Strange Sympathy: Flag Burning

Photo credit: WikiMedia

Photo credit: WikiMedia

I am a Veteran.  I am an American. I am proud to be both.  I am also a person who does their best to look at things optimistically but also from another’s point of view.  I will tell you that I am completely offended when I see a dirty, tattered flag blowing.  I get pissed off at the person who would dare show such disrespect for the colors that represent this country.

The first time I saw footage of someone burning a flag, I was all up in arms.  The first time I saw an AMERICAN burning one, I was completely outraged.  I put on a uniform & fought for that flag.  Then I thought about it, I put on the uniform and fought for our rights, our freedoms.  I don’t agree with burning of the flag but I also know that it is sadly a form of free speech (you don’t have to agree with me).

We’ve all seen the memes or heard people talk about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes before you pass judgement.  I think walking a mile in my own shoes lately has allowed me to loosen my anger towards those that would desecrate our flag.  What if their story is similar to mine? What if their story is similar to a growing number of Veterans?

I went to the VA complaining of a few things but the biggest was fatigue that came out of nowhere along with some other scary symptoms that accommodated this fatigue.  I was sent home with no real diagnosis, no meds & no test results.  When I called for the results of the blood work, I was told “We sent you a letter”.  The guy seemed as if he was put out by having to tell me what the letter that never arrived had to say.  The results were unnerving to me but he assured me I had nothing to worry about.  He had no explanations for things like “abnormal liver functions” but I figured, he’s the medical professional, he knows that this isn’t something I should be concerned about.

I ended up either in or at the hospital several times after that with the worst condition being swelling of the membrane around my heart.  This swelling I was told was part of the symptoms I presented with several months ago & had they paid attention to the issues, I could have avoided the feeling of having a heart attack and the swelling.  Now you ask what does that have to do with me having a change of heart (no pun intended) towards people who would dare burn our flag?

I joined several Veterans groups only to learn that so many of us are being ignored into worse health issues or sadly, ignored to death.  It made me wonder about the flag burners.  Are they angry Veterans who feel they fought for nothing?  Are they angry family members who lost loved ones because their country thought they were good enough to fight but not good enough to fight for their health when they returned home from their tours of duty? Is this the way they feel the need to get the attention needed for a situation that really needs an overhaul?  I personally will not burn the flag, I’m still proud of it in spite of the treatment I’ve gotten since defending it but I won’t sit back & tell you that I’m outraged or pissed off when I see people disrespecting the flag anymore because I don’t know their motivation.  A part of me understands their anger as I get lip service from the people in charge of the VA medical system.  A part of me understands the rage that would cause a person to desecrate something so many hold dear as I learn from firsthand experience the lacduffle bagk of concern by the people charged with our care.  A part of me understands their lack of respect for the flag as I pass homeless Veterans on the streets holding signs still proud of their service, carrying all of their life in the military issued duffle bags.  I have a strange sympathy for these flag burners.

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Survival Mode

I grew up fighting & have been doing that pretty much all of my adult life as well.  Its made me not tough but strong.  I hate to cry but it happens more than I’d care to admit, but for most of my life, if tears fell then that meant hands were swinging because I was yet again fighting.

I was that kid that heard on so many occasions, ‘learn to pick your battles’.  As I got older, the battles started picking me.  I actually do my best to avoid fights, yet some of them seem to make it to my doorstep even when I try to pretend I’m not home.  Coming from where I’m from, you fought.  Then I went into the military and fixed airplanes…as a black chick in Louisiana….fight.  Then I got married….and divorced…fight.  I then went into sales….fight.  Raised 2 children alone…fight.  I am tired of fighting.  So the fight I figured I would take on voluntarily was the fight to be a positive person, to try to inspire others to be a light in their world.  Then my health started going a bit haywire.  Dammit another fight.  Can I just say that this is a fight that has me more confused than any other one I’ve ever endured.  I eat right, I exercise, I don’t smoke & I was probably having more wine than I should but we have to have some indulgences right?  All of a sudden, no energy, rapid weight loss & the membrane around my heart has swollen up.  I know there are others out there with way worse health than mine but I don’t have to fight for them.

I will be honest, I am scared to de….life.  I’ve shed more tears than I care to admit, staying positive has been a true challenge.  I have no explanations for what is happening to me, I have lost 27lbs. without changing a thing in my life.  Silver lining I had a few dresses that were too small that still had tags on them, I’m wearing those bad boys now because once I’m healthy again, we know that at least 15lbs will come rushing back.  🙂  I am learning a lot of interesting things about what I thought was healthy eating.  I’m also learning how to cook right from fresh (I made this stellar stir fry where only the noodles weren’t fresh).  I have to gradually lay down at night because laying flat causes my heart to hurt.  I have to chew my first meal of the day for extra long or it feels as if I swallowed a piece of steak whole.  I can’t eat certain things or almost immediately my fingers & toes go numb, my chest hurts and I can’t breathe (this has been what’s really caused me to start with the fresh foods).

