Electoral Absitnence

Here we teeter on the brink of dissent. Cast beneath a shadow of lies and deceit, our hands are forced into motion beyond our control. Malignant is the cancer that politics brought onto the American landscape, dividing reason from truth and liberty from the people. I cannot participate in this behavior, as it is animalistic, primal and cruel. Those who believe in the process are waiting patiently for Santa to arrive and drop a gift of hope and promise beneath the tree of life, but tonight he will not come.

Instead of the jovial ringing of sleigh bells, we will be met with boisterous shouts of uninformed opinions touted as fact. We will dread the oncoming era, unable to change the broken system we were born into. The pressure to conform to one prescribed pattern of thought lingers heavily in the air in the final hours before we walk to the gallows to acknowledge our fate. Some will cut the rope; others will be taken down as their broken necks hang in sorrow.

I refuse to walk to the slaughter house.  My hand, will not be forced.


Euthanasia and Empathy

Teetering on a single thread between life and death, my dear Uncle Jerry showed signs of recognition when he saw my face and I saw the pain in his eyes. He was far from the laughing, wheelie popping army vet we knew and loved. He reached his arms out to me and I embraced him for what I knew would be the final time.

The end of life care my uncle received was better than some if not most. My grandmother and aunt tried to make him as comfortable as they could. They provided round the clock care and always granted the modest requests my uncle made when he was more on the surface of lucidity. The final thing he enjoyed was a birthday watermelon on groundhog day. It was nice to see a genuine smile spread from ear to ear as my grandmother lit a single candle in half of the seedless fruit. He passed a few days later. 

Of course my grandmother and aunt we devastated. Losing another brother within a three year time frame, but for my uncle I felt relief. His health had spiraled down a long tunnel complications rapidly. My once independent uncle who relied on nothing but an old manual wheelchair to get around had become bed ridden. Both legs had to be amputated, while in the hospital he suffered seizures from a flu shot he should not have received. The pain and confusion on his face was gut wrenching. 

I couldn’t help but think of all the wonderful things I learned from my uncle. How I admired his perseverance and independence. He owned his own home, lived alone with two German Shepherds he trained to help around the house himself and enjoyed the company of family and friends most. To see him so helpless was like looking at a ghost living in foreign flesh. 

Toward the end I can’t imagine what the pain must have been like. He had wounds his skin was too weak to hold together even with sutures. There was no plug to pull, he was fully conscious and aware. Weak and worn so far down he could barely speak. My grandmother would always say, “Some life is better than none.” I honestly could not imagine who would want to live in his condition. 

Her well meaning but albeit slightly ignorant comment rattled me. Who would want to go from a reasonably independent human being to a bed ridden amputee with their skin falling apart? If my uncle had been able to express his final wishes, I wonder if he would express the desire to bring deaths mercy upon himself. His suffering burned in my heart and my mind will never forget the helpless and confused look on his face.I know that if faced with that reality myself, I would welcome death with open arms. 

A lot of people who are against elective euthanasia seem to have never watched a loved one teeter between the harsh truth of life and the mystery of death. My uncle seemed to not even know where he was. Somehow I had a deep, almost spiritual feeling that in his heart he’d already crossed over and his body was merely a receptacle for the disposable traits of his humanity. Or maybe it was the drugs he was on made him appear that way. Eitherway he eminated a sense of longing only I seemed to see within him. I’ve never seen someone suffer so much.

These prolife at all costs groups never care about the quality of life people are experiencing. They don’t care that another human being is in excruciating pain and unable to rely on themselves for even the most basic care. These people have never looked into the eyes of a man ready for death and truly empathized. 

Empathy is being able to share another’s feelings on one level or another. Even though he could not speak to me, his eyes, his uncontrollable shaking and his weak voice communicated all I needed to know. I felt as though I was the only one who felt it. Everyone else was just sad. 

I’ll always choose to remember my Uncle Jerry as the carefree, bearded hippie on wheels. For someone who had overcome so much it was painful to watch him be overwhelmed. I can’t see a reason why anyone with true compassion for other living creatures, including human beings would force someone through such suffering to claim moral high ground. 

