Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mental Health Is the Excuse Du Jour

I remember when there was no excuse for drunkenness.
I remember when there was no excuse for morbid obesity.
I remember when there was no excuse for infidelity.

Now, alcoholism is a disease.  Overeating is a disease.  And sexual addiction has been known to disrupt a person’s normal way of life.

I’m no psychologist, so I’m not here to disprove that one not being able to control one’s excessive use of alcohol, food or sex might not be linked to some kind of psychological disorder.  But on the other hand, and let’s face it, the sheer enjoyment of alcohol, food and sex can simply lead us to never getting enough.  Which comes first?  The chicken or the egg.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that if one is prone to excessive behavior, one must find help before, and not after the lack of control sets in.  For instance, if every time I go on my computer to work, and I end up playing Candy Crush for hours, hours that could be used to clean and cook, chores that I don’t look forward to, then it behooves me to not touch that Candy Crush button if I don’t have the time to spare.

The only time no one excuses a drunkard for his actions is if he kills someone in his drunken state.  People will say, “He got drunk and then knowingly got behind the wheel of a car.”  As someone who has never been drunk, I don’t know what it feels like; but if I were to imagine, I’d say that if someone was that drunk and drove, then he possibly could not have been in his right frame of mind to decipher if he was capable to drive in the first place.  I mean, doesn’t drunkenness distort our rationality?

So much sympathy is now given to the morbidly obese, that people who are proud of their fit bodies are accused of fat-shaming others, if they happen to share photos of themselves.

I’m not sure why only the rich and famous get away with having a sexual addiction, while the average Joe is just a womanizer.  But moving right along.

So now that people are able to drink as much alcohol as they want, eat as much food as they want, have as much sex as they want, and those are deemed as medical conditions, the next step seems to be for them to senselessly kill others and are declared as being mentally unstable.

Nowadays, when someone commits the most heinous of acts, no one wants to label him as evil – instead, he has mental health issues.  I am aware that there are various levels on the mental health spectrum; however, if someone sits down and plans an act of violence so terrible, it’s only fair that he gets booted out of the mental health circle and gets dumped into the EVIL brigade.

Vester Lee Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, on live TV killed two of his former coworkers, a reporter and a cameraman.  As he sprayed bullets, he accidentally shot the innocent bystander who was being interviewed by the reporter.  As he fled police, he eventually turned the gun on himself and later died.  Apparently he had a manifesto which I guess spoke to the discrimination that he endured on the job from his victims.  I did not read nor will I read said manifesto.  And by the way, writing a lengthy suicide note doesn’t constitute a manifesto or get you into the mental health circle – YOU ARE STILL EVIL!!!

From what I picked up, Vester/Bryce did not have a good experience on the job and was fired two years ago, and not on good terms either.  Let’s just say he was discriminated against based on his race and/or sexual preference, is it still okay to hold a grudge for two years against at least two people and let it fester so much that his only alternative was to end their lives in such a violent and public way?

Every time people cannot explain why a monstrous act was committed, they chalk it up to mental health issues.  They are just giving people with genuine mental health problems a bad name.  And because he cried bigotry, doesn’t get him any sympathy from me.  Then I hear people saying that we don’t know the full story, that there’s more to it.  Look, I’ve been prejudiced against because of my race and ethnicity, and after I was no longer at that job, any revenge I had for anyone did not last for more than a week or two J.  But in my defense, it wasn’t anything as wicked as killing anyone.  Well, not so blatant that it doesn’t look like an accident. J J

When police officer, Darren Wilson shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown, he had numerous supporters.  Sympathizers raised money for his legal defense and presumably for his livelihood, since he no longer had a job.  It bothered me because at the end of the day, he senselessly took someone else’s life.  I don’t care what Alison Parker and Adam Ward did to Vester.  I don’t care what he thinks they did to him.  I don’t care how hurt he felt.  Nothing they did or could have ever done deserved being executed while innocently doing their jobs.  Therefore, I cannot in good conscience give this murderer a pass just because we have similar pigmentation.

Several weeks ago, a Boston police chief reported his own son, who was found with an arsenal and the desire to kill for ISIS.  I waited for it, and I was eventually rewarded with news that he had a history of mental illness.  Did he?  I don’t know.  But how else can that chief or the rest of the country explain how this white, privileged young man is now a jihadist?

The mental health crisis that this nation faces is extremely serious.  There are college kids committing suicide at a vast rate.  There are heads of households killing their entire families and then themselves.  These are trying times, but perspectively speaking, not because people with a ‘normal’ state of mind cannot comprehend the evil mind, doesn’t make every murderer crazy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Can We Just Stop With the Politically Correct Bullshit, Already?

