Meditation on Strength

A few months ago a man sat down at a table with me. I asked him what had brought him to this place; people don’t show up by happenstance. He told me he had first found this place after returning from the war. He had been in search of healing at the time. He told me why he joined the army, some of what he had seen while abroad, and of his first experiences in this place. He told me he had enlisted willfully after his father had told him he ought to find some strength. He thought that he would find it on a battlefield, but he never did. It wasn’t until he had come here for the first time and was in the company of other soldiers who had experienced similar things were together, sharing what they had been through. He said he saw grown men cry like never before, and that moment was the first time he had really felt strength.

I thanked him for his story, but asked why he felt he had had to go to such extremes to find something we all carry within us. He told me that he supposed he had never had anyone show him what strength really was before. I thought about who had shown me my strength. I thought about what I had learned about strength thus far.

In my experience it is not something far away, and could rarely exist on a battlefield of the modern age when one side dominates the other with advanced weaponry and superior forces. Strength plays no part in a scheme for murder and destruction. Instead, I had found strength in the arms of my mother, as a little child hurt and upset should. When my father left us, my mother lovingly and heroically became a single mother who successfully raised two children, a supreme example of strength. She worked insane hours to take care of us, and was occasionally forced to not see us because of those hours. She managed to care about more than just the two of us, she has cared about every child she has met in her career. She has lived this way for years, and when she felt particularly weak or worn down she would cry, and let both of us know that it is okay to have emotions. It is human to have emotions.

Where had I seen strength? Not in the fear and hatred of armies, but in the love of our human existences. Thank you for always being the best mother I could have asked for.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Your Son

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Springtime Poeticals For the Heart

“Tactics of Love”

 

When will we learn that sometimes our love is a demon, and that sometimes a demon can love?

If I promise not to hurt you, will you look at me in my eyes?

If I hold your hand, will you accept the touch beneath our skins?

 

There is a kingdom under the outer shells of our bodies and I am here,

to explore the intricate design of your soul.

If you let me I will guide you through the fallen out cities and refugee camps where I found comfort from the encroachments placed in me by those who became so lost in love that the only escape path was through pressing a button

which held at bay the inevitable self-destruction of a system far past max-capacity.

 

The radiation of past loves glow from within to without and unfold a series of

emergency tactics and counter-strikes until the once great city built in me, for me,

lay in decrepit ruins crumbling around me.

I have cleared away everything I could, but how can one clear away what they cannot see?

The depths of my soul ring with an electronic babble of times past, until I discover that like most uncomfortable noise, this one too slowly fades away.

 

Then you entered.

I watched you curiously looking through the bombed out boutique windows,

stopping at the now empty museums commemorated in the honor of those who have now left.

In your skin too I see the afterglow of someone infected with the twisted love we are told to feel.

You turned the corner and there arrived at the town square I once held court at.

 

You looked up and saw me, and our souls began the dangerous dance we have been taught.

Infantry, navy, bombardiers, cavalry will be called in a sacrificial onslaught labelled self-defense.

Then, right before the lines are drawn, you close your eyes.

 

What happened to the battle?

The war?

I was never a fan of initiating conflict, but now what?

In the silence, a footstep is heard.

My eyes shut too.

Another footstep.

Another.

 

Have I ever known the feeling of another soul against mine?

How do you love someone when they are afraid?

Love is not about change it is about acceptance.

I accept you for all that you are and I will promise to never look only at who you are in my mind,

but to constantly look back into your eyes to see the gentle smile, the warm comfort, you.

Yet at times when I look up, all I can see is you running, running, running away.

 

Your hand presses into my own, but the love is lost in the mazes of your own soul and I

am so tired of chasing my way through labyrinths of heart, mind, and body without so much

as a turning glance of recognition.

 

I have slain my demons, mapped out the walls of my own mind, and now have come out the other end ready to feel the touch and love of a familiar form.

My heart is in your hands.

Are you ready to open your eyes?

“The Hopeful Heart”

 

Standing at the water’s edge

You were here with me so long ago.

Now I can only see you when my eyes are closed.

 

Rain breaks through the steely surface

And smoke leaves your mouth.

