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Drugged Boy

esq040114drugging01-1519855960My sister recently tagged me in a link/post on Facebook. I highly recommend you read it before you read what I have to say. It’s long but worth it.

I haven’t spent time considering my boyhood years in a very long while. I read this post and it inspired me to write. If you are my friend and you like the image of me you have, you might want to stop reading now. However, if you are indeed my friend, you’ll read, understand, refuse to judge and just maybe come away with a better understanding of who I am or why I do certain things.

Fair warning, this post may be all over the place. 😉

Some Back Story

If you know me, you probably know my father and his father, my grandfather, died within six days of each other over Thanksgiving (On Thanksgiving Day for my dad) in 1982 when I was 8 years old and my sister was 5. In the span of less than a week I’d lost any real chance at male role models in my life. I’d never crawl around my dad’s 1970’s Monte Carlo with him and understand why opening the butterfly valve on the carburetor changed the fuel/air mix. I’d never hear my grandfather’s stories of traveling the world with my grandmother.

My mother had lost her husband and with him some of the support that came from his side of the family. To be blunt, they mostly abandoned us after the funeral. My mother was left to her own devices. My home had been the traditional sort where dad worked and mom stayed home with the kids. My memories of life before my father died are mostly clouded so I don’t remember my mom being home all the time. My father got sick when I was five and so my early years are pretty much memories of my father wasting away and my mother being strong, taking care of him and managing life. Mom went to work, we went to daycare or babysitters.

My mother is still the strongest woman I know. She never re-married and only rarely dated. My sister and I were her life and she did everything she possibly could to make sure we turned out alright. By mine and my sister’s own words, she did an amazing job. My sister and I are both compassionate people, loyal to our friends and family nearly to a fault. My sister is also a single mother who is doing a fantastic job with my niece. I often look at my niece and think that perhaps her “wildness” might, by another person and in another time, be taken as something that “needed to be addressed”. I am eternally grateful that my sister lets her be who she is going to be because she is simply amazing.

I have no children and no desire for them. I attribute a lot of this to my childhood. I don’t “blame” my childhood, rather, I say it was a good teacher and I do not believe I would be strong enough to handle things as well as my mother did in the worst case scenario she had to endure.

After my father died, I understand from my mom and others that I did not handle it well. My own memories are pretty fleeting except for a few very vivid ones I cling to. I lashed out at my mother but I don’t know if it was any more than another boy would have at that age. My mother took me to a counselor shortly after my father died and perhaps a psychiatric doctor, I’m not certain. I do know that not long after, I was put on Ritalin. I was also put into “special education” classes for people with learning disabilities. I’ll address this first.

Special Education

How do I explain “special education”? Unless you’ve been through the system, you probably have no idea what this entails. you might have seen these kids in school but you probably never really knew them. Maybe you even made jokes about them. These kids were those on the spectrum, or perhaps those who truly had learning disabilities like dyslexia (My best friend back then had a form of this in which he read books backwards). Some had very real anger and violence issues. One of my more vivid memories of these classes was around fifth grade where a kid was screaming and hitting the teacher. He ended up climbing up on top of a tall cabinet out of reach and the room was soon filled with staff trying to get him down.

The curriculum was not the same either. It was for lack of a better term, “dumbed down”. I became bored quickly and would often be reprimanded for “day dreaming”. I started reading books for enjoyment around this time and it was the only thing that took me out of my head.

For my own part, I was in these classes because I did indeed lash out, mostly at my mother and my sister. I was especially mean to my sister even into high school. I believe now that I was jealous of her. She never had to go into special classes, never got put on Ritalin and to my blind young eyes, didn’t have any “problems”. Later I would learn she had dealt with as much or more than I ever would.  I cannot tell you if this anger I had was just “who I was” at the time or if it was due to my father’s death or the Ritalin or a mixture but I can say that I still struggle with anger issues sometimes. I’ll get into more of that later but thankfully, age and experience have taught me to temper anger with creativity and other outlets.

When I was going into my 8th grade year, my mother decided she had had enough of doing it alone and planned to move us from the outskirts of Chicago to Roswell, NM where her parents lived. It would be the beginning of me taking control of my life. I told my mother in no uncertain terms that I would refuse to go back into “special education” classes when we moved. I wanted a new start. Sometimes I laugh at that memory, a twelve going on thirteen year old “telling” his mother he would refuse to go into anything but “regular” classes. To my surprise, she agreed. I saw it as a new start where no-one knew me, where I wasn’t called a “retard” when I came out of the room everyone knew was for “the weird kids”. I was bullied non-stop by a kid in my 6th and 7th grade years. I even remember his name, Mike Zimmerman. I was glad to be leaving even if it was for an ex-military town in the middle of the desert.