This is old news, but I started this post almost two months ago and am only now completing it.  Before you get on my case, just remember that sometimes hairdressers have the most jacked up hair, plumbers have the worst plumbing, mechanics drive jalopies, and carpenters live in shacks.  I work for myself, so sometimes I get complacent.  I still have household chores, kids to deal with and honestly, sometimes I just want to lie on the couch and watch TV.  If you don’t like it, feel free to get me a writing gig. J

I’m not a big fan of Ariana Grande, but dammit I’ll fight for her.  She sings like Mariah Carey.  You know the way; refusing to open their mouths, and someone like me who already has enough trouble trying to figure out songs’ lyrics, just can’t deal with someone who is eating her words.  Give me Whitney Houston.  Actually, don’t anymore; but that girl would open her mouth and sing.  Okay, I’ll take Bruno Mars.  Boyfriend will enunciate those words for folks like me.  And by the way, Miss Jackson, you need to open your mouth too.

But you’re gonna tell me that Ariana Grande, a 22 year old former Disney teeny bopper who said something that was on her mind in a country as free as the United States of America has to apologize, while elected members of Congress plotted to sabotage the US economy because Obama was elected, yet were never charged for treason.  Police actually stopped killing innocent people to investigate Ariana’s comments about hating Americans and America.  She was referring to the fact that she bought a donut, and it was so huge that it disgusted her and caused her to think about the obesity problem in this country.  Is she lying?  Okay, licking those donuts because they were unhealthy was nasty AND childish, but she’s a child, maturity-wise.

Of course she regrets saying it that way.  Well, rather, she regrets being overheard.  But, who has never said anything out loud that they ended up regretting, because they’ve hurt another human being or because they ended up looking ridiculous? 

First of all, hate is a strong word for people of a certain age, but for those young‘uns, hate is just an everyday word in their vernacular.  Your best friend just roasted you, what do you say?  I hate you.  Your teacher ‘gave’ you a D that you actually earned, what do you tell our buddies.  I hate her.  So let’s just skip the BS, and keep it real about what Ariana means.  She doesn’t like the fact that she is living in a country where people just nonchalantly go into an eatery and devour donuts and/or any food filled with content unfit for their bodies.  What she means is that she is not proud of the fact that there are so many obese people in her beloved country who refuse to do anything except to see how quickly they can elevate from obese to morbidly obese.  And at 50 pounds soaking wet, Ariana is anything but a threat to national security.

So the profanity bothers you too?  Oh dear, profanity bothers you, yet you defend Donald Trump when he says such sick things about Mexicans.  Your theory that he is just “protecting our borders” doesn’t hold water.  Instead of bringing Donald Trump to task with his blatant xenophobia, you straight-faced say crap like “he didn’t say all immigrants, he said illegal immigrants”.  As if your grandparents or Donald’s current and former wives came here with their green cards in their pockets. 

People are quite fine with “celebrities” coming here and living here without their ‘papers’ but not the average Mexican. 

Take Sofia Vergara.  She left Colombia for Miami when her older brother was murdered during a botched kidnap.  I don’t know, but it sounds like she was living in the States without proper documentation for a while.

When Steven Spielberg noticed Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Titanic miniseries, he recommended her to the director of The Mask of Zorro where she starred alongside Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas, all immigrants.  Hey, maybe they came here to work and when their working visas expired, they returned to Wales and Spain.

I’m pretty sure in the early 1930’s when Albert Einstein visited the US, he had every intention of returning to a tumultuous Germany.  I mean, it’s not like Hitler was having a problem with outspoken Jews or anything like that.

Do you know what else irritates me about people trying to be so politically correct?  When they try to fix something now that they were quite fine with so many years ago.  TV Land cancelled The Dukes of Hazzard reruns in 2015, a show that ended in 1985 because of the recent dust up regarding the Confederate flag.  There is a car in the show with the flag on the roof that NEVER bothered anyone for over 30 years; now it’s not politically correct.  Look, history is history.  If there were to be a 2015 show with that flag brazenly pronounced, that would be a problem, but at this point, it is what it is.  Maybe they just don’t want us to remember the times when they were being politically incorrect when they already knew better.

Recently, some members of Congress wanted to strip Bill Cosby of his 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom that W. bestowed upon him.  If they are going to take that from Bill because they now realize that he’s an alleged rapist, then they’ll have to take away W.’s presidency because they now realize that he is a complete nincompoop.

Do we always use the right words at the right time?  Hell no!  I know Ariana wishes that she could take back what she did and said, but maybe in that moment she felt like her back was against the wall.  Nah, she’s a kid; she felt like it was a good idea at the time.  But for Pete’s sake, she’s a 22 year old pop princess.  How much maturity do we really expect from her?  Plus, our very mature First Lady of the United States has a campaign focusing on moving, getting fit and eating right, yet she’s not being taken seriously by many folks either.  After Pennsylvania schools’ attempt to get kids to eat healthier, Sarah Palin brought cookies to them since she thought Pennsylvania was a nanny state.  I’m assuming she actually came to Pennsylvania to stir up trouble, but for all I know, she just saw Pennsylvania from her house and threw them over her fence.

But perspectively speaking, if Michele Obama’s technique is spurned, what’s wrong with giving Ariana’s a fair shot.

Home Is Where the Bed Is!

