Are We Good?

No. No, we are not.

“But, can’t we all just come together and be one America now?

No.

Really? So much for being tolerant and kind!”

Yeah…that isn’t how this works anymore. Bygones can no longer be bygones, especially when Facebook, Twitter and now the off-brand version, Parler, continue to breed trolls who both covertly and overtly advocate for the harassment, injury or death of anyone non-MAGA. It appears we are now a country of Americans and MAGAcans, or MAGAs or MAGAricans? Either way, you idol worshiping, false flag waving, tacky Trump merch buying twats have drawn a pretty deep line in the sand. It’s your line, I will respect your wishes and not cross it…even to pee on you should you find yourself on fire. It’s a matter of respect of personal boundaries, you know?

https://www.businessinsider.com/arkansas-police-chief-lang-holland-resigns-parler-posts-threaten-democrats-2020-11

For 4 long years, the toll exacted by taunts, insults, and blatant threats of violence makes this request no longer reasonable or doable. Anyone on the receiving end of the massive shit sandwich that is 2020, coupled with the snarling vitriol lobed on the daily, would be utterly foolish to fall for this glaringly amateur manipulation. To use our kindness, empathy and desire to help others against us now that the reality show has been cancelled is really quite laughable. And you call us sheep? We aren’t the ones who fell for a spray tanned con-artist who is so vain he wears lifts in his shoes and has dried out cotton candy for hair. The same con-artist who presides over a family full of equally humorless cons that are just as eager to take advantage of their adoring cult followers and casually toss them aside when they are no longer necessary.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/11/ivanka-trump-was-my-best-friend-now-shes-maga-royalty

That increasingly uncomfortable “reality show” was setting the scene for rampant paranoia, unbridled anger and for every nasty human trait, and their possessors, to be lifted to a standard of respect they do not deserve. There is nothing respectable about a group of Americans chanting and cheering for violence to be committed against other fellow Americans. There is nothing respectable about a group of Americans turning their backs on facts, truth, science, human rights, civil rights, and basic human decency in order to march to the tune of whack-a-doo conspiracy theory bullshit.

And, there is definitely nothing respectable or decent about gleefully bilking taxpayers while simultaneously goading your rabid followers/dupes/marks into turning on fellow Americans. Nothing to see here! Now go “Yah, but” and gaslight the sane populace until they no longer know what’s fake or real, what’s truth or fiction or whether they are living in an alternate universe where everything is horribly backwards.

You stepped in the shit willingly and made it your new life. It’s not our job to help you scrape the shit off your shoes. It’s not our job to re-educate you. It’s not our job to re-humanize you. We tried, you mocked, threatened and dehumanized us so now, we are merely taking the not so subtle hint. We know you will turn on us again, in a heartbeat, and have decided to take a page out of your grubby rule book and build a WALL of personal protection. Snowflakes may be kind and gentle but they ain’t dumb…we paid attention in school.

I don’t have to smile, wave or respond to your now timid greeting if I feel my time would be better served attending to my own best interests. I still have the right to mistrust the untrustworthy. Isn’t that what good MAGA boys and girls would do too? Attend to their own and to hell with everyone else? I’m confused as to why my doing the very thing you ranted, raved and preached about would upset you now. Because it was really a, “Do as I say and not as I do” kinda thing? Got it! What’s good for the MAGA is good for the SNOWFLAKE now. Grasp page from play book and RIP!

“Oh, come on! I was only teasing when I said all Democrats, BLM supporters and civil rights protesters should be shot between the eyes.”

There is no going back to benign pleasantries. You reap what you sow and while this isn’t an eye for an eye, law of retaliation type of action on my part it is a refusal to associate, do business with or otherwise extend an extra helping of grace to those who wished literal harm to befall me and those I love. Keep flying your ridiculous idol worshiping flags and memorial signs of a campaign lost (fair and square) though. They will forever act as your mark of Cain so that all may see who you really are and what you willingly support.

© 2020-2021 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

To Be A Hero

Everyone either dreams of being a hero or wishes to have something heroic done for them in their time of need. Savior or Saved. But, what about those in-between people? The ones who never realize they need rescuing and then, after years of self-reflection, inadvertently fall into the role of becoming their own heroes. What are they called? Victims? Survivors? These “make-do in very bad situations” people? Are they the perpetual dirty, worn doormat or are they the loudly chiming doorbell proclaiming the arrival of a new player in life’s chess game? They know who to avoid, who never to tell secrets to and also how to self-soothe when the internal weather becomes choppy. And, trust me, it’s hard to accept this heroic status when everything feels like rainy depression and constant protective defense. Very hard.

Growing up, my siblings and I had many instances where heroic intervention was necessary but, the opposite occurred. The closer we came to the edge the quicker people, aware of our situation, backed away. The knowledge that our little voices had the right to ask for help was completely foreign, completely unimaginable. We had no one to throw that dysfunctional ball of confusion to. No one to share the burden. No one to strategize with. And, the one who should have been the hero became the villain instead, and then we, the prey, were left to fend for ourselves. Always left to go it alone because, you know…

BUCK UP! PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS! STOP BEING A BABY!

I heard it all, even at 5 years old the grand expectation for my success in life was one of merely accepting my fate. The fate of a rudderless ship sailing toward an inevitably rocky shore. People like us shouldn’t expect much! How dare we even ask! It was also the expectation that every abuse heaped upon my child self was somehow a lesson on how to toughen up my adult self in the future. This gave no hope, no anticipation, it only led me to believe that if I was being trained to look at life as a constant battle of wills then I would always be on the losing side.

