a cure in plain sight

A few years ago, an argument with a relative yielded some accusations and comments thrown my way that were not at all surprising. Even as I silently told myself (while outwardly crying inconsolably) that her opinion did not matter, they hit me harder than I'd like to admit.

Among her most vicious accusations were those involving a lack of love for my husband and children and blaming me and my "moods" on a lack of appreciation. "It's about appreciation," was a phrase she uttered frequently during this verbal altercation.

A couple years passed and despite the joy of having had another child, those so-called moods have abated very little if at all. While taking inventory of my depression, I came to realize that while this relative's chosen words were of a rather vile nature, the sentiment expressed mirrors that of even the most well-meaning of my actual loved ones who I know are genuinely concerned about my mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Most of the time, while I often seem moody, irritable, unhappy or any of the other terms that have been used to describe me, I hide the worst of my downs. Many times I postpone them. I find the strength to wait for a moment of peace or the chance to get away from the chaos of my life and find a private place and time to break down. Being a stay at home mother with a toddler as my only other companion during most mornings, those mornings often are my times reserved for crying. After I drop my older kids off at school and I hear my mother and husband leave for work, I let it out. This happens more often than the other occupants of the house realize.

There are, however, moments when I cannot save my tears or I cannot escape the regular inquiries of, "Are you okay?" or "What's wrong?" When the strength escapes me and I know I cannot shrug the question off with a lame excuse, I do what I'm told I often should do and talk about how I'm feeling. While the responses are given with love and concern and, truthfully, at least a little bit of irritation, the words used miss the mark and are evident of people who do not truly understand what I'm going through, what I've been going through for many years, now, as much as I know they want to. I'm told that things will get better, that life could be worse, that I need to do things that make me happy.

Such comments come back to the notion of appreciation as though there was a very simple, very obvious solution to my depression hiding in plain sight.

They don't understand that, mentally, I know things will get better, even if by a few seemingly inconsequential degrees. I know life could be worse. I have many things that a lot of people don't have. I have people who love me. I made myself an amazing little family. I have incredible friends who often insist that I call them whenever I'm upset and show surprise to find out how hard life has been for me. There are a great many things I have to be grateful for. And I am. I truly, truly am appreciative of the things I have. The list is endless.

It's just not enough. Not when something is physically wrong with the chemicals in my body that create these moods that my closest loved ones cannot understand. Not when I find myself unable to enjoy all the things I used to for reasons I cannot explain. Not when I look into my future and see only darkness and hopelessness and no solution to whatever it is my body is going through.

Such is the nature of depression. It's a mood. It's treated as a choice. If all the memes on social media that talk about choice and positivity and hope are evident of anything it's that many people think our outlook in life always comes down to simply choosing a better one. If it were always that easy, wouldn't I have chosen that a long time ago? Does anyone truly believe I like the way I feel? Does anyone actually choose to live like this?

I've looked at lists of the signs of chronic depression, all of which come with a disclaimer that says that they are not able to diagnose anything and to seek medical attention if most of the symptoms ring true.

For me, all of the symptoms are true. I am tired all the time. I have pains I cannot explain. I have a difficult time concentrating. It takes great effort to get up, get ready, do any of the things I need to do just to function on a daily basis and make my life work. I often only eat when my body is screaming at me that it is starving or when others remind me. If I could, I'd spend all day on the couch. I used to be an avid reader, finishing off whole books in a day or two. I can't even remember the last time I read a book. Writing has always been my escape. Now, it takes effort to find the words I need. And if there's one thing I love so much more than anything, it's spending time with my little family. But whenever we do go out together, the smallest inconvenience sets me off and I start wishing we never left the house.

That has been the hardest part of dealing with my depression: Wondering how it affects my family. I make the effort to do things with them, whether inside or outside of the house. I find ways to enjoy free fun considering our financial situation. Often, I finish activities that they find exciting at first but get tired of when we've hit the half-hour mark. I certainly make the effort and I know they see it. The fact that we often run out of time to do all the things we want to do is a testament to how much I try to do with them. When I start to slip, my husband gently and enthusiastically encourages me to spend some time with them.