It was your third that day, when you looked at me

and said, “Where else can we go?”

 

We stole a few seconds to ourselves that day

and you seemed so content when we had to say goodbye.

If I could have held your hand for a lifetime,

I would have.

 

On top of an abandoned table rests a crane,

made of folded coffee receipts

and pieces of napkins ripped into

the shapes of countries litter the floor

where we first learned the

secret songs of each others spirit.

 

If our story carries on across the oceans,

will it be told as hearts on fire torn apart by time,

or as the synthesis of souls folding together?

 

You have been through much before,

I see it in the way your eyes won’t meet mine.

In a dirt-floored room I was struck

for the first time with a question.

 

Am I a puzzle piece kept separate until it is time to play my part

in your larger picture?

Or did we meet so we could learn together

that none of us have our own square stories,

and none of us are truly waiting for a single missing piece?

 

Sometimes I dream about the music you could have made.

It’s as beautiful as you are when I close my eyes

and feel the hand you pulled away

holding mine, unafraid and content at last.

 

Wouldn’t that memory have been sweeter than a love

kept secret and played out in quick glances up from the ground?

I collected the shredded pieces of my heart

and taped them back together one night,

so we could learn to love,

complete and whole.

 

But the next day you kissed me,

goodbye.

 

All I was left with were the edges you touched,

and a feeling that even if our pieces don’t fit perfectly

we could at least fold together

into something beautiful and new to us both.

The Springtime Fool

The sounds of birds chirping fill the ears of all who listen.

That is the way of the world;

if you pay attention the songs are always there for you to hear.

The fool knows more than either King or Queen,

it is only by birth-right that they find themselves always being laughed at.

So instead, they laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Royalty only knows one world, and they call it theirs.

The fool knows of more than a thousand worlds;

all existing, side-by-side,  in the same time and the same space.

They know no world can be owned by a person.

This is what frees them from the never-ending suffering

of balances of domination and conquest which rules over Royalty.

Though Kings and Queens believe themselves to own this or that,

they are really owned by everything.

Rain falls equally on a pasture

as it does on a palace:

One provides shelter,

the other life.

The busy goings-on of the castle holds no weight on

cattle in a field; only on their death.

So why are royalty the ones who are worshiped and obeyed?

Though the court laughs at the fool,

the fool laughs to themselves with the knowledge that

they can purchase their own freedom without losing a cent.

For a King or Queen to find their freedom

they would have to lose everything.

Upon exiting the palace the fool lets out a final laugh:

the sun sees everyone the same,

and would light on everyone’s skin equally, with radiance;

if only the royals would leave the dark, damp emptiness of their throne rooms.

An Open Letter to Monica Lewinsky

The other day I sat and listened to Monica Lewinsky talking about how an entire nation had disgraced her because of a mistake. Because of a mistake she had made when she was only a few years older than I am now. When someone had lied to her, told her things that weren’t true, I’ve been told. Things about love, and the way the world could be if only she would believe. I’m sure she did believe, and I’m sure the world did not turn out the way she was told it would. She believed in love, and that was what she claimed as her mistake, after decades of silence.

Now I sit, nearly speechless. Nearly, because it is time for these words to come out, whether they want to or not. It is time for them to be heard, whether people want to listen or not. It is time for us to change, whether we are comforted by that change or not.

How do the weak rise up?

A finite number of positions which may hold power is perceived as the way the world works. But that is a lie, a lie to keep the meek and the mild silent and scared. Detached from one another, because the world as seen from above says that a thousand ones is easier to manage than one thousand.

How do the weak rise up then?

A vacancy must be made in order for it to be filled, and we are led to believe that murder lands people in prison. This, of course, is another lie in both a metaphorical and literal sense. The biggest mass murderers continue to line their pockets with gold dyed a greasy black from oil stains, and dollar bills dyed red from the blood spilled from drone-strikes halfway around the world. Rules, as always, only apply to those of us on the short end of the stick.

There was no mistake made by Ms. Lewinski when she believed in love, and believed that the President loved her. The President made a mistake when cheated on his wife, and his wife made a mistake when she brandished a young girl as ‘the other woman.’ The two of them killed the image of a young girl when they took her love and reduced it to sex, reduced her to a singular action performed in what she thought was an equal union.