In this short period of time, I would be lying if I said my attitude hasn’t been in need of an adjustment.  For the first time in my life, I think I am sad more than I am happy.  I am constantly reminding myself that this is happening so I can help someone else in the future.  I am constantly reminding myself that this too shall pass.  I am also constantly reminding myself that God has me & I’m here for a divine reason.  I keep telling myself that all of the positive messages I have shared were when life was something I could handle.  Now that this is a scary challenge, on the other side is going to be a phenomenal message.  When the doctor says to you “you should have never drove yourself here, this is a 911 call because you could have died on the road” you thank God that you didn’t but really start questioning why you didn’t die on the road.  Not a cool question to have to ask yourself.  I could find a reason in that alone to wallow in misery but its that statement that really lets me know that I am here for a reason.  I am in survival mode because there is a message and a lesson here.  I am determined to learn it and I am determined to share it.  Can I just say that being positive was already a challenge….but as I said at the start of this, I grew up fighting so I guess I have to step to the challenge.  I’m tired of fighting but perhaps being a fighter is part of who I am.  DAMN the bad luck lol Lets fight!

I Am Pissed Off About My Healthcare

I proudly tell people that I am a Veteran.  I don’t know why I’m so proud, it seems that being a Veteran is the equivalent to being a Walmart greeter these days.  People see them, they know they exist but really outside of thanking them for the cart, they really don’t matter.  That is exactly how I feel as someone who not only volunteered to fight for my country but who was injured while doing so.  I am not only a Veteran but what is called a service connected disabled Veteran.  I may not look like it to everyday onlookers but every single day of my life, I spend in some measure of pain.

Like many Veterans, I do my best to tough it out.  I try my best not to take drugs, I tease & say I am like a guy, I only go to the doctor under dire circumstances.  About 3 years ago, my son had to literally lift me out of bed and carry me into the ER at the VA hospital where I was told they would get to me.  I was in so much pain that I asked for a blanket and spread it on the floor because sitting was only an option if I enjoyed being in excruciating pain.  For my spreading the blanket on the floor I got immediate attention from the receptionist who came out from her office to tell me I could not lie on the floor.  This was the 1st and only time I think the devil appeared in my son. Security, nurses & a doctor were called and I was immediately taken back where pain meds were issued and one of the doctors told me “don’t let them cut you”.  A doctor told me that because he knew the level of service in the VA was subpar.  During my follow up appointment, one of the doctors who had barely glanced at my records said she was going to give me a shot, she claimed it was for muscle discomfort.  My injury occured in the early 90’s, I told her those were some pretty insane muscles to have been causing pain for over 20 years.  As far as I was concerned, she was an idiot & she was sticking me with nothing.

Flash forward, I get the “honor” of going to a pain specialist.  One who gave me pills that he claimed “used to be used as an antidepressant” but now have been repurposed for the insane headaches I get (they have yet to find a solution to the times I can’t walk).  These “repurposed” pills caused me to sleep for up to 14 hours, that was the low dose.  The recommended dose I’m sure would have killed me.  When I went back to the doctor, I was told that if those pills didn’t work, he could not help me.  I told him that while I was no doctor, I was no damned fool either.  This particular situation made me start thinking about prisons & VA hospitals.  There are 152 VA medical facilities and there are 1800 state & federal prisons according to this article based on 2005 numbers & 3200 local and county jails.  Could it be that privatizing prisons and locking people up is more profitable than taking care of the very people who are not only law abiding citizens but who have given up time with family, lost limbs & mental stability to fight for their country?

THEN my mind went to the caliber of doctors that are employed by the VA.  I moved to Orlando, went to the VA here.  Went in after a day of just walking across my apartment wore me out, I could barely put a load of laundry in without needing to take a seat.  They take all manner of blood (tech had to stick me 4 times, it would have only been twice but he neglected to fill all the vials ordered) & then tell me I will get a call the next day with the results.  No call came, the weekend came & went and when I called the physicians assistant that called me back made me feel like I was a bother.  He said “I sent you a letter”.  Well I have yet to get that letter and the things he claimed were the issue were never met with a real solution.  Any questions asked were answered with inane nonsense.  So I figured, it can’t be that serious, then I traveled out to Phoenix where what they didn’t do here landed me in a lot of pain and the VA out there.  When I entered the VA out there, I was asked what my pain level was.  In tears and in pain, I said I am at a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.  6 hours later I was still in the lobby while people who could laugh, joke & walk with ease were taken back in front of me in spite of coming in after me.  I finally had enough and told the person who was checking me in to call me a civilian ambulance to take me to a civilian hospital.  That’s when I finally received medical attention and where I was told I am anemic and treated for an infection that was blown off by the physicians assistant offering stupid answers to concerned questions which I would imagine he felt his letter would have explained.  Not in Orlando where my energy levels were of initial concern.  Two days in Phoenix where I was supposed to be training for my new position were spent dicking around in the VA hospital.