I was being prepared to lose.

I did not want to lose.

Let’s go back to the bootstrap thing. The “pull yourself up” part is a quaint motivational poster slogan but, one that is not even remotely realistic for the vast majority it’s hurled at. How can it be when, at each attempt, someone else’s boot stomps on the clinging-for-dear-life fingers of the one desperate to improve themselves? Or, and this one is classic, how about those moments when improvement or success is acquired only to have it criticized or mocked by the very people demanding said improvement to begin with?

What the hell do you people really want from us? It’s a fair question. A question I know has no honest answer because to answer honestly it to uncover the true animosity or jealousy that resides within. You call us ugly, worthless, sinful, lazy or pathetic yet, and this is real rich, none of those descriptors are deserved because they are mere projection. Projection is not motivation. Learn that. To project inner loathing on others as a means to LEVEL them is not a positive life lesson, it’s a testament to life-long resentment. It is the act of engaging in a personal war where the only winner intended is the projector. We see you. We truly do understand what is happening and…

That’s not going to happen anymore.

I said it.

I mean it.

As a child, and on into young adulthood, the only “heroes” I could identify with were writers, musicians and artists. They spoke my language it seemed and I drank it up like the antidote to a poison I was being force-fed daily. I found no heroes in my own home. Zero. I found no heroes in my small community and I found no heroes in the church my parents demanded we attend. In those limiting areas I only found the requirement to accept fault, beg for forgiveness and then forever comply in order to, maybe, obtain a tiny sliver of acceptance. But, what was I complying with and who were these people I was told I needed acceptance from? Even asking the question earned punishment because, how dare I question the elders?

Elder, thou doth lie!

I know it’s frustrating when I use “fancy words” to weave a comforting blanket of protection from the shit I have been served most of my life. I hear this A LOT. I get that it angers certain people who accuse me of being “vague” or not courageous enough to name names or face my abusers. I have faced them all my life, that job is done. They know their names, I am not required to utter them anymore. I’m not required to prove anything to anyone. And, I’m allowed to sculpt, twist and bend my experiences into any kind of art I chose, whether that be through the lyrical play of words or the hard slash of a paintbrush on a canvas. The audience has no control over the actor’s performance, you are merely there to look, listen and learn.

Look around at the heroes in your life. See one in your mirror every morning. Listen when they speak and listen even harder when they don’t. Observe body language, the subtle yet very apparent signs of a life fraught with challenges but also gifted with limitless grace. And, in the end, learn that when others fail us miserably the win is still within reach because we can write our own rules. We always could.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Death of a Family

It has finally happened. The day has come. A tiny bit of me feels uneasy because I just recently wrote about wondering when this day would occur and now, it has come to pass. Am I clairvoyant? No. But, if I were and could see where all of this was heading years ago don’t you think I would have hit the road sooner?

The man we once called “Dad” is dead. And now, the dilemma over how to react, or not, starts. Do we fake grieve or do we expel a long overdue sigh of relief? Do we cry and if so, how hard and for how long? But, if we do cry is it for the one who has left this earth or is it for what we never got in the first place? It’s impossible to know for sure but the one thing I do know is that I’m not sad he’s gone. I am sad, however, that we never had decent, loving parents. That, I have mourned for the past 30+ years.

There I said it, and while it may sound harsh to those on the outside looking in, the fictionalized version of this long dead family my mother so desperately wanted everyone to believe in never existed. You were duped, or maybe you always knew but just never said anything. Anyway, the instigator of great pain and personal torment is gone. And, here we are, still standing tall despite decades of bluster and boasting from the man who regularly berated, belittled and abused his children and grandchildren. He is gone and I feel no sorrow. How could anyone even ask me to?

The man who used me as a punching bag.

Gone.

The man who enjoyed grabbing a fistful of my hair so he could pull me across the kitchen floor to show me that I put something in the refrigerator WRONG.

Gone.

The man who dutifully went to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night in order to cement his superior status as the righteous man.

Gone.

How should we remember him? As the smug, sneering know-it-all with a disturbing sadistic side or, as the dream of a kind and loving father we held in our heads? He wasn’t the latter, not even a little bit. Oh, he tried to be jovial at times but what started out in a joking vein usually disintegrated into a cruel strike to the jugular. When asked to come closer to him the first question that always popped into my suspicious mind was, “Why?” Near or far away, it didn’t matter which, he still had the ability to inflict pain. Even in his frail last few years the ever present shame, guilt and anger that he created in each one of us signaled his legacy was still very much in control.

I stopped talking to both of my parents in 2016, for a variety of valid reasons and, it wasn’t until a year or so later that I knew I made the right decision. At first I wasn’t sure and would go back and forth but became very certain upon learning that this man, this self-proclaimed Christian man, who my mother said so deserved his heavenly reward, was revealed to not only be a child abuser but also a child molester. There would be no turning back and I held firm because for so many years I always “overlooked” their past behavior and tried to live by the let bygones be bygones principle. I now understand that this was exactly what they were hoping for, a “just get over it” proclamation with no recourse for any of their victims and certainly no apology. Again, they controlled the narrative, standing together in twisted unity, and we were just whiny children who deserved everything that happened to us. No love from a mother and certainly no love from a father.

Speaking of mothers, mine obviously took great care in writing my father’s obituary. She was his greatest enabler and protector so it’s no surprise that “liberties” would be taken and the truth would be fabulously stretched. I found exactly what I expected when reading the glowing heavenly recommendation for this deeply damaged and morally bankrupt man. The manner in which he was now being eulogized/fictionalized could lead one to think the Earth’s trees should all bow in sorrow to honor the passing of such a great man! Such a godly man!

