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Archive for the category “My X-perience”

41) I Remember Princess Diana

TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 18: Princess Diana Resting Her Head In Her Hands Whilst Sitting On The Steps Of Her Home At Highgrove, Gloucestershire. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

20 years after her tragic death in an automobile accident in Paris, Princess Diana remains an important historical figure. The wounds for all of us are still fresh from that fateful day. Diana embodied the seismic shift of a world coming apart. She represented everything the world needed: love, compassion, grace, and humility.

As beautiful as she was, Diana was also imperfect. She had an eating disorder, was needy, and desperately wanted someone to truly love her often straining those around her in her pursuits. A shy daughter of an English Earl, the dreamy 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer married unwittingly to a man who was forced to give up his own true love for a more suitable match as dictated by the Monarchy. Love and feelings had nothing to do with it. Though Charles and Diana’s circumstances were tame by comparison with past Royal coupling arrangements, nonetheless, their experience was a painful situation in any time.

At first, Diana Spencer found the attention of the press amusing and even liked it. But that soon wore off as she was thrust into the public eye becoming a prisoner, a passionate young woman suffocated by the heavy expectations of a fusty, royal family born into privilege, resolute in the knowledge that all they are cannot be destroyed.

I remember Princess Diana, growing up. Her short, feathered hair and bright, blue eyes exposed the goodness of her soul and the pain inside her heart. In the summer of 1984, my mother and I cut our hair off just like the Princess. My father wasn’t happy because he liked his wife to have long locks. It was a moment I shared with my mother when we both felt the same giddy excitement as mother and daughter going to the salon to have our hair cut like Princess Diana.

I suppose my mother saw her own feelings reflected through Diana’s simmering blue eyes. Like Diana, my mother was unhappy in her marriage and didn’t show it but through tears that would escape her now and then. I had other reasons for cutting my hair just like Diana. I loved who she was, trying to make things work as best as she could, through tears. Sure, she had everything. Sure, she was beautiful. But I saw something inside her that was raging. I would not have been able to express these words at 9-years-old, but years later I understood that rage. What was not known or said in public spoke volumes to women everywhere.

Counter to the typical Monarchy’s raising of children, Diana showed the world how devoted she was when she became a mother to two beautiful boys, openly displaying her affection, taking them to school, and constantly playing with them. In high school, I fell in love with the Princess all over again as she went out on her own and began her charity work. There is no one that could quite replicate the conviction Diana had in her voice underneath the soft British accent as she spoke on behalf of AIDS’ victims. Princess Diana was never afraid to touch and hold and console and love on anyone who was suffering. That is why she became the ‘People’s Princess’.

Diana Spencer shares the same birth year (1961) with many other notable members of Generation X; Peter Jackson, Michael J. Fox, Brent Eastwood Ellis, Douglas Coupland, Enya, Martin Gore, Henry Rollins, Boy George, Julia Gillard, and Barack Obama. 1961 marks not only the beginning of what most historians agree as the beginning of Generation X, but a watershed year of political and cultural changes that correspond with this particular generation: the rising of a great wall that divided Germany into east and west, the introduction of the birth control pill which would lead to sexual revolution, the Cuban missile crisis and an accelerated shift away from post-World War II prosperity into the Cold War, the moon landing, the environmental crisis of the 1970s, and the free-wheeling decadence of the colorful, synthesized 1980s.

Diana was special because she had a relentless heart. She changed everything because it had to be done and she had to do it, her way. Her life force was captured in the hearts and souls of the people. Perhaps it was this reality that would eventually lead to her untimely death. I remember seeing Diana on television and in my mother’s People magazines. I watched a 19-year-old girl grow up and become a figure that eclipsed the grounds of Buckingham Palace and the British Monarchy and ultimately, inspire the people of the world to make it better.

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales cradles a young child stricken with cancer at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore in this February 22, 1997 file photo. August 31 marks the fifth anniversary of her death in a high-speed car crash in Paris. REUTERS/John Pryke

 


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40) No More Babies For Bullets

Baby Machine by Leta Gray

‘Baby Machine’ Stone Lithograph Print (2008) Courtesy of Leta Gray with permission.

I never wanted to bring a child into the world – in my time.

