Never Enough

I don’t know why I am almost always on the defensive with people.  I don’t even know why I constantly feel like I am under sustained assault.  There aren’t any words that can convey the kind of fear that grips me most of the time these days, and I’m always afraid of it all falling apart.  If I were just a little better, just a little smarter, a little stronger, a little better-looking… actually, scratch “a little”.  There is a lot that I wish I was a lot more of.  A lot smarter would help.  At least maybe then I could figure out what the hell is keeping me in this constant state of duress.

It’s ironic because usually the first and last thing I want to do or be is the impediment or the person that is in someone else’s way.  Used to be that I would just get out of everyone’s way, and that was my ultimate goal in life: get enough money together, live apart from the rest of the world somewhere (either in space or in a cabin somewhere in the woods), keep myself busy with things that I felt were important, and just generally stay out of peoples’ way.  I have never felt smart enough, strong enough, or good enough for anyone or anything in my life, and I ultimately feel like what I’ve gotten most of the time has either been hand-outs or dumb-luck.  I was never “good” in school, and I was never encouraged to do anything outside of what was necessary.  And the stupid part is, I’m always afraid of being “found out”.  Like a fraudulent huckster hiding in someone else’s shadow until the inevitable sneeze or passing breeze makes me visible… and by that point, it’s all over.

I don’t understand this feeling, or where it came from.  I don’t have any clue how to get over it or around it, and I know it’s impacting me and has been as long as I can remember.  It’s the reason I wake up from nightmares where I can never outrun something or someone, why when I fight in those nightmares I never win, and why I am constantly wary of overbearing personalities in my waking-life.  I always feel like I have to compete to stand-out and be recognized, to be the guy that is able to do everything and anything, and be the one that gets things done.  To say that this kind of situation weighs on me would be an understatement, seeing as how I haven’t really slept well in many months.  There have been days where all I wanted to do was lay in bed and forget everything else, to completely abdicate any responsibilities and just fade-away in bed where at least I’m warm and somewhat safe.

And I know what people are already going to say.  “Just be brave”, “do this”, “think of it this way”, “use positive thinking”… I’ve heard it all, I’ve tried a lot of it.  And I don’t know what else to do.

Trying to be calm and realize that I am doing better than I think I am, but that is so hard given what I see of my peers.  I don’t know anymore.  I just don’t know.

School Memories

Riding on the delayed Red Line train toward Porter Square this afternoon, I spotted someone who reminded me of someone I knew back in grade school.  His name was Michael, stood at a brave five-foot-seven with a thin, wiry build.  There wasn’t much about him that was remarkable to me at the time aside from his sports prowess and his seemingly physical incapability of ever looking bad in any kind of clothing.

At least, that’s the way I remembered it before today.

Thinking back now, I wonder how different my life would have been had I known the kind of person I was going to be.  I probably would have told him what I thought then and what I still think now: that he was and is physically beautiful, talented, and socially irrepressible.  I imagine my relationship with him would have been markedly different than what it is today, which is basically a kind of nostalgic remembrance.  He and I never really had much interaction during the three-or-four years that we knew each other in grade school.  I moved on to the charter system in San Diego, and Michael… well, I don’t really know what happened to him.  He and I are friends on Facebook at the moment, but that’s about as far as its gotten.

This whole memory started a thought in my mind, and it’s taken a pretty deep root.  It’s made me wonder why we really restrict ourselves and tell ourselves we’re not good enough to talk to someone (or anyone, really) about how we really feel.  Why we are not as truthful as we probably can and should be with each other and how that might affect inter-personal relationships.  Actually, how that might affect the whole world and every inter-personal interaction we encounter on a day-to-day basis.

I internalized a set of false concepts early in my life that I was never really good enough to talk to anyone that looked even half-way better than I did or was more social than I was, and I kept to the outskirts of the social order, becoming rank-and-file amongst self-labeled rejects, reprobates, and idiots.  We knew that we weren’t the best-looking, the smartest, or the most social but that really didn’t matter at the time.  After getting into the charter system and becoming as utterly alone as one can get without dropping out of school entirely, I spent the majority of my days either in front of a computer screen or skating around on a “Wal-Mart Special” skateboard.  There literally wasn’t a single soul I cared about besides my parents and my dad’s family.  I could’ve cared less if the world blew-up or burnt to the ground, just as long as my parents and my grandparents were in my life I could get-by with just about any situation.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

I realized in no uncertain terms and in no time at all that the reason why I blended well with the older crowd was because I found that there I wasn’t an outcast or outlier, I was actually accepted and held in some semblance of esteem.  I could hold political conversations with even the most jaded of the elder generations, I could read long and difficult books about abstract topics and speak about them at-length, and I was doing just about everything that a grown man would be expected to do at the time (aside from the whole gay thing… that came later).

