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The Eye Experiment

In 1968 and again in 1969 and above in 1970, teacher Jane Elliott ran experiments on racism on her class using brown eyes and blue eyes to divide students into groups.  The original documentary and this one shows the effects of what happens when blue eyed children, the first to be treated well, are then treated in a manner consistent with racism to a simple degree.  The behavior of the children that have blue eyes is stunning.  They retreat into themselves, display anger, and often can be seen becoming sad or upset.  Their privilege is gone and now they are forced to be judged as they judged the brown eyes.  At the end of the experiment, on of the blue eyed boys spends a lot of time trying to rip the collar she made them wear so they could tell what color eyes the child had from a distance to simulate skin color reaction in people.  He spent a long time wrapping it around his hands and trying to tear it any way he could but it wouldn’t tear.  Watch this clip as often as you like as I’m not sure how long it’s going to be there for observation purposes.  Soak in the nuances of the blue eyed children’s behavior and notice how they react to their surroundings.

This is what is happening in white society today as whites become the minority in society.

There is discomfort behavior, where often the person reasons that white culture or white exclusivity is failing and needs to somehow be paid attention to such as with white awareness month or white college funds.  The discomfort ranges from frowning upon uncomfortable situations like making a decision if something is racist or not or if it even should qualify as racist.  What’s the big deal, I’m not racist.  Then the agitated behavior when someone is treated differently by a brown eyed person who doesn’t talk to them or treats them with some degree of standoffishness or indifference.  How dare they judge me, I’m not racist.  The agitated behavior also occurs when a brown eyed person is doing something he or she has always done but is now being credited for like going through drill cards faster or not forgetting his or her glasses.  Note especially the behavior that the blue eyed children respond with when compliments are no longer forthcoming and are turned around in an opposing direction, there is agitation and anger there masked with disappointment or unfairness.  Also pay special attention to the kids when they have to wear the collars now.  They are uncomfortable and often act as though it is heavy for them.   Their body language changes and the children actually start acting differently becoming defensive, quiet, plotting and often oversensitive.

I would imagine if the experiment were allowed to continue beyond a week or one day, the rationale of the blue eyed children would become very tense and very edgy or sharp.  “Politically Incorrect” if you will.  Brown eyed children would begin to be ostracized for succeeding and called out for activist roles even though there are pockets of blue eyed children that still believe they are the best there is and that they are the majority.  There would divisional lines drawn up on playgrounds where some brown eyed children would be asked to return to and not leave because it’s where they originally played in the playground.  There would be brown eyed children denied access to areas of the playground where blue eyed children loved to play the most even though those areas are big and their numbers are small.  I can see some blue eyed children that play with the brown eyed children being ostracized and dealt with like they had given up on their own group and have done the unthinkable.  As the children aged and went on to high school, things would become violent and certain behaviors expected out of brown eye children would be ignored in blue eyed children or at least excused.  Detention and suspension would ruin your whole life and someone would never recover from that stigma.  Blue eyed teenagers would begin to oppress the brown eyed students out of certain hallways and causeways, claiming them as their own.  Brown eyed teenagers would fight back by being defiant and loud, doing things they knew would irritate the blue eyed teenagers more.  Soon, things such as simple personal boundaries would be blown out of proportion and violations would be ridiculous and juvenile.  Name calling and finger pointing would occur and the teachers, the teachers would do nothing.  They are too busy trying to educate through this unholy mess using common core learning which teaches how to subtract one from one in a long over-complicated equation.  The government wouldn’t care because they are just kids and can’t vote yet.  The parents would be angry that this is what has been done to their precious children without receiving the lesson from the package.

This my friends, is exactly what is happening today.  Take a moment to check if your eyes are brown  or blue.

 

 

I haven’t posted for a while because I have been down, but not knocked out, with taking the medicine for my mental illness called Thorazine.  I do not recommend this drug because it renders you almost completely useless and zombie like causing me to neglect my blog and several other duties like housecleaning for a long period of time.  The drug caused me to gain weight, have extreme stomach issues, heat and heat exhaustion issues, dehydration issues and a plethora of other tiny annoying side effects that caused me to suffer unhappy bodily functions and mental moods.  I was unable to distinguish delusion from reality and had severe issues with surreal becoming real, hallucination complications, voice phenomenon and some heavy weakness of thoughts that made it seem that I couldn’t form rational opinions or complete rational thoughts for longer than two minutes.  I had a series of episodes that were sometimes very long and very confusing, causing me to wonder what my reality was and where I was going on the subject of happenings in current events.  I have changed my medication to the much more reasonably feasible, less haranguing Invega that is very expensive but works better with less side effects and issues than the Thorazine had.  This makes life easier and since there are somewhat less side effects I am experiencing with it, I am able to continue with this blog which brings me to the topic of this post, mental illness, medication, and you.

