Join Me in the Fight to Prevent Suicide

Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.

  • In 2014 (latest available data), there were 42,773 reported suicide deaths.
  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 15 and 64 years in the United States.
  • Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A person dies by suicide about every 12.3 minutes in the United States.
  • Every day, approximately 117 Americans take their own life.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
  • 494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.

Depression

25 million Americans suffer from depression each year.

  • Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
  • Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year.
  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.

Click HERE to donate to my Out of the Darkness Walk.

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Scars

20180202_152816-COLLAGE.jpgWe all have them. They tell stories about us. What were you doing when you got your scars? Where had you been? Do you ever forget that you have them? Are you proud of them? Do they scare you?

I have a lot of scars. I still have some on my left shin from accidents on the playground in elementary school. I have one on my forehead from an idiot move I made in my early twenties. There’s one on the back of my right hand from a brush with a safe at work a couple of years ago. Most of the time I don’t even notice those. But the ones in the crooks of my arms (pictured above), well, I often find myself examining those when my mind wanders. They’re scars from blood donations. I don’t often use my right arm, the veins are a bit wonky, that’s why the scars are less prominent on the right side.

There’s actually a joke within the donor center about the “divot” you get when you habitually donate platelets. One individual scar can get so large due to the position of your vein, that it begins to look like a pothole constructed of scar tissue. My divot is still small, but it grows just a little every few months. That’s the scar I focus on the most when I feel contemplative. It exists because of repeated good decisions. It exists because of all the times when I tried to help another person.

Every scar I have, I earned, whether it was a bad decision, an accident, or even a good decision. I like to use them as a road map of my life. You know those little moments that come where you find yourself thinking, “How did I get here?” That’s when those scars come in handy. They’re grounding. They remind me of my own mortality in a way that makes me think more about what I’m doing with my time here and whether or not I’m living the best life I can. They also do a damn fine job of reminding me of the things I tried that just didn’t work out well.

What do your scars say to you? Do you ever take the time to just sit and look at them and remember how you got them?

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Diet & Exercise vs. Stress & Anxiety

So here’s the thing: I have, in my possession, a certificate that states that I know enough stuff to be a personal trainer. I can, in fact, lead the average person (beginners would be best) through a series of workouts, keep them motivated, and make sure they’re not going to get hurt. I also know quite a bit about nutrition and appropriate meal planning. HOWEVER! I’m also a human female, in my thirties, with rampant hormones, daily life stressors, and aspirations that are just a touch (off by a freakin’ mile!) out of reach.

What does all of that mean? Well, it means that I know what I should do to stay in shape, be healthy, and how to help other people do the same. But I also like buffalo wings, buffalo cheese dip (OHMIGAWD), beer, and pasta. There have been countless days in my adult life that have been so trying that on my way home from work I have decided that onion dip, wavy Lay’s, and beer were just what I needed for dinner. I totally know what Bridget Jones meant when she said, “I will always be just a little bit fat.”

I know, I know, “don’t let your bad habits or cravings get the best of you.” Well guess what, uninspired and uninspiring article in a women’s magazine masquerading as an empowering think-piece: I’m not a god. I’m not a saint. I don’t have the iron will to resist all the things all the time. I can work my ass off for weeks on end, doing my best, behaving myself, and being responsible, but then, one day, drop like a rock from stress and exhaustion. Do you know why? Because that’s the human equivalent of turning it off and back on again. That’s my breaking point. Everyone has one. They’re all in different places chronologically as well being dependent on activity level.

All of these things add together to create this lumpy, squishy, stretchy, and still quite strong body that I wander through life in. I have gained and lost quite a bit of weight over the years and still get wistful when I look back at photos of me before all of adulthood began kicking my ass. I have had many days when I have a huge to-do list and have pushed off working out because, well, I had stuff I needed to get done. That led to more stress and less rest. Those are the days that kicks my anxiety into high gear, kills my appetite (leading to horrible food choices), and destroys my sleep. That is probably my worst habit: putting everything else ahead of what’s best for me.