The past is not a healthy place to live, but sometimes is a healthy place to re-visit and either burn to the ground or infuse with fresh energy and new perspectives.  The old adage “if I knew then what I knew now” holds ever-so-true.  I wish I’d have known myself more at that point, and I wish I would have known that in the end it didn’t matter at all.  I was panicking and shrinking from social situations and potential friends for fear of being permanently branded or shunned.

Thick skins are one thing, but having the self-confidence is another beast altogether.  There a myriad of things I could lay the blame upon for squandering what should have been some of the best times of my life, but in complete honesty it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in the here-and-now.

As I’ve been exploring, learning, and experiencing, I’ve realized more often than not my own fears regarding failure are either unfounded or are blown out-of-proportion to what they really should be.  There are a great many more things I can be expending energy doing other than wondering what the person looking at me thinks about what I’m wearing, how my hair is cut, or whether they think I’m overweight.  There’s far more things in life than worrying about failure and trying to do damage-control before I even hit the obstacle.  There are a great deal more things I can constructively spend my time engaging in and building rather than spending time and energy on ghosts, whispers, and nameless fears.

So, Michael, if you’re reading this… I thought and still think you were pretty fucking amazing.  I hope things are still working out for you as magically as they seemed to while you and I were both in grade school.  You keep rocking-on, and I’ll do the same.

Journal Entry, 12/20/2012

It’s certainly been a while since I’ve taken the time to fill this void with thoughts made semi-permanent through the magic of technology.  A long journey was had from San Diego to where I reside now on one of the very Western edges of Boston, and the change of scenery has put me in something of a more interesting space in my head.  One might almost be tempted to use a word such as queer, if one was not afraid of straying too close to the parlance of gay culture.  A great number of travelers, artists, and wisdom-seekers (including Mark Twain) have stated openly that travel opens the mind and enables the soul to truly confront itself; a kind of spiritual warfare declared upon the Self.  Perhaps truly the most definitive description of a “psychic war”.

I completed moving in with my long-distance boyfriend the weekend of the 11th, after completing the last leg of a journey of miles by the thousands.  Delirious from exhaustion, shivering from the cold, and left to wander my own thoughts for well over a week in the space of two Navy warship bunks stacked on top of each other with my entire life’s worth of belongings tucked away haphazardly in the bed of my truck and protected only by a quarter-inch of metal-and-glass.  That is how I arrived to meet my boyfriend again for the first time since we parted ways post-Burning-Man.  I suppose it was to be expected, granted that I took basically 49 hours to cross 6 states from California to Florida and only slept about 5 out of those 49 hours.  That leg of the journey was arguably the worst of it, as the stay in NC with another close friend of mine was heaven by-comparison.  Making it to CT to meet-up with my better half was probably the best feeling I’d had in a long time… as Gandalf so eloquently put it, “One stage of your journey is over– another begins”.

Settling-in has been an exercise in cyclical exhaustion and exhilaration with both of our belongings having to compete for the limited space in our Waltham flat.  Combined with the interesting parking situation in this part of Boston (no overnight parking in Waltham except where signage says otherwise), and the rather noticeable complication regarding not being within walking distance of a subway line, getting around has been an exercise in automotive juggling the likes of which I haven’t seen since my parents and I first moved to Florida with all 3 of our vehicles (my parents’ car, my ’97 Toyota Tercel, and the non-operational ’68 Mustang).

My job search is at least taking off with a bit more verve and vigor than I had expected, which is a great deal more heartening than the situation I had encountered in Southern California.  The barrier-to-entry with many positions I had found in Southern California is a lot lower here in the Greater Boston area, given that there are a great deal more start-ups in the city than there were in SoCal.  Ironic, given that one would’ve expected that out of Silicon Valley, but I suppose that now that Silicon Valley is the Mecca of technology and the center of the Internet universe, it would only make sense that more start-ups would actually be cropping-up beyond the incorporated walled-garden that is Silicon Valley.  I have had interviews with at least 4 organizations in the last week, all of them remaining promising leads despite the slow responses from all of them.  I expect that after Christmas the pace will pick-up and stuff will start happening.