I often ask my husband how I'm doing on the outside while I desperately try to hide how badly I feel around my kids. I recently told him that I fear that if you were to ask my children if mommy was happy, they'd say that I wasn't. I asked him if I laugh enough. Now we're both more conscious of when I laugh. (And I'm pleased to report that I do, in fact, laugh often.)

I still understand that as I try to get better and look at the things I do to at least appear better, that I have a long way to go. I wish seeing a professional was as easy as all those websites and other advice makes it seem. But until mental health is taken seriously among those who decide how to give medical coverage to those of us with limited financial resources, who are arguably among the most vulnerable to mental health issues, there's not much I can do in that arena. I have to find a way to cope with what resources I do have. That is until I can once again start the years-long adventure of talking about my misadventures with a stranger that I will never be totally comfortable with; trying different prescriptions for several weeks at a time, praying that something will work; dealing with the sometimes worse mood swings that tend to accompany my own personal drug trials; and wondering if I'm better off without therapy and mood-stabilizers. Yes, I've been to this rodeo before. That's where the "chronic illness" comes in.

Appreciation, however, is not the simple cure to my chronic depression. Looking for the good and ignoring the bad does not make it go away. Hope can destroy me more than lift me especially after the innumerable times we got some good news only to have it taken away the moment we feel like we can breathe again. I cannot see the great things around the corner that other people insist are waiting for me.

I want to be better. Those who love me need me to be better. And I truly am hanging on as best as I can. I know a time will come when it won't be like this, I'll get there somehow. I just can't see it. That's the point. My mind will not visualize it even if it is aware that some kind of peace is out there. There has to be. There will be a purpose and direction. 

For now, as appreciative as I am, I am also sick. Physically sick. And no amount of gratitude and appreciation is going to make that go away on its own.


third time's a charm - part 2

As the days passed and my belly -- and discomfort -- continued to grow, I flash backed to my last pregnancy when we approached that 40 week mark and baby showed no signs of being ready to emerge.

What was different, however, were the high numbers on my blood pressure reading at every appointment.  My feet also swelled abnormally compared to my other two pregnancies, preventing me from walking too much, something I was none-to-pleased about as I couldn't get in any exercise, something I was religious with for the other pregnancies to help control my gestational diabetes. My totally in control, very soothing midwife didn't seem to be especially concerned over my HBP and my swollen feet as I was not dropping protein so I was not concerned, either.

My due date came with no productive contractions on the horizon and I was scheduled for an induction seven days later.  That week passed with much of the same:  Baby girl was not coming out on her own.

So I arrived at the hospital to be induced and was ordered to stay there so they could monitor my blood pressure.  As it continued to climb and my contractions got more regular, other signs of active labor were still not happening.  Finally, a nurse came in and said the doctor called it: After two natural deliveries, I was going to have my first emergency c-section.

My husband got scrubbed up and they prepped me to be taken to the OR when things started to shift.  I could actually feel my heart racing, my blood pressure continuing to climb and after years of being asthma-attack-free, I started to have a hard time breathing.  I'm assuming it was around this point that they decided my husband could not join me in the OR, after all.  As I yelled out that I couldn't breathe, I heard the nurses scrambling to find my chart to confirm whether I had asthma or not.  Between the epidural and other preparations, I was given an inhaler to help my breathing followed by an oxygen mask.

That was when I finally got scared.  I lay there, gasping for breath thinking, "This is it.  I finally have my girl, my children are so young and I'm going to die.  I'm going to leave my children motherless."

Obviously, I survived.

As I felt my body tug in different directions and was lucid enough to feel very exposed in a room full of OR staff, I waited for a cry, a scream, something.  And then there she was.  Screaming like a banshee, not happy at all to be removed from her cozy, warm apartment.  I asked if she was okay and they brought her to me for a quick kiss before they took her away.

My heart broke.  With the boys, I was able to hold them right away, introduce myself, cry over their little bodies, count their fingers and toes.  This time, I had to lay there while I was stapled back up wondering how my daughter was doing, wondering if my husband knew what was going on.

