Search

Diary of a MadMan

The Book of Solo

Here We Go Again ::sigh::

Mental health is a bitch ya’ll. The way society is set up can make it very hard to navigate everyday life when you’re fighting an invisible battle and uncomfortably in front of your peers. Before you older ladies and gents out there talk about how great things were before the technology age and how people just faced there shit I HAVE TO ADD THIS DISCLAIMER. Not everybody reacts the same way to trauma and not every experience or worldview is the same. Everybody is some kind of fucked up. We’re all trying to get through it. Blame the “millennials”, the government, your parents or your past, the chemicals in the air or the food we eat, our dependency on fossil fuels, or inability to be a race of beings peaceful towards our fellow man if you want to but the bottom line is that no matter what you take issue with or how others oppose your opinion YOU are fucked up in the head. I am fucked up in the head.

This isn’t one of those things where I write some snarky jab at delusional people refusing to face reality on current events issues. This is my confession that I will publish about my own struggles. Not for sympathy, or for likes, or attention. I don’t need an arm chair opinion on what I should do or how to measure success and I am not looking for a professional diagnosis either. This is me. My therapy. Shedding it all and baring my mind for all to see. And it’s not for you. It is for me. So why should you read it? Don’t read it. I don’t give two flying smurfs.

I have a hard time explaining the things in my head and emotions I feel. I am comfortable with words. If you can relate to some degree as you read this then you will have a better time understanding what it is I am trying to convey. If you can’t at all understand and you continue to read this just do me a favor and keep an open mind. Eliminate all of your biases and knee jerk reactions to say, “well this is what I would do”, because frankly, I don’t care. And you have no idea how you would respond to some of the situations I have been in unless you actually do go through them and even then, I can promise you that what you wanna do and what you actually do are two completely different conversations on different paths of existence. If that’s still too much of a paradox for you, stop reading. No sense in getting yourself worked up over nothing. These are just thoughts and words from a mind other than your own and out of your control and you DON’T have to deal with it if you don’t want to. I reserve my judgements and so should you.

Before I continue I do want to say that I am constantly cheering each and every one of you on. Social media keeps us so connected in such a way that in all honesty its inevitable to share our triumphs and accomplishments with each other but also our tough times as well. So, if you’re going through something, a custody battle, the death of a loved one, losing a job or ending a relationship, fighting some charges in court, or some kind of health or other crisis, just know I see you. I scroll through my timeline and newsfeeds and I see you. I am rooting for you. I am hurting with you. It’s just the kind of guy I am. I want you to get through it and be better. To get better. Congratulations on all the new additions to your families and all the engagements and weddings. On your new jobs and your travels, for losing all that weight and becoming healthier and for purchasing either your first or fifth home. I am happy that you are happy and applaud your accomplishments and personal goals achieved. I don’t want anyone to fail.

With that said. I want to be honest about myself. If I seem like I’m holding back, or not returning calls or text messages. It has nothing to do with you. I’m just like everybody else. I have my good days and I have my bad days. I struggle with more bad days than I do good. I struggle with anxiety and depression just like anyone else, especially when you’ve experienced past traumas that haunt you. My good days are great but are far and few between and my bad days are horrible. I’m super extra about feeling great to the point where its annoying to others and then discouraging to me because the mismatch in the energies leaves me feeling guilty for being happy for no reason or for being in a good mood. Am I not allowed to feel good about myself? When things are tough I have a hard time being social. So, I take the time to focus on myself. I firmly believe in the notion that misery loves company and its contagious. I might not be able to help being the misery but I sure as shit won’t be the company. So, I may seem reclusive and anti-social but I’m not. I’m just taking some time for self-care, and I want that to be normal for me. I mean it is routine for me but I wish it was better received. In the mean time I didn’t stop cheering for you guys or caring I’m just working through my own shit. Trust me if I stopped fucking with you, you would know it.

Recently, I’ve been a lot more private about my life because I’ve been in a dark place for quite some time. I have had to deal with some setbacks and disappointments and just experiences that can be chalked up to things out of my control or a string of “bad luck” so to speak. But I’ve heard the phrases iterated time and time again that luck is what you make of it, but let’s be really honest here and just admit to each other that certain events or experiences are completely out of our control. In addition, I also don’t believe in God or have any intention of having a faith. I consider myself spiritual though and in some circles that doesn’t go over well. I find it disrespectful that people want to pray for me (the sentiment is nice, but honestly just the easiest thing to say during trying times) or forcefully and angrily challenge me as if I am not allowed to formulate my own opinions. It seems like people are too focused on my lack of faith instead of what happened to me and why or how I lost it. I say people but I really mean a handful of individuals close to me that have recently really cracked down on criticizing me based on their not agreeing with what I believe and how I expect my children to be raised. Key word there though is my children. I don’t expect anybody to believe what I do and I respect that, but that doesn’t mean in recent years I’ve been given those considerations. Some people do mean well but I don’t like having my beliefs challenged to the point where feelings have to get hurt and ugly shit gets said. I respect every other person’s right to a faith regardless of what I believe. I feel like I need to make that clear. I choose not to teach my children religion as a basis for morality but I won’t keep them from being exposed to such biblical stories so long as it isn’t being shoved in their faces that blind faith is the way to go and these are undeniable truths. I went to a catholic school for three years and was raised a catholic by a non-practicing mother. I lost my father when I was 8. He should have been in my life but he wasn’t given the opportunity to disappoint me so for all her failures my mother blamed him. We did not have a great relationship and she was often verbally and mentally abusive. Definitely overkill on the physical abuse at times where she was physical. See I grew up in a home where I wasn’t encouraged to have my own opinions or beliefs so you’ll forgive me if I speak my mind and say that this is the main reason that I often don’t give a fuck. I consider myself close to my sister and give her 100% of the credit for raising me because more than anything she played a better mothering role in my life than our mother did. When I was 17, she passed away and that was the hardest loss I’d ever endured at a very crucial time in my life that set off a chain reaction of events that included homelessness, utter despair, some bad decisions along the way that included some of the worst relationships I could have been part of for me personally and professionally, and cutting off every part of my family that I had any relationship with. That last part was more of a victory as it gave me some peace at times because they were mostly toxic. There was a lot that happened in between but I won’t go through my whole life story as to prove the point about why I do not believe in God but it’s where the majority of my struggles today started.

With time things got progressively worse. Regressed memories came back in nightmares and I developed a severe anxiety that took over the confident aspect of my personality that I had known myself for and reared its ugly head when triggered by whatever made those difficult memories forefront in my mind at any given point again. It makes it hard to do anything productive no matter how hard you try to, or how much you want to. I was depressed. I burnt out on more than one occasion. I did all I could to “make it”. To be successful. I went back to school. I worked up to three jobs on certain occasions while doing so but with each degree things got tougher because I was more and more disappointed with the results. I moved out of state to try to make things better while still finishing my undergrad and then switched majors for grad school. I had a kid, and now another one. I’ve maintained high GPAs including a current 4.0 in my grad program for mental health counseling. No matter happened or what I did to remain occupied or busy or how much I concentrated on this new goal or accomplishing others, or my son, the past keeps creeping up. No matter what I do I don’t feel fulfilled. I don’t feel like a failure in any way. I actually feel more than capable of doing anything I set my mind to but on some days, I’m feeling great and others, like I don’t want to be seen. Take this morning for example (this morning actually being like weeks ago), I was like I’m gonna teach myself to play the guitar. Yeah fucking right! I am? When? I want to learn, but I don’t have the time to teach myself with a new baby and a very demanding three-year-old. I actually took time off of school from January until next month when I go back because I was so burned out trying to maintain that 4.0, all the expectations of school, the physicality on the job that started to demand so much more of my time than I was willing to give regardless of prior obligations, of my child, and at home. They hired a more experienced person at the “job” I was doing to replace me so I wasn’t needed and that was cool but I didn’t have any intentions on doing anything other than focusing on me. I HAVE TO. Nobody else is. I immediately regretted leaving school and I wasn’t actually prepared to be replaced at work, but I was mostly concerned with school because I wanted to be finished and over with it already. I am training for a career that makes a difference in people’s lives after all. It’s not like the decision to take time off school went over big but not one decision I ever make for myself does when other people depend on me but I can’t depend on anybody else. And again, I’ve heard the “you’re not the only one that has to, or is doing dadadadada”, and my only response is I’m me. Going through it in my head is different from others perceptions who don’t know what it is like to go through its so while I applaud everyone else for being so well balanced, I’m not and I don’t give a fuck about every one else. I’m mentally selfish here trying to save my own life and wish people with adverse opinions and false proficiencies on mental health would sit on their thumbs and spin for entertainment and leave me the fuck alone because if you aren’t going to be part of the solution don’t waste my time becoming part of the problem. My mouth gets me in trouble way too fucking much BTW. ::shrugs shoulders:: Too bad you can’t unfriend and unfollow people in real life right? WAAAAIT YOU CAN! Just simply move along.