By the first month of 8th grade, I knew I was behind. The “special education” classes had not prepared me for the true curriculum I should have known. I struggled hard. My struggles caused me anger and the kids around me could feel this. I got into fights, I spent time in In-School Suspension and I was even suspended out of school a few times. I continued to be bullied until around 10th grade when, after having my nose destroyed by a kid who jumped me for no other reason than I was a loner. I came back to school after a week long suspension (yes, I was suspended for getting hit in the face and running into the counselors office bleeding all over). The kid who hit me was a year younger and was not suspended because “I was older and should know better than to get into fights”. Yes. Really. Something changed after that. I became aware of myself in many ways. One of these ways was my size. I was not a small kid then, nor was I grossly overweight but I did have broad shoulders and natural muscle. The next time this same kid got me alone was in a locker-room in the gym a few weeks after my return. I saw him coming up behind me and without any words I spun on him and drove his head into a locker. I kept bashing his head into the locker until I saw him crying and then I just walked away. He never approached me again, he never looked at me again and he never squealed to the office that I had assaulted him. I had learned to stand up for myself but I had also learned that I had little to know control over my anger in that type of situation. This was something I would struggle with well into my 30’s. People picking on defenseless people became a trigger for me and I would unleash on them. Only in the last few years have I truly come to a place where I can control the black rage which assails me when I see a situation like this.

School never really worked for me and I dropped out in the 11th grade. I did not end up flipping burgers but I’ll get into that below.

Drugged Boy

I do not recall when I was put on Ritalin or when I was taken off of it but I do have memories of being influenced by it. The article, if you read it, touches on some of these and I will do the same with my own experiences here.

I have a memory of standing at my second story bedroom window and wondering what it would be like to jump. My mother corroborate this memory I believe though it’s been a long while since we spoke of it. I would have been around eight or nine. Suicidal thoughts at that age are not unheard of but rare I’d imagine. I believe highly that the Ritalin I was on altered how I perceived things around me.

I relate to some of the article’s other mentions of side effects and longer lasting permanent alterations. Insomnia is probably my earliest memory of any side effect. I remember being up until one or two a.m. when I was ten or eleven and then not being able to get up for school.

Anxiety and Agitation are things I deal with daily. Again, it is hard to tell whether this is just who I would have become anyway or if the years of Ritalin had a hand in shaping me along with a traumatic childhood loss of parents. There really is no way to know.

Suicidal thoughts and depression have also assaulted me from time to time. Since my late twenties the occurrences have been very few and far between and thankfully, never more than a few months of struggling. The most recent bout of these feelings was about a year ago. Each time however, I learn a little more and I’m able to move on.

But, are you ADD/ADHD?

No. At least, I don’t believe I am and I’ve had doctors tell me as an adult that I was most likely misdiagnosed. I believe much of this has to do with advances in the understanding of ADD/ADHD. I absolutely have some ADD moments but I think that is human nature. My career is full of multi-tasking and that could be taken as ADD.

The article I mention at the top touches on this quite a bit. I was a “wild” kid. I had and still have a ton of energy. My friends who are ten years younger than me often comment on it. I was also an adventurous kid. I wanted to and again, still want to explore everything. I consume tons of random information on things as wide and varied as how the Mayan language evolved to why my dog farts and then checks his own backside. I live in Wikipedia for hours at a time and I get sucked into clicking through related topics. Does this make me ADD? Maybe. Or maybe I just enjoy learning new things but never spending a ton of time on one topic. I credit this “dysfunction” for my success in my career so if I’m like this because my mom put me on Ritalin at the advice of a misinformed doctor then all I can say is “Thanks Mom!”

What saved you?
Do you blame the doctors or your mom?
Who are you now?