If you suffer from a serious mental illness like I do, I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia Paranoid Type but after recent testing have been downgraded to Schizoaffective Disorder with Depression.  This illness involves having delusions of reality such as believing in conspiracy theories like the Illuminati are real and controlling your mind and life, having voices in my head that tell me to hurt myself and others, causing me to see cockroaches and mice hallucinations that appear to be very real, and cause my brain to believe I am not worthy of love, life, or consideration so I lie or tell falsehoods to make my life more entertaining much in the same way someone brags about being in a war they were never in or having myth memories that don’t exist.  It has taken a long time for me to catch myself doing this, but as I do I come clean and when I do I apologize and move on with my life.  I try not to do this.  Sometimes the illness reigns supreme and there is nothing I can do and it just happens.  I try to keep reality real whenever I can but sometimes my delusions get the best of me.  It is hard to fight.  Sometimes it’s really hard to see the delusions are taking control and, like this time, I have to fight from the rock bottom to the top again to regain my sanity.  This is a true fight and it is exhausting.  Once I begin, I realize the medication isn’t working anymore and I talk to my psychiatrist to change my medication.  Sometimes it takes a short period of time.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  This time it took a long time.  You must talk to your doctor about it as soon as you notice something is wrong.   In my dysfunctional state I would never hurt anyone, as I am aware enough to realize that that is a sign that something is awry.  I am not a danger to myself or others usually unless I am very deeply into the dysfunctional state and I was not that far gone this time.  If I do not take my medication, I suppose I could get there.  I do not ever want to try that theory out and see if that would be the case.

In my delusional state I don’t see there is anything wrong with the Illuminati controlling my mind.  It is not until I start coming out of the delusion that I realize this is untrue and is my illness destroying my reality.  To cope with it, I remind myself that it is not possible to control the mind using any kind of device and it takes me a while before I start to believe that, once I do, I change medication.  To cope with the voices in my head I listen to music or watch television programs that cause me to have different thoughts or makes me upset so the cycle is disrupted briefly.  Then I tell myself that the voices lie.  Once I begin to believe the voices are lying, I change medication.  Coping mechanisms don’t always work on one delusion to another, such as the Illuminati isn’t real I know that now but the next time it will be a microchip in my head or food I eat or whatever my brain is creative.  Then the delusion will remain until I catch on to it, which is usually a extended period of time maybe the shortest time is about two months and the longest time is several months to years.  It’s very frustrating and very exhausting.   I also become quiet and introverted, becoming turned upon myself during these periods being self consumed and rarely making outside contact with friends unless its a severe emotionally charged happening or something very dark is remembered from my past and it seeps out through all the craziness.  Myth memories usually are shared with a group of people where real memories are shared with one person personally.

It is very difficult to see when I need help until it is too late or I am deeply into a delusion or listening to the voices or both.  This makes it difficult to see when I need help or when I clearly need a medication change.  I do eventually see it and I never have gotten to the point where I hurt someone badly because I was listening to the voices or having a delusion or both.  I have tried to attempt suicide in these states of mind where I have progressed into a self destructive state where I feel it would be better if I ended the madness by ending myself.  This decision is always painful and brought on by failure to catch and use coping mechanisms to fight delusions and/or the voices in my head.  I feel so hopeless and so loveless and so worthless that I would rather die than continue existing.  I have a coping mechanism in place for when I feel this way now after three attempts to take my life.  I realize I am only passing that pain on to my surviving friends and family should I be successful and I have made a promise to my wife and friends not to do that.  So I admit myself into a hospital as soon as I feel like I am going to hurt myself and I may not be able to use my coping skills to stop such an event from occurring.  It takes a lot of willpower, but I can do it.  I have this ability.   There are many with mental illness that do not who struggle with it and then act on the impulses of the madness.  These are the people who shoot or hurt themselves and/or shoot and hurt other people.  It’s a frightening place to be.  I am saying it’s a dark place to be and it takes real strength to see it.  Not everyone has that strength.

If you have a mental illness and you need help, go to your local emergency room if you feel the need to hurt others or yourself before you act on it.  It is vitally important that if you are reading this that you realize that there are people who are going to help you even if you don’t trust them like you should.  That trust issue is part of the delusion and it could be what kills you.  What kills you and what kills someone else.  Don’t do anything stupid.  Stop what you are doing.  The voices lie.  No one can control your mind.  You need help.  Go to the emergency room and get it.  Speak until someone takes you seriously.  It will be the best thing you have ever done in your life and you will truly be free.  Take the medication.  It’s not controlling your mind, it’s making you better so you can control your mind.  Don’t stop taking it.  Even if you feel better.   Go to NAMI.org and get on a discussion page for people with your illness.  It will help you cope and it will help you in times of greatest need.  People care about you.  People you don’t even know.

