Your parents are fucking crazy.

Days ago I was thinking about discussions I used to have with some of my university peers about Latino parenting. I remember my friends talking about the various behaviors and language that was aimed at them by their parents. There was belt whipping, cussing, objectifying, disrespect. Punishments were handed out to women for not being home by 10, and many were scolded for absolutely illogical reasons.  Yet all my friends saw this as part of being part of a Latino household. “This is just the way it is when you are Latino”. The most bizarre of stories were those where parents hit their children for dropping something and thus breaking it, or when parents punished their kids for breaking some unheard of rule that they never explained. All I have to say to my beloved friends is that their parents are fucking crazy and psycho as fuck.

I never had such stories to share. I was never left red and bruised by my parents, and I was never cussed at by my parents. Before my 4 year old self had a chance to ruin our VCR (yes VCR), my dad taught me how to use it. I remember he used to actually grab my index finger and had me push here and there to see what occurred as a result of pushing specific buttons. Guess what? I never ruined it. The same was true for other items. Most of all though, my parents talked to me. They explained how stuff worked. Unquestionably, at some point I acted my age and did something they disagreed with, but I think my parents never lost focus of the fact that I was in the end still a child, not some adult who deliberately committed a mistake after having committed it before.

Parents need to break bad chains. Maybe part of the absurd parenting is cultural. They were raised that way and thus they raise their kids that way and so on. My dad’s parents were trash, yet he was never like that with his kids. My mom’s parents instilled discipline but with the stick. But my mom was never like that towards me. Neither of my parents have a college education, so it can’t be that, yet I figure someone somewhere just has to connect to their humanity and realize that just because these are your kids it doesn’t mean you can mistreat them. I believe that is the key. Parents blatantly mistreat their kids, and in some absurd validation, children later in life just say that it was done out of love. No it was not. The thought of me hitting my kids with a belt until they are are crying and left with red marks can’t be an act of love. I remember my neighbor used to hit his kid with a belt and yell “hijo de la chingada.” Well one day my dad asked this kid what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said he aimed to be a gangster. In shock, my dad asked him why and the kid responded that he wanted to become one so he could kill his dad. Well he hasn’t killed him yet but the tables have turned and now he beats the shit out of his dad. Not all situations are this extreme but even lesser scenarios have ill effects.

For those of us who will be parents or are, let us use reason and care to parents in the correct manner. I am not a parent, yet I imagine it is a stressing ordeal. Remember, they aren’t your little slaves and they didn’t ask to arrive. Lets find a way to make this a better place by being better parents.

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“The streets are death row.”

The streets really are death row. As I listened to another of 2pac’s songs, my teenage years flashed upon me. Somehow every lyric in his song outlaw felt so real. The reason for this is that I grew up in a gang neighborhood and had many friends who were part of the life. You cannot disassociate from your childhood friends, even if they become gangsters. They live in your community, are in your classes, and share other mutual friends. We still hung out despite their gang ties. I had known them since I was five, and I was not about to change that just yet. But life for all of us within our neighborhood was scary, fierce, and blinding. Only people who have lived within a gang community know what it’s like to be a part of this life.

I remember the emotions that ran through me as a 15/ 16 year old. I would walk home from school and read all the graffiti, looking for signs of gang activity. I would take a couple of steps and look around, just in case I spotted a car full of bald guys preying on people. I would look at the driver of slow moving cars, trying to make out if they were gangsters. I had escape plans ready all the time in case shots went off. I had knifes. I had broken glass. I had a bat. I wasn’t even a gang member but that wouldn’t get me off the hook. We all knew of cases where gangsters would confront and kill people uninvolved with banging, just to gain a bizarre stripe. If not, getting robbed with a weapon was also a possible scenario. It did indeed happen.

There is also an arrogance that comes with living in this community. A training, a mindset instilled in you. One becomes constantly aggressive. One is also cynical and calculating. I remember being around many of these guys and testing them. I would say either something stupid or so insanely outlandish, only to see who would react and how. If someone responded, I knew that person was either an idiot or lacked foresight. I essentially knew they were weak. I did this hundreds of times. I did this all the time on the street, in school, and in sports. It served me best in college of all places. This crazy mindset and way of thinking is crazy, but it occurred so often and had occurred for so long that it was deeply ingrained. I know others, whether they were gangsters or not, knew the vibe and knew how to navigate the life.

I remember one time when I was about 8, a fight broke out in the apartments behind mine at some party. Somehow rival gang members had been invited to the same event and a full on brawl ensued. The beaten party vowed to return, and they did. I remember my friends and I were playing in the front yard of our side of the complex when a station wagon full of bald headed gangster dudes parked in front of our complex, scoping the scene. I will never forget that it was like 8 guys fitted into this boat of a car. Years later, I met some of these guys, and they were complete psychopaths. Some are in prison now, and some are dead. This shit is scary. You meet so many guys, and so many are really nice. ” What’s up dude? How are you? Is there anything I could do for you? Have you seen so and so? Is anyone mistreating you? Let me know if you see cops, yea?” So many of them were nice with me, but I knew they did crazy shit. Somehow they always liked me and never asked me to join. I reckon it’s because we were childhood friends and they knew we weren’t really the same, we just happened to have a past and share a neighborhood. I know so many people who have been in my shoes where they aren’t involved but are absorbed by the neighborhood.