Define “saved”…

My mother obviously “saved” me. I do not blame her for anything yet she often makes comments and blames herself for the special education, the Ritalin, even not getting re-married. I shush her of course. My mother was a suddenly widowed woman with two young children. To say “she did the best she could” would be an insult. The woman didn’t just “do the best she could”, instead she gave up every dream of how her life might go.  My mother’s goal in life became making sure that my sister and I would have one. She more than succeeded. My mother “creatively financed” (her term), when she needed to make something happen. If we were broke and struggling, my sister and I didn’t really know. Only later would we come to understand how many times we were close to financial ruin. We had what we needed for school, we had food on the table and most important, we had my mother as a stalwart and fair defender of her children. She didn’t back down from those who would try to do us wrong nor would she stand for any bullshit we tried to lay on her. I could spend page upon page telling stories of what my mother taught me, how she taught me even when she wasn’t intending on teach me, etc.

I do not blame the doctors either. That is too easy. Research in this area and most psychiatric areas has come leaps and bounds since that time. I cannot blame a misinformed doctor for putting a kid who’d just lost all the men in his immediate and local family on a central nervous system drug in order to help a single mother control her all-over-the-place son.

I blame no one. The situation perhaps but no one. At the end of the day, I’m pretty happy with who I am.

So then what did “save” me or, at least, what helped me out?

Mom made a decision just after my dad died that would end up being the catalyst for change in my life. It would save me from flipping those burgers when I dropped out of high school and would steer my career. The decision, combined with my natural inclination toward tearing things apart to understand them and putting them back together would steer me toward the life and career I now know.

My mother bought a computer.

It was a Commodore 64. It had a modem. I was instantly addicted. Instead of tearing it apart like I had done with countless alarm clocks, toys, etc to see what made it work, I taught myself how it worked through it’s own language. My equally nerdy babysitter also like computers and showed me a magazine that had code in the back. I was hooked. Looking back, it also focused me. It continues to focus me to this day but not in that dead eyed stare at a gaming console way. It challenges me to focus in order to learn which has the side effect of centering me similar to how meditation works which I also spend quite a bit of time doing.

Today I am 43 years old. Only a year older than my father was when he died. I’ve been married an divorced. My ex-wife and I are still friends and she is still one of the few people I completely trust unequivocally. My lifestyle is not 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. My fence is red-brown and I have no kids. I tend to have more female friends than male, something I absolutely credit my upbringing for. I have an excellent “personal life”. My career is fun and fulfilling. Sometimes I struggle with depression. Sometimes I struggle with anger and maybe I am even a little ADD but all in all, I’m happy.

In closing

I’m not a parent. I’ve never raised a child nor do I have any interest in raising one and perhaps do not have the required patience to do so but I do agree with the article in saying that we need to stop medicating our boys and instead try to embrace who they might be. Certainly there are going to be cases where ADHD/ADD are absolutely something that needs to be treated. I know several mothers and fathers with boys who are truly suffering from these debilitating conditions but I also know and work with young adults who were mis-diagnosed, given Adderal and now have come to rely on it in adulthood as a crutch they probably never really needed. Some of my 20-somethings I work with have admitted suicidal thoughts to me when they try to get off Adderall and others abuse it for the wakefulness effects.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the article mentioned at the top. My own story is not a fair telling of the more common outcomes of boys who are mis-diagnosed and then drugged. I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I am not an alcoholic, I’ve never dived into the drug scene even when I was constantly surrounded by it on a nightly basis. I don’t suffer from much PTSD regarding my childhood nor do I rely on any medication dave for an Advil or two here and there. I have been lucky. Many others have not.

A Year in (of?) Review

calendarAs I pulled my blog up this morning, I realized it is only a few days short of a year since I last posted. A year. Incredible. Not because it’s been a year since I have added something here but because of how 2017 changed me. Without getting into too much detail, I lost the person in my life who I thought would be there forever. She was, in my mind, elastic and ever patient. It turns out she was not and was more than willing to give up an intricate and challenging friendship without much explanation other than about a forty minute conversation without much of a warning. We had been joking around in text in the hours leading up and I’d sent her some URL’s through email which she responded to.

If this sounds bitter, it is not. I made her departure very easy. I was not in a good place and that had nothing to do with her but I put a lot of it on her so when a knight in shining armor came into her life and immediately started painting me in a bad light (again, I made it easy), then she was more than willing to drop our friendship and run. “He made some valid points.” was her response when I asked her if this was her decision or if he had given her an ultimatum. I had my answer but it didn’t make watching her walk away any easier. To his points, I’m guessing they were pretty spot on. I was in a horrible place and unknowingly I was probably taking her with me. She did what I could not, she got out.