If you have a friend or family member with a mental illness that needs help today you need to understand that what they are going through is a slice of hell.  It is dark, frightening and terrible.  It’s not going to go away or just get better.  It’s not something that just clears up.  It’s a real problem with real consequences and real issues.  Get your friend an understanding ear by just listening, take them to the hospital, call 911 for them, stand between them and the bridge (thanks Heather) and by all means understand that for them this is real.  This is terribly real and terribly haunting and they need you.  If you feel like you are in danger, call 911 and get help.  If you need to support someone with a mental illness go to NAMI.org and get on the support pages and find those people who are there to support you.  You’ll find a lot of caring people there and a lot of people willing to help you.  Not all people with mental illness want to be helped or can see that they have a mental illness and that can put you in a dangerous situation.  Be very careful and always have a smart backup plan and remember the buddy system.

Thank you all for your patience in my time of need.  I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

Extremists in the United States who express the need to hurt Americans who do not submit to their extremist ideals.   People leaving the United States to become part of an extremist army hell bent on destroying good Muslims with values that are right and good.  The destruction of New York City Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.  All at the hands of Islamic Extremists.  Repeatedly, for over thirteen years, Muslim American groups have spoken out against extremism; separating ourselves from these people with soft explanations, patience, caring and loving words, expressions and essays.  Still, many look to us to see what we say every time another attack happens and we repeat those same words and phrases for another time to make people understand I have no interest in killing anyone for their beliefs.  Whether you love America, freedom, Jesus, Israel. Palestine, Buddha, the pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, your right to bear arms, or whatever the latest Islamic extremist rant is about today.  I strongly believe and respect your right to believe in the God and/or Goddess of your choice or to NOT believe in anything at all.

It is no longer my job or responsibility to apologize for all Muslims and Islam every single time some nutjob does something incredibly nutjobby.  I am no longer going to explain that not all Muslims are like that, especially me, because I don’t feel that way, never felt that way, and am never going to feel that way.  If you haven’t learned that in the last thirteen years, my re-explanation is not going to help you understand that right now.  You are probably going to espouse that prejudicial point of view regardless of what I say when I say it every time something happens.

Also, what does this say that you think about me?  Do you think that I don’t love you enough to respect your right to life?  Do you think that I would hate my country, my friends, my family and my life enough that I would turn my back on them to become or support suicide bombing or Jihadi blasphemy?  Do you really think I would support the calculated murder of people who believe differently than I do?  Who love God differently than I do?  Who strive along the same lines as I do to love my fellows on this beautiful planet and bless them, pray for them, and help them when I can?  I wouldn’t.  I love my country, all my American brothers and sisters, and I believe that compassion solves more problems than words that are hurtful or hateful.  I believe that if you love someone, treat them with respect and kindness, and honor them that all will work out and be productive and prosperous.

My communication with God is a loving one, just like yours, and my communication with my fellows is a loving one just like yours.  I am no longer going to apologize for people I have no control over.  I am no longer going to say that these people are so wrong.  I don’t ask all Christians to constantly apologize to everyone for the workings of the blasphemous Westboro Baptist Church, don’t ask me to constantly apologize for every blasphemous Islamic nutjob, either.

Alcoholic Culture In America

So, on any given football game on television, there are at least ten advertisements for alcoholic beverages.   Going to chain restaurants like Applebee’s and the drink lists are in attractive booklets with colorful photos to entice the buyer.  Five star restaurants come complete with a wine list, suggested for matching with your meal.  Either way, America has an alcoholic culture bubbling under the surface that makes it hard for those of us who don’t drink or be around alcohol to go anywhere cool and fun to eat, hang out and watch football, or just enjoy that rugby game at the local sports pub with friends.

The alcohol culture of America saturates everything, ads on buses, subways, trains, and cabs.  The night lights of the city in neon lights on the bar windows advertising a brand colorfully.  I’m lucky I live in Pennsylvania, my state doesn’t have alcohol products in grocery and convenience stores where I am bombarded with prices and sales on six packs of cans and bottles or forty ounce bottles.  Liquor waiting for fun afternoons and shots of pirates and the Baquardi family woes ad to the issue that I think infects America worse than any other disease…alcoholism.

In just about every rehabilitation program out there, they expect the addict to admit that they are powerless over the addiction, name a higher power, and work a twelve-step program that just doesn’t work for everybody; and by everybody, I mean me.  I have a hard time with accepting weakness.  I refuse to accept weakness against my alcoholism.  I have the willpower and the power necessary to overcome the need to drink.  Not everyone has this.  Not everyone can work my program and the twelve-step program works for them, which is good for them.  What is true for you is true for you.  It doesn’t erase the fact that everywhere you go, there’s some alcohol staring you in the face with temptation and the inner struggle to not give in to the taste of that cold beer or that shot of Jack.

