Small town trash…

Trash. It’s what I was called growing up in a tiny town full of judgmental folks who, as it turns out, were just better at hiding their own dirty laundry than my dysfunctional family was. Everyone had their secrets, their failures, their shame inducing moments. This is going to be about just that; the purposeful degradation of others in order to hide or deflect our own personal foibles, if you will.

I’m going in deep so hang on to your hats!

When I was around 8 years old we moved from the state I was born in to a much more rural area in another state. I don’t see any sense in naming this town or state because it’s the people who created the atmosphere of gossipy backstabbing and constant belittlement not the locale. And, it was these people who made living in this small town feel “not quite right” for me. Well, they shared in it, but weren’t the sole reason. We weren’t a healthy family unit to begin with and I’m certain they could sense it, like hungry sharks can sense chum churning in the ocean just waiting for a chance to gobble it up!

They circled our inner turmoil with delight and picked and picked and picked until all of our previous wounds burst open again. It’s hard to recover when there is always another predator waiting in the shadows to partake in the bountiful bucket of YUCK that was our family. And, yes we’ve all heard the saying that only hurt people hurt people and that was true in our case but, it still felt very personal and very vindictive. Was it just my imagination? Was I overthinking the situation? Maybe, but these “hurt people” seemed to enjoy the heaping of scorn and the stabbing of backs and the not so whispered gossip that was clearly intended to get back to us. “Oh, you heard that? I was just kidding. Don’t be so sensitive!”

The utter misfortune of moving from one emotionally precarious situation to another, and then another and then another was a big part of my childhood. My family moved around a lot and I recall going to kindergarten in two different states before being moved further south a year later. Multiple different houses, different towns, moving one state over and then back to where I was born, only to up and move on to another state entirely. No wonder I never felt like I belonged anywhere. To this day, if asked where I grew up, I’m not sure what to say. Do you mean the place I’ve lived the longest or the place I learned adults can be very cruel and they can’t be trusted when they say, “this is for your own good”?

My very first encounter with the local folks came not long after we arrived. It started with a sneering look cast my way by a woman at the church my father chose for us. He chose many different churches but this one seemed to fit the bill for him in that it looked the other way on the issues of domestic violence and child abuse, two things the man didn’t believe existed so it was a virtual match made in hell for us. We were told we had to attend every time their doors were open, no matter what and if we were caught misbehaving then a beating, physical or verbal, would await us at home. Every Sunday and Wednesday were met with deep dread and even our summers became consumed with church camp, when some of the good church folk took pity on me and paid my way, or “vacation” bible school. If all of our time was eaten up by talk of sinning and how God would punish us then there wouldn’t be anytime for fun! Fun is for the rich and church was for people like us, I was told. A training ground to prepare for our “great reward” which, I quickly found wasn’t so great and involved more punishment than actual reward.

So, back to this sneering woman; I recall her face very vividly, her gaze of searing judgment, the pursed lips, the perfectly coifed hair and stylish clothes. She was looking at me as if I were a steaming bag of garbage she didn’t want obstructing her rose-colored view and her crinkled nose indicated she feared breathing the air around me. I could never compare to the utter angels she birthed so I was dismissed as being beneath her and those perfect offspring. At that point I knew I would never be friends with any of the other children in that church. Oh, we would talk and pretend to get along but I wouldn’t be invited for sleepovers or birthday parties. I wasn’t one of them and I would never be good enough. So much for those loudly proclaimed Christian values and ideals. They only applied to those of a certain socio-economic standing, those born into the correct families and not interlopers who dared cross the tracks into their fair town, filled with idyllic 1950’s, all-white, male dominated nostalgia. You know, from the GOOD OLD DAYS!

