HELP

So we have to do this. So many things to work out. Bad insurance equals bad medical care. The doctor did something wrong, won’t admit to it. The landlord wants me out because I don’t sit and play quiet poor girl.   Where do I go? I wish there was a place that had a hospital setting to take care of the physical stuff.and someone to help with the mental stuff. It’s too much. It’s way too much. I wond

I don’t know where to go. Can some one help me? I do not want to die.  I will not die.  I will survive this.  I am meant for something, but I don’t know what.  I’m thinking I may have different personalities that come out sometimes.  I’m different.  I’m always different.  Always on the outside looking in.  I can read people so well.  I know I have a friend who is a killer.  I have a friend who is so complex that it is too simple.  Sometimes I do wonder if I am some sort of figure.

I just know I need help here.  I do need help.  And I have no idea how to get the help I need.

You’re doing this journey with me damn it.  I said help I meant it!! A nice social worker gave me a place I can just show up and go.  So I will do that.  In the mean time you are stuck with me.  I know I complain a lot, I just think it’s funny.  You think I’m complaining, but I’m laughing at the absurdity of the situation.  Because life is absurd.  It’s funny.  The situation that we are in.  I am in.  I can’t help but laugh.

The alternative is to dwell in misery.  Who wants that? Maybe that’s what makes me weird.  That I try to find something, one thing, that makes the situation absurd.  And I laugh.  I laugh at it.  Laughing eases tension.  It processes better.  And positively.

Something tells me I am going to war here.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s my mental illness at this point.  But I am fighting for… an apartment I don’t want? And the doctor tells me is bad for my back? See? Absurd, right?  I need to fight for an apartment I don’t want because later down the road it will help me get an apartment I do want.  I think.  That’s the plan.

It’s complicated.  But doable.  It is too much to explain here.  I just wanted to note one of the absurdities that comes up.  So I can laugh.  Because misery is horrific.  I don’t want to be in misery.  We can laugh, center ourselves, and go forth.  When I make a plan, I  do it.

Unfortunately, time is an absurdity in of itself.  There isn’t much I can do at 3:26am I just have to wait.

Miracles

I find it odd, almost comical, that in times of crisis I turn to saints. I’m not Catholic by any means, I don’t particularly believe a man can be a Messiah, at least not in the sense we consider them to be. But back to the saints.

Sure, there are plenty of selfless people out there. People whose selfless acts may look, or actually be some “supernatural” occurrence unknown by science the cause. Or maybe it’s simply the power of belief, an energy, a connection between the souls of people, objects, or whatever miracles can be.

So there are saints. Most go unrecognized. They are the bit part celebrities we see filling in roles for documentary reenactments, commercials, and maybe a speaking line in a hit show. Seen and forgotten. There, and proud. And then the regular celebrities. The saint’s whose names we know by heart. Mother Teresa is a good example. May she never be forgotten. And every religion has saints, the celebrities and the bit parts. Maybe they don’t use the word, but they have them.

When I was in college there was a day I lost my cell phone. I was hysterical. Phones at that time had already become the “thing,” though text messaging was still in the days of pressing numbers to the right letters. Mine at least had a camera. I dropped it on my way to campus, in the middle of a street. To me it was gone for good.

I went to a Catholic college (hey, the scholarships were great), so most of my friends had been in the religion for a while. My friend told me that Saint Micheal, the guardian of the gate, was who you pray to for lost items. That he brings them back. What did I have to loose, we prayed to Saint Micheal. That night my friend, whose name first appeared on my contacts list, got a phone call from my number. A person found it outside their yard getting the paper and was looking for the owner. I was in class, my friend went to pick it up, and when I arrived back to the dorms, she gave it to me. I believe it worked, the prayer.

I believe praying for the right things, the right reasons, and having no expectations to how but looking with an open mind…

There is another class of saints I never spoke of. Let’s say the “B” list. The special saints whose name and purpose is mostly forgotten unless you are exposed to them. My school was Franciscan, that means we worked in the name of Saint Frances, often referred to the patron saint of animals. We had a day you could bring your animals for a blessing. I don’t know why he was the saint of that. The story I learned of him had not much to do with animals, except one time, just once, he stood in town to preach. The people ignored him, so he said, “then I will preach to the birds,” and he spread the word, as his heart believed, to the birds. Other than that, according to anything I read, no animal miracles, no other stories involving animals.