In the months that followed, I had a few unpleasant moments. I couldn’t go into downtown Dallas and avoided it at all costs. I nearly ran into her one day in a mall and had to pull out old stealth moves to avoid her. I’d break down at random times and cry like a hungry child. I was a mess but I hid it well from everyone including my fiancé. Well, most of the time. She knew what was wrong because I’d come home from that “last meeting” and told her everything about what had happened but in the coming days I’d tell her I was fine and she accepted it. I went on to deal with the hole alone.

I kept a six month journal because that was the time my ex-friend had told me she needed to sort things out. I figured a journal of daily ramblings might help and it did. It turns out that six months was just a buffer and that she had no intention of returning to our friendship and trying to figure things out. I bought it though and kept that journal faithfully with the intent on giving it to her when we met in six months. It now resides in my safe.

If this all sounds melancholy I apologize. It was to be honest but things got better. I am part of a Ren Faire for two months a year and while it was still difficult in those months, the fair was a fun distraction. I had also met someone at work who has since become one of my good friends. An unlikely friend but a good one. Summer is a blur to be honest.

August came and was a turning point of sorts. I had some kind of silly hope that I’d at least get a Happy Birthday from my old friend. That day came and went and I began to accept that she wasn’t going to call, that I wouldn’t wake up to another friendly text or get an email saying “look, I just need more time, I’m moving, big things are happening, I’ll give you a call someday when I get settled.” Anything would have been better than silence. Instead, her family slowly started dropping me from Facebook.

It began with her sister, after I posted “Have fun!” on a trip she was taking to San Diego. I imagined my friend and her sister talked and that she told her I was nuts, or that I was some horrible person and so she removed me. In reality it probably was not that dramatic.

As fall came and wedding season picked up (I own a DJ business), I had plenty of distractions. Between fall weddings, lifestyle events, planning a trip, Help Portrait and other things, I was pretty occupied and Christmas came quickly. We planned a trip in the new RV (the old one was stolen in July) to the Grand Canyon which turned into 10 days and six National Parks, meeting a new friend and joining up with some other friends on the road and a night in the desert on BLM land. It was an epic adventure.

When I came home, I posted a Throw Back Thursday picture of my old friend on my photography Instagram with a message of understanding and support. Her two cousins, one of which I’d seen not four weeks earlier at a volunteer event and even talked to about my friend, her cousin, were the first two people to “love” the post. Less than two weeks later both would delete me from their profiles and block me. I imagine at the request of my old friend. Where a year ago, I would have immediately assumed anger, I did not, instead choosing to believe that seeing my comments or posts on her cousin’s profiles might be difficult for her. Whichever is true, I accepted it instantly and there was little of that gut wrenching sensation I would have had previously.

So what did I learn?

If you made it this far, congratulations because that is some depressing stuff above. It was depressing to be sure but here I am, still breathing and that is the point after all, isn’t it? Breathing? Continuing on.

I learned that it was possible for someone who no longer wanted me in their life to continue to affect mine nearly a year after they departed. I learned that I can never let that happen again. I learned that I can sink into a pit of depression at levels far deeper than I had ever thought possible. I also learned that sometimes it takes a jarring life event to wake someone up and make them realize who they are.

In the end, it’s very possible that even had our friendship been pristine, she would have pulled out of it anyway. One thing my old friend was unfortunately prone to was manipulation in the name of love and love is what happened. I’m almost certain that if her new love had said “I don’t want you to have any male friends” that she would have complied. This near certainty is bolstered by something one of her family members mentioned to me earlier in the year when they reached out perhaps feeling sorry for me.

I learned that my belief in open communication is a good path and because of the events of 2017, my communication has gotten much better with those I love. I rekindled some friendships that had gone away due to lack of communication, ended some that were detrimental to my life and my relationship with my fiancé strengthened beyond belief.

I learned that I should support my friends no matter what I believe and then be there to celebrate with them or hold them as they cry, whichever the outcome. I failed horribly in this with my old friend and it absolutely contributed to the outcome. Even had we split due to the possibility mentioned above, it would have been an easier departure for both of us.

