Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Blues

Tomorrow the relatives will all be at my parents’ house, and instead of avoiding the Christmas Eve charade as I’d planned, I’ll wear my fake smile and pretend I give a sh*t about all these people that have never given a damn about me.  Like Thanksgiving, my dad won’t be there, so reality’s creeping in.

I’m in a sour mood.  I didn’t anticipate this year being difficult as far as holidays go, because I’ve been feeling a little more even-keeled over all.  But then, I didn’t anticipate having to listen to my parents argue out the final details of the divorce settlement right before Christmas.  I thought this year I’d finally have a job and not have to feel like a failure once again when people ask what I’ve been up to.  I’m so sick of feeling like a loser.  Or else I’m sick of *being* a loser; one of the two.

Then there are the things you have no control over, like dreams about the past, and old memories creeping in.  Somehow the old pain flares up, like scar tissue that never quite healed right.  I try not to ponder too long on the happiness people from my past are experiencing in their lives; new babies and families that are celebrating instead of breaking apart.

Even still, the past hurts me.  The fact that my life fell apart over the holidays has hung over every Thanksgiving and Christmas since.  It’s easy to say that one shouldn’t allow things from so long ago to ruin the present, and I believe that if I were more satisfied with my current life I might have an easier time keeping the sadness out.  Instead, it’s one more unhappy year.  Maybe not quite as miserable as the few before, but gloomy nonetheless.

To top it off, my hip pain has really been flaring up, and I don’t know when I might be able to get insurance next.  Will life always be about coping with, and overcoming, and pulling through, and never about living?  I just want to be put into a drug-induced coma.  Srsly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Suicide: What’s It About?

I mean, fundamentally, what does it come down to?

Sometimes I think suicide is about pain.  The too much, never-ending, all-encompassing pain of existence.  The kind that wrenches you from the inside out. 

Or it could be escape.  Maybe we just need a way out when we’re out of options.  Sometimes all the options suck, and it’s truly the lesser of the evils.  Sometimes we’re too paralyzed with indecision to even*pick* an option.  Or there are so many options we don’t want the responsibility of being forced to choose one, and then live with the consequences. 

What about love?  Maybe it’s a lack of love.  Love from others.  From family.  Love for our own self.  Like Matchbox Twenty, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been really loved ... by a hand that’s touched me.”  And I feel like something should have given by now.  And I’m more than a little bit angry.  I spent seven years in a relationship that was more dysfunction than love.  It wasted my time, my life, my .... goodness?  The part of me that believed in the grander meaning of love, the goodness of people; not the fairytale ending, mind you: I’ve never bought into that.  But there’s a certain kind of lasting spiritual connection to another human being I used to believe in, which got trampled along the way.

So then maybe it’s anger.  I’m so angry at the people in my past, my present, and probably my damn future that I can’t stand myself sometimes.  I’m angry at life for all the things it could be, but is not.  I’m angry either AT God or that I don’t believe in God, one of the two.

Religion, then?  A lack of faith in anything or anyone?  The fact that everything I’ve ever trusted in has left me despairing? Religion, after all, is “ultimate” in our lives, so perhaps it’s the *ultimate* disappointment, the overarching emptiness, the aching whole in life that I have no way to fill.

Other times, I think it’s about needs that will never be met.  And I’m not talking about food, shelter or water – although sometimes the mere act of trying to survive is enough to take us out – but also human needs.  Affection.  Companionship.  Trust.  Security.  Sometimes I ask myself what I will do if I never experience these things again.  If no one ever hugs me or holds me or stands by me.  More importantly, what if I never have sex again?  I’m not effing kidding here, I miss it.  What if neither the grand nor base pleasures of life come my way again; is a world without joy a place worth staying?

It might just be the struggle.  On days like today, my being wants there to be a foreseeable end to this sensation that I’m trying to run through water.  I’m tired.  I’m just sooo, soo tired of trying.  And failing.  And flailing.  And having to try again.  It feels as though, at any given moment, one more try will be too much to bear. 

Maybe it’s all these things.  Maybe it’s about being human.  Maybe it’s far more universal a concept than we’re led to believe in our shame-ridden society.  Maybe it’s the knowing that I’m not alone in all these feelings, yet being unable to connect to anyone in any profound, meaningful way.  So many things well up inside with no outlet; despair ensues. 