I also remember all the lives destroyed by the life. So many with drug habits, STDs, physical injuries, mental health issues, incarceration. An enclosed world where we only encountered debauchery, prison, and death. None of these guys made a longer lasting light bulb or complex neighborhood diplomacy. Scary that these guys ran the neighborhood. They really did have more power than cops. See the police came by every now and then, and but the gangsters were here daily. They stole, attacked, and sometimes killed.

The streets really were death row. The cloud of death was always near.

RIP Kally Wally: We all love you and I learned so much from you.

It’s a very sad day for me today. Kal, my mom’s boss’ beloved golden retriever has passed away. He died in his sleep last night. He had no signs of illness and just suddenly left this world. I feel an emptiness, a confusion, as though it’s all a dream. All my wonderful memories of him run so vividly in my mind. I was attached to this dog and he was attached to me. I saw him many times per week. I would feed him, walk him, play with him, give him belly rubs, have conversations with him. When I would read he would sit by me. He was my comfort. If I had a stressed day and saw him, all the stress fell off. It was all smiles and petting with my beloved dog. I can’t believe he is gone. He lived 13 years, and I understand he was at the age where anything could happen, but I never expected it to be so sudden. Just two months ago he was given a clean bill of health. No major issues. Kal really was my friend and genuinely touched my heart. I can’t believe he is gone.

See I have always wanted a pet. Unfortunately, our living situation doesn’t allow for dogs, so when my mom began working with the current family I began interacting with them. They are a lovely family. I can’t say enough of how genuine, kind, sincere, and loving this family is. The more we became acquainted the more we came to love each other’s families. Kal was a part of their family, and somehow, he attached himself to me and I to him. I still remember the first day I saw the family, him included. It was a rainy day, and I remember my anxiety was at an all time high. He barked at me and growled, but later I discovered he was a giant goofball. He chased tennis balls but never fetched, just stuck two in his mouth at a time and ran off. He loved walking and pissing everywhere on the walk. At times I had the misfortune of taking him on walks without poopie bags, and I was forced to return to clean his mess.  But he was affectionate with me, and I towards him.

In my life I have been attacked by 3 dogs, and somehow I was left a little scared of dogs. I was a little apprehensive about petting Kal and being near him in the beginning but this all changed so quickly. We really became friends, and it was through my interaction with Kal that I lost me fear of dogs. Kal was part of my therapy with anxiety and general fear of dogs. Without knowing, this beloved, slightly overweight Golden Retriever showed me to conquer my fear. He was the closest I have ever come to having a pet. He basically was my pet. I know this because I feel his loss. Just this week I gave him a bath. He smelled of that distinctive wet dog smell for too long, and I decided I would remedy that for him. Gosh it wasn’t easy, but a shower and a brush later, he was looking excellent. I thought I would be giving him one every month, but that will no longer be occurring. I most vividly remember our walks around the block, and the time he accompanied me to get raspados. I have so many snapchat stories and pictures with him. I can’t believe he is gone. But I did the best to treat him well, and I think our mutual displays of affection demonstrate that we both concurred our relationship was a great thing.

His death makes me think of my family, my friends, and how the best way to live is to be kind, genuine, sincere, caring, and in general just good. Life is so much more rich when you are helping others and caring. That is what life should be all about. How I am getting this from his death? I’m not sure, but his death isn’t in vain. I miss him already. I can’t picture going into his home without him there, but that is reality. I saw his body on his bed today for the last time before the doggy morgue game for his remains. He will be cremated and his ashes will be returned for the family where they will be buried in a box in the greenery of the yard, his most favorite of places to roam and live a life as all dogs should live. I gave him his last pat goodbye as I helped put him in the van. This wasn’t easy. There is a genuine gap in my being today. As I write this, I can’t believe it’s real. I can’t believe my friend is gone. We all love you Kal, I truly do love you Kal. Thank you for all the great times, for all the good you did for me. Thank you for being the dog that led me to conquering my fear of all dogs, and though you didn’t know it, you too assisted me in my recovery from extreme anxiety. My best tribute to you is to be genuine with your family, and to continue striving to be a better person. Que te pasa papa, que te pasa!!!! Dang this moment is really hard.

Letter in a bottle.