I’ve seen too much heartache, gross negligence and repulsive events. I live in a world of certain horrid creatures that care nothing for their own kind. Why would I labor to bring an innocent being into a world of rabid destruction?

Why would I, in my right mind bring a babe into the world where the prospects of any kind of life is destined to be grim at best, more violent, more competitive, more people? Maybe I didn’t read enough ‘learn how to be happy’ books in my youth because the reality of the world jockeyed for my attention first.

I am tormented by a belief in good things, in an ideal world where humankind takes great care of humankind, that all children never really grow up because their world is more relevant. I wrap my own placental blanket around my vessel, safe and warm from the disintegration all around.

Am I selfish for not wanting to continue my bloodline, a bloodline that feels too deeply and lives too long? Why should I bring a profound and emotional creature into the world with those who use human beings for their own selfish purpose – money and power? To plant a lovely soul into a world where women are shoved aside, women are irrelevant, just to be incubators to breed more armies of men?

NO, I will not. I have no good reason to bring a child in the world. The world does not deserve my beautiful child. The world will get my words instead.


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39) Happy Birthday, Henry Rollins!

punk-love-b-day-henry

“Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.”
― Henry Rollins

Today is the day before that revolting holiday that makes single people want to vomit a box of chocolates onto a bouquet of black roses before ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide.

With that disclaimer out of the way, in lieu of tomorrow’s twerpy twitterpated, chocolates for sex love fest, I am celebrating Henry Rollins birthdate 2.13.1961, the day the Soviet Union fired a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus. Romantic, isn’t it?

Henry was born in the year that marks the beginning of Generation X – 1961, the erection of the Berlin Wall. Henry shares the same birth year with Barack Obama, Princess Diana, and Douglas Coupland.

Henry is unique in many ways among his contemporaries. He understands America and the globe more profoundly than most Americans. He has been to damn near every major and minor city all over the U.S. and abroad thousands of times over throughout the years of his spoken word tours and intense gigs with Black Flag and Rollins Band.

He knows the streets, the crowds, the unique culture of every place he has been, spending long nights drinking black coffee and writing in dingy hotels, reflecting on everything he sees and feels and hears. A true solipsist, he is a master of himself and a friend of no one in particular. He is a productive, sober, and explosive voice of our time, kicking his ego to the curb with genuine and excruciating self-reflective truth. His razor sharp insight cuts deep into the corpse of the Gen-X zeitgeist.

Solipsist by Henry Rollins - signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

Solipsist by Henry Rollins – signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

I met Henry the first time in March of 2003 in Eugene, Oregon after a spoken word show. I have never witnessed anyone blister through a performance with the same elevated composure, perfect articulation, biting commentary, and thundering voice raking the audience into bleeding stitches for two hours without a pause or drink from the unopened water bottle on his stool. I was impressed by his intelligence and unique perspective on politics and relationships.

Five years later on another day in March of 2007, I found myself driving to Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to attend the book signing of Punk Love. Henry had co-authored the book with an old friend, Susie J Horgan, a photography student and co-worker with Henry at Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop, who unknowingly photographed the emerging punk movement in the late 1970s in DC. This time I brought a personal letter to give to Henry.

Driving down the 101 to Laurel Canyon was like cutting through a crack in the pavement; windy and craggy, down into the bowels of the places cockroaches live and rock stars overdose on heroin. A meandering, overused road, dizzying homes of celebrities past, and suddenly, after several turns I was quickly approaching Sunset Boulevard.

I stopped at a light and viewed a man, looking older than he likely was with a creeping beard and red eyes holding a cardboard sign ‘NEED BEER.’ He posed with the sign next to his head, did a little hop and transferred the sign switching it like an old flip clock radio. He hopped again and rotated the sign in an upside down arch to read ‘FREE PIZZA BOWL,” his eyebrows twitching.

I couldn’t help but think of Vanna White turning the letters around on the Wheel of Fortune. The man grinned, showing his yellowed-teeth standing outside a small shack with a broken door hopping from side-to-side and assuring me that I didn’t need beer or a free pizza bowl.

