Monday, July 25, 2016

Can We All Ever Really Get Along?

Nope, and here’s why…. 

I have no scientific proof or carefully compiled data that shows the more the entirety of the human race is forced to interact the greater the odds are that we can and will ALL get along eventually. On the flip side, I also have no scientific proof or carefully compiled data that shows the more the entirety of the human race is allowed to do their own damn thing, believe their own damn beliefs and go their own damn way the greater the odds are that all conflict will end.

All I have is my own sinking suspicion that the current social media climate of #peaceandlove, #letsallloveoneanother and #inclusionorbust is fueled more by a pseudo news industry that wants to stay relevant and funded into retirement than it is by truly loving people that really do want to buy the world a Coke and a smile.  (P.S., I underline certain phrases to make it clear this it is my opinion and a mix of satire because, ya know, people get hung up on “literally” everything!)

Don’t get me wrong!  I wish, wish, wish it was a simple matter of heart over profit and people really could all get along forever and ever but I’m realistic. Pain sells just like turmoil and rancor do so, if all was well with the world then what would CNN or Fox News or even pharmaceutical companies, for that matter, do? The 24/7 news cycle-need to self-diagnose addiction must be fed! Just another brick in the “them against us/us against them” wall that has existed inside all of us since birth. 

Here is some light reading on the topic for the sake of clarity and comparison:

Frustrating right? It’s like the desire to cram the world into one of those horrid “Get Along” shirts is purposely being trumped (see what I did there?) by not only our DNA but also the junkie-like need to continue highlighting the bad with a few little snippets of good in order to justify turning journalists and politicians into celebrities. The punching still goes on underneath that confining shirt, despite the faked smiles of contrition shown to Mom and Dad PC but, by golly, it’s still a ratings getter! And, it just may be hardwired into our human brains to stick with our own and work against those “unlike” us, but we won’t acknowledge that part will we?

My simple-minded approach is, instead of pretending to get along with everyone around us locally and globally we simply get on, super productively, with our own lives? Go, live, laugh, do your thing and don’t mess with another person’s thing…or do, if they are cool with it of course but, ask first! When we focus on making our own life the best it can be and less on forcing others to believe the way we do then real growth may actually happen. Less judgment, more accountability and more minding your own damn business. Join the circle! Let’s all sing!

So, why CAN’T we all get along?  Is it really too much to ask that differing people form a common bond, hold hands, sing together and be at peace? No, it isn’t too much to ask it just can’t always happen because of our freak-science makeup and nor should it, scientifically and simplistically speaking.

Dissent, disagreement and defiance make up the delightful alliteration that holds together this crazy world, just as it works to tear it apart. Lunacy right? Without differing styles, talents, mannerisms and temperaments, passion would die. If there is no passion left, no heated debates or fiery monologues then what’s the point? Friction creates energy right? And energy fuels passion, which in turn prompts creativity. No creativity = No Life. Understand?

And, just to be clear here, I am NOT talking about being cool with dangerous ideologues. That is NOT what this is about at all so don’t be jumping 500 steps ahead into the land of misinformed conclusions. I don’t want to see any comments like, “Oh, so you are saying I should just go about my business while terrorists roam the earth?”  No doomsday prepper, if you are the one adding those words to my dialogue then no, that isn’t what I said, it’s what you wish I had said just so you can start an argument. Psychological projection is a sad condition, look it up, there is help available. I still accept you though, even if I won’t be inviting you over for dinner. See how that works? I forgive you because you were just acting on a trait handed down to you from your ancestors.

Anyway, I often hear the easily frustrated say flippant things like, “I wish everyone was just like me and then the world would be a better place.”  Would it really? I adore people who are vastly different from me and the thought of being trapped in a room, or world, full of other easily distracted, and concentration challenged people just like me would be soul-smothering.