It’s been more than a year now since I quit working at the gym. Now it’s a minimum of a 15 minute drive to get to the gym (effin traffic lights and their bad timing) so I fell into a rut where the main excuse was, “Well, if I only do an hour workout, that means I need to give it more like 2 hours so I have time to get dressed, drive there, stow things in a locker, do my workout, drag my ass leaving, and get home again…” I gained so much weight, got super anxious, my depression kicked up and killed my motivation for ALL the things, and I spent many days last year sleeping a lot. Literally about 4 days last year were spent just laying down. I felt like I was sick without actually getting sick.

Now, it is New Year’s Day and I could espouse the “New Year, New Me” diatribe that so many people seem to embrace, but I won’t. That’s one of the key phrases I truly hate and wish to find stricken from the English language. It has no substance! No, this is a new year, fiscally, which does have some benefits but that’s about all. What I can say is that I have been hit by some much needed motivation in the last couple of weeks. I don’t have work right now because I’m on a government contract that simply pauses for 3 weeks, so I have enough time on my hands to get through my to-do lists without rushing or stress. Last week was the first time in at least a year that I have gotten into the gym 4 times in a week and the first time, probably ever, that I have spent two solid hours sweating away in each session. That felt so good! I even got Batman to hit up the gym with me first thing this morning because I wanted to get 4 days in again this week but didn’t want to battle resolutioners for my equipment.

I’m hoping to rise this wave of motivation long enough to get back in a regular groove. I remember seeing a sign at a gym that said, “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.” I know it was intended to be motivational but it always struck me as being incredibly condescending. Sometimes shit gets in the way. There’s no nice way to put that. The more inspirational and helpful quote that should be on signs in gyms, “It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up. (Vince Lombardi)”

 

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Goodbye 2017. Thanks for all the fish.

I’m not usually one for a newsletter or year in review, but this has been a hell of a year. At this stage of it, I feel like I wake up every morning like Capt. Picard calling for a damage report. I’ve been white-knuckling my way through a lot of it and trying to hold my anxiety in check. I have never been more politically aware in my life as I have been this year. So many things have come up that has made it necessary to call, write, text, or march that I find myself exhausted every day. With the political anger, there has also been an uptick in job related stress as I spend quite a bit of time inside the district for work and often on foot. There have been a few times when I’ve found out that I’m working in DC on a day when a protest or rally is planned and I spend the whole day hoping we don’t end up crossing an angry path. Add in basic job stress like erratic scheduling (I’m a part time government contractor) leading to tense finances, and I’m kind of tense pretty much all the time.

In my personal life, I lost both of my grandmothers this year. My maternal grandmother, you may remember, I was able to put together enough words to resemble a tribute. My paternal grandmother, however, well she passed a week to the day after a good friend. Being stuck in a state of shock and confusion, I never put together a send-off for either Big Red (our friend) or Nonnie. I tried in a rather unorganized, awkward penguin, oh-god-people-are-looking-at-me sort of fashion to speak at Big Red’s service, but I didn’t do him justice. Hopefully I was able to get across that we care and we miss him. In Nonnie’s case, I still haven’t said or written anything. The fact that it has been such a long absence here should tell you all that I am running out of words. At least I was able to travel for each loss, in order to say goodbye.

Despite the strain and stress, there have been good moments.  Batman and I got married in November and although we opted out of having a formal wedding, we had an officiant come to our home and marry us in the dining room where our parents were able to bear witness. Since things have been so stressful, we have been writing down little victories and happy instances all year and placing them in a mason jar to re-read on New Year’s Eve (or day) and I look forward to going through those notes. It will be nice to reflect on the happy times in preparation for the new year.

I hope 2017 was good for you all, and for anyone who had it rough, I’m glad it’s over. I know that moving into a new calendar is really just symbolic but passing the holiday season does tend to feel like one big deep breath after months of exertion. In either situation, take the end of year rest. Allow it to heal and refresh you. I will see you all in 2018.

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Absence

Many times over the last few years I have found myself either horrendously busy or totally without obligations. I tried to relax on down time in order to build up a head of steam for the next bought of busy-ness, and sometimes I was successful. Other times, I would start to sit down, in order to draw in the stillness, and found my head filled with anxiety laden thoughts like a to-do list I wasn’t planning to work on yet, stupid things I’d done in high school (15+ years ago…), planning for upcoming events, etc. I have struggled on and off with anxiety like this for years, judging myself, self loathing at times, sometimes sinking into depression. I’ve never sought out help for these issues because I tend to pile them all up under the heading of, “Joys of Adulting,” and tell myself that everyone goes through this. A big part of me still fully believes that. The smaller, quieter part says that it’s not normal and I have to work to make sure I keep that mess under control or it will run away with me. I’m not sure if either of those brain parts are right, or if there even is a “right.”