So.. he became a saint to animals. Because… I guess they ran out of things to have saints for?Even though the position is filled by Saint Hubert, who I know of through a dog shelter that shares his name. Who worked with dogs.

See? It’s confusing. It’s one of the oxymoronic things I find. I don’t fault a religion who has been around since the beginning of when we counted time as it is. It’s old, and roots are even older. So, you run out of things, you forget things. So many years. So many changes and people. Sometimes corruption. It’s a long history of violence and peace. And very many saints.

There is a saint who affects me directly. I am here, alive, I exist, because of one. She is Saint Mother Cabrini. I am not sure what she is a saint of exactly. I call her the patron saint of asthma. Because back when my grandfather was a child there was no treatment. If you got an attack you couldn’t breath your way out of, you died. My grandpa was born with asthma, and very young in his baby years, he had an attack. For days. Hospitals told my Nana, my great-grandmother, to take him home. Let him die in his home.

Through her Italian connections, she learned of a nun, a Mother nun, an Italian Mother nun, who performed miracles. Now, my Nana, she believed. Maybe she was unsure. But this was her baby. Her baby she traveled from Sicily with for a better life. A baby given to her to ensure a better life then his parents will ever have. A baby she could have saved from extinction all together (Godfather reference here).

So she went to this woman who performed miracles. And she laid her child down and prayed with this woman. Prayed her baby wouldn’t die, would breath, would be cured. And the baby started to breath clearer and clearer. And then no wheeze at all. And while he passed the disease down, of course by the time treatment was readily available, he never had a wheeze the rest of his life.

How can I not believe in saints?

My Wish

I remember, way back in my early childhood, a dream I had of a black Knight, on a black horse, surrounded in a room of nothing.  A cape of hope hung around his neck and he looked at me, straight at me, and in the raspy echo of his helmet said, “Come to me.  Come get it.”

I have to share this.  I have no choice.  At some point it has to come out.  It will hurt people, and I’m sorry.

I’m not one who pushes God.  It’s a taboo subject, and I think God is something people come to on their own accord.  Belief or not, I don’t judge.  I don’t judge people’s religion.  God is an experience, and everyone has a different perspective.  It’s as individual as staring at a table.  My vantage point has me looking in one direction, seeing what I can see with my eyes, feeling what I can feel with my hands.  Your vantage point is different than mine.  Maybe an inch above, to the left.  You see more than I can see.  For me the table has legs.  You can’t see the legs, so for you the table has none.  

And for those who cannot see the table, whose vantage point has them too far away, or turned around, that doesn’t mean the table isn’t there.  That doesn’t mean your perception is wrong.  You’re experience is different than mine, but we are all experiencing the same thing.  Because as much as we see a table, science says it’s mostly empty space. Nothing.  So, even non-believers are staring at the same thing, just differently.

I’m trying to put us all on the same page here, if you haven’t noticed.  Believers and non.  Because I want everyone to keep an open mind.  I’m not here to convince anyone of God or Religion.  I just need to tell my story, and I just need you to listen.  There is no point of a story if no one listens.  But I have to say it, I can’t keep quiet any longer.

A friend of mine convinced me to write this, in his own special way.  Actually, he doesn’t even know.  He just asked a simple question.  He wanted to know what sparked my curiosity.  And then there is my therapist.  Who asked how.  Actually, many doctors have asked how.  How am I alive today?

I have been through so much, survived so much, and yet I persevered.  I did it and I can laugh.  No matter how much I have been hurt, no matter how much I have been angered, I still have love and not hate.  I refuse to give up on my family and friends.  I refuse to be swallowed in misery.  It’s not an easy road to take.  Most wouldn’t.  But, I’m a survivor. And I truly believe there is a reason for it all.  I truly believe in the end it will mean something.  Because it does.  Because I want to leave something of me behind to help.

So here it is.  My soul.  My curiosity.  

In college my life fell apart.  My mother had a botched surgery on her shoulder.  It left her in more pain then she went in, and caused her to be disabled.  My mother was always a strong, independent woman.  She worked hard to give my sister and I a life where we weren’t rich, and weren’t poor.  We got everything we needed and then some.  And when she applied for disability, all on her own, no lawyers, no nothing, the government agreed with her.  It’s rare, most people get denied their first try, even with a lawyer.  But, she was truly unable to work, the pain too great.  We all knew it.