How many “medical professionals” had I dealt with and still had no solutions to the problems I was having.  Then I was on my way to work when it became difficult to breath, hard to walk because with every single step, there was pain from walking & just trying to take a breath.  Off to a civilian hospital I went to learn that many of the latest issues I’d gone to the VA complaining about were creating new, potential life threatening issues.  I got the diagnosis that the lining around my heart is inflamed and that many of the symptoms that I’d complained about to the VA could have stopped this from happening because they were precursers.  Had they actually treated me, I would have avoided this particular pain & hospital stay.  I literally thought I was having a heart attack and 3 days in the hospital being drugged every few hours, poked,prodded, scanned 5 different doctors who actually took the time to listen to what I was complaining about & addressed the major problems that were causing me the greatest amount of concern.

The argument could be that these doctors are more motivated because they get paid by insurance companies or people who have the ability to pay.  The President goes to a military medical center, bet he’s not getting shitty care, the members of congress have medical plans that federal employees have where the government covers between 72% to 75% of the premiums.  Yet, Veterans it seems get doctors who were vetted like the government buying chairs, who is the lowest bidder?  I find it shameful that people who when being recruited are told how much of a sense of pride we should have for serving, become trash after our tours are over.  Shame on you America, what is there to be proud of when you send us in to fight for freedom and then won’t take care of us when we come back from the battle with scars? I wonder how the care is in these privatized prisons because the Walmart greeter care I have been receiving at the VA is absolute shit & from the looks of things it won’t get any better.  Today I had my civilian prescription filled…$149 for 2 bottles.  Was I happy to pay it?  No but am I happy I bypassed the VA medical center?  Yes, I think my family will tell you that it is cheaper for me to get those prescriptions filled than it would have been for them to bury me.  IF the VA medical doctors had actually taken the time to listen to me, to examine me properly, answer my questions and prescribe actual meds perhaps my condition would have never elevated to affect my heart.  As far as I’m concerned, the VA can go piss up a rope on a windy day and considering the fact that I gave the military my best, I have no idea why they can’t reciprocate.

Public vs. Private Point of View

I stand in favor of a lot of things that people would be shocked about.  I try to look at things very objectively and make a rational decision on what I feel the outcome should be or should have been if the situation has already passed.  I try to look at things from the human standpoint but there are times when things are racially motivated and even in those situations, I try to figure out what is driving that.

Social media has opened a lot of us up to the personal point of view of perfect strangers & it has caused a lot of controversy in the process.  It has caused me to review what I say in most cases before I post it, I used to have “discussions” on my page that I felt were interesting but that could be considered volatile and I would referee these quite well.  Now I rarely share these types of things because people seem to lack the respect when an opposing point of view is shared.

I was one that held the feeling that people posting things on FB should not be fired from their jobs or not hired for their opinions.  We are all entitled to express ourselves and it does not mean that everyone will agree with us.  Tonight, I changed my mind.  Much of what we share, we control.  Now, if you have your pages set to private & you are spouting hatred, going on nonstop political rants & just being downright ugly, I have no issue with that.  However, when you are sharing these things in a public manner, I think you start to represent everything you have in your “About” section.  That means your workplace if you have it listed, it means that you can potentially bring harm to the brand you work for or the one you are trying to build.

I do my best to surround myself with positive thoughts, people & energy and because of this, I ignore a lot of the negative things that are shared on social media but there comes a time when we must realize that ignoring is as bad as condoning.  I don’t expect you to think like me, to act like me or to like me but I do expect you to use good sense when sharing your point of view.  I don’t share much to my “public” audience, what I do share is usually uplifting or funny because it represents so much more than just Kellie.  On my private page, I try to stay true to who I am but if I think it is going to be received in a truly bad way, I keep that off of social media.  They make these people called personal friends & actual family that you can use these new fangled contraptions called phones to share the worst of your opinions and not have to worry about backlash.  For the first time ever since I’ve been on Facebook, I reported someone & then sent a long email to the brand he represents and asked my fellow Facebook friends to hold him accountable.  I thought long & hard before doing so but I then realized “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  So I did something, it may not have been much but it was something.  I hope you will join me in not ignoring hatred in public spaces.  We keep saying we want the racial divide to go away, well ignoring the problem is not a solution, it will not go away until we shine a light on it & hold those that share their bigotry accountable.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Bridging the Divide

So many names, so much blame & so much hatred.  The divide is wide it seems, then on other days it seems non-existent depending on your walk of life.  I have remained silent as the latest story in the saga of black & white unfolds but I have paid plenty of attention to what is being said by the media as well as the buzz on social media.

There are a few people I have paid particular attention to on social media because I have been conducting an experiment of sorts.  When Michael Brown’s memorial was destroyed, one of the people who was part of my experiment expressed outrage that anyone would dare create such a memorial for a thug.  My response to him was “this thug was someone’s loved one, just because you are pissed that he jay walked & possibly stole cigars doesn’t mean he was less loved by those that knew him personally”.  Now this same person seems ok with saying that a man who was invited into a church, sat for an hour & then assassinated 9 people has a “mental issue”.  WHAT?

