About Monday Night

I swore I wouldn’t get political. I swore that I would keep my opinions about what’s going on in America to myself. I swore to not let it bleed out onto social media.

But after Monday night and seeing some of the fallout from the presidential debate, I have to say something because this is galling.

I do not make it a secret that I am someone who lives with a variety of mental illnesses that debilitate my ability to live a normal, functional, adult life. The doctors, therapists, school counselors, and teachers I have encountered over the past twenty-three years have described it as thus: generalized anxiety with social phobias and some shades of agoraphobia, chronic depression or bipolar type II, sensory processing issues, and “(vague gesturing) Somewhere on the autism spectrum” due to elements of ADHD and Asperger’s being expressed, chronically, as early as four, five years-old; since all three (well, two, with Asperger’s expulsion from the DSM) exist on, well. A spectrum.

What a rat’s warren of words. It’s easier to lay everything out in the context of day-to-day functionality. I’ve found that examples and comparisons work the best when explaining it to others.

After Monday night’s debate, I now have a short-hand way to refer to how I interview for job positions: Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate, without the interruptions, talking over, and snarky comments.

Bullet points are nice and easy to read, so please allow me to explain this comparison further:

  • Persistent and uncontrollable tics. Trump’s snorting is practically a meme at this point. My hand-flapping and frequent gesticulation, most especially when I’m anxious and trying to collect my thoughts in a conversation, is just as noticeable.
  • Inability to answer questions. Trump went off on tangents and, from all appearances, seemed to forget the question while trying to navigate through the sheer mess of what he was saying. This is likely my biggest problem when interviewing: My brain is in panic mode, “fight or flight and I just want to flight from this room” so I can hardly listen and process what I’m being asked. But to sit there in silence while trying to pull my thoughts and understanding together is an interview no-no; I need to say SOMETHING so I will go off on the first thought I have that may or may not result to the bulk of the question. For example: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” My brain is like “OKAY so we need to say STUFF RELATING TO THIS COMPANY while also EMPHASIZING STRENGTHS” so I will talk about my writing and computer abilities. Only that’s what I get stuck on talking about. I catch myself, mid-tangent, but I cannot remember the question. I remember “FUTURE” and so I talk about how awesome learning to program would be or maybe becoming a therapist to help people who are like me and HOLY SHIT I cannot stop talking until I manually cut myself off. And leave the point awkwardly hanging.
  • Similar to that mess up there, I over-emphasize the points that my panicky brain thinks are good. So the answer might just turn into “In the FUTURE I will be a published author while still advancing the FUTURE goals and mission statement of your company all in the FUTURE.” Complete, of course, with physical hand gestures and syllabic stressing. How much did Trump want to emphasize his PROPERTIES and ENDORSEMENTS on Monday night?
  • Inability to control facial reactions. Trump read, to me, as contemptuous but overwhelmed, just on facial expressions. I saw no composure, no poise, and, certainly, not a shred of dignity. When an interviewer asks me a question that prompts thoughts of “oh shit how do I answer this” my expression is…”oh shit how do I answer this.” Just as composed, poised, and dignified.

It’s no small wonder, then, that every single job that I have interviewed, with only a resume preceding the interview, I am never called back. After all, with the job market the way it is, someone with my education, my capabilities, my capacity to learn, my writing abilities…Most certainly, that candidate has also applied. But that candidate doesn’t have a panic attack in the interview room. That candidate is able to approach the interview as a conversation, a dialogue, and present themselves as someone who doesn’t crack under pressure. Me? I’m trying to end the experience as quickly (but politely) as possible so I can have a panic attack in the car and thank every God and angel I can think of that it’s over. I certainly won’t get the job but the interview is OVER and the danger is GONE. And, in that state of mind, that’s all that matters.

The only jobs that I have held had tests to complete before submitting the application. The teller job? Mathematical test. Call center job? A multiple choice test navigating heavily-idealistic inbound customer calls. Data entry job? They wanted a minimum 30 WPM and I just tested at 80+ WPM. I would not be surprised that those who have hired me, even after the catastrophic interviews, they look at the tests and say, “Well, she’s a disaster in-person, but holy crap does she kick our testing standards in the teeth.”

With all this in mind, I have to admit, I’m shocked that people looked at Donald Trump’s performance Monday night and declared him the winner. Not even considering Hillary Clinton’s performance. They saw Donald Trump press his case for becoming President of the United States of America with all the grace of a young woman with a debilitating anxiety disorder.

And people judged him capable of being the President.

So, I would like to ask the job interviewers who judge Donald Trump’s performance as acceptable, even laudable:

How about you hire me?

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Raging

Oh great world, how so many bluster over your infinite possibilities, that the limitations you enforce are only imagining, that we are so brainless as to not see the knives you slide under our flesh, skimming over layers of fat, muscle, living tissue full of needy blood, that you would glut yourself with at the earliest provocation.  No, I tire of the lies, I tire of the snake-oil salesman who promises salvation while holding aloft a glass the color of rancid piss.  I tire of myself, myself and all her naivety, who asks this salesman if it will really help, then buy as soon as that oily miscreant jerks his tallowed skull and grins teeth of jewels, and I believe them for genuine.

I am tired for paying for the lies told to a child, for children cannot see through lies.  Do not call me damaged, even as my skull throbs against flushed flesh, and do not call me stupid for believing those who claimed to have the future in mind, when all they saw me as was another sow for the slaughter.  For it is a scam we have fallen for, this generation named for slackers and loafs, this generation that trusted our forebearers with sparkly words of a better future.  For they presented us with the flawed formulas, out of ignorance or out of malice, I no longer care, for the formulas are flawed and we, their children, we pay for it with a life of slavery.

