White Priviledge 

Let me start by saying I don’t claim to understand your problems, or anyone else’s.  I have enough of my own problems to deal with.  Also, I am not just some sympathizer jumping on a bandwagon.  So hear me out. 

When I was 12, I got beaten up pretty badly at school and wound up in the hospital, with a skull fracture and damage to my inner ear.  Long story short: I’m white, he’s black.  I was a scrawny 7th grader, he was an average size 8th grader.  After spending a couple days in the hospital and 2 weeks of recovery at home, I was afraid to go back to school.  I was afraid to be white, afraid of my black classmates.  I saw only the bad.  The only black people I wasn’t afraid of were raised by whites.  In high school, I stayed in a mostly white crowd, and black kids made me nervous. 

Let’s get back to the meat of all this.  I’m white.  I’m not Black, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Gay, or otherwise.  I have been teased, beaten; because I was the scrawny kid, the hyper kid, the smart-ass.  Discrimination is real.  But it was never because I was the white kid.  I’ve been turned down for jobs I was more than worthy of, for reasons other than because I’m white; or for that matter male, or Christian.

I know struggle, but I don’t know the struggle of the Muslim in America.  Or the Lesbian.  Nor that of any other race.  I don’t know the Black struggle. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.  Racism is real.  But this isn’t about racism, it’s about white priviledge. 

What does it mean, white priviledge?  To have it usually means to not know it, but that is not always the case.  The man who talks about racism and discrimination to debunk it? Yeah, he’s got it.  The white woman who can’t get welfare and assumes it’s because she’s not black. She’s got it. 

White priviledge isn’t about whites being racist, per se; it is more about our lack of exposure to racism and the subsequent ignorance we have to the struggle of non-whites.  Not just Blacks, but all skin colors outside of white.  Assuming that the struggle for another race or culture isn’t real, can’t be real, because you don’t see it.  That is white priviledge.  Assuming something for any non-white is a certain way, that is white priviledge.  Being raised in a lifestyle with minimal struggle, no exposure to poverty, not knowing racism, having confidence that you will get by and that if you can do it, anyone can…. that could be white priviledge too.  Its not inherently bad.  To be blissfuly ignorant of the hate or injustice of the world is not a reason to assume it doesn’t exist. Some people use their priviledge to advocate for the less fortunate. 

You can’t debunk white priviledge by trying to address racism, by trying to quote this statistic or that report that says there’s now this magical equality that has suddenly appeared in the workplace or the school.  To debunk white priviledge is to prove it exists. 
Back to me.  Even with permanent partial hearing loss, I have outgrown my fears.  I welcome friends of all walks of life. And when some tells me they’ve experienced racism in their life, or they’ve witness a white person given better treatment, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve accepted that just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  It’s not my place to doubt. It’s not your place to doubt. 

Not everything is Progress, and that doesn’t matter

Not everything in life will be rainbows and butterflies, let’s face it.  Here I sit, in the dark of my house at night while the rest of my family sleeps.  Not just in the dark of my house, but also in the darkest place of my heart. 

I have the tough challenge of having to balance many things in my life.  I have a wife and two children with her, along with a daughter from a previous relationship.  I have to juggle my own imperfection with that of my life.  My oldest lives in two households with different rules and personalities.  My wife and I have different opinions on how to run our own household and how to raise three kids with different circumstances and values. We often find ourselves at an impass; and my emotions, my inability to see things the way most people see things, makes parenting more difficult than it should be.  

My parents are divorced and with each of them comes a unique set of difficulties and pleasures.  Annoyances and comforts.  Frustration, anger, and love.  I have a long distance and often strained,often complicated, but always worth it, relationship with my mother; and a geographically closer, simpler, yet often intimidating relationship with my father.  I can only hope to be half the parent either of them are to me.

My wife and I come from different backgrounds.  I am her city boy and she is my country girl.  I am complicated where she is not.  We can both be stubborn and I couldn’t have hoped for a better person to spend my life with; but marriage can be stressful.  Parenting can be stressful.  We don’t always see eye to eye, eithe because we disagree or because we just don’t understand where the other is coming from sometimes.

I think most people look to us bloggers for guidance, for hope.  To be fair, however, sometimes hope is hard to find.  Sometimes you have to accept that there are things in life over which you have very little control.  It could be your emotions, their emotions, the upbringing of your own children… and in the end you can’t always look to hope.  You simply have to do your best to love everyone in your life and trust that the best possible outcome will arise so long as you maintain that love and non-judgement.   