And, who exactly were they GOOD for again? Not me. Not my female family members who were subjected to the bible-backed adage that “boys will be boys”, men are in charge and women have no say, no power, no worth. In looking back, everything added up to a pretty bleak outcome for those labeled meek and female. As for myself, I was far from meek. In fact, I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut, especially in situations where I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t matter if it was the brother of a friend, the son of another church member, a male teacher or even a male member of my own family. If I felt I was being treated unfairly or expected to quietly endure personal insults, I would try to get at least a few words in before being shut down by withering castigations or, in the case of my father, a fist. It was worth it though. I knew they would never be right.

Of course, as with any tale of woe involving tiny towns with emotionally stunted, petty people there are always the “exceptions to the perception” and I have the great pleasure of still being in contact with a few of those gems. No clan mentality for them, no strict adherence to small town pride and being loyal to your own kind. Own kind? Was it just the color of skin or how and who they prayed to? No, that wasn’t it completely because they made a few, on the surface, accommodations for the very few minorities in town but, I would suspect that if they had been poor their happy song of inclusion would have sounded much different. Just a hunch. Was it the similarity in size of their bank accounts? Again, not entirely because sometimes the HAVES extended a hand to a few who didn’t HAVE AS MUCH but, the cavate was looks. As in, “she’s pretty so we’ll let her on the team”, until they used her up, tore her down and then trashed her reputation that is. No, it seemed the kind they were referencing was more of a homogenized jug of lukewarm milk, devoid of any flavor, culture, imagination, humility, empathy or compassion. Just straight hatefulness chased with a side of bitter vindictive spite. Followers, the whole lot of them. Stuck in a box labeled NEVER CHANGE-NEVER PROGRESS.

I was neither jealous of the small town ruling class nor did I feel sorry for those still stuck there after getting married young, divorced, remarried, and then divorced again. Despite the assumptions that may be made about what I am describing here, I simply wanted out, I never wanted to be them. I had no desire to take their spot on top of the dog-eat-dog heap and while I may not have gotten as far away as I wanted, in my heart I know I’m insulated from any reprisals. Let them come though, if they want. I’m ready, as always. And, that’s the thing, I actually was pretty adept at dealing with judgement and criticism because I faced it daily in my childhood.

Yes, the insults they reserved for me; troublemaker, thief, white-trash, dirt poor, stuck-up, whatever made-up nonsense that came to their narrow little minds, stung and made me want to lash out. But, I bided my time instead. I smirked at their attempts to put me in the low place they felt I belonged, laughed out loud and kept on moving. It was my defense mechanism and I think that might have pissed off more than a few. I know that many in that town readily described my father as a know-it-all asshole so, maybe I should thank him for that? He did teach me how to really agitate the feudal class of that rural fiefdom. The only difference is that I made sure my “knowledge” was accurate rather than the unsubstantiated bloviated ramblings of arrogance. That man possessed enough hot air to power a dirigible all the way to Australia and back! Ask around, I’m not exaggerating.

Anyway, here we are at a point in time when we are no longer as young as we used to be and yet, not as old as we could be or, as Paul Simon would say:

Now the years are rolling by me—
They are rockin’ evenly.
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I’ll be.

“The Boxer”
(1969) Simon & Garfunkel

I have moved on from my childhood but, many from my youth have not and they remain trapped. Some have passed away entirely too young, having lived their lives on the edge, either by way of drugs and alcohol or they suffered the potential physical ramifications that go along with following such a dark path. Some fought debilitating health issues bravely only to have those diseases win. And then there are others who ventured out and traveled well beyond the borders of town, state and country. These wonderful few have experienced the immense joy and satisfaction that comes from living in the moment rather than wallowing in the shadows of the past. I see all of their purported moments of happiness on social media, some may be exaggerated, that I know, but for the most part I can tell which have grown up and which have stagnated.

