Monday, July 6, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Nation

It's been a while since I've seen fit to visit these old stomping grounds. The truth of the matter is that there's no one single reason as to why I haven't been around lately. Life takes its turns where it will, and when it does, you either buckle up and put both hands on the wheel, or you end up getting banged around like a stray coin in a dryer. Between my struggles with court reporting studies and moving back to Roseville after so long in Auburn, not to mention helping my fiancee plan our wedding, I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog about everything that's been driving me mad in regards to politics this past week. Or for that matter in the year or two it's been since I've actually blogged around here, but with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court regarding gay "marriage", I finally felt the need to dust off the keyboard and get off my chest that which has been eating at me since the ruling was made over a week ago.

Put simply, this is the worst case of judicial activism since Roe v. Wade in the seventies. Except that this case will make that one look like a candle flame to the gay marriage inferno. Over 80 percent of the country identifies as Christian in some way, shape, or form. Are the majority of those people just going to sit back and take this lying down? My guess, personally, is no. Already we have a Christian man who has decided to fight back rather than pay a business-destroying fine for not serving a lesbian couple a wedding cake. Texas's state government officials, including Governor Abbot himself, are actively and outright defying the ruling as if it was never made. Pastors all over the country are calling for civil disobedience in the face of this ruling as well. That doesn't sound at all like a group ready to kow tow to some magically created "right" in the Constitution, an that gives me a bit of hope.

That said, when I read stories like the above mentioned, I also realize that during my entire childhood, I had yet to live in a time when there was a real crisis of any sort going on in America. I was born only a few months before Jimmy Carter left office and the Reagan Era began. My first twelve years in this country and on this Earth were essentially nothing but prosperity. On top of being a kid, and having no worries, I was living in the strongest economy America had experienced up to that point. Even through the Clinton years I never noticed anything really wrong with the country or the economy. In fact, the first real sense of dread I felt was in 2008, after the economy tanked and Obama was elected. It was the first presidential election I really paid attention to,and it was when the scales were pulled off my eyes and I began to see that this politics stuff MATTERED. I was so affected by this revelation that, come 2012, upon Obama's reelection, I actually cried myself to sleep. No joke.

Yet, now, after the last six years, I came to realize that the current cycle is temporary, and the winds of change are already blowing in a rightward direction. For all the talk about Hillary's supposed inevitability as the next President of the United States, Ted Cruz seems to be blazing quite the path toward the White House. However in the bag she thinks her candidacy is, Hillary will have a fight on her hands if Cruz gets the nod.

What's the point of all this rambling, you ask? Well, put simply, that things will get better. This too shall pass, and all that. It's going to take more than one bad president to erode America's founding principles.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Into the Woods for a Much Needed Reminder

It's been a while since I saw a stage show. Before yesterday afternoon, (Saturday, August 10 as I begin writing this post) I hadn't been to the theater in I don't know how long. I can't even remember the last show I saw that wasn't projected onto a screen rather than being performed live on a stage. Even the plays I HAD seen up until this point had been on Netflix, due to a lack of both cash and time to go to the theaters at which these productions were playing. That changed recently, when my better half of almost nine years now decided to purchase tickets to a show by Stephen Sondheim known as "Into the Woods", a fairy tale that takes the concept of the "fairy tale ending" and turns it on its head.

In summary: The show deals with several of everyone's favorite Grimm Fairy Tale characters such as Jack (of beanstalk fame), Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and their respective Prince Charmings. Their stories begin as we all know they do. Red is off to Grandmother's house to deliver a basket of goodies, Jack is of to market to sell his last cow for money with which to buy food from a local baker and his wife who, as part of their own story, desire a child. These characters, as well as the witch who imprisoned Rapunzel in her tower, all live within walking distance of a forest known simply as "the woods" wherein the characters are required to trek in order to accomplish their  respective goals. Act One of the play ends with each character having reached the supposed ends of their quests, and even has a finale musical number entitled "Ever After", that ends with the caveat "To Be Continued" spoken by the story's narrator. In Act 2, the story's moral of "be careful what you wish for" is explored in full.

Act 2 begins with the baker and his wife caring for their new child and contemplating adding a room to their home, Jack and his mother enjoying their (stolen) wealth, and Cinderella wishing to sponsor a festival such as the one she attended in Act 1. The witch has, thanks to the efforts of the baker and his wife in the previous act, regained her youth and beauty at the  expense of her magical power, as well. Thus is the stage set for what happens "Ever After".

