Mark’s Journey – 2016 Year End Update

As the year draws to a close I created a quick vlog entry to talk about how things are going. It’s been a tough year, but I’m looking forward to the new year and I’m trying to reflect on some of the positive outcomes that took place in 2016.

I hope you all have a happy and wonderful new year!

Quick Observations – Rampant Ignorance

  • There is a war against intellect, and stupidity is winning.
  • We live in an era where Public Service Announcements are given on how to spot fake news because, for far too many, it’s not obvious that the information is untrue.
  • People buy and share images of Santa Claus and snowmen as members of the nativity, yet cannot understand the irony, and their ignorance, when they declare that there is a “War On Christmas”.
  • We live in a nation where the individual who wins the most votes for president does not win the election.
    • In the last quarter century, 6 out of the last 7 elections, the Democrat has won the most votes, yet won only 4 of those elections.
  • A man walks into a pizzeria with an assault weapon, looking to break up a supposed child sex operation, ran by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, that was being conducted in the torture dungeon of the restaurant’s basement.
    • Of course none of this was remotely true, but that didn’t stop the man from traveling hundreds of miles and firing his weapon inside the restaurant, which, on the most basic factual element, didn’t even have a basement.
    • This conspiracy was even peddled by Michael G. Flynn, former member of Trump’s transition team and son of Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser, Michael T. Flynn.  The elder Flynn has also openly touted multiple fabricated stories.

I don’t claim to be perfect or that I have all the answers.  However, I do my homework and I’ll admit when I’m wrong.  I make no apologies for trying to seek out the truth and I most certainly do not apologize for doing all that I can to point my moral compass towards the direction that makes no distinction between bigots and those who enable them.

Research has shown that many who believe in falsehoods are much more likely to continue believing in those falsehoods with more conviction when presented with evidence that they are incorrect.  No one wants to be proven wrong, but at some point we have to address factual inaccuracies.  The world is not flat.  Facts don’t care if we like them or not, they are still facts.  The same goes for those who want to give a pass to people who claim not to be racists or bigots, yet enable the bigots and xenophobes with at best, indifference, or at worst, their most precious democratic right, their vote.  I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago.  The bottom line is that we have reached a point to where there is an all out assault on reason.  Now is not the time for complacency or an acceptance of ignorance just to pacify the enablers of misinformation and bigotry.  Now is the time for action by all those who believe that the truth should prevail and that facts are not a mere inconvenience, but the foundation of a functioning human society.

My Writing: The Checker

The Checker

by Mark Majors

I don’t sleep much anymore.  I’ve grown tired of the pills that would occasionally overpower my senses and force my eyelids shut.  It was never quality sleep and I hated that wretched feeling that would always come the next morning.  Now I simply rely on pure exhaustion as my drug of choice.  It visits me every couple of days, filling my tank just enough to keep the low fuel light off.  I’ve actually gotten pretty good at navigating life on fumes, coasting along until exhaustion strikes again.

My insomnia is a byproduct of anxiety and depression, both hardwired into my brain.  My anxiety fuels my OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  I’m not a cleaner, a hoarder, or some of the more stereotypical types you hear when OCD is mentioned.  I’m a checker.  I make sure that the stove is off when it hasn’t been used in days.  I don’t leave a room until the light switch is turned off and it feels just right.  The door to my house?  I’ve checked the lock on it so often that I’m on my fifth door handle.  You might ask yourself why, and you would not be alone.  I ask myself that same question, every single check.  That’s the torture, and also saving grace, of OCD.  It’s torturous to check, check, check and nothing ever feels right.  The saving grace?  I know my checking is irrational.  This is what separates me from, say, a Schizophrenic.  I don’t truly believe that the oven magically turned itself on, or that the light switch is stuck in between on and off causing a spark to start a fire, which of course would burn the building down. No, no, no, I don’t believe any of that.  I just feel it.  A feeling so real of the Obsession, the door unlocked leading to terrible things happening, that causes a Compulsion, an act of checking the door to ensure the horrible occurrence doesn’t happen.

You feel it too actually.  However, you probably feel it once, each night when you swing by the door to lock it before bed.  Then the thought of uncertainty vanishes.  At that moment if you were to stop and ask yourself about the status of the door it would feel locked and chances are very high that you’d be correct.  With so little doubt you head off to the bedroom for a good night’s sleep.

Here is where we differ.  I’d still be at the door, and why not?  There is that one in a million chance that the door didn’t actually lock correctly?  Imagine how bad I would feel if it were unlocked and this was the night the bad guys were planning their stroll through the neighborhood, inspecting front doors which were carelessly left unlocked.  To save my family from such carnage, shouldn’t I check it just one more time?  This time will be the last check, I’m sure of it, because it will feel right.  So I check it, and guess what, I’m not feeling to great about this check, how ‘bout another?  On and on I go, down the OCD rabbit hole.

My depression is easier to understand.  We all get depressed.  I happen to get depressed for who the hell knows why.  Again, brain chemistry at work.  Being depressed is part of life, an evolutionary gift to help us deal with grief and sadness.  When you lose a loved one, you have a shitty job, or even something trivial, you get depressed.  You are in a funk, and eventually you start to get out of it.  This doesn’t mean you forget, but you start to move on.  With depression, you stay in that funk regardless of what is going on around you.  In fact, all you want to do is checkout from life.  Many of us do this metaphorically, with a bed, eight-hundred channels, and hours of staring off into space.  Unfortunately, there are those who take life’s exit literally, deciding that the there’s too much shit to handle or there’s no way it will ever end.  I’ve thought about the literal way, more times than I care to admit.  I wouldn’t suggest that route to anyone, but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t understand.  The boundaries of that understanding have been tested and I’ve decided to live, but living is more than just a heartbeat.  Living is having a purpose, and I need to find mine.