My whole life living in Southern California, I rarely came to Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard was more like a gaunt figure in an outdated, oversized designer suit: colorful and small with bold billboards jutting out like rusty railroad spikes half jammed in the ground. I wondered what other burned out creature with yellowing teeth might want to have their way with me, stick a knife in me, stick a cock in me just because I’m walking around with this hole. I turned on Sunset Boulevard, then made a left on the side street adjacent to the Viper Room where River Phoenix overdosed on a speedball in 1993, an event I remember shedding tears over.

I pulled around the back of the bookstore where Henry’s website instructed to park in a tiny lot, where I found a space. Thank goodness I showed up an hour early.

I walked from the minuscule back parking lot around to the front. The sun was low in the sky and the orange of it saturated the streets. Long, jagged shadows haunted the sidewalk. Outside of the bookstore, magazine racks lined the small entrance of Book Soup. Everything on Sunset Boulevard seemed like a small rabbit hole into a perceived illusion of space, oddly private and strangely decadent. Inside, I was bombarded by towering vertical shelves of books – the opposite of the sprawling big-box bookstores I was used to. There was no room to walk, claustrophobic corners with no place to sit, like a cat in an undersized box.

A tall man with greenish eyelids was sitting behind a cramped counter like a morbid doll stuffed inside a child’s closet. I landed on an oversized art book at the front entrance; the largest book I’d ever seen. It was the size and thickness of the Ten Commandments, or so I speculated. I opened each page and watched it fall like an enormous leaf: a collage of handwritten journals, splattered with color and images cut and clipped in strange juxtapositions. I felt a nagging for a design project, the excitement of creating something new, washing over in smooth overlapping layers. As I was feasting on this wondrous book, just to my right, I see Henry Rollins walk through the door. I continued turning pages as his eyes looked in my direction and scanned the perimeter like a cyborg.

“Hey, Henry,” said the man behind the counter in a familiar tone.

“How’s it going,” Henry Rollins replied, disappearing into the meandering cavern of the bookstore. I was glad he was here. Like me, I suspected, he wanted to show up early and hang out browsing books, taking in the scene before the throng of strange creatures showed up.

I decided to explore, passing through the fiction aisle and up to the information desk. I wanted to know where the science and technology section was located. A girl with blonde hair and smudgy black eyes took me to the spot. I found Richard Dawkins’ books and looked through titles I hadn’t seen before. After a few minutes, I made my way to the entertainment and music books, knowing I would find Henry there. I shuffled into the little room.

Standing with his back to me, he was wearing his usual plain black t-shirt. I could see his tattoos poking out underneath, a skull and snake and the word ‘Damage.’ I stared at the Black Flag logo on the back of his neck just under his hairline. It reminded me of a barcode label. His long dark brown wavy hair from his Black Flag days was now short with flecks of grey; his face unchanged, still severe and handsome.

I walked across from where he stood to a large section of music biographies and saw The Lady Sings the Blues, the story of Billie Holiday and smiled at her solemn gaze. I found a book on the Pixies, and remembered seeing them at the Hollywood Palladium in 1991. I almost turned around to ask Henry if he happened upon a band that merged jazz and punk together, but decided against it. I didn’t want to bother him while he was immersed in books. So I just looked through mine enjoying the moment of sharing the space with him knowing that I was standing next to this amazing person who rages inside like me. I felt calm and content as two lonely birds on a rusted wire sit, lost in thought, sharing a moment of serenity between storms before flying away to another experience.

Book Soup "Punk Love" Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007 L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

Book Soup “Punk Love” Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007         L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

The bookstore began to fill up and Henry stole away and met up with a tall woman in a black dress in boots with long curly brown hair. It was Susie. She and Henry chatted while they hung Susie’s historic photographs for the presentation. Since I was there first, I stood nearby to make sure I could be up close. When most everyone filed in and we were all crowded around the back of the store, Henry and Susie introduced themselves and told us stories of how they met, the ice cream shop, and the infamous photo of Ian MacKaye’s brother, Alec that ended up becoming the icon of the American punk movement.

Susie continued her career as a photographer. Just like any movement, she and Henry were caught up in the swirl of a youth rebellion against a world that seemingly felt ineffectual. The moments they shared with us were precious moments of the spirit of youth in a collective expression of music and primal connection in a world that was indifferent to their lives, their hopes, their pain, and their future.

I couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness that I couldn’t be a part of this moment in time, with all of these young and beautiful faces full of life and energy and angst creating something new in a worn out world. I was only 4-years-old when Susie snapped these photos. My own experience with hardcore punk came much later after the core of the movement had merged into New Wave. Sometime in high school in the early 1990s, that’s when I discovered Black Flag, Rollins Band, Fugazi, and Minor Threat. It was fresh to me, but the ice cream had already melted by then and Nirvana was the new youth movement.

I remember giving my letter to Henry and shaking his hand again. I asked him if he had any career advice as a writer. I was immediately embarrassed after I said it. He laughed and tweaked his face.

“Career? Career?! What I do… it’s not a career. It’s painful.”

Henry was right. Writing is painful. And I’m sure he would agree that writing, just like music is also cathartic and healing and necessary.

Whenever I am in doubt and feel terrible about anything, I retreat to Henry’s collected work. He makes the most sense, speaks to the darkness inside all of us more than any person I know. When I am depressed and angry, I know that he is also depressed and angry. Whether he realizes it or not, I have him to thank in many moments in my life because he is a stubborn rocket burning on in a futile universe.

Happy Birthday, Henry!


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38) Why I Choose To Be Childless

 

why-i-choose-to-be-childless

Woman Reading (c.1900). Paul Barthel (German, 1862-1933)

In 2017, there are far more reasons for having fewer children than at any other time in history. The battles I see parents go through today are disturbing. I can’t imagine the world being better off in 10-20 years by the time their kids are old enough to reach college age.

I have never wanted to have kids, something I am not ashamed of. My parents fought over ridiculous things, things that didn’t matter, things that only pushed buttons and hurt one another. My brother had multiple marriages, four children, spending an exhaustive amount of his life fighting in family courts over visitations rights, dental appointments, and alimony. I never wanted that for myself.

As a member of Generation X, I don’t have the means to purchase a home. I live with a family member; hold $40,000 in student loan debt, just over a third of that in retirement savings. I rarely date. I have other things I’d rather do with my life. I find it refreshing to know that many women today are voluntarily not having kids. Many of my friends that do have kids (with a few exceptions) have gone through bitter divorce, navigate unstable family circumstances, and have children who are depressed and fighting an uphill battle just to exist.

I’ve had countless conversations, where someone will ask if I want kids and when I tell them I am single and childless by choice – I might as well have told them I just flew in from the Butterfly Nebula. Some responses range from “Isn’t that selfish?” or “That’s what women do,” or “the people who should have kids, don’t.”

First, it is not selfish to choose a childless life. It is a well-thought out and sound decision in an unstable environment. I would rather completely provide for a child’s needs and if things are not to my liking, then I’d rather not. It’s that simple. If that is selfish, well, I could introduce you to a lot of people who would prefer they were never born. So what is selfish? – Parents who thoughtlessly have children and do little to raise them to be good people for the planet.

Second, not all women are interested in having kids. It’s not that we don’t like kids; it’s a bigger issue. Many of us care deeply for humanity. The prospect of raising a child in broken families, fleeting relationships and financial burdens makes my ovaries want to shrivel up and dissolve.

Third, “people who should have kids don’t,” is the worst statement of all. It suggests that you are withholding a human being that should be in the world, that it is your duty to leave this special heir. It may sound flattering, but people fail to realize that there are no guarantees you will have a healthy, well-adjusted kid or the sustained resources to adequately prepare them for the future. This is especially true for those without sufficient family and financial support. These are not excuses. These are sound, well thought out assessments and in an overpopulated planet, a responsible choice.

Society needs to support women and men who choose a childless lifestyle. I take ownership to the choices I’ve made. I care about the planet. I care about all innocent children born after me and desperately hope they will have a better world to live in. Society needs to back off and support the idea that less is more and better for everyone and be OKAY with this trend.

I’ve read many articles about women who choose a childless life. I am greatly disappointed that the reasons they give are only based on micro-societal pressures. It is a much bigger picture. My pressures come from within. My pressures are a result of seeing a world unfit for child raising, a world that is hot, flat, and crowded, a world whose principles are so completely unaligned with my own that I feel raising a child to be futile.