How do the weak rise up?

When the weak choose not to play by the same rules we are obligated to, and an empty slot must still be made they must turn to more discrete forms of murder in order to avoid public scrutiny themselves. So these people turn from killing actual people to killing the image of a person instead. If you can get a thousand ones to hate a part of themselves they can no longer function in the thousand as they should.

I remember days when I was afraid to turn on the television. I was in high school and my life was a lie I told myself and others, because I could not give my classmates a reason to hate me the way I saw other people being hated. I didn’t care what position I occupied, or what vacancy I would be creating if I stopped existing, I just knew I could not give them a reason to hate me. I thought they would hate me for my love, because I had been told that my love was a mistake. Now I know they were the mistaken ones. Love is never wrong.

How do the weak rise up?

Why are we so surprised to hear that the words we say have the power to kill? We used to say that words lived forever, but now we know that the cost of immortality is death.

Middle and High School are the testing grounds where we are taught both hate, and how the weak rise up. I remember for months being afraid to turn on the news because another story saying another future friend, another future lover ‘took their life.’ They did no such thing. Their life was stolen, ripped out of their chests by the reductionary acts of hate turning them from loving people into freaks pressing lips on lips, the ‘wrong’ lips. Love is never wrong.

I remember in the middle of so many months, the feeling of the rough, hard ground rushing up to meet my hands and knees; I remember turning back to look at who I thought was a friend a few moments before, laughing to himself at the power he felt when he knocked someone down a flight of stairs; I remember not crying, because crying would have meant I deserved it; and I remember begging my sister not to beat him up because that would mean I couldn’t fight for myself. I remember after so many months the voices of people removed from high school saying, over and over, ‘it gets better.’ Does it, or do you just move away from the problem, and surround yourself with people who don’t hurt you? Is that the problem getting better, or are we simply ignoring it? This post is not meant to be against the “It Gets Better Project.” That is an organization which serves a need and does a great deal of help for many, many young people. This post is instead meant to be a calling to turn our rhetoric away from the defensive, reactionary tactics we as a community have used thus far, (speaking to already at-risk youths who are being bullied to death,) to an offensive tactic in this war against our current culture of humiliation.

I remember walking through hallways seeing signs about a ‘War on Drugs,’ and voices inside my head screaming, you cannot fight a war on material objects. Wars can only be waged against people, so, who then is the target of this war? The propaganda reveals itself, as it always does if we can pay enough attention, as a means to an end. Propaganda is only needed to convince people that the war being fought against them is justified. The war was being waged against children, and being sold to us as our savior. Let us not forget that in the middle of a nationwide plague spread by contaminated needles and supposedly ungodly acts the victims were the queers as they were denied the help they needed, allowed to die,and told that it was their own fault.

Once the cultural awareness began to ‘get better’ about that particular issue the attention shifted to blaming the drug addicts, but still what causes people to obliterate their minds by repeatedly injecting fantasies and delusions? No, there was not and can not be a war on drugs, only a continued war on those of us who know what the tragedy of living in this monster of a society is, and on those of us whose very existence is a form of protest.

And who takes the brunt of this war, who finds themselves feeling stranded on the front-lines? The children, suffering their way through middle and high school. The children, who do not have the means to move away from their problems like those voices who have told me that it gets better. The children, whose very own parents so frequently either deny the love their child has, or refuse to continue loving their children because of who they love. The children, who after being forced out of their homes because their parents could not find compassion in their own hearts make up forty percent of the homeless youth population. The children who after being told that they are worth nothing, and that they are mere accidents turn to those very same escape paths and end up addicts. The children who, because their identity is based on who they love or who they want to have sex with are forced into prostitution at rates that are far too high in order to have a shelter at night. No, there is no war on drugs. There is a war on children, and the allowance of them to exist as they rightfully should. No one wants to be forced out of their house, into drugs, and into prostitution. This is not a choice. This is a battleground.