Alienation, then?  The outsider to life, always looking in, wondering how the others are making it?  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas: The Divorce is Final

With less than a week left ‘till Christmas, my parents are traipsing into their respective divorce lawyers’ offices today to make it official: their marriage is over.  After a year and 9 months of the back-and-forth, could it really not have waited a couple more days, I ask?  As much as I wanted the whole thing to be over with, having the reality slap you in the face in the midst of this “joyous” time of year is just too much for anyone parents, my sister and me, the grandkids. 

The timing makes the irony of our holiday plans all the more ironic: all of my dad's relatives will be at the house, but my dad won't.  This will be the first in a series of awkward holidays, tinged with the bitter sadness of what is missing.  

No one tells you how to deal with this as an adult.  There are a thousand books for little kids who have parents that are splitting up, and for grown-ups who survived divorce as kids.  But for those of us whose parents have been married for 20-, 30-, 40-odd years ... where’s the manual?  How do I keep this from feeding right into my cynical outlook on life and love?  Where do I look to see the plausibility of a happy ever after?

It’s gonna be a holly, jolly Christmas: that’s for sure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Six Weeks, Two Days, Three and a Half Hours

Doesn’t sound like a very long time, does it? Well, it’s the longest I’ve lasted at any job in the past 4 years. Woohoo for the personal record I set there, bummer that I had to stick the punctuation mark at the end of that sentence today. I wanted it to work out. Desperately. But given my history with sales focused jobs, the writing was on the wall from the beginning.

Nonetheless, I accomplished a few small feats in the short weeks I was able to remain gainfully employed . . . pretend you’re impressed:

1. I arrived early to work every single day. Sometimes by 15 minutes! I realize other grown-ups do not consider this a marvel because they are on time to their jobs every single day. As a perpetually-5-minutes-late person, however, this goes down as a bloody effing miracle in my book. And no, I’m not English.

2. I (almost) secured a full-time position with benefits . . . if I would’ve met the metrics required to last beyond the probationary period, that is. The only other time that’s happened these past 4 years was when I got hired to sell gym memberships. Lasted one day at that.

3. I functioned as a semi-normal human being for the entire duration. I showered daily, put on makeup, and did my hair. I packed a lunch, ran errands, did chores when I got home, and carried out the mundane tasks of living. Again, not a grand triumph unless you barely leave the house. Brushed my teeth twice a day even, how do ya like that?

4. I socialized both in- and outside of work and was only a grouchy introvert a small portion of the time. In fact, I made a few friends and found it could be plausible that I am an acceptable human being. I went out for (3) drinks and pushed through my feelings of being a pathetic loser while surrounded by blackout-drunk coworkers who seemed to be just getting started as I was cashing in for the night. I stayed past what was comfortable, so at least I stretched outside of my box even if I’ll never fit in with my peers.

So I rejoined the land of the living. For a brief spell, at least. Built up some momentum. Now it’s time to hunker down, fill out a thousand online job apps again and pray to high heaven I don’t fall back into severe malfunction.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unrelaxing relaxation.

I went for myofascial release today. 

Periodically my hip gets so bad that I nearly go berserk.  Then I google and research and strategize what I will attempt next to make the pain go away. 

So for various reasons I am running late to get to this appointment that is twice as far of a drive as I had allowed for.  Rushing to go relax, I thought to myself.  Makes a lot of sense. 

Because I am late, she forgoes the 2-minute clothing removal and does the MFR with my clothes on.  On any other day I would’ve thrown on yoga pants or something comfy, but no, toDAY I wear jeans.  Awesome. 

We can’t start on my hip right away because my sacrum is tilted out of whack, so we start with spinal decompression.  Have I ever injured my tailbone?  Why yes.  Yes I have. 

I knew I should have gone to the chiropractor first.  I scold myself for another failure.  I am annoyed that I always do the same crap, that I am always late, that I am supposed to be relaxing but my jeans aren’t very bendy and the whole thing is the opposite of the slow, gentle healing it is intended to be.  I wonder why I ever leave the house. 

She works on my jaw next.  I try to put aside my OCD issue about people touching my face in hopes that my TMJ will be alleviated, but mostly I think about my pores getting clogged and the breakouts I will wake up to tomorrow.

On the drive home I call to see if there are massage openings at this other place I go to sometimes.  In 25 minutes...perfect.  I squeeze in an adjustment since the chiro’s in the same building and, after all, why do another treatment when everything’s in the wrong place?  More scurrying around. 

For the massage I go bare.  Well technically, first I get on the table with my panties and my dignity in place, then I decide it will just make it awkward for her to access all the hip and glute muscles that have aching trigger points.  Sigh. 