Great, he was not. Good at manipulating and posturing? Yes indeed! Sure, he held the various positions listed among the multiple conflated exaggerations but did he excel at any of them? No, he did not. This I know because I was there when he held most of these “prestigious” posts but I must have missed the day he was proclaimed “well liked” and “respected in the community.” Was he really? Be honest now. He can’t hurt us anymore so speak freely! We moved around a lot not because he was in such high demand but because he was either running from one bill or another or, possibly, trying to get out of being held accountable for any number of wrongs he may have committed. Who really knows for sure? The expert “Editor” made sure all tracks were covered well. Bravo mom! Good job.

Now, here is where things start to get a little bizarre, but not totally unexpected. When airing grievances about ones own children and grandchildren it is best to keep track of what lies you told to which people. Did you remember to exhibit just the right amount of confusion and innocent wonder over why some of your children did not rush to your side or “at least call” for heaven’s sake? It might have something to do with you vehemently striking out in absolute defense of an abuser and child molester but, it could also be due to you calling me and other siblings liars and embarrassments while expressing that you now know why certain animals chose to kill their young. Good stuff there mother! Good stuff.

Oh, and the person you lamented to? They knew you were lying. Just thought I should point that out. Use a flow chart dammit! It makes tracking lies so much easier. Gosh! Stop being so lazy with your hate tactics.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, documenting the long, slow, painful death of a family. We were a “family” after all. Born of the same parents, sharing DNA, physical resemblances and all that jazz. We started dying the day each one of us became caught up in whatever torment the two of you drug into your too young, too dumb and highly ill-conceived marriage. Each child was placed on the alter of your respective mental fuck-ups and each one of us was sacrificed as an offering to your egos. We had no say. You brought us here and you both worked together to try and destroy us. When it became evident that this was working too slowly another plan was hatched. Why not get us to feed off of one another? Why not plant the seeds of your own angry dysfunction in each one of us and then poke and prod until the fighting begins? Brilliant plan really. Just so deviously exquisite!

For the past 60 years this game has proven quite successful because, fast forward to today, it’s pretty crystal clear when you tally up the hurtful words, personal slights, abusive behavior and our blatant trampling of the feelings of one another. In that regard, dad has won spectacularly. Few of us talk to one another now and even fewer have anything to do with you, dear old mom. Did you see that coming? Dad really fucked you over with that one! Such precision. So much so that you didn’t even realize that the man you deferred you whole life to would see to it that, in the end, you were left with nothing but crumbs.

Game, set, match…

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is This The Day You Die?

On my way home from work yesterday this thought went through my mind. Driving along, looking up at the blue sky, watching the soft white clouds bounce on by.

“Is today going to be the day you leave this Earth?

Rarely do I allow myself to ruminate or stew in the past anymore. I have done the recovery work and am, daily, working to forgive for myself and release anger and pain. It’s been a long learning process but I think I have found multiple ways to distract or refocus myself to thoughts, projects and people more deserving of my attention. It has worked well the past 3-4 years and I have grown to rely on my new-found skill but today I added, “I hope you made peace with your maker and confessed the true ugliness committed at your hands.”

Let me get you up to speed here. I am, essentially, an orphan. I have no family to speak of even though there are at least, maybe, 30 people out there that share some DNA with me. That I know of anyway. I could be wrong about the exact count because my family of origin LIES a lot. I arrive at my number by counting parents, siblings, their kids, their kid’s children and the few cousins I know about. I have physical contact with none of these people and that isn’t because of the corona virus, it’s because of purposeful cruelty and generational dysfunction. I have limited verbal contact with just 3 of these people so, in my mind, that qualifies me as an unofficial orphan.

Cue the balloons and streamers!!! Now, where is my crown?

Back to the initial, depressing title of this already worn out tome. It really is tiresome when the past won’t stay where it belongs so when you find out a family member is currently in the hospital, a member who doesn’t deserve your kindness, all kinds of surprising conclusions are drawn. Do I still care? How should I feel about this information? How do I react when asked about this family member? Will anyone who isn’t related to me even ask about this family member anyway since this person isn’t well-liked in their community? Anyone who truly knows me is aware of why I feel the way I do about this family member. And, those who don’t? Well, let them ask and they too will learn the truth.

I have no desire to edit anything or soften the jagged perimeter of this family plot turned garbage dump so my truth will be imparted without hesitation. “Is this the day they died?” Honestly, it could happen this way. Someone unrelated to me could be the one to inform me of the passing of a person I came to terms with years ago. A person I reserve no conflicted feelings for and have no desire to pretend grieve once they pass from this world. I wish them a smooth passage, which is more than they would wish for me and, once that has been accomplished, I wish to think of them no more.

If this is the day that you die please know that I am still standing. I am not bowing to the wind of judgement because none is blowing my way. That storm is reserved for you so be ready. Make amends, if you can and if you can’t bring yourself to do this before your last breath then that’s okay. I’ve done my part and let you go a long time ago.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You Are Permitted to be Angry…

With a few caveats of course.

For all my years of touting cute catchphrases like, “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” or expressing my resolute determination to no longer remain silent, I forgot one thing. The power of commiseration.

I don’t need you to use your sympathy voice every time I share something that makes me angry. I want you to be angry with me!

I GET IT NOW!