We show our pets more compassion when they have a terminal illness than we do our own kind. We recognize that some lives aren’t worth living but at every turn someone is uncomfortable with addressing if terminally ill individuals have a right to end their own suffering. It reeks of hypocracy. 

For my uncle, peace came after a long battle of mistreatment and agony. There is no reason he should not have had the right to opt out. There is no reason anyone should be denied that right. If you have one, it stems from an inhuman lack of empathy and concern for the well being of your fellow man and the rights we all deserve. 

Can Islam and Feminisim Coexist? 

Recently I’ve been faced with a conundrum of sorts. I joined an organization on campus dedicated to helping women in need. 

At first, I was glad to see that others on campus were doing what they could to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, but my enthusiasm waned as I realized that the founding member of a so called feminist organization was an American convert to Islam from Christianity. 

For me, there couldn’t be a bigger departure from gender equality than the Islamic faith. When women who live in countries ripe with Islamic extremeism cannot even approve their own medical procedures, I wonder why any woman would willingly follow the dogma of the Koran. 

I think its pretty well documented I have issues with the way abrahamic faiths require women to be subordinate to men, but Islam has got to be the most damaging. Even without the reality of honor killings and life long child like treatment for women, the very Tennants of the Muslim faith are the most anti-woman thing that exists on this Earth. 

I simply cannot decide whether or not I want to move forward in my actions with the group because of its leadership. On one hand I feel like the charity work is more important than any petty beef I have against Islam. Then again I don’t feel like feminism is being fairly represented when the person who chooses to represent it wears a hijab to school. 

Feminism comes in all forms, but when you willingly submit yourself to Islam and accept the rules that come with it, you also accept the internalized sexism that comes with that religion. I feel like having an Islamist leader is what is hurting the reputation and understanding of what feminism is. 

For me femisim is about understanding the entire realm of physical and mental capabilities of men and women. Allowing both genders unlimited choice when it comes to bodily autonomy and aspirations for themselves. I can’t think of anything beyond Islam that limits those possibilities so starkly. 

To me Islam and Feminism are extreme opposites. Unable to find common ground. The person who founded this campus organization clearly does not fully understand what she so strongly claims to represent. 

One day, I overheard some of the misconceptions she clings to ignorantly spew out of her mouth. She claimed that morality is purely religion based and this was before I knew she led the organization. Being polite, I held my tounge when we sat across from each other at my first meeting. 

If I could pose a single question to her, I would ask if she felt her morals were jeopardized knowing an atheist came to the same conclusions she did about gender equality without the guidance of faith. 

This may or may not drive me away from the group entirely. I’ll feel no shame in leaving if I feel offended or misrepresented.In my mind, women who follow Islam do not value themselves and I do not want to be associated with that. We’ll see how this plays out.

You are a Complete Person

This may just be a personal pet peeve, but let me just say this comes from a place of love. 

I see it all over my twitter feed, on Instagram and in various other places online. I’ve heard it in real life, “Without God I am nothing.” Followed by some praise. I can’t help but think to myself, “No, sweetheart you’re a whole person. You were whole before your relationship with faith began.” 

I promise this is true. People seem to be self depreciating. I know I can be, I understand that by living by a set of rules that make you feel as though you’re pleasing someone or something omnipotent can make you feel fufilled, but you are not nothing. 

There will still be people who love you, there will still be people who need you. The statement that you are nothing is quite concerning. You rely heavily on something to complete you, much like a heroin addict looking for a fix, you need religion to fulfill an empty place inside yourself that you have declared as lesser, when nothing could be further from the truth. 

Much like an addict, you would be lost if you suddenly couldn’t get your fix. You’d be forced to take an introspective path that would lead you to question why you thought you needed a spiritual relationship to feel whole, and quite frankly that’s a question you’re unwilling to explore, much like the addict who denies there is a problem. 