Facedown with my head in the little circle, I fail to close my eyes soon enough and have to ponder the handwritten “grandpa” tattoo on her feet, along with her french-tipped toes.  She starts with my legs, and I anger at the stretch marks in places that weren’t there a couple of years ago.  I beat myself up over a few hundred more things. I panic at the slight breeze in my nethers, where a properly-tucked massage sheet normally should be shielding.  Oh, well.  Look at my privates.  See if I care. 

I tell myself that even fat people deserve massages as I internally apologize to the girl for having to squeegee across my fat rolls and dimples and stretch marks.  I contemplate the vulnerability of baring one’s ugliness to a complete stranger, who - truth be told - doesn't really have much of a say.  I wonder about the stories these people could tell of the bodies they have to look at.  The possibility, not the promise, of being in slightly less pain allows me to surrender to this humiliation. 

Accompanying me as always, the despair lingering beneath the surface.  This is my body I’ve destroyed that I don’t want anyone to ever see again, this body that nobody (save a massage therapist or doctor) has touched in years and maybe never will again.  This is my pain that may never go away that has ruined my life and my hope and my health.  This is my summation of failures in the world and the reason I don’t want to be with myself, much less someone else.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knowing when to give up

I've never been great at letting go.  At times, the refusal to quit is a great trait to have.  But there are those other moments in life when the line between persevering ... and trying to force something to happen ... gets blurry.  When is enough enough?  When you're satisfied that you've given it your best last shot?  When you're foolishly clinging to something that is probably not meant to be?

Being a person who has immense difficulty accepting failure, I've certainly held fast to many a thing long past its expiration date.  I've doled out too many chances to people who didn't deserve it.  I've given friends the benefit of the doubt, when clearly calling to see how I'm doing never crosses their minds.  But what's really weighing heavily on me at the moment is my career path.

I have a useless master's degree that hasn't been put to use in nearly 4 years.  I invested 7 years of my life in college, worked 2 years in my field, and now can't even get a job close to what my degree should be worth.  Am I desperately clinging to my "investment" because of what it *should* have earned me by now, under some delusion that the seven hundredth job application-resume-cover letter-transcript-reference letter sent out will pay off with a position after all this time?

Ironically, I DID give up on this career 3 years ago.  I gave away all of my books and resources and 99% of the materials I had spent years gathering.  But after trying in vain to get any kind of other job, I have found my degree essentially useless for that purpose.  In fact, I could have gotten more job offers with JUST a high school diploma.  So I tried once again to get the job I am licensed to do and loved at one time.  It's not happening.

Honestly, I just want to say "f**k it."  I am so blessed tired of begging for a job I don't even know if I want anymore.  I have screwed the whole daggone thing up: life, love, work, home, friendship.  *sigh*

Monday, June 27, 2011

One of those days. SOME of those days.

Sometimes I just wish I’d had the guts to get it over with the first time.  The thought crosses my mind a lot lately.

I am so tired of struggling.  I know I’m not the only one, but the only head I’m in is mine.  I just want ONE thing to start going right, instead of trying to cram pieces together that never seem to fit. 

Facing the reality of having accomplished so little to get my life back on track in (going on) four years now ... I just can’t effing stand it sometimes, and I want out.  I’m tired of playing this game and watching everybody else win.  A-holes that don’t deserve to win get to raise their trophies and gloat, and to be honest it makes me really friggin’ bitter sometimes.  Okay: a lot of the time. 

These are the feelings you’re not supposed to admit, that you don’t dare speak aloud, so I lay them out here where no one gives a damn ... much the same as in real life. 

Perched in a church pew at my cousin’s wedding this weekend, all I could think about was my parents’ dissolving marriage.  The start of a new family; the end of another.  This “impending” divorce just can’t seem to make itself happen.  Over a year later, there are no papers signed and appearances would suggest that nothing’s really changed.  And yet soon, I’ll be one of ‘those’ people (whatever that means, right?) from a broken family with no home to go back to.  Get it over with already, I think constantly. 

The difference between me now and me a few years ago is that naive old me believed without reason and beyond reason that things were going to get better.  If I just get through this, or make it to that, or accomplish the next most important goal, it’ll all work out in the end. 

It’s not the presence of happiness I long for, but the absence of misery.  And that sentiment epitomizes the core of depression that outsiders have no grasp of; in my mind I hear traces of a thousand know-it-all phrasings of the “well nobody’s happy all the time” line the blissfully ignorant throw around.  Only somebody who’s basically happy most of the time would be stupid enough to say something like that to people who think about killing themselves.  It’s ‘cause we believe we should be happy all the time and us self-obsessed whiners aren’t, gosh darn it! 