It’s been a slow process of confronting myself and what I had planned prior to leaving Southern California.  Read a manifesto about something called “The Legacy Project” that I got linked to from my RSS feed, and I have to say it’s probably among the heaviest reading I’ve done in a little while.  I haven’t actually taken the time to sit down and read proper literature in the last few weeks simply because I haven’t had enough time or the gumption to be able to justify doing so.  Unfortunately, the same logic has precluded me from engaging in any large-scale mind-mapping, meditation, mind-dumping, or bouldering.  In the last couple of days I’ve managed to get over to the climbing gym a couple times, but I wonder how well that will work when I’m working 40+ hours a week again.  Suppose I will have to engage that issue as I have to engage everything else: one step at a time.

Winter typically isn’t a season I favor, even given my proclivity for venturing out to public spaces and shutting other people out with noise-cancelling headphones or trekking out a few miles or more onto a remote trail somewhere and enjoying the outdoors by myself.  Winter always feels more lonely than even being completely alone for a dozen miles in any direction.  I can’t quite explain it, but even sleeping beside someone I love very dearly… I still sometimes feel a million miles away from anyone or anything warm or loving.  It’s not always that way because some nights (like last night) I slept relatively soundly and had no real dreams or nightmares to speak of.  I even got up shortly after my alarm went off and got my day started without too much of a fuss, but on the days that the loneliness is palpable, it becomes a proverbial uphill slog to feel more than indifferent about anything.  It’s been getting a little bit easier as I’ve been able to figure out what foods and drinks are beneficial for me and which aren’t and how I can better recognize my triggers and mood-cycles before they start, but it’s still a psychic war all the same.

Long weekend ahead of me, as I have to prepare a Yule ritual for dinner tomorrow night with one of my boyfriend’s friends and catch-up with a couple more recruiters before Christmas rolls-around.  If I don’t write again before then:

Happy Yule (to my Pagan/Wiccan friends)

Merry Christmas (to my Christian friends)

Chanuka Sameach (to my Jewish friends)

As-Salamu Alaykum (to my Muslim friends)

and Happy Festivus (to the rest of you)


If You’re Not Upset, You’re Not Alive

Agitation is the entire reason we continue to breathe, continue to strive, continue to innovate and try our damnedest to make things better and make things that do what we want more efficiently.  Anger is just the reaction of a mind in rebellion against mediocrity and against the status-quo that keeps it locked-up and in stasis.  There is something to be said for the righteous anger toward injustice, toward small-mindedness, and toward time ill-spent.

It is no surprise to me that violent “fringe elements” of the Occupy* movement have gotten significant recognition from the media, and it is no surprise to me that they exist at all if simply for the fact that violence is effectively written into the fabric of inequality that makes-up the noose around the 99%’s neck.  It is no surprise to me at all that violence is the chosen response of a slowly-growing range of individuals in Oakland and in other areas of the Occupy* movement, given that the governments we elected to represent us locally, state-wide, and federally have failed miserably at their jobs.  Instead of representing the people that make up their constituencies, they have instead elected to take money and marching-orders from narrow-minded and monied interests whose only “interest” (if you can call them interests at all) are the advancement of narrow objectives that hold no positive outcomes for the constituencies.  Instead of advancing agendas built in consensus with each other in the interest of “the most benefit to the most people”, politicians have enriched themselves and the rest of the aristocracy leaving the rest of the world to pick through what remains of the “wealth” that is meant to “trickle-down”.

The 99% has been so thoroughly enslaved that we are still scratching at the surfaces of our cage, and we are still discovering (much to our horror) those methods of enslavement we believed only possible elsewhere in the world.  “Never here”, we thought.  “Never in America”, we told ourselves and each other, resolving ourselves to denial and disillusionment with the totality of the truth: that we have been born into economic bondage and that we blindly accepted images of what could be, rather than forsaking what was being force-fed to us and instead forging our own futures.  We’ve spent far too long remaining distracted by modern-day equivalents of Roman games, bad food, drugs, and otherwise utterly useless and impossible pursuits of happiness, packaged in an easy-to-wash, no-muss-no-fuss, scratch-free coating.