Well, it turns out that "ever after" isn't as happy as the fairy tales would have us believe. Jack's adventures in the clouds have angered the wife of the giant he killed, and she is now looking for him so that she might bring him to justice. The giant's rampage destroys Red Riding Hood's home, and results in the deaths of several characters. At the end of the second act, we are treated with an ensemble reprise of the number "Children Will Listen", which warns that obedience and learning are not the same thing.

What's my point, you ask?

My point is that when I saw this show in high school for the first time, it affected me greatly, and has been my favorite show ever since. The viewing of that show on the tenth reminded me as to why. It served as a reminder that life isn't fair. We all, in our own way, have to journey "Into the Woods" at some point in our lives. When we do, we face the dangers of such a place, but we also experience the wonders. If we never journey into the woods, we might be safe at home and alive, but we're missing out on all the many paths and experiences that await.

When I first saw this show, I didn't realize that literally no one can avoid their own personal journey into their own personal woods. After having been through a few more experiences in the decade since I left high school, however, I realized unequivocally that I'd already journeyed there multiple times, whether I knew it or not. When I got my first job, learned to drive, even something as simple as driving somewhere I wasn't familiar with before. The realization was extremely emotional for me, and I didn't bother hiding the tears  that were brought to my eyes as a result.

In short, I learned something about myself during this particular journey into the woods, and I liked what I learned. I"ve been into the woods many times, and I've learned more than I thought in my time there. I've grown as a person by experiencing the seemingly mundane and every day problems that we all face as adults. I have, in short, matured without realizing it and I never would have done so without venturing into my own personal wood.

All in all, it's not  bad way to be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Regarding the Second Amendment...

It's been quite a while since I've done this. personally I'm rather shocked that all of my followers haven't abandoned this blog in favor of people who've been able to update recently. I'm also glad to see that the opposite is true.

Why have I been gone for so long? To put it bluntly, I got bored. I ran out of outrage with which to fuel the passion I had when writing posts that pointed out the idiocy of the administration, or the infractions on our civil liberties by both federal and state entities. I simply didn't have the drive to continue for a long while. It didn't help that I was attempting to live something called "life" either. I continue with my court reporting lessons, a stint as an insurance salesman. Now, because of that decision, I have a lot more time on my hands. So, I decided to dust off the old blog and write down my thoughts on things that happen day to day whenever it strikes my fancy to do so.

I chose today to do this because of a recent Facebook debate I was engaged in regarding the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Someone posted an article on gun violence that prompted several others, myself included, to chime in on the discussion regarding that particular subject, as well as the second amendment in general. I came down in favor. Several others...did not. One, whom I had initially mistaken for being against the idea of an armed populace, was actually advocating ways in which guns could be made safer and easier to use by law abiding citizens. I unfortunately let my passions get the better of me and began treating him as if he were just another gun-grabbing wannabe tyrant. This proved to be a mistake.

During that conversation, I was lumped in with a sort of "gun culture" that apparently accepts the number of people being murdered by gun violence in this country at 30,000 per year. After this person's repeated use of that number, I decided to do a little digging and see if that number were true, or even accurate.

Turns out, after glancing over Politifact.com, the number is indeed accurate but, fortunately, the article I found broke down the number to its base components by incident type. Here it is copied and pasted by yours truly for all who read this to see:

Suicide: 18,735 deaths
Homicide: 11,493 deaths
Unintentional: 554 deaths
Legal interventions: 333 deaths
Undetermined: 232 deaths

Notice the first category, suicide. 18,735 deaths per year. This means that according to Politifact's source, almost half of those people that die every year from gun violence are people who decide to put a gun to their head one day and pull the trigger. Compare this to homicide, which is in turn almost half of what the suicide rate is. The rest of the study shows that gun accidents, legal interventions and undetermined incidents are but a pittance compared to the above two rates. This of course does not include those who get shot and survive the encounter, as I am merely deconstructing the number of deaths, not the number of shootings.

What can we derive from looking at these numbers? Firstly, let's look at the overall population of the United States. According to Google, the number is 313.9 Million. Of these 300,000,000 people, one third are subject to some form of gun violence, be it a death or an injury. Of that one third, one third are actual deaths, using the 30,000 figure from earlier. Of THAT group, almost TWO THIRDS are suicides, with almost an additional third being homicidal incidents.