I get some of my best ideas from watching and listening to people from very different backgrounds. It’s research along with free entertainment!  Besides, if, by some bizarre stroke of happenstance, we wake up some morning and everyone looks and acts alike my best guess would be that in short order some contrived grievance would be created to get conflict growing again. Ain’t no party like a grudge building party!

In conclusion, can we all get along? Maybe, but the real question for me is, do we really want to? Human beings live to promote and support their own well-being and we are programmed to see threats to our way of life around every corner. Granted, there aren’t any Smilodon (that’s a sabretooth tiger folks) but maybe, just maybe, the new threats, those advertised and promoted by the new Media Smilodon, are now painted on our modern cave walls (television) to instill fear and foster control just like was done in 38,000 BCE.

Science is a real bitch huh?  For those that believe in it anyway. If you don’t then carry on….this cave painting isn’t for you. Peace!

© 2016-2017 Laura A. Askew, All Rights Reserved

As a gentle reminder: People who steal the creative property 
of  others deserve to be kicked in the tingly bits by a pissed off 
writer well versed in street fighting. 

In plain English: Don't steal my stuff!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sorry, not sorry…that your childhood sucked!

How to even begin here? I can hear the groans now. Not another boo-hoo piece about how someone feels upset because they had a crappy childhood. Everyone has crappy moments in life so get over it and move on! Suck it up Buttercup.

Yeah, that’s a great motivational speech Coach Hard-Ass! Unless, of course, the person speaking these dismissive words was the one helping to lay the bricks in that damaged wall to begin with. Pep talks offered by the tough love crowd are sometimes self-serving…just so you know.

It’s an absolute curiosity and almost definite fact that those so quick to call names when the formerly mistreated stand up for themselves have great experience playing the shell game of victim blaming and bully bolstering. Defensive deflection is another way to describe it because heaven knows we can’t be allowed to get away with blaming Moms and Pops for our current dysfunctions. “You’re an adult now, it's all on you to fix. Not my fault!”

Yes, that is partially true and the easier path to take after hearing such dismissive “because I said so” proclamations would be to just shrug and move on but why should everyone be forced to?  Because society/media/politicians/preachers says so? Maybe speaking one’s mind has less to do with assigning blame and demanding apologies and more to do with being honest and free. Think about that one before getting the old panties all in a wad okay?

At what age do offspring stop being seen as immature and start being seen as worthy discussion and debate partners? In this day and age of expecting people to own responsibility for their foul-ups why is it so commonplace to simply brush off meaningful confrontations with family members by using emotionally corrosive vomit like, “Oh, just move on will you?” Nope! This needs to be discussed, highlighted, double-checked and then allowed to be put into proper perspective. Cover-ups are tiresome and rarely hide the true problems.

Telling people to “move on” is a very effective way to stop people from talking about their pain. It’s done because those that need to hear the truth most have no intention of listening and they do this out of fear that they may have played a part in causing another human being pain.. After years of denial it’s just safer to maintain the status quo of NO! Not me! That didn’t happen like that! You are making things up! On and on, we hear the song of presumed ultimate knowledge from those that turned a blind eye to emotional and physical abuse. Nothing is more painful than living with the true knowledge that the very people who are supposed to love and protect you are also both the intentional and unintentional perpetrators. That makes the saying, “Were you raised by wolves?” seem like wishful thinking! Wolves are more predictable.

Growing up I was given the impression that sharing feelings or expressing upset was tantamount to childish whining and not something that would be tolerated. If I had the nerve to speak up then my ultimate reward was usually a litany of personal insults, on a good day, and a sharp punch to the shoulder or slap upside the head on a bad day. Spin the wheel! Which will it be? Say something or say nothing and die slowly inside?  For many years I did stay on mute, joking away the pain and minimizing my experiences because who wants to see all of that dirty, beaten up baggage? Put that silliness in the closet like everyone else. How dare you!

Resentment builds when silence is maintained and this is why I write. I write because I’ll be damned if I’ll allow someone else to edit my past or sanitize my experiences. Even if it means I may be on the receiving end of criticism and scorn, I write.