Then there is the flip side of the coin, you have whites who are outraged that this person who shot up a place of worship did so because they were black.  The interesting part of this unfolding on Facebook is that there are so many black people showing up on the threads thanking the white people for being outraged.  WHAT?  I will not thank PEOPLE for thinking of other PEOPLE as PEOPLE!  It’s ridiculous!  AND just so you know, other races are not just now becoming enlightened,  we have all been together in the struggle for equality since the 1st slave was unloaded off a ship.  The Underground Railroad would have been a total disaster without the help of whites so stop acting like this is brand new.  People who have compassion & realize that wrong is wrong are the ones outraged, it has absolutely nothing to do with their color & to thank them for wanting what is right is….well, wrong.

Not all white people hate blacks, not all blacks are void of racism towards whites, not all police officers think they are above the law, not all black men are violent, not all white people who kill have mental disorders.

As the story of the young man unfolds in South Carolina, many were angry that he was apprehended unharmed & wearing a bullet proof vest.  The outrage was that he wasn’t manhandled like we have seen done to so many blacks.  People wanted him harmed at the hands of the police.  Now, I get the reason people feel this way but let me interject some objectivity into this situation.  Our general outrage is that the police use too much force yet when this person was arrested, we wanted them to use the very thing we keep asking them not to use?  Think about that for a minute.  The other issue people had was that he was given a bullet proof vest, whether we like it or not, the main purpose of the police officers are to “serve & protect”.  A few rogues don’t mean they are all bad people AND South Carolina is actually, in my opinion leading the charge on how to handle things properly, after all, they are one of the few states that has actually indicted a white officer for excessive force against a black unarmed man.  So let’s not be mad at them for doing the job the right way.

I am more upset with how mainstream America is responding to these situations than how S.C. is handling this particular one.  Whites who feel Michael Brown was a thug who deserved do die but this “kid” as he is being called (he’s 21, that’s not a kid) who murdered 9 just has a mental disorder and there is no vehement outrage scares me as I watch what are supposedly upstanding citizens express these very biased opinions.  Until we really take the time to sit down & review our own beliefs on race, the divide will never be bridged. When rational, law abiding citizens call for the blood of a cigar thief but not for an actual murderer, its reason for pause.  When rational people call for the police to stop brutalizing citizens of a certain color and then ask that they brutalize citizens of a certain color, its reason for pause.  Go back & read that last sentence, I have a feeling you might have missed the irony if it didn’t really make you think.

Young black men, are human beings.  Police officers are human beings.  Racism is taught but these human beings are capable of mistakes just like the rest of us and should not automatically be thought of as the enemy because of a badge or a skin color.  Harmony is a choice just like hate too, is a choice.  Either you are part of the solution or you’re part of the problem but you get to decide.  Shall we bridge the gap or will we continue to feed the divide?

This is a human being, not a

This is a human being, not a “thug” or a person to be feared because of his skin color.

A badge does not mean he is above the law & it also doesn’t mean he is an automatic bully. This is a human being.

Racism is a choice as is racial harmony.   Which will you choose?

Racism is a choice as is racial harmony. Which will you choose?

Those Who Can’t Do, Teach

Maybe its me but if you are instructing me on something for which you have no experience, I don’t want to hear from you.  There is a saying,  that those who can’t do, teach.  I’m of the belief that if you can’t do it, how the hell are you going to show me how to do it.  The moment you let me know that you are not capable of doing what you are teaching, all of your credibility goes out the door.

I’m sure you’re wondering what this little rant is about, well let me tell you but as a blogger, I must first tell the back story.  I am a single (divorced) mother with 2 kids.  I left my ex-husband when my youngest was 6.  While I was married, my ex would work 3 jobs if he had to in order to make sure we as a family had the necessities….or so I thought up until the time we got our 1st eviction notice.  We lived in Louisiana at the time & he told me that the cute little house we were renting was going to be sold and we had to move.  I never questioned it until our property manager came out & I said, its too bad they want to sell this house.  At that time, he set me straight, he said we were 3 months behind on rent & that he’d given my husband the option of catching the rent up, move or be evicted.  I, being young & stupid figured there MUST be some type of misunderstanding but we moved.

We then moved a few years later to Florida where once again we rented another cute little house.  This time, I happened to come home from lunch to a blatant eviction notice on the door.  I was already working on saving this marriage after learning that my husband was cheating (I found out on Christmas Eve….Merry Damned Christmas to me).  So I said, when I move, I will move with the kids and no man so we moved into two separate residences.  Once we finally went to divorce court, the judge was prepared to set the rate of child support but my ex had just lost his job.  Trying to be fair, I said “Your honor, I don’t want him to struggle attempting to pay the designated amount, can we revisit this once he finds a job”.  The judge agreed, I felt this was not going to be an issue because he always made sure our kids had what they needed & if you would have told me I would have to fight him for child support, I would have been ready to fight you in the street.

