(Continued from previous blog)
So why do you care about VT? Because it’s in our “backyard”? Because it’s a place you’ve heard of? Because you can (almost) accurately find Virginia on a map, but Kandahar sounds like something you eat instead of someplace people blow each other up, so it’s better to focus on what makes you look better? I mean, why??? Virginia Tech sucked, sure, but that’s it. It means as much to me as the tsunami victims from a few years ago, to the sweat-shop kids that make the shoes I so comfortably wear and toss out. Don’t give me shit like you give a damn because it’s on our American soil. A life is a life. Lives are lives. Be consistent. If you’re going to get all emotional and supportive and Pro-Hokie, then be that same way everyday for all the stories you don’t care enough to open up and read. Otherwise, stick with the way you treat the other 99 news events and read the VT story and move on. Don’t piggy-back off someone else’s concern just so you don’t look like an insensitive person. Be yourself. If you don’t give a shit, honestly, then act like it. Don’t be fake.
The only thing I can think of in defense for the VT Bandwagon is the media emphasis. I fully understand that if you hear something day-in and day-out, over and over throughout the course of a week, you may focus and feel more connected to it than you actually are (I’m saying YOU, not me). But you know what that is? That’s just people taking a serious, horrible situation, and saying “I’m on TV now, how can I get even bigger?” That’s it. The school officials fucked up by not making a greater effort to prevent the second set of deaths with proper warnings, so they got to come back to the press later on and show off their “compassion” by giving all the dead kids post-humous degrees. Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, WHAT THE FUCK FOR??? So mom and dad can hang the Interior Design diploma in the late-Susie’s room and feel proud? Really, what the hell is that going to do? I’ll tell you, in complete honesty, what it does: it makes the school look better, makes the officials seem more in-touch with the daily student’s life. It’s a piece of paper for god’s sake. You know what a degree is for? It’s to scribble down on ANOTHER piece of paper during an interview, and say “Watch me wave my dick around, I made it through college.” The actual, tangible piece of paper means shit. You just have to be intelligent to remember your college’s name and what you went to class some days for, and write it down. There you go, you got the job! So what do a bunch of people pushing up the daisies need that recognition for? Some of these kids were freshman. I’ll be damned if I didn’t take the 5-year plan in college so I could get my Master’s Degree in Binge-Drinking and Video-Game-Expertise, when all I had to do was piss off some oblivious student with a personal grudge against society. Hell, coulda saved my parents a few thousand dollars of debt. But come on, post-humous degrees? Letting some students not finish the semester and counting their courses as completed? Listen, the real world is tough. Everyday life is tough. Tough like playing dodgeball with a handgun? No, it’s not, and hopefully no one I know has to ever be in any situation like that. But whether you got a stain on your favorite shirt, or got shot at by Mr. Miyagi, life is about overcoming situations. Dealing with the most difficult possibilities there are, and becoming a better person for it. But tragedies occur everyday. We, as a society, focus on them. A coworker and I were talking today and he said “People don’t watch the news for stories about puppy dogs; they watch it to see how many people died and where bad things happened.” And if you disagree with that, then you’re dillusional. Ask any of those Virginia Tech students if they heard any of the headlines I wrote above? Ask them if they wore the bracelets or had deep conversations about children in Africa who died DAILY. You know what? They didn’t. They didn’t give a shit. Why? Because it didn’t involve THEM.
Look, it sucks about what happened. I feel for the parents and families for those who were hurt or killed, I feel for the shooter’s family who had their whole past dug up and made public (which, I won’t go into, but that was the final piece that pushed my anger enough to consider writing about the whole incident). I won’t fault you, as ‘to each their own,’ for showing your concern or appreciation for VT. But the media overdid it. The school overdid it. You people overdid it. Him carrying those guns into school buildings and doing what he did, that was awful, almost unrealistic. But 74 people being shot in their sleep for oil, that tugs at my heart even more.