My memories are not made-up, exaggerated or wrong. They are MY memories and unless my critics have the ability to read minds and possess a finely calibrated internal lie detector test then my response is this; what’s mine is MINE and what’s yours is YOURS. No one has the right to deny me my experiences because I would never deny them theirs. This is what makes us all beautiful and unique, warts and all.

So, your childhood sucked? Yeah but I’ve made peace with it and while I could go all rouge and spill all right now I’m parceling it out bit by bit so I can weight it, catalog it and learn from it. That’s my right just as it is the right of others to not like it and it’s perfectly fine if they don’t.

Speaking the truth is hard and it can alienate but, and this is huge, it can also liberate. Truth can be embarrassing and it can also be the spark that lights a massive fire of personal indignation, pitting friend against friend, family member against family member and even anonymous web trolls against those brave enough to speak out. It’s the risk we all take when we choose to stop being emotionally constipated and start being real. Be real, the alternative is pretty hollow. 

© 2016-2017 Laura A. Askew, All Rights Reserved

As a gentle reminder: People who steal the creative property 
of  others deserve to be kicked in the tingly bits by a pissed off 
writer well versed in street fighting. 

In plain English: Don't steal my stuff!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Welcome to the Grand Delusion…that is modern life.

I do not profess to be a therapist, preacher or politician. I’m just a human being who has seen a lot of garbage, personally and professionally, during the almost 5 decades I’ve been a resident on this planet we all call home.

Now that the obligatory disclaimer has been typed we can move on…

Some of the things I have seen, heard and been personally subjected to range from outright abuse to reaffirming joy. I have been shown that some people can and will do the right thing but, I also know that there are many people that have no intention of ever getting along, letting bygones be bygones or accepting that not everyone out there wants to be just like them. It’s a fact. We all aren’t the same but we ALL have the ability to not take it personally when “friend” 1,089 on Facebook espouses different political, religious or even socially based beliefs from us. This goes for every other random person you may encounter in life as well.

It isn’t a personal affront to you when Billy or Susie, each of whom having a mind of their own just like you, decide to go down a different path of thinking. How exactly does this personally harm you? Are they coming into your home and demanding that you believe the way they do? And, if you say that they are just because they post it online and you happen to have your computer on then welcome to the wild, wild world of self-imposed Butt-Hurt. Billy and Susie can’t magically turn your computer on in your own home, you have control over that. They also can’t force you to read what they have to say, you have fingers that can click “unfollow” at any time or even “unfriend” or “delete” which is amazing freedom right?

Now, I do ask though, what is so bad about hearing opposing ideas and beliefs? I have always been a firm believer in the adage that in order to be well informed one must be able to view an issue from all sides…not just our own. Everything, even a plain old piece of paper, has more than one side. You may think your side is prettier and the best darn side ever but there will always be someone that prefers the opposite and…that’s okay….it won’t kill you…because it’s just an idea or belief that resides within the heart and mind of the possessor.

But, and I was ready for this one, what if that belief is taken out of the internal realm and action is added? Bad action like physical, catastrophic violence? This has been happening for thousands of years and most recently in Orlando. While I wish I had a definite answer for how to stop this immediately I do not and the only people that can say when enough is enough are the ones advocating violence in order to force their point(s) of view. Logic would dictate that “enough” is when they are absolutely in control and this could also mean when everyone is forced to state they agree with a particular mandate, law or edict, even when they don’t, out of fear of imprisonment, personal injury or death. This is happening now and has been happening for as long as I, my grandparents or great-grandparents have been here and on and on up the family tree to infinity. It isn’t new news.