And it broke her heart.  Here, a woman who worked her whole life, a woman who relied on herself for everything she needed, who in the 60s was told she could be only this or only that; defied her father, married the man she would happy with;  who gave her life to her children so they could get everything they needed and wanted and grow up independent dreamers.  And she was told by the US Government that she was no longer able to support herself.  That’s how she saw it.  She told me in not so many words.  She felt useless.  I watched a woman who I admired shatter.  And I wasn’t the only one who felt the repercussions of our strong family matriarch give up.  The glue had withered, as glue does with age.  

I don’t want to discount credit to my father here.  He is strong in his own way.  In my house, my mother ruled.  She held us together and she held him together.  He never denied that, and wouldn’t.  But there is something to be said for a man who stands behind his woman.  Who supports her 100% in every decision she makes, and agrees with her whether he truly agrees or not.  Both my parents took the anti-establishment of their times to heart.  Gender roles meant nothing, religion was control, God was a word, the “Joneses” was an illusion, and money came in from both sides regardless of a “breadwinner.”  Now maybe for the tradition of what makes a man, “a man” it makes my father look weak, but for us it was strength.  Because the outside world could see what it wanted, but the inside… we knew the truth.  

My mother was glue.  Strong glue.  Any crack was quickly filled.  And it wasn’t a dictatorship.  Believe me, my parents loved both my sister and I dearly.  They weren’t perfect, no parents are, really.  They made mistakes, some catastrophic, but they are human.   So, “dysfunctional family”?  Sure.  Name me one family that isn’t.  

But the glue snapped.  My family crumbled quickly.  My mother’s despair sucked the wind out of everyone.  I don’t blame her for that.  It was unfair of us to rely on her so much.  And I could make excuses.  I could say I was a child, I didn’t know any better not to.  I could say it was my sister who took every advantage she could to break the sanctity of the inside and threaten to expose us for what we were.  I could say my father shouldn’t have put that much pressure on my mother, should have been stronger, should have better prepared him and us for that moment.  

But where would that leave us? Blaming and pointing? Accusing and name calling? Hurting and anger? Nothing to solve the problem, just watching it grow and fester.

Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?  Because that’s exactly what happened.  Blame, pointed fingers, everyone knew what everyone should have done and it became a big mess.

As college was coming to an end, so was I.   My mother was injured, and then my father rolled his ankle, and became injured as well.  My sister was getting married.  Then divorced.  Everywhere I turned I had injury, heartbreak, and chaos.  

And I became depressed.   I felt my mind regress back to my childhood.   I reached out for help.

It’s amazing, when you sit in a hospital full of depressed people, how many people turn to God.  Or, well, actually away.  Everyone seemed angry at God.  Everyone felt abandoned by him.  I asked one of the nurses about this, why is it everyone talked about God?  She told me that most people, like me, were at the end of their ropes.  Facing the darkest corners of their minds, facing the choice of their own mortality.  They felt rejected, and angry.  I did too.  But not by God.  I didn’t believe in God.  I couldn’t put hate into a thing that didn’t exist.  But I knew I existed.  And I knew who to be angry at.  Everyone else.

I was angry at my mother for shutting down; angry at my father for not standing the ground and taking over; I was angry my sister had an escape through drugs; I was angry my friends didn’t have to feel what I did; I was angry my parents threw money down the drain; I was angry I had to keep going; I was angry I had to go out into the world alone;  I was angry I had to keep public perceptions up;  I was angry that I couldn’t tell the truth; I was angry that the truth brought both fear and change. 

They say people who make the choice to commit suicide don’t really want to die.  I think back to that time, and, yeah, I really wanted to die.   So whoever “they” are need to understand.  We want to die.  I even had an after-plan.  I wanted my energy and anger to haunt what was around me.  I wanted the blame to be cast on those around me like a curse, to punish all generations.   It was about revenge, hatred, and pain.   I would watch the catastrophe happen as a final middle finger and laugh and say “I told you  so.  It wasn’t my fault, I tried to tell you and no one cared, no one listened.  And now look at what you did.  It wasn’t my fault at all.”