At the end of so many months, I too ran away from my problems. At dinner with my mom one night in my junior year of high school I looked at her and said, “I do not know that I will survive another year of this.” Thankfully, she knew what I meant and had the love for me that all parents should have for her children. The next year she let me drop out of high school and move sixteen hours away to attend a college, where yes, it seemed to get better. I was one of the lucky ones. But now, nearly four years later at the other end of college, I turn on the news.

This week, there was one future friend who will never reach my age. The month before, there were two. The month before that, another one. These are just the recorded ones which gain national media attention. So, if it has supposedly gotten better, what is making these children feel as though their lives are still worthless? Today, the state of Indiana passed a bill allowing the refusal of service by businesses to lgbtqia+. The state of California, one of the supposed ‘safe-havens’ for these children forced out of their homes, is in the midst of a debate on whether or not to allow a bill proposing the lawful murder of anyone who engages in ‘same-sex sodomy.’ Please note, this bill focuses exclusively on ‘same-sex sodomy,’ and I am here not speaking of a bullying to death murder. No, this bill calls specifically for bullets to the head and blood on the walls. I am still afraid to turn on the news, but I do it anyways. I do it because there is a war, and the children cannot be left to fight for themselves, this cannot be ignored any longer. If we as a nation are so horrified to see children fighters abroad, why are we less horrified when we are witnesses to the murders of our own children?

How do the weak rise up?

They use words and tools and dead things to capture and break those of us who know what being alive is. They play games and hope the rest of the world will believe their lies. It has been four years since those many months I remember, and the history books will say that yes, it got better. The culture will say that yes, it got better. The people will say that yes, it got better. But I still remember the anger after so many months when I was told for the first time that it gets better. Why am I being asked to feel better about living in a world which seeks to hate my love, seeks to dehumanize me for my humanity? I don’t want to feel good about living in this world, and I don’t want to be told that I should. I know there is nothing wrong with my love. I know there is something horribly, horribly wrong with the hate and the fear that targeted me and so many others instead, and continues to do so. So then why are we not speaking to those whose hearts and heads are filled with hate and fear and saying instead ‘you must be better.’ Is it because we are still afraid that these bills may be passed? That some fool will decide to make his fantasy of ‘killing the gays’ a reality? When will we realize that that is already the reality, and the only way to change it is by speaking back?

No, Ms. Lewinski, love makes no mistakes. You knew that when you spoke of Tyler Clementi. So why, in front of an audience would you say that you made a mistake with your love back then? You followed your heart. Bill Clinton made a mistake when he could not keep it in his pants, violated the agreements he made with his wife, lied to you as well as the nation in privacy and on recorded tape, did not have the balls to call you by your name and instead used the phrase ‘that woman,’ and used his position of power as a reason for you to be the burn victim instead of him. His wife made a mistake when she did not kick his sorry ass to the curb, and grew jealous of the fact that he decided to have an affair, and sought to vacate you of the position holding his attention instead of her by labeling you as ‘the other woman,’ a ‘narcissistic loon,’ and whatever else. And the nation made a mistake, when they followed suit, and began a nasty habit of publicly slandering one another as a means of achieving success.

How should the ‘weak’ rise up?

When we come together and say, “You are bruised? I am too.” When the thousand ones come together as one thousand and forgive each other for the actual mistakes we committed, instead of charging one another with false mistakes. Work has been done, progress has been made, and historically speaking it has gotten better. Thank you, Ms. Lewinski, and everyone else who has come forward to speak against this for being unafraid of your own bruises, and for being a warrior for the children against a culture of humiliation. But we have only won battles, and the actual war is still far from over.

A New Day

It feels like it never really changes. The sun rises on one side and sets on another. In between, our minds break-down the goings-on of the universe into bite-sized fragments. It’s easier to perform the many tasks we have to complete that way, but we lose much simultaneously. An awareness of how the pieces are reassembled as well as an awareness of the fact that a piece naturally indicates it’s connection and participation within a whole are both lost to the observation instead, that this hour is different from the one which preceded it and the one which follows. I think it is that lack of awareness which oddly enough keeps things the same.