It wasn't that long before I was wheeled to the maternity ward.  Despite the pain I was in and how any movement had me heaving into those plastic, kidney-shaped pans, I was obviously eager to make my way to the nursery to see my baby girl.  My husband came in and told me he was able to see our daughter.  She was in the NICU.  While she was okay, she had to be monitored in an incubator with tubes hooked up to her.  I was sad for my baby who could not be comforted by the warmth of her parents' bodies or the sound of my heartbeat.  I was sad for my husband who had to see his daughter in that condition.  And I blamed myself for all of it.

Every time the nurse came to check on me, I asked when I would be able to get up and move so I could move my way to the nursery. Despite every muscle in my body telling me I was not ready, my heart had other plans. Luckily, it's advised to get moving as soon as physically possible to release some of the gas bubbles that accumulates in the body during surgery so I didn't have to wait too long. After a couple of hours, I was getting ready to see my baby.

I walked into the NICU and a nurse was feeding her. This was the first good look I got of her and she looked just like her big brothers. I asked if I could touch her and the nurse had a different idea: She told me I could hold her and feed her. So I did. And as I held her perfect little body, I silently apologized to her for having such a crazy mommy; for all the times she heard me cry and the pain I shared with her; I promised her I'd get better and do everything in my power to give her the most I could with what little I had, that I'd be a better mommy to her big brothers; and I thanked her for being a part of my life as I consider myself a person so undeserving of such incredible love.

I spent a couple of horrible days in the hospital so they could monitor my blood pressure but, at least, she was well enough to room in with me. While she seemed to cry almost nonstop and I was warned not to feed or hold her too much (Really? Can you really hold a newborn too much?) I had no intention of listening to such nonsense. I held her constantly. I held her as she fell asleep in my arms and refused to put her back down, allowing her to sleep on my chest as I drifted off to sleep, myself.

Finally, after more than three days in the hospital, I brought my baby girl home.

And we'll talk about that later. Until then, here's my princess getting ready to go home:

(to be continued)


third time's a charm

What a colossal cliche', huh?  Well, in this case, it very much applies.

In late 2012, we found out we were pregnant.  It wasn't the best time for it.  In fact, the timing couldn't get much worse.  And for a number of highly personal reasons, we really didn't think it was remotely possible for me to be pregnant.  But after I managed to wipe out an entire super-sized jar of pickles (the kind that one usually finds in a store or food concession stand or something similar), it was becoming rather obvious that, despite our insistence that we were absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt done having children, another was on its way.

Similar to my previous pregnancy, we didn't find out we were pregnant until I was almost half-way through the 9 months.  After a disastrous first appointment with a horrible doctor who, thankfully, had wonderful nurses who were most helpful in finding me another doctor and get my needed tests expedited, my husband and I headed to a private laboratory armed with an order for an ultrasound stamped "STAT".

We sat in the waiting room, anxious to get into the exam room and get that wand over my belly to make sure our baby was doing okay.  Naturally, that was our first priority.  But running a close second was finding out if our baby sported girl parts or boy parts.

If you don't already know, I had previously given birth to two boys from a man who already had a son.  Now you can see why we were very interested in baby's gender.

Finally, my name was called.  We met our tech who was a familiar stranger to me.  While we had never met before, his wife was one of my favorite customers at a bar I had worked at many years ago.  I let him know I knew his wife and congratulated him on the baby I knew they just had.  As we became acquainted and I climbed onto the table assuming the position, I told him immediately that we wanted to know the gender and explained why.

As the picture came on the screen, I saw a perfect little baby who was not like my other two babies before and I don't mean gender-wise.  When I had my ultrasound for my sons, neither was very shy.  As soon as the wand hit my belly, there it was.  My boys were spread-eagle, announcing to the world their gender.  Baby number three, however, was shy.

As the tech took us through the paces, showing us baby's heart and other organs, spine, head, limbs and a cute little face showing us tongue, I saw nothing of baby's private parts.  At one point our tech referred to baby as "she" though I didn't catch it.  I figured he was just mimicking us and our hopeful insistence that this baby was a girl.

That was the only mistake our tech made that day.  As the minutes dragged on, this tech knew exactly what he was doing, keeping us in suspense as long as possible.

And then he asked if we were ready.  I could have strangled him.

