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.

It’s time for honesty…even if the truth hurts

The most popular phrase uttered in the last ten days has been, “Well, not ALL Trump voters are racist” or some variation of this sentiment.  The conventional wisdom, even from those who supported him, seems to be that while he did have a contingency of followers who have racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, or misogynistic views, the vast majority of his voters don’t believe in such horrible things.  The problem with this viewpoint is simple: personal prejudices and enabling those who promote prejudice should not be treated differently.

Donald Trump ran a campaign fueled by hate, lies, fear, and all of those horrible elements mentioned above.  There are mountains of data that support this claim and it is absolutely true.  If you can not, at the very least, concede this point you should stop reading now and go renew your membership to the ‘flat earth society’ because this point is not even debatable.  Now, the question exists, how can a candidate using a modified Goebbels playbook get elected President Of The United States in the year 2016?  He/She can’t.  While the number of openly proud racists, bigots, misogynists, etc. is way too large, there aren’t enough of those votes in America anymore to win a Presidential Election.  So how did Trump do it?  He did it by creating a coalition of enablers.

en·a·ble – verb

  1. to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize
  2. to make possible or easy
  3. to make ready; equip

(emphasis added)

This is crucial because it is time for us to stop splitting hairs and making exceptions for those who are bigots and those who enable bigots.  In a democracy, there is nothing more sacred than a person’s right to vote.  When you vote, or even if you choose not to, you are exercising the most important action a citizen of this great nation can take.  There were millions of qualifiable candidates available to you when you cast your ballot.  You could have voted for one of the two major party candidates, a “third party” candidate, written in your choice of candidate, or even chosen to not vote for the presidency at all like our 43rd president and his wife did.  If you voted for Donald Trump, when there were literally millions of other options, you have to accept the responsibility of your actions.  You knew who this man was, who he represented, all of the horrible statements and actions he had committed, and the prejudicial ideas he would pursue as President.  In spite of all of this, with all of the other options available, you chose to vote for him.  With your precious vote, you “made able; gave power, means”, “equipped”, and “made possible” his path to an Electoral College victory, and the presidency of the United States of America.  You are culpable because you have enabled him.  Without your vote, he would not have become president.  Trump voters, you had your chance to run away from his “other” supporters, but you chose not to.  So stop running, and embrace what you have enabled…you are one of them now!

 

 

Pep Talk For Democrats and Hillary Clinton Voters

Here’s a pep talk for my fellow Democrats and Hillary Clinton voters.  I know Tuesday’s election was brutal.  I’ve felt depressed, angry, despair, anxious, and helpless just in the last few days.  I have tried to find any silver linings that I could and I wanted to share them with my fellow Democrats, Hillary voters, and anyone scared about Trump being our next president.  While things could be better, when we take a step back and look at the big picture, we are not as defeated as we may seem.  In fact, we’ve done quite a bit of winning…even winning more votes than the Republican candidate.

Election Eve 2016

I love Election Day, but I’m always a nervous wreck. This year I have been for weeks since it’s not just two candidates on the line, but there are fundamental pillars of democracy on the line. I thought after eight years of horribly racist vile rhetoric I’d be prepared for 16 months of non-stop misogyny. I’ve struggled, but I knew the opponent was so ill-equipped and ignorant he’d have no chance.  I knew that him, losing to a woman, would put him back in his cesspool. Then I saw people buying into the lies, hating journalists, bashing our military, hating entire religious groups, blaming our problems on “the others” and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then came the most harmful, asinine, and reckless action of the campaign season: false equivalency. I started to lose hope not just in the election but of my fellow citizens, falling for a charlatan. I’ll be honest, I’m scared. This man is within striking distance of winning and I’m scared.

We have 5 living presidents (people who have done the job), 3 Democrats and 2 Republican, none of them are supporting this man. In a normal election partisanship would split the bunch, but when they all tell you how dangerous this man is and they come together because they worry about our country’s future…that may be the biggest sign of how unfit this person is to lead the greatest nation the world has ever known. We need to heal, but we have to stop the blade first or there will be nothing left to patch up. We don’t have to agree on politics, religion, anything, but I do hope that at least once, for the sake of our nation, we can put those differences away and save our democracy. I hope with all of my head and my heart that you will vote for Mrs. Clinton. I’m not exaggerating when I say that our democracy depends on it. We all will be asked decades from now where we stood during this election. I know America has problems, but it’s already great and we need to keep moving forward. Stronger. Together.