Making Politics Great Again

I’ll be one of the first to say that I was disappointed in the presidential election.

Let me be as clear as crystal; I am not opposed to Trump being the one who eventually got the presidential bid. I’m just really disappointed in the road many candidates took that led us down this path. Donald Trump was easily the least qualified individual on stage when it all began, but due to the Democratic National Convention sabotaging their own member in Bernie Sanders, the questionable and concerning nature of how Hillary Clinton conducted herself, and the “too little, too late” push from both the Libertarian and (Progressive) Green Party, voters were metaphorically put behind a gun and asked to choose the lesser of two evils.

Trump won because America wanted a president of such a maverick-esque caliber and truth be told, America got exactly what they deserved. Even in the midst of very questionable actions and political swindling/pandering, he won. Deep down, I don’t really think I’m the only one that feels this way, but I certainly can say that many many other people believe this is what’s best for America right now.

Yuck.

That’s not to say that I’m not going to give Trump a chance to turn things around (…which is what this country has been doing for the past, I don’t know, twenty plus years.). I am cautiously optimistic, mainly because as an American, I really want my home country to flourish and grow into a more united, economically stable country. Everyone else wants this too, I’m sure. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that their own ideas/ethics/morals are the only way to achieve it.

One HUGE problem I’ve had with American politics is that everyone within their own political affiliation thinks they’re right. There’s no such thing as a “debate”. There’s no reason to bring up new and fresh ideas. Too many people believe America is “fine” and doesn’t need any fine tuning whatsoever, provided that their own personal agenda is carried out in full. Instead of challenging and questioning everything we hear, so many people accept it as gospel and ignorantly “go with the flow”. Every unfavorable/questionable action America takes is justified and asking questions about why things are done or put in place makes you either “uninformed” or “completely naive”. These days, it’s nearly an impossible task to mention politics anywhere without a rage-fueled argument breaking out of someone’s mouth. Too quickly does a political conversation go from foreign policy to name calling, racist bigotry and the like. I don’t really remember a time when two people from two distinctively different political parties had an intelligent conversation, without resorting to one attempting to tear the other person down.

I got it, American history has taught us to win at all costs. America has to have the strongest Army, the most destructive weapons, the biggest, most powerful seat in NATO and all the like. Why should the American people do anything different?

Simple: because it hasn’t always worked.

Can we stop with berating one another and start with educating one another, so that we can be better as individuals? Lord knows I hope we can, but I know it’s asking a lot.

In this Information Age of 2017, everybody already knows every [freaking] thing.

They can Google it and “prove” it.

Remarks complete.

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Blogging From a Depressed Mind V

Live from the work computer located in Vilseck, Germany, it’s the fifth edition of…

“Blogging From a Depressed Mind”.

Let’s get started.

First, let me go ahead and put myself on record and say that I’m feeling alright these days. I work to keep myself busy, sharp, and focused. When I’m off, I decompress as best as I can so I can be ready to carry another heavy load of [metaphorical bull feces]. I’ve started to coin a phrase lately:

“I can complain, but I won’t…”

It’s been extremely helpful both emotionally and mentally.  If it’s unimportant, insignificant, and/or completely unnecessary, I cut sling load…

I made a list in hopes that I can stay on track about the things I want to cover, so…

Social Media

This was, and in some respects “still is”, a big one. Normally, I absolutely detest logging into Facebook. The only exceptions to the rule are playing Zynga Poker and keeping in touch with my immediate family members. Aside from that, I’ve pretty much done as much as I could to avoid it. I feel like a bunch of time is wasted on that site. People trying their damn hardest to fake happiness with their poorly edited pictures, constantly sharing new and popular [ridiculously stupid] memes that went viral, and political conversations lacking any kind of substance or open-minded contributions.

“You name it!” There’s something completely dumb to look at for everyone.

Again, I’m trying to limit my exposure to the site. These days, I’m more inclined to say some really ignorant or mean-spirited [stuff] just to piss people off or whatever the particular case in question may be. That’s not the part of myself I’d like to share for the Internet.

(Also, misery loves company, but not everybody wants/needs to be a part of that.)

Instead, I’ve opted for a “polite declination”, one where I don’t say anything and just move on despite everything in my head telling me to “…let them know how you really feel.” It’s not that I’m too afraid to speak up. It’s simply a combination of a number of things:

  • I’m too bold at times when I’m pissed off.
  • I say too often after the proverbial smoke clears “…the content of what I told you was correct. The delivery, however, was not. I apologize.”
  • There’s a great possibility that I would go unheard and that would only piss me off more.
  • By contributing in the ignorance, I, too, have become just as ignorant.
  • At almost thirty, I no longer have the emotional temperament.