I don’t normally talk about these things as they roll around in my head. Hell, half the time I feel like an ass for using the word anxiety because I’ve known people who have serious anxiety problems that have inhibited their day-to-day life so really, what’s my problem? I just worry too much. Right? I even had someone once tell me, “you care too much. About everything. In general.” That was honestly the strangest thing I think anyone had ever said to me. I care too much? Is that possible? I do care that I’m living the best life I can and making the world around me better if possible. I care that there are people who need help all over the world. I care that this planet is physically living and everything we do has an effect on it. Is that caring too much? I mean, I still take time to focus on minutia around me like the grocery shopping and the watching TV and the stupid little trivial things that matter not in the grand scheme.

So yeah. This is where I am. The fact that I’m only working part time means I have a lot of time to rattle around in my own thoughts and imagination. Sometimes it leads me to projects and chores. Other times it leads me to draw in and close off to all things outside. It’s a bit like thinking about all the things on your to-do list and then curling up and napping instead of doing anything, but worse. It’s a passing issue and I can feel it letting up a bit already, so hopefully I’ll have my momentum for writing and doing and going back soon; I have so many things to work on!

*deep breath* okay, I am going to bid farewell for now. I hope everyone that could enjoyed the eclipse.

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Blood: The Great Leveler

I am a blood donor. An avid donor. It’s a hobby of sorts. I’ve written about it before here. I call it the great leveler because every person has it, every person needs it, and the only way to get it is from donations. It is only through the goodness of giving that a person in need of blood can be helped.

My first donation was just after my 17th birthday, when I first became eligible. It was a whole blood donation, as it pretty typical of first time donations. I started small, only a couple donations a year, as the eligibility rules state whole blood donations are only allowed every 8 weeks. I wasn’t religious about it at all and after a couple years I sort of stopped donating altogether. Around 2006 I began donating again, here and there at the blood drives we hosted at work. I was happy doing my bit, but I had some bad experiences in the blood mobile so I faded away from donations again.

After a few more years, I had moved around a bit and found the actual blood donor and began anew. One whole blood donation and about a dozen questions later, I made my first appointment for Apheresis Blood Collection (ABC) donation. See, when you donate a pint whole blood it gets placed into a machine and separated out into individual components: platelets, plasma, and red cells. The use of each component is different as is the storage. Each component has a different storage life so separation allows for better opportunity for use before expiration. Here’s a little more about the 3 main transfusable blood products received directly from donation:

  • Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Often used to treat sickle cell anemia, hemorrhage, or blood loss of over 30% volume, they aid in the oxygenation of tissues. The average transfusion patient receives 3 units of red blood cells. ABC donors giving red cells are eligible to donate every 16 weeks.
  • Plasma. Plasma is responsible for coagulation and is therefore often used for bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to one year and donors can give every a unit of plasma every 4 weeks.
  • Platelets. Platelets are commonly used for treatments of bone marrow failure, leukemia, and cancer patients. One transfusion unit of platelets can be donated in an ABC or combined from 5 separate whole blood donations. Platelets must be used within 5 days of donation but donors are eligible every 2 weeks!

Every time there is a disaster, thousands of people flood donor centers and blood mobiles to give, but with short storage times on some components, lack of storage space, and quantity of people in need, donations really are needed on a revolving timeline. If there’s a disaster, watch the donors for volume and if there’s a lot, wait a week and take a group of healthy friends. The only way for us to get through this big crazy life, with all the blood we need, is to give when we can.