To even think that life was better back then is so ridiculous to me because finally letting go of caring what others thought has been the healthiest aspect of my adult life. It took me a long time but, I’m now at peace and all of the hurtful interactions get lumped into a category of petty things insecure people did that no longer matter. None of those early negative influences have any power over me now. Not the woman from my parent’s church, not the parents of one of my former friend’s who regularly called me and my family those people because we weren’t from there and were poor. Not the big-eyed, red-headed little girl who actually did invite me over for sleepovers for a while only to drop me like a scalding rock as soon as the connected and popular girls started taking notice of her. It always started out good, let’s be friends forever…but only until someone better comes along. She was new to town just like I had been a few years before but her desire to status climb was greater than mine so I couldn’t keep up.

Many years later I received a Facebook friend request from her. Our first conversation involved her apologizing to me for spitting water in my face on the last day of school when we were in 8th grade. I had forgotten all about it until she brought it up but then I started really thinking about it. I wanted to ask if she did it because she knew she could get away with doing something potentially humiliating to someone like me who was unseen, poor and unpopular or did she do it simply because that was her true nature? To be cruel simply to gain additional clout with the popular girls?

I accepted her friend request and we commented back and forth on pictures and posts for a while but then, after she scoured my connections for the people she really wanted to reconnect with I was unfriended, again. Thinking this was simply a mistake, because we were now adults, I reached out and sent a new friend request myself. We repeated the same pattern as before, commented here and there and then I was banished yet again! I finally got the answer to my earlier question. I won’t be sending another request.

Nope!

Some things, and people never change but I have changed a great deal, with the help of a lot of hard, personal introspection and therapy. I own that and will announce it every chance I get. I remain a considerate person, a good friend for those who need one but also a determined woman who refuses to diminish her enthusiasm and passion for certain causes in order to keep from ruffling the feathers of the unchanging throng. That may be where my past and present collided but, I can’t turn my volume down and I shouldn’t have to. Having something so banal and juvenile happen as an adult, like being deleted as a “friend” on social media just makes me scratch my head, express a momentary feeling of annoyance but then keep on moving forward.

I will still wonder about her from time to time though. Is she really happy? Do her comments on mutual friends posts really ring true? I wish her well and hold no grudge because, after all, we don’t really know one another. We are grown women who have been apart for over 30 years. That’s a whole character on Friends, or like a 1991 Honda Accord, big red bow attached, as a present for completing college on-time. In other words, and aside from my clumsy attempt at humor over how old we are…it was a lifetime ago. The cuteness has faded and the power steering no longer works.

And, isn’t the real point here to not respond at all? To not waste precious time? That small town and the small-minded people in it, connected to it and, impacted by the experience of having lived there are all just a small drop in the larger ocean that is the world. It’s okay for me to let them think they have bested me because I know otherwise and can just smile and nod should I ever see them again. Or not, it won’t change a thing for me or them. No engagement, no catching up because I already know where they are and what they have been doing since I was last in their presence. But, they have no idea what I’ve been doing and that, right there, is my power. If they had stayed in my life and were an actual part of my sorrows and joys then maybe, just maybe, they would be allowed to know me. I have never been one to tell all and have been accused of being vague and secretive but I choose to call it self preservation and the wise conservation of personal energy. It keeps me true to who I am and who I want to remain going forward. I won’t play for the crowd no matter how lucrative the pay is.

It is in that exact sentiment that I realize I never was “trash”, I never was less than or deserving of being ostracized. I told myself this many times and then forgot about it. Life moved on, tragedies occurred, joyful memories were made and the past dimed in the rearview mirror. Now, I have time to think about it more and believe their calling others names was a fumbling attempt at coping and I feel sorrow for the ones left behind, the ones still holding onto edited teenage glory that really wasn’t all that glorious to begin with. The good old days were never all good, they are just old and in need of a better view. An updated perspective coming from the eyes of an adult who has experienced life outside of that carefully curated and decisively biased bubble. That wasn’t real life, that was nostalgia brushing back your hair to wipe your tears and say, “There, there little one. The world is a scary place so just stay here with me and you’ll feel better.”

Staying stuck does not make anyone feel better. It just keeps you stuck. Come out into the sunshine and take a deep breath. Take in the scenery, the people, the exotic cuisine. I’ve been here for decades and can attest to the fact that being an adult is liberating. It’s not scary in the least. I promise.