Death has (regrettably) become more frequent

2016 has not been without personal challenges, but I can honestly say that I’m further along than I was last year. Still, I have a very heavy heart whenever I start to reflect and remember the death of two men I knew very well this year. Those two Army soldiers, men I’ve served with, both committed suicide. You could say that depression was prevalent. You could also say that they were in very bad places. I refuse to speculate.

What I do know is that [stuff] like this really hits close to home. I have had my recurrent bouts with depression. I still do. I’ve also found myself at the mercy of very tough times, hardships, etc. within my own marriage. I’ve questioned a lot of things ever since I got medically booted from the Army. None of those questions have answers and I really don’t think I’ll find them.

Image may contain: one or more people and close-upSo, I got this tattoo to remind myself that life shouldn’t be taken for granted. K.Y.S.A [keep your self alive] is something that I’ve been determined to get tattoo’d on me and I did it. I love the way it looks; it’s not perfect but that’s what I was going for. And it’s right in a place where I can look down, pat it with my right hand, and press on with teary eyes. It helps.

#MakeMarriageGreatAgain

It’s incredibly hard.

My wife has had a tough life, one that has her battling with demons from her past quite frequently. Let me tell you something; if your wife is dealing with anything, it’s a [freaking] family affair because it affects everyone in the house. It saddens me to see her down when I do. It also saddens me when I’m emotionally punished for what happened to her once upon a time. It’s very tough for me to come to grips with the reality that I, myself, can’t always fix her issues so that she’s not sad. It’s like being a four year old kid, drying the tears from your mother or father’s face but still not having the ability to take away their hurt. Add in the fact that I still battle through my depression and you’ve got yourself a very tough time for two people.

Marriage isn’t without its challenges. It never will be. It’s one of those things you can’t prepare for until you’re actually married. You begin to see how ugly your partner can be. You also see how beautiful they can be too. What makes it hard is finding the strength to accept them for who they are and love them with all of your heart. What makes it so rewarding is seeing two people that love each other through nearly everything. I cannot say with certainty that my wife and I will stay married. I have my reasons. What I can say for sure is that I’ll give it every bit of a shot that I can to make it work.

That’s what a real man, a real husband, does.

Remarks complete.

 

The Importance of Grammar

Your parents failed you.

Your teachers failed you.

Hell, maybe it was your peers that failed you.

Whoever the culprit is is irrelevant. The fact is that someone allowed one of the biggest lies in American English manifest into many people’s heads and become truth.

“Grammar isn’t important.”

That someone didn’t stress the importance of grammar. Maybe that person (or people) in question doesn’t care about their grammar and how they may come across to total strangers in e-mail. Maybe that person never had to fill out an application for a job and had to distinguish themselves from a group of similar prospects looking to score the same job. Perhaps the school system didn’t stress enough how scholastic progression (to include, but not limited to: reading, mathematics, English, science, and critical thinking) would help mold you into a better you. Someone should be accountable for this inexcusable negligence, but I’ll let you, the reader, figure it out.

There isn’t a week that goes by where someone spells a word wrong or uses it in the wrong sense. When I notice these “grammatical infractions”, there aren’t too many times that I don’t correct them. Instead of appreciation, I get called things like:”Grammar Nazi” or the ever so resourceful “(expletive)”.

I’d like to be called “friend”.

If I have ever corrected anyone on their grammatical errors, it’s been out of love and respect for both the American language as well as humanity. I think we should all be at our best. Is that wrong of me to ask? Do we not want our fast food workers to get our orders correct the first time? Do we not want our doctors to perform their duties with little to no errors? Why should we ignore more effective usage of the American language? It mattered. It still matters. It will always matter.

I encourage the reader to think critically about this post. Please; I urge you to really think about it. How is common sense common without a certain degree of education? Intelligence is one thing, but for all that is lovely in the world, can we do better?

I truly think so.

Remarks complete.

An Open Letter to Last Year.

To those it may concern,

I come as humbly as I can this fine Wednesday morning in Germany, reflecting on the past once again. It’s strange, I must admit. The more I look back at some of my most painful, challenging moments, the more distant it becomes. Still, the occasional event or incident finds its way back into my head. Instead of denying or repressing these particular moments in question, I embrace them. When you’re on your journey going wherever you’re going, a good or bad reminder always seems to make it more…enthralling.

I’m not dead. Many would say that goes without saying, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of people resemble zombies, slowly but surely dragging themselves to a dead end to find an end to their misery. On the contrary, I’m determined to climb ladders, ladders which enable me to reach new heights in my life both personally and professionally. It’s very easy to pick and analyze a particular moment where I made a poor choice, where my judgment wasn’t really up to par with the appropriate intent. I’m well aware that personal relationships may be forever tarnished or burned along with bridges set to bring me closer together with others. And while I am very remorseful for the way things went, I refuse to take residence in the past.

It’s over.