My darkest period in a long time actually came right after graduation. The company I interned for took their offer for permanent placement off the table without even telling me, more so the decision of one person so it was a major defeat for me. A blow to my ego and my wallet as it was pretty much done out of spite so it also hurt my feelings a lot. I realized just how unprofessional working in a professional setting can be the hard way and that the expectancy of loyalty is just a one-way street. I was ashamed to have to come home to say that I am being let go. I won’t go into details about the response I got but it didn’t help. I was deeply depressed. I never wanted to get out of bed for a while after that and if I didn’t have to I didn’t. I gained a ridiculous amount of weight and for those that have known me wouldn’t believe me when I say that I was super unhealthy. I had no energy and I was sick damn near all the time. Constantly eating garbage and junk food because I didn’t have the energy to care. I spent all that time off though struggling to figure out how I was gonna make attending my first choice for grad school out of state work and time was not on my side. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I had to defer my student loans and then give up driving privileges for a year because of a ticket I had got eight years prior that I couldn’t even remember. I felt useless. Alone. I didn’t care about much anything else besides my son. I hid it so well. I suffered silently for the sake of everyone else. I eventually decided to go to school online to get something going and it put a spark back in me that I had missed. I felt like I was doing something productive. But trust me I am admitting that 90% of the pressure I feel when it comes to school I put on myself, it’s the 10% of pressure I feel from elsewhere that really burns my clutch.

I contemplated life immensely during that dark period. At times, I contemplated ending my own life on numerous occasions believing my child and everyone else would be better off without me. I struggled a lot. But I am not known for being anyone else that loves life. And I do. I just don’t love mine all the time. It has nothing to do with my relationship or my son. We’re great it’s just me. Its hard to come to terms with being someone welcoming their own death and contemplating taking it and fearing it all at the same time. I am in no ways currently suicidal. I don’t need sympathy or thoughts and prayers I just need to be understood. That is a difficult task when it seems hard to understand oneself. I don’t ever make anyone promises for that reason. I am always there when I am needed though. You gotta understand that’s what drew me into counseling, that desire to be helpful, but there are some technicalities about the field that really made me question if I was making the right career choice, and I was going through all of that at the same time I was dealing with everything else and then there was a new baby coming that while is a blessing added some weight to my plate. It’s been a very difficult and trying time. I’m good but I’m not good. No, you can’t help. No, there is nothing you can do. No, there is nothing I want from anyone.

In conclusion if I go through it I go through it because I’m tired of dealing with the bullshit and being alone in it not because of any mental instability at all. I’m tired. People can’t be good understanding people to each other and everybody has an opinion about how everyone else should live their life. My question for you is, is it selfish of you to keep insisting I endure such animosity and unfair amounts of pressure to appease everyone else or the bravest fucking thing I could ever do in ending my own life because it has to take guts to realize that you are that fed up with everyone and everything. I’m human. I have my doubts. My kids. I don’t know how to be better for them. It’s just one of those times in my life where ending it all seems like the right thing to do and on my terms. We all gotta die someday. I don’t think today is my day but then again, I could slip in the shower and everyone could pretend they gave a shit about me when I was alive anyways. I’m also pretty sure which scenario I’d be vilified for anyways. ::shrugs shoulders again::

Maybe I’m being silly and irrational. But maybe I’m just hurting that fucking much.

Advertisements

Letter to My Unborn Child Part II

Counting down the days between now and when I’ll hold you for the first time seems like an eternity. I just spent the last two weeks switching out bedrooms so you and your big brother can share the master bedroom and still have a room for the office. I painted it blue and gray. I built your dresser and your crib and put up these little whale stickers on the wall above it. Put a light switch in the closet for your brother to reach when he needs to get his toys so he’s not in the dark. I even took off the closet door to make it easier for him to get in and out. You’ll appreciate that too when you’re bigger. I put the baby camera in just the right spot to make sure your mom and I can see the whole room from the monitor. Tossed everything we didn’t need in the trash and put everything else in storage. Got some Giants onesies and bibs so you’ll be ready for your first football game with us too. There’s so much to be excited for.

I walk into your room a countless number of times a day. I triple check to make sure the camera is positioned right. That the light switch for the closet works. I look up at the edge of where the ceiling and the walls meet and think, not perfect but not that bad a freehand job and not taping up the ceiling like I know I should have because I do know better. If I asked anyone they’d tell me flat paint in a kid’s room is a horrible choice but I like the way it came out. Your mom hated the blue I picked out until I put it on the walls. She says the way the sun hits it from the window makes it look pleasantly bright. I’ve been so meticulous about the details. The curtains. Everything. I just want us to be ready to bring you home. Me, your mom, your big brother, the rest of your family, we can’t wait to meet you.

The truth is though, I’ve been afraid to get excited about you. My only regrets are that I can’t control the stability of the world you’re coming into. Much has changed in this world since I was born and even more drastically in the little time between the day your brother took his first breath almost 4 years ago to the day you’ll take yours. I’m a different man. Less inspired. More cynical. My hair is a little more silver and gray and I can’t quite land that 360° layup from under the rim like I used to. My jumper off the stop and go is still solid though. I’ll show ya sometime. I’ll still be running and jumping with you like I do Joseph and those are the times that will make for some great memories. I’ve become more selfish with my time and attention. I can’t change the world and I can’t change people. I won’t let fear get in the way of being excited about you and being your dad anymore. I’m wishing nothing but health and happiness for you. I’m a man of my feelings. I wonder everyday if I’m doing a good enough job as a father to your brother and trying to do this for two boys at the same time petrifies me. Especially in a world with so much potential that still seems as bleak as ever. But I don’t care about how great people think I am, or if they agree with me, or if they even like me. I only care that I do what’s best for you. That I continue to prepare you and your brother to grow up to be beautiful men with dignity and honor with a great sense of awareness and the ability to understand consequences while navigating the difficulties of society.

I love you. You and your brother will be reflections of the kind of man I wished I was when I was younger. You two will always be the best part of me. I didn’t have my dad and I didn’t get close to many people so I need to be for you everything the men of my life weren’t for me. I just want you to enjoy your youth. It’s so important to laugh at every chance you get. Your brother will teach you the ways of poop and fart jokes because he’s a grandmaster at them and he’s hilarious. We’ll have dance parties and run around the kitchen table often. It’s gonna be a great life.

If I could give you any advice early it would be to become your own person. Don’t be afraid to be you. Whoever you are won’t always be perfect but you’ll be worth it. Times will get tough and the world will seem like it’s crashing down around you. It’s okay to fall. It’s okay to cry and be sad because everything will always be okay as long as pick yourself up and keep moving. Try to always do the right thing. Share. Be different. Be beautiful. And remember that no matter what I’ll love you always and forever and unbiased.

 

Just a man in his feelings writing a letter to someone who will never be able to read it. 

Why do we say we lost people? All this time I thought I had lost you. I didn’t lose you because I know where you are. I didn’t misplace you. You’re still in my heart where you’ve always been and a big reason why I am who I am today. It hurts the same now as it did the first time so long ago. I just cry less. I lost track of the days and the months and years since you left. I was naive. Not you. Life wouldn’t take my sister from me. But it did. I know where we were the last time I saw you. Under what circumstances and in what context. So why did I ever think I lost you? You’re just gone. I didn’t lose you. But I miss you. I want to worry about if you’re hungry or cold or happy cause I could fix those things and it hurts to know that I’m robbed of these cares. For you. But why? Why is life so cruel. It all fell apart for me after. In my grief, I’m so selfish. You were my mom and my dad not just my sister. My hero. It just hurts immensely. All that could have been. To live through the good and the bad. But the reality was the worst. It can’t be undone or fixed and my heart is broken every day. The smallest pieces shatter to dust thinking about writing this to get it off my chest in an attempt to numb the feeling knowing it isn’t the same as being able to say it to you. If I could, I would have the opportunity to say something else. Anything else would be better than this. This is emptiness. This nothing. A void. I’m just sad. I didn’t lose you, I lost myself.

He is love

​I don’t feel as fullfilled as I once did when I was a younger man questioning my existence. Going through the motions of a younger mans life working dead end jobs and trying to make amends with family that had no care for me. To me then, I always had time. I could make things better. I could change things. I could live up to the unrealistic expextations and ridiculous standards ignoring the lack of care people I knew didn’t love me had. My only goals were to develop dreams and aspirations. Today the sun isn’t as sweet. I never developed those dreams and aspirations and I no longer feel the essence of time being on my side. I lost my faith and fell out of favor with the notion of questioning my existence for lack of caring why I’m here. I know me less today than I did when the sun wasn’t my nemesis. My accomplishments bring me pride but are evidently trivial as nothing is ever good enough and the expectations of others soil the hard work put in. My hands are rougher. My face has changed. Especially my eyes. My hair is starting to silver. What I do today shapes tomorrow only for what it’s worth. A wordsmith of sorts trapped in a poet’s nightmare struggling to care enough to search for a deeper meaning and purpose. The one truth I’ve learned and believe in more than anything I can see is that everyone leaves you and it isn’t a matter of why or how but a matter of when. I hold on to the smiles because time is unpredictable. The world will inevitably end for us all regardless of how many spins around the sun this green/blue/brown rock has left. My only saving grace is that I am somebody’s best friend. Their hero. The look in his eyes when he calls out for me is something I wonder if my father ever noticed in me when I called out for him. This boy came of his mother’s womb from the fruit of my loins a stranger to me and with a place in my heart unmatched by another. His care for me is the kind of absolute and true unbridled selfless and unconditional love I never knew existed. I never thought it possible to love someone like that. He is of my creation and now he is of his own. I watch him learn and grow and love and develop his interests in amazement. I carry him knowing one day he won’t need me to understanding that from a boy he’ll be a man and from the son a father. What more could I want for him than everything I never had and everything he wants. I’ve never been as good at anything in my life and as confident in any ability the way I feel I am good at being and confident in my ability as a father. I’ve hurt people and I’ve been hurt but my only real care is in the little boy of my flesh and blood and to teach him to be a far better man than I ever was or cared to be. My life shaped me. As a father I want his to shape him in a way I wish mine hadn’t shaped me so that he will know I loved him that much. It’s the kind of selflessness he taught me, this man who didn’t feel he had anything left he cared to learn. He is the part of me I never knew. He is love. 