© 2021-2022 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.

It was the unintentional emotional withdrawal for me…

The past 12 months have been an somber pit of nothingness. Dark moments punctuated by occasional bursts of energy that are quickly extinguished by the knowledge that the world is filled with festering human sores, intent on infecting everyone and everything. Beauty replaced by ugliness, the fire of happiness and joy instantly put out by the pissing and moaning masses who have been sucked in by lies, misinformation and internalized nastiness. This world is incessantly exhausting and…utterly disappointing yet, we trudge on, one reluctant foot in front of the other.

I truly admire motivated people and, occasionally, I research their advice for success and say, “Yeah! I want to be like that!” And then, I look around and see all of the thousands of things I need to accomplish, groan and just sink back into my chair, wasting precious time scrolling through TikTok videos and searching things like, “How to access my Akashic record” and, “Why do I belch like a wild beast after drinking Topo Chico?” You know, the important stuff. It could be Covid fatigue or depression or even adult ADHD, because I have a long history of jumping from one thought to another, making wild plans only to see them crumpled up in the corner of a closet, packed to the brim, in the back of my imagination. The idea factory between my ears is still up and running but the distribution center has been closed for over a year.

The main takeaway from that is….at least I can still dream up wild ideas. It’s the implementation that needs work.

And so, because of my current apathy, I haven’t really written anything of merit since January. I simply lost the will to come up with pithy prose and, if I’m being completely honest, I just don’t feel like sharing my life, my memories and my hard earned wisdom with people anymore. Why should I? Each request for input is now met with suspicion because the maliciously ignorant are huffing and puffing around every corner waiting for the chance to spray their troll shit all over, ruining a good joke and an even better bit of satirical therapy. I used to share because it was cathartic for me but, it was also an attempt to save others from making the same mistakes I made. Now, I don’t care as much, if I ever really did at all and the unsolicited opinions of strangers mean even less to me but, now, this time in space does feel different. It’s hard to explain but, the air in this social media reliant world feels thicker and harder to breathe yet, also much easier to stop trying to exist in such inhospitable environs.

The shit is indeed getting deeper and deeper and my patience is growing shorter and shorter. Even more so than before so now, I spend my time painting weird shit, talking to my plants, dancing in my kitchen to music I know no one else likes and generally feeling pretty great about being exactly who I am supposed to be. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but, you know what? I didn’t offer to make any damn tea for those who aren’t me so take that unsolicited opinion you’re itching to share, roll it tight and deposit it straight up your angry ass! I have no time for you. I’ve got oddities to create and clouds to gaze at endlessly while I swing in my hammock. That’s my release, my zen, my everything that doesn’t have to include anyone else unless I so choose. Easy. No worries. No stress. NO FUCKING DRAMA.

Also, I have come to the harsh realization that the people I once knew, like former classmates, coworkers, friends, neighbors, most family members…well, I just don’t like them very much anymore. I probably never liked them to begin but just pretended to out of some warped obligation that I hung on to for nostalgia’s sake. My daughter would scoff at this and say, “Mom, you’ve never really liked people,” but I know that I did my best to test that theory these past few years; looking for the good, slogging through the trash in hopes of finding commonality somewhere, anywhere. I was reaching out, wanting to connect in a meaningful way, more so than in the past and, I felt the effort and exertion on my part but nothing of a reciprocal response came back which made the cutting of ties much easier. The personality quirks and characteristics I once overlooked, falsely describing them as “charming”, I now find repulsive, arrogant and tedious. People have literally out-peopled themselves, gone and exposed their asses to the whole world, forever branding themselves sociopaths, racists, homophones, xenophobes, sexist, fascist and just generally vile, all while wearing a proud as punch, shit-eating grin from ear to ear. Assholes, the whole lot of them.

There! I said the obvious part out loud.

It felt good.