The occasional visit is fine. The reminder of how far I’ve come and where I want to go is critical. For nine years, two months and one day, I dedicated my life to serving in the US Army. Many people came before my own ambitions and goals. Today, a proud, honorably discharged veteran stands before you doing the same, however therein lies an addendum. I will put my ambition on the forefront because they matter just as much as everyone else’s. I have goals. I have plans. I have ideas. None of the aforementioned items include failure or living in a fabricated belief of what other people may want me to be. I am, simply, who I choose to be. That choice is “better”.

I encourage you to watch. I encourage you to maintain whatever negative belief(s) you may hold near and dear to you. By doing this, you’re going to have a very stark contrast to compare once you take a moment to glance at where I am in my life today and in the future. I’ve been awfully low, to the point where I didn’t know where up was in relation to down. These days, I’m so much more stronger, healthier, and focused as a person. I’d even go on record to say that I’m hungrier. I’ve got a lot of determination to improve more than most. I will do this. I believe in progression. I believe in success. I believe I’ll be a better, stronger person the further I go in my life. I assure you of that, if nothing else.

Sincerely,

Alan (Sledge)

Remarks complete.

Marriage Life IV

I hate being married.

Let’s just start with that. Do I love Wife? Absolutely, but I absolutely hate being married. In this blog post, I may encourage you to do one or more of a few things:

  • Discourage you completely from getting married at all.
  • Laugh at my misfortune(s)
  • Feel bad for my current status as a married man

The purpose of this post is to simply express myself. It starts with me, so let’s get it going, shall we?

I feel like I’m not good enough.

Wife has asked me many times why I’ve suggested divorce numerous times. She likes to think that I only say it out of the passion of my feelings during a heated “discussion”. I disagree. I suggest divorce because I don’t like the idea of staying in a marriage just for the sake of staying in a marriage. I don’t like being in a “loveless” marriage, where two people do things out of spite, instead of love. That’s what my parents did. That’s what my friends do. I refuse to do that. Now, there are two solutions to this predicament. You either work on it, or you cut your losses.

I don’t want to sound like a (whatever you wanna call ’em) on Wall Street, but I truly believe everything you put your time into is an investment. Marriage is no different. If you get married, you see it as a long term thing. Maybe that’s what I fear the most: a long term marriage. I’ve never had one before. I’ve never even had a long term relationship longer than my current.

I blame myself, mainly because I’d like to think there were choices, or that choice can currently be made, in order to right the ship. It’s hard in general, but it’s completely hard for me. It’s harder because I believe my defense mechanism is to turn and run. I ask myself (and you, the reader) this question way too often:

“If you could prevent causing someone else pain, would you?”

The answer, my answer, is always “yes”. Truth be told, I will take the blame and carry the weight on my shoulders more often than not. As a man, I feel like even if you don’t cause a certain catastrophic event, you take the humanitarian route and you look to fix it. Cause and effect. I understand most people, particularly men, won’t think this way. It’s fine.

I’m not most men.

I stopped feeling “sexy”.

Whenever I come out of the shower, I never tend to rush to put on clothes. I expect that to change in the coming winter season. Right now, however, I don’t make getting dressed my first priority. I love my body. Yeah, I’m slim, skinny, lanky, whatever, but I love who I am. I have only had one body and I’ve learned to love every bit of who I am.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one.

Wife just walks by and ignores me. I can’t remember the last time she gave me a compliment. She was never big on them in the early beginnings to start with anyway. Still, I think it would be nice to say something nice about me. Ever since we got married, the sex started fading away. I expected it, but like most men, I believed I could “sex” it out of her.

Yeah, that didn’t work too well.

My mind is on bringing her to an orgasm. Wife’s mind is about what she’s going to do tomorrow, how long before she has to go to work, or the “true identity” of the female that texted my phone, commented on my Facebook, or what have you. So, now, for the longest of time, sex just doesn’t happen. Even when it did, it was out of the sheer fact that she was just trying to exercise her sexual demon. Once it was all said and done, she went on with the rest of her life. I would feel dead afterwards, as if the life had been sucked out of me. It’s how I got to this point.

Hoping for better days.

If it were up to me, right now, at this moment, I would file for divorce. I would never get married again. I would move on knowing that I pushed so hard to love and cherish and whatever else and I couldn’t do it. I think for someone so susceptible to depression like myself, you really have to be careful about pursuing love. I say that because sometimes we forget about love and what it means and how it feels. These days, I’ve had more “discussions” than make up sessions with Wife. I feel like we resent each other, like we’re angry with one another for not being where we want to be in the marriage. I started smoking, something I could never believe I would seriously do years ago. And I ask myself these questions:

  • What happened to you?
  • Where did you go wrong?
  • Can you ever really truly love someone?

These are questions I’m sure I’ll have the answer to over time. For right now, I’ve got to really think about my life and where I want this marriage to go. It’s all about doing right by myself and Wife. We will see in time. Thank you for reading.