Holy Sh!t, Are You F@*king Kidding Me? A.K.A. Dear White People and ‘Token Privileged’ Minorities, This Letter is for You.

Guys! I’m back. I haven’t done one of these in a while. I’ve been pretty busy getting all A’s in school. Being on the last leg of my first year of graduate school and maintaining a 4.0 GPA takes an immense amount of concentration. Not to mention my son is now 2 and demands a ton of attention. Then, there is the occasional “me time”(which doesn’t happen often) where I would like to turn the world off and try to digest what’s going on. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted though, which has made me physically exhausted just trying to accomplish that alone. I could handle being “busy” no problem but the world is on fire folks and you are all burning in front of me. I’ve been trying to put some of you out but you ignorant asses love to roll around in gasoline and play with matches. I am not responsible for what you like when you’re done fucking yourself up and over.

Disclaimer: Foul language, strong opinions ahead. Trigger warning issued. Reader discretion advised.

With that said, I would like to welcome you to the Diary of a Madman. Buckle up bitches, I’m about to piss you mother fuckers off. this post isn’t the squeaky clean “guys lets all love each other” blog that the first was. Don’t get me wrong I stand by my beliefs and I stand by the principles of inalienable human rights and all the other jazz I was talking about but you guys….. holy shit, you have got to be fucking kidding me. I mean you ARE kidding me, right? Shit, I don’t even know where to start.

oppression, racism, discrimination, racial profiling in community policing, and the white privilege connection

Do I have your attention? I hope so. WHITE people! What the fuck man? You are making me look really fucking bad and its pissing me off. Some of you are very close friends of mine, others are acquaintances or people I used to have respect for. And regardless of your plain racist ignorance, I still like you. Most of you. Why? Because you can do so much to help accomplish change and do much better for the world helping me advocate for human rights in the fight against systemic and institutionalized racism and social inequality instead of working against me by being some racist tool bag with a shitty selfish opinion about race relations. Some of you don’t even know or refuse to become aware that you are being racist. You have no concept of whitesplaining and racism or how you are connected to the problem because of the ignorant shit you have the balls to say on social media. None of you have any idea about the concept of how privileged you are. Some of you work in the military, are police officers, or work in education. How the fuck did you climb that ladder so high to actually obtain careers with your heads in your asses? Seriously though, I mull around on social media. I see your tweets, I see your comments and your posts. I see you making excuses for bad police officers doing bad things. NEWS FLASH we have a serious fucking problem with white police officers shooting black people. End of story. Don’t debate that shit with me either, or try and you will lose the argument quicker than you can start your tirade of finger banging a response on your keyboard or phone all while shedding tears over your American flag that was made in Mexico because you felt disrespected that someone at a sporting event didn’t stand for the national anthem and salute the flag…..

Okay woah! I’m sorry we’ll tackle all this one topic at a time. Get the box of tissues though cause I will make you little bitches cry. #sorrynotsorry

So community policing and the Black community… we can’t even say the Black community anymore cause it seems just being black is a death sentence no matter where you are these days. Look, let’s get a couple of things straight. I am a white guy, I am very well aware of who I am, what I look like and the unfortunate privilege I am awarded just for being white that others of color and culture are not even considered. By the time you have finished reading this from start to finish and you still don’t think you are white and privileged or contributing to the problem (don’t worry you snooty ass minority individuals [who think they have one foot in each community] I will address you too) then I have absolutely no hope for you and you are beyond help and will continue to contribute to the problem. YOU are the problem.

Look I will never know what it is like to be afraid of the possibility I may lose my life when confronted by a police officer, neither will you. What I do know is that I have been called a traitor to my race, and been accused of perpetuating a problem that has existed for longer than I’ve had breath to draw in my lungs by attempting to bring awareness the disgusting nature of social inequality and injustice. I’ve been verbally attacked and threatened for speaking out on social media. I’ve been confronted by other white people who can’t stomach the truth about their ridiculous racist views and the only thing they prove is themselves stupid and unwilling to listen to the facts about what is really going on out there.

Look, I grew up in an urban environment and lets face it anybody living in the ghetto is oppressed but when I got out I wasn’t oppressed anymore, some of my other friends who also got out still sadly experience discrimination. Those who are still there don’t have it any better. That’s the difference between knowing where you stand and being naïve to believe that you earned your bragging rights through hard work. I fear for my friends and you know if I call you a friend whether we speak every now and again or we speak every day that I care for you deeply. That’s just my nature. Some of you guys though also know it means I won’t put up with your bullshit and have no problem calling you out on it.

I’ll give you a prime example of what I’m talking about in terms of the difference in experiences in police encounters based on the color of your skin. In 2004 on one Friday night during the summer I was pulled over doing 60mph down 11th Ave in Paterson. I lived on the corner of East 25th in a basement apartment in Paterson, N.J. at the time. I didn’t pull over immediately instead going an additional three blocks before I stopped. I pulled into the driveway of the house I lived in. Mind you this was a two car driveway with four cars in it already. So I’m basically parked diagonally in the street over the side walk. I don’t even wait to get approached. I got out the car and approached the passenger door of the police cruiser with my license and registration in hand. It wasn’t even my car. The car was registered in North Carolina and I had a Pennsylvania driver’s license living in New Jersey.  I was the designated driver that night so I took my friend’s car home because she was too drunk to drive and we all had work in the morning. Two white police officers ask me if I knew why they had their lights on and pulled me over and I said I think I might have been speeding. One cop says, “no shit you were speeding”. I knew exactly how fast I was going. I explained I was tired, that I was the designated driver that night for my friends and had work early in the morning and that I lived right there and pointed to the house on the corner. He gave me back the registration and insurance card without checking to see if the car was stolen or running the plate period gave me back my license and told me get some sleep and have a nice night. The officer in the driver’s seat gave me some advice, he said, “when you get pulled over, don’t ever get out of the car like that again, especially around here. If you were anyone else this would have all ended differently”. I got the hint and I’m sure you do to. They didn’t frisk me, they didn’t even try to determine if my story was a lie or not, they didn’t run my license, and for all they know I could have had drugs and weapons in the car, maybe a dead body and didn’t really live in that house because nobody who didn’t know I lived there would have ever believed that I lived there. White people don’t willingly live in the hood. I did. Paterson was my home though, where I was born and raised. But I was left to go about my business because of the privilege of being white. Do you understand now?

So let’s be honest okay, the police are killing black people during incidents that should simply be routine. Stop, investigate, question and possibly detain and then arrest or ticket and send them on their way back to their families. Why is that so hard to master all of the sudden? It is easy to accomplish for certain other (white) peoples, like in my experience.

Before you start with your straight up stupid excuses let’s try an exercise to help you with your anxiety, because I know I have already hit a couple triggers harder than a head on collision and you may be disoriented.

Ready. Calm yourself. Relax. I’m being serious. I swear to you I am not being condescending. Think of a peaceful place you have either already been to, maybe have always wanted to go to, or imagined that could absolutely relax you. Are you there? Think of an activity, or a setting. You’re sitting under a tree, there’s a warm spring air and a cool breeze. You’re surrounded by the sounds of chirping birds in a forest and the tree you are sitting under is next to a babbling brook. Maybe it’s the crackle of a fire place and the sweet smell of hot chocolate under your nose as the snow falls pleasantly outside a scenic window overlooking a mountain. Are you possibly at an empty beach surrounded by loved ones enjoying the sounds of gentle waves crashing against the shore? Your children are laughing and playing under the hot sun and cooled by a gentle ocean breeze all while having an extravagant summer meal prepared for you and yours. Did you see that out there close to the shore? It’s a pod of dolphins playing in the light surf. Imagine an autumn landscape. The peaceful diversity of the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. You’re staring up at the sky as the clouds pass by and you’re imagining what shapes they are forming. I feel better already. Do you? You should.

