Change, or something that looks like it

Everything’s different.  The times have changed.

Only thing is, everything’s not different and the times haven’t really changed.

People have learned.  They’ve learned that perception is what matters.  The outward facade.  Be gay, but don’t be too flamboyant.  Be a woman, but don’t be too sexual.  Be religious, but don’t be Muslim.  Be overweight, but at least look like you’re trying to be healthy.  Be what you are, but make sure that what you are doesn’t make any body else uncomfortable.

Be old but look young.  Be young but act mature.  Be happy, but don’t ever let anyone know about it.  Appear happy, by posting, commenting, and editing for social media.

We’ve reached an apex era.  The era of self-indulgence.  Hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, non-stop decadence.  There is no cost too great.  We’ve reached a time where there is more than enough for everyone.  Only problem, there isn’t enough money to pay for it all.

Everything is the same as it’s always been.  There are people.  These people are born to live out their lives.  This life that only has meaning because of other living beings.

Appearance has always been important.  It has always mattered how things appear.  Only thing that’s different today is that everything should appear as if change has occurred.

Ignorance, check.  Hate, check.  Classism, sexism, racism, check.  War, check.  Hunger, check.  Change, definitely not.

I choose to be vulnerable.  I’m fucked up and flawed and I’ve had really amazing moments in my life and extremely horrible points.  To everyone looking in on another’s life from the outside in envy, appearances aren’t reality.  The only way through the facade is to go in deep.  I choose to wade through the bullshit and get into the real stuff.

I don’t want to look back at my life and realize I was too afraid to be real with people.  Too afraid of losing, hurting, or offending so instead I never had a real interaction and connection.

I choose to look past the posed pictures, manicured lawns, and carefully edited biographies into the pain, joy, and hope of living.

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The Mother Diaries

1

Actual messaging between a brother and a sister.

Sister:  You know, I’m fucking 30 years old and I still feel messed up and dysfunctional because of mom, and there’s no way to actually explain everything or get across to anyone just how severely she fucked us up, do you ever just get pissed about it?

Brother:  From time to time my love.  The key is to NOT let it affect you.  You have control of whether her actions can be looked back fondly as a crazy mother friend or negatively as what it really was lol.  I love you baby doll if you ever want to chat just say the word.

I did want to chat.  And I wanted to start from the present and wade my way through the bullshit.  Maybe I felt so fucked up because I had previously thought I was over this shit.  Guess I was wrong.  I’ll start from the end.

My mother was living in our house.  The house I share with my husband, and a friend of ours who is a little down on her luck at the moment.  It’s a big house.  My mother would commute between my house and my sisters place, three hours apart, but for the most part she was at our house.

I don’t remember living with my mother before this.  She’s always telling me stories like, do you remember that house with the pool when we lived in Chino?

No.  I don’t.

So her moving in many months ago was a completely new experience for me.  It was amazing at times, frustrating, funny as hell, and painful.  But mostly I would push any lingering pain out of the way so I could enjoy the fact that I was getting all this time with my mom.

My mom is a stoner.  She’s lived a hard thorough life and marijuana has been the most consistent thing in her life.  Besides that, she is only consistent about her inconsistencies and lying.

She would wake up, light a joint, and drink her coffee.  Telling stories that she had told a million times before, she would often emphasize with hand gestures and trail off down unforeseen tangents.  She would then go to the kitchen and eat something to do with toast, butter, eggs, or chocolate.

Mostly, we laughed so hard we cried.  Yes, we were usually high, but that’s only because it made it easier for me to ignore my pain that was trying to force itself up into the conversations.

While she was here I was reminded of the way she was whenever I was able to see her growing up.  But because I was older I saw things I’d never seen before.  The most obvious thing about her was how afraid she was, of so many things, and how hard she’s trying to act like she’s not.

Mostly, she’s afraid of anyone getting to know who she really is, because she doesn’t think anyone will love her once they do.  She’s afraid of being thrown away.  Which is fucking ironic to me, but I digress.

I learned a lot from her time at the house, but mainly I learned that my mom has a restless spirit, and I’m not sure if she’ll ever find peace.

For now she’s back where she started, in the same city she grew up in, in the same city where her father recently passed away.  I was always worried about her before, like she was going to die and I wouldn’t even know.  I’m not worried anymore, at least I learned that about her.

 

Married Without Children

I’ve been married almost ten years now, and the question that I dread is the one that everyone feels they need to ask.  “When are you having kids?”  My answer inevitably perplexes people. “I’m not going to have kids.”

That must be the weirdest thing a woman can say because most people follow up my answer with the confused head tilt, and then a hundred follow up questions.  Most people are confused because, in their words, “But you seem so good with children.”