Remarks complete.

Blogging From a Depressed Mind IV

Oh, wouldn’t you like to know.

Folks, I’m back. For the seven of you that haven’t removed me from your blog follow list, this one’s for you. Let me touch on that a bit. I’ve been gone. I’ve been gone because I’ve been busy. I’ve been productive. I’ve been focused. At times, I’ve been happy…and that should make you happy.

Isn’t that the goal? It is for folks with depression.

I return with questions that I’m certain I won’t find the answers to. Maybe one day, I will. Maybe I won’t. The best case scenario for me is just to air them out and move on.

I don’t know where I went wrong in my marriage.

I believe Wife is the last stop. I mean, like ever. (Let’s hear the collective “duh”) What I mean is that if, and I mean IF, this marriage doesn’t work, I’m never getting married again. It’s not because I don’t believe in her. I do. It’s because I’m starting  to doubt how I could even love someone else.

  • Can I be truly happy and satisfied with one person, in spite of their weaknesses?
  • Can I be emotionally fulfilled with loving feelings, in spite of my own struggle with depression?
  • Can I be understood?
  • Can I be expected to provide for my family without constantly having a dark cloud over my head?

I know she would feel the same way due to her previous encounters in life. At the same time, I think we all reach a point in the marriage where you’re wondering what the Hell you’re doing, why you do it, and if it’s even worth doing. I’m still learning, but damn it… marriage is so [freaking] hard. I’ve put so much into this union. I’ve put so much into her. I just wonder why it seems like it’s not good enough for the both of us. Why do I feel so alone? Why does her past hurt her so much that she can’t enjoy her future?

How in the Hell are broken people supposed to live in such a horrible world?

With the population of the world being what it is, I’m certain I’m not the first to ask this. I’m not the first to have these issues. This depression, this struggling marriage, these feelings…it’s ridiculously sad. But I think back to myself because it’s personal. Everything I aim to do, I think about my family, my future, my ambitions, my goals, first. I admit I get in my own way a lot of the time, but I’m trying so hard. I’m really trying so hard.

Black Lives Matter vs Essentially Everything Else

I’ll keep this short. People that say “All lives matter” miss the point. Completely. I would LOVE to think that that may be true. If it were true half the time, I wouldn’t have an argument. But it’s not. As far as I’m concerned, “All lives matter” needs an asterisk. For example, All Lives Matter*

*Except for equality for the LGBT community, persons of color, law-abiding illegal immgrants, refugees, etc.

People talk…and sometimes, that ALL THAT THEY DO. There is no action. There is no attempt to better the world around them. They leave it up to other people to do the work. But what gets fixed when we keep passing responsibility around like a hot potato?

Nothing gets done.

I’ll change my opinion on the subject when I see ANYBODY from an “All Lives Matter” group go protest, become an activist, or anything more than someone trying to shut down someone else’s legitimate argument.

I’ll leave it at that, man. Thanks for reading my rant.

Remaks complete.

Albums I Love III

Hey everybody.

Today’s edition of “Albums I Love” should be an interesting blog post, considering I wasn’t a fan of this person at first. Check it out and I hope you like it.

Another album I loved was “Frank” by Amy Winehouse. This one is very strange because I only recently listened to the album in full, as opposed to when it came out back in 2003. Let’s touch on that, shall we?

I heard “Rehab” for the first time and I couldn’t stand it (I still can’t at times). By this time, I was uninterested as well as unfamiliar with her music. Because of “Rehab”, I didn’t even give her other songs/albums a chance. Not to mention the tabloids having their way with her name and character. It was an unfair judgment on my part. It wasn’t until 2011, a little bit after her death, that I took a listen to her music. “Tears Dry on Their Own” was playing on the TV while I was getting my haircut and I had no choice but to listen to the song all the way through. I really liked the song, so much that I went to download it once I got back to my room.

Even at that point, I didn’t give all of her music a chance. Some time ago, I listened to Frank. I bought it on vinyl and instantly fell in love with it. It’s just a damn shame that I didn’t discover her music sooner (particularly when she was living) because she had lots of great songs.

I learned two things after listening to Frank:

  1. You can’t always judge a book by its cover, especially if the tabloids are the author.
  2. Amy Winehouse was very unappreciated because of her troubles with drugs/alcohol.

I became more sympathetic after realizing the extent of my bouts with depression. People tend to become more judgmental once they catch wind of you not being able to deal with life. Even though I never turned to drugs, I can understand why someone else would. I felt a tad guilty after that. Moving ahead, I think that’s why I look to reach out to other people when I hear about their personal struggles with depression and the like. We’re all in this together.

This album brings me joy. I’m thankful for Amy Winhouse and the time the Earth got to hear her sing.

Remarks complete.