Let’s get through this with facts first. Leave your emotions and personal feelings aside while we discuss the part you play in the current state of our country and how you could change things for the better. I think we first have to address the idea of privilege. White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances (Wikipedia). Some of you think privilege is simply being wealthy and we have to dispel that myth right now that while yes the wealthy are privy to a certain lifestyle awarded by an amassed amount of wealth as they can afford it, their being rich and your being either struggling middle class or poor does not mean you know what it is like to be oppressed or discriminated against or that they are simply privileged while you are not. Just being white makes you privileged. You have opportunities and considerations when dealing in all sectors of society that other minority communities do not have. Jobs, promotions, pay, legal matters, encounters with the police, etc. You can’t deny it either just because you’re naïve to the truth. I am your awakening. Don’t tell me “everybody has the same opportunities, that you simply just have to work hard for them and that black people are lazy and uneducated, thugs and criminals”. I will tell you “that isn’t true about all black people that all people regardless of race or culture can fit the criteria to define those personality attributes to a T”. You’ll say “well not all police officers are bad”. And I will then shock you with “then if that’s what you believe why don’t you agree with the country taking in Syrian refugees attempting to escape the horrors of a very brutal and seemingly never ending nightmare that is their civil war”? Not all Syrians are bad. I mean you’ll most likely be reading this blog on a mobile device invented by the offspring of Syrian refugees. See the point here is you CANNOT stereotype an entire community of people based on what they look like or what they believe if it is different from your norm. It’s absolutely okay to be white and I am not saying that you should go on an apology tour because sociologically, society is built to where the majority will always have the opportunity to oppress the minority. Being enlightened though is to stop with the labels. We all wear them. You’re either black or white or gay or straight a man or a woman and so on and so on in the realm of all the things that make you, you.  One simply doesn’t just wear one label either. We are all many things. But seriously… stop living under the rock of how you identify yourself and taking pride in how you identify yourself too far by assuming you are the alpha and all those not like you are inferior simply because you fit the societal norm. That because you are part of the majority that you somehow are entitled to certain rights and considerations that others aren’t because of their being different. It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous, and it’s narcissistic.

Stop whitesplaining as well. I’m really fed up with that bullshit. Whitesplaining for your reference is a combining form extracted from mansplain, and meaning “to explain or comment on something in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner, from the perspective of the group one identifies with,” as in ladysplain; whitesplain : racism being whitesplained to a person of color (dictionary.com). Being as how you have no idea what it’s like to get passed up for a job because of your skin color or pulled over just because you fit the description of a known “perpetrator”, or stopped and frisked for no reason, or forced to serve extended jail sentences for drug possession charges for having a small amount of marijuana on you for personal use while white people are out there getting high on demon semen and eating people’s faces, cause lets face it you mother fuckers like to get high too and all that means that you also have no right to explain the current state of oppression in America to someone who is oppressed because you aren’t oppressed. Just for the sake of clarity, oppression is defined as, 1 a :  unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power b :  something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power (meriam-webster.com). Can you honestly think to any time in your life where you felt you were treated unjustly or cruel by an authority of power?

By continuing to assert yourself in such a manner you help perpetuate the sense of entitlement that majority society has held for many decades, and centuries in other parts of the world where minorities are oppressed by being denied the same rights you think you alone are entitled to. I’m sure you need an example so here we go. It’s sad that all the examples you have witnessed in the media or that I have given you are not enough but we’ll go through a couple more just in case it hasn’t drilled far enough into your head.

A white kid named Dylan Roof with a radicalized racial grudge murders nine black people in a church and when he’s arrested, knowing he is armed and dangerous and a serious threat to anyone around him is taken into custody quietly, and driven to Burger King because he was hungry. I mean terrorism in cold blooded, premediated murder sure does build up quite the appetite, right? The media refused to call him a terrorist and so did you.

A black man Eric Garner, is allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a street corner and is chocked to death, another black man Alton Sterling, is selling DVDs out the trunk of his car outside of a laundromat and is shot multiple times and killed by a police officer, another black man Philando Castile, was shot four times and killed during a traffic stop in his car while he was still buckled into his seat belt, another black man Michael Brown was unarmed and shot by a police officer during a scuffle, Laquan McDonald was shot multiple times after he was already gunned down by police who initially said he faced them and threatened them with the knife he had in his hand. Police dashcam video eventually proved the police report of the incident false. Tamir Rice was only 12 years old when he was shot and killed for playing with a BB gun in a park, Terrence Crutcher was unarmed and had his hands up when he was shot and killed by a police officer who claimed he was allegedly reaching into the CLOSED window of his stalled vehicle, Keith Scott a disabled black man was killed by police after he was dragged out of the truck, Sandra Bland “committed suicide” in a jail cell after she was taken into custody after a traffic stop resulted in an unlawful arrest, Treyvon Martin was killed during  a scuffle with a self proclaimed neighborhood watch captain who instigated the incident by stalking this kid, his crime, simply walking through a neighborhood wearing a hoodie while being black, Freddie Gray was taken into custody for having a knife on him and “suddenly” became unresponsive during transport to booking, John Crawford III was shot by police in Walmart for picking up a BB rifle off a shelf and talking on his cell phone while walking around the store. There are countless others who didn’t make the media scrum of incidents that have taken over our news coverage over the course of the past couple of years. I honestly don’t think I can name them all and I’m pretty sure I missed a few of the incidents popularized by the media.

Now, before you start going through each case and start bringing up the circumstances of the whys and whats and start telling me how difficult it is to be a police officer in the heat of the moment and pointing out who had a criminal record and what they were previously arrested for… consider the following.

Here’s some more white people who survived their encounters with the police as criminals themselves. James Holmes killed twelve people in a movie theater during a showing of the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. He’s in jail serving a life sentence plus 3,318 years but he wasn’t killed at the scene of his crime. Joseph Housman refused to identify himself and stood in front of a Dairy Queen waving a loaded rifle screaming that the revolution was coming. He was drunk, the police confiscated his gun and told him to pick it up at the police station the next day, he did and it was returned to him no questions asked. The man threatened police, and not only did he live, he wasn’t arrested. Lance Tamayo was actually shot by a police officer after he pointed a gun at police officers while children were present playing at a park eventually charging with his gun pointed in the direction of the police officers at the scene. It took police an hour to make the decision to shoot him and he was only shot once. They then spoke to him on the phone for fifteen minutes while maintaining a safe distance from him until he agreed to surrender. He lived. E.J. Watson threatened a man and his son with a  gun during a road rage incident and when he was pulled over by police he had to be physically removed from the car where multiple empty beer cans were found along with a loaded Smith & Wesson. Jesse Deflorio is the knucklehead that shot a BB gun at police officers and lived to tell the tale. Two drunk white guys went into a Walmart, unpackaged and loaded BB guns and shot them in the store, and they didn’t die at the hands of the police who instead arrested them. Jed Frazier drove his car into a ditch and when police came to help him he pulled a gun on them. They removed him from his vehicle and arrested him without shooting him. Julia Shields was arrested after wearing body armor and shooting at other vehicles as she passed them in hers. She was arrested after she led police on a chase. She lived. Steven Whitlock was described as mentally disturbed when he pointed a gun at firefighters who arrived at his home to conduct a welfare check. He stole their equipment after they took cover and barricaded himself inside his house. Police forced themselves into this apartment after an hour and arrested him.

The difference between the first group of police encounters I mentioned and the second that I just described were that the people in the first group were black and the second were white so please do me a favor and save the bullshit excuses about how hard it is to be a cop in the line of duty and make split second decisions, especially if you yourself are not a cop. By insisting on making excuses for this kind of horrid behavior you are again further perpetuating your stance on race related issues. You are a racist. Here is my problem with you. Nobody said you had to take a side but you chose one and you chose one based on the people you can relate to the most racially. Hey guys Hitler was white, where are your swastikas? But when you decided that Black Lives Matter was a mob and not a movement and neglected the militarized and desensitized culture of police in America today you showed your true colors. But wait I heard you the first time, but you have black friends so you’re not a racist. You did community service in a rough neighborhood, so you care about the black community. Nobody wants your misguided charity what they need is for you stand up against the very system that forces them into needing charity to get by. Defeating the wage class is a completely different blog, not today my friends. We’re only talking about your racist ass ways.

By the way, if you are a cop and reading this and are offended because you do racially profile people or have planted evidence on a person for the sole purpose of making an unlawful arrest lawful, harassed or terrorized someone or misused your power in any way to purposely cause harm to a person based on the color of their skin or based your despicable behavior on your personal disdain for their culture you’re only offended because it’s the truth, you hate yourself and your conscience is killing you and you’re a self centered narcissistic piece of shit and you need help. I can help you; I haven’t counted you out so don’t count yourself out or get your panties in a bunch either. You can still be a better human being instead of a steroid raged racist troglodyte. If you’re a good cop and you believe in the oath you swore, to protect and serve, and you do right by the book and you want all people to know that all cops aren’t bad then speak up and speak out about what you can do to bridge the gap in community policing. You have a part to play that is more than merely making traffic stops to fill quotas and responding to crimes in progress. You can speak out against the system that continues to allow your fellow brothers and sisters in blue to bully and terrorize the community you serve all the while tarnishing your reputation and dragging your name down in the mud. I’m sure you tell your children what your parents told you about how you are who you associate yourself with and the same still goes for you now today as a professional adult. I completely one hundred percent support the efforts of the police and respect the job they do everyday but I will not stand by a dirty cop or hear some of your lame ass excuses for the dumb shit they do and get away with because of your white privileged perspective and racist ideology.

I swear to the stars that if I had a dollar for every time some of you ran to me with the headline of some media article where a black athlete, politician, actor or actress said something that was pro black or critical of the majority and you took it as “fuck you whitey”, crying about how racist that is because you got called out for you, yourself saying something that was overtly racist I would be a very rich man. I’m not your dad and we’re only worrying about how you conduct yourself as you are the only person responsible for your words and actions. That’s what you should be worried about, how you come across as opposed to how racist everyone else sounds because nothing that anyone else has to say about what they feel in their hearts whether it is in fact baseless or just a reaction of how they deal with the emotions of living in a world that vilifies them for being who they are, or even just absurd racist has anything to do with you. No subliminal messages here, I have had this brought to my attention by multiple friends of mine who are white and you guys have to stop because the shit is embarrassing. You’re making me look bad because other people are also reading your comments on my social media pages. I have to start somewhere and before I can start with the general populous I have to start with you guys because I also need your help to bring a better sense of awareness to others so they realize their place in all this and we can do something about it together because I can’t be the only one. And I can’t have you fighting the good fight with me still asleep.