How serious is it?  Pretty serious considering that alcohol is everywhere and when is it a good idea for alcohol not to be somewhere?  When should we separate the alcohol culture from our lives?  When the alcohol becomes a problem.  DUIs are serious, so are drinking and going to work, so are drinking and beating your mate, so is drinking and forgetting where and what you did the night before.  That’s when the alcohol culture needs to change for you.  It has become a destructive point in your life.  So destructive, you stole a guy’s prosthetic leg.  That’s when your life needs to change and you can find that help here and here.

America has its alcohol culture and it’s not bad for everyone, there are people out there who do drink responsibly and are good to go.  They don’t have a problem and go the rest of their lives without one.   Those of us who have a problem are the ones who look at the ads, the lights, the bottles and fight that inner demon who wants to destroy us one drink at a time.  Get the help you need if you need it.  Drinking is deadly to some and even deadly to others in DUI cases.  You have the power to quit and the day to quit is today.

Death With Dignity

Death With Dignity Act of Oregon has been in the news because Brittany Maynard has chosen to end her life using this legal act in Oregon.  A flurry of blogspots have written why she shouldn’t end her life or why she should and the debate rages on the internet with the fire of religion bellowing it into an inferno.  What about God’s will?  What about the sin of suicide?  What about the beauty of the lesson of suffering?  What about the sanctity of life?

What about what Brittany wants?  Atheists countered.  What proof is there that God exists to punish someone for committing suicide?  Why would this be a sin, wouldn’t God want his precious creation to NOT suffer?  If he is the most compassionate, most merciful, giving this woman this kind of cancer isn’t compassionate or merciful is it?  If god is so loving, and love is what god is all about, how is this loving or even a gift of love?

Life isn’t fair.   It has nothing to do with lack of compassion, mercy or even love.  Sometimes things are put on our plate to deal with that are hard to deal with and question our very deepest morals and test our beliefs out of love and compassion.  This is what jihad really is, not a literal holy war between people that involves bombs and guns, but a spiritual war within ourselves that changes us on a new and deeper level with God and our spirit.  What is what good for us isn’t going to be good for Brittany.

Brittany doesn’t want to suffer and believes that suffering is wrong.  I don’t believe that God created us to suffer or that suffering somehow brings us closer to God and understanding God.  I feel God wants us to live lives that are happy, get through the bad times with joy, and if one cannot then another means must be found.  The type of death Brittany faces is terribly painful, horrible, and she will suffer.  She has chosen to be kind to herself and love herself enough to not want to put herself through that.  She has chosen a painful path to end her life, to end her journey of life with the man she loves and recently married, rather than die a death that would more than likely kill a part of her family and friends too who watch her progress through this.  This is her most holy choice and it isn’t up to us to feel compassion and mercy for her to do something she doesn’t want to do, it is our job to love her through her choice right to the end no matter what.  Unconditionally because she is our sister human and deserves this respect.

Let her have peace now so that her last days here are full of love and life, not overshadowed with death and suffering.  Let that fact of this thing fade to the back for the sake of compassion and mercy.

Jodi Arias Innocent?

Newly released on the website for supporters of Jodi Arias is a movie worth seeing.  It makes a few good points concerning the prosecutor’s abusive and bullying form in the courtroom and the highlight of domestic violence in the movie also seems well put together.  However, if one was objective, the nature of our judicial system both makes people very happy or very unhappy.  The trial of Casey Anthony angered many, but failed to highlight the backbone of any trial case: Burden of Proof.  The real problem is the Court of Public Opinion that is not judiciary or altogether faulty, it’s based on the snippets aired on HLN, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News that dispenses information about a trial that is not presented to the jury hearing the case.  Most of what is aired is never reviewed by the jury sequestered.  The opinion of the public directly matters little to any case.  What matters are the jurors who must decide the case without what the general public knows.  Things get thrown out of court that we hear on a news outlets which is never considered by the jury.  There are times when it seems that the jury and courts got it all wrong, like with Casey Anthony, but those jurors were working with the evidence provided in court.  It seems unfair, terrible, and like a injustice; but, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor and it didn’t hold out that well when the jury decided the case.  The prosecutor failed.