If you are a part of my life, be that part big or small; know that I have nothing but love for you, otherwise you would not be in my life.  I want nothing but the best for you, and there is no one I know who isn’t capable of finding their way to the best life they can have.  We may not always agree, and it may be my fault more often than not when things go wrong or we disagree. I accept that and thank you all for being in my life anyway.  Near or far, big or small; there is not a single person in my life I am not thankful for.  If you come to my blog for support, answers, or comfort; know that in love these things can be found. Find the love in your heart and share it.  It is there, I promise.

My ADHD made me do it

I have witnessed that support groups can be either very helpful (supportive), or unfortunately very unforgiving.  We have all experienced discrimination from people who I lovingly refer to as Normies. We act out in school, talk out-of-turn, are called spaz and retard.  This is the world we know.  A person new the the diagnosis is easy to spot, as everything that happens to them is on account of their ADHD.  When you’re talking to an entire group of people with ADHD, you don’t have to explain. In fact, for a lot of people, it’s kind of annoying.  At least, that’s how it seems to me.  Sometimes I feel like an wizened old codger watching, reading the interactions of people so much newer to the game than I.  Other times, of course, I feel helpless without the people I’ve met in the ADHD community.

For me, gone are the days of “my ADHD made me.”  I am my ADHD. Which means I must be hyper aware of what I say, how I act.  Not easy, I dare say often next to impossible.  Hindsight, though. Hindsight’s a bitch.  Shoot off an email, then realize I said something the wrong way.  But my ADHD didn’t make me do that.  My impatience did.  

I digress.  With ADHD, we know discrimination.  We know inequality. But imagine being black or Muslim AND having ADHD, or any other mental illness.  Imagine being a lesbian or transgender, and having a disability which makes self control nearly impossible.  

What I witnessed was about someone not understanding something they read about immigrants (blaming their ADHD) and how they were spurned afterward.  ADHD didn’t cause this to not understand.  That would be ignorance.  Questioning it was the right thing, that’s how we learn.  ADHD caused this person to not think about the way they asked, which further displayed their ignorance.  THEN, they were unfriended and told off by someone of equal ignorance rather than that person taking the opportunity to educate their peers.   

So while so many people are blaming their actions on the trials of life caused by their skin color, or their mental illness, or their righteousness, ignorance breeds ignorance. Racism breeds racism. Discrimination begets discrimination.  Excuses traded for more excuses.  

Be aware of your ADHD  and act accordingly. Be aware of How your race, your disability, or your lifestyle might be judged or might keep you from understanding others. Understand your own situation and how best to adress it before entering into discourse, and think about how and why others might feel the way they do, as strongly as you feel the way you do.  Be open minded about the fact that your situation may provide you with better circumstances than others.  Others’ situations may put them in worse circumstances.  Race, religion, disability; they are all real. They all cause very real problems for people. Very different problems.  
I’m not sure this is written as clearly as it needs to be.  Some things are difficult to stay PC about.  You can’t just say your problems are worse than mine or anyone else’s.  You can’t just say you know someone’s pain because you have pain.  And you can’t hide behind your circumstances.  That’s the gist of it.

Saying No to Jesus

“I politely said ‘no, thank you.'”  

I woke from a dream last night and as I was putting the dream into words I wrote this phrase.  The dream was about the death of Jesus.  The death was in modern times but still with the cinematic drama of the original. It was the end of days. As Jesus burst from his entombment on a Harley to Heaven, he somewhat shouted to me much like Santa from his sleigh ” would you like some fresh water (fresh clean water being scarce after the apocalypse)? Its straight from heaven…”

 I politely said “No thank you,” half dazed by the spectacle before me, and he sped into the sky on his way to heaven.
Jesus offered me a cup of water from heaven. HIS CUP. Anyone who has seen Indiana Jones knows that means immortality… i turned it down to be polite.  Jesus, by the way, was the same Jesus from AMC ‘s The Walking Dead.

We decline things now as a courtesy.  We offer to share as a courtesy. We have become a world in which the polite thing about “no, thank you” isn’t the thank “you;” it’s the “no.” Because we say no, we have spared the offerer the burden of the unwanted share, offered only as a conversational courtesy when in fact we so often would prefer not to share.  I turned down everlasting life from Jesus because i fell into conversational social habits and declined… 

What struck me about that, as a matter of reflection, is that I often turn down things offered to me because I feel guilty about accepting things when I cannot return the favor. I am not very well off and I’m very forgetful.  I’ve also noticed that most people I know offer to dhare things all the time.  Food, time, space… but many also complain later. “I didn’t want to share but I felt bad.” I suppose they at least know they did the right thing, like it or not.