There is great power in numbers, as the current protests around the country have shown. I know this to be true. I talk about it, A LOT, within my professional space yet skim right over it in my personal space. And, for that, I am so very sorry. In this, I realize that I am no better than all the assholes I rail about, the ones without even a minuscule amount of empathy in their bitter bones. I, a person who has too much empathy at times, still forgot the therapeutic efficacy of a good bitch-fest. The legitimate airing of grievances, but without having to observe Festivus.

I will be angry with you.

I will listen to what you have to say without doing the, “Awww” face.

I will join your venting session, not because I’m mad at the same person, place or thing, but because YOU ARE ANGRY and I want to support you.

It’s okay to be angry because anger is an energy that can cause change just as easily as it can cause destruction.

I support your right to FEEL all the feelings that go along with being human.

Now, having said all of that, and I meant all of it, I just know there are miserable shit-stirrers out there itching to rail against those who express the desire to FEEL. You know? The FUCK YOUR FEELINGS dickheads. The rest of this is directed at you. Everyone with historically documented reasons to feel angry, you can grab some popcorn and relax for a bit. You earned it…

Yes, fuck my feelings! That’s so mature, so human, so kind of you! And, it’s exactly what I would expect from people who don’t think anyone else is allowed to be angry but them. What exactly are YOU mad about? Didn’t your whiteness provide, abundantly, everything all those other white male politicians promised if you supported their agenda? I know what everyone else is mad about but, please, tell me what’s REALLY troubling you. And, can you do it without calling me names or threatening me with violence? It’s a novel idea but try it, you might like it. And, while you are trying that maybe stop and picture what it really means to be the “good Christian” that you keep calling yourself. Are ya, really??? Can’t be Christ-like when you’re calling me a loud-mouth liberal bitch that needs to know my place. All-seeing God my ass, you don’t know me at all! Let me introduce myself, I’m you’re worst nightmare because I can see who you really are and that’s what you really hate, not me, not them, but yourself.

photo by Andre Hunter

It’s the truth about ourselves, the stuff we demand stay hidden, that really pops up in times of anger and strife, whether we like it or not. It isn’t hidden anymore and if the truly oppressed in this country can put up with your racist, homophobic, misogamist bullshit for centuries then I guess the LEAST I can do is get my privileged white ass up in their support. I stand with them because standing with you is limiting, exhausting, debilitating and completely on the wrong side of history and humanity. I will not side with vile hatred so stop trying to sell me on the garbage you keep peddling.

Yes, I believe Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love and Kindness is EVERYTHING! On the flip-side, to those who do not believe in the things I just listed? You are the real problem and you are the one stoking the fire of hate in this country and around the world. Lying, cheating and stealing are really your areas of expertise, not ours but you jump at slapping those projected labels on us, which is laughable. Don’t like what I just imparted? Let me use some of your own medicine on that burn…uh, fuck your feelings! Ah, that felt refreshingly satisfying.

I can guarantee one thing for sure, in this current moment and moving forward, if ANYONE directs hateful vitriol and violence towards anyone I love, I will rain the entirety of my FEELINGS of anger, disgust and rage down on you! I was subjected to physical and mental abuse as a child and young adult and can only keep that raging beast of revenge down so long you know? Count on me coming for you because, hey, when you dismiss my feelings of empathy and kindness what’s left? Yeah, just the NASTY parts, the ones you identify with most and you can’t fuck ALL of my feelings. Who’s got that kind of time?

Illustration by Sefira Ross

Oh, you don’t like that I’m expressing a desire to treat you as miserably as you treat others? Huh, it doesn’t FEEL good does it? Are you afraid of my rage? My words that I can freely express without the need of a gun to back them up? Or, are you really terrified of my ability to size-up your obvious inner conflict and verbalize the issues that I see standing in your way of being a decent person? No one acts the way you do without channeling some fucked up dysfunction from childhood that leads to the near debilitating self esteem issues you clearly exhibit. Do I want to be right about you being a shit person? No. But, 9 times out of 10, I am right and it hurts because I know humanity can do better.

You see, I am willing to listen to your angry outbursts, just like I listen to those I love vent. The only difference is that I know one of those complaint sessions will lead to greater self-awareness and inner calm and the other will lead to personal ruin. Without a willingness to see the pain of others, to listen, learn and actively understand why they have a right to be angry nothing will change. You will stay miserable and stuck. You will never be happy. You will never be a healthy community/society member even though you have this warped impression that this land is YOUR land and not anyone else’s, especially those with darker hued skin. To hold onto those ideals is to hold onto quicksand…your made-up “identity” is being exposed as you slide down, down, down.

I’ll offer you a hand if you want it. Do you want it?

Or, does going down with the rat infested ship seem more palatable than letting a dirty liberal offer you kindness?

Sad.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oh, Sister of Mine?

When people ask me about my family of origin I pause and take a deep breath. “How much time do you have?” I ask. It’s never a matter of rambling on about all the amazing memories I have (or had) with family, it’s a matter of, “How much do I tell?”

Do I talk about the feelings of despair, the urgent need to get as far away from my childhood home and town as possible or, do I simply compose a quick verbal synopsis? Even that would be a task destined for failure since there is zero possibility of a speedy deposition because anger, pain and darkness go too deep and have traveled too many generations to be given just a cursory glance. This is a disease that must be examined with the keen eye of a scientist or, at minimum, with the paranoid skepticism of a rabid conspiracy theorist.

“Show me your proof.”

“It’s all made up!”

“You have an agenda!”

Who doesn’t, pal?

I wish I had made up everything I felt compelled to share about my childhood and the people enlisted to birth me and then failed to raise me properly. I wish I had made up the interactions with my many siblings that drained the rose color from my preferred view of the world. The dream of a life I felt excited about as a five year-old was the same one ground to dust at eight by a brother who acted entitled to be doing so without explanation or recourse.