It’s me again,

Sending out a message hoping that somebody will see this. It’s as though I’m sending a letter in a bottle, hoping the oceans will take it to a proper recipient at a future era and location. Anyhow I am stuck inside the max pen that is my head, turmoil from within due to deepening idleness. I know I am not meant for the simple vices, but given the situation I see nothing wrong in alcohol indulgence and altering the state of mind away from reality. For such a complex mind, it’s a strain to have to relegate to such immediate and lowlife means of escape.

The other way out, the one of mental capacity and creativity, are slowly departing. It feels like the last time I engaged in complex discussion was when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and even then it might be early within geological time. Anyhow, the effect of joblessness and social isolation is indeed cumbersome. You feel like you fall off the fabric of society. When you are one with the fabric, it is the fabric that pushes you through time, and small things like holidays and dates have special meaning. However, when Friday is like Monday and Tuesday like Saturday, it becomes like groundhog day; Nothing but repetition of the same nothing. There aren’t enough blogs or books in the world left to stimulate the mind. While it is of course nobody’s obligation to direct concern or any energy in a path not desired, it is disheartening to know many pay no notice to my state. I’ve never felt I am a bad person at heart, but somehow it feels like isolation is the default state, and social interaction is the side event.

A couple of summers ago I had a similar summer, but the time Gods listened and it was only a summer. This time it’s near 300 days. Nevertheless, the feeling was the same. Boredom, loneliness, idleness, and increasing anxiety. An edgy feeling kept running through my plasma, probably the result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters because of increasing stress. The epinephrine was likely out of whack, kicking in at unnecessary times, making my breath quicken and my head lighten. The feeling isn’t as intense anymore, but I still feel discomforted.

Empathy seems to disappear at such levels of distress. I can read about almost anything and not be phased. Can’t experience what isn’t shared in recent memory. It is not enough to feel such things at a distance. Compassion, care, and general positive emotions and like food and drink, they are either consistently in your life or you starve and die, even your compassion can starve and die.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh where oh where has my currency gone, oh where oh where can it be?

The dollars used to come in, but as time grows longer and they aren’t here, my world begins to slip. I was blanketed in majestic green, with pictures of presidents I gave no cares about. All that mattered was its presence, and when I needed it it didn’t disappoint. Purchasing power was strong, and there was nothing like buying food and goods for the family at will. I recall  being asked what items cost and responding that I didn’t care, didn’t bother to even look. I had lobster all the time, and replaced items, never bothered to fix them. Yes I worked for it, but that was secondary. Nothing like heading to the bank and depositing the check. I didn’t like direct deposit, I always liked signing my check and telling the teller to bring my cash and wads of what I wanted. I remember buying gifts for the family, as well as giving nice tips at restaurants. I remember not needing any more items, and being bored at malls. I had so much and needed nothing; malls were of no use, they became a boring place to visit. But it was beyond a means by which to purchase. I liked money and it was intoxicating. It was the rush of money, the working and getting paid that I loved. I always loved production, and I was a great capitalist.

I was a great capitalist………

I was a great capitalist………

Oh where oh where can it be?

Sex at Dawn: My thoughts.

I recently finished a book bearing the first part of this blog’s title. It was an amazing read about human sexuality and serves as a challenge to what they describe as the “standard narrative” of human sexuality. In essence, what it challenges is the idea that the ideal sexual behavior of humans is that of monogamous behavior. It asserts that monogamy is an abnormal human behavior and uses evidence of divorce rates and the general human behavior to point out that humans just aren’t very good at having one partner, and that this is no accident and really should be of no shame. The book also uses our closest relatives, bonobos and chimps, as evidence of the abnormal nature of lifelong monogamy or even temporary monogamy. Chimp and bonobos aren’t monogamous, why are we? And why don’t we like to compare their behavior to ours as it pertains to this subject but easily do so as it pertains to others?

I highly recommend this read. It provides a different view of traditional sexual norms that is unquestionably more liberal. I think it’s up to the reader to decide whether or not the premise of the argument has standing, but it is worth it to dive into the material. Even if one disagrees ultimately, there is a vast amount of information that cannot go unlearned. Personally, I do agree with the argument of the authors, but having been cultured in a society where monogamy is the norm, I find it a hard but realistic pill to swallow. It’s always of interest to be open minded and see things from a different perspective from time to time. This book indeed fulfills that role.

My childhood through scent of rain. 

With every breath I can feel it,

The smell of the wet screen as fresh loamy scents reach my nose.

It takes me back to my childhood days, a time when I really thought about the gifts Santa was to bring me.

It reminds me of my childhood days when we weren’t allowed to have our recess outside because of weather, and were sent to auditoriums for full lunches and terrible board games.

Those were the days when the static on the electric cables were really pronounced, the days my grandma and I used to walk to a textiles shop to buy her materials.

With every scent a new memory is found, and all link me back to my younger days. It meant friends staying over to watch cartoons and waiting for thunder.

This a distinct smell, and I miss the experiences of those memories. I miss my childhood.