Make America Smart Again

It’s funny, I find myself comforting my Democratic friends in much the same way I did my Republican friends 8 years ago.  This is a controversial candidate who got people talking about politics.  He will either do a good job, or he’ll screw up so badly it will light a fire under people to better educate themselves for the next election.  Either way, it’s 4 years, or eight years, and then it’s over.  This country has had it’s share of terrible presidents.  Cheaters, racists, crooks… We’re still here.  We’ll still be here in 4 years.  in 8. in 24.  In 60.  Don’t be conned into thinking our country is ruined now, and don’t be fooled into thinking Trump can, in 4 years, make America so much greater than she already is.  None of this is true.

Trump, like any other president, really has no real idea what he’s walking into until he’s briefed on everything.   He will have to make decisions as situations come his way, and they may not be the decisions he wants to make because of the intel, if you will, that he has.  A campaign promise based on limited knowledge has limited chance of fruition.

Another thing: the fears and claims that the country will now move backwards, regress to darker times of racism, bad policy, etc., are crap.  Racism and bad policy are already here!  Cronyism is in the news every day.  Crooked cops, crooked politicians, crooked banks, white people released without charge a day after someone black got the book thrown at them for the same situation.  Teachers not allowed to teach to the strengths of their students; instead forced to teach fish to climb trees.  This is already policy.  If you’re out there crying about how the country is going to get worse you need to pull your head out of your ass and realize it already has.

This is the time to stress education and discourse.  Learn about what is going on in politics, and actively pursue your interests.  Write your congresspeople.  Advertise, vote, donate, get behind your causes.  Act.  This is how the country will move forward.  It really is that simple.

 

And whatever you do, don’t go out and get an asinine bumper sticker about Hillary for Prison or other ignorant political statements because that just means you’re sheep.

 

Bumpersticker banner

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s about that time.  New Year’s resolutions.  New Year, New Me.  and all that.

 

Here’s how it works.  identify three things you want to accomplish in 2017.  Then start now.  Yes, start now.  Let’s face it: if these are important enough to dedicate an entire year to, you can start now.  Let’s address NY resolutions for what they really are: justified procrastination.  I feel better about the poor choices I’m about to make for the next 4 weeks because I’ve already taken the first step in becoming a better person: I’ve decided to wait 4 weeks to do it.

 

Screw.  That.  Get up off your butt and get things started now.  Exercise.  Save money.  Pay more attention to your spouse.  Play more with your kids.  Call your family.  Today.  buttkick

 

Is it ADHD, or am I just angry?

My favorite blogger, Tom Nardone, once wrote about the idea that sometimes it’s not ADHD, it’s just a bad day.

I imagine it is probably easy for those around me to associate every time that I get angry with Tantrum, and dismiss the validity of my frustration. Admittedly, I often do not direct my frustration at the source. I generally just get testy and take it out on anyone or anything around me; so its easy to miss that I might actually have a valid reason to be upset.  Right now, my anxiety is at an all time high, because I’m starting a new role at work.  So, while nothing about work has made me angry or upset, I’m still uptight.  I am nervous and trying to learn new things all day, and so when I get home, I’m tired or annoyed.  One might say that if my temper is harder to control at this stage, that it’s my ADHD.  Maybe it is…

Here’s the thing: regardless of why I’m freaking out, in my mind it is valid in the moment. Its me against the world.  These days, I will shut myself off from the world and from whatever has triggered me so I can calm down. Some people call this “sulking.  Whatever.  When I’m “sulking” you have to leave me the hell alone.  That’s all there is to it.  The worst possible thing you could do is nag at me about how I “always walk away.”  I do always walk away.  There’s a reason for that.  I either have shut down mentally and cannot hold a conversation due to my temper, or I recognize my temper is a thing, and I’ve walked away to talk myself down without negatively impacting my family.  I may always walk away, but when I’ve calmed down, I always come back and the conversation is always better than if someone stops me and forces me into confrontation.

I know it seems childish, or immature, but seriously consider, when someone is at their melting point, just leaving them alone to stew a bit.