If only I could recall, rewind, rework and then reissue my life. But, I can’t and it must stand as a work unto itself with no revisions because truth is truth no matter how dirty and the lies of others, desperate to silence you, have no power anymore. That, right there, is what sparks the greatest fear in former oppressors, instigators and apologists. I will TELL. I will say it ALL. And, my truth will follow them to the depths of every self-imposed hellscape they find themselves in or into any carefully curated tale of a supposed “life well-lived” they may attempt to create.

It’s the price we all pay for pretending.

But, what happens when the pretenders stop and stand still within their game? What happens when the camera, the one meant to capture a staged joyous moment, starts documenting reality at every press of the button? Sure, we can smile for the camera but we have no control over the image projecting from our eyes. They are the real keepers of truth after all.

I entitled this “Oh, Sister of Mine?” for a specific reason and to document a specific hurt. I have two sisters, born from the same parents and both subjected to the same dysfunction (at varying degrees) I was yet each approaches their wounds very differently. One chose the stance of a pacifist or rather, a “compartmentalizer” and the other, further down the pedigree chart, chose to morph into a volatile cat o’ nine tails ready to inflict as much mental punishment as humanly possible on anyone she decides to level. Did I see that coming my way? No. Am I really surprised in hindsight? Again, no. Some people learn from their pain and some carry it with them like a weapon to be used whenever they need self-soothing. It was just a matter of time.

Now, here’s the rub. From time to time I see strategically posted vignettes of their “and a fun time was had by all” soap opera. It hurts, initially, that I have been purposely cut out of their lives but, in a way, I also see it as needed medicine. The depiction of how their lives easily go on without being invited to share in any joy or pain can feel scalding but, it is also the hurt I need to heal, if that makes sense? The more I see of these surface only interactions the better I feel about my decision to untangle from the diseased spiderweb. I can’t go back to pretending anymore. I won’t go back there yet, at the same time I am irritatingly human enough to still long for closeness and also feel bad for all of them.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/people-are-revealing-truth-behind-their-happy-looking-social-media-posts-its-heartbreaking.html

And by ALL I mean ALL, even the parents and other siblings who worked so hard to grind my soul into the ground. I wish things were different but, they are not and they never will be. That wish is now released to the wind. It floats away, along with pieces of my regret and anger, to be replaced by a satisfying self-awareness I never even knew I could posses. By “self-awareness” I mean I own up to my faults, my lies, my rage now with zero shame or embarrassment.

It’s never embarrassing to be authentic.

The TRUE shame is in continuing to willfully live that lie.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Company You Keep: A Tale of Constant Disappointment

Over the past few years I have come to the resolute conclusion that there is a very good reason people who were once childhood friends, co-workers, waving neighbors or even fragile family members grow apart. The saying that we are known by the company we keep was very true during Aesop’s day just as it is today. Look to the left and then back to the right. Who do you call friend, family, acquaintance?

Aesop’s Fables: An Ass And His Purchaser

The tale of An Ass And His Purchaser goes a little like this:

A man wanted to purchase an Ass and took him home for a trial. The Ass befriended the most idle of those the man already owned and so… Bye, bye Ass.

A man is known by the company he keeps.

I see your posts on social media. The lazy re-posting of propaganda. Yeah, this looks good…CLICK. The refusal to fact-check, question or even comprehend that what you just shared was an example of racism, sexism, isolationism, homophobia or any other repugnant, exclusionary belief. The refusal to acknowledge that careless words can cause great harm is illuminated like a TIKI torch at a white nationalist rally. “Oh, I will totally OWN them with this scorching article from a hugely biased news source!”

I see the venom, the bile and the disdain posted about those you feel are not as “good” or as “smart” as you. I make note of how you feel those people are disrespectful, dishonorable, untrustworthy, un-this, un-that and then the final dismissive pronouncement that when those people use their long ignored voice this equals whining. Does this mean your point of view is the only one that matters? Or, does it mean your point of view should matter more? It’s one or the other. You can’t have it both ways after all.

What do you hear in the voices of protest that bothers you so much? I ask because I truly want to know why the sound of life-long pain, frustration and grief triggers such dismissal and/or anger? Are they not deserving of fair treatment, equal rights or the same protections afforded to you under the law? If your answer is NO…why? And, can you look those people in the eye and bravely explain why they shouldn’t be as FREE as you? And, can you do it without sneering, condescending vitriol? Thanks. That would be great!

Now, back to the part about being known, or judged, by the people you choose to associate with. If you are pals with people who make disparaging remarks about people of color, women, non-Christians, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, people with different political beliefs or anyone different at all for that matter and you LAUGH or LOOK THE OTHER WAY then that will be considered condoning or agreeing with their behavior. The key word here is CHOICE. You decided which side you were on without even saying a word. Silence was your choice. Like it or not. I don’t make the rules.

A riot is not quiet…

So, I see your condemning posts about those, whiny, lazy, ignorant and, weak liberal snowflakes and I always come back to the introduction, written with great authority by you. The original post may have come from someone else but you obviously agreed with it or why else would you share it? For shits and grins? To stir the pot? To purposely cause outrage? To mock? Oh, you may claim any one of these but I suspect it’s because you actually do agree with the sentiment embedded in that inflammatory meme, quote, shared article or video. It’s okay to admit it. I could even respect you, believe it or not, if you would just be honest for once.