Okay, so let me begin this whole blog by openly stating that I’m not a bleeding heart concernee for what happens in the world outside of my own involvement. I’m no Nationalist, you won’t see me waving a flag, visiting national monuments, and most of the time I drift off in my mind when hearing the National Anthem. If something happens on the other side of town, and it didn’t and won’t affect me in any way, it will grasp my attention long enough to hear about it, and is soon replaced by the bigger inquiry in my head as to what I’ll eat for dinner that night or which Family Guy episode will be on Adult Swim that night. Why? Because I’m real. I don’t put on the sympathetic mask when some tragedy happens or push my involvement when the media goes crazy over a story. I’m not Russell Simmons, I’m not Jesse Jackson. I’m me. Sure, this will make some people question my loyalty as a friend or “decent” human being, but really, why should it? Because the things I refuse to do are the things you are wrapped up in? Because the public appearance you carry around you means less to me than the personal appearance I carry myself? What is it about events “close to home” that strike interest in people, moreso than tragedies overseas? Why does an asian kid going Terminator on a predominantly white college in the hills suddenly tug at people’s heartstrings? Were you there? Did you know anyone who was injured or killed? I wasn’t. So I don’t care. Sure, it sucked that it happened, but was that the only bad thing that we could focus on that day and the week that followed?
I’m sure that most people will think of me as uncaring, as heartless and cold. I guess that’s because I don’t give a shit about something that happened to a bunch of people I don’t know. But not you. No, you’re celebrating you Wear-All-Black-On-Monday-To-Mourn-Virginia-Tech faux-holiday. You’re joining and idly sitting in your Myspace and Facebook “So-and-So Supports VT” groups. You’re buying wristbands and T-shirts and making little website layouts to proclaim to the world “PAY ATTENTION, IT LOOKS LIKE I GIVE A DAMN!” It’s cute, in a mildly high-schoolish kind of way. Oh, but come now, Greg, surely you can’t be that disconcerned about what happened. Yes I can. And you know why? Because distance doesn’t make things less tragic. Whether 100 people die in the city I live in, or 1 person dies in Bahrain, death is still death, murder still murder, tragedy still tragedy. From a few days before the VT Gun Show Extraordinaire to a day after, a whole 4 days mind you, the following headlines graced such sites as Yahoo! News, MSNBC, CNN.com, and Reuters. Tell me how many bracelets or clubs you created for them:
– A least 65 killed, 85 injured in Shiite Kerbala as massive car bomb also targets second major Baghdad bridge early Saturday (150 total)
— At least 15 killed in Kenya bus crash, 61 injured
— 33 Killed in School Bus Crash in Turkey; 15 students; 30 injured
— 12 Nigerian POLICE killed in Police Station attack
— 40 Afghan CIVILIANS killed or wounded by U.S. Marines
— Rebels kill 74 in Ethiopia oil field raid (including the quote “The bandits entered the camp around 5am and shot dead the 74 people while they were sleeping.”)
— 85 killed or found dead across Iraq, some dumped on the roads (this was all one day)
— 25 killed in Juarez bus crash, including 10 babies and children under the age of 13
So? Where were you for those? How many of you, in total honesty with yourselves, can answer even silently, that you heard about one of those, nonetheless 2-3, or all of them? Did you buy a Kenyan bracelet to show remembrance? What about an Iraqi or Turkish shirt to let your coworkers and classmates know you were sympathetic? Or the “Our Soldiers Shoot At Anything That Moves” background for all your website visitors to see and appreciate? No? Didn’t think so. So why Virginia Tech? Because some loner guy went nuts and killed people, young college people, so it’s sad, right? But babies burning and suffocating on a flaming bus is dandy? Almost four-score of people going to bed one night and getting bullets laced through their skulls during nap-time is permissible? Over 170 people killed or injured in only THREE bus crashes (all within 2 days of one another) doesn’t deserve your attention? Of course not. We’re Americans. We’re all about US. There’s a simple reason the United States is shortened to U.S.: without the periods, it shows who we are most concerned about. Your little third-world country can murder itself (Rwanda, anyone?), but oh-no, JonBenet had a cute video and was murdered, so let’s talk about that for the next decade instead. Do we just look at Africa, read a story about destruction or crime or murder, slap our knees and say, “oh….those guys……crazy guys, you!”? Let’s continue to overlook that we invade and takeover someone else’s land and country, then praise our poor, poor troops over there serving their difficult voluntary duties, only to overlook the fact that at least 10 civilians are killed daily. Let’s ignore that there have been about 9 times as many Iraqi civilians killed as there have been U.S. soldiers.
(To be continued in next blog)
Like sands through the hourglass….