When we are focusing our lives solely on the minute differences which the world places before us, we are only focusing truly on ourselves and what we need or want. A type of long-term thinking has been absent from the images placed before us by the media, and as such it has fallen from our minds. We are not the only things living on this planet. We share it with other creatures, but we deem them resources instead. We even deem the Earth herself as a resource.

Where did this way of thinking, of existing come from? Thousands of species and many cultures have come before us, and yet not one has come so close to killing the very thing which allows us to live in the first place. Our leaders do not represent us, individually. They represent themselves and we either nod or shake our heads at computer screens as if we participated. The only truly benevolent sovereign to ever exist is Mother Earth herself, and she has been too lenient with us. A coup d’etat occurred somewhere far back, and now she looks at us with hollow starved eyes from within cages, almost unrecognizable.

Her agents have continued to try to speak with us, to warn us that we are committing the longest suicide ever recorded, but we have not heard. When the world is ruled by dictators, her agents struggle to find an audience with people who care. Instead the information is continually brought forth into the throne-rooms of people who see too much profit in the continual starvation of those bound by chains.

“What’s that? The waters on the other side of the world are drying up? Well, I hardly see how that is my problem. Not my problem but my fault? Impossible. I’ve never even been over there. It couldn’t have been my fault, someone on the other side of the world made decisions which led their people to this point. They modeled their decisions after ours? Well, it’s not my fault we have the best systems in the world. We sent missionaries to convince them that we are the best? They needed to be saved from eternal damnation. They are asking us to help, not that they have changed their ways of living so that we could interact on our terms? I already told you, what goes on over there is not my problem. In some years all of our water will be drying up too? How many? A few generations? Well, that is hardly a problem for me then, my great-grand-children will deal with that.”

And as the hourglass on the wall dropped the last few grains of sand, a guard flipped it over and announced the next person in line for an audience with the dictator. Mother Earth’s agent was escorted towards the door, but not before being forced to sign a document saying they could not release the information they knew to the people outside of the tower, or face being locked up beside the mother. When they asked why the people should not be allowed this information the only response was that there was no need to incite a panic.

So the dictator focused instead on how to keep the people occupied and distracted as his next audience member presented the plot of a movie focusing on the life of the dictator and his rise to power, and the empire itself continued to focus only on themselves packaged and placed in front of their own eyes, and the hour which they currently found themselves in. And everything never really changed.

Towers of Habit

What is meant by ‘family’ in the modern world are those people whose habits directly affect you and the habits which you have. According to this definition, the family has grown and morphed into a web of communication, of life.

You may be shocked by who you now know as a brother, or as a sister, or as an a-gendered sibling whom you still should love. “But how,” cries a man wearing a suit from atop a tower of twitching limbs and bodies he has stacked so that he may have the best view of what he does not recognize as the destruction of the world, “may I possibly be related to those down there?” Then with a snap of his fingers I watch the tangled heap below push out a small nondescript cappuccino machine. A face emerges just long enough to make sure the right buttons are pressed, the right rations are poured. Then, before dissolving into the mass the face turns and looks upwards, toward where the man sits. With a pained, yet slightly satisfied look it mutters “Well, at least I have a job.” How indeed, are the people who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders related to those who have seen nothing but glorious views their entire lives?

The cup is passed, from one bruised limb to the next going upward until it is placed in the hand of the man in the suit. He takes a sip and begins to recount a tale of his family, stating the bonds he holds which connects him with other men in suits, sitting in chairs in offices in skyscrapers, surrounded by mirror images and objects, each shining with the same false reflection of some create-your-own-success scheme. The ghost reflections of all those who came before the image was placed across from this CEO have been wiped away with some hot air and a wipe from a white handkerchief. Saying all he has needed to, he takes another sip, this one a little more sour than the last.

“Drink again,” I say, “Look again.” I hope for something different, something new. The request falls on deaf ears. Around the back of the heap a baby has been pushed out near the top. For a brief period I admire the fact that somehow within this bio-mechanical fallacy of life the myth of creation has allowed itself to be turned on it’s head. The final decree comes from on high.