It would seem to me that access to firearms is not the issue, as many would have us believe. What we need to really do regarding gun violence is examine not the "how", but the WHY of gun violence. Why are people shooting each other? What can we do to convince them not to? Or, failing that, the next generation?

I wish I had the answers. Sadly I do not.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day Five of the Shutdown: Still not Feeling the Pain

As the title indicates, I am simply still not feeling the pain of the supposed government shutdown. If anything this one is easier to deal with than the 94-95 shutdown, and that was back when I was completely ignorant of politics beyond who the president of the United States was at that given time. Would report on what's happening, but it can be summed up in one word: NOTHING!

In other news, I finally visited healthcare.gov, to see if the glitches were as widespread as people said they were, and guess what! They totally were! This is the message I received after clicking "apply now" on the website:

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:

10.4.5 404 Not Found

The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.

This is the glowing advertisement given to us the American people. This is the solution to all the healthcare problems in the country. THIS STEAMING PILE OF CRAP IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HOLY GRAIL OF LIBERALISM? WHAT A JOKE.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day Four of the Shutdown: It's the End of the World as I Know it, but I Feel Fine.

I stole the title of this post from a song that I and everyone who grew up in the 1990s with me likely heard on a daily, if not hourly basis for the majority of that decade. We are now in  Day Four of the infamous government shutdown that was threatened when Ted Cruz took the floor of the Senate to (sort of) filibuster amendments to a bill that would have funded the government at the cost of funding Obamacare. I would have reported on the first three days of the shutdown, but honestly, NOTHING HAPPENED that was worth reporting. At least not until a crazy woman decided to run the barricades that have been set up in Washington because she thought the President was stalking her (no joke). That, incidentally had nothing to do with the shutdown, and the story was over almost before it began, since the woman was shot dead after leading the capitol police on a merry high speed chase. The only other events of interest are the media's expected and not surprising-at-all attempts to link the woman to Tea Party politicians and blame her behavior on the aforementioned shutdown.

People from all over the country are either complaining or elating that the government has shutdown, even partially. Here's the kicker, though: The government isn't the be all and end all of our lives, and this proves it. Just a look at what is being shut down should tell you that this is only a game to the suits on the Hill. The Grand Canyon has been shut down, national parks, the freaking WORLD WAR II VETERAN'S MEMORIAL has been barricaded off and cordoned, only to be broken through by what one of my fellow bloggers in the sphere called "The Charge of the Walker and Wheelchair Brigade" or some such thing like that. Unlike the referenced Charge of the Light Brigade, however, their efforts were not futile, and they succeeded in visiting said memorial with the help of the Fifth Column agents within the D.C. federal security that were supposed to keep them out. So there's that.

The reason, in my opinion, why the government shutdown is at the forefront of the news is not for the sake of reporting on the shutdown itself, but rather it is being used as a smokescreen NOT to report on the disastrous roll out of Obamacare, which was supposed to go without a hitch on October 1 of this week, and instead was met with all manner of glitches and bugs almost from the moment of its unveiling. By the time I went to Healthcare.gov it was at least partially working, but I didn't actually try to go through the enrollment process. Chicks on the Right had a post with video that explains the glitches, changing the tone of a story that was originally intended to be a glowing report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the new system. I watched the video the day of that post and had to resist the urge to laugh out loud at the irony.

Also in Obamacare/shutdown news:

Reports initially came in from my home state of California that over five million people had attempted to sign up for Obamacare, which they said was what resulted in the shutdown of the site, as well as myriad other bugs and glitches. This was later revised DOWNWARD  to just over 600,000. Even here in the People's Republic of Mexifornia no one is signing up for this thing. Add that to the fact that no one is signing up in Her Highness Queen Kathleen Sebelius I's home state of Kansas, and you get a sense of just what kind of steaming pile Obamacare really is.