Yes, I love children.  I think they’re great, wonderful, beautiful, adorable etc.  I have two nephews and five nieces and I can’t get enough of them.  Just because being a mother is not my plan for my life, doesn’t automatically mean that I don’t like children.  I’ve heard from a wide variety of mother’s, how drastically children have changed their lives.  And after the typical rant about how they didn’t realize their lives would be so different, or how they have absolutely not one minute to themselves, or how they just want to take a nap, or how maybe they wouldn’t have kids if they could do it over, they always end the conversation with, “But it’s the most rewarding amazing experience and I never knew I could love someone this much.”

My response is good for you, but it’s not for me.

Blurry

DSCN0595

The lines are clear

as are the expectations

and the feeling of fear

incites hesitation

Is it worth it to reach

so far beyond

was it really so bleak

back where I was from

The desire for dreams

leads out into unknown

and the instinct for peace

brings the comforts of home

No Lies. No Greed. No Excess.

CHAPTER 1

NO MERCY

I live in a community where no one needs to lie.  There’s no reason for it anymore.  I do not worry about offending someone, or hiding what I’m doing or thinking.  Our society is no longer worried about superficiality.  We’ve moved on, because we had to.  And now, we would never go back to the way things were.

After past generations misused the earth’s resources, mass deaths occurred at alarming rates.  Tsunami’s killed off the islanders and the people in coast towns.  Volcanoes and earthquakes took care of the rest.  Nearly one million people survived despite the amazing power of mother nature.  From those one million we began weeding out the bad people.  The people who would not assimilate to our new society.

The original founders of my community believed that change was necessary going forward, and that people could never go back to the selfish existence once lived. Not everyone agreed with this.  Some survivors did not like the idea of being told what to do, of being told how to live, of having to think of others first.  So there was war.

This war lasted until the remaining opposing survivors agreed to the communities rules.  The original founders of my community agreed to let the opposing survivors join.  But this came with consequences.  In an effort to weed out selfish, deceitful genetics, our founders created a decree.  In this decree, individuals that consistently display these undesirable characteristics will be sterilized.  Oh, and they have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The rules of the community are simple: 1. Everyone must contribute what they can 2. Barter and work exchange are the only currency allowed 3. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated 4. Self-importance will not be tolerated 5. We are all equal

Everything else gets worked out.  In the beginning, after the earth had settled back into peace, life was the most simple.  People searched.  People searched for resources, for other people, and for shelter.  Once the most basic needs were being met, people began trying to fill other needs. That’s when the war began. Our founders were the most intelligent people that had survived.  As the community grew, so too did our founders resources.  They had created safeguards for the people’s survival, and created the decree so that greed wouldn’t lead to destruction ever again.

There Is Enough For Everyone

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What a great thought.  There is enough love, enough kindness, enough freedom for everyone.

When we stop thinking about life in a negative light, a new world is opened up.

What do you have in your life to be grateful for?

What do you complain about, and what will you do to make it different?

Stop focusing on what you don’t have or what you don’t want.  If you are anti-war, be pro peace instead.  If you are anti hunger, be pro abundance instead.  Find a way to focus on the positive light, there’s always a way to be positive.

Being Poor in a Third World County

Being poor is different in different countries.

Being poor in America means that your supermarket shoes fall apart right away.

Being poor in Egypt means that the kids have no shoes.  The roads are unpaved, and the toys are whatever is found on the road, usually a rock and a stick.

I’ve been poor in America.  I married an Egyptian and thought he was exaggerating when he would talk about playing with a rock and stick for entertainment.  Then I went to Egypt.  I literally saw children playing with a rock and a stick, with no shoes on, and torn clothes that didn’t fit.

In the building my husband grew up in as a child live families who rely on each other to get by.  The building is a tall one with a staircase in the middle, leading up to each house.  At the bottom of the staircase is a small door, leading to an even smaller utility room.  Living in that room is a mother with her three children.  She makes her money running errands for the people in the building, and she feeds her children with any food the building’s residents can afford to give her.  And even when the people have nothing, they will always give her something.

The people in Egypt have no opportunity to make $8/hr.  There are no jobs, there are no opportunities, and there is no relief coming any time soon.  The Egyptians bury their dead in a type of cemetery.  The main difference is that each person who has passed on is buried in a type of open air room.  There are four walls made up of rocks or whatever materials can be found.  In my visit to this country, my husband and I witnessed families living with the dead.  My husband told me, “this was not like this when I left.”

My husband was fortunate to get a visa to the United States because his country was in an extreme state.  Unfortunately when he was finally able to return almost 20 years later, the country was even worse than before.

We talk about being homeless here in America.  But the reality is that we’re still in America.  I feel like there is hope, living here, that something could be done about poverty.  We could find a way to end poverty and homelessness.  As I write this I’m sure there are people working on it already.