We don’t talk about population as a key factor that impacts our planet or how it correlates to the dwindling natural resources, the lack of jobs, the struggle of governments to manage the numbers, the plight of families to deal with the competition to ensure the welfare of their children when classrooms are overcrowded and the cost of everything is rising beyond a live able wage.

In my time, I had my own problems trying to survive without being a burden on my parents or anyone. My own experience while fascinating and good storytelling is not gratifying and mostly depressing. Imagining the world my child would inhabit with 7 billion + other souls all competing, all fighting, all struggling to make ends meet is too much a burden for them to bear and I don’t have the resources, the support, the time or the drive to ensure their future and prepare them.

The thing about men and women like me is that we fill a void that represents the lives of so many discarded people. We are complete as an individual, a singular cell, an agent for change, a mentor, a caregiver, an artist, a poet, a writer, a philosopher, a scientist, an activist, an inspiration, a trailblazer, an adventurer, a storyteller, an advocate, a peer counselor, an aunt, a muse, an enigma. And, now more than ever… necessary.


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37) Facebook, Fake-News, and Friends

i-am-no-buttercup

I am the resisting sort, a non-conformist, and a skeptic of well — Everything. I read widely and deeply. I try to have an open mind. Like many Americans in the historic months leading up to the election of 2016, which felt like an excruciatingly long and painful bowel movement, I watched the news constantly. I read a broad width of news articles, online and in print as if my life depended on it, and everything I was doing in my life outside of work took a backseat. I listened in full, to the candidates running for President of the United States of America and what they had to offer. As a citizen of my country, I felt an extreme obligation more so than ever before to be actively engaged and aware.

With that, I must tell you; I had several existential crises’ in the months leading up to the election. I lost hope several times and plunged into darkness, and when I came out, my social media friends were there. They inspired me and encouraged me and I felt an obligation to them to continue posting the best information I could. If I could not verify it I wouldn’t post it and I think my friends relied on me and so I continued to fight with information and thoughts and hope and encouraging words.

My motivation was that I was very worried. Worried that there were things at play I didn’t understand completely. Worried that the news may be somewhat tainted and the sources I grew to trust were not telling me everything I needed to know. I was worried that sensationalism and speculation was overriding fact based reporting. Worried that American citizens were not reading the same base information, not scrutinizing every post in their social media feed, and I found myself defending authoritative sources against fake news sources.

…I found myself defending authoritative sources against fake news sources.

In the pre-digital days, it was easier to pinpoint fake news. In that time, most people knew that the trustworthy news with the best sources were on a separate aisle next the stationary and Hallmark cards. You could pick up a National Geographic, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine (thicker in content back then) and a plethora of well-researched feature articles and thoughtful opinion pieces. One could spend an hour reading and feel reasonably satisfied, up-to-date with the barometer of world news. You could get this news at any grocery store or convenience store. The important news was widely available and heavily stocked. Only at the checkout stand, were the sensational kitsch rags, which everyone might pick up while waiting to chuckle at ‘Bat Boy’ or the most recent Elvis sighting. Only your crazy conspiracy-theorist uncle would think that some legitimate stories were buried in a copy of The National Enquirer or Star. The majority of us knew better and it was obvious.

On Facebook, I received a flood of reactionary comments to my legitimate sources. I tried my best to sort out and clarify for them and myself, responding to everyone and encouraging them to continue the conversation. I was both thrilled to the challenge of debate, but stunned that so many people posted things unedited with irrational and poorly thought out responses. Worse, I tried to engage them to find facts/articles to back up their positions. The few who did post a reference article, referenced an obscure Canadian post from a single blogger with pixilated images or the one video of Barack Obama reading a book with a sexual reference that was supposed to cancel out the years of voluminous blatant sexual misogyny of Trump.

In particular, there was one Facebook encounter that brought out many things. His name was Dennis and through him, I found my archenemy to do battle with. He was relentless in his comments and so was I. It went on like this for several weeks. There were a few moments we agreed and I felt a welling up inside that perhaps we could reach across the brain matter and connect and we did on some levels. We shared some very personal things in private messages as he was from my same hometown and both of our grandparents knew each other. We had history in common that we shared privately, and heatedly debated our politics in public.