More to come on Day 5

Friday, September 20, 2013

One Step at a Time

Big news, blogosphere! I have come out of my pseudo-retirement in order to inform all of my followers that a victory has been achieved for our side. I heard on the radio today as I was working my recently acquired paper route that the GOP has finally decided that listening to the American people is a good thing. Specifically that they've voted in the House of Representatives  (on a bi-partisan basis, no less) to defund the legislative monstrosity that is Obamacare. CBS News reports that the continuing resolution passed the House in a 230-189 vote, and would allow for funding of every government program currently in place, save for the Affordable Care Act. I don't need to tell you all, dear readers, that the Left is absolutely livid at this development, which only goes to show that the House Republicans are finally beginning to do one of two things: Either they're showing some backbone, or they're more afraid of the American people than they are of their "colleagues" in Washington. My guess is it's a little of both. After all first it was amnesty, then it was gun control, and now they're finally bringing the big guns to bear. We still have a long way to go, but at least we're one step closer than we were yesterday, am I right?

The above article also notes a quote from Dear Leader, loosely translated as: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!:

You don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way," Obama said in a campaign-style speech at a Ford plant in the Kansas City, Missouri area, adding that legislators in Washington were focused on politics and "trying to mess with me," rather than helping the middle class.

That was King Barack complaining that Republicans are threatening to "blow up" the government so that they can get rid of Obamacare. Remember folks, that this continuing resolution funds EVERY DEPARTMENT IN NEED OF FUNDING except the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Every news report and article I've seen says this. Yet we have Nancy Pelosi being let out of her Crazy Box to say the following:



Yes, you heard right, readers. Apparently we who would see Obamacare defunded are nothing more than "legislative arsonists". I'm not even sure what the heck a legislative arsonist is, but as I haven't seen anybody burning piles of bills in the news or on the internet, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that no burning is being done. Maybe it was Pelosi's pants on fire that she thought were causing the flames? I don't know. What I do know is, that woman needs to cut out the botox so her brain can heal a little bit. Sadly, though, I believe it may be too late for the poor organ inside her skull.

Yet I've found that no one can sound quite like a whiny child better than Dear Leader himself. Listen to this:



Sour Grapes anyone?

Monday, July 1, 2013

You Don't Get Over it, You Just Get on With It

I read in a Facebook post once that behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist. I don't believe I've ever heard a phrase that fit me so well in my entire life. When I was younger, I was what you might call a textbook idealist. I believed the best in everyone, no matter what. I was raised in a traditional Roman Catholic household, and was raised to such ideals as that faith teaches. I embraced the idea of a loving God and a chance at living in a world beyond this where no one knew anything even remotely similar to pain, suffering or torment. When I was younger, however, I was also not nearly as wise as I am now. I'm still not as wise as I would like to think I could become, but I like to think also that I've learned a thing or two in my 32 years.

Now that I think about it, I believe my idealism started to erode a long time ago, though I can't pinpoint an exact moment in my life when it might have started. All I know for certain is that at some point I became much more cynical about the world I live in. Perhaps there wasn't just one moment where it all came crashing down. I don't know. All I know is that these days, I've found it hard to find the good where it used to stare me right in the face. Maybe it's because life wasn't what I thought it was. Maybe it's because there has have been so many changes in my life that I no longer believe there's any sort of rock or safe harbor for me to sail to in times of emotional distress. This blog, ,now that I think about it, reflects that change rather accurately judging from the older posts versus the newer ones. Before when I started this blog it was for the purpose of keeping track of my then current schooling at MTI College, where I was studying at the time to become a paralegal. I finished that schooling, marking the end of a milestone of my life. I completed half of the two year program, and was looking forward to completing the second half, yet that never materialized. Perhaps it was due to my own lack of action. I'm not entirely sure, but for whatever reason that second year never materialized. I despaired, as any human being would when their chosen path turns into a dead end.

Funny. As I wrote the above paragraph, I came to realize that maybe there was a single moment where everything went awry for me. It had to have been the day, the very first day, that I willingly missed going to church. I don't know which day of my life that was, but it was sometime after I graduated high school and stopped having my mother watch over my shoulder every Sunday to make sure I went. I just...stopped for some reason. I'm not even sure what the reason was. Maybe it was because I thought I could make my own decisions about my faith and my life. Maybe it was a rebellious streak I was experiencing without ever knowing it. I'm not sure. All I do know is that I did it. What I didn't know at the time was the effect it would have on me years down the road.