Let’s also while we are at it get something extremely clear about the national anthem and the American flag. American sports media has inaccurately popularized the playing of the national anthem and saluting the flag as solely a tribute to the military. The military and American patriotism go hand in hand so I can understand where you associate the national anthem and patriotism with saluting the military. First of all, the NFL for example, does not sponsor the military tributes the government does who paid for them with your tax dollars. Second, standing respectfully during the national anthem and saluting the flag is pledging allegiance to the country and to democracy not to our military. It is your choice to do, not a law. When you are at home and the national anthem plays during a sporting event your ass in on the couch , so please shut the fuck up and get over yourself.

We all salute our very diverse military vets and active duty men and women and wish them a safe return home. We are very thankful for their service and their sacrifice. The problem is most of you haven’t been alive long enough to remember a time where we weren’t sending our troops into combat on foreign soil. The other problem I have with you is the fact that you would have balls big enough to deny a man’s right to peacefully protest the national anthem in a country that declared all men were created equal and actively know not all men in this country are treated equally but refuse to get as worked up over a VA hospital in NY refusing service to a Navy veteran that resulted in him taking his life in the parking lot. Wow, ladies and gents what scum you have become to declare such patriotism and when a vet in need dies you ignore those headlines to go after the black quarterback that kneels during the national anthem at the beginning of his football games in protest of social inequality. You ignored rampant systemic racism and oppression in favor of feeling insulted that anyone would disrespect your flag all while you went ahead and pissed on your own self proclaimed values of patriotism when you neglected the death of a navy veteran turned away by the very government you love so much. Come the fuck on man, wake up and smell the fresh blood on the concrete assholes! This makes you an undercover fucking racist. You had the balls to use your sense of patriotism to support your racist view of keeping minorities in “their place” just where you like them because it serves the agenda you were hypnotized into believing is in your best interest. You exposed yourself.

Look I get it. I truly do because I was fed the same bullshit you were growing up about who was superior and inferior and why. I overcame my biases. I wasn’t born to hate I was taught to hate. So were you, so think twice before you raise your kids with the same oppressive mindset you were raised under. That’s fucking child abuse to even subtly teach your kids to think themselves better than anybody else. Teach them to be kind to all because we are all equals that deserve the same considerations. Stop saying stupid shit like, “well if black people just obeyed the commands of law enforcement they wouldn’t get shot”. What you are really saying is they deserved it. THINK TWICE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!!!! Your kids are listening. You are their role models. Be a good one. When Colin Kaepernick takes a knee in protest of the national anthem because he says, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. That to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”… that “There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism” (Colin Kaepernick) then what he is saying is exactly what he is saying. He didn’t say fuck the police and he didn’t say fuck the military. You’re all grown ass men and women and know the difference quite well between what he said and what you inaccurately interpreted his message to be because of your own narcissistic sense of race bating agenda. Don’t come at me with that silly bullshit because it makes you sound so incredibly fucking stupid. I read your comments, “Don’t like it then leave Kaepernick”! “Shut up and know your place”! I’ve seen incredibly condescending commentary from you white folk, slinging racial slurs and such. You disgust me horribly. Other athletes professionally, in the collegiate circuit and in high school are also kneeling to protest but you’re still focused on hating Colin Kaepernick and losing sleep over a man’s quiet and peaceful protest. You wish him harm and he’s received death threats. You continue to cheer for the demise of a man and insisted he put his money where his mouth is and do something other than hurting your so called fragile”patriotic” feelings. He did and it still wasn’t enough for you. If you aren’t joining the protest shut up and move along.

The moment you’ve been waiting for. Some of you guys are minorities yourselves. You know what it is like to be discriminated against. Yet you insist that Kaepernick is scum and a traitor because he didn’t stand up for the national anthem? You’re kidding right? Have you traced your roots. You think because you have had the opportunity to experience some token privilege as an accepted member of the majority community that you are excused from discrimination and oppression? You are so far gone wrong that it’s not even funny. Maybe you’ve made it to the top of the crop of your own community and you think that for some reason you are different and superior to the rest of your fellow minority community members. You’re spewing the same shit white privilege says about minorities about the people you share more in common with than they do further helping them oppress your people! In a sense you are oppressing yourself! Here’s an example. One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to build a massive wall between the US and Mexico and get the Mexican government to pay for it, that he intended to find every undocumented person here in this country and deport them without an immigration status hearing denying any human rights they may have. I saw a lot of concern expressed in the Mexican-American community but I didn’t see much other unity from other members of the Latino community. Once a rumor started that Trump also threatened to deport Puerto Rican people (which wasn’t true) everybody wanted to flash their natural citizenship and get angry. My Puerto Ricans, I love ya’ll but that was pretty brainless. Here’s my point in the grander scheme of things. People who are foreign born came to this country to live a dream, things are better here than they are where you came from and you know your fellow man is facing having to return to the same conditions you left. Let’s face it things are only slightly better here, greatly better for you but only slightly better period and you deny those people the comradery based on their immigration status? That’s cold man. I’m talking about those who have citizenship who look down on those who do not. Who treat them like dirt and discriminate against them because you feel accepted by the American people as the American people look down on you and discriminate against you.

Here’s the truth. We are either complacent with the way things are or implicit in the way things are going. Everybody plays a part. We are the six degrees of separation, like particles on a collision course with one another. I don’t have to tell you that it doesn’t matter who you are, we all have biases we have to overcome. Politics and social issues are dividing us. Some don’t care much for me lately. I’m too political, you don’t like my opinions. You can’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies (Barack Obama). I don’t have enemies. I won’t declare any. How you view me is your choice. If you heavily disagreed with me because of the position I have taken on injustice and the fight for social equality and I fell from your favor, I’ll still be there if I can and you ever needed it somehow. I am trying to say that I came across really crass to prove a point to you, to get you to see what it feels like to be so heavily criticized and have everything you say so strongly scrutinized. I’m not sorry, I don’t take it back and I stand by it. I’m imploring you to stop being part of the problem. I seriously love all of you. For all your flaws and for all you are. But you guys can’t continue to be so loose with what you say. Think very hard about your experiences and think very hard about your faults and the things you want to work on. Think about the things the world needs. Think about the injustices happening under your nose and do not for a second think they won’t impact you at some point. America is not the great nation you think it is. Wake up. Learn the real history of this country and accept the past to prevent it from happening again and again in the future. Take responsibility for your words and for your actions.

We must fight for equality in consideration for women’s rights, for civil rights for all minorities, for LGBT rights, for the rights to clean water, for environmental rights, and against injustice. We can fight peacefully. If anybody wants to have a legit conversation with me I am open to discussion. It’s not a hippy dream to accomplish peace and unity in this country and in the world and it is acceptable to denounce the establishment to force their hands to pay more attention to the issues we care about, that we are all facing instead of themselves and their personal agendas and each other.

Do better, be better.

State of The Union – A Subjective Citizen’s Perspective from an Objective View PT:2

So. Here we are again. I want to say we’re at a crossroads but we’re honestly not. Who are we? Society. What am I talking about? Humanity. We are not at a crossroads when we have gone past the stage of choosing a path and are now blatantly acting on a decision made.

Simple to follow, no? Understandable?

What I have to say in relation to the current state of affairs is crucial to the betterment of mankind as a whole. I am but one man but I hope that one man’s common sense can change a multitude of minds.

We traded our public hatred for one peoples for another because it is widely accepted to hate those people. Every generation has had their version of wide spread bigotry, some have carried on for many generations. Racism in America isn’t just a Black thing or a cop thing or another single division of sub cultures, it’s an everybody thing. America can be as passive aggressive as they want when it comes to what they do to inner cities and to Black youths, while a horrible misstep in community for our fellow Americans, we have turned our sights on Muslims following events as the war in Syria, the terrorist attacks in Paris and recently in San Bernardino as well the progressive movement of ISIS which claimed the Paris attacks and which the San Bernardino terrorists pledged allegiance to as the terrorist organization that leads the world in fear and terror. It isn’t the only one though. Remember 9/11? That was Al Qaeda. You said you would never forget but you forgot. Al Shabaab? Boko Haram? Anyways, we’ve made it so acceptable to hate Muslims in this country and I’m clearly puzzled as to why it’s okay to hate any people based on their religion in a country based on religious freedom. What does being a Muslim have to do with being a terrorist? What about all the Christian terrorists in America? Why don’t we refer to them as “Radical Christian Extremists”? Anybody remember Timothy McVeigh. Most say he was a guy with a grudge, a troubled man but I don’t remember him being widely called a terrorist. Dylan Roof?

Look, believe me when I say that we are doing a pretty good job killing ourselves and each other here in America without having to worry about foreign sleeper cells on American soil plotting mass murders. I’m not one myself to easily be swayed by statistical data because it is mostly flawed but just compare the numbers of people killed by gun violence and who those perpetrators are and compare it to the amount of foreign perpetrated attacks on American soil by ISIS and other organizations. Just don’t ask Donald Trump to provide those numbers for you.

