Sunday, December 16, 2012


I didn’t realize that when I wrote this piece that there would be a part 2. Aaron responded to my 1st post and that spurred further thought. So here we are; I want to quote him:

“I hope this will get people to become more proactive and realize that so much was lost yesterday in innocence. The young man that did the senseless tragedy is responsible. All of the events make me question a world gone mad. A world where we teach our young boys not to cry or feel emotion. We show them examples through the media of other men that are bumbling idiots or uncaring fathers. Young men are unprepared for the perils of the world and they don't know how to get help when they need it because we are teaching them to "be a man." In my opinion, a man is a person that is not afraid to ask for help or too prideful. I will continue to blog and hopefully show the world that boys and men need positive role models and maybe I can make a difference.” -- Aaron Brinker, dadblunders

That is the heart of the matter right there, I believe. Boys are taught to be “men” and not show their feelings. They bottle up their emotions. I recognize this, because I was raised this way, by my mother, not my father, perverse as that sounds. My mother accused my father of being “weak,” when he shed tears, yet she was the one with the psychosis, as am I. To my detriment, I do not cry easily.

In general, when tragedy strikes or we deal with injustices, we turn to humor to use as a bulwark against the pain. In the case of the killings of Americans in Libya and the subsequent furor over the extremely provocative “Muslim Rage” cover in Newsweek, which was completely tasteless, Muslims and non-Muslims, like me, hung out at #muslimrage to make fun on Twitter. “#muslimrage “I hate when the hummis goes off.” It became ecumenical: #catholicrage “when the priest drinks all the sacramental wine.”

Humor is wonderful as a balm and to diffuse even the biggest blowhards, but it can’t bring back the dead, nor heal the broken-hearted. What we are left with is often a sense of bewilderment and helplessness. For someone like me, I understand all too well, how the heart of darkness can intrude.

I have written before of my mother’s mental illness. She was raised by people who were incapable of raising healthy children and should never had had any. The fact that the youngest son of 3 is relatively healthy, but clueless is more a testament to my mother’s care and protection of him as a child, than any actual raising done by his parents, my maternal grandparents.

My mother suffered as a child; much of it, she wouldn’t speak of. Suffice it to say that my childhood was pretty awful, and though when she died our relastionship was mended and I loved her dearly, it has taken me 57 years to gain the insight I’ve garnered. This is no one’s fault. Insight and growing is arduous and change really, never stops.

Anyway, I was a lousy girl-child. More a boy-child in thought and temperament. I was taught to fight back and make bullies pay and pay hard, although my mother bullied me ferociously into adulthood. My father, being the mellow soul, watched over me to make sure I came to no real physical harm. He too, was a victim of emotional bullying from her, but was staying in the marriage I believe, until I was grown.

She left him when I took off for music school. To say that I have Asperger  syndrome (note: at the time this was written, ABC News has helpfully highlighted the fact that there is NO link between violence and Asperger. I thought I was just socially inept all these years...) and do not relate well with people is to put it mildly. After a series of disastrous relationships, broken marriages, drug and alcohol problems, homelessness and ill health, Parkinson’s Disease, or non-Parkinson’s-Disease-that-is-the-question, bipolar, mental illness, psychosis, but perversely, great careers, I’ve finally figured out that I’m not the person my mother wanted me to be.

Gee, what a shock. So, I hate when I start on one topic and it ends up here. But, in explaining all of this, I’m also telling you, that there is something in me, that lurks. That is very dark, indeed. I try to keep it tamped down. It is “impulse.” It roars up, like a lava flow. It tends to come out at the oddest moments. It engulfs like a hot wave and it does, indeed fill my limbs with heat and light. I feel it when something good is about to happen and when I witness the bad. It is something atavistic and it scared me, at first.

It feels about like this looks. For real.

"Angel" is about a vampire who was given a soul and spends his time trying to find redemption and forgiveness for all the wrong he has done over centuries. I can relate, and identify somewhat with both sides of his character, and also how quickly he shifts from the light to the dark. Maybe we all walk that tightrope carefully. JC always says to me when I leave, "Be nice," and in the main, I am. I know I carry something that can easily be used as a weapon. I'm aware that I have to play chess mentally and try to be adept in situations that may need defusing. Not my greatest forté; diplomacy. I've been better lately, with JC's help.

The man got on the bus shortly after I did; I was riding to my local grocery store. The man was short 11 cents. He fussed around for a minute, searching his pockets. We waited a good while. The bus driver was not moving until the young man coughed up the 11 cents. I’m in patient, but not-THAT-patient mode. I sigh. My PD tremors were not noticeably bad. We were still waiting.

This young woman comes tearing up the aisle and puts 11 cents in the change hopper. The two of them go running to the back of the bus. The bus lurches off. The couple come tearing up and plop down in the only seat; the one in front of me and they have a baby. They’re both frantically fussing over their baby. They’re both neat and clean. The baby is clean and bundled up. This family is homeless and they’re on their way to a feed. 

They’re probably new in town. This is my home bus route. Everyone knows me on this route. There are several feeds and services for the homeless along Nebraska. I had an extra 5 bucks, so I handed it to the woman, as I got off the bus, saying to her, “It gets better, honey.” The man started to cry. My limbs were on fire. I hop off the bus and hear “Ha ha, Viola, you a crazy bitch!” My usual fan club.

I think this dark and light is in all of us. I see reports about these young men. They’re described as “geeks, loners, bright.” They may be “geniuses.” I’m no “genius” but, what is that, anyway? Everyone is peculiar. We could so easily be that way, or could we? I cannot for one minute imagine harming another person, especially, a smaller, weaker one.

My psychotic moments are rare and I am not a harm to others when they occur. I get confused, which is funny, because I am confused most of the time anyway. I call it my confuse-a-what. I remember them now; I didn't when it first happened. This is all beside the point. My fears, or psychoses have to do with my overarching fears of not having any security, so if everything isn't so, I freak out. Well, it's really funny if you think of it like that, because when is anything every like it should be, we're talking about PEOPLE for goodness sake! Nothing is ever where it should be! But, moving on, this isn't about me. I'm really harmless, unless I decide not to be and I'm iron-clad on being harmless, unless someone gives me a damned good reason not to be. See? 

But there’s no balm, no easing for wanton destruction of innocent life; here’s where I can’t stop the confuse-a-what. Other than trying to help pass stricter gun-control laws. Other than talking about this now and speaking out against the NRA and starting one of my endless and famous SignON.Org petitions which delights Rick Scott, Governor of Florida and his Minions. Other than that, I got nuthin’ as the song goes. Except an empty heart over this. This tears me up. Both JC and I are stricken. Everyone is devastated and when people are so universally affected by a tragedy of this magnitude, something is deeply, desperately wrong. We have ignored so many signs and warnings. We may not get another.

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