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”  That’s how my mother would put it, anyway; in a judgment-laden cliche purporting to be a comforting truism.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On optimism, and other qualities I usually don’t possess.

I have a little bit of hope today. 

For the first day since December of 2007, my hip doesn’t hurt.  That makes me blissfully happy.

This is a momentous occasion for me, because it’s only the second time in about a dozen years that I’ve been pain-free.  The other one was after a massage at the end of day 5 of RAGBRAI (a week-long bike ride across the state of Iowa) in 2006.  I hope it lasts more than a day this time!!!!

Torturous pain will fuel the fire of depression like no other.  Hurting all day, every day, every night for years could take even the best person out.  And I was pretty screwed up to begin with.  It has hurt so badly, for so long, that I’ve had a hard time believing it would ever end.  And I would rather die than live that way forever.  

If I can sit in a chair, or stand for more than 20 minutes, or get to sleep at night, or function somewhat like a normal human being, I could maybe keep a job!  I could maybe lose all the weight I’ve put on during the years I couldn’t exercise the amount I’m accustomed to.

This could be the beginning of a way out of the darkness.    

“Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.” -Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Un-Life

Right now I am living the opposite of anything that could possibly resemble a life.  
An existence creeping far too slowly towards death, perhaps.  But a life?  No.  
My eyes are open twelve hours a day.  I try; I fail.  I try harder; I still fail.   

On most days, it seems the best is all in the past (“best” being a misnomer, because nothing I had was worth keeping).

Someone loved me.  Once. 
I had a career.  Once.
I was great at some things.  Once. 

Now I am nobody doing nothing headed: nowhere.

Most of the time, it feels as though I’m never going to make it back “in.”  Whatever that means. 
I’m terrified every moment of every day that I don’t have what it takes to do this.
I used to be the naive fool who believed if you just work hard enough, you can get what you want. 

The way the world actually works is: you can try to do it all right and still wind up with nothing.

Or, as House aptly summarized, “People don’t get what they deserve, they just get what they get.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

“You’re Fired”

If my life were Celebrity Apprentice, I’d be giving Donald Trump a run for his money. 

I’ve gotten great at firing people from my life.  You wrong me, you’re done. 

Some people get a few more chances than others, until that final slight that sends their sum of missteps over the top.  Yes, I keep track.  If you’ve ever worked with me, lived with me, befriended me, interacted with me in any miniscule way whatsoever, you have a running tally.  Unbeknownst to you, the tiny ways in which you thought you were screwing me over and getting away with it were all being accounted for.  Sound much like a dysfunctional, paranoid worldview with a ‘get them before they get me’ mentality?
Depression is as ruthless as the cutthroat world of business. One by one, those around you enter the metaphorical boardroom, their performance as friend or mom or sibling appraised.  Those who failed to show up during my hour of need are goners.
My chiropractor is next in line (yes, I realize how ridiculous this perverse game is).  After a couple months of teetering on the edge with his pushy sales tactics, the attempts to guilt me into coming more often have gone too far.  Sorry dude, I don’t owe you anything.  I come when I want, I pay you for services rendered; that is the extent of my dues.  I’m real nice until you try to take advantage of it, then (as CeeLo Green put it) forget you, and forget you, too.
Then the day comes when you look around, and there is no one left.  In all honesty, I’m less miserable and more at peace the fewer people that are in my life.  That way I don’t sit around wondering why people don’t call, why they don’t care, why I’m worthy of neither their time nor attention.  I’m tired of caring more about others than they do about me.
Then there are the other days, when the empty void you have created sucks the breath out of you. 

My aunt passed away on Tuesday morning in a hospital room by herself.  No one in the family even knew she was there; a coworker had driven her there two days prior.  Fifty-seven years old and morbidly obese, she’d been alone since a divorce and subsequent rape in her early twenties.  It’s always sad to see another human being essentially give up on life and love and happiness.  When it’s YOU, your own pain outweighs the sadness of others.

The sick part is, I’m jealous.  I don’t think I can do 30 more years of this bullsh*t.  Hell, I don’t know if I can do tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure no deity would answer my prayers to just up and die, but I beg to be let out of this mess anyway.  Let someone live who’s enjoying it.