Is it any surprise that the 99% is finally waking up to the psychological and ultimately physical torture that has been foisted upon us over the previous millennia?  Think about it: the advent of centralized money (moneychangers and bankers being the earliest models of these), the systematic devastation and decimation of entire cultures for resources and arable land, and the enslavement of masses of otherwise humble and ultimately-human beings through institutionalized and dogmatic religions, the wholesale embrace of propaganda as a tool of mass psychological control (politically, spiritually, and economically in the case of capitalism), and the ever-present threats of force behind those that claim power and lordship over the known world.

There are many breeds of people on this Earth and only slightly fewer breeds involved in what our forebears will understand as the defining conflict of Humanity at this time in our civilization: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the various strata of individuals that live-out their character-arcs somewhere along this axis.  The question will be whether or not we have the wherewithal, the constitution, and the depth of faith in our fellow man to change hearts and minds through rational discourse, emotional engagement, and without physical incident… or whether exercise of superior force will be required to remove roadblocks in the path of human progress.

The obvious question that remains to be answered is which breed are you?  Will you remain silent and blind to the crimes of the civilization which you inhabit, whose exploitative means of production and wealth extraction weaken, cripple, and ultimately kill Earth and all of its inhabitants?  Or will you finally admit to yourself:

“Damn it!  I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Rage, rage on into eternity

There is no reason; there is no lesson to be found in admitting any kind of defeat or failure.  ‘Failure’ is just finding a hundred-thousand methods that don’t work.  There are no lessons to be learned or reasons to erect walls around oneself when failure rears its ugly head.  As a matter-of-fact, when you shut that door behind you… turn around and break it off the damn hinges.  Tear down the walls, graffiti the remnants with your deepest and most passionate thoughts and feelings, and never fear staring The Unknown right in the eye.  Get mad at the pain, get upset at the indifference, become furious at the nay-sayers.  Demolish everything that stands in your way.  Life is not merciful… so be merciless.

As Zach de la Rocha says, “anger is a gift”.  Don’t waste it.


You’re what I rise in the morning for,
You’re the reason I lay down to sleep utterly exhausted.
You’re the reason I cry over all the big things and laugh at the myriad of minutia.
You drive me to drink, raise me to lust, push me to succeed, and dare me to fail.
You pull out the deepest feelings of depression, pull out all the static in my head,
force-feed me shards of glass… and caress me in the dying sunlight afterwards.

You’re a temptress, a hustler, a liar, and a harlot.
You’re a saint, a guru, a lover, and a teacher all wrapped-up into one.

You make me feel and see so many things… and see and feel so much of myself.
I will never understand you; even though you seem to understand every single ounce of me.

You drag it out of me, kicking-and-screaming:
Every bit of fear,
Every ounce of strength,
Every single tear,
and every single word, spoken to those who will listen to me at-length.

And through it all…
the suffering,
the pain,
the sublimation,
and the utter jubilation…

I can’t help but say what I know in my heart is the smallest sliver of Truth:

Thank you, and I love you.
I even remember your name:


~ Zero 7 – Distractions ~

Cracks in the Union

(Loose response to an article here: )

Can violent unrest occur in America?  The better question in response to that question is: “Do I even have to ask this question?”  Not only is it likely, I imagine if the current trends in American politics and the reductionist/eliminationist speak continue, there will be a far larger response from the 95% residing below what I like to affectionately refer to as the “affluence line”.  To me, if you make more than a quarter-million dollars a year, not only should you try to give back more, you should actively work to bring those around you up to your level or better.  Succinctly: “paying it forward”.  There is no further reason to believe that “trickle-down economics” or “the tide that lifts all boats” works, especially not after Fmr. President Bush Sr., Fmr. President Clinton (parts 1 and 2), Fmr. President G.W. Bush Jr. (parts 1 and 2), and President Obama have pushed effectively the same policies term-after-term with no visible improvement.