This opinion piece is not intended to validate one side over another it is merely a stream of consciousness by which I choose to release my thoughts, ask a few questions and get some ideas from those different from me. Because, after all, how are we ever supposed to exist together if we don’t even know just a little bit about one another? I do want to stress that I have no patience for nastiness and response baiting trolls so argue away in the comments section if you like but I will not respond. I will however put you in my next work of fiction and make you do things that would cause your real-life head to explode so be warned. How do you think writers get material after all?
So, what DO we really know about one another? I know that I am not you and you aren’t me and quite frankly I think that is a great place to start. My thoughts, beliefs and ideas belong to me and were originally shaped by personal experiences gathered along my life’s path. Are they rigid in nature? Some are and some are not. I will give you an example:

Flexible:  My ability to consider different points of view. I may not know I can agree or disagree until I am provided with the proper evidence for why I should or shouldn’t agree. 

Rigid: My belief that I should not be shouted down, spoken to with disrespect or harmed simply because of my gender, age, race, sexual orientation or personal ideology.

On that last point I have received some flak from those who feel I should simply stay quiet and do as controlling powers in the Middle Ages (and earlier) dictated but ya know what? That didn’t fly with everyone then and it still doesn’t so I will simply take it for what it is; a weak attempt to control with no real power behind it. Because, we all know that just because someone yells louder than everyone else it doesn’t mean that their message makes any sense or should be followed. It’s just noise and the great thing about noise is that if it’s ignored long enough it just becomes a background hum that we leave in the dust while continuing to move forward.

Now, to address what makes people follow. That one is simple! One of two things, fear or allegiance and sometimes those two become intertwined. Some people fear that the things they love the most will be taken from them. I won’t say what those “things” could be because I am wise enough to know that many, many people already have a long scroll of things they can drop right into the slot so have at it! But, the one thing no one has been mentioning, publicly anyway, is apathy. We can’t change the world, some say, so why bother? And, in that same vein, if we never change light bulbs that have blown out then we will always be in the dark. People stumble and fall in the dark just like they stumble and fall over misinformation and bias in broad daylight. Change is the best policy when falling down the stairs or a well of tabloid babble is the alternative. Get the facts, get all sides and get a new light bulb!

In this current atmosphere of mistrust and blatant hate, and it really isn’t anything other than that so let’s not try to paint it up and put nice clothes on it, we can only continue BEING. That may sound all wishy-washy but hear me out. If fear is allowed to keep people from being themselves then who wins? Sure, for the time being those who hide are keep safe but eventually the hate that was allowed in begins to build and fester. And, when we stop being ourselves, paranoia sets in, over-reactions occur and the sickness of division spreads. Who do you work for? What is your purpose here?  When did we all become so miserable and unfree???? Fear did that to us and we allowed it to happen and the sellers of hate were counting on it. They probably even had odds set on some event wager line in Las Vegas. Bravo assholes!

What do we do now?  I’m only one person but will continue saying this over and over until someone else hears it and passes it on, “Stop letting the sellers of fear win!” We are better than this America. Kindness isn’t weakness and here is a novel thought, how about we start by being kind to one another, see how THAT goes and then spread it out to like-minded countries around us? A WHOLE national functions better than a divided one and, better yet, a UNIFIED but respectful of differences type nation scares the hell out of those that wish to control us. “Damn! These Americans finally have their shit together and can’t be scared into lashing out at one another to the point of being so broken down that we can just swoop in and take all their stuff!” Life is pretty simple after all….and it is WE who choose to make it hard. Choose better, choose wiser and in the end nothing else matters.

© 2016-2017 Laura A. Askew, All Rights Reserved

As a gentle reminder: People who steal the creative property 
of  others deserve to be kicked in the tingly bits by a pissed off 
writer well versed in street fighting. 

In plain English: Don't steal my stuff!

Shall we get this party going for reals?

I once wrote weekly on It was fun but it wasn't my own website and at times I felt I was more of an indulgent bookmark, so to speak, just keeping the spot marked until something better came along for the originator of said website.

And, that happened. People move on. That's cool. But, I was stuck and stayed stuck for over a year and didn't really write anything after the plug was pulled on my one man writing show on someone else's website.

A very important person in my life put it all into sharp perspective by asking recently, "Isn't it time to make your dream a reality?"  It is. And, here we go...