I see it all and wonder how your definitions of GOOD, SUPERIOR, PURE, RIGHTEOUS and HOLY were formed along with the polar opposite of those five words. Did your views come from a highly edited history purposely designed to place you on top as the victor while everyone different is cast as defective, unbalanced or criminal? How did you come to the point in life where you currently stand? You appear angry. You also appear so certain to be right and also very certain I, and people both like and unlike me, deserve no audience to plead our case because our guilt was determined long before we were born.

Do you ever wonder if everything you were ever told about those not like you is a lie? I do.

https://theundefeated.com/features/being-black-in-a-world-where-white-lies-matter/

https://theestablishment.co/white-people-you-have-a-lying-problem-e991c3634493/index.html

https://milwaukeenns.org/2020/06/26/opinion-the-lies-white-people-tell-ourselves-and-how-they-haunt-milwaukee-today/

Currently, I am furious that a huge chunk of what was in my white grade school and high school history books was biased, unbalanced, revisionist propaganda written to purposely divide by race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or disability. I am certain that there are other agents of division I missed but you get the point…right? History is written by the winners no matter how they achieved that status. Be it by theft, coercion, excessive force or editing. It’s the real FAKE NEWS.

REAL…fake news. Take that in for a moment. It isn’t the moronic bullshit, the twisted, spun and manipulative gas-lighting vomit broadcast via Twitter or Fox News. It isn’t the bizarre, braying jackass sound bites from unprepared press conferences or the never ending ego trips masquerading as campaign rallies. You mean nothing to the talking orange head. Your life experiences, trials and tribulations and worries don’t even register a blip on that schizophrenic radar. You get that, right?

I simply cannot believe that people just wake up one day deciding to be arrogant, insolent, heartless assholes. Something happened along the way. Someone, or a group of someones, taught them how to behave as if their particular hue is the best hue, their particular worldview is the best, most perfect, most tremendous one of all time. It has the highest ratings, the largest following and they will DOMINATE the world.

But, here’s the thing about reaching the top of the heap…getting there isn’t the true goal, staying there is.

And, if you continually get to the top on the backs of those people, never allowing them to SHARE the space with you, then to what lengths will you go to stay on top?

You don’t fear those you stand on. You fear retribution for the transgressions you and your ancestors committed while on the continuous journey to the top. THAT is the legacy of this country. Simply admitting it isn’t culpability, it’s true freedom. Cutting loose the “company” that no longer reflects positively on you isn’t a huge sacrifice. Losing your very life because of deeply ingrained bias and racism is.

Learn the difference.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Farewell to friendship in the age of Trump

Goodbye spirited debate! So long teasing! Forget about it, polite conversation! Take a hike kindness. You’re done! Finished! Finito! Every attempt at online interaction now is fraught with misunderstanding, defensiveness and paranoia. What did you say about me? What did you mean by that?!? You are so naive, ignorant, liberal, conservative, arrogant, brainwashed, deplorable, gullible…on and on and on. You are either one of US or one of THEM!

Wait…what?

Now, to get to the heart of this blog confession; I was recently unfriended and blocked on social media by someone I have known since high school. While this isn’t the first former school chum to unfriend me this one certainly was the most surprising. Now, granted, we haven’t physically seen one another in over 20 years and every attempt I have made to connect, face-to-face, since 1997 has been rebuffed but, I’m confident when I say I tried! I called, texted and messaged, all out of genuine concern for a friend I wanted to keep in my life because I had fond memories of them from a time period when things weren’t as complicated.

We used to be really good friends…once…a long time ago.

Everything is complicated now! And mostly because people make it complicated for themselves.

It all began with a series of half satirical, half personal opinion posts about the Orange Scourge. Then, it involved replies on other friend’s posts and then my own response to said former friend who was clearly trying to either elicit an affirmation of his world view or a negative response to posting a blurb about how those still “fearful” of getting Covid-19 should just stay home while everyone “brave” and “patriotic” goes back to work. This is the same person who would regularly pop into comment feeds with harshly cold comments bereft of empathy and dripping with condescension and then when rebuffed would also try to disengage by saying, “Oh, I guess I don’t understand how social media works”, “I thought we could have a discussion but I guess I was wrong!” But, wait! You claim to be a sort-of Libertarian scholar so don’t you know it ALL? Tell us more Professor! Psst….THAT’S sarcasm by the way.

Yes, yes you do understand how dropping a shitty comment into the middle of friends bantering back and forth will be received. Yes, you do understand that the people you are crap-bombing are all outspoken women who are very adept at expressing their views and who don’t appreciate being talked down to. Yes, you knew this and yet chose to proceed because…you knew exactly what you were doing. The need for attention, whether it’s positive or negative is still with you even after all these years. Such is the way of the perpetual adolescent, demanding attention and then feigning dismay when things take a disturbing turn. Not my fault! Uh, huh…sure. If not yours then whose?

And, so I felt compelled to respond with a truthful statement that indeed, I shall stay home because I am lucky enough to have an employer that values my safety and one who can allow me to work from home. I acknowledge that I am very fortunate and appreciative of how my life has turned out. It seemed to be a benign enough proclamation until other comments involved telling the fearful, in this person’s view, to file for unemployment if they felt too scared to work. Not. That. Simple. For an all knowing Libertarian I’m shocked they don’t realize that if a stay at home order is lifted then the unemployment payments stop. If an employee decides to continue staying home they can either: 1) Burn up their sick and vacation time or: 2) Get fired for being insubordinate if they still refuse to come to work and risk getting or spreading Covid-19. If the second option occurs you can bet that the unemployment benefits process will start all over leaving the “fearful” without money coming in for a period of time combined with the indisputable knowledge that profits are more important than human lives. *Edit: The most likely scenario will be the reasonably concerned employee will balk at returning and the unsympathetic employer will consider that an, “I quit” which equals-no unemployment.