As he waved the wand over the part where he knew baby's little parts were (because he already knew where they were having seen them and quickly passing over them so that we couldn't, purposely keeping the gender a surprise for as long as possible) he asked, "What do you think?"

A huge smile erupted on my face as it was more than obvious.  "That's a girl," I said, moments before I turned away and cried profusely.

And it was.  Finally, we were having our girl.

(to be continued)


another bad year

Wow.  It's been nearly two years since my last post.  I could say that in neglecting one forum I use as a writer, I've spent more time on my private writing, whether they be musings or works that I hope will one day reach a wider audience.  I could say that but it would be a lie.  The truth is that I haven't done much of anything in all that time except fall apart (again) and begin to heal (again).  Well, there was one huge thing that happened but we'll get to that later.

2012 was nothing short of a disaster.  After the strides I had made in my mental and emotional health over the preceding few years, I found myself even further back than when I had started.  Some things were done to me.  More things I had done, whether it be to myself or to others.  I hurt people I loved.  I lost people I loved.  I neglected people I loved.  And I nearly lost it all.

All in all, it was quite possibly the worst year of my life.  I'm ashamed to admit that.  I'm ashamed to admit that another year I was given to spend with my greatest treasures - my sons - could be bad, let alone the worst.  I'm ashamed of the knowledge that I've had a few rock bottom moments when I was younger, experiencing tragedy on a deep level, hurting in ways that many people in my circles have not hurt, and still I've found that what I went through in 2012 was worse.  I'm ashamed to have lost so much to my severe depression.  I'm ashamed of the fact that I nearly willingly gave all of it up.  Think what you will of that last statement.  What you imagine is probably true.

I'm most ashamed of how 2012 ended, in a severe breakdown that took me days to recover from and a relapse a few months later.  The breakdown itself was not the tragedy, nor was the relapse.  Similar to my shame in being severely depressed when I had three very tangible reasons to be happy, what made the breakdown worse was the one circumstance that should have made me happy.

Yet another unexpected miracle made its presence known around that time.

Among the tears, the freak outs, the breakdowns and the tantrums was nausea, weight gain and the tell-tale flutter in my belly.

We were pregnant.  (That would be the one hugely significant event of the last couple years.)

As it were, we later found out that we weren't just pregnant, we were expecting our first daughter.  Before she was, hope was born.

I wish I could say that that was the moment I began to heal, but it wasn't.  As my little girl grew inside me, so did my grief, my frustration, my resentment and a bevy of loss that I could not get over.  And my hope began to die.

Until I finally decided that enough was enough.  My sons needed me.  My daughter needed me.  I needed them more.  I needed them desperately.

And so here I am, healing, hoping, trying to take control (again).  2013 was the year of hope and mental health.  Also, getting caught up in having a baby (again).

But since I'm already wordy by nature and these things seem to take longer than they should, I'll end this shortly and expand in other posts.  (I'm DYING to write about my new princess)

I hope to be doing this more.  In mentally returning to my latest but most true passion, my children, I have decided to also return to my longest-running and first-intended passion:  Writing.

I don't do resolutions.  I end the year with lessons learned (something else I'll have to get back to, later, or chuck entirely) and I begin the next year with mantras.

My mantra this year?  Simply:  Love.

So that is how we will begin.  With love.  My love for my children.  My love for my husband.  My love for my family in heart.  And my love of writing.

See you very soon.

"Use your mentality, wake up to reality." -CP


changing religious ritual to serve a personal purpose

Organized religion is generally a practice of spirituality with doctrine and ritual within a common belief system. Such doctrine and ritual serve a purpose, usually as a means of contemplation to understand the core of the religion and to answer questions about the path to that faith and a means of bringing its constituents together. Without doctrine and ritual, there is little reason for the followers of any religion to treat their faith system as a family or any like-minded group. Without doctrine or ritual, there simply is no religion. It is nothing more than general faith or spirituality that does not connect to a specific purpose, goal or family of followers.

There is nothing wrong with that, of course. Spirituality as a general belief in something -- anything -- beyond our mortal world that inspires a sense of morality is a good thing. But that's all it is. Spirituality. It is not religion. Thus, if you do not prescribe to the set of doctrine or ritual attached to a specific religion, you are not behaving in the manner dictated by that religion and, perhaps, under the notion of refusal, should not consider yourself a part of that religion.