I turned 31 yesterday.  Still jobless, hopeless, and a hundred pounds overweight.  Another year passed in paralysis, the weight of my screw-ups so unbearable that stillness is my only solace.  I have effectively shut everyone out of my life, and the only reward is that they can no longer hurt me. 

I can’t help but wonder if it’ll be another three decades before I’m dead and no one gives a damn.  The thing is, I don’t want anyone standing over my dead body who never stood beside me in life.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Penelope Trunk tackles the suicide of Bill Zeller

And I’m glad.  There will be enough talking heads spouting their opinions, doing more harm than good. 

Case in point: A teenager in small-town Iowa committed suicide last July, and the local news anchor condemned the act on air with a stern reproach: “Suicide is never the answer.”  As though he could scare away suicide with his disapproval.   Of all the things to say, KWWL chose to render judgment rather than extend compassion. 

Perhaps I am uniquely sensitive to such remarks, having been suicidal for quite some time ... but isn’t that the point?  Scoldings convey reproach, instead of any sort of understanding or empathy. “If you’re hurting, there is help.”  A thousand other axioms might have actually been helpful in reaching out to others in pain.  Suicidal people chastise themselves enough without others chiming in.

So I’m glad that Penelope wrote about his death, because she can speak from a place of courage instead of fear.  Having experienced sexual abuse, she’s endured much of the same trauma.  When you’ve actually gone through terrible things, you know better than to say all the wrong things to people in genuine pain. 

I’m also glad Bill Zeller publicized his last words.  In so doing, he gave the public a glimpse into the despair that leads to suicide.  People will judge him regardless, but at least it won’t be for someone else’s version of why he did it.  

I understand, even though I don’t.  I can’t pretend to have any concept of the agony he endured over the course of his lifetime.  In a perfect world, he wouldn’t have been shamed into silence for his feelings.  He could have spoken his truth looking forward to compassion and understanding instead of condemnation.  But that is not the world we live in.  It is a world where people feel it is easier to die than to be looked upon with the stigma of mental illness.  It is a world where people internalize the hatred of everyone around them and pull the trigger.

My comment on Penelope’s post:

"He couldn't stand the idea of how the truth would cause people to think differently of him.  Was that really his own distortion, or did he accurately internalize the stigma that would befall him?  We, as a society, let him down.  Something is backwards if you can be honest in death, but not in life.
The sad part is, the shame and hiding reinforces the crippling alienation (when in fact, sooooo many people are hurting).
The sadder part is, people will pretend to be compassionate and empathetic towards Bill Zeller NOW, when they never would have in real life.  Same with all the publicized gay teen suicides over the past year.  GIVE PEOPLE YOUR LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE WHILE THEY ARE ALIVE.
Not a single thing he wrote seemed "crazy" or even "abnormal" *given what he has been through* - I guess I share your amazement that more people do not succumb to suicide given the trauma life inflicts on so many. 
Those who are suffering cannot speak their truths for fear of the condemnation of others - just look at your last post!!!  People cannot even conceive of the kind of despair so many go through.  They are the sort who judge suicidal people as selfish...all the while their only concern being how the death affects THEM.  Hmmm.....
When I write about trying to come back from the brink of suicide, I sure as hell don't do it with my name attached.  Would I ever work again (will I anyway, LOL), is there a snowball's chance I could be a legitimate member of society ever again? 
I almost killed myself 3 years ago.  And 2 years ago.  And last year.  There are a lot of days I feel as Bill did; the pain and darkness have been intertwined with your very being for so long that there's just no way out.  Most days I don't see a way back from all that has happened.  Your courage to keep trying gives me hope.  I have tried to "get help" but not found the kind I really need.  It's not as easy or available as everybody thinks ... and even if you DO get real help, that in itself incites revulsion in some.  Is it any wonder that people feel trapped and hopeless?"

Secrets kill. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

“Anytime you need a friend....

I will be here...”  So sings Mariah Carey. 

But some words are only true in a song.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
Maybe those are the kind of friendships other people have.

Lucky bastards.

In the real world, you don’t always get back what you give. 
“Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” -Albert Camus
In my life’s darkest times, no one has “shown up” for me. 

If I wanted to hit the bars, there are a bazillion people, friends-cousins-acquaintances, I could call up.

If I wanted ditzy bimbo friends to gossip with about who’s sleeping with who, I could go be another dime-a-dozen trollop down at the bar all hoed up with my group of girls. 