I recently returned from a three week vacation from the land of my birth.  It was definitely one of the funnest vacations ever.  [I know it’s not a real word, but I first heard it from the kids, and honestly, it comes in handy when something is beyond fun.]  Most of it was because I was there for a family reunion, and of all the things I love the most, FAMILY is way up there.  Then I got to spend time with former classmates and other girlfriends.  The great thing about having attended an all-girls school is that when we get together, we can let our guards down without any recourse.  Well, nothing much usually stops me from holding back; but being in the company of all women just makes crude jokes even funnier.  I’m just saying.

However, I had to endure questions like these throughout my visit:
Do you miss Antigua?
Do you like where you live?
Would you ever return for good?
The easy or politically correct answers are YES, SURE, YEAH; but it’s me, so the truth is, it’s not that simple.

I miss the beach a lot since I’m a total beach bum; but if I were actually living in Antigua, unless I were a millionaire, there is no way I could afford to be at the beach all day, every day.  I miss Brownie’s bun and cheese, but after three weeks and five pounds, (which are taking twice as long to get rid of) again, there is no way I’d be able to sustain that kind of diet.  It was a blast catching up with family and friends, but alas, were I living in Antigua, it just would not be feasible to hang out with them that often, with kids’ schedules, neglected husbands and just the daily grind. 

Then there are the things that I do NOT miss about Antigua:  the terrible roads, the crazy drivers (yup, we almost got run off the road thrice, twice by the police), and the lack of reliable infrastructure.  No offense my fellow Antiguans, but when I turn my computer on and click on the Internet, I really expect to be connected the same day!  Hyperbole at its worst is just going to make me enemies, but seriously, I’ve never seen Internet soooooo slooooowwwww.

I also do not miss the monolithic points of views, and it doesn’t mean that I’m indoctrinated because I have been living in North America.  It just means that I see things from a different perspective.  Okay fine, you are still in the dark ages, and I’m not; but I still love you! J  And naturally, I’m not talking about everyone that I spoke to, but the homophobia that still exists in Antigua, and the Caribbean at large, is beginning to appear violent adjacent.

Do I like where I live?  I LOVE where I live, and I’m so grateful that I do.  But I’m pretty easy to please, so I’ve always loved my home.  For the first 20 years of my life, I lived in Antigua, and I totally enjoyed it.  For the next 15, I lived in various parts of New York, and trust me, the South Bronx is not as scary as it is depicted in the media.  For the past 10 years, living in the Poconos is like living in Antigua back in the ‘70s, in terms of the scenery and at the same time living in a progressive city, in terms of the conveniences….what’s not to love?

But telling an Antiguan that you enjoy living abroad is a set up for an Antiguan cuss out.  “So, what you saying is that you prefer America than where you were born?”  No, I’m just saying that I’ve made a life there now, and it’s comfortable, so I’m just taking life one day at a time.  “So, you’re too good for Antigua now?”  No, not at all.  “So you never thought about returning?”  Well, it’s not like we can just give up a job and a place to stay and come home on a prayer hope.

So you can imagine how much tact has to be sought with my responses.  In my mind I’m thinking, I’ll return to or retire in Antigua when I’m guaranteed that motorists respect each other, when clear lines are drawn on the roads so that motorists know for sure where their lane ends and mine starts, when motorist just don’t park and exit their cars at the most convenient spot for them, which in turn ends up being almost impossible for me to squeeze through; when motorists see that they are the ones with the obstruction and still don’t speed to pass before me as if I’m not the one with the clear lane; when motorists realize that even though I’m not the one with the right of way, if they all keep going, eventually, no one will be able to move.  And that’s just driving. 

Yeah, I’ll return when I have used the bathroom, put soap on my hands, turn the faucet on, and water actually comes out.  (Yes, I know that Antigua has a really, really bad drought problem; but how long will that excuse last?)  Or when I am getting ready to go out, and I am midway in ironing my outfit, the power comes off.  (Yes, I know that Antigua is a developing country, and these things take time; but how long will that excuse last?)

With 365 beaches, with Antigua being the most progressive Leeward Island, and one of the most in the Caribbean overall, all I’m saying is that we cannot keep complaining about the same problems year after year, decade after decade.  Something has got to be done!  Tourism is our main industry; and the competitive field is WIDE.

But as I look at my fellow Antiguans who have remained and with whom I’d be on par with, I don’t see people who are living in a country with a plethora of inconveniences.  I see people who are on average happy with their lives.  I see people who are succeeding in their fields.  I see people who are living very well.  Just like how we've adjusted to a country where at any given moment, an unarmed Black man child woman civilian can be shot numerous times by a police officer who will later be cleared of any wrongdoing, just like how we’ve adjusted to a country where a corn silk haired billionaire who is as dumb as a rock is leading the polls in the Republican party for president of the most powerful country in the world, I know that were I still living in Antigua, there’d be no place that I’d rather be.

But what I missed most was my bed.  And it wasn’t because I didn’t sleep well.  I slept very well – just not for long.  I was comfortable, and I was relaxed, but after a while, I just missed my crib, you know.  I missed home!  And home is where I get my mail, not where my navel string was buried.  Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you make your home, perspectively speaking, it is the only place where your heart is.