 I tried to die by running my car into a tree (missed).  I tried swallowing hair spray (yuck).  I tried standing in a tub with the shower running and an electrical cord plugged in (thanks Hollywood).  There was even a time I seriously considered making a sign that said, “I hate black people,” and  driving down to Camden, NJ, standing in the middle of the street with it, letting the gangs kill me, for me.  Yes, I got that from a movie.  That’s how depressed I was.  I watched an old Die Hard movie and actually thought it was a cleaver way to off myself.  Death becomes an obsession when you are depressed.

One  night  there was a fight going on.  Typical fight.  My sister in one of her lucid moments, denying something she did in her comatose drugged state.  Screaming, throwing things in the bedroom.  My father hiding upstairs.

I just walked out.  Unprepared.  A total compulsion.  I didn’t stop to put on a jacket in the cold November air.  I didn’t stop and think about shoes.  I just walked barefoot down the road to the park being guided by some sort of peace of mind.   A comfort, calling me there.  I felt united with the world.  For some reason I felt so at peace, like something guiding me.  I felt one with the earth, free, and alive.  Suddenly I felt the whole purpose of life, the whole connection, the design of everything.   And there it was.   Some kids must have tangled up the swings, but I swear it was like a perfect noose.  

And as I stared at it, the rain began to fall.  All of it made sense at that very moment.  The connection.  The world was crying for me.  Nature was mourning me, I could watch it in these few moments and it was beautiful.  And peaceful.  And freeing.  I imagined me swinging back and forth in the wind, like the end of Huxley’s novel, “Brave New World.” How poetic.  A family refusing to show emotion, a singular revolution of hatred, how meaningless it had all become.  That’s how I imagined me.

I tried to climb up the pole, but the rain, the light mist that had passed during my peace… I kept sliding back down.  I tried stepping on the other swing but it wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get my head through the chain and snap my neck.  Eventually the mud on my feet, the slickness of my skin, with the dampness of the rubbery swing and wet iron got me nowhere but landing on the ground.  God won, and I cried my eyes out, and went back home defeated.  I cursed it.  I had a new thing to hate, and it was God.  It mocked me with its humor  and I screamed, “Is this your way of getting me to believe in you?”

Now it was personal.

I told my mother I would get help for my depression.  For my problem.  I wanted to give my family some sort of hope.  As sick as this sounds, it was so I could dash it away.  Because I was so angry.  I wanted them to feel as miserable as I did.  I let my sister convince me to call this private hospital and check myself in over the phone.  The guy listened to me, he really wanted me to come then and there, but he didn’t have a room.  I lied to him.  I told him I had no plans to kill myself.  I begged him to let me come tomorrow, put my name down for a room.  That I wanted to die, but I promised I wouldn’t do it that night.  He called it a verbal contract.  Sure, bud, whatever you say.  

The stage was set.  MY stage.  In MY room.  In MY walls.  MY energy, MY haunting ground. The last thing to do before I drank my pills was the suicide note.  I wrote it all out, every word.   The hate, the misery, the blame, the isolation, the selfishness, the pure unexplainable pain.  The noose.  God.  I wrote it all down.  There was nothing left for me to do but die.

And it was like I saw outside of myself for a moment.  Like suddenly I didn’t belong in my own body.  It’s deafening.  I can’t hear anything.  Or I don’t remember hearing anything now.  And I brought up the thought of “they”.  What “they” say.  “They say people who are suicidal don’t want to die”.  Did I want to die? Was this it? 

I thought about where I would be buried.  Could I have a burial? Would I go to a graveyard? Suicide is a crime by the church, would they let my mother bury me? I wondered what the end would bring me? Peace? Is this a sin? What did I really think would happen? Would I float above and watch the suffering? Would I really be able to watch the wrath of my anger? Do I just enter a void and all is over in an anticlimactic event? 

I poured a bunch of Aleve in my hand, and stared at it.  I saw all my past attempts to die.  I realized I won.  This was going to work.  I beat God at its own game.  I would join it now.  I smiled at my victory.  Who else can beat God? Surely God understood how miserable I was, how desperate I was, it was trying to save me,  kept trying to stop me, but it couldn’t… it wasn’t… it..