Most importantly, I also learned that I can change. Without trying to sound like an “old man”, people my age are usually set on a path they established long ago and do not want to change. I went the other way. Over the last year I have gone from an angry, “screw everyone who doesn’t like me” to  someone who values input on who I am and someone who would rather say “You make a good point, I should take a look at that about myself.” Many things have changed. My political leaning even changed which, honestly, beforehand I really didn’t lean either way and was happy in the middle but as I began to actually stand up for what I truly believed in, I realized I lean more to one side than the other.

Something I am still working on is trust. If anything was damaged by the events of the last year, it was trust. When someone jokes with you like nothing is amiss in the hours leading up to their sudden departure, it takes a great deal of trust out of you. This has manifested in not getting to know people like I once did. I used to want to know someone inside and out as soon as possible, I craved their story. Now I tend toward staying with those I already know and trust. My work friend was the exception, she told my walls to f-off. I also have become somewhat of a recluse. Depression has that effect on people but though I’m on the other side of it these days, I still prefer to stay in my house working on projects, hanging out with close friends, my fiancé or the dogs. I’m sure in time that will level out as will other small details.

All in all, I can say as I write this that I am happy. I miss what is lost but I’m thankful for what I’ve gained from the outcome.

A Changing Mindset

124614-matte-white-square-icon-arrows-two-directions-left-right1In the past few weeks, I have randomly asked acquaintances, that is to say, people who do not know me well enough to know my “leaning”; “Do you think I am Democrat or Republican?” The answers varied from shock at why I would ask such a thing to a confident “Republican”. I have been told I “look like a Republican”. Ha!

In reality, I’ve always put myself square in the middle and honestly, if you do know me, you know politics have never been big in my life. I have never voted. Not once. I’ve never felt my centrist views allowed me to vote fairly. I’m often heard saying “Well, I believe the government should stay out of women’s bodies and I also like my guns, so you tell me which way I lean.” Those are two very large discussions though, aren’t they?

Lately, especially in light of this most recent campaign, I find myself agreeing more with the Democratic side than the Republican side and those things I have agreed with in the past on the right are beginning to wane. I certainly don’t believe we “need a wall” and instead need to enact programs to help people come here if they have an honest desire to do so. Sure, terrorism is a problem but building a wall isn’t going to help. I know this for fact. Anti-Cyberterrorism is what I am contracted to fight. Healthcare is also a big one. I’ve always thought the socialist views on healthcare were the best and look at the countries enjoying those benefits.

There are many more and there is *much* I am uneducated about concerning both parties but this is where you come in. In a few minutes I am going to be sending out an email to an email list I’ve kept updated with people I’ve met along the way who have intrigued me or in some way captivated my “brain side”. I am going to ask you to explain your views to me and why you believe what you do because, honestly, I know very little.

 

525,600 Minutes

flat,800x800,070,fThe Bridges he Burned

For the past several weeks I have been doing quite a bit of self exploration. I won’t get into the details because it does not matter for this particular post but today I had yet another a epiphany. These have become common lately. I have spent much time in meditation and soul-searching. If you have been reading this blog or you know me personally this probably does not sound like something you would expect to hear from me.

I can be very cloak and dagger, even with people I hold dear and this has not served me well. This has provoked the ire of friends in the past and more recently put a rift between myself and someone I care for and love. While I am not about to begin walking up to strangers on the street and spilling my life story, I am dedicated to being more open with those who are close to me going forward.

On a few occasions in my life, I have lost people I am close to, not due to death or moving away, but because of my own intensity. It does not happen often thankfully but I always seem to handle it the same way up until now. Normally I am extremely upset and I want to fix everything right now. This generally causes the other person to back away even further. With this last most recent incident, I attempted to take a different path which was to back off as much as possible and give them the space they required. I have not earned a gold star but I am giving it a shot. Instead of trying to contact them constantly to try and “fix it”, I began keeping a daily journal both publicly online at a dedicated web address and in a hand written  journal. So far this has served me pretty well and allows me to put my thoughts down without blowing up someone’s phone.

While the above are realizations I’ve come to recently, they are not the epiphany I had today so lets get into that.

How do you Measure?

If you are anything of a musicals buff, you already know what the subject is about. If not I encourage you to look up the musical “RENT” and the song “Season’s of Love”. The short version is that this song asks how you measure a year in the life of a person. I was listening to this song today and I listen to it pretty often. It got me thinking about how I handle someone going away.