He literally told me that he would not pay me until they forced him to.  Five years I got nothing but would call the child support enforcement line every Wednesday for that 5 years.  Once a woman on the other end said “You called here last Wednesday & the update is still the same” in her nasty government employee tone & I rebutted “then I will talk to you again NEXT Wednesday so you at least have a job one day a week” in my Chicago inner city youth with an attitude tone.

Now we get to the point of the back story, my youngest is now in college and all of his elementary school fees, I paid, all of his high school fees, I paid, all of his initial college fees, I paid and whenever he is in need, I pay.  My children have learned that their father cannot be relied upon and he’s attempted to convince my son to sit out a semester whenever he has been called upon for any financial assistance but here’s the part that has me pissed.  His reasoning behind not giving his son any financial help in college is because he “wants to teach him how to be a man, how to be responsible”.  Really?  I find that comical.  He still owes me thousands of dollars in child support, he showed up for 1 game a year when my son played high school & college football so I reared them alone and he is trying to teach him what?!

I don’t know whether to laugh, shake my head in pity or be completely insulted.  At almost 22 years of age, if my son has not learned to responsible by now, he will never learn it.  For this man to think he can teach this young man who works a full time job, has a full time school schedule, who actually pays his bills on time & bypasses fun because it would dip into his rent money, this kid, who on any given night I can call & the sound of exhaustion from either working or studying can be heard on the phone lines.  This kid who is busting his ass to buy books out of his own pocket and who got mad at me for trying to rescue him financially by saying “Mom, you taught me to be a man and stand on my own, please stop offering what I didn’t ask for”.  I somehow think that a man who always found excuses when his children were minors to not send money, this man who would tell his children to forego furthering their education so he doesn’t have to send money, this man who still owes thousands of dollars in back child support that he & his wife have managed to locate loopholes so he never has to pay (she’s a tax professional) floors me when I hear him say he wants to teach my son how to be responsible.

stfuAs they grew up, I would occasionally call & say I wanted him put in jail, he has been 30 days past due since the middle of forever and what I was told is he has to be at least x # of days overdue to which my response is why does he get to be x # of days overdue feeding his kids but if I don’t feed them, I will be brought up on neglect charges, they will be taken from me & I will be labeled a shitty mother.  I wrote this rant because child support is not about fun money for the Mom as some men seem to think of it.  It is the water they wash their asses with, the water I cook their meals with, the lights that allow me to see the homework I help them with, the food I put in their bellies, the roof that keeps them safe from harm, the clothes I cover them with and yes the football, dance, baseball & other fees I have to pay for them to attend school.  If I have a new purse, I work and its not your business that I bought one but it is your business to BE RESPONSIBLE.  So I am not of the mindset that those who can’t, teach.  Those who can’t need to shut the fuck up and let those who know what they are doing and talking about take center stage.  Rant over

The Worst Title I Can Be Called

I wonder what you expect to see here after reading the title.  Well let me make it quick so you can decide if you want to read on.  I am a Disgruntled American Service connected disabled Veteran.  I know that not everything with a country can be to everyone’s satisfaction but there are some things that are just plain wrong and can be fixed.   I find it deplorable the penalties imposed on the elderly who have worked all of their lives toward retirement and then are penalized for having actually retired.

My mother has been working since she was 14 years old, she retired at 62 (and was penalized) to take care of her mother.  An aging parent that will not be a burden to the state as she rots in a state run facility because her daughter stepped up to make sure she was properly cared for.  For retiring early, my mother was denied approximately 30% of what she would have earned by waiting 3 more years.  Then to add insult to injury, they called her & told her the benefit amount, paid it to her and then several months later, called her back and said she was collecting too much (they issue these checks) and made her pay them back!  Again, she had no choice, they are the ones cutting the checks!  Unbelievable!  Here’s the question though, should she have abandoned her mother?  She worked those years, she paid into the system and this money will not be restored to her once she hits 65, this 30% will be absent for the rest of her life.

For my mothers 48 years of work history, she gets a little more than $800 a month, so she applied for medicare & food stamps.  She got them until she realized, this still was not really enough for her to live on so she did like a lot of elderly people and she got a part time job.  She works a whopping 8 hours a week.  Tax time comes, she claims this 8 hours and guess what?  She earns too much to be insured & to get food stamps now.  WHAT THE FUCK!?  She earns more than $930 a month so she can no longer qualify for coverage for her high blood pressure meds which cost $150 a month and who cares if she eats?  48 years she worked, did I mention that?  She didn’t ask for a handout, she worked!  In case you missed the math on that, she earns more than $11,160 a year so they cut her benefits.

