I’m terrible at formatting on WordPress, but here is a very succinct set of slides on the issue of the Troubled Teen Industry and my proposed 5-step process to mitigate the damage being done to thousands of children annually, prevent further abuse, and compensate the victims and families of those who have subjected to this type of malicious programming.
All thoughts and feedback are welcome, this is a very personal issue, but with movements like #breakingcodesilence, podcasts like #TalkTroubled and the involvement of the Survivors of Institutionalized Abuse – there is a real opportunity to shut down a deceptive, profiteering, and vicious industry that has taken a toll on so many.
This petition is in support of new laws and regulations regarding programs that have systematically abused, tortured, scarred emotionally to a comparable degree of a soldier in combat, and financially ruined countless families – all for thousands of dollars and a promise to help desperate parents looking to help their children.
A new morning where my head is going to be dampened with new knowledge and no sleep and some regrets mixed with enormous gratitude for what the world provides and the people in it.
Peace is elusive, just like anything else that gives tranquility, hard to come by for a brilliantly stupid man-boy like me. But it’s getting there as only broken things can, piece by piece.
No breakneck speed this time, no thrashing and flailing around to get it all done now. So slowly that you almost can’t even see it happening, the fragments of something never truly whole are dancing to their own demanding need to be complete.
Found this unexpectedly in my drafts folder, don’t remember writing it, but then again I don’t remember a lot of things in the ways that others do at least.
I don’t know that the entirety of any story, will cover what I had wanted to say initially. I don’t believe that the ideas are wholly there, sitting more like clumps of clay waiting for a better artist than I to mold.
I had a moment once where the world laid open its belly to me and told me to come close, listen at a heartbeat that thumped with mysteries beyond anything I had ever dreamed of before. A kiss to the forehead of reality and the absent blast from it’s withdrawal were the price. The air was a hazed crackle of something intangible and without form and face. A feeling left as an impression the walls of truth and the faded glories of all the wishes we had as children. When we were young enough to put our heads together and pass thoughts back and forth, pretending we were telepathic and could read each others minds. Racing the wind across the grass and stumbling because we felt we had grown wings to carry us at the speed of air. We were flying, brazen fuck yous to the established status quo of gravity bound worms that we had been, free to soar, smiles cutting our faces so broadly that they felt like they would never leave. It was a moment and a time when there was nothing impossible and anything you could think was only a moment of focus away from being achieved.
Close down to a belly thick with the furs of nature gone to shit and trees whistling with empty branches. An incoherent ramble across the soft pink that raised out a welcome heat in radiance and peace. Touch the skin with a shovel and pull the axe blade back out so that the blood could go free. Cinders and ash blasting away thoughts and giving the entertainment for the evening and the night as the moons went rising over the hillsides and into the ethereal realms which can be tasted in the heart and break the mind that walks through them.
Safely in the comfort of truth we could sit in the caverns beneath what you saw in the over world. We were realized and all to ourselves. Peaceful gods surrendering to the joy of being lighter than the air, more stable than the mountains outside. Fucking giants as children, children as men, and something gone to dust during the interim.
Tongue twisting word misted lofty ethics suddenly shifted. Verbiage awry crooked context, sand quickens sickens the truth with maddening lies. Bullheaded bully vacuum packed morals gone dead done right presented cleanly above suspicion heartless lips soulless head. Accusations flutter steer recklessly fly rashly land poorly eventually die. Miserable life distorted denial avoids change ever always engarde tromping a perilously pointless and petulant hike. Existence’s trials trails marching for miles dust caked grins always grimy shiver obscenely spit softly back at ’em –shake the fear off and smile.
I’ve been on both ends of the stick I suppose at different points, something that I’m not proud of, but can admit readily enough. Whether it was spawned from fear, trauma, etc, doesn’t quite qualify as an excuse for how I behaved at points during my life, it was my responsibility to “not be an asshole”. Feeling someone play out their own internal sickness in the same way towards me is an eye opener.