You can go and divide the ties and call it what you want but an organization versus the lone wolf in these shooter incidents is a terrorist incident whether it came from a carefully concocted plan from an organization or a guy that walks onto the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon or the members of ISIS in Paris. A terrorist is someone who causes mass terror, terror is fear, murder and mass shooting is a terrorist tool to cause panic and civil unrest. You can’t just look at innocent non violent law abiding American citizens who are Muslim and call them a terrorist based on what is going on in the Middle East and in the world and then turn and neglect those who claim to be Christian who use their faith as a source to murder on a whim. We don’t cite all Christians as terrorists based on the actions of a few so why do we label all Muslims as terrorists?

At this point I fear everyone walking down the street I don’t know because unlike the rest of America I do not blanket my safety on the false pretense that I am only in any danger when it comes to being in the vicinity of Middle Eastern people who may be Muslim. Why do I say that? because the problem in America is guns! GUNS! Pew pew pew! WHY DID THE GOP TURN DOWN A BILL TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ON A NO FLY LIST? (They also declined to support any scientific study that could lead to any answers as to why mental illness and extremism are so often attributed to mass murders in gun violence.) Aren’t they worried about terrorists in America? They worried enough to not let them fly in or out of the country but they can buy guns legally. You think they need to go overseas to get training and become “radicalized”? They first of all DO NOT represent the Muslim community as much as they do represent a political ideology backed by a very skewed version of religion as Dylan Roof and Timothy McVeigh don’t represent the Christian community. Keep listening to the GOP and see where this leads you because if they represent the Christian community then we are all in trouble.

Due to the recent frequency of terrorism and shootings in America, the President took to the nation last night to address the situation and the GOP and frankly most of America sat there and criticized every word. Some of the worst of the worst that America has to offer took to Twitter to break down that he’s soft and that it isn’t enough but nobody has offered up a better solution. He’s damned if he doesn’t speak and he’s damned if he does. I did not support either of his campaigns but I am more pleased in the direction he has gone as a peace seeker in recent years putting his foot down. The same foot that was trampled on when more troops were sent overseas in Iraq during his first term because of the influence around him. He called for peace the way any sane rational human being should do but you the people, society, call for blood. Are you better than the ideology you say you intend to fight against? Isn’t your call for death and violence the same ideology that terror organizations in the Middle East take up against you? I don’t see extremely long lines at the military recruiting centers, do you? Where is everybody so willing to go and fight terrorism? You the people, society want ground troops. Why are you so willing to send your sons and daughters into combat knowing the chance of them not coming home or dying a horrible lonely and painful death is a great risk? That’s not American and that’s not peaceful resolution. No side wins in a war.

To combat gun violence you want more guns on the street and more soldiers in foreign countries. You want every citizen in the country armed to the teeth and that’s a really bad idea. You regulate driving as a privilege and not a right, vehicles must be insured, your health must be insured, your homes must be insured but there is no legislation that prevents guns from getting in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. News flash, the San Bernardino shooter was an American citizen who purchased his guns legally. A simple background check could have shown you that he traveled overseas and married a foreign woman. She came here legally, she didn’t come here over the border – I’m talking to you Trump.

The President refuses to refer to terrorists as Muslim extremists and everybody flips out because all they want to hear is we’re going to bomb every Muslim nation to purify the world from evil. Stop, you sound like the same extremists you claim to want to rid the world of. Kill as many people as you want but you can’t kill an ideology. You can’t kill a thought. These are the same people that insist Americans can’t be terrorists and religious fanaticism doesn’t happen in the Christian community.

I am very surprised at some people who are working professionals in education and their opinions. We teach our kids in the classroom, at home to say please and thank you and to be kind, and for what, to say the effort was wasted when you teach them to hate and kill when they are older?

So I don’t know if you guys understood this one but there was a terrorist in London who tried to go on a killing spree… with a knife. Why did he use a knife? BECAUSE YOU CAN’T GET A GUN IN ENGLAND SO EASILY! You the people don’t need to be armed, stop the gun toting ‘Merica bullshit and get off your overly privileged sensationalized agenda and wrongfully entitled high horse. We need to stop funding and supporting our own American terrorist organization the NRA and every other politically charged agenda that the NRA has been financially lining pockets with. Start asking yourself the more important questions. If they wanted you to be armed they would give you a gun. They aren’t though. They want you to buy them which means they turn a profit from you. Money you could use to go on a nice vacation or purchase something for your children or loved ones. Stop building guns, stop selling guns and there will be no guns. The Second Amendment to the American Constitution does not by right give you the ability to bear any arms it gives you the right to have a military. The problem with an entire country armed to the teeth is that we won’t require a police force because everybody with a  gun seems to have this “you got the juice now” attitude that they are the law enforcement. Who needs a military and a police force if we are all armed. The same people who want that power don’t want the responsibility of being a police officer or in the military so why give them a gun in the first place? You’ll say because the enemies have guns. Stop making guns and nobody will have guns!! It’s that plain and simple.

The following was my 2013 college paper on Gun Control for my Global Social Change class. I didn’t get an A for effort I got an A for intelligently defining a problem and then proposing a solution. Way more than anyone else in government has done recently.

Patrick Fotunato

The Truth about Gun Control

My presentation starts off explaining the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution which states in relation to gun ownership as, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. I personally am not one to say that everything is black or white in the sense that this is the right of the everyday people or not and should not be changed because it is written in the Constitution by this country’s fore fathers. I don’t believe it is about patriotism at all. We took a common sense approach to a mass hysteria problem which some would call clearly opinionated. The difference is that in relation to using the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, as of late it gets taken out of context when arguing the rights of gun ownership. What it means is that in the case of extreme misuse and abuse of government power when the need arises that the government uses military action to subjugate the population to conform to wills that violate ones basic human rights or puts the lives of law abiding citizens in danger a regulated militia can stand up against the government. When the first ten Amendments to the Constitution were written more than 200 years ago they were meant to serve as a guide line of the rights free people deserve so that tyrannical reign such as what the early colonists experienced at the hands of King George of England didn’t happen again in the hands of another Monarchy or ruler. Each state in the union known as the United States of America has just that. It doesn’t call for everyday citizens to take a stand and over throw the government should a threat arise. Each state has a military division army unit called the National Guard. Those are the soldiers trained in combat in times of peace to fight against outside threats and should the state they serve need them fight against a government out of control. Since the fall of the British Empire in America and the beginning of The United States as a free country with independence recognized from England there has not been a need for any state to raise arms against the government or another. The 2nd Amendment is also misinterpreted that the everyday law abiding citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for personal protection. You do have a right to protect yourself but they way gun ownership is today is highly misinterpreted according to the 2nd Amendment, just don’t tell that to someone who claims to be a Patriot because uneducated masses don’t like to be challenged.

The problem lately is that people are calling for stricter gun control that would make it harder to obtain guns for everybody. Of course this is a mass hysteria fear produced from the increasing number of mass shootings lately. Why fear and mass hysteria though? Factors are popular opinion based on media coverage and political parties using the incidents of late such as the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and the Sandyhook Elementary school in New Town, Connecticut as a stepping stone for political gain. When gun crimes happen, especially involving children the public culture shifts towards a somber and vengeful stance. It is just our culture to protect children; even in criminal culture one who has abused children in any way is not accepted. As of the most recent tragedy at Sandyhook Elementary school where a deranged; emphasis on deranged only because minus the crime, he was sick with many diagnosed mental disorders that he struggled with his entire life, this gunman opened fire and killed a number of the children in attendance of classes that day, many people in fear and horror call for justice. The gunman killed himself as many of these types of shooters do. That isn’t enough for people so out of fear they emphasize the kind of crime that took place and take it out on guns. Guns don’t have personalities and can’t speak for themselves so gun owners now have to speak out and defend themselves for the choice they have exercised in their misinterpreted 2nd Amendment right as now anyone with a gun is perceived as a potential threat to the populace. So to combat gun violence you want to use more guns and the fighting fire with fire approach has many dangerous implications going forward. Like I said this is a mass hysteria fear train of thought off the tracks. So gun owners take a stance and try to prove a point that because they own a gun that they aren’t dangerous by doing things out of character like walking around in public with their guns in plain view creating panic which in fact can be dangerous. Other people have stockpiled weapons making them just as dangerous. When people feel threatened they fight fire with fire. People afraid of guns and gun crimes illegally purchase weapons to defend themselves from proud gun owning protestors in fear of an uprising.

So what are we creating here? Obviously what is happening is the fact that more and more guns are being put on the streets in the hands of uneducated people. The problem that causes is that in reference to the most recent mass shooting in New Town, CT. the guns that he used were purchased legally but not by him, the shooter. They were the property of his mother who was also the shooters first victim. The point is the mentally disturbed man had access to weapons he should not have had and the weapons were not secured. It’s harder to get a good reliable vehicle in this country at a very affordable price than it is to get a gun. This country is filled with a gun obsessed culture. So what is to say that this won’t happen again when people think that the answer to curbing gun violence is buying more guns? Gun sales after this incident skyrocketed through the roof breaking all records of any year before it for all the fear reasons aforementioned. People who own guns are afraid that they will have their guns taken away from them and are ready to fight to keep them in many senses of the word and others are just afraid of more mass shootings.