I don’t care if it angers anyone.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I stopped being so concerned about how I possibly impacted others. I never went out of my way to influence anyone, I merely stated how I felt, nothing more. And, for many years I was harshly assured that my thoughts didn’t matter at all and no one cared but obviously some of them did or I wouldn’t have received such backlash for saying the ugly parts out loud, for refusing to be silent. Good, bad, indifferent, none of it matters anymore because the reactions of others are just that, theirs and are of no consequence to me anymore. I will lose no sleep at night fretting over whether or not I should be gentler, nicer or less honest with my words. The candy coating no longer sticks and if I have zero control over how those words are perceived then why dress them up? It never mattered how hard I worked to make my words palatable for the masses anyway because someone ALWAYS found a reason to be offended. It was never about me anyway. It was always about them.

Fuck ’em!

I’m not here to soften the blows, I’m just here to say my peace and then keep on moving. It really makes the most sense because wasting time pondering and ruminating over trivial shit never got anyone any place positive now did it? So why keep doing the same thing over and over only to come back around to that nauseatingly familiar place of nasty unfinished emotional business? It’s not going to change just because you say it should. Put some grit into it! Get that business finished and be done with it once and for all, never looking back, never taking the time to get acquainted with regret.

I regret nothing.

I don’t have time for regret anymore.

I’m too busy living.

© 2021-2022 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.

After all the words that hurt where are the words that heal?

Words have power and intent matters. The things we say can illicit beautiful and positive emotional responses but, they can also incite violence, hatred and destruction. Words have the strength to motivate, to move hearts and they can, in some instances, change minds. Some say what they think others want to hear, some say nothing in order to avoid confrontation and then, there are those who say whatever the hell they feel like, consequences be damned.

It’s clear that very few minds are changing. Those who felt something is, and always has been, wrong with this country aren’t changing their minds and, those who want the balance of power to tilt firmly and homogeneously, back to the status quo certainly have no intention of changing either. What I see as utter disgusting lunacy comes across as perfectly logical to, in the wise words of REM’s Michael Stipe, “followers of chaos out of control.” Inciting a mob to violence while standing back to watch your handiwork on television is VILE. Not only is it just that but it’s also illegal. This is not normal, this is not okay. We are broken.

Why can’t everyone see the danger we are in?

Because, to some this is exactly what they were hoping for.

I am not afraid to use my words to call out injustice, bigotry, propaganda and blatant LIES. You. Are. Lying! Long ago, I stopped feeling shocked when I heard or read utterly outrageous falsehoods because I quickly grew to understand that those who lie do so for a distinct reason. It’s not without purpose. It’s not, “just because” they can get away with it. The main reason, in my mind, is to cause disorientation brought on by the intense initial outrage. If they can tire the honest, logical and empathetic just enough to create a momentary pause, a window for ill-intent to creep in then they can get away with anything. And, they are. It’s disgusting.

The death of trust is happening now…

Here is where I take a moment to pose a question to the chaos creators; what is it about helping others that you find so abhorrent? I know it isn’t the bullshit argument that, “my tax dollars shouldn’t go towards giving a handout to people too lazy to work,” or the worn out tome, “Socialism is evil”. You are a broken record. None of your dire predictions of doom have or ever will come true but, the part where you are literally willing to overthrow your own government in order to hang onto the limited power afforded simply because of the hue of your skin and your male identity has. Again, it’s disgusting yet, predictable. We knew you would cling tightly to the past, a past that only favored you and your ilk. A past that made good work of trampling anyone exhibiting the determination to create change because, after all, change is exactly what you fear the most.

Change is your kryptonite and, it’s also quite amusing that I’m using a completely fictional substance to describe your true weakness. You are growing weaker by the minute and more desperate, judging by the actions taken on January 6, 2021 so, how will your ultimate downfall occur? Will we all get to watch it on TV or will you just slink back into the shadows to plot the next coup attempt? With a diet comprised of hatred, envy and fear it’s only a matter of time before vital organs shut down and it appears that process has begun given the loose grasp on reality and increasing cognitive impairment. Your belief that you are somehow smarter, stronger and more resilient than those you rage against is an illusion you apparently find great difficulty reconciling with.