For more information on the various components of blood, or donating, try these links:

http://www.inova.org/get-involved/blood-donor-services/donate-blood/eligibility-requirements

http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics

https://rrvbc.org/blood-facts/

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0315/p719.html

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Another trip around the sun

My apologies for the long absences. I have been struggling with stress and anxiety in the last couple of years. In the last few months I have just begun to feel like I’m crawling out of a cave, through rock and mud, and sometimes quite a few spiders (*shudder*). A little over a week ago I celebrated my birthday, a lovely time of the year that always spawns self-evaluation. I spent several months away from the gym, settling into a new job and the new schedule requirements that go with it. We moved, which is always a fun experience, packing, losing things, unpacking, realizing you never should have kept some things, figuring out where to put things in the new place…

Now that things seem to have calmed down, I’m working on getting back into the gym again. Since I’m working on launching Hard Reboot, I really need to practice what I preach. Planning meals with the new job is still a bit of a challenge, but I’m getting better at it. Summer months should be particularly easy since sandwiches and fruit are perfect for hot days. Maybe before the weather turns cold again I’ll get a decent thermos for soups and stews.

In other news, I haven’t had a chance to spend much time reading for pleasure, so unfortunately I don’t have much to discuss in the way of “books” but I still love my buffalo wings and am getting in a few good beers here and there. Hopefully I will have more thoughts on them to share in future posts. For now I will sign off. I wish you all a lovely week/month/season(?). I will be working on posting with more regularity. I hope you all will join me for the fun.

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New Month, New …well, month.

Hello all again! I apologize profusely for my absence, I’ve been rather busy of late. Batman and I just moved and I’m still trying to unpack and settle. Work has picked up quite a bit, affording me about 10 days/month of work, with more than half of those days being 11 or 12 hour shifts. I am also coming along quite nicely in regards to launching Hard Reboot Health & Fitness. I should be getting the website up and running in the next week and configuring pricing/scheduling within the next month. I had to put school on hold again, hopefully more temporarily this time,but unfortunately, it gets pretty expensive, and we are hesitant to take out any more loans, so we’ll see how quickly I can finish.

At the moment, I’m really in procrastination mode. I need to work on the website, put up some wall art, bake some stuff, and try and figure out a way to organize and finish unpacking our office/spare bedroom. *sigh* The to-do list is never ending, it seems.

I will be working on getting to a point where I have weekly posts on both sites, but for now, I say ta-ta.

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Goodbye Grandma

On February 3rd I got a call I had been dreading. My grandmother has been fading for a bit now, and in the last month she had been going fast. The phone call was from my aunt who was caring for Grandma for several months since she moved down south from Northern California. In the last month Grandma had been under hospice care and the nurse had determined that based on her condition, she only had about five days left. While our family had no intention of doing a traditional service or wake of any sort (Grandma didn’t want that) there was no question that I’d make the trip to San Diego. After some phone calls work had been canceled, I had a flight and a pick up at the airport, and I was packed. I made it to San Diego Saturday evening.

I got to my aunt and uncle’s house close to seven p.m. Grandma was in a coma. I sat with her and held her hand, talked to her a bit. We went home after a couple hours, planning to come back on Sunday. Not long after falling asleep, the phone rang. I was so out of it that I couldn’t even remember where I was let alone recognize the ringing phone for what it was. The next morning, my parents told me that the call was from my aunt and that Grandma had passed. I had made it home just in time to say goodbye.

Sunday was filled with phone calls and family visits. Another of my uncles was with my aunt in the night while the hospice came to collect my grandmother. She had made the arrangements in advance; they just had to be there to see her off. Neither of them got much sleep that day, but we got to talk to her and see him. I spoke with my brother over the phone and we both barely got through the call. Batman flew in later that evening after we sent one cousin home and met up with another. It was a full day.

Grandma meant so much to so many of us. She had six kids, almost a dozen grandkids, and more than a dozen great-grandkids. When we were children Grandma fostered over 100 foster children, all boys between the ages of 14 and 18, and took them in four at a time. We as kids called them Grandma’s big boys because they were all older than us. They were the kids in the system no one really wanted because they were so old, or they were trouble makers (being in the system a while does that), or just because they were boys. Any of them that were trouble makers got straightened out by chasing us kids around the backyard or keeping track of us at camp grounds.