The question that you have been dying for me to answer and in my opinion is the common sense approach. I mentioned forget the statistics in my presentation and I meant it. Studies are done with numbers that equally support both the need for more guns as well as they do the argument for stricter gun control. A bunch of mathematicians are not going to solve the problem with numbers because while the world waits for the numbers to be crunched more crimes are committed with guns both legally and illegally owned. The problem is that control is an ugly word and advocates of the skewed version of the 2nd Amendment which they believe is a right still works today the way it did almost 200 years ago as I mentioned earlier when I alluded to not being one to dismiss the fact that just because something was written with purpose to allow for a basic inalienable right that worked when it was written might not always work in the future as times and culture and society have certainly changed, the 2nd Amendment is not one of those rights that needs any more skewed amending just more enforcing and educating. The problem is education. People aren’t educated well enough on the responsibility it is to own a weapon like a gun and what it really means to take a life as well as the definition of defending yourself. Why people feel the need to own more than one gun is beyond me and yes certain types of guns should not be made available to the public such as military style assault rifles meant to kill many people and at a faster rate. So the right to own a gun should be challenged as well as who owns a gun should deeply be considered. Any person ever convicted of a violent felony can’t own a gun or a sex offender so why not start doing background checks for persons with mental health issues. Make the sale of gun accessories harder as well. Anybody with or without a permit can buy bullets and at any age in some states. That needs to stop immediately. There needs not to be a debate in congress with politicians, this should be a no brainer. Guns in homes where people with mental disorders or have had a history of mental disorders should also not be allowed to be purchased as long as those people still reside in the house. There should be lengthy education and tests and exams that go along with renewing permits regularly as well as regular testing to brush up on certifications. It is a responsibility so there should be a responsible amount of education that goes into this to screen people who are or are not mature enough to own a gun. Just like there is involved in obtaining a driver’s license. Driving is a privilege and is certainly and sadly more regulated than gun ownership is. See where I’m going with this? Gun control is bad and gun regulation is good. First of all changing the terminology used in describing an issue like this takes the fear away because the 2nd Amendment was indeed part of the Bill of Rights meant to take away the fear of control and instill a sense of calm and safety, so talking about controlling anybody’s right to do anything is a severely wrong approach. There also needs to be insurance on guns and fines for not properly having paperwork in order or the failure of reporting things like moving to another location within a certain amount of time. Things like this are finable when it comes to vehicle registration and insurance.

Okay, let’s go through the list of my proposed regualtions.

  1. An extensive background check of the person looking to own a gun for a history of criminal activity as well as mental instability. Including all known members living in the house where the gun is kept. A regulatory commission such as one like the DMV should keep records of things like this with heavy fines for non-compliance and lying about such applicatory questions as one’s background and of those who reside in the house.
  2. A lengthy and detailed education on guns, the history of and uses, as well as types and who uses them. An understanding should be implemented that all guns are not acceptable to own that do not have purpose in protection or hunting where hunting is allowed and acceptable. This includes the need to pass a test to obtain a permit where physical education on the use of a gun is required before you obtain a license to own a gun. This should also be renewed in a period set forth and accepted by the general populace by way of democratic vote.
  3. Take away the guns that cause the most harm from being a choice in purchase. The populations of law abiding citizens while exercising the right to own a gun do not have a need for automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles. All gun accessories should be well documented and to whom they are purchased by and who can sell them as described in the methods mentioned in number 2. The amount of bullets allowed for purchase should be restricted if one is not documented as using them in a gun range or other place regulated as a place where one would use a gun such as hunting or for sport shooting or practice. The amount of bullets a magazine could hold should be also restricted as well the amount of magazines a consumer can own.
  4. Insurance policies should be implemented to guard against accidents and the illegal trade of legally purchased weapons. Gun shows should be shut down and more government funding for gun buy back programs in urban areas should be implemented. Fines and stricter laws against gun ownership violations should be implemented and enforced.
  5. Offenders should be held accountable for all violations that put the general public in danger such as illegal ownership and misuse all the way through not having proper documentation including receipts of purchase.
  6. A gun owner should not be allowed to sell at random a gun to another citizen who either has or has not cleared all background checks and has had proper licensing and education because a gun owner is not listed as a gun retailer and would violate his or her right to be licensed to own a gun and forfeit such a right in the event of non-compliance and should be punishable by law.

In my opinion ban them all for the sake of argument but this is solely my compromise and the aforementioned list while making it harder for anyone to own a gun and look like the things the populace is afraid of when calling it an issue of control, also regulate a mass hysteria. Call it what you will but is necessary as an effort to do more to stop the things people are afraid of happening from happening, gun crimes and mass shootings and unwarranted loss of life in general. One who looks to own a gun for one’s protection or to hunt and can pass all levels of licensing should not have to worry about anything. Should the good of all mankind become an inconvenience to a person not looking to go through these steps can simply not, and also not legally own a gun, but should he or she be in violation a much stricter and harsher penalty should be enforced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Complex Problems the Unemployed Face When Job Hunting

Maybe I can’t speak for all types of people who are unemployed. The unemployed come in all shapes and forms from the educated to the inexperienced and so forth and so on. I have had various jobs since I was fourteen and I have worked in many different roles therein. In all honesty I will say what’s on my mind and prepare to be unemployed forever if I get blacklisted for saying what everyone else is thinking, but here it goes.

This is entirely my experience and honest assessment of myself. Not the garbage you’re expected to put down as a summary of goals on a resume. To be clear though, there are many things I have a gripe about when it comes to the majority of employers in many respects. I want to start with expectations. I want to start with the resume.

There was a time you didn’t need one. But there are so many different guidelines for what a proper resume should look like as far as structure and content that every time I get the “seal of approval” from one expert, another says something completely different. Not to mention the many different templets out there. I personally think a resume should be just a head shot with a list of experiences on the back like an actor or something. To the point. Anyhow, you used to be able to read through a newspaper, call up a phone number and introduce yourself and inquire about the open position with a hiring manager. Terms of agreement for an in person interview are set and based on that encounter where you can discuss experience and fill out an application and provide references and expect an offer or proper and professional notice of there not being an offer. Reasonable right? Today you first need to fill out an online application which includes all the information on your resume which you are also required to include as an attachment, take a possible personality test, and an aptitude test, maybe even a skills quiz. If you make it through that step you’re placed in a talent network. Forget the job you actually applied to because a computer program will scan you for a match based on whatever they have available and expect that whatever they offer you is reasonable enough despite not having spoke to you first. If you’re selected there is a phone interview, even if it isn’t told to you that it is a phone interview, it is, and fair enough, sure, I understand that. Each party should get the opportunity to size up the other, is this candidate a good fit for this position? Is this company going to be here in the next five years? Everything is key when it comes to productivity and to be productive the first step in gauging if this employer is it for you. It’s a dating game if you will. The roles are clear, the employer is usually the bachelor and applicants are the contestants on the show.

So you made it past the phone interview with your charming personality, passed the quizzes and are finally set for a face to face interview with human resources! By the way if anyone makes one of the biggest mistakes when they are employed it’s this, that they think human resources is a resource for humans. It’s not. It’s a department that uses humans as a resource. Don’t go to them when you’re having a human emotion other than something work related because they don’t care, they are trained not to care if it will negatively impact business. Oh hell just don’t go to them, get a shrink. I’ll get to more on that in a little bit. So now you’re going to get subjugated to questions from someone who has no idea what it is you are an expert at or how to search for a candidate in your field and they have to make the decision if you can perform the task you are there saying you can do. So all of these horror story interview questions you’ve heard being asked at interviews is true. The mind puzzles of would you kill a baby to save a family kind of outlandish ‘mind fucks’ or you’re presented two choices, peanut butter and jelly, choose one and why, are the things that have nothing to do with the company, the position, or you for that matter and yet based on your reaction they are supposed to be able to gauge something about your personality. Look we’re told to sell ourselves right, be the best you can be. Boast your accomplishments and embellish them, I’m sorry… spin them to make you sound so much better than the next yes man, I mean job seeking candidate. I get that.

So let’s say you got past phase two in the unemployment cinematic universe and you’re prepared for your starring role in the sequel to awkward interviewing. You have finally made it to round two of the interview process. Finally you get to talk to somebody on your level, someone in the department you are interviewing for and that you should feel comfortable with because they get you right? At my last job this was the best part of the process. It is also usually the shortest and easiest part. You are pretty much a shoe in after that because even they know HR is useless but they do get to tell HR whether or not to keep looking. Congrats if you got the job and I’m really sorry if you’re social awkwardness has pretty much benched you for anything other than working at home licking envelopes.

Have you every thought your human resources personnel might be a bit bitchy? They are trained to be that way to avoid friendly contact that lead to biased favoritism toward one employee or another. I know many might disagree with my harsh critique on the validity of this department but that’s because you either work in human resources or are a sheep! Open your eyes and walk amongst the living that get enough sleep and can balance work and life without going insane or needing to get through a day without a pot of coffee through an IV or enough nicotine to borderline be considered an overdose. So many people are going to say they are relevant to a company’s continued success, because they sustain business and control the corporate image, that they are trained in conflict resolution and are charged with training and workforce development, that they value human capital. That’s all great and fine when it comes to what human resources is supposed to do but we all know that isn’t what human resources does. Human resources is your one stop shop in office politics. They are a department of yes men and women who will do whatever it takes to remain employed themselves. Conflict resolution doesn’t exist in HR because it isn’t their desire to be objective and fair if it can please upper management not to be. Here’s why.