The former friend’s response? “Well, YOU just stay home and you’ll be safe…” Is there a sarcasm font? No? You’ll just have to read that in your best sarcastic and dismissive tone. You understand what sarcasm sounds like right? Some are confused as to what that is apparently (cough, cough…Trump) and after receiving a reply that a snotty, privileged Karen would give I read it to really mean, “And…all the rest of us patriots, unafraid of some silly virus and unwilling to give up our freedom (to infect) will move about the world touching and coughing on everything while you stay holed up in fear.”

The actual typed words may seem harmless on the surface but I know this game well. I recognize the short response, the clipped phrasing of impatience and defensive deflection, the bubbling irritation I have gotten so used to. I will pat you on the head with these dismissive words, words I don’t really mean but words I choose in order to belittle and embarrass you online. Words I would never try in person because I’m not good with face-to-face conflict. So brave, right?

Having dealt with many passive-aggressive individuals over the years I clearly recognize that when a rebuttal begins with WELL the resentment tends to run DEEP. I have no idea why this person would feel resentful towards me or toward any other friends so I won’t even hazard a guess. It doesn’t really matter. I simply don’t tolerate this type of childish drama in my life anymore so I’m not hurt by the severing of social media ties. Keeping self-absorbed online nasty comment bombers on my virtual “friend” list has lost it’s appeal and no matter what our history together was it’s now time to let go. I have grown up, they have not and that’s okay. I will not lose any sleep over our ridiculous falling out.

What does concern me, however, is the suspicion that all is not mentally well with my former friend despite denials when pressed via private message. There is something off here, something that doesn’t make sense and even though I have asked if I can be supportive and be of service my assistance is not welcome. I can respect that. Again, I tried so now all I can do is wish them well, hope they are okay and leave them in the past.

Farewell friend! I knew you once but now, I hardly know thee at all.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Welcome to the New Abnormal…

I haven’t felt like writing for over a month. A feeling of doubt over what I was hearing and seeing turned into uncertainty which then turned into anxiety and worry about those I love. How can I protect them? How can I protect myself? I watched some news, tried to work from home, cleaned, checked my food and cleaning products supply and then watched more news, checked social media, looked at the dismissive posts and memes, looked at the doom and gloom posts and memes.

And then, the numbness came.

There is nothing remotely ‘normal’ about current events. We have turned a strange dark corner where we no longer recognize ourselves, loved ones, neighbors or friends as safe and secure…nothing is safe anymore. But, was it ever really safe to begin with or have we just been pretending all these years? Of course we always want to think nothing can happen here! We are so special. The chosen ones! Bullshit, all of it.

Everything is uncertain. COVID-19 outcomes scream frightening uncertainty and, that is terrifying for many. As it should be. This is not the “common flu” so stop calling it that you ignorant assholes! What the hell is the matter with you?

https://www.livescience.com/undetected-infections-coronavirus-widespread.html

Speaking as a formerly suspicious, anti-social Aquarius, someone who defiantly shied away from the hug of a stranger, someone who, rather than having to stop in a store and talk to anyone I knew would spin on a dime to walk the other way, this hasn’t been a struggle. Small talk irritated me and sharing feelings was viewed as a fate worse than death. I didn’t care one bit if I appeared ill-manner or unfriendly because what others could do without hesitation, I experienced great personal pain and anxiety over. If dying from embarrassment was a real thing then I believed it would happen to me.

But, after years of therapy and growth of wisdom through aging, I grew past those inclinations and learned a more personal way to connect with others and a more honest approach to interacting with the world at large. I evolved. Grudgingly at first, but I did it. And, now that progress must be put on hold for the foreseeable future and, I’m cool with that. It could save you and it could save me. And so, I will abide.

However, the thing that I cannot abide with is the blatant misinformation, false hope and lies, huge whopper lies that do nothing but put people in potential danger. Like, lose your life danger. The nonchalant, flippant attitude of those who are so used to lies that they no longer believe the truth even if it comes up and slaps an N95 respirator mask on their face and showers them in hand sanitizer. What will it take? Mass causalities? The loss of someone close to you? But even if that happens will they even realize they’ve been horribly duped? Nah, probably not. Too invested in the con I suppose.

God, what have we become? Where are we going? And, when we arrive at our final destination will we see sunshine or storm clouds in the rear view mirror of our lives? All of this over a virus or, was this comeuppance simply a long time in coming? I wish I knew so I could warn everyone I know because it’s not so much the vehicle that is driving this current panic that we should fear as it is the carnival barkers hawking the continued false narrative of ALL IS WELL! IT’S A HOAX! IT’S NOT THAT BAD! YOU’RE OVERREACTING!

FUCK YOU!

All is not well. It hasn’t been for a long time and if you turn off your televisions, tune out your racist relatives and paranoid former classmates who peaked in high school you just might hear a tune that sounds like crystal clear common sense dancing on the wind. It’s there, slow the hell down, utilize what’s left of your common sense and stop being an irresponsible idiot. It’s not all about YOU! There are other people on this planet you know?

So now, wash your goddamn hands, stay the fuck home and stop buying more shit than you need! Living the life of an asshole is no life at all but endangering the lives of others and taking from those in need is unforgivable. Do better! And to all the arrogant maggots who say things like, “We will all die someday”…eat shit. No one gave you the power to speed up another person’s “someday” just because you want to go to Walmart. Again, and I repeat for the dense pricks in the back…it’s not all about YOU.