The attitude that a person is less or incomplete without god is damagaing. I can’t fathom why such self depreciation is glorified in the name of something arguably absent. This attitude when applied to others is dangerous. Its what drives extremism and judgment. For gods sake you are everything to someone even if that just might be yourself. You don’t need faith to feel complete. 

I Need to Vent 

Fourth of July has to be my least favorite day of the year and for good reason. All the noise from fireworks triggers me, all of the sudden I’m transported back to my gloomy NY apartment and my ex banging on the walls like a caveman. 

I do my best to cope. I’ve downloaded a white noise app, bought the noise canceling headphones and generally stayed indoors for the past few days. Moving to a more densely populated area means more neighbors and that means more people spending money just to feel like the pyrotechnics coordinator for Kiss. 

I understand their enthusiasm, I too once enjoyed it but its not just limited to one day out of the summer. Its the day before and the day of. The days after as well. It’s incredibly frustrating to know you can’t do anything about it but it’s an even more frustrating thing when people simply have no clue what you have experienced and try to dismiss your feelings. 

I want to make it perfectly clear that combat acquired PTSD and my PTSD aren’t remotely close. Going through this has given me a greater sense of empathy towards combat vets and I can’t imagine how severe their symptoms must be around this time of year. I might have the disorder but I can’t relate to their experiences just as they might not be able to relate to mine. I still want to offer my support and condolences to anyone experiencing triggers, flashbacks or panic attacks because of this tradition. 

With that said, I’ve barely slept the past few nights. When I do, I have vivid nightmares of violence again. The cherry on top of this shit sundae has to be my living situation. 

My boyfriend and I live with his grandparents and they are by far some of the sweetest people ever. Much like a lot of other young people our age we can’t afford to move out yet. So we’re inadvertently left to deal with the consequences of a shared household. There is only one thing I’d change about this arrangement. 

His mom babysits one of the most horrific toddlers on the planet. She works here during the week as a CNA and also a free childcare service for his cousin. Despite the clear manipulation of emotion by the cousin to get free childcare, what essentially amounts to my mother in law does not see it that way and will not say no. 

That being said we’re on good terms. She knows I can’t tolerate the constant increasing decibel level of this child. My boyfriend is more sympathetic, as he knows the true extent of the abuse I suffered and why I don’t like the noise in general. A toddler throwing things sounds just like my ex in more ways than one. 

That being said, I’m generally tolerant. When it’s here I don’t go out of my way to interact with it. I normally have my headphones in and my app on. I can’t always have that on because batteries eventually need to be charged. When this happens I usually go outside on the porch for some fresh air. 

On one such occasion before the fun of random explosions began this summer. She’d dragged the kid outside into my holy sanctuary of peace. I had my headphones in but my phone had died. I felt dizzy that day, sometimes a symptom of a migrane for me. I was cranky again from little to no sleep and this thing was wailing at every opportunity. 

I finally reach an equilibrium between lucidity and apathy and clamly say, “Jesus kid shut up.” The indignant look on my MIL’s face didn’t phase me. I simply dragged my ass back in the house with a smile on my face and search for some nyquil. 

More recently I had an encounter with someone who thought surprising me with an airhorn was hilarious. In a perfect world airhorns would be illegal but again I can’t control the actions of others. 

After I calmly stated that I didn’t find his little toy amusing he adopted a condescending tone towards my shaken response. He continued to do it, not aware of how far a sound could push me. 

Now here’s another difference between my personal experience with PTSD and combat borne PTSD.I can’t speak for combat vets on this issue, but because of the environment that produced my PTSD my inital response if triggered enough or pushed too far is pure, unfiltered rage. I am not talking about garden variety anger. I’m talking about the kind of rage that results in memory loss, poor decisions and lack of self control. Thankfully the existence of this rage reaction to loud noise is slowly improving but you can’t expect me to be perfect.No one is. 

I guess what I’m really attempting to say with this is, its perfectly normal to have bad days. You don’t owe courtesy to anyone who does not show it to you family or otherwise. I have a condition that is very dependent on personal management of my environment and I hate being the poriah when things get the best of me because a lot of variables are beyond my control at this point. 