After high school, I didn't know it, but I was lost. I was wandering, trying to find an identity that I didn't even know I was missing. For a long while I was enamored of being a writer to make a living. I was told since eighth grade that I have a gift for the practice, and I even lurched about experimenting with ways to learn the profession before shifting my focus to drama and acting. On the stage a new me awoke. I'd done stage performance before in an extremely limited capacity (forced assignments in elementary school and a dance class in high school that I needed to fill an elective slot). But it was during my senior year of high school that I truly came alive in such an avenue as stage performing. I'd never had so much fun in my entire life. I shifted career choices, not because I was disappointed, but because I felt that there was a new purpose in my life. 

I think the first time I felt the despair I mentioned earlier, though, was when I lost my first job. I worked for five and a half years at my town's local Burger King. I was good at it, too, though I got off to a rocky start, as it was my first real job. After a while, though, I became their most valued employee. I say this without any sort of false modesty. I was good at that job. Everyone said so, and I knew it because everyone said so. I was on the fast track to high level employment at my first job because I was idealistic enough to believe that I could succeed. I believed I could go as high as I wanted if only I worked hard enough and long enough, and kept an eye out for the opportunity.

And then I got fired.

You read that correctly. I got fired from the job I'd held for five and a half years. The story behind that is that I was working the cash register one day, only to come up short by a few dollars. My current manager was talking to my new manager about this, and the new one was told that a second offense in that regard would result in termination. Not really thinking about this information, I went about my day as normal making an effort to be more careful about keeping track of the money in the cash drawers.

It happened again.

I came up a meager amount short, but it was by a wide enough margin to bring about a suspension. Okay, a suspension. I could handle that. I'd been suspended before for making a mistake, why not again? At least I wasn't getting fired. Or so I thought at the time. After a week's suspension I came back to work ready and rearing to resume my duties, only to discover that I'd been left a note. The note was simple. It stated that my employment was terminated because of the fact that my drawer had come up short.

This was when I knew true despair for the first time. I could not believe that someone of my reputation had been ousted from his job because of a simple mistake that anyone could have made. To this day, I'm convinced that I wasn't terminated so much because of that, but because that manager was cleaning house. I wasn't the first one he'd fired, and I wasn't the last, either. But I certainly felt like I was the only firing that mattered. I couldn't understand the why of it, and when I can't understand the why of it, I get angry. I got angry when I was fired to the point that I cried openly when I was in the shower that night. It didn't help that when I told my mother she reacted less than favorably, and took her anger and confusion out on me because I was there. I had another job at the time at Paradise Bakery, believing that I needed it to supplement my income. I used it to that purpose for a time, of course, only to lose the extra income of Burger King in the process. Once that happened it became my sole income. Instead of appreciating that fact, I dwelt on the loss I'd suffered. I lost a great deal of self-confidence when I lost that job, though I didn't come to that realization until much later.

Time passed, as time is wont to do. Nothing changed about my life much in those years after I left Burger King, but I thought I was still persevering, trying to find a way to make my own way in the world. I wasn't. I was spinning my wheels. I still am, to some degree, though I've found another career choice that involves the courtroom and might be more suited to my talents. God willing, it'll be so.

Much happened in my life that I could go into detail about, but the long and short of those intervening years is that the despair lingered, though there were intervening moments of happiness during those years, I didn't notice them. Or if I did notice them it was only as someone notices a fleeting memory they hold fondly. As something they've lost and can never have again. It continued that way for years, even though I either chose not to see, or was incapable of seeing.

Fast forward to 2008. The political event of the century. The first black president was on his way to being elected, and I was here to see it. I was lucky enough to become politically aware at this time, too. Though part of me at times wishes it weren't so. The things I see in the news each day make me want to give up each and every day, some more than others. There are fleeting moments of  a positive nature on the news, of course, but they are so few and far between that I often wonder if the good outnumbers the bad. I still despair, more openly in fact, because of the state of the world and the fact that I was largely powerless to stop many of the bad things that happened from happening. I felt weak, impotent and powerless. Yet I had someone with me by that time that would help me in ways I could never have imagined back then.

I met Stephanie a year before we started dating. It was a fairly innocuous meeting, and we didn't talk, though we shared the same group of mutual friends at Sierra College. All that changed a year after we met, when Steph and I began coming up with character concepts for the game and we discovered a mutual creativity for storytelling. We still express this tendency today over chat programs wherein we play the characters whose stories we're telling.