I decided to look up the lawmakers in her area, she lives in Wisconsin to see what their benefits are.  Members of Congress can retire at 50 with no penalty and only have to “work” for 20 to 25 years.  Wait? What?  They have to work a whopping 5 years in order to be eligible for their pension.  Then once they retire, they are allowed to earn up to 15% of what they earned in their position which averages about $29,010 when you take into account the average Congressman earns $193,400 per year.  However, they are provided additional income to help defray costs such as traveling between his home state & DC and “other” goods and services which we know seems to include mistresses, call girls & viagara.  Why is this relevant?  Because these are the very people making these laws that govern the penalties & what can be earned, these millionaires who could care less about old folks eating cat food (which I think once the cat food makers realized this, they increased the prices).

So in addition to now having to figure out food and medical, now because she isn’t insured guess what else she gets?  The penalty for not having insurance!  She was told that fee would be $95 a month as the representative told her that she was no longer covered because of her “high earnings”.  So lets tally this up shall we?  She went from $830 a month to over $930 and for doing so, she now has to come out of pocket at least $150 for her meds, $95 a month for the penalty cost of not having insurance and buy food, lets estimate that at another $100 for the month.  So she is now at $345 in additional expenses because she earned an additional $100 by working 8 hours a week.

Last summer I left the country and I have been doing my best to encourage my mother to do the same but for good.  I am a Veteran who is encouraging people to leave the country, not because I don’t love it but because it seems not to reciprocate that feeling.  For $181 (already saving her money) she can get health insurance for living abroad that makes Medicare look like….well, Medicare which is not good.  She can live on that same money in Costa Rica or Southern Mexico and have a maid and still go out with her friends to eat.  How sad is it that in order to have a high quality of life, a lot of retired people are fleeing the country.

I love this country, I fought for this country and I hurt every single day as a reminder, yet when it is time to retire, I have no plans of making it here.  This is a country for the young, it has no respect for the elderly or the hard working people.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if insurance & retirement was like a savings plan.  You only paid into your own pot & whatever was left if you died was willed to your family members so they would never have to “take from society” which would really revamp the welfare system just by the sheer nature of what I am suggesting.  All of those 48 years of paying into Social Security, into the programs that distribute food stamps, into the programs that offer Medicare/Medicaid and now to have to be penalized when it is time to use them?  Sad testimony of how our country manages not just its finances but how it manages its people as well.

Yep, I’m pretty pissed off that my mother is relegated to poverty because she decided to care for an aging parent, its crap.  Which means my siblings and I can expect the same as we work to help now care for 2 aging adults.  Actually to say that we can expect the same is not accurate because my generation knows that there will be no Social Security when its time for me to retire.  Yet, I pay into it but I suppose if there is a chance that it will be there, it will only be because of the money they saved by penalizing as many elderly people as they could from the generation before mine.

It’s My Mothers Fault

If you have ever watched daytime talk TV you know that its usually the Moms who get blamed.  If you have ever heard anyone talk about having therapy, you know its the Mom who gets blamed.  When a young person gets into trouble, especially if it makes the evening news, people always ask “Where was his mother?” It is almost as if we were all conceived through immaculate conception, the Dads get a pass pretty much 98% of the time.

When we are small kids, our Moms know everything, then we become adolescents and not only do they know nothing, we don’t want to be seen with them.  Somewhere in our twenties, we realize them not knowing anything was just a phase they were going through lol.  Then we get older and somehow, they again begin to know less and less and we grow less  and less patient with them.

This at least has been my experience.  This evening, I took a long drive and my Mom was on my mind in a very heavy way.  My mother has never been an overly affectionate person so I shower my kids with hugs & kisses.  Even at 21 & 24 my kids still kiss me good night if they are home.  If we are watching TV together, it is not unusual that one or both of them are laying all over me.  My mother didn’t initially graduate from High School so she didn’t push us academically so I pushed my kids really hard & they both graduated High School with honors, my daughter graduated college with honors, my son is in his 3rd year of college so time will tell if he too will graduate with honors.

My mother was never really adventurous, she left Mississippi when she was a kid and moved to Chicago where I was born & raised.  When my aunt moved to Wisconsin, my mom then went but she wasn’t the one to forge the path.  I have been the adventurous kid and I think….scratch that, I know I have been the kid that has freaked her out.  I always felt my mother had a life unlived.  That she had dreams that she was too afraid to pursue & I refused to wish for something without going for it.

As I drove tonight, thinking over my life & thinking about how the person I am is my mothers fault (I saved on therapy because I assessed my stuff without the hefty fees).  The conclusion I came to was this, when I was a kid I remember this lady named Ms. Lowe swept her dust out of her apartment onto me & my sister because we wouldn’t play with her tattle tale daughters.  I went home & told my mother and she had to be pulled out of that womans apartment because she was about to get that ass.  My mother had no qualms about fighting for her kids and that still holds true today.  Let someone mess with me even at 45 years old and you can bet my Mother will be right by my side.  Its my mothers fault that I will clear the joint out when it comes to my kids.  Its her fault that I learned that you don’t let anyone mistreat your babies.