So, let’s step back for a moment and reflect.  I had a problem with my anger and vitriol to the point I was abusive to people both verbally and emotionally.  All those people who I unleashed my wrath upon still are in contact with me but have no desire to work with me after such terrible aggression.  Through Sufism, I learned that anger is the destroyer of good.  I learned that what I was doing was wrong and I took a path to correct that part of my person.  I know I can’t go back and smooth things over.  My new being must be presented to them for reevaluation.  I can’t say “I was angry and wrong”  I can say through my deeds and actions that “I am no longer the abuser that I used to be”.  I have to represent myself for their proof that I have changed.  The little and sneaky microagressions slip away from me now.  (A microagression is aggression that is like a liar and reactionary.  Sufism teaches action above reactions.)  I can’t wave the “I’m Sorry” flag and magically all that I used to do would be forgiven or accepted as my past.  Why?  Because that is not the way we see each other and things that happen.  It promotes judgement even when judgement is unnecessary.  In their eyes, I will appear as an abusive person until, by my actions, I prove to be different.  I have made a point to apologize to people I have hurt with this nasty side of me that doesn’t exist anymore.  I have followed that one day, maybe far into the future, that those I hurt see I am a new person by giving them my own burden of proof.  Until it is accepted, I will always be judged as being an abusive person.  That is how our society and culture chooses to identify me.  The burden of proof is on me.

I have passed my judgement too.  I think the prosecutor in the Arias trial was wicked with his attitude and anger.  He was like that with all he questioned.  His abusive behavior might lead most into judgement that it is unnecessary to put a picture of the victim in autopsy to remind a witness why everyone was in court that day.  I also find that his amusement with the gallery outside the courthouse by getting pictures taken with them made a mockery of our judicial system.  When the witnesses didn’t act or do as he wanted them to, he was sure to pull out aggression to make them react instead of react.  Jodi Arias knew well what she did, but he took his reactionary whip out and brought her to tears with an aggressive tongue.  I have learned that an aggressive tongue only whips reaction and not action.  Mr. Martinez, the prosecutor, belittled the witnesses that were not lined up for his burden of proof and used hyper aggressive language to assault all witnesses in one manner or another.  I know also that judgement is passed on his aggressive nature and that nature is not seen as being something terrible for the prosecution.  This kind of aggression hurts people, a lot of people, in ways that are deeply scarring and results in a confused reaction.  The interesting thing is that through it all, not many of the news agencies covering the trial mentioned much about the prosecutor’s conduct as being negative.  They chalk it up to aggression equaling a strong prosecutor that gets the convictions he wants.

The jury didn’t see every piece of information that the viewing audience had either.  The viewing public heard Travis Alexander’s surviving family and friends painting Arias as insane and scary.  I agree that her crawling through the doggy door to sleep on his sofa is creepy.  I also agree that she may have been the one behind slashing his tires and his current girlfriend’s tires, but there is no evidence that that is true.  There were many times that those news agencies who wanted a good scoop aired every enemy Arias ever met, not really contacting any of her friends that think she’s cool.  They didn’t present a case of information but a case of sensation that fueled belief that this woman is guilty in the eyes of a viewing public.  Not much was said about the witnesses for Jodi getting death threats for taking the stand.  It also failed to mention that domestic violence is a problem in this country.  It’s so because the public deemed it so after passing judgement that she was guilty.  I am not saying that Jodi is not responsible for her actions or blacked out in anger against Travis.  That is the burden of proof.  However, I don’t think that Arias has gotten the help she needs either.  What she did was wrong and reactionary to a criminal degree, but the court of public opinion meant nothing to the jurors who were hearing her case deliberated.  It wasn’t the public that found her guilty and effectively put her in prison.  It was the jury and only the jury that could affect the verdict.

We are taught to love everyone, even the most terrible of sinners, and we are taught to guide their spirit to knowing forgiveness.  This teaching falls away when a juicy headline hits the news agencies and gets the public viewer fired up.  The next case will come along and viewers will pass judgement again and there will be surprise when a not guilty verdict is reached by those twelve people who have the power to judge the next time, without reflection that the court of public opinion is not what matters in deliberation.

There are over 2.1 million people in the US that are currently in prison.  There are hundreds of people forced to join gangs of some sort and some level.  Gangs now appear in many prisons as officials have done nothing to curb their deeds or make leaving a gang look attractive.  Instead, the culture of prison is to ally with like races, follow a strict gang agenda, and remain passively assertive against the safety a gang may provide.  The chances of an incarcerated person actually redeeming himself or herself by rehabilitation designed punishment only graces 2% of the population in prison with a life changing lesson.  There are so many gangs that some prisons struggle to keep order of members, their ranking, and which gang one is controlling what portion of the outside recreational yard.  Gangs often look attractive to inmates because it’s a helpful and deceitful at the same time.  The idea of a gang having an inmate’s back is attractive because prison life is rough and hard.  What is happening in most jails and prisons are gang related members learn how to be better criminals, are expected to continue with membership in the gang when released, and fall prey to the unrealistic brotherhood of a gang.  The gang that helps is the gang that can hurt by issuing a hit on you or asking you to hit a friend because they did something to make someone else angry enough to “handle” the member.  Gangster life is a vicious lie perpetuated in places that are desperate for some kind of belonging.  Not only that, but gangs often tell the membership what they need to do to stay in and supplies an attractive pseudo-family to those people who the American Dream is a failure.  Gangs prey on the weak, those that need structure in their lives, and those who have abandoned hope of being able to be and do something other than continue the cycle of poverty.