A realization hit me.  All those suicide attempts, all those times wondering why whatever it was wouldn’t let me go… It wouldn’t…

Something beyond me wasn’t letting me die.  Something believed in me, or needed me, for something beyond what I could see.  And I see two hands before me.   One filled with pills, one not.  I could win and die, beat God at its own game.  Or I could trust in God that I was meant for something.  That this was a test of some sort.  I took a deep breath, clenched both my fists, one around the pills, the other empty, and with tears in my eyes I whispered to the energy around me, “You love me.  YOU love me.  You’re fighting for me.  I promise I won’t take my life.  I swear to you I will not take my life, but  please, please, make this better, please.  If you make this better I won’t kill myself.”

A leap of faith.  As Kierkegaard had put it, a “Theological Suspension of the Ethical”.  I put my hand out to something.  At this point, I didn’t know what.  Just something.  Something that had kept me alive all this time.  Something that refused to give up on me.  Something wasn’t LETTING me die.  I felt loved.  It had been a long time since I had felt love.  Especially the love I felt at that moment.

But the pink cloud  doesn’t stay.  Life doesn’t work like a fairy tale.  And my soul came crashing back down to my body eventually.   Only this time I had no escape plan.   

I clung to the hope I felt that night I tried to die.  I clung to that desperate will to live for something.  And as each empty day passed, as each challenge rose and fell, I started to question what I did.  What had I trusted? Why? What life was this?

I put my faith and belief in… what? Was it just my own human will not to die? My mind? I started questioning everything I learned.  I still wouldn’t break that promise I made to it, but I was beginning to think it was some sick joke all over again.

Days of desperation turned into weeks, into months, into years of waiting.  What was my purpose? Why was I alive? What was I meant to do?

Any hope withered as no answers came to the questions.  Every route I tried to get out of this despair left me at a dead end, circled me back to the same dark place I was.  I lived like a ghost.  There was no anger at this point.  There wasn’t anything, it was all a void.  I didn’t even think I was worth the trouble to die.  Yeah, there is a beyond to suicidal depression.  Being so depressed you don’t even deserve to die.  

 Months passed.  The world swallowed in darkness around me.

“I can’t go on like this anymore.  I need you to hold your end of the bargain or I’m going to die.  I don’t know what to do, God.  I will break my promise if you don’t help me. “

Deep black misery coated my consciousness

“I can’t do this any longer.  I give myself to you.  I said I won’t kill this body and I won’t, God.  But I am already dead in spirit.  So I will wait for you to take my body from my soul.

 “Oh God, oh God, why have you forsaken me?”

And then everything shut down…

…And I Broke

Not a break, not a snap

But a shatter.

A shatter of shards around me.


Was a mind once


Now it lay in prickly pieces

A painful process of peculiar patterns

Possibly never pasting right.


And it hurts

Apparently a day went by.  My body did stuff, disconnected to me.  I have flashes, disconnected clumps of time.  I apparently did a lot that day, but I have no memory of any of it.  Just brief attempts of my mind attempting to gain back control of reality, to fall back into the obscure safety of the subconscious.  

My understanding, from what I have pieced together from those around me, is that my anger boiled over into something I could no longer control.  The bleak sadness just put me to sleep.  I really did become a ghost.  Dead, with just an energetic body moving, talking, pretending among the conscious.  

God had given me what I wanted most in those years I waited.  Something I was trying to will into truth.  I was beyond wanting to die.  I wanted to cease existing.  I wasn’t worth the trouble, the misery death would cause.   And for a day my soul did just that, ceased. Leaving nothing but the shell, an angry energy disjointedly hung in the present.  

A reprieve.  

When I awoke from this trance, this break, I lost everything.  Independence, autonomy, freedom.  I woke up where most do when faced in a psychological break, a state mental asylum.  Hidden from society like a thrown away piece of meat past its use, as if I might poison those I meet.

I was told by anyone who mattered that I didn’t belong there.  I wasn’t them.  I had a psychological breakdown brought on by depression, environment, drug addiction by myself and those around me, and a complete injustice done to me by the mental health system.  “A Disassociative Fugue.” Where most people are swallowed by that hell for their eternal lives, doctors in the hospital with the help of an outside organization rescued me.  

But I sat in hell for three long months.  A place where the criminally insane, homeless, and hopeless cases of mental incapacity come to rest.  It was violent, scary, and unpredictable.  Some of the staff might have well been patients, some of the patients would have made much better staff.  It had it’s terrorizing moments, and some of the most beautiful acts of humanity and friendship I’ve ever had.  But throughout all of it, I hung on to my hope.  This serene promise that had been made.