Steph and I grew closer as the months passed, and eventually became good friends. I still remember the moment it began, too. She'd announced to the group that she was going for a walk around campus and that if anyone cared, they could come with. I chose to be her companion that day on her walk, and I listened as she told me her troubles, offering what little advice I could on the matter when prompted. Little did I know the huge impact this would have on my life from then on.

After that walk, I believe Steph began to change as well, and definitely for the better. The talk we had that day was only the first of many to come, the ones back then focusing mostly on her troubles with her then-boyfriend. Eventually, Steph grew to realize through those talks that she deserved better than she had, though at the time I didn't know that I would be the "better" that she would end up with. Yet looking back I wonder if I wasn't just the "better" that she needed, but the "best". They often say that George Washington was the only one who could do what he did at the time that he did it. Is the same true with me? Perhaps I'll never really know, but I've always believed that things happen for a reason, and this had definitely happened for reasons I wouldn't immediately notice.

After I met Stephanie and we began dating, the despair lifted. It had always been a goal of mine for many reasons to have a significant other, and I'd had a small number of people I'd called such over the years before her, and many false starts in between those, but with Stephanie it was different. It was very, very different. For one, the others I'd known had some measure of self confidence. Steph didn't have any when I first met her. I suppose that's what first drew me to her. I've always had a bit of a hero complex, and I saw a chance to help someone who needed it. It's been a long road, but I think I've done well, if I may toot my own horn for just a bit. I didn't yet realize that the hard times were just around the corner.

Those hard times would hit, as hard times often do, like a ton of bricks. I would like to believe that we didn't see the hard times coming, but looking back I think we were just in a state of denial. Her parents were elderly. Older than my own parents are, which should have been the first indicator. The other obvious indicators were their respective states of health. Her mother was long disabled from years working as a nurse, and her father had smoked for years and , as we would find out later, had developed esophageal cancer in addition to his heart disease. It was the second of these that would claim his life a few years into our relationship. Three years later, her mother's numerous health problems would claim her, sending her home to the Father Above.

The first three years were hard, but bearable. It didn't seem bearable at the time, but the fact that we got through it tells me that they were in fact bearable. Losing Steph's father, my would-be father-in-law, hit us both right in the heart, but Steph took it a lot harder than I did. Or perhaps we took it equally hard and just had a different way of showing it. I focused my grief into helping Steph deal with hers, only really letting it show after her cat had to be put down after he was gone. Steph lost her job weeks after he left us, and then her childhood home months later. They found another place, after which time I stayed with them permanently for a year, before opting to take an offer from my Dad to help me get my own life in order and move back in with him and mom. 

It was during this time, just as I was starting to readjust to living with my parents again, that Steph lost her mother. I got the call when I was at work that Steph had called 911, and was going to meet me at the hospital when I got there. After waiting for several hours we found out that Irma Pauline Eckhardt had died of heart failure. After three years of trying to hold on, God proved that no matter how tight the grip, when he calls you home, you have no choice but to answer. Well, answer she did, and left us wondering why it had to happen.

We wondered for a long time. I think Steph is still wondering. But I've at least come to some sort of answer that makes sense. The both of them died when they did because we needed to be thrown from the nest. After they were gone I realized that we'd been depending on them too much. It was then that I realized I had been depending on my own parents too much as well. I poured myself into my studies and steph into hers, and we soldiered on, but the despair still lingered.

Fast forward to today. I've lost my job at Staples due to layoff, Steph has finished school after returning and has student loans coming down the pike, and I'm still trudging along with my own schooling. I'm not getting hours at my new job, though I'm lucky to have found one, and they insist that they're going to give me hours, but I'm forced to look for other opportunities in case they don't. The despair came back in earnest after being gone for quite a while. I had a row with my mother because of that despair. I contemplated suicide because of that despair. But here's where things start looking up.

I've been watching Touched by an Angel on reruns lately, and the lessons that show teaches have stood the test of time, at least for me, and some have hit especially close to home, but there is one that repeats itself over and over again each episode: God loves you. I hear it at least once each episode. I sometimes have trouble remembering this fact, but the episodes have done wonders for helping me do so. 

What's my point after so long a post, you ask? My point is that I have chosen, after a sleepless night writing this post, that I choose to keep going. I choose to remove the despair from my life and replace it with the optimism and hope I had when I was growing up. I choose to be a positive force and face the hard times with those I love, helping them when they need it, and getting help from them when I need it.

I will not give up.