I want to clarify that while my rant isn’t solely based on my last encounter with a human resources personnel, my last encounter is a prime example though. There has been so many instances where I seem to get judged on my youthful exuberance. It didn’t help at my last job where I was hired as an intern because I was finishing up my last quarter of college… as an adult student. It was no more than the end of week two that I was offered full time employment once I graduated which sounded awesome cause hello, a steady paycheck! That didn’t happen. So immediately thinking I must be young and naïve because I was a college student meant I had to be in my late teens to early twenties because that’s how I was treated. Nobody thought I was old enough to drink for Christ sake! I was 32, a couple weeks shy of my 33rd birthday. Not that age dictates personality and maturity but it sure dictated how I was stereotyped because I don’t think I would have been treated this way had they been aware I’m not a child but because of my youthful appearance that was the case.

Well there was a manager who in the midst of his own fault for a project failure decided to go and blame the intern. The HR woman in charge looked me in the eye when I complained and said, “well that’s what an intern is supposed to be there for. You know like in the movies when they have to take shit all the time from upper management is kind of what they expect of you.” I don’t recall workplace harassment and abuse to be one of the things I signed up for. I expected much more. Instead because I spoke up and said something I was treated unfairly the entire time I was employed by this manager. There is more with that particular HR department that makes no sense but it also makes no sense to complain about a company I don’t work for anymore because they denied ever offering me any further employment. Because I wouldn’t take the blame for something I had nothing to do with or knowledge of? Okay you win corporate America. Corporate bureaucracy 1, stubborn me 0. If I learned anything about legality in a corporate workplace environment is that it is essential for your sanity if not above all else TO GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING!

That’s if you are even lucky enough to get the job to worry about those kinds of things. Being unemployed means searching job boards and attending career fairs with nothing to offer you specifically but we live in a society that says take what you can get because something is better than nothing. I’m far too seasoned to take what I can get. I want to be comfortable with what I do and not have to worry about my mental health at the hands of ‘taking shit from upper management’.

So I graduated with a degree in IT Management, I have experience in education, in management, in sales and in IT. Just to name a few of my expertise. So what do these HR departments and recruiters see when they look at my resume? Let’s rope him into Primerica! By the way if I go to a job fair and Primerica is really there I’m not taking anyone else there serious. I could get that job, or a sales position at a Macy’s without a college degree. I don’t have a problem with minimum wage jobs because I feel like I am too good for it, because that isn’t the case but I do have a problem with minimum wage jobs passing themselves off as something people can live off and support a family with and that they have no business trying to recruit college graduates at job fairs! I feel college job fairs that host these kinds of employers seeking these types of positions aren’t very true to the actual expectancy or demographic of their student and alumni base, my alma mater included! But these recruiters that do the aggressive contacting want you to take these positions that don’t hold any weight toward a future or stability with benefits like these pop up marketing firms that want you to go door to door and sell crap and services to people who don’t need it, ridiculous micromanaging positions in call centers, or my favorite the exciting position of selling insurance. Give me a break! Not one of you read my resume! Because those actually seeking candidates like me who are qualified to do what I am seeking will only recruit me when I already have a job. How ass backwards is that! I can’t even get a job cleaning bathrooms at the school I plan on getting my Graduate Degree at because I am too overqualified. When I was working I got offers left and right for employment but I was doing the right thing, being loyal and sticking it out for the sake of stability.

I have been on some really bad interviews since then. One of the last places I interviewed with had me go through all those hoops and when I finally got to upper management I was interviewed by someone who identified herself as the CEO, lead programmer, and head of the IT department. I thought, “cool she handles a lot on her plate she must have her shit together, right?” WRONG! I should have known when the newly appointed HR woman tried to prep me for meeting her and about all her quirks. Like I get it, people are freaking weird but they still put their pants on one leg at a time, right? I hope. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch as the CEO to not walk in looking like you just had your third nervous breakdown of the day and it’s only 11 in the morning. So she sits down asks me to tell her about myself, she’s holding a copy of my resume which she never even looks at, calls me by the wrong name after I corrected her already twice when she addressed me and then she cut me off mid sentence just to space out for about a minute where it looked like she was trying to sneeze, maybe, to tell me about this three year restructuring her department has been going through, how much it has cost her and how it has been driving her crazy. I bit the bullet and was only applying for a tech support job here, not to be a corporate business consultant. This went on for an hour before she looked at my resume and started to insult me based on it. She said there was no consistency, that there weren’t many positions that lasted a year or more. So I have to explain to this woman why my only working experience in the field that I am applying for which isn’t rocket science to begin with as many of my clients will tell you I am great at, is because of the time I spent focused on my college degree. Something I thought would also gain me some favor considering I was able to balance two to three jobs at a time, go to school full time while consistently being top of my class and relocate out of state all at the same time. I think it shows drive, initiative to set and achieve goals, and responsibility if not a hyper sense of intelligence with the ability to multitask successfully above all else . But I have to be lectured about stability to me, someone who has experienced a very unstable job market for the last ten years from someone who just spent an hour complaining to me about her turnover rate. The end result was that even in desperation, I turned down a second interview with her because I was done jumping through hoops and I didn’t want to get sent to South Korea for three months (longer story). I didn’t find the stability I was seeking that she was projecting in an employer that has no problem insulting candidates. I went back to school to boost my resume and my pay grade not to be offered jobs in markets that won’t make the cut down the line 10 years from now.

I have a kid to provide for and it’s frustrating to know your talent and your worth are not being taken seriously. As I sit here and type this I legit just had a recruiter offer me a position in IT where he warned me it would be something I would have to be talked into and won’t discuss it with me unless I call him because it’s the only way he can make it make sense. Seemed like a nice guy but if that doesn’t sound shadier than a glue factory next to an equestrian retirement home, what does? I even changed the summary on my resume to indicate that my objective is to utilize my talents relevant to my current experiences and will not be considering sales positions. But they still keep calling with those exciting positions selling insurance. It’s a pretty gutsy move because I don’t want to alienate myself in any way but no Aflac, no New York Life, I don’t want to sell your insurance. I have even gone the extra step to turn down these offers courteously and in the best mannered way I possibly could. I have even had these shifty marketing firms insist I submitted a resume for their available management positions and they are eager to speak to me, and do you know haw many times I fell for that one? Okay maybe only three times out of the twelve I have encountered since I started keeping track but each time I accept those interviews I go ahead and get there very early to find a bunch of music blaring and motivational screaming and this mind numbing sheep and wolf mentality with these well dressed young men and woman storming out to their assigned areas to street merchandise Verizon Fios. So I took off the experience I have successfully selling Verizon Fios for a third party company from my resume so they would stop calling. They didn’t stop. Instead they market themselves as offering entry level management positions with uncapped financial potential to recent college grads. But they aren’t even offering you a wage. You can call it what you want but a fish still smells like a fish! And there are a lot of these marketing joints doing the same thing out here.

It’s not supposed to be this hard. I am interested in something that can help me build on my experiences as well as serve as a teaching tool for growth and stability in an unstable market. I want of course to do something for a living that is more inline with my studies. I would also like to utilize my talents in management and leadership in accordance to my earned degree. I seek employment with a track record in stability and a low turnover rate. As highly a company scrutinizes a potential candidate they should know the best candidates are the ones who scrutinize just as heavily back as each party should make sure they are the perfect fit for the other.

Look the bottom line is and to sum this one up is if it is unacceptable to have more than one wife, it shouldn’t be acceptable to slave away at more than one job for low pay to make ends meet. I make this analogy in the sense that when looking for work each party is looking for commitment, right? So do the right thing, no? Is anyone else seeing the problem here where if you complain about low wages and valid employment opportunities and viable job growth you are pretty much blackballed from anywhere. Job training and college is so unattainable that I am looking at a debt I will not be bale to repay for the graduate degree I want and already another year of forbearance on the degree I have just for the shot at continuing my education so that I can try to provide a better life for my son and a happier life for myself in the future. If I can’t attain that then what is the effort worth? I want reasonable wages for reasonable work but those who think otherwise refuse to see the plight because as much as they hate that top one percent they still have that glimmer of hope they too can attain that wealth and in turn keep and oppress others the way they have been oppressed as far down the ladder as they can.

I can’t be the only one, can I? What do I have to do short of standing out in the middle of inclement weather handing out resumes to be taken serious? I don’t need the publicity I need viable options.

End rant.

Insomniac’s Nightmare

Sometimes the only sunlight I wanna see is what comes off the moon at night at me.
Break away from the endless sleepless nights by swearing away the light and embracing the night.
The space in between is covered in dreams and at this point I think I’ve seen all there has to be seen.
And so it seems as if the scenery of this nightscape takes the perfect shape in reflection of me.
A perfection to be from a nightmare’s cause to a daydream scene.
I can’t tell the difference anymore since goodnight’s intention is no longer simple or clean.
You don’t know what I mean.
It’s like a moon in a starry sky scape far out of reach.
I want more but I don’t know what I’m reaching for.
I must be a grown man with teenaged angst or just someone so far gone I’m like an empty bank.
And to think that I’d thank the cold part of my heart that’s taken control of the start of this decent into the dark.

Patrick’s Proverbs

An unfiltered tongue is like an oil slick on fire.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