Dante had to go through every circle of hell before reaching paradise.  This was my final circle before reaching life again.  I spent my whole life trying to find God.  I yelled at it at age 7 to show itself or I would not believe.  In fifth and sixth grade I was angry at it for not doing what I wanted.  In high school I had such a traumatic fear of death and what happened afterwords that it would keep me up all night.  I read the history of God, religion, death, afterlife, to discover what it was all about to the times of man.  And there were so many Gods and religions to pick from I couldn’t chose.  Ever.  

I told you this started in college.  One of my more happy memories was when I was with a friend of mine in Lake George, NY.  The sky was gorgeous, and the night was clear.  We were having a great time as the sun set over the water.  And just as night fell into the sky, a star twinkled.  And yeah, I’ll admit, I thought of the little children’s poem.  So, I made a wish.  I wished to be happy.  And something instinctively struck me.  Like time stopped for a second.  A thought whispered, “What would make you happy?” I remember really considering this question.  Maybe even to the point my friend thought it was a bit weird.  And I thought about what was going on at the time: my sister’s addiction, my mother’s disability, my father’s isolation, my friends moving on, college life ending, jobs, careers, the start of adulthood and responsibility  and the fear such a transition involves.  I thought hard, and looked back up at the single star and I said quietly to the night air, “I want to know God.  That will make me happy for the rest of my life.”

In the end, what I should have known at the beginning, is that this isn’t going to change.  I can’t change people.  They are who they are.  And I am me.  I can only speak for me.  This was my journey, with all the wrong decisions.  But, I learned.  I learned about me and about others.  I learned about people and life.  I learned mistake are just that, mistakes.  They can be fixed, and we can move on.

I opened this by stating that I don’t want to prove to you God exists.  I just knew I could not exist for me.  I had to reach out to something intangible.  And whatever that was saved me.  So I believe.  It is part of my journey for survival.  If I didn’t, I’d be dead.  You wouldn’t be reading this.  I wouldn’t exist in this moment.

And in my spiritual quest, I got my wish.  I got what would make me happy.  And I’m a better person for it.  So, I alone, have to believe.  I owe my life to it.

Whatever “It” is.

The Thanksgiving Curse

I’m beginning to think Thanksgiving is a cursed holiday for my family.  The earliest Thanksgivings I remember were great, sure.  Snow, sledding, learning to cook the meal.  The tradition passing down from my mother to my sister and me.

And I remember the first Thanksgiving it all went wrong.  Just, everything, went wrong.  My sister was back home without her husband, it was the first Thanksgiving without her boyfriend- turned- fiance- turned-husband around in a long time.  Wow, since High School for me I think.  And I was in College now.

I just remember no one was happy.  My sister was sleeping against the wall of our eat in kitchen, occasionally waking up to eat before slumping back down again.  My mother had enough at this point.  She cooked all day, really hard, and no one was eating her food and she pointed to my sister and said, “and you won’t even wake up.”  

And yeah, she didn’t.  So my mom went to vent her frustrations outside and I ran after her.  My mother demanded a cigarette out of me.  I had never seen her smoke, but I knew she did before she had kids.  Out of shock, or just dumbed silence, I gave one to her, with a light.  And we smoked.

And that was the Thanksgiving that started our curse.  Where it picked up.  Every year after that, Thanksgiving is one of the worst holidays our family has suffered through time and time again.  The year after the Thanksgiving I just described we had invited friends over.  It was kind of fun, and most definitely awkward as my sister had holed herself up in the basement and refused to even greet them, more or less partake in festivities, cooking, and dinner.

 

Each Thanksgiving followed one from the next.  Some small inconveniences to major catastrophes always  kept Thanksgiving lively for us.  There was one year when our oven only cooked ½ the turkey.  No, literally, one side of the oven had stopped working and our turkey, therefore, sort of melded between completely done to still defrosting.  But, that was better than when the entire oven caught on fire so I guess one can’t be too picky.  Illnesses sometimes cancelled the Thanksgiving holiday, or a death of a pet.