We are tethered to insurmountable debts before we can even consume alcohol.  We are told lies before we have the minds capable of discerning them, and they yet blame us for their failures.  The victims of this scam, this fleecing of children to bloat the banks of the greatest liars, they will never find freedom, yet these criminals will continue to do this until, eventually, the great fat of this land begins to suffocate it.

No more.

I reject these debts.

Bleed this dust dry, I cry, and I will act in your image, waste and lie and leave you nothing, just as you have left us nothing while telling us your lies of plenty.  Imprison me in cages of green or steel, I do not care, for I will not do this any longer.

I will do as I wish, as I please, and I will fight you for every scrap of my life.

You have called me ill, delinquent, flawed, foolish, brilliant while chuckling behind fingers the color of rotten fish bellies.  I deafen myself to your words, world, and I will make anew of the ashes you have cast upon me to call them my own.  And I will gnaw my limbs asunder to free them of the fetters you have cast upon them, because I paid for those ashes of nothing with the rest of my life.

I declare, no more.  I will not be the invalid, the failure, the whirling mess of throbbing heads and a spectrum of pain.  I will be what I wish to be and, should you push, I will push back. I will claw, I will scrape, I will rip your wretched face asunder until my nails snap and I will bleed into you until my pain is your pain.

And I will leave a line of hellfire for those who suffer as I do.  To bear witness.  To follow.  To burn in the glorious supernova that will end the world as we know it.

Interlude: Stylistic Woes

Just a brief bit of whining before getting to work. I have been utterly crushed to learn, recently, that my instruction to double space after a concluding mark of punctuation, is largely considered wrong and something only messily introduced in the age of the typewriter. I suspect the culpability of my parents, as I was using a word processor long before computers were a matter of instruction in class. But wherever the blame falls, I cannot help but look at my sentences, with their meek one space, and see them as anything other than a cluttered disaster. This is easily rectified, of course; double space as I write and then, after finishing, find-replace the “extra” space. But, as I look at this little block of words, I cannot help but feel a bit claustrophobic. It looks fundamentally wrong to my sensibilities and, moreover, it seems less like a string of independent sentences and more like a deluge of words, words, words.

God forbid they go after my beloved Oxford comma next. Where eliminating the space after concluding punctuation makes sense (one space is pretty standard, save for the two after the sentence, so I can get the wisdom in getting rid of that contradiction), the Oxford comma eliminates misreading concerning the sentence. Observe:

I prayed for salvation for the sake of my parents, our dog and the family cow.

Yeah, the omission of the Oxford comma there implies that your dog and the cow are your parents.

You don’t want to call your parents animals, do you?

OXFORD COMMA FOR LIFE.

The Failing of History Classes in America

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

– George Santayana, The Life of Reason

I am a college graduate who has not had a single class on the Korean War.  The Vietnam War.  All I know about the Cold War is that “Russia and America were in a deadlock snit and Cuba had something to do with it at some point.”

That’s not even acknowledging the vast swaths of human history ignored.  In the twelve years of public school education, only two years of it focused on a matter outside of American history or, as promised by numerous syllabi, that time period between the founding of the colonies and current events.

Or, to be accurate, the time between the founding of the colonies and onward, reaching out, sometimes brushing at the hem of the American Civil War.

Only one year, in tenth grade, did we brush over the founding of the United States to address some of World War I and, in the most basic terms, what occurred with World War II.

I just want to stress this: When I graduated high school in the top ten percent of my class, with Advanced Placement and Honors classes cluttering my transcript, I knew only that the Korean War and Vietnam War were considered major losses by the United States and had something to do with communism, maybe the Cold War, but most of that, I found through literature and music.

And it always bothered me, how ethnocentric the history curriculum was, but I never felt angry about it.

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9/6/2014 – The Joys of the Noncommittal

Spoiler Warning: There is no joy in being noncommittal.

Tell me if this isn’t the epitome of First World Problems; I have far too many story ideas that I get lost as to which to nurture and which to abandon, so I end up thinking far more intently than I should and end up with either a stunning pile of fuck-all or pages with about as much a sense of consistent tone as the Star Wars prequels.

I found myself cursing that when a friend asked about the status of something I had been working on two weeks ago, that I was greatly enthusiastic for and had many promising kernels of ideas for, but clearly that wasn’t enough, for my reaction was more like “Oh, that, yeah…Ha ha” than brimming enthusiasm for my progress made on the piece.  Suppose that’s just what I deserve, when I bounce around excitedly with my fresh Idea of the Day and sow as much hype as Peter Molyneux, then drop it with equal enthusiasm.  Could also be compared to the high people speak of chasing, whether it be delivered through the point of a needle or by flinging themselves out of airplanes, where each idea is dropped to pursue the Golden Idea, the one that will surely work flawlessly and effortlessly to express all that keeps pounding in the brain space.

But there’s no such thing as a clean birth, is there?

Still, I would like to find what it takes to sit on an idea and dote upon it until it reaches maturity, rather than keep laying the eggs and tossing them out of the nest.  It leaves you with a lot of scrambled eggs, but no robins to show for the effort.

Maybe I should stop joking about drinking myself silly and writing, and actually see if I’m far more lucid while intoxicated.  God knows I’m far better company.

9/5/2014 – Her Issues with Teaching Literature

I joined the Future Educators in America in my junior year of high school, partly because a friend was president of the society and asked me to, and partly because I was the teenager who admired two English teachers and wanted to, in a way, pass the torch for the next generation while working on my own pieces.  I wanted to see the rise of the next great writer, to be there to challenge and inspire them, just as these two teachers did the same for me.  It may seem like a selfish reason, but the crux of the matter was, it felt more like honoring a tradition.

The student becomes the mentor for the next student, and so on and so forth.

And, some day in my senior year, my youngest brother wondered out-loud,

“What’s the point of English?”

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