Fighting words don’t taste very good do they?

I have written about the absurd notion that those of a more “liberal” mindset are expected to, nay, are duty bound to forgive and forget and be tolerant towards even the most rabid followers of chaos out of control. That’s a big NOPE for me. I am not a fool. And then, the self-proclaimed opposition sneers, “I thought liberals were supposed to be so tolerant! You’re not being tolerant towards me!” To that I reply, who told you I was a liberal and, you really don’t understand the meaning of that word do you? Liberal? Do you mean the Latin word liber (meaning “free”),  or do you mean liberalis, which means “of or constituting liberal arts, of freedom, of a freedman,” which is it? Personally, I believe you mean this: “I can do whatever I want against you or say whatever I want about you and you just have to sit there and take it because I said so!” Again, big NOPE.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/liberal-meaning-origin-history

Getting back to the title of this piece, where are the words that heal? I suppose the best question to ask now is, who needs the most healing? Is it the perpetually marginalized groups in this country or is it the segment that harbors the most animus towards everyone not like them? Ironically enough, those the rage-filled continually strike out against learned long ago how to fortify themselves against unending oppression so, who’s figured out life better? Quick answer, not you! And by healing I mean self-reflection, personal growth, deprogramming and, ultimately re-humanization because I see this part of the population as the most damaged by their own hand, heart and mind. The ravages of life-long putrid hate makes these pitiful patriots almost unrecognizable as any type of former friend when FOE is most consistently written on their name tags. Today, knowing ones enemy has became exponentially easier while also simultaneously mind numbing.

Is this the future you want for yourselves?

I ask because I’ve grown weary of your self-indulgent circle jerk, chock full of worn out excuses.

Shhh…it’s time to learn a new way of existing with purpose rather than just taking up space in the universe. It’s okay, we can help you but there is a caveat; if we help and still get stabbed in the back well, don’t take it too personally when the door is closed on you permanently. It’s the long-time in coming reward you will have justly deserved.

© 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.

An open letter to MAGA, closet white supremacists, Proud Boys and any other divisive actor responsible for the events of January 6, 2021

Thank you.

Wait, what?

I said, thank you.

But…why?

Over the course of the past 6 years I have witnessed the rapid decline of America’s love affair with Democracy, ethics and truth. No, it wasn’t actually a love affair at all, it was more like a fairytale in which certain actors portrayed “patriots” while never truly believing in the constitution they claimed to uphold. The stacked actors never intended to be ethical, fair or honest. Liberty and justice for all, to them, really means double standards will apply. And, it also means that white Americans get a wink and a nod as they are being waved through security gates at the Capitol building in Washington D.C., while BLM protesters are met with tear gas, flash grenades, baton strikes to the head and a litany of felony charges. It’s glaringly obvious yet, nearly half of the American population insists on playing a rousing game of “What if” while also juggling multiple “Yeah, but” scenarios that aren’t even based in reality but are instead the product of propaganda and conspiracy.

Yeah, but…uh, NO!

For this I say, thank you! I am grateful that you have chosen to come out into the light. I am relieved to know that I can finally identify who is an ally and who is a complicit co-conspirator. I now know who to do business with, who to support and who to deny oxygen for their rants and hatred fueled bile. You get no more of my time and you certainly get no more second chances. You won the prize for being awful. Wear it proudly because you earned it heartily when you posed for a candid shot in the Capitol rotunda holding your “war” prizes. Be proud of who you really are. Sing the praises of your true god, the god of greed, envy, sloth and ignorance. Let that be your swan song.