My immediate thought is “we are going to be wasting so much time being apart and we only have so very little time to live.” It upsets me greatly because I truly feel like anything can be solved through communication but on a few occasions in my life, including this one, communication was the last thing someone wanted. My mind just keeps playing that over and over again; “we have such little time why are we wasting it being upset when we could spend it working things out. What if one of us gets hurt? What if one of us has an accident and we can never resolve?” And over and over it goes.

The fact is, when someone wants space, that is the only thing they are thinking about. They are not thinking about any of those possibilities I’ve mentioned above or if they are, the need for space outweighs the risk. They need time to sort out how they feel about a situation or they need to focus on something else without interruptions  from you.

When someone requests space from you and you do not give it to them, it only serves to push them further away. A person who wants space from another is going to get it one way or another. Either you’ll grant their desire or they will put more distance between you. Certainly they could be “letting you down easy” by telling you they just want space temporarily when in reality they have no intention of working on the issue, but I would like to believe that most of the time people truly do want to resolve things with others who are close to them. Admittedly, I have not always been good at granting space from someone I deeply care about.

I have hope for this most recent situation as the person involved is extremely intelligent and self aware. I tend to believe that while I did not want the space and it has been and continues to be extremely painful for me, the end result of resolution will be worth it.

Personal Crossroads

d64912afea_2012-originalWhen I was about 19 or 20, I moved to Longview, TX. It was my first apartment along with my first real “job” on top of being 120 miles from home. It was a new adventure. I turned 21 and another first happened; I bought my first handgun and later, my CHL.

I’ve been around guns all my life thanks to my uncle, who not only taught me to respect them from a young age but also how to care for them, when to use them and when not to use them. I credit him alone with recognizing that I was very interested in firearms and instead of hiding them away, invited me to handle them and later to shoot them. He passed away many years ago but he will always get the credit for giving me a proper respect for firearms.

If you know me well, you know I enjoy the right to own firearms and add another level of protection to myself, my family and my home. If you know me extremely well, you know I am proficient in using them when the need arises. You rarely see me advertising this right on Facebook because I don’t believe it is something that needs to be advertised. You will also rarely see me join a gun debate because, again, I don’t think that kind of thing needs to be argued. I don’t check in from the gun range, I don’t post pictures two-fisting Glocks. The occasional shot of Celeste holding an M4 slips into my Facebook album on occasion because, honestly, that is just pretty (and she is proficient with it which is even more pretty to me).

Although I’ve had my CHL from nearly the day it became a law, I rarely “Conceal Carry”. I keep firearms in the cars most of the time, in the house all the time and I make sure I carry one on long trips. I rarely carry into Star Bucks or Walmart (I know the hardcore are going to balk but that’s ok) and I have not exercised my right to Open Carry even though I fully support it and enjoy the option.

Until recently, I haven’t felt like I “needed” to carry into Walmart, Starbucks or anywhere else like that. Part of this is my training, I feel I can handle myself in hand-to-hand combat well enough not to need to carry all the time. Even in a gun situation, I’ve trained and trained over the years on how to disarm someone whether they are holding a knife, a bat, a small child.. or a gun.

But… Things are changing.

I was downtown, maybe five blocks away the night five officers were killed during a protest. I was armed. I was happy to be armed but I was also happy I didn’t get caught in the middle of it and that my biggest inconvenience was getting out of downtown due to road closures. I keep reading about random acts of violence against minorities by bigots. I keep reading about racist epitaphs left at schools and little girls raped by entitled college white boys.

I keep hearing about hate.

I don’t hate much personally. There are few things in this world I will affix that title to but it seems like those things keep cropping up more and more lately. Rapists, murder of innocents, abusers of women, etc. More and more I think “Man, I should be carrying just in case”.

Perhaps it would shock you to learn that I’d prefer peace over carrying a gun. Hell, I’d prefer legalized sword carrying over a gun but we do not have either and the criminals have guns. Utopia is not possible but a better class of living is in reach if we can come together as a nation and decide to work toward it.

There is a famous and way-overused Ghandi quote; “Be the change you see in the world”. It’s splashed on meme’s, t-shirts, number stickers, tattoos and everywhere in between. It is also true.

For now, I’ll keep looking around, taking in my surroundings, remaining aware and do what I can as one person to make my place in the world a better one. I hope you will do the same and then perhaps, one day, our children, or their children will enjoy a time without war, without hate, without bigotry and with more understanding and respect of each other.