I’m beginning to see a pattern here.  Maybe a curse? I’m Italian, was one of my original ancestors somehow involved in the “first” Thanksgiving? I mean, the real thing, not the happy one they taught us in school.  Perhaps it picks up when adulthood hits, as, no one wants to punish children, right?  Some kind of Karma from the sins of the… Eh, just something I think about.  There certainly is a pattern I see, but probably reading way too much into.  

But, I have come to determine, this year, we have a cursed holiday.  So let’s rejoice in our curse, celebrate the holiday we know will fall apart, and laugh as we make memories.  And let this be a start to the tally of many Thanksgivings down the line, to watch the curse continue through the family. This is the start, the realization.  The documentation starts here.

I mean, everything stays on the internet and can be updated, right?

Thanksgiving 2016: Maggie dies on the eve of Thanksgiving.  The family has moved so has no money to celebrate.  The parents and one child stay in their new house, the other child is in her apartment, all mourning the loss of their beloved dog.  This is the second thanksgiving they didn’t celebrate together as a family.

Thanksgiving 2017: Not bad. Does a realization of a curse and calling it out somehow disipate power? So much my yearly documentation for generations. Maybe that’s the curse: haha, we decided to make you think you are crazy. So, with the typical “no shit” family quibbles, and the forgotten vanilla ice cream for our pie, all seems ok. We did have the defective turkey, as though the legs were prebroken tied only to the bird by the raw skin, and our accidental forgetting to remove the bacon, it still cooked and tasted fine. I hope it’s not extra for next year. Premptively, I see it as a good holiday. But extra fear for next year. We’ll try to be positive.

Hollywood has Taken the White House

How did Hillary Clinton lose to a Reality TV Personality for President of the United States?

It’s a question I see on every TV station I turn on.  How did she lose? What went wrong? And I’m sure all the political pundits and polls can show us exactly where and when and every media outlet will pick apart her campaign.  But the truth is, Hillary lost because no one ever wanted her to be nominated to begin with! So how do you win with a candidate that people told you, over and over again, that they didn’t want?

First of all, she tried to run already as the nominee, and lost to President Obama.  One might think that would be enough.  One might think that the people had stated their mind.  She had her chance, she was a great contender, but the people wanted one over the other and that was that.  She took her position as Secretary of State and would presumably go on into political history, much like what happens historically with other candidates that run and fail in the primaries.  

Except that didn’t happen.  

And here is where I, and most other Democrats, see the problem in the campaign.  Not the e-mail scandals (though, let’s face it, we have impeached presidents for much less), not because of her reputation in the White House or even the suspicious activity in her charity.  

She was promised to run in 2016.  And most of us Democrats agree that she was most likely guaranteed the nomination.  Now, of course, one could view this as simply a conspiracy theory, and frankly, it is.  But, it has merit.  Hear me out.

I’m sure everyone knows of Bill Clinton’s reputation in the White House, and some of us older voters even remember watching Bill Clinton publicly announce on television that he cheated on his wife, and lied about it.  And don’t tell me the thought did not cross your mind, as you watched Hillary stand by her husband and be supportive, that the support did not come with a price, or a promise, from the party.  Let’s face it, he was impeached, the first president to be so.  If she did not stay with him, he would have been thrown out of the White House before his term was over.  And even though the Republicans won the next election anyway, to have him step out of the White House would have been a gift to the Republican party.

It takes time to build a campaign of course, and, the fated first run came and went.  I don’t think she expected to lose to Obama, but as Obama gained in the primary polls, I remember the news stories.  I remember her conceding and giving her support to him.  I remember whoever the political names on CNN at that time were stating that she will accept the Secretary of State position, and run again in 2016.  I remember that.  Promised and slated.  She will run again.

Now, we can’t have her run against nobody in the primaries.  That would look strange, of course.  And would be perfect fodder for Republicans to use, a woman who is running only because she is promised, not because of the people.  So, who do they put against her that they figure is a guaranteed loss? As we go further and further broke as a country, the ever popular Libertarian ideals growing, and the already tense situation with Russia? A socialist seemed like a great idea to ensure Hillary’s nomination to the Democratic party.

And here is my conspiracy theory.  The people spoke, and the people wanted Sanders.  The democrats WANTED the Socialist,  and that wasn’t supposed to happen.  But here you have a woman who was promised the nomination twice.  And twice the nomination rejected? Yeah, I believe some underhanded dealing went down, and the primary was rigged in her favor, and Sanders was forced to step down.