When I say thank you to the horribly misguided masses I do so earnestly. I like knowing where I stand with people, just as I like letting everyone know exactly where they stand with me. Simplicity at its best and brutal honesty in its rawest form. Rip off the coddled Band-Aid and feel the pain. It’s nowhere near the pain they have caused during this ridiculous reign of deluded terror but, it’s a tiny start. To finally be able to see themselves through the lens of the world, through the eyes of the horrified bystanders watching in stunned disbelief, that would be a blessing indeed! But, it won’t happen. They are too far gone. I accept that and, I was also not surprised one bit about the outcome. It’s a disappointing feeling being right about this. I feel no joy, only sorrow over all that we have lost.

So, wear your hats and wave your idol worshiping flags for they will act as a beacon warning logical, reasonable, kind and loving citizens to grant you a chasm-sized berth. You have chosen this path so walk it to the end of the plank with all the false bravado you can muster. The world will still be watching. You are the new “reality” show and the ones you have marked ENEMY will go about their lives, confident in the knowledge that the spotlight will never leave your faces. No more covert ops. No more secret signs, websites or hiding places. You made it baby! Welcome to the show! Accept your scarlet letter with PRIDE and know, always know, you did this to yourselves.

© 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.

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 “Yeah, 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.

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.

The story of how. The story of why. The story of me.

Typically, I live by the Never Say Never principle but…here are some very critical exceptions:

Never apologize for being who you are.

Never allow someone else to write the story of your life.

Never allow people who continually say hurtful things about you to remain in your orbit.

No one knows the how and why of you…but you. Oh, people may insinuate that they KNOW you and get where you are coming from but unless they inhabit your head-space (if they do then call an exorcist immediately) they have absolutely no fucking idea what they are talking about. You are YOU and they are THEY. Never the twain shall meet.

Unless, of course you want to meet in the middle of the world divide. To come together and talk it out, learning from one another, benefiting from each others wisdom of ages, or compiled mistakes as it were. Whatever gets the job done. Whatever bonds or irrevocably breaks. It’s truly a crap shoot anymore.

Meeting people where they currently mentally and emotionally reside is a tricky proposition. Each day begins with new YOU’RE EITHER ONE OF US OR ONE OF THEM blasts, so much so that I take a hard look at people I was once acquainted with and realize I have grown to dislike what they’ve become. I wonder how I missed the vindictive, paranoid, insecure traits but, then I remember that I knew them as a child or a teenager. My experience of them was merely surface knowledge; I only saw the picture but did not read the book.

Now, in turning each page I recoil. How did such hate grown within the souls of these former pals, buddies, co-workers, classmates, lovers and family members even? The virus of misinformation, the infection or Stockholming, if you will, of people you once were quite fond of creates great pause and a suspicion that the signs were always there, you just missed them. The romanticized dream of the past is finally dead. There will be no resurrection.

Moving on is never easy but, flipping through social media rants, propaganda posts and bile-filled diatribes designed to throw barbs at anyone not in-line with the “party view” removes any guilt when formerly hesitant fingers finally hit the UNFRIEND, BLOCK and BAN buttons. It’s not the same as releasing a guillotine though, sometimes the head keeps talking, posting, tweeting. In those instances the best advice is to walk away with the certainty that those souls are irrevocably lost, forever doomed to wander the land of gaslight and chem-trail fed conspiracies. Khodahafez. Bedrood. Paka Paka. Adios and goodbye! Sigh of relief and close the door.

How did we get here? Many ask this without admitting they, in fact, do not really care. In my estimation I see it as someone pretending to be concerned about the current state of affairs while wringing their hands in calculating glee behind their backs at the chaos brewing outside. Oh, no! How did this happen? Here, drink this poison. It will make you feel better…well, it will make ME feel better. You? Not so much. Do I really care? {Fingers entwine behind back}…sure, sure I care. No, no they don’t.

So, in the spirit of the Never Say Never ballad, yes, believe in it in theory but, in practice…watch your back. Daggers can and will be thrown from all directions. Never forget that.

© 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.