But when your life’s falling apart:

  • Do you call the friend who’s not there for the little things to be there for the big things?
  • Who can’t be burdened for an hour lunch...for a life crisis?
  • Should you unload on someone too busy to post back on Facebook, much less reply to an e-mail?
My so-called “best friends” have known about all the major losses in these past several years of my life ... and not bothered to call or see how I’m doing, or even if I’m alive or dead. 
“Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say.”
For a time you continue to reach out anyway, to act normal, hiding your pain so as not to be a burden.  You try to be the kind of friend you wish you had, until that nagging question in the back of your mind one day leaps to the forefront: where WERE you?

Where were you when life was kicking my ass?

When I couldn't get out of bed?

When I had no one?

I didn’t even show you the darkness, I pretended for you...wasn’t I a good enough actor?

I know, I know: it’s always more fun to knock back a few margaritas with the happy, laughing bunch.

Failure might be contagious.  Despair is catching. 

And a leper? 

So before you shut me out completely, best friend, I will throw you out along with the rest of the world. 

I never wanted you to feel sorry for me.  I didn’t need your pity.  I did need to look in your eyes and see that I was the same person you called “friend” before this bulldozer ran over my life. 
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." ~Henri Nouwen 

"But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

HATRED KILLS: Seth Walsh, suicide, and bullying gays to death.

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."

Do these words ring any less true today than when Martin Luther King Jr. first spoke them in the 1960’s?

Fifty years later, people die, and we stand by.

2010 draws to a close with coffins nailed shut on good people who succumbed to their tormentors.

That’s right: this is America, and it’s the year 2010, and kids are killing themselves in the land of the free.

How hard should it have been to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Think there was a chance in hell it would’ve happened without Obama in office?

I am almost as incensed at the lack of outrage as I am at the injustices themselves.

Examine for a moment the teenage bullying epidemic Ellen DeGeneres refers to in this PSA:

Seth WalshAsher Brown. Tyler Clementi. Zach Harrington. The nameless others we’ll never know about because it seemed easier to commit suicide than to face the hateful condemnation of society. Can you imagine living with the internalized hatred of strangers, friends, peers, family members?
"While their straight friends and siblings can hope to fall in love and have their most important partnerships lifted up, celebrated, and supported by the community, the best that sexual minorities can hope for is to slip under the radar, unnoticed by those who would call their loving partnerships abomination.
Some internalize this condemnation. They accept the message that their deepest impulse toward love and intimacy is an affront to God. And since that impulse is an ineradicable feature of who they are, some come to see their very existence as a blight on the world."
“Their rejection of me is as deep as their faith.”
Excerpt from "Gay Suicide and the Ethic of Love: A Progressive Christian Response," by Eric Reitan

It’s a national travesty, yet no one seems to give a damn.

YOU don’t have to care if YOU aren’t gay. Right?

See if this rings a bell:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” -Martin Niemoeller, on the failure of Germans to speak out against the Nazis.

Maybe you throw around phrases like, “That’s so gay,” equating homosexuality with stupidity. Harmless?

Or call someone ‘faggot’ as the worst possible insult, but you wouldn’t dare utter ‘nigger’ because that’s vile…if you think it’s not hate speech, you’re wrong.

Perhaps you tolerate gay people…instead of valuing who they are, much less *loving* them…

Maybe tonight another young person bows out of the torture, because: 
"even if the self-hatred does not sink in all the way, the experience of alienation from the community, the sense of being alone in the world and despised by the community, can lead to suicidal despair"
-- Reitan, Organized Ugliness and Gay Suicide

No mother, brother, sister, friend should EVER have to endure this kind of senseless loss. Chely Wright, founder of Like Me, was on the Nate Berkus show earlier this week in support of Seth Walsh, who could no longer cope with the cruel bullying he was forced to endure at school. Wright spoke openly about how close she came to suicide as a closeted lesbian. “When you wake up every day and you know that a good portion of the world doesn’t like you for who you are naturally born to be, it hurts.” Her phenomenal autobiography Like Me outlines her breakdown and subsequent renaissance. Find out more about Chely’s work on Facebook, follow her organization Like Me on Twitter, or join the No H8 Campaign.

As for me, I am ashamed to live in a country where the ignorant, the hateful, the intolerant - the bullies - reign in tyranny.  In a seminal piece on this issue, Reitan argues that, "The problem runs much deeper than overt bullying" ...
"Harrington killed himself, not because he was being bullied, but because he became painfully conscious of the self-righteous intolerance of a large segment of his community."
 Never give hatred a forum. 

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." – MLK Jr.