Gangs hurt people in prison more than the drudgery of being a captive there.  Inmates are told when to sleep, when to eat, when to go to the bathroom, when to shower, and when to wake up.  The prisoner is no longer in control of what happens to him or her.  The gang adds that structure that they can control one thing while imprisoned.  That one thing is the order in which gangs are formed and the order in which each member plays a part.  The gang life is attractive but deceitful.  It promotes control that is primordial needs for a tribe in a bad environment and a failure to control anything at all in their reality of prison.  It’s hard for those people in prison to have faith that someday life will get better because the nature of our society keeps them unemployed and unemployable if they committed felony.  Even those serving for misdemeanors are often turned away from jobs that might head their life in a different direction.  The society we live in makes them pay for their crime for the rest of their natural lives unless given just one chance to get up and do for one’s self.  The failure to get a job due to this cultural problem throws good people back into the system where they go back to the gang and commit more crimes, the lucrative nature of some criminal activities like selling drugs on the street proves to be temptation that they cannot resist, and the will to change is exchanged for the will to remain part of a tribe no matter how bad or terrible that tribe is.

Incarceration hurts people.  It doesn’t allow them a better life or a reflection of misdeeds.  It doesn’t help them to become something more than what they see and know is a somewhat easier yet dangerous way of life.  It dispenses lies.  The inmate with choices to go to school in prison, learn a trade, or even become chefs is an inmate that no longer falls prey to the predatory nature of gangs.  My heart breaks for those people who continue their lives doing crime because that’s all they know, that’s all that’s profitable, and that they feel there is no chance for them to change and become something new, better and motivated.  It’s hard to compete for any job in this current economy, but it’s twice as hard when you’re a felon, breaking off gangster life, and blooming into a hopeful person instead of a hopeless person.  It’s not fair that someone is a felon and can’t restart a straight life out of prison because they are trapped by our culture in a web of judgement, prejudice and punishment that lasts longer than the time already served.  The inmate is then entrenched in the cycles of the system, getting out and going back in.  If someone has served their time and is released from prison, their debt to society has ended.  They are not supposed to be punished anymore the crime they committed.  It’s unfair to hold that crime above his or her head when they have served their time and want to become a valuable member of society.  This culture’s idea that one’s bad choices follow them forever is contributing to the revolving door of prison for people, that they get all caught up by society on what they did and not what they became.

Felons do want jobs.  They want an alternative to dangerous membership in gangs, self destructive behavior, and gang life.  They are forever stamped with an unwanted label and expected to bear the bad mistakes for the rest of their lives.  This is when incarceration hurts and doesn’t help.  Sometimes, you have to forgive someone of their crime and help them make a new way for themselves so that 2.1 million people have a better chance for a happier tomorrow.  Just one chance can break the cycle.  Just one.

What is it like to be schizophrenic?

I am schizophrenic and the link above is very true to what I hear and how I hear the voices in my head.  It started when I was 27, the voices then were appeased by drinking.  I was violent.  I was intolerant.  I was narcissistic to the point that I shoved away a lot of the people that loved me through a break up.  Those friends are gone.  It was like my brain kept me down, made me bitter, nasty, and rude.  I fought with the echoes of the voices in my head until I had a psychotic break June 26, 2006.  When that happened the voices took over and I spent some quality time in hospitals to this very day I still hear them.  There are places people can go to get away from it all, enjoying silence and a chance to clear one’s mind.  I don’t have silence anymore.  When I sit alone to pray, when I try to go to sleep, when I am trying to concentrate on doing things like posts here, when I wake up, when I have a nightmare, when I am doing nothing but trying to still my mind, and when I am looking up at the stars for all the answers in the sky, the voices are there clamoring for my attention, tearing me apart, telling me I am worthless and that nothing I do is ever worth anything.  Every single day since June of 2006, the voices disrupted my life.  I couldn’t keep a job.  It takes me hours to write a post for my blog.  It has become discord inside my mind and my medicine for it only controls the volume of the voices.