STAY THE FUCK HOME!!!

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Winning at all costs!

This is an open letter to all the WINNERS out there.

How’s that going for you? Do you feel morally fortified and emotionally cleansed yet? Have the heavens opened up to embrace your fervent world view as THE ONLY ONE, the absolute correct one and does your ill-treatment of anyone considered “outside” that myopic gaze ring up as justified yet?

Are you EXONERATED in the eyes of the evil masses and proclaimed the supreme WINNER, the #1 with the ultimate authority to exact retribution on those who refused to believe? If so, it is crystal clear now that happy times are not here to stay because they never arrived to begin with.

Winning isn’t always a happy event…

When one person wins another loses. And, it is in that very act of choosing how to behave when victorious that honor, benevolence, humility…whatever word you want to assign here so as not to appear the crowing, insecure, vindictive asshole, that a true leader is formed. I see none of that on display of late from either those who call themselves LEADERS or from those who dare to say they, too, are our partners here in this thing called the human race. We are just like you! But, only if you cheat, steal and lie faster than THOSE PEOPLE!

Well, they are content being around THEIR kind…not the kind that welcomes minorities, uppity women, suspicious foreigners, the accursed educated, those weary of the lies told by the conveniently Christian. Anyone that questions the validity of a sketchy world view, is in fact, demonized with constant deflection while the TRUE BELIEVERS (cult of personality and prosperity followers) are hailed as heroes. Especially when their shared, and highly skewed world view is based on the Grab Everything For Yourself And Fuck Everyone Else philosophy.

Sound about right?

Now, winning is only good and pure and holy if you are of a certain hue. Beige, pink, pale, chalk, light tan, maybe sun-kissed tan, but not too tan. And now, curiously, any shade of cowardly orange. To stand victorious while being any other shade will garner outrage, scorn, cries of deception, wails of HOW DARE THEY! Don’t say that’s inaccurate or try to cover it with the cheap tablecloth of any flimsy whataboutism rebutal or offer examples of “a few that slipped through” the wall of white.

Yes, more people than just white people win, it’s just that everyone else has to run twice as far to get to the finish line and even when they cross their victory is always suspect, forever and ever, amen. It’s a hard truth to accept and an even harder one to voice since I am part of that race but, it is true and it won’t become less true until more of us acknowledge it. A problem cannot be solved until it is acknowledged and once it is knowledge becomes true power.

And, by power I don’t mean the same old, worn out, rich, male, white boots on the backs of everyone else kind. I mean the knowledge of deeply understanding and recognizing the pain caused to our fellow humans, the knowledge of how to help heal the hearts of those who hate, the knowledge that minds can be changed, opinions reshaped and fear can be escorted out the door for good.

Also, if we are still being honest here, isn’t it the fear that we will be usurped, replaced, upended, dislodged or seen as unequal ourselves that continues to push the merry-go-round of misery many of us live on or perpetuate? Be honest. If everyone is allowed to win then who’s top dog? Who’s king, queen, ruler, emperor…superior?

I know the answer. You know the answer too.

In a world of true equals no one needs to be on top, standing on the accomplishments, the hard work, sweat labor or forced compliance of anyone else. We won’t need to because we will be too busy creating, producing, contributing and living life right next to them. We will be satisfied with our place in the world because it won’t depend on the suffering of others to exist. You will do your thing that makes a positive difference in the world, I will do my thing that carves safe passage for everyone around me and so on and so forth. See?

If only that could be true! But, its not and won’t be until the milquetoast of the world stop averting their eyes from reality in order to receive monetary, mental and social compensation for their continued silence on all matters not white. If it isn’t for the betterment of those white, male and rich, pay it no mind. Stay silent, stay behind the scenes, stay unwilling to get involved because, yeah, that will sure make a good character case for you on judgement day won’t it? I don’t believe in this set Day of Judgment thing because some people are pretty good at being judge, jury and executioner right here and right now but here’s a cute dialogue that just popped into my head below.

God (or whatever you believe or don’t): Why did you just stand by and let all of these horrible things happen to your fellow humans?

Milquetoast: I was told it wasn’t my problem so I shouldn’t get involved.

God: Okay, but didn’t you know you had the ability to affect change and that the best way to create that change was to simply use your voice to call out injustice as you saw it happening?

Milquetoast: But, but…the others would have yelled at me! They would have threatened me and tried to hurt me!

God: By others you mean those the same skin tone as you correct?

Milquetoast: Of course!

God: So, they would have treated you the same way they treated everyone else different from them? You didn’t speak up because you feared retribution or a similar harm that those you chose to ignore received?

Milquetoast: Yes. I have a God-given right to protect myself!

God: Come again? I gave you what now? Nope, not me. I’m not here to GIVE you anything. You are here to give to one another so when you take from others you, ironically, take from yourself. So…because of that there’s nothing left of you that’s good, kind or pure.

Milquetoast: WHAT! But, I’m white! That’s gotta count for something!

God: What part of love one another did you not understand?

Get it together people! We are dying a slow, painful death from utter stupidity and willful complacency. All is not well and no one group wins all the time…just wait. History is littered with the tales of winners turning into utter losers, like losing by death type losers. Was the hollow victory worth it for them? Maybe, in the moment, but when Oprah (or Chaucer or Mutual of Omaha) jumped out with a sharp Aha Moment sword everything became clear.

Don’t get Aha’d like that. It’s going to hurt.

Oh, and Google the Oprah/Chaucer/Mutual of Omaha obscure reference. I’m too tired to explain.

© 2020 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.