Tattered, tired, and angry though someone may be, it has to be an echo of some truly painful and unresolved issues to advise an individual dealing with a mental illness that they are despised and everyone is in the eaves waiting for them to die. Shitty and deeply manipulative behavior,knowing that the recipient can literally do nothing other than just sit with themselves, absent means to defend themselves without seeming more culpable as a perpetrator of something justifying such vicious and cutthroat suggestions. There is no power in the words themselves other than what the recipient gives them.
Maybe though, in some ways, it might just be how a person deals with their particular brand of sadness and pain–the only way they know how, lash out. Go for the throat. God knows I’ve done it before more times than I care to think if not totally in that literal context. A whipcord reaction to hurt those that hurt you, even if it is based on incorrect judgement calls and assumptions.
Everyone heals in their own way, and while that doesn’t make it right, finally, I can put myself in the other pair of shoes and understand the feelings behind the words. Temper my own frustration and resentment at the unnecessary cruelty with patience and accept that it is what it is, and life will continue to move on. It’s not worth giving though or dwelling on someone’s words when they are bent on hating or hurting you, let ’em go by the side and don’t look back.
Someone once told me, if someone’s an asshole and lies or treats you poorly, at the end of the day, they’re the asshole, not you.I’ve been an asshole plenty across my life, and that makes a lot of sense.
We have only ourselves and our actions to control–for better or for worse.
I know a man who threw away 10g of meth. Down a toilet. Intentionally, during a moment of lucidity. He woke up from his dream. He didn’t do it for the posturing or the bragging, he did it because he had a fucking moment and things added up.
He saw his future was his past and all that was going to come again. The regrets. The broken relationships. The self-hatred. The loneliness and the pain. The body count and the desperation. The stagnation. The missed joy and thrill of life. The empty smile and the personal failings. The prayer for death unanswered.
It hit that water in the toilet and didn’t even stain the water with some indication of all the soil and grime that its brand had left over the years. All the marks on his morals. His appreciation of life. His awareness and understanding of the world and himself. His inability to connect and always be “other” – not in a way he was proud of, but in a way that left him sullied and greasy where it would always be felt most.
He wasn’t going to revisit and replay what had come before. He was learning gratitude for all the experiences, painful or pleasant, and that meant realizing that the pain had only needed to happen once. He didn’t need to put his hand back into the fire like always. it was still fucking hot and he was worth more than scorched flesh. He wanted to, could, and will become more. He’ll evolve, be seen in the mirror as true to himself, a good friend, an honest and genuine man, and as a survivor not an unchanging Peter Pan chemical fiend. Wreckage for decades as his only gift to the world, a Lost Boy playing pirate to his own loot.
He had learned, was learning, would continue to learn. He would grow.
I know a man that threw away 10g of meth. Finally took a dive and emptied a bag, got back on the horse, and welcomed in a change for once.