I’m okay, but I need my space from time to time and that’s not wrong. Testing someone’s boundaries with comfort is. I don’t want my boundaries tested. I’m afraid I’d do something I would regret. I want some understanding of that but it feels impossible.

Societal Obligation 

A few days ago, I’d read a phrase that made my skin crawl. 

Please direct your attention to the statements of the party anonymized by the red stripe. This person clearly believes that women have some sort of “societal obligation” to have children. This person is also a very deranged individual who wishes oddly specific tragedies on the original poster. This person is a tool. 

Truth is, since none of us can consent to life, we have no obligations to society. We have no obligation to act as others see appropriate, we just do out of a desire not to be seen as outcasts. I feel that the person above is merely projecting his own insecurities onto others. 

I have no idea what this guys life is like but something particularly herrendous for him to believe such incendiary nonsense. That’s fair, our lives and personal experiences ultimately shape the person we become and people are assholes. The mysoginistic tone of the comment clearly provides us with insight to how this persons interactions with women have been but how he expects the world to operate is pitiful. 

Women, you have no obligation to have a child other than the fact you think you want to. Society isn’t going to go belly up because you made a choice that is best for you. In fact today’s society clearly benefits from a declining birthrate.

People like to throw out all kinds of bullshit to guilt you into breeding. We aren’t cattle for the government to produce tax money and current social security does not provide a liveable wage. It’s completely assinign to disregard the obvious benefits of Childfree couples. As this user points out.

What I don’t understand is with the continued automation of minimum wage jobs, what future are we heading towards? College is almost an automatic debt sentence. People not procreating is good for the environment, good for future employment competion and just about every other problem we have. 
Couples who have fewer children have more resources to really invest in that child’s development. There is absolutely no sense in pressuring the world to fuck like bunnies because its become clear that most of our issues stem from having too many damn people. 

There is no logical basis for the term societal obligation. We might be born, but it entirely beyond our control of what those circumstances are. We have no obligations to society as a whole. 

Bring It

Its hard to ignore the rampant hostility that is the comment section of any online media. Anonymity is a powerful thing, online you can be anyone or anything to an extent. The power of anonymity is what gives me the freedom to express  my thoughts through blogging or other social media. I am greatful to have this sheild between me and the rest of the world because the same thing that lends me the power to philosophize innocently, gives others a tool for rage and judgment.

It’s put me off the production of my channel and honestly I actually fear sharing some of my thoughts sometimes. I realize it does no good to reason with some of these people. They are bold, they are keen, they use circular logic and when someone attempts to break the cycle they result to insults and rage. I do not under any circumstances want my channel to be a magenet for these people, yet in my heart I accept that it will.

I’m a creative thinker, I believe there are multiple solutions to every problem. When I have a hard time understanding somethkng, I search for the answer. I’ll admit that the recent changes in my personal life have stalled my creative development quite a bit. It’s super frustrating and I cannot express how difficult it is for me to manage some of the emotional reactions I have to specific stimuli. Please believe me when I say that what I have been through and experienced has deepened my empathy considerably. I want to speak out to enhance the human experience through understanding, I believe that is my personal calling.

I understand that I may be ridiculed, tormented and threatened as I move forward towards my goals. There’s a lot left in me and I am young! I am a grown woman and I will not tolerate any mysoginistic, intolerant, bigoted and ignorant behavior in this world. Kindness is in many forms and for me it’s doing right by the people that are heavily discriminated against in the name of belief or opinion. I have decided how I will handle the inevitable hatred I may face.

I will make their words my examples. I will address the toughest language with a sharp but civil tongue. I am much more eloquent when I have the opportunity to speak freely and I’m looking forward to sharing that. I will never wish ill will on those who wish it upon me, that to me is immature and weak. I respect other peoples right to open their mouth and wrecklessly stumble through their own distortion of morality and truth. I find it fascinsting.

I’ll see you soon!