This does not mean that we should not question. That's the most important part of contemplation of faith and vital to spiritual growth. Hence the purpose of doctrine in the first place. Doctrine exists to answer questions we ask about our faith. However difficult the answer is to understand, it exists somewhere, even as a guide or hint, often as a prayer or parable.

Religion as an organic entity also changes as the world and culture inevitably changes. Doctrine and ritual change as the needs of the people change. Intercourse for the single purpose of procreation, polygamy, young marriages and the use of concubines existed in a time of high mortality rates when religion needed followers and society needed a population to function. Many of these practices have been altered as the world has become increasingly over-populated.

There are, however, many religious practices that do not need to change as they continue to foster beliefs and practices that remain core to its religion. Many Christian faiths, such as Catholicism, hold the death of Christ as a sacrifice to his people to be a notion as important as the life Jesus led. Easter and the preceding Lenten season, as recognized by Christians, is one of two extremely significant events to the faith and exists to teach what Christians believe is one of the foundations of the faith: Sacrifice. From the first day to the very last, the Christian is tasked to think often about what it is like to sacrifice as he was taught to do by the Messiah's ultimate sacrifice with his life.

Without doctrine and religious text to back this up, the requirement of fasting during Lent is a rather simple notion to understand in light of what Easter is supposed to mean to those who recognize its religious significance. Asking a person to sacrifice a small extravagance is a pittance to what God asked of his only begotten son when Jesus sacrificed his life as a means of showing redemption and the immortality of the soul.

Yet as the season approaches, there is always a voice of dissension, not only from those critical of Christianity or religion as a whole, but even by those who consider themselves faithful. They may believe that a small sacrifice teaches them nothing or that they do not need to sacrifice, themselves, in order to understand the most important sacrifice made to the Christian faith. This is where faith-based contemplation comes in. These are things the individual must reconcile, themselves, often with the aid of those meant to usher the practitioner's faith. An outright rejection of the practice, however, does nothing to foster contemplation or appreciation of religious doctrine. Questions are good. Rejection, perhaps, is not as beneficial if one's goal is to understand or actually practice the faith.

More, many simply do not see the connection at all. There is a population within the church of those who call themselves Catholic, who've been Catholic all their lives, who have had access to the doctrine of the church all of their lives who have either never heard or found the answers to their query of the practice of fasting or have not been receptive to teachings that have answered such questions. Yet the answer has always been there. This becomes the duty as a vital means of examination: Find answers.

Then there is a population of those who do not see the connection who claim that no answer exists despite never having looked for the answers. As it has been said repeatedly in this article, the answer does exist. In Matthew 9:15, the bible says, "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." There it is: A direct call by Jesus, himself, via the Bible in which followers are taught to believe was inspired by God, for his followers to fast when Jesus, the bridegroom, is taken away by his death memorialized by Easter.

And beyond both the confusion and outright refusal over the practice of fasting for Lent there is a significant population of both followers and those who object who have their own means of recognizing Lent. While this is the prerogative of people to do and it may seem harmless to foster positive action to replace ritual one does not understand, it does not promote the examination of Christianity or Catholicism by its followers. All it does is replace a notion that is clearly defined by purpose and recognition with one that is not connected to the religion, movement or observation in any way. These changes are very often positive. But such positive constructs don't need to replace a system that already exists with intent and purpose. Positive action does not need to replace. It can add. It can propel the driving force behind ritual and doctrine. It can become part of a new way of thinking that does not take away from the very core of the practice. Fast to appreciate Christ's sacrifice but also do something nice to appreciate the world around you. Fast to appreciate Christ's sacrifice but also sacrifice your time or resources to benefit your neighbor. Don't add to the confusion of the purpose of fasting for Lent by refusing to recognize that there is one. Don't question the desire of the faithful to continue to fast as a means of observing Lent.

