No Answers

I’ve spent the past few days, as I’m sure many people have, in an introspective and desperately saddened mode. Just like them, I wonder what it is in our society that creates monsters who kill masses innocent of anything other than the breath they breathe. I’ve questioned the gun issue and the mental health issue and the everything issue. I’ve grown both weary and wary of looking at the internet and at facebook. All I see is Babylon. Crime and violence have won–they have made us all hate and blame one another in the justification of easing our own souls.

I can’t take a stand on the gun issue because I believe that people who are going to do massive damage to innocents are going to find a way. Sure, gun restrictions will help in many cases, but they aren’t a solution. Neither is blaming mental illness or autism or Asberger syndrome.

The answers aren’t that simple. Regulating guns will make some people feel safer, but I’m not so sure that it’s any real solution. Taking aim at mental illness is only sure to make that many more people feel isolated, afraid, and disconnected from the world. I say this because I know.

As someone who was diagnosed with the all-too-taboo “borderline personality disorder” by a psychologist who treated me for years, I feel personally affronted when people mention “personality disorder” in relation to any major tragedy. But, I won’t claim that behavioral disorders or mental disorders aren’t a catalyst in current tragedies and those of the past. Just like autistics and so-called “normal people,” there is a chance that one of those who exist within your “social category” are going to go nuts and do some awful thing.

I understand why people want to label and to place blame–they can’t handle it. Neither can I, really. It’s awful. It’s terrible. Why would someone kill children?

And I guess the only people I can think who would understand the most are those who lived through World War II. In the aftermath of that awful slaughter, I think most people in the world wondered how something so awful could have come to be. How they could have witnessed it. How they could have let it exist. How could anyone?

Today, I think that we suffer from the same guilt–the feeling of “Why? What did I do that facilitated this awful thing?” And that makes most people angry–because they didn’t do anything personally to facilitate to this disaster. And because they can’t do anything to “make it go away.”

I want there to be an answer out there, but I don’t think it exists. I want us to be a more loving, more accepting, more embracing culture than we are–or likely than we’ll become. Now I feel the saddest watching friends and friends alike burn torches and crumble bridges based on their own instinctive need to fix the problem. I’m not even sure there is a solution.

Part of it, though, if there is indeed an answer to the violence and the sadness of today’s world is to be present. To really be there for those people that you love. To listen to them and to really care about what they are saying.

I, like anyone, fashion myself as a “present” individual–but the truth is that 8 times out of 10 I’m lost in my own universe. Denali points it out the best when he insists that I go and watch him “rock surf” on the back patio. I try and I try to avoid going out–especially now in the cold–and yet, he will just stand at the back door sulking unless I go out there and actually watch him. If I’m in the audience, he’ll surf for hours. As soon as I leave, he has no one to impress.

And he’s right. Because the rest of the time, I’m writing on my computer and I’m not paying attention. I “feel” like I am, but I’m not. And half the time I listen to Mark go on about car parts or camping adventures, I tune out and play solitaire in my head. I mean, what kind of asshole plays solitaire in their head? I do…

And I’m sorry for it. Because the biggest thing that I’ve realized in the past few days is just how “vacant” I can be when it comes to others. Some of that–like living in the middle of nowhere–is my choice and my right. Other times, it’s being neglectful.

I’ve felt for a large portion of my life that life itself can be taken from you at any random moment. I learned that lesson from almost dying in a car accident long ago, and it has taught me to follow my heart, more than anything else. My heart has been chaotic and has taken me to many places–none of them do I regret, although many weren’t exactly for me.

My life now seems to be ideal, in a quiet place surrounded by mountains, and with a goofy wolfdog constantly at my side. My life today is a little more present than it was yesterday. My life today is blessed. Not because I’m safe and sound–but because I’ve lived a life filled with wonderful people. I’ve learned to balance mood swings and distrust of others. I’ve fallen in love in a chicken shed – and before, in other odd places. I’ve come to appreciate everything that exists in my life because I’ve had people help me along the way.

Listen to each other. Even your pets. Play with them. Enjoy your life with them. Love each and every moment you have. No matter what you do, you cannot predict tragedy. So instead, take all of those moments that you take for granted, and relish them.


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