She was our lynchpin. She was why all of us cousins were all close as kids. When the parents needed a weekend for any reason, they’d drop us off at Grandma’s and we’d either go camping or sleep on cots in the living room. Camping was always a riot. If it was a big group the girls would sleep in the tent trailer with Grandma and the boys would sleep in tents outside. Being southern California, it was never really cold so it’s not like the boys were banished to the Arctic, it just kept their gross boy-stench contained outside with a healthy draft between us and them. If it was a smaller group then she separated us by age putting the little kids inside and just the older foster boys in the tents. We’d wander around all day playing mini-golf, fishing, swimming at the pool, or crawling around looking for some form of animal friend. Once the sun went down we were around the camp fire. Grandma taught us how to make kindling and start a fire. She always had camp-specific recipes we would make along with the traditional S’Mores. Quite honestly I still don’t know if she really meant it when she would tell us, “Don’t worry about lighting the marshmallow on fire, I like them that way, I’ll still eat them,” or if that was just a thing she said to make us feel better. I kind of hope I never know, actually.

A weekend at home with her, though, was still just as rustic in some ways. The cots were always fun. Being young we had early bedtimes but the teenage foster boys had later curfews. If they came home after we were in bed, they had to Mission Impossible over and around us without waking anyone up. In the morning we’d wake up to Grandma in her chair in the corner, watching her morning news with her mean Siamese cat, Kahn, on her lap. After breakfast we’d be off, climbing the fruit trees in the back yard, over watering her various plants, and eating everything growing back there right off the plants. We were so spoiled in those times. Later in life, we weren’t as close, but we still came together around Grandma.

In 2007 I had the unique opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise with her. Just the two of us. As soon as we got on the boat, Grandma fell going up some stairs and the resulting injury involved a black eye from her glasses popping the skin around her eye. I was certain the whole family was going to have me skinned for that. She was always a tough cookie, though (ahem… 6 kids! 4 of those kids were boys!), and hated being treated like she was fragile. I fussed a bit and she promptly reminded me that she had four teenage boys and this wasn’t her first black eye. We got on to enjoying our trip until, a couple of days later, after so many of the cruise occupants had fretted and fussed over her, believing her to be doddering or frail, she came back to our room and declared, “I’m not telling anyone else that I fell. I’m telling everyone else that asks about my eye that you hit me.” Bahahahahaha… haha.. ha…hehhh… Um, could we not? Elder abuse is a felony… But that’s how she was. She wasn’t frail. If she got hurt it was something extraordinary that caused it, not some piddling accident.

I didn’t see her much by then because I was living in Virginia. I had a vague hope for a short while after moving there that she would be able to come see the place I had chosen to settle in but her health wasn’t up to long travel. I made it back a few times, not nearly enough, and for her 83rd, many of us made it. It was the first time in a long time that I got to see my cousins and goof off with them (and my uncle’s awesome great dane). This past week, everyone who could made the trip when the time presented itself for each of us. I missed several people in the shuffle. Like I said before, we aren’t having a service now. She didn’t want it. Later, in the summer, we will all get together for a celebration of her life.

This has been my week, off and on. Monday my mom had foot surgery and I’ve been doing my best impression of a helper monkey. I had no desire to run around town seeing people, or really doing much of anything. I cuddled the dog, cooked, and tried not to think about it all. Tomorrow I fly home again. Batman only stayed in San Diego for two nights, we couldn’t afford him taking any more time off, so it will be nice to curl up next to him again. Although now he’s sick so I will probably be refilling Kleenex supplies and emptying trash cans while keeping a bit of a distance, but at least we’ll be together again. Part of me still doesn’t acknowledge it all. It will be a while before I think it will really settle.

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Does the Geneva Convention Apply?

It is with great concern that I find myself posting about politics. This election has been a daily re-examination of my neighbors, the behavior of society, and the civil war I see raging around me. Thankfully, it is, thus far, a cold war. I have wondered at times, whether I could ever call myself a democrat or republican without feeling as though I’ve closed my mind to the big picture. Much like my views on religion, I have a hard time picking one side and taking all that there is from only that view point. You see, people are fallible. That’s why that old adage, “To err is human…” exists. We’re broken. We make mistakes. If we’re mature and reasonable people, we own our mistakes and work to correct them and then we move on.