If you do not wish to behave as a Christian, do not consider yourself Christian. If you do not understand why your Christian faith asks you to do certain things, look for answers, either through doctrine or the assistance of religious leaders whose very vocation is to assist you in finding answers. If you feel no compulsion to practice ritual that doctrine dictates even after the purpose is explained to you, do not participate. If you feel that you have personal goals beyond what ritual dictates, achieve those goals through means that do not involve changing doctrine to serve what you believe to be a better purpose. Keep in mind, always, what happened when Christianity, itself, set out to change the rituals of many cultures in which belief in Jesus did not previously exist. Ask yourself, seriously, if what you are doing is a brand of religious persecution, as well. Then ask yourself if, among all practices associated with any religion, fasting as a small sacrifice to recognize Jesus Christ's much more significant sacrifice is one that truly needs changing.


on handouts, deadbeats and welfare recipients

It's a long, boring, tired and, frankly, ignorant rant of a society that feels it is entitled to determine who deserves assistance and who doesn't. So many excuses have been used to defend such gross prejudice and few of those excuses are ever based on hard cold facts and figures. They are utterances made by people who feel it is more important for them to be condescending in an effort to elevate themselves without any real consideration for the many other details they are too ignorant to consider.

What of those details?

How about the fact that more than 20% of people on assistance are unemployable children who are not to blame for their families' financials struggles. But aren't they? Aren't they the reason many families are in debt? Children cost money, to their guardians and the overall economy. We already know we are over-populated. So why don't we give the government control over our reproductive rights? In essence, let's allow the government to tell us who can and cannot be parents. Yeah. Right.

So how do we give money only to children without allowing their parents to benefit from it? We'd need enough social workers to permanently live in the houses of welfare recipients to constantly monitor spending to ensure that the money is only being spent on the children and not the guardians.

If not that, let's yank these kids away from their homes and deadbeat families. That's an increase of children being declared wards of the state, sent to group homes or placed in the foster system. Our social workers can barely handle the amount of cases they have, now. So we'll need to hire a lot more workers and create a lot more group homes to house and care for the thousands upon thousands of children receiving welfare whose parents aren't working hard enough to deserve assistance.

You only need to be slightly intelligent to see that such a move would not only be a completely inappropriate, violation of human rights but it would end up costing the government and tax-payers infinitely more money that what is already being spent on welfare.

In short, we really can't do anything to ensure that children get the need they deserve while denying their guardians.

Now it's only natural that people want to have some control over how their money is spent. I get it. We should know how our money is spent.

Except we don't know. I literally cannot think of a single person I've talked to about taxes and welfare who has ever taken the time to look up how our taxes are spent despite the fact this information is READILY AVAILABLE.

For instance, residents of Guam who complain about their hard-earned and begrudgingly-paid taxes and how it's not fair that those tax dollars help families on assistance seem to have overlooked one tiny, albeit important fact. Get ready bitchers and complainers:


What the federal government spends on actual disbursements to people seeking aid mostly comes from tax-payers in the 50 states. Consider it a give and take. They get to vote for president and have more of a presence in congress, the actual people whose voices factor in these matters. So they get to pay for welfare for the three measly US territories that are eligible for assistance who don't get a voice in anything concerning our federal government.

So maybe it doesn't matter where the assistance is coming from. Maybe you really don't care if it's YOUR money housing deadbeats and what matters here is the principle of receiving a handout. Maybe all you're really concerned about is that it's "not fair".

As adults, you really should have learned by now that life isn't fair.

Are you driving a car that someone else paid for while there are others who can't afford their own vehicles? That's not fair.

Are you living in a free house while many others pay hefty mortgages and actual rent? That's not fair.

I went to private school. No tax-payers' dollars paid for my education. My parents still paid taxes that contributed to public school infrastructure and personnel. That's not fair.

It's not fair that some people have parents and some don't. It's not fair that some people have families that have money to spare while others don't.

Anytime anyone other than yourself has paid, in any amount, for anything you've benefited from, YOU ARE RECEIVING A HANDOUT. And I could easily say that all the deadbeats living charmed lives with parents who can afford to help them don't deserve their handouts. But that's none of my business. But when the government pays for it with our taxes, it is our business, right?

Are you a government worker? Then I'm paying for your salary. If you want to determine howdeserving other people are for welfare assistance, we should also determine how vital your government position is and if we are wasting taxes paying for an employee who doesn't deserve a job.