Quite frankly, most Democratic voters I knew didn’t like Hillary all through the campaign.  I am a Democrat, and I did not want to vote for Hillary.  I did not wear the “I voted” sticker.  I was ashamed.  I was ashamed because I really believe that Hillary did not belong there to begin with.  That many underhanded dealings went behind that nomination.  And when people ask me who I voted for, I say I didn’t vote for a person, I voted for the party I agree with more.  Because quite frankly I think a reality TV personality and real estate mogul is the most laughable resume to have when applying to run a country.  But he won.  And he won because the Democrats refused to listen to what the public wanted.

The problem with Hillary’s campaign was Hillary.  We didn’t want her.  Not the first time, and not the second.  And because of some promise and underhanded dealings, Hollywood has taken over our presidency.  You know, Kim Kardashian once said she was the American equivalent of royalty.  And most of us laughed at how self delusional she was.  Who’s laughing now?

The American Dream

I was recently hanging around with some friends of mine, and we got on the topic of families. We were talking about our status in life, how we got where we are. Him, being a first generation of Chinese Immigrants, me being second generation, totally Americanized. We talked about politics, jobs, and somehow, as I stated, our families.

Inadvertently, I brought up my cousin. I say that because as he was talking about how his family became who they were in this country, the story reminded me so much of him. Not that my cousin immigrated here, but, just how in this country one can start with humble beginnings and become something great. As I reflected on the conversation I had with my friend, I remembered how much I admired my cousin, even growing up.

My cousin does not know I’m writing this, so obviously out of respect for his private life, I will leave some stuff out. I am also going to give him the random name of “Jim,” again, for his private life and his unknowingly becoming a subject of a blog. Also, typing “my cousin” over and over again not only will annoy me, but I am sure you, the reader, as well. Jim is significantly older than me, so I did have the opportunity to see him as an inspirational adult figure, and have much respect for how he got where he is. Even the friend I mentioned above, had great respect for a man who could come from so little, and gain so much.

I don’t know much about Jim as a very young child, as, I wasn’t born. I can’t comment too much on his socioeconomic status growing up either. He went to public school in New York City, lived somewhere in the 70s in Manhattan during the 1980s. I wouldn’t say he was poor, but from my understanding from my mother, money was tight. Then again, when isn’t it?

I wish I could say I remember Jim when he was a teen, but, for the most part, it seems all my memories are of him as an adult. Perhaps it was because I was so young, and me being so small that even a young, teenage Jim would tower above me much like the rest of the tree like people looking down.

But, I remember always loving Jim. Something in the way he perused what he wanted to do, an independent spirit, like my grandfather. Every year I saw him he was involved in a new interest or hobby, and good at it too. One year he charmed me with magic tricks, speaking of becoming a magician. The next year he wasn’t a magician anymore, but found a new passion. He kept going and going and following wherever his dreams took him. Eventually that spirit took him to computers, networking, coding, website design, and a bunch of technical words and terms that I don’t understand.

I get it, I get it. This is titled “The American Dream” and I’m talking about my cousin. I guess the point is, my cousin reminds me of what I actually love so much about this country. Here, a man from a modest beginning, dropping out of HS to follow where his heart leads him, and becoming one of the most successful people I know.

Oh, wait. I didn’t mention that? The man who followed his dreams and heart became so successful that he has a mansion in an exclusive neighborhood in New York state and married a beautiful woman who, for all intensive purposes, can trace her heritage to Romanian Royalty?

THAT, my friends, is America. That is what I told my friend, whose parents saw that when they came here. When people ask me what the “American dream” is, I bring up my cousin. Because, none of that is exaggerated. I love my cousin, and I love my country. It is why my grandparents immigrated here, and it is the dream. And if anyone doesn’t know what it means to live in America, just tell them this is the only country where you can grow up in a blue collar neighborhood, drop out of high school, follow your dreams, find your passion, become wealthy, and marry royalty.

Everyone’s American dream is different, everyone’s story is written differently. There is a lot going on in the political infrastructure of America right now that makes me unsure of where my country is going. It may have always been this way. I just want to say right now, no matter where you stand, left or right, pro or con, black or white, religion or not…

This is a great country. We have great opportunity. Let’s not forget what we are all about.