I remember my mother coming to me after I left for the Air Force & sharing with me that she had not graduated from High School and that was something she never wanted us to know.  She said she’d gotten her GED and was off to college.  Let me tell you that standing at my mothers college graduation was a very proud moment for me.  Its my mothers fault that I learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are that you can still conquer the world, that if you put your heart into it, you can endure the toughest tasks and come out successful.   I learned to push my kids towards education & its my mothers fault, she showed me that knowledge really is power.   She also showed me that she was not willing to ask us to do something she wasn’t willing to do herself.  She really wanted us to be educated and felt she could not push us unless she pushed herself so she has encouraged her grandchildren to get degrees.

I remember my mother losing her job & doing her best to make sure we were fed, sometimes we only had rice (my baby sister had a friend that asked why we were always eating rice, I will never forget that).  I remember the first time I ever saw my mother cry.  I can tell you that I know for a fact that my mother went to bed hungry more than I care to think about so that we would have enough to eat.  My mother became cautious I think because to take risks would put her family at risk.  Sometimes I am impatient with her because we are all grown now & I want her to live the life she gave up for us.  Its my mothers fault that I love her with wreckless abandon & want so badly for her to really live before she dies.  I might need therapy because it may be unhealthy to love someone so much that you actually get mad at them for not realizing they don’t have to be so safe anymore.  I have to remember that this has been her life and if she is happy then I need to get over myself.  Its my mothers fault that I am one of her biggest fans, I learned to be her cheering section because she taught me that by example.  Yep, my mother was one tough cookie and she taught me to be that too.  To this day, my mother is always encouraging me.  She doesn’t always understand the choices I make (freaked her ALL the way out when I decided to go to South America alone) but she gets on board and supports me even when it freaks her out.

Thank you Mom, I know I’m not always easy to get along with but I love you to life!  I’m glad to say its all your fault that I turned out the way that I am and I love me some me because you taught me that I am important.  I love me some you for the exact same reason.  Is there therapy for that?

Is It Depression or Just a Military Attitude?

Once upon a time I was quite social.  I served on committees for charity organizations, krewed on parade floats, was invited to & went to several parties.  Then it happened, the world lost its mind.  At first I wondered if I was depressed but I was happy just decided to spend more time alone.  I found that when I was in crowds, people got on my nerves.  I thought that my inner city upbringing was coming back to haunt me, you almost have to be angry when you grow up where I did.  It doesn’t always manifest itself in ways that you would imagine but it is often brewing.

Then a friend of mine who is married to a military member asked me about this when I mentioned turning into a “social hermit”.  Her husband is experiencing the same thing, then I spoke with another former military member and learned that this actually seems to be something we all share in common.

I tried to explain to her how I felt on the inside because this was actually a pretty helpful conversation to me.  I am well aware that you are never alone in things that you experience in your life, there’s a support group for freaking everything but people get on my nerves so I don’t want a support group.  I want to sit in my house where life is simple & happy.  To some this may sound like depression, to me, this has become utopia.

Here’s how I feel & I thought I would share it because talking to her about it helped me realize I’m not depressed nor am I alone.  The people involved are all either still active duty military or are former military members and as such, we became accustomed to a certain amount of order.  Not only did we have that order in our workplaces but we came home & brought order there as well.  My kids grew up saying yes ma’am & no ma’am.  They were taught please, thank you, excuse me & we didn’t leave the house with the beds unmade.

Once upon a time, the world outside our doors had manners, if you held a door open you got a thank you.  If you were blocking the mustard in the grocery store you got an excuse me or if you were hit mistakenly by a cart.  Now people walk in as if they are entitled (insert annoyance), then they reach across you to get the mustard (insert a higher level of annoyance), then they bump you with the cart and look at you like you should’ve moved faster (insert ass whippin’ and a trip to the county lock up).  It seems that we have become angrier but really we are just at a heightened sense of annoyance with the complete lack of respect people seem to have outside our doors.

Its easier to stay home where no one will get locked up & no one will get their asses whipped.  I pick & choose with great care the places I choose to visit.  The people I choose to spend my time with are also carefully selected.  Often it has been said of me that I am a nice person but they would not want to piss me off.  I am the nicest person in the world but I don’t live in a world where I was obligated to hold a door for you, where you get to just blatantly reach across me without the possibility of me sinking my teeth into your arm or where you get to dictate my pace in the grocery store.  Since it seems those attitudes have become the norm and I prefer to be different, I choose to spend my time alone and with the people who make sense to me.  I can’t imagine the other military members whose families think that because they have become loners they are depressed aren’t having some of the same feelings I’m having.

I hope this helps someone, I know having that discussion with my friend may give her some insight.  Hearing that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way sure helped me.

I Have Nothing To Say

Its been 13 days since my last blog post.  In that time I have been working my butt off and it has been pulled in every direction it feels.  I feel as though I have dissolved into a big pile of “let’s get this shit done”.  I signed on thinking, I’m going to write something brilliant but alas as I sit here sipping on wine, my walls vibrating from music and my most awesome mix matched sleep gear, I still have nothing to say.