I think that’s why when I think about politics, and the people we put in political offices, I think of what it’s like to try and walk outdoors in the winter:

  • Some days you walk outside and it’s dry and bitterly cold, with a wind blowing so hard it threatens to knock you over. This is what it’s like listening to times when Congress is screaming at each other but not really doing anything, probably resulting in some form of filibuster.
  • Some days you walk outside and it doesn’t seem that cold until you feel that first drop of freezing rain that falls between the collar of your coat and your skin and immediately seems to freeze your bones. That was the feeling I had when the repeal of ACA was announced with the addenda that there isn’t a ready replacement.
  • Then there are the days when you already knew about the rain, but you didn’t realize how many patches of ice were left over from last night and as you walk, you slip and slide, possibly pulling some muscles in the process of trying to right yourself. I imagine this must have been what it was like for various members of the upper political echelon when they had a proposal for the group that was immediately peppered with holes by critics.
  • When ice is reached, if you fall, what then? Well, if you manage to keep your wits about you and remember that it is winter and while inconvenient, and even sometimes painful, these things sometimes happen and it’s not the end of the world. So you pick yourself up, massage the bruise a bit, and again, move on. I feel like this particularly analogy is becoming a lost process in the political spectrum. More on that opinion later.
  • Occasionally, the ice you slip on is thinner than you think it is and gives way to a hidden puddle. This is pretty much how I imagined the shutdown going. Now, while I know multiple people who were put out by this incident, I refer to it as a puddle because it was reasonably brief and vastly less awful than it could have been.
  • What I feel like is happening now, between the vague promises, the cabinet of elites, and the plain and simply uncertainty of the new order, is that I and everyone I know, have been frog marched up a snowy hill in the rain and left to wait as the temperature drops and the snow turns to ice. For all I know, when the sun breaks through the clouds, I could get down from this ledge without more than a few scrapes and bruises. Or I and everyone I know could begin a domino of sliding down the various sides.

These are the thoughts that roll around in my head as I try to make sense of the things going on around me. My biggest problem, I think, is that I believe that emotions have no place in politics. I’ll repeat that: emotions have no place in politics. That’s may be why the ability to picks yourself up after falling on the ice seems to be going by the wayside. I’m that person that totally eats it, slams down butt first, slides, hits a tree, gets soaked through all my clothes, and will still find a way up, mutter, “of course that just happened,” and move on. If someone nearby were to watch this and laugh, I would either bow or say, “I’m here all week.” If that viewer made a rude comment about my inability to navigate the terrain, I would acknowledge inwardly that that person is a dick/jerk/asshole/shmuck, and go about my day. With politics, however, it seems like anytime someone falls, they are immediately barraged by the most obnoxious, immature personal attacks from their opponents, and their opponents supporters. This often seems to lead to equally obnoxious passive-aggressive counter attacks. Civility is gone.

My biggest concern is that this lack of civility, which at times is shown as open hostility, has permeated society to the point where I have seen posts daily that exclaim that some person is Un-American, someone is threatening another person or group, demands from one side that the other side shut up and stop whining, constant bickering back and forth and for the love of all that is holy, the name calling has got to STOP. No one will ever win the views over another person by making up a disparaging name tagged at the end with -tard. In case you aren’t following, the over abundant use of the phrases Libtard and Republitard truly make me want to slap people with dictionaries. But hostility will not be ended with more hostility. That’s the epitome of the saying, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” It’s never going to help.

“What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate…” and thus the story goes. 500+ people claiming to represent citizens they’ve never met sit in a marble palace having conversations with two men who we granted the country’s future to, and they collectively pit us against each other. My father, a middle school teacher, refers to this situation as, “Hey, let’s you and him fight.” But in this era where professional athletes make millions of dollars to play games and everyone has to pick a team and a favorite player, we all fell for it. You can hardly speak anymore without someone being offended. It doesn’t even matter what you say. But now the, “You need to apologize for offending me!” demand is beginning to give way to much worse, and more ludicrous expectations. The average person isn’t accorded with the common level of respect. Even in war there are rules. There are things you don’t do and things you don’t say. Now I see comedians on Twitter get told, “Die in a grease fire.” How did anyone string that comment together and think it was okay to put in the world?

But I am running out of energy for these things again. I find myself often feeling very weary many days. To put it in nerd terms, I feel like Arwen as the light of the Eldar faded from her. No, I’m not claiming to be anything like Arwen, I identified far more with Eowen. Clearly I’ve digressed. I will discontinue this musing. I feel the need to destroy some more virtual Legos with Harry and the gang.

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