“Within the contextual evidence of the world, a normal flesh and blood child has been determined to be worth twenty more years of servitude in the pile to both parents responsible, and an approximation of servitude for the child to be set at a later date with potential extensions on the premises of: female, non-white, non-heterosexual, non-cisgendered, below the top five percent of wealth as determined by myself, witnessed tendencies towards the creation of anything non-hegemonic, or a display of emotional capacity exceeding mine.” He now holds the child up to the sun, pronouncing, “This child is a welcome and appreciated addition to the system.”

To make room for the baby he sends a second decree downward. The person with the longest sentence must vacate the pile immediately. For the first time a buzz of noise can be heard from within. Claims of how many lifetimes of subjugation bubble to the surface. “It can’t be me. The teacher three bodies up is a female. With her loans and salary she must be here for three.”

“No, I worked out a deal. Give certain students better marks based on the CEO’s decrees and my sentence is shortened by a lifetime and a half.”

From another side we hear both relief that a rigged system is why certain marks have been made, as well as rising levels of agitation as the mass comes to the uncomfortable recognition that they are not pleased with the current state of the world order.

“Alright, who can it be?” During the commotion a rather short and stout man has climbed down from his post, and rests beside me. He coughs for a moment and then pulls out a cigarette. “Got a light, kid?”

“If I did, you would not see it.”

A laugh, and then a game. The man brags about how grand his eyesight is, stating that it’s the best in the pile and asking me if I would like a demonstration of his visual prowess. “Pick anything out there that you can see and ask me what is beyond it. I can tell you for sure.”

I find no reason to humor him, since I know he’s been blind to the world since long before I was born.

“A consensus has been made.” Shouts the pile.

“Excellent.” Says the stout man. Then, turning to me, “See how effective they are?” As he begins his ascension back to the top he asks who it shall be.

A body is unceremoniously dumped out of the pile. He looks upward with a pained air of contempt. “But what am I to do?” he cries.

“That matters not, but your cappuccino skills are rather lacking. You may search elsewhere for a pile that may suit you better.” And, using the coffee-man as a step-stool, he began his ascent back to his gilded throne.

A scream escaped from the lips of the coffee-man. The noise shakes me and I realize it is because the first true expression of the day came deep from within a man who, in that moment knew what was the truth and what was the lie. Once exhausted of his need to release he turned and slumped away. Meanwhile, the heap has begun to buzz with agitation once more. They were unaware that they could make such noises. “You see?” Calls the voice from on high, “what lays beyond this pile is unsafe. It leads people to insanity.” With that the pile was silent once again, absorbing the rules of the new decree– a sour cup of coffee made leads to exile, which the man in the suit has determined to be insanity. From deep within comes the sound of a child who screams at it’s loss of a soul to the pile, and the loss of a father to freedom.

Carry On, My Wayward Son

It’s been a while since I’ve given any indication as to what I’m doing with my life, so here is the long and short of it, while still not revealing a whole lot.

In early February I moved. I had been staying in the woods at a retreat center, housekeeping in exchange for room and board. For a while, that suited me. I was far enough away from basically everything that I was able to breath deeply for the first time post-college, and had started to come into my own as a semi-functional adult. For a few days I was happy; happier than I had been in a long time. Honestly, it confused me. It flew in direct opposition to my experiences a few weeks prior when I observed that working adults don’t typically reach a point where they can simply BE happy. I mean, look at the sheer amount of literature written on how to help yourself to reaching this strange place called ‘happiness.’ Instead, it seems as though at least half of these adult lives are spent on trying just to be content. If that is really the case, then how was it that in the woods not only I but many of my co-workers also seemed happy?

At first I thought it must have been because we had found ways to work and live without money. You have to understand, literally everyone I was living with was anti-capitalist, so the fact that we had found this place to live on an alternate schema definitely gave us some happiness. We had all come to realize at varying points that the common narrative on wealth being the road to happiness (while sometimes true in a consumption based more=more manner,) was only one side of a the coin. The other, is that a currency system based on material objects and the accumulation of those objects has an immense potential to be allocated into the hands of a few. Not only does that potential exist, but that is what has happened. Furthermore, when there are enough resources to effectively feed, house, and support every person on the planet (which in my opinion, we do,) but the world is run by desires to hold on to whatever wealth one has accumulated as an indication of their happiness in some messed up way, systems are created which serve exclusively to accumulate the wealth within the hands of a select few. In fact, so many systems are created with that goal in mind and have been for so long that now that we have become aware of this fact we struggle to perceive of systems which may function in alternate ways. And, when we do, the strength of these puppeteering masterminds silences and destroys any alternatives by creating a fanatical opposition against them. So, knowing all of that, when I was presented with an opportunity to escape some of those systems, I took it, and it did make me happier.