I hate to burst your bubble…

Well, no, I don’t hate it. It’s inevitable and needed and the most positive aspect of being alive. Living in a homogenized bubble, filled with bias, myth, misinformation and ignorance of those unlike ourselves is a misery of our own making. And, proudly displaying prejudice and smug judgment are not good qualities. They just aren’t and never will be. Ever.

I am not like you and you are not like me and that’s a good thing. Do you hear that? Shall I turn this post up? Your life experiences intrigue me enough to prompt a discussion about how and why you believe the way you do yet, for some inexplicable reason, you don’t want to know the how and why of me. How come? You’re too good to learn new things?

Bubbles form, float and then explode. They were never meant to exist forever so why do some people cling to their need to stay in an “unlearning” environment? Barking on and on about snowflakes and safe space demanding wimps while also grousing about failed relationships and financial hardships. These are also things snowflakes and wimps deal with but, hey, why focus on similarities?

When the inflexible name callers refuse to entertain the idea that people vastly different from them deserve the exact same rights they, themselves, take for granted it says more about their character than the people they are fearfully attacking. It’s their way or get out of America for they have appointed themselves the judge of what Americans should be. Who said only one race, one sex, one religion should reap the rewards of social acceptability, personal freedom and success in life?

Who? I think it’s pretty obvious that the top white dog always makes sure they get the bone and everyone else can just lump it. To refuse to see that and only moan about reverse discrimination or every other nonsensical Whataboutism the tragically incurious vomit up is pure poison. It is the absolute definition of a life shortchanged, an opportunity to grow misused and outright lost.

But, do they even want to grow? Maybe not. Are they so afraid to step outside of their beige bubble because they just might find out they don’t know it all, their beliefs aren’t all correct and they are actually the greedy grabbers getting all the good stuff simply because of how they look. Bastards! Taking everything for themselves and leaving nothing for anyone else!

Me??? I’m not entitled!! How dare you!

If you are offended by being called a greedy grabber who demands everything for yourself because of the long held belief that you and those like you “deserve” the American dream more than “those people” then, good! What you are actually feeling is guilt not righteous indignation so learn from it. Guilt, after all, is a sign that something in your soul knows making derogatory statements about others doesn’t prove you are better than they are, it only proves you live in fear of retribution. It proves that you are small-minded and insecure. It also proves that hope still exists.

Tearing down those we fear doesn’t build anyone up nor does it create power. It literally activates paranoia and suspicion, the very stuff that slowly kills us from the inside out. I fear you, you fear me and eventually no one talks anymore because, god, humans are scary and learning to communicate honestly and effectively is a lost art. And, why should we talk to each other when posting false propaganda online is so much more fun? Right? No, it’s wrong. Period. Keep it up and it won’t make much difference because, you and the other soon to be extinct divisive dinosaurs will be gone. Guess who will take your place? People willing to evolve, people willing to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of their ancestors. Crazy, right? It’s already happening.

So, before you wax nostalgic about the “good old days” when everyone stayed in their own segregated bubbles, no one challenged your bullshit and everyone just nodded in fake agreement so your fragile ego didn’t get shattered…stop and look in the mirror. Does the person you see still resemble the child you once were? The child who only wanted someone, anyone to play with and didn’t care what they looked like, what their religion was, what genitals they had, what gender they felt like inside, who they loved or what their socioeconomic status was…none of it mattered.

Just in case you need a refresher…and, yes, I’m being an over-educated snot here. Why? Because I can and it’s fun!

The DIFFERENCES did not matter! Can you hear that? Do you remember when it didn’t matter to you or…are you too caught up in the great War of Words? The Keyboard Warrior Challenge? The Comrade’s Crafty Psychological Experiment? The Their Facts Aren’t My Facts Fight? I could go on and on because so much of the shit both “sides” lob at one another has been manufactured and force fed to unwitting dupes looking for anything that might help them regain their tenuous grasp on both reality and a perceived place of acceptance and power. Remember, each time you toss crap the odds of getting poop back-splash are pretty good.

© 2019-2020 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.