I learned a lot through this exchange. I learned that there are times to be vocal and learn from one another’s differing opinions and when to discontinue the dialogue to save your own sanity. I felt that we were engaging in the very thing that would make the founding fathers proud – civil discourse. As Christmas was looming, I felt that our discourse was beginning to sour and I felt angry as our discussion turned to women’s issues. This is where I had to let him go. I first restricted his access as a friend hoping that if he didn’t see my ‘friends only’ posts that we could stay in contact. He then started commenting on every single thing that I liked, not commented on, but merely liked. Instead of rabble rousing on my posts, he was now invading my friends’ pages of who unwittingly made the mistake of posting publicly. I had had enough. I allowed Dennis into my house and he invaded every room. I told him in a private message that we were done. I wish him well, but sometimes you have to shut out, Unfriend, detach, and let go the people in your life if they are depressing your soul.

Blue words are good in private for letting off steam, but are ineffective in conveying an important idea to an opposing viewpoint.

I tried my best. I wanted to change minds by keeping my language tame, respectful, and based in fact to the best of my ability. Blue words are good in private for letting off steam, but are ineffective in conveying an important idea to an opposing viewpoint. I give Obama credit as setting an example of profound civil discourse, as he stayed poised and respectful and tempered throughout his presidency on the level that matters to the American people. I think the majority of Americans, regardless of politics, can agree that Obama is inspiring and smart and capable of uniting the people even if they don’t like his policy stances or the color of his skin.

I think of Dennis often, as we approach the inauguration of the 45th President on January 20th. I wonder what he thinks of Trump’s Tweets, the investigations into Russian interference of the election, and the recent polls that show a majority of Americans uncertain of a Trump presidency. I know that Dennis is a lonely old man who seeks out political storms on Facebook for company in the middle of the night, and I, a lonely middle-aged woman seeking facts on Facebook in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how things will turn out. Trump is addicted to his Twitter account showing the American people more and more that he is strange and this is not normal.

As I write this, nothing feels right, or good, or hopeful. Yet, I hope that we will be okay. I hope that democracy stays intact. I hope that there are enough people who will do the right thing, whatever and whenever that may be. I hope that one day I can talk to Dennis again and share the history of our grandparents and that this whole experience will make us better people.


Copyright © 2017 Solo GenX Warriors
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

 

36) An Open Letter To Men

I am a voice in this world.
I exist and I am a woman.
Most of history does not encourage nor considers the voice of any woman. Men are the writers of most of history.
Woman are only written in history when she raises her head up high enough that men cannot ignore certain events and that the woman in part cannot be ignored because she has made a significant change in history and only if it serves men.
I am a woman who cares about the children of this world, because they will inherit the bullshit, the inhumanity that I endure, the ultimate sacrifice of a world that doesn’t care about its own survival.
Angry Lisa
I am angry that this world is run by certain men; certain men that make weapons against other men.
I am angry that certain men are willing to create weapons that will destroy our very existence because they have to.
I am angry that certain woman in this world are socialized to spread her legs and bear children that will grow up and destroy our very existence because they have to.
I am angry that some women think their only place is to birth more children, that it is all we are born to do.
I am angry that most women are not part of the discussion of where we should be as human beings.
I am angry that many women are forced to be the caregivers, and clean up after the wars of men.
I am angry that so many women are not allowed any space on this planet to exist, to nurture our minds beyond our ability to have babies.
I am angry that so many women are seen as inferior to men, because we are socialized from birth that we should be subservient.
I am angry that my mother never taught me the reality of what I would face, that the world is hostile and indifferent to my needs as a woman.
I am angry that this world only caters to the war-like features of certain men and that all the things a woman can be will ultimately be obliterated by men.
I exist and I am a woman.
Women are relevant on all levels in this world.

Copyright © 2016 Solo GenX Warriors
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

33) I AM…

I am the disease that penetrates the cell.
I am the creature that screams its hell.

I am the anger that floods the darkness.
I am the flame that flirts with the abyss.

I am haunted because I am dead.
I am alive and suffer instead.

I am the one who watches the world.
I am the one who wakes the absurd —

THE TRUTH.
I am a disease

I am enlightened by tragedy.
I am deprived of ecstasy.