Are you in the military? There are a lot of citizens that don't agree with how the military spends money. Maybe we should be given the ability to deny paying taxes for military expenditures that we don't agree with.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Go ahead and look up the breakdown of tax expenditures. You tell me if you agree with how that money is spent. Then compare the figures of other government expenses to how much is spent on welfare. Is welfare still your primary concern?

But here's the thing: You can take out everything I've previously said and consider only one factor. Just one bit of information that, by now, EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN ADULT WITH FULL MENTAL CAPABILITIES SHOULD ALREADY KNOW.

Check it out, Einstein. We are in a really, really, really bad RECESSION. It's being compared to war-time recession. It's being compared to THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Isn't that the reason so many of you are bitching about welfare assistance? Because our economy can't afford it?

Guess what. The government can't afford it because PEOPLE can't afford it. Not deadbeats. Not drug addicts. Not welfare junkies out to mooch off of the system (you know, the ones who can't mooch off of their families).

Some of the people who can't afford basic necessities in this screwed up economy are educated. Some of them, in fact, have advanced degrees. They didn't stop as undergraduates. They've worked longer and harder and spent their own money or owe thousands of dollars in school loans for multiple degrees that they were told would help secure them a future.

Some of the people who can't afford it have worked for many years. Some have worked most of those years in managerial positions where they once could afford a comfortable life in a decent home, provide for their families and even have savings. And when the economy turned sour, they lost everything, having to dip into their savings only to have that money run out.

Educated people. Capable employees with marketable skills and years of experience. Nurses, teachers, civil service employees. Billions of dollars of tax-payers' dollars are spent on defense and many of our own soldiers are receiving assistance.

Look around you. Lay-offs. Foreclosures. Repossessions. These are not isolated to deadbeats.

This is all the information you are not considering when you make broad-sweeping, blanket statements about a group of people that you have clearly not made any effort to understand.

When you missed the "life isn't fair" lesson, you apparently also missed the lesson about stereotypes.

Keep that in mind the next time you decide to make comments about something you obviously do not understand. Educate yourself and do your research. Don't mimic or parrot misinformation. Take control of your thoughts and actions by thinking things out for yourself. And if you decide to perpetuate prejudice and ignorance, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the things you say without backtracking with bogus excuses that begin with, "But I didn't mean..." or "I'm not talking about..." When you offend people with your prejudices, never, ever expect them to treat you with the understanding that you failed to exhibit yourself. Oblivious ignorance is no excuse. If you are ignorant, expect people to call you ignorant.

And that's the last thing you should have learned: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.


20 epic albums while i was in high school...

...and my favorite song from each album.

My personal criteria were as follows:

1. Album should have been released sometime between 1993 and 1997. I generally think that any album that was still very popular during that time counts, even if they were released before 1993. But I stuck to "released" to make it easier to narrow down. Also, the individual songs on the albums could have been released previously as is the case with many soundtracks, greatest hits or other compilations.

2. I had to have been impressed with more than half of the songs on the album.

3. It doesn't have to be "my kind of music" as long as I think it's just a good album.

4. It has to immediately bring me back to high school.

5. Popularity or "number of hits" is the last and least important factor.

6. In picking my favorite song off of the albums, specifically those off of compilations, the song had to instantly remind me of that album.

In no particular order...

2pac - All Eyez on Me

Sublime - Self-titled

Soundgarden - Superunknown

*"Black Hole Sun" is my favorite video

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)

Massive Attack - Blue Lines

Bjork - Post

Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York

Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle

White Zombie - Astro Creep: 2000 - Songs of Love, Destruction and other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head

Pantera - Far Beyond Driven

Tool - Undertow

Stone Temple Pilots - Purple

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders

Bush - Sixteen Stone

The Wallflowers - Bringing Down the Horse

"Bleeders" is actually my favorite song off of this album, now. But A: "One Headlight" was my favorite song off of this album back then and B: They don't have a decent YouTube of "Bleeders" anyway.

Nine Inch Nails - Downward Spiral

Singles - Soundtrack

Judgment Night - Soundtrack

Trainspotting - Soundtrack

The Crow - Soundtrack