Time. Time does a lot for people. It does a lot to people. And sometimes, Time does nothing at all. It’s been some time since I last blogged. I mean, really blogged. I could talk about a number of things: my job, my daughter, my family, my hours watching basketball games. But I won’t. I’m gonna talk about me, about my thoughts, my concerns, my worries, mylife. Why? Because I can. Because those same thoughts overwhelm me, those same worries consume me. Because I find no remedy in emphasizing with a Hallmark card about dusting yourself off and moving on, or picking up the pieces and turning a new leaf. Maybe it’s all those years of being busy with something else, something random, something unimportant, that kept me from overthinking all the time; from analyzing every possible outcome, usually negative, to every situation, realistic or not. Maybe it was schoolwork, maybe it was sports, maybe it was the alcohol. Or maybe it was the wealth of emotion that comes in loving someone and having them love you back. Not have strong feelings for you, not say the words but lack the meaning, not be that friend that is always there for you, but actually understand how you felt in its entirety and reciprocating that emotion, not out of obligation or necessity, but moreso out of desire, out of care. When that no longer exists, there comes a void in you that is inconsolable. Not a hole in your heart or in your soul or in your life, but in….YOU. A hole so big that it can’t be pinpointed to one aspect of your being, yet so small that you can never seem to truly find it.
Routine. So basically, my daily routine, as many call it, has become just that: a routine. Not in the sense of someone saying they work and then go home, watch Friends, and do nothing (which are usually brief synopses of the actual happenings, leaving out the 30 or so variances that occur each day). What I do daily is the equivalence of looking up ‘routine’ on dictionary.com. There are no variances, no side shows, no quirky moments of change. There is life, and time, and bed. I could live life with my eyes closed. And in doing that, I’ve learned where the grey areas show up; where those periods of time, however brief, open the door to thinking, and more thinking, and then analyzing those thoughts to think on more. And then solitude creeps in. Loneliness rears its head, kicking you hard like a mule you’re too close to. Why? Not to open your eyes to change or let you think of what you want different; it shows up, just because it can. Because if there’s any possible way in the world for you to hurt a little more, why should it pass up that opportunity to do so? Hey, you had a good day, BAM, here I am. Or Great job, congrats on that accomplishment…by the way, BAM. I mean, at what point do you have to just stop trying? When do you concede your life’s failures and mistakes to the fact that you lost, that sooner or later, you run out of quarters and can’t continue to play the game?
Fear. It takes you over some days. Others, maybe you don’t notice it. But trust me, it’s there. I have many fears; I have material fears like clowns, spiders, and a number of others; I have situational fears like deep water or heights; I have fear that something, anything, bad would or will ever happen to my daughter. But lately, I’ve been weakened by that fear of loneliness. Maybe I smiled that day; Loneliness was having no allowance of that. Maybe I met someone who brightened my day, possibly my future. Loneliness called in Doubt and Anxiety to help veer me to the side. It seems like every turn towards a positive outlook is met abrumptly, painfully, with something negative, rarely its equal, but rather even more consuming in the opposite direction you felt you were facing. I’m unsure anymore what I want out of life, out of my future, out of that prospective “special someone.” It’s as if I know what I want, or I find what I tell myself what is right, and then second-guess every detail of it. I try to immediately find things wrong with it so I can escape, so I can stay in this small world of unhappiness I’ve grown so accustommed to being in. I once told someone that the only thing worse than being so unhappy, staying complacent in a miserable lifestyle, is knowing and admitting it. It’s one thing to be absorbed in a set of ways that are depressing and down-trodden; it’s another to have a conscious knowledge of it and no ability, even purposely, to change to better or alter that feeling.
Unhappiness. It’s amazing to look at mylife and see how unhappy I am. What’s even more impressive is my ability to pull it off that I’m not. After a while, I admit to people that I’m an unhappy person, and I actually get told by many of them, “no you’re not, you’re a happy person.” It’s amazing that they somehow know me better than I do myself. But I’m lonely. I’m so tired of being alone, living a life with no one special included in it (my daughter excluded, of course). But I also have noticed that the past few months, I’m keeping myself from letting anyone get close. Someone asked me….actually, they TOLD me…online the other day that I didn’t trust anyone. And it’s true. I’ve been burnt so many times and so badly in the past that I don’t give opportunities to newcomers who are simply trying to be a part of this daily routine called life.
I have more to say about all this,
So I had this little day-by-day calendar that had eastern religion/philosophy quotes for 2006. The following are my favorites, and yes, there’s a lot, haha. So read em, think about them, steal em, whatever.