After a few days  however, I needed a change. Even though I was living an alternate lifestyle I had dreamed of, and even though all of the people I was living with were also ‘happy,’ I realized that the happiness we were existing in also had to be purchased. If not by us, by someone, somewhere. I would get on Facebook at night and see that the world was still turning and burning. Just because myself and the people I was with had been able to escape the brutal cycles of the world it was still affecting my friends, my family, the world, and my life. The rules of out-of-sight out-of-mind no longer applied and I needed to find something else.

I decided to switch retreat centers. I thought I would be satisfied by going to one promoted towards lgbtqia+. I thought, then, at least I wouldn’t just be helping and living and working with people who wanted to escape because of capitalism, but also because of a societal and cultural persecution. I thought I would be making a change. Or, at the very least, I thought it would be more exciting. While it was certainly more exciting, I found that being in a community that was based on removing themselves not only because of capital, but also because of wounds from those puppeteers, only made me feel like I was also hiding. And hiding was something I told myself I had given up when I went to college and left the South. Three days of discomfort and a few bad choices later and I found myself sitting in the back of my friend’s car on my way to stay with some ex-roommates from college instead. It was there that my happiness once again turned into rage, and I will write about some of that later, and some of that another time. For now, suffice it to say that what was supposed to be a short visit turned into me crashing for about a month there until my living situation crumbled at my feet. Two days later, and I was back on a double-decker bus headed down South.

So, where am I writing this from? A chair in my mother’s home in North Carolina. Three months post-grad and still jobless. Where am I going next, what am I doing next? I have no clue, honestly. It’s funny, when people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would usually be a variation on ‘happy.’ Well, I guess I can check that off my bucket list, because I’ve been happy, and I’ve learned that ‘happiness,’ not only as defined by the capitalist monster running our world, but also as defined by the opposition is nothing but a cheap trick, which even still is only offered to people of a certain resource-level. At both retreat centers I worked at, when I looked around at the people attending the conferences and the costs of attending those conferences (anywhere from about 300-700 dollars for roughly three days,) I was shocked. This was happiness being sold for a price higher than I could feasibly afford from three-months of saving money IF I even had a job that paid money, which I didn’t. And it was only for a few days. The sliding scales and work-exchange programs in place still miss the point that some people of a certain income-level get to sit on their ass and enjoy themselves during their off-time while people of a lower one are scrubbing dishes. True ‘happiness’ it seems, still comes only in the form of ignorance, wealth, or a willful decision to not pay attention to the problems of the world.

At the end of it all then, I no longer want to be happy. Instead, for now, I want to be angry, and I get fulfillment from that desire. I am so extremely angry, and I hope you will be angry too. We should have no fear of breaking the system. It’s been broken since its inception, and will continue to be so until we rip out its cold stone heart in the shape of filthy dollar signs, and lay that monster to rest. It’s time for the big guys to lay down their toys and start talking. I know it’s not likely that the puppeteers will ever read this, but just in case, I sincerely hope that they recognize that after the non-violent pleas of the oppressed for change, comes violent screams. I also hope that they are willing to love enough that they’ll change, because even the ones who recognize that cycle also recognize if they are in power now, they may be in power later too, and so they let it swirl around and around. This is not a threat, nor is it a call to arms. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you should know how I feel about violence at this point. If we don’t turn this around now, it’ll be out with the old monster, and in with another one, even stronger. Isn’t it crazy how violence, money, and infectious diseases all work in the same manner, and yet we still glorify all of them? No, this is not a threat, or a call to arms, but merely a calling-out, and a hope that we can change and grow through listening and love instead of shut ears and fear.