Everyday I hallucinate.  I hallucinate mice and roaches.  I have learned to observe those around me that would react to either a mouse or a bug to confirm the hallucination.  If they aren’t reacting to it, its not there.  Sometimes I can feel the bugs running across my skin or I have a really bad case of the heebee geebees all the time.  This method has worked to notify me that the bug crawling on my friend isn’t real or she would be seriously freaking out.   My hallucinations never go away no matter what medicine I take.  They are always there.  I have been trying to get used to them, but my ick factor for bugs gets me every time.  Almost all the time I am standing in chaos.  The voices.  The hallucinations.  Poor reactions.  Rude treatment.  Anger just below the surface from having little to no sleep because of the babble going on in my head.  Every day it goes on and on and on.  Sometimes I touch the bug and my finger goes through it.  If it’s an actual bug, my ick factor gives me the heebee geebees.

Then there’s the paranoia.  The nagging anxious feelings of dread.  The inspection of food I get at a restaurant for spit because I just know  someone hates me enough to spit in my food.  My friends, who unconditionally love me and I know that for a fact, I believe are laughing at my illness behind my back.  I know that’s not true, but the paranoia controls things.  After I hit an ATM I just know someone is going to leap up from behind me and take the money even after it’s in my pocket.  I just know the whole world knows I have money for the taking.  The paranoia that wakes me up at night because I just know someone is breaking into the house.  I have a stomach full of knots and vibrating like something is wrong or going to be wrong so much so I have had panic attacks over it.  I have delusions too, that are absurd, that tie in with my paranoia.  I just know that I have nothing to contribute to the world.  I have delusions that I am a great person and everyone should love me.  Sometimes the hallucinations and the delusions work together to remind me that someone is going to rape me or kill me if I enter the shower and no one else is home.  I don’t experience this briefly.  I experience this every single day from my dreams to my awake hours without a break, without fleeting moments of silence, without one second of peace.  It’s hell.  It really is hell.

Then there are the people who believe there is no such thing as mental illness or that someone who has a mental illness is someone who one can laugh at.  Then there are the people who say that I can just “shut it off”.  I have heard people call me weak.  I have heard people misunderstand this illness and use it to describe things like “schizophrenic budget plans” when they have no clue how debilitating this illness really is.  Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder.  Schizophrenia is not a budget plan.  Schizophrenia is an evil disease that has eaten away my life and my mind.  I live in a constant static state where everything in reality is tilted to the left.  My reality is different than real reality, I have to employ coping mechanisms and attempt to distract myself from the voices with music or talking.  It doesn’t get any better for me.  I can’t just turn it off.  It doesn’t have a cure and there is no way that one day, my chronic case of schizophrenia will return me to a world of silence.  There is no silence anymore, nor will there be, for the rest of my life.  It has destroyed any comfortable state of normalcy.  I suffer with this every day, all day, all night and even during my dreams.  It has effected my whole life.

I have recently, over the past two years, began to accept this as my normal.  I have gotten to the point where I have accepted that some people are never going to understand this disease and will inevitably shuffle me off to their box of “crazy people” without ever really knowing me.  That is their problem, not mine.  I have enough to deal with.  All I want is a happy life with someone who loves me and someone that understands me as I twang off the hallucinated bug on her shoulder.  Her name is Kristi and she understands me.  Then I realize a lot of other people that are my friends understands me.  The one’s who don’t don’t really matter anymore.  Through it all I have managed to apologize when I’ve been wrong, curb all anger issues, and attempt to make my little mark upon this world a good one instead of a bad one.  That schizophrenia didn’t win this time.  But the struggle goes on and on and on.  I will never be able to work again.  I will never be able to have quiet meditations.  I will never be off medication.  I have this disease without a cure.  I am not alone.  I have Kristi and some of the best friends I could have ever wanted.  I am blessed and cursed at the same time, but one day someone might have a new treatment that will help what I have.

 

 

I watched an episode on MSNBC called “Lockup: Raw”.  This man on the show had just finished a ten year sentence for armed robbery.  While he was in prison, he decided he wasn’t all about crime, he was all about living the good life honestly.  He gets released from prison and his family is delighted he is out of prison.  He is happy to be out of prison and he’s excited about getting on to be a law abiding citizen.  This man has intelligence, he is full of hope, and he knows if he could just get legal, he would have a good life and stay out of trouble.  The unfortunate thing, what made me both angry and sad at the same time, he goes to many places of business and when they ask him about his history, he honestly tells them.  A diner turned him down.  A grocery store turned him down, a repo company turned him away, and even a smaller mom-and-pop store turned him down.  He made the remark that he wasn’t ready to quit looking and go back to committing crime.   He was representative of what happens to a lot of criminals reformed by prison and desiring to work for a normal life.  The doors close to the better way to live and open endlessly to crime that most released felons give up the good fight.  Why?  Our society has made the punishment for the individual who commits the crime.  Even though they did their time, no matter what that crime might be save pedophilia, that person should be given a second chance at walking the right path and isn’t.