Everything in the past died yesterday; everything in the future was born today. — Chinese Proverb
There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships adn breaks up pleasant relation. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills. — Buddha
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and scared. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer. — Djalal ad-Din Rumi
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. — Dalai Lama
Do not let time pass without accomplishing something. Otherwise you will regret it when your hair turns gray. — Yue Fei
Why aren’t you happy? It’s because 99 percent of everything you do, and think, and say, is for yourself. — We Wei Wu
The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach. — Lin Yutang
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help others. — Chinese Proverb
Mind is the master. What hasn’t been created by thought doesn’t exist. — Ayya Kemma
If a man’s faith is unstable and his peace of mind troubled, his knowledge will not be perfect. — Dhammapada
The greatest concerns of men are these, to make him who is an enemy a friend, to make him who is wicked righteous, and to make him who is ignorant learned. — Zend-Avesta
The deepest happiness you can have comes from the capacity to help relieve the suffering of others. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important things is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend — or a meaningful day. — Dalai Lama
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. — Buddhist proverb
Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet. — Chinese proverb
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you lvoe most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain. – Kahlil Gibran
Live lightly on the Earth. — Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will. — Jawaharlal Nehru
Great is the man who has not lost his childlike heart. — Mencius
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. — Lao-Tzu
The next message you need is right where you are. — Baba Ram Dass
No matter what road I travel, I’m going home. — Shinso
Strength doesn’t come from physical capacity. It comes from an individual will. — Mahatma Gandhi
My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. — Chuang Tzu
Sincerity is the way of Heaven. — Mencius
Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. — Kahlil Gibran
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life. — Wumen
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. — Mahatma Gandhi
We are the makers of our own lives. There is no such thing as fate. Our lives are the result of our previous actions, our karma, and it naturally follows that, having been ourselves the makers of our karma, we must also be able to unmake it. — Vivekananda
Do not look at the faults of others, or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and not done. — Buddha
No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. — Zen saying
People become what they expect themselves to become. — Mahatma Gandhi
All that we are is the result of what we have thought: It is founded on our thoughts and is made up of our thoughts. — Dhammapada
Learning to live is learning to let go. — Sogyal Rinpoche
Do not travel far to other dusty lands, forsaking your own sitting place; if you cannot find the truth where you are now, you will never find it. — Dogen
Poverty is the worst form of violence. — Mahatma Gandhi
No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself. — Tilopa
If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. — Kahlil Gibran
By your stumbling, the world is perfected. — Sri Aurobindo
I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free. — Thich Nhat Hanh
If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem. — Krishnamurti
He who regards
With an eye that is equal
Friends and comrades,
The foe and the kindsman,
The vile, the wicked,
The men who judge him,
And those who belong
To neither faction:
He is the greatest.
— The Bhagavad Gita
The strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes. — Confucius
Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? — Shirdi Sai Baba
If we are facing in the right direction, a
I get down a lot about raising Makena by myself. Not “by myself” in the sense that Jessica isnt involved, because she clearly is and is a great mommy. But I mean with it all being done from two homes. Every night I look around at the cleaning I need to do, the chores to be caught up on, the things to be picked up. It’s overwhelming sometimes. Not always, but at times. I started thinking about all the stresses I get from looking at it all. You know, that moment before you step back and take things one at a time? That first glance is when everything hits you at once. I started thinking and decided to look at them positively. So I wrote this the other day. It’s nothing spectacular, and it’s not out there for everyone…maybe it only applies to me. Hope you enjoy:
IF I HAVE…THEN I KNOW…
If I have toys all over my apartment, then I know my daughter was able to play and be happy.
If I have a sink full of bowls and spoons and bottles to clean, then I know my daughter has food and drink to stay healthy.
If I have loads of laundry to do, then I know my daughter has clean clothing to keep her warm and look cute in.
If I have wet and dirty diapers, then I know my daughter’s body is functioning properly and keeping her healthy.
If I have her crying and crawling towards me, then I know my daughter trusts me and seeks protection in me.
If I have sore arms and shoulders, then I know my daughter finds comfort in being held by me.
If I have bath toys and water around the bathroom, then I know my daughter is able to be bathed and kept clean.
If I have a disagreement with Jessica, then I know my daughter still has a mother who loves her very much.
If I have constant calls and emails from everyone, then I know I have family and friends that care deeply about my daughter.
If I have daycare costs, then I know my daughter has a safe and enjoyable place to be when I am not about to be with her.
If i have doctor bills, then I know my daughter is being kept healthy and well.
If I have to pay rent, then I know my daughter has shelter and a home.