything we tend to use violence, not nonviolence, as the cover for impotence.

A Dark in the Light

I don’t like the dark.  I’m not afraid of the dark.  Not really anyway.  I just don’t like the dark.  It’s more of a “fear of the unknown” thing.  And it’s not really fear, exactly, I just don’t like it.  And since I don’t like the unknown, and there is a lot of “unknown” in the dark, I don’t like the dark.

But I should also say that I’m talking about utter darkness.  Complete darkness.  Can’t see my hand in front of my face darkness.  I don’t like that.

These days it’s not really something I often have to worry about.  And I’ll bet you don’t either.  Turn off all your lights and look around.  With modern technology being what it is, I bet you’d be hard pressed not to be able to see clearly enough to get around easily.  So many appliances and devices in our homes these days have some sort of light on them, even when they’re “turned off”.

In my living room, there are two lights on the front of my printer.  The modem which sits on top of my DVR on my TV stand has five lights lit or blinking at all times.  There’s a clock on top of my mantle that is back-lit with an orange glow.  Even my laptop, when completely powered down has a light next to the port the plug is in.

In my kitchen the stove, microwave and iPod dock all have illuminated clocks on their faces.  When the automatic timer has activated it, my Keurig machine has a back-lit LCD display that is quite bright.

In my bedroom, right now there are three separate alarm clocks, all with lit faces, not to mention the face of my iPhone which is often turned on and lit up.  There’s even still a VCR in there with a lit LED display.

There happens to be a nice soft, blue night-light in the hallway which was there when I moved in and I never bothered to unplug.

Add to all that, the street light right outside my front door which shines through the windows in the kitchen, living room and bedroom, even through the closed plantation shutters on all the windows.

I have ambient light, all the time.  Not enough to bother me, but enough to keep me comfortable in my surroundings.

I am also not a morning person.  I do not rise easily.  I do not spring out of bed at the first sound of the alarm clock and I am not raring to go with my day.  It takes time for me to be awake enough to get out of bed.  (This is the reason there are multiple alarm clocks  in my room.)  The clock on my night stand goes off at 6:30 and tunes to my favorite morning radio show.  The clock on the dresser across the room goes off at 7:00 with an obnoxious beep that gradually grows louder until it is acknowledged.  I throw the covers back and slowly push myself into an upright position before dragging my self just far enough out of the bed to reach across and snooze the clock.  Then I plop back down on the bed, pull the covers over my body and I’m out cold again in seconds.  Nine minutes later we repeat this process and I crawl back into bed slightly more awake than the last time.  Nine minutes after that we go through the whole thing again and nine minutes after that and nine minutes after that.  With each interval I am a little bit more awake.

At some point, I lie in bed, listening to the radio show, 75% awake and 25% not while I wait for the alarm to go off again and I debate whether this will be the time I get up and stay up.

And that’s were we were today, sometime in the second quarter of the seven o’clock hour, when suddenly the radio show went silent.  I opened one eye and reached out to turn the radio back on when I noticed that the clock face was blank.  That’s when I realized that when the radio went silent I had also heard a downward sliding groan of noise outside.

There was a momentary resurgence of power and then the downward sliding groan again and everything was silent.  The power in the entire neighborhood had gone out.  I called PG&E to be sure and they were already aware of it.

At 7:20 in the morning it is not exactly dark around here.  The sunlight pierced the louvers of the shutters and the house was sufficiently illuminated.  And yet, with out all the random ambient lights and without all the soft hums of electronic components, it seemed oddly dark.

Not spooky.

Not scary.

Just… Dark.