I am brilliant in my spell.
I am in anguish and appeal —

TO REALITY.

I am the ghost of generations’ past,
I am alive in nothing that lasts.

I am changed and I am change.
I am like others just as they claim —

BUT DIFFERENT.

I am unique because I am dark.
I am kicking and spitting at sparks.

I am Gen-X.
I am reflex.


Copyright © 2016 Solo GenX Warriors 
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30) Comfort In Fearful Things

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.  – H. P. Lovecraft

I was born in 1974, the same year that Stephen King’s first book, Carrie was published and less than a year after the The Exorcist was released. It scared the crap out of my 11-year-old brother and perhaps incidentally propelled his spiritual life, transforming him into a God-fearing conservative Christian. The film broke box office records with millions of people standing in long lines. Many audience members passed out, up-chucked, and left the theater because the subject matter and raw graphics was too horrific to watch. I discovered the film on The Movie Channel, long after my brother left for college when I was 10-years-old. My parents never thought to dismantle the cable outlet…

I became my own parental control and watched anything that was dark, scary, or controversial. By the age of 10, I sampled a glut of R-rated horror films before I set eyes on The Exorcist. My earliest recollection was Blood Beach (an exquisitely dumb B film), then A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cujo, Halloween, Jaws, and Friday The Thirteenth (just in time for the coming of age of the 13th generation, AKA Gen-X). Rather than becoming desensitized from watching movies that most parents would never let their children watch today, it opened up my mind and hunger for knowledge.

Blood Beach Movie Poster

Although, I could not articulate it as a child, I was fascinated by anything that was physically unfamiliar, strange, unexplainable, and ultimately, anything that would horrify my mother or enrage my father. It wasn’t that I was rebelling from their attitudes. I was curious of why certain ideas provoked intense emotions within adults. I wanted to understand their reactions. At a very young age, I had a sense that the world was full of hidden truths behind closed doors, the back of dusty closets, underneath crawl spaces, the bottom of my mother’s purse and amongst the coins in my father’s pocket.

At night, I was afraid to run to my parents’ bedroom; it was too far away on the opposite side of the house. My dad built it that way. To get there, I had to run past a long hallway of tall closets, and my old bedroom where Mom reScary Treead her Bible every morning and night, and the bathroom, turn the corner past the fireplace, the entry way, the living room and kitchen, and finally, the dark ominous opening of my parents’ bedroom.

I learned how to be still, and breath, and conquer my fear of being alone. I grew to love the stillness of night, the rhythm of the moon, and things that moved in the darkness. My imagination was more colorful than reality and I learned to keep my eyes and ears open without fear of the vampire underneath my bed with his red glowing cape, or the Bogeyman outside my window that might pop his grizzly head up, or the wind quivering the finger-like branches of the tall twin pine trees against the full moon’s light.

I watched everything that was on television, if it peaked my interest. I grew to understand that basic fear was a human impulse resulting from a lack of knowledge in that, which is feared. Real fear was primal, the kind that connected to your gut. I learned the differences and the middle ground in between.

As a young adult, my experiences were haphazard, sometimes pushing the edge of what was good for me, but knowing when to lay low or get the hell-out-of-dodge. Most of my real fear in these situations was in direct response to mortal human encounters: relationships gone bad, deceptive adults, and unpredictable human behavior. I learned how to trust myself: my senses, my impulses, and my intuition. In this way, I have always felt unique in my experiences, generationally and spiritually.

I am less afraid of Bigfoot, Extraterrestrials, Chupacabra, UFOs, and Demon Possession, and more afraid of men with guns, blatant sexual urges, deranged agendas, entitled egos, reinforced by political alliances.

I am less afraid of ghosts, haunted places, werewolves, and vampires, and more afraid of political instability, nuclear weapons, social chaos, and natural disasters.

Born and raised in San Bernardino, California, cult capital of the nation and one of the most geologically dynamic places on earth, I was less afraid of the devil and creeping things and more afraid of large rickety building structures and mass gatherings of people. My Atheist/Agnostic father and Seventh-Day-Adventist mother provided a rich contrast of dispassionate mechanical thought vs. constrained fundamental belief for my inquisitive young mind to ponder; a perfect environment for analyzing contrasting viewpoints playing out in a post-Nixon world. It is difficult to imagine the 1970s without the horrors of the time as it metastasized into classic American Horror films on cable TV.