So I have decided to confess to some things.  I confess that I love my high heel shoes but I don’t really wear them every single day of my life.  I do look at them frequently though, not because I admire them so much but because I have run out of closet space and the additional dedicated shelf space so I have to look at them as I pass many pairs on the floor on my way to the bathroom.  I don’t dare step on them while trekking to & fro.  How awful it would be to fall bang my head on the wall & be knocked out.  It makes me think about that commercial that was so popular once upon a time “I’ve fallen & I can’t get up”.

I have another confession, as a notorious makeup junkie, I don’t always wear it either.  However, I absolutely am rarely ever seen without having done my eyebrows.  A girl has to have some things that are sacred.  I sometimes worry that people will think I’m vain, then I have to remind myself that I’m not supposed to give a shit what people think of me, they don’t pay my bills…but wait, now that I blog for a living, they do.  Dammit!

I’m still confessing, lately I have not posted as much as I usually do on Facebook.  Partly because I am busy during the day working to build a brand but the other reason is I’ve really kind of grown bored of it.  I read my newsfeed & realize…man, people are fucking crazy!  They spew hate and justify it with the use of God and politics.  It’s pretty sad to me and that brings me to another confession, I’m a lot more sensitive than people realize.  I cry at Hallmark commercials, animals & children being abused….and it bothers me greatly when people gay bash, race bash, weight bash, pretty much you can add bash to the back end of anything and it bothers me.

More confession….maybe I should rename this post to I confess.  I am an angry person.  There, I said it.  Injustice pisses me off, people blaming the President pisses me off (not just Obama either) I feel like those bitches need to take responsibility for their own lives while they are moaning about what the elected officials are or aren’t doing, if the corrupt assholes in Washington can figure a way around it then that means there’s a way around it, stop bitching, moaning & being lazy and find the same loophole they did.  That’s the great thing about laws, we can actually all benefit from them if we take the time to learn the ones that affect us most.

I’m enjoying telling it all so lets continue.  I confess I don’t like ass kissers & I don’t like people who expect others to kiss their asses, I stand my ground, I won’t be railroaded and I usually piss people off who take themselves or their positions too seriously.  You are replaceable, I am replaceable so sit your ass down, you’re doing too much.  Its been said that my expectations of people are too high.  Interestingly enough, I hold others to the same standards I hold myself to.  If I fuck up, I admit it and I apologize but if you fuck up I’m going to call you on it if you start acting like other people are the issue.  Again, sit your ass down, you’re doing too much.

Its funny that I mentioned being an angry person, I went from not having anything to say to being pissed off about people thinking they can push others around because they think folks should kiss their asses.  I grew up in the city of Chicago, I spent my youth in 2 of the most violent neighborhoods in the city.  Pull up Englewood & Humboldt Park and I can guarantee someone died there yesterday, today & will tomorrow.  I worked hard to curb a lot of the residual parts of where I grew up.  I do my best to laugh as much as possible, it keeps me from punching someone, that’s another confession by the way.

I have a big personality, I have been popular most of my life (I’m not bragging, this is just the way its been) but I never try to be the center of attention, it just kind of happens.  I’m that person that says what others are thinking but not in a hurtful way, its usually funny.  I tell a lot of stories, I have a lot of chapters in this story that is my life.  I have very few goals I set that I have not hit.  That makes for some interesting stuff I guess.  I’m a talker but unlike many who are big talkers, I am a big listener as well.  I tend to find that there is always someone who is pissed off that I happen to be the center of attention where they are not & that causes problems so in spite of my big personality, I actually spend a tremendous amount of time alone.

People think I’m fearless, I wish! lol I have fear like most people but when I realize its hindering my success it must go.  I have to step out on faith & God has yet to let me down.  Well, wait, I was supposed to be some big time attorney ripping the throat out of weak companies, living in the John Hancock building overlooking Lake Michigan with all white furniture in my place but clearly God was like…girl please, you’re having babies and besides you’re a jackass.  Which means I would have been an awesome attorney :-p

I promise when I started this, I had nothing to say & if you’re still reading at this point, you are either my mother, bored or actually think this rant is interesting.  Ok, I am going to wrap up by adding one last confession, lately I have been questioning some things in my personality because I didn’t start off as a loner but a few years ago I got into an altercation with a woman because I think she was pissed that I managed to be well liked & the center of attention.  It sent me off to what I refer to as my cave…but I have come to realize in that time that God made me, I am the absolute most perfect Kellie that I can be.  Angry, talkative, sociable, lovable, sensitive, center of attention yet comfortable being all alone and I have come to realize, those that don’t like me can kiss my ass, that’s all I have to say.  Hmm, I said I don’t like people who expect other people to kiss their asses….well if you’re than nit picky, kiss my ass hee hee I think that may have sounded angry.