Here’s a run-down of what I see that’s wrong with our country currently:


Let’s face it: our economy is in the tank, and there’s no way in hell to get it out without bursting all of our bubbles, setting ourselves back to a base-line, and telling corporate America to sit on it and rotate.  We can’t even get a budget bill passed through Congress without a Tea Party Republican foaming at the mouth and trying to tell everyone else what the role of government should be.  The perceived “better era” of the industrial past (circa 1900) no longer exists, and will never exist again; at least, not unless we roll-back everything from the Civil Rights Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal (though everyone forgets there was a stipulation in that executive order that was ignored: Don’t Pursue), Medicare, Social Security, child labor laws, regulatory laws, food and drug safety laws… you could write an entire book filled with nothing but laws that the Tea Party Republicans would repeal (if of course they even let you live).

To be fair, not all Republicans are as demented as their Tea Party counterparts make them seem.  Some are downright personable if (and only if) you get the opportunity to sit down with them and have a drink without the presence of the media.  And to be equally fair, there are even fewer Democrats and Independents who have stood on their principles and have stood their ground even when they are in a losing battle.  Democrats have cleaved to the center ever since they had their spines removed during the 80s and have not since re-grown them, which is plainly evident in the economic policies that they have “worked hard” on to appease “centrist” Republicans.  The problem with that methodology is simple: Republicans have pulled the “center” so far to the right that centrist arguments from just a decade ago seem fairly progressive by comparison to today’s standards.  Within the last decade, Republicans have introduced bills to create a single-payer healthcare system, mandate insurance coverage, regulate carbon emissions, protect our natural resources and environment, create “green jobs”, and even increase the minimum wage… yet, all of these are bills and topics that are now dead-on-arrival with the current Republican- and Tea Party-controlled Congress.

To be blunt: No single candidate and neither party has done their job in terms of getting our economy back on-track.  Politicians are not proposing the kinds of measures that would save our failing economy, nor do they have any interest in doing so: their feet aren’t over the flames, nor will they ever be.  These people are bought-and-sold because progressive candidates haven’t done their jobs and haven’t reformed campaign finance laws, haven’t rescinded corporate personhood clauses through legislation, and have actively worked against working-class Americans at every turn.

A few things that could be legislated right now and pushed through the current Congress with pressure from the public:

  • Tax reform (flat income tax, transaction tax, fair tax, etc.)
  • Minimum wage increase
  • Public works bills (jobs)
  • Infrastructure upgrades (jobs)
  • Investment and entrepreneurial incentives (tax breaks, additional funding, etc… again, jobs)
How are any of these things detrimental to our society?  How are any of these things “socialist” or “communist” (in the language of the Tea Party)?  20 years ago, Republicans might have supported these measures, and Democrats might have worked with them; those days have long-since passed.
Foreign Policy
Are there really any real reasons why we need bases in Japan, Germany, South Korea, Iraq, Guam, Panama, and other sovereign nations in this day and age?  Is there a reason at all why we need a standing or active military that can easily populate a city the size of San Diego to-capacity when we have no immediate military threats to our sovereignty?  These are just two of the over-arching questions that are not being asked of our elected representatives that command our military, all-the-while the paid pundits and proponents of the military-industrial complex continue to cheer-lead intervention-style actions in areas we have no business being in.  Here’s a few things that we could do to immediately reduce the amount of negativity surrounding our standing in the world (or perhaps even positively affect it):
  • End military and economic support for Israel
  • Begin peace negotiations in the Middle East between Israel, Pakistan, Palestine, Iran and Saudi Arabia
  • Pull completely out of Iraq and Pakistan
  • Begin a formal investigation into Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian)
  • Pull all military forces from all bases not currently engaged in full wartime activities (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan)
  • Populate military OPs (Observation Points) along the Mexico border and as much of the shore-line as possible to maintain a defensive posture
  • Negotiate with the UN to allow nuclear reprocessing for peaceful power generation requirements
You might ask: “Why end support for Israel?  Aren’t they keeping the tenuous peace in the Middle East?”, and I would answer: “Only just.”  Israel has perpetrated just as much violence and caused just as much destabilization to the Palestinian populations in and around the occupied territories as the Palestinians have done to the Israelis.  It’s long-past time that Israel cease military operations in Gaza, cease its blockade, and negotiate with the Palestinians to allow them to form their own nation out of what’s left of the territories.  Blood is being shed on both sides, perpetrated by people with perspectives that are too narrow to see the bigger picture: If the region does not stabilize in the next 10-20 years, there will be no end to the violence and hatred.  Israel is justified in telling the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) that they must divest and disavow themselves of the entirety of Hamas, while at the same time the Palestinians are justified in calling for the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) to cease operations in the occupied territories and allow restoration of vital supply lines that are causing massive humanitarian suffering through resource and service deprivation (including food, water, medical, and construction supplies).  Ending US material and expertise support to Israel would be a good first step in establishing rapport with the Palestinian people as well as a good-faith gesture that speaks toward the United States’ commitment to peace in the region.  To quote Einstein:
“You cannot simultaneously hope for peace and prepare for war.”
It’s too bad that most of America is either too blind or too heavily-influenced by war-hawks and their parrots in the media (I’m talking about you, NewsCorp & CNN).
Iraq and Afghanistan are two distinct messes: One we need to be in, and one we shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place.  Iraq, as we all know by now had none of the following:
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Intent to harm the United States (either economically or militarily)
  • Intent to invade another neighboring country
  • Intent to manufacture weapons of mass destruction
One could go further in stating that Iraq hasn’t been a serious threat to the United States at any point in history, but most of the military and especially the paranoid schizophrenics in the intelligence community would have you believe otherwise.  It bears repeating that without solid and independently-verified intelligence, the United States military bites off more than they can chew and usually has more body-bags to bring home than victory stories.  Almost 10 years after the second invasion of Iraq (the first being to prevent Kuwait from being rightfully crushed by Iraq for having violated Iraq’s oil rights), we have spent a lot of blood and treasure on something worse than a wild goose chase: a complete and utter lie perpetrated by an intelligence community that has its hands in the pockets of the military-industrial complex.  One might make the argument in favor of the Iraq war insofar as making available one of the world’s last large-scale oil fields available to Western powers, but for me, that just doesn’t fly.
Afghanistan on the other hand, is almost completely justified… almost.  The CIA doesn’t call it “blowback” for nothing, as we were witness to during the 9/11 attacks, however most of the American population seems to forget that we armed and trained the Mujaheddin during the Afghan-Russian War in the late 80’s.  Combined with the less-than-favorable view of the “West” that is still held with a rather sizable portion of the rest of the world still holds for the nations that still behave as if there are competing empires to dominate, and you have an explosive mixture of anti-Western sentiment that meshes well with the cherry-picked messages of fundamentalism that prevail in sizable swaths of the Muslim world.
As far as foreign policy goes, we have a long way ahead of us if we want to really live-up to our tough-talk about liberty, the sanctity of life, the sovereignty of nations and borders, and the primacy of peace.
Domestic Policy
To say the least, Democrats have certainly gotten a fair bit farther than Republicans have as far as social measures are concerned BUT… Democrats have failed miserably at moving the direction of the country any further toward equality.
  • Gay marriage is still not an option in many cities (and in fact, gay men and women still face discrimination in job selection, housing, and schools)
  • Social security, medicare, and many other programs are in danger of being cut
  • Unemployment is at the highest point since the Great Depression, and Republicans seem to want nothing to do with any solutions that would add jobs to the economy immediately
  • Income inequality and corporate malfeasance are wreaking absolute havoc on the ability of middle- and working-class Americans to resolve their debt problems and go to college
  • Education funding is being slashed even as test scores drop, teachers are fighting for better working conditions, and alternative schooling programs are working to find private funding
  • Campaign finance reform is at a stand-still
  • Income tax is not collected fairly between different income levels (not to mention the fact that tax code reform still hasn’t left committee)
  • Environmental regulation is stalled on the floors of Congress by Republican filibuster
Is it any wonder hard-working Americans are simultaneously apathetic and upset?  Our food is unfit to eat, our air is unfit to breathe, the water is unfit to drink, our cities are overrun with the lost and forgotten, our jails overflow with many whose only crime is choosing to partake of illicit substances of their own volition or committing small crime to score or survive and thus continue the endless cycle of suffering and incarceration.  Without jobs, without opportunity, and without hope, many turn to crime or other means with which to survive.
Which brings me to a difficult position in my political discourse: Which direction do we go?  How do we work to solve these problems?  That, I think, is something I will address in another post to follow this one.  If you made it this far, thank you for reading.  Cheers.