When I was covered in blindness, one voice called out with love and empathy, understanding, and compassion without compare. It said “Find your inner peace, be happy with who you are fear not the monsters in your mind, you don’t understand even what they are”. The sound pressed heavily on a head split wide with fears found measured pain to empathize sounded like it had shed its share of tears. It said, “I’ve walked this path, I’ve trod where you have been, forward but never straight, no signposts will you see, until you’re past where it begins.” In those lowest moments, the light seemed not to shine, the wielder of the loving whip, a teacher I once thought of as a divine. Was giving as was got, despite cups of repetition while I whined, . So while I beat myself to pieces, unerringly fueling on the game, focused on my misery and anger, while inside I was broken hearted and obsessively driving myself insane At last it past, the world and love was open, anything was possible and real life itself was the reward, I went on down the familiar trails in a rage, I’d forgotten completely what it felt like to be bold. In those precious moments, That second birthing chance, where I was open to myself for once, I could have run on forward, a knight onto horse while grabbing lance. I faltered then, that moment and the one that followed fast, I wouldn’t make the moves. I wallowed in resentment and the past, Became an asshole at so many points, didn’t believe I was capable of making a new choice, reaction took over hearing, washed out that blessed voice. Personal truths and understandings, Passions and pursuits that now I will pursue, taking steps to get real help to actually follow up on what I say I’ll do. The capacity to look inside, to be a creator and a giver, someone who makes instead of breaks, an actual member of the world, instead of just some guy. I’m in a place where I’m finding myself, and the confidence to be okay with who I am, I’d like to offer up my gratitude, and my apologies if I fucked it all up made it so nothing went to plan, I took the road most comfortable, the devil I knew seemed easier, I know that now for what it is, a betrayal and a filthy sham.. There were answers in your words, they echo in my head, If I had bothered to hear rather than be heard. I might not have wound up halfway dead. Now that I’ve been laid bare, To where my eyes could finally see, I’m taking breaths of air and life in baby gasps, becoming something better than an asshole, someone that I’ve never really been, me. Recognizing that life is beautiful and valuable, something absolutely wonderful, if you reach out and confront true potential, tread softly, think lightly, and try not to react. Actually decide to be a player in the game. Get your points from being who you are, no matter what that looks like, the truth will take you far. Embrace love in all its forms and own your actions instead of placing blame. So while I still may stumble, Hell, I know I get way the fuck off course, there’s something I need to say that I lacked the ability or clarity for. that my actions made impossible, that I wasn’t ready for until today I’d be arrogant to presume I could say them best, I’d heard this song and wondered at the words it’s so damn clear it seems, I missed the message all those times, while walking through a dream, missed the hope for the fears, I’m finally able to reflect and smile, rather than focus on the screams “Thank you for all the doubts, and for all the questioning, for all the loneliness and for all the suffering. For all the emptiness, and the scars it left inside. it inspired in me, an impetus to fight.”
The lyrics used are from VNV Nation, all credit due to their brilliant writing. Here is their song “Gratitude” which you can listen to and read the rest of here.
So often I would sit and wail about "why"? The frustration unending, the obsession ongoing, a gut wrenching demand to understand that in itself kept me from the knowledge, the peace I sought.
Sick in the head druggie, psychopath, crazy as a shit house rat, lunatic, insane, addict, "something's wrong with that kid" -
I tried to own those labels make them something to be proud of. I tried doing that, by doing all the things I imagined people with those labels would do. I followed that up, by demanding that I not be persecuted, not be judged, not be looked at differently, though I had just behaved in a way that demanded all those things happen.
Now I come to terms, sit with the idea of peace, find pride not in my actions but in the understanding that awareness and acceptance bring. To know that I am not an actor playing out roles, that I lost myself, but I am a survivor, no longer needing to play the role of victim or perpetrator anymore.
It's a small thing, Which means so much to me. To be able to introduce myself, engage in a conversation, with confidence. Know that I accept who I am as a being, that I no longer let labels define who I choose to see myself as, act as a script for my identity, or be my scapegoats when I screw up.
That like so many others, I am the hero and the villain, of my own story. That my abnormal mental states, my addictions, all the resulting experiences, are gifts to allow me opportunities, to shine my brightest against the backdrop of adversity, and decide just how much of it there would be.
To know that there are others out there gleaming, and if we encounter each other it could be in the form of respect and love, admiration for the battles fought, no matter whether they were felt won or lost, an opportunity to compare notes and grow.
I'm not ashamed of who I am, or where I am today, I am disappointed in many of my choices but they have been mine to make, and they were made. I used to have a vision of the perfect person, someone that I would measure myself to and inevitably fall short.
Today I am me, released on the world perfectly defective, beautifully abnormal, gifted with challenge and capacity for growth.
All of it, so that I have a chance to become an oh so slowly evolving, human being.