When I first saw The Exorcist, I had absorbed large amounts of data through television, reading National Geographic magazines and my mother’s SDA literature and the KJV Bible (I think I was halfway through reading the begets of Chronicles, because my mother insisted we read the Word of God from cover to cover – enough to make one want to barf up green soup). Even though the movie was scary, I couldn’t help but feel a hidden hand moving over the whole thing to increase Church membership and tithe. I began to doubt my mother’s religious ideas early, before I was a teenager. I wanted to believe what she did because I dearly loved her and saw that she desperately wanted to transcend all that was bad, but she couldn’t provide answers that were concrete enough for me to accept them.

The Exorcist proved how powerful religion is over the minds of those too afraid to question things they do not understand. I have no doubt that there are evil ‘things’ in this world. But those ‘things’ tend to be human generated through calculated motivations. True knowledge saturates perceived fear. It provides a clear path for humanity to evolve beyond its own planned obsolescence. I take comfort in fearful things and seeking knowledge to understand them.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The American Nightmare: A Documentary
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown Documentary
Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist
The Movie Channel Commercials – 1980s

 


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Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

29) I Am Sick To Death But I Still Fight

Angry girlEvery day, I fight for my soul. I try to feed it oxygen, but the air is stale and smells of gasoline and cheeseburgers and rotting garbage.

Every day, I fight advertising and marketing and spreadsheets.

Every day, I fight to find the good in humanity…

I fight to find courage to live.
I fight the sadness of a world falling apart.
I fight to find peace of mind.

With a shifting and restless planet, I take solace in knowing the earth is fighting through earthquakes and pyroclastic blasts, venting the pressures that hold it all together. I let the words pour out, like lava. Words burn holes through the brain, force out the impurities of conforming conventional wisdom.

I am sick to death of conforming to institutions and social norms that are corrupt.
I am sick to death of convention that lacks conviction that should be self-evident.
I am sick to death of the wisdom of tired old men talking business and trading greenbacks and depleting the last hope for democracy, something I believed in once upon a time…

The Constitution and its promise is an illusion, a false store front, high fructose syrup that sounds pretty on parchment, yet everything we do undercuts the foundation of those carefully crafted words. My vote means nothing, but I still vote.

I am sick to death of a world whose religious beliefs, politics, and monetary interests overrides social progress, education, science and the welfare of the planet and all its life forms.

I am sick to death that writers, historians, philosophers, teachers, and artists must fight for their very existence while football players, politicians, lawyers, stockbrokers, and those born into wealth are more influential, privileged, and praised in society.

I am sick to death of oil drills and greasy machines and backyards full of junk.
I am sick to death of plastic and Styrofoam and concrete.
I am sick to death of consumerism and money and GDP.
I am sick to death of buying things that have to be thrown away.
I am sick to death of driving and getting nowhere.

I am sick to death of women giving birth to children without thought or consideration to the massive responsibility involved in spawning a life form into a world lacking everything to sustain that child.

I am sick to death of suburban mansions piled in neat, manicured rows in the desert and SUVs full of burping, farting, wasting human beings that drive 30 miles to soccer practice and idle their engines in long fast food lines.

I am sick to death of college degrees and career aspirations and MBA’s that focus on making money as the ultimate goal.

I am sick to death of cardboard and packing tape and useless pretty things made in China multiplied by billions of air-polluting vehicles delivering the same useless pretty things to retail establishments that throw out large portions of what they bring in; all to sell at discount prices that are palatable for Americans that need cheap stuff to comfort themselves from the stresses of their daily lives who end up storing their cheap acquisitions in their garage.

I am sick to death of the blinding speed of daily life, police sirens more numerous than the chirping of birds, and the drone of air conditioners in a September heat wave.

I am sick to death of the thought that I could be armed with 500 guns and never safe from a nuclear bomb.

I fight to stay engaged, to have a voice.
I fight to love and not to hate.
I fight my thoughts that words are futile.


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Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

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