No one wants to hire a felon.  So what is an ex-felon going to do when he or she knows that there are no chances out there to thwart criminal activity?  They are going back to what they know they can do to put food on the table, to have a roof over his or her head, and be quick fix to bigger problem, criminal behavior.  It’s so easy for them to fall through the cracks because we created those cracks.  On every application at every business there is a question: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?  To most, the guy on Lockup clearly showed, that regardless of the significance of your crime that you will always be condemned to write on every application your most defeating decision to break the law. You will forever be labeled a “felon” even if you did your time and you paid for that crime.  I think that is unfair and cruel and unusual punishment.  The guy on Lockup had to go to every employer and say “I did my ten years, learned from it, and I’m looking for a fresh start”.  Not all felons are willing to walk the life without criminal behavior, but maybe there would be less repeat offenders if maybe, just maybe, they could get a job more lucrative than spitting crack.  When does someone serve their time and hear “no” from our society?  Almost never.  Our society is soaked in passing judgment on people, so much so that often that person who did ten years, got out, and wanted to get straight can never do so in the eyes of people who say “Once a felon, always a felon” and that’s not true.  There are people who serve their time and are supposed to reenter society as a person that has done their crime without being held captive by such negative expectations.  What should really be going on is: “Hey, your past is your past.  When can you start?”

The purpose of a punishment to fit the crime is that once the prison term ends and so does his debt to society.  This release is his or her second chance.  So many employers don’t give felons a second chance because of the labelled box they put the felon in.  They trap them there and when trapped, any creature in existence does, he or she will do whatever necessary so he or she can eat, have a warm bed, diapers for the kids, and get somewhere besides poor.  In essence, they are being punished after serving their punishment and is therefore forever a dark mark on his or her name.  To me, I find it ridiculous that someone who just served 10 years as a punishment has to be punished each and every day by someone who neglects the fact that this person is a living being, with rights, who has feelings, who wants better for their family and worked hard to get their life on the right track.  Being re-punished by not getting hired for something one has done the time for is absurd.  It can make or break a person, both in mind and in spirit.  Not all felons are felons for life.  Not all of them deserve to be shown the door in their life.  Not all of them repeat offending.  All it takes is one “yes” to change a person’s life forever.

 

It’s the power of the other “N” word that enables our happiness, stops unwanted pet poops on the floor, and kills unwanted attention dead in it’s tracks.  It’s the word “NO”.  There are people who fear this word because of its finality, that saying the word means a shaded future at the office, or the rejection its uttering might mean.  The word “no” is not only powerful, but it can be liberating too.   No, I’m not working Christmas Eve because I want to go to church.  No, I am not working another sixteen hours because I would like to spend the holidays with my family.  No, I don’t want you to touch me.   No, I’d really rather lobotomize myself rather than listen to one more Christmas Carol.  No, I don’t believe in God.  No, I don’t want a secular household.  No, I’m not going to be in the closet anymore and I am going to come out who I really am to everyone I love.  No, I’m not going to dislike you.  No, I’m not looking for a potential mate, I enjoy my “me” time.  No I am not going hell.  No I am not taking on this huge project because it’s not my job.  No, I am not going to settle for second-best.  No I am not ugly.  No I am not fat.  No I am not dieting.  No I am who I am, love me or leave me.  No I’m not going to argue with you anymore.  No I am not going to be alone for the rest of my life.  No I’m not liberal.  No I’m not conservative.  No war, I support peace.  No Israel has a right to exist.  No I’m not going to commit suicide on the guise that I’ll be a martyr.  No, I’m not going to let my brothers and sisters in poverty die of starvation.  No I’m not going to stop volunteering my time for what I believe in.  No I’m not going to marry you because I’m not ready.  No I’m not going to treat Atheists like crap.  No, I’m not going to stop being who I am and change for you.  No I’m not going to hurt the ones I love anymore.  No I don’t want to have sex with you.  No I’m not going to let you hurt me anymore.  No I’m happy where I am, I’m not sorry you don’t like that.  No I have better things to do than to be bitter.  No I’m not a bitch.  No I’m not a prick.  No you don’t have the power over me.  No I don’t want or need a drink.  No I’m not getting high anymore.  No I’m not giving up on myself.  No I want to live true to myself, true to my dreams, and do what I want to do.  No I am not your puppet.  No you are not going to use me anymore.  No you aren’t allowed to hit me anymore.  No stop eating the plants.  No don’t poop on the floor.  No I’m not a statistic.  No I am important to me.  No it’s time to move on.  No.  It ends things, it begins things, it can make people cry, it can hurt and it can help, it’s wise and it’s stupid, it’s powerful and it’s weak, or it’s important or unimportant.  It’s the word you might need to think about, mull around, allow it to fit the moment…but it is your word and you can use it if you try really hard and make it work.

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