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Thoughts on Today

The world through my glasses today is distant and like clouded glass. I feel like I am interacting with everything from a distance, not really in my body. It feels like exhaustion but not exactly. It is almost like the mask slipped and I can see it. Motivation has been a challenge for a while as I struggle with depression and loneliness. I feel like the end goal is not in sight and I don’t know why I am doing anything. Being here, where I choose to be helps me keep going knowing eventually I will find a window to something. In the meantime I struggle with simple tasks. Being in groups is hard. I can’t separate the background noise and voices from those at my table and I must closely watch someone’s face to hear what they say and understand it. Processing reactions and emotions and understanding why they are reacting the way they are is exhausting. I need the social interaction but is so much work to deal with the people, lights, colors, sounds, smells, and activity around me. Without my training in how to move and read people from modeling and communication classes I would not be able to handle it. Pain is a constant mild presence but some of it is more numb or pressure than pain, but maybe that is just long term tolerance of it. Depression runs in cycles, some low and some high. When I think about my body I think about things I want to change, like hair or teeth, or breasts. But when I think about life my mind shies away not sure where to focus. Small details take up each moment and focus the mind away from the clawing fear of being alone until I can rebuild the mask that hides it from the world. I find that my mask is so good even the psychiatrist doesn’t see thee pain unless I force myself to tell him and try to explain. Every few minutes I clean my glasses or hands trying to breach the distance and feel the world. A cup of coffee gone and no real memory of drinking it. Soft new clothes feel good on my skin and distract my mind again. It feels like I will never move forward and never have a life worth living. My mind wonders if my husband will ever be in the same state as me and if he does do so can we get by financially together. Work is quiet and cold and I struggle to interpret interactions and know if the comment was insult, humor, or statement. I simply let it go, distance, it doesn’t matter.

—–

Another Week Alone
Hanging up Sunday night is always hard. Tomorrow I go back to work to face another week alone.

Another week I will do all the little things he does to take care of me for myself.

Another week I will eat and cook alone.

Another week i won’t feel his touch.

Another week I won’t see his eyes.

Days spent just getting by.
Days spent answering when he will arrive.
Days spent in distraction.

Finding myself watching life.

Finding myself escaping life.

Finding myself hiding myself.

Just sitting at the desk.

Just watching the waves.
Just playing my games.

Maybe learning a new art.

Maybe trying a new experience.

Maybe going somewhere new.

Purpose lost.

Purpose drowning.

Purpose only to have him here.

Silent screams in my head.

Silent about my work.

Silent in my dreaming.

Very tired with no sleep.

Very alone surrounded by people.

Very hungry for his touch.
Zone out into a game.

Zone into my art.

Zone out listening to his voice.

Another week alone.

—-

Another Week Alone take 2
Another week without his laugh.
Another week without his arms.

Another week without his support.

Busy about the distractions of life.
Calling just to hear his voice.
Distance vast and empty in my mind.
Empty of direction and purpose.

Falling quietly apart.

Gaining ground and building strength.

Having tea I made myself.
Interests intense distraction from the pain.

Just me for meals I cook alone.

Keeping my schedule alone.
Lost staring at the waves and stars.

Many distractions to fill the time.

No passions to fill the heart.
Open books I read alone.
Paying the bills without his calm.
Quiet in my room without his game.
Reading on the bus to somewhere new.

Sitting at my desk with nothing to do.

Trouble with the crowds he would keep away.

Up with the sun to start my day.

Visiting places to tell him about.

Writing on my lunch I eat alone.

apeX of the day is hearing his call.
Yesterdays stretch further as tomorrows loom.
Zoo of life like windows to how people live.

The Depths of a Mind

Sometimes when you sit composed and professional, smiling when needed and working at your desk your brain screams inside and claws for escape and release. Depression wraps itself around your mind and behind your mask you rage and cry, scream and huddle in a ball until the calm mask becomes the iron fist of cold numbness pressing you in place. The mask sinks in with each repressed scream and tear a little deeper. Loneliness eats at you even when you are surrounded because the mask is not you and they are not really with you. Sometimes people tell you all the things you have to appreciate and all the reasons you have to be strong and happy but they are not in your head and have not lived your past. The chemical soup tearing you apart is not in their body but yours. Each thing you do to try and assuage the deadness and loss just highlights that you don’t feel what you want to feel and you have failed at everything you have done. The clawing reminder s in your head that years have been wasted and lost in failure and obscurity leave you very aware of just how alone you are in your choices. But that same iron core that holds the mask keeps you moving even when it feels more like a treadmill than a road of life. What else can you do but go one? Fear has never controlled but that does not mean it was never present. Just like the fear engulfing you in free fall the fear of not being able to communicate or manage others pulls you into a hole deep inside where you spend days studying how to speak, walk, talk, read others, and understand why they do the things they do. When they use idioms, innuendo, and false statements to say something you can’t follow and assume you mean something other than what you said you wonder if there was any point to all the work. When you spend hours on a project to get all the details right and they blow it off you stare at the fruit of your wasted time and once again wonder why. When you go home alone and want to share something and just feel the touch of someone you trust you are forced to face that if there was someone that trusted you and you trusted you would not be sweating in a room alone with everything you owned in a cabinet beside you. Sometimes you look out at the ocean and the emptiness matches that inside your mind and heart with the swimmers in the deep disturbing the foundations. The breeze blowing is the same as the emptiness cleaning out your mind and covering words in white noise. Sometime the healing of the ocean can do nothing more than be there like a lost friend sitting quiet and unable to touch you but there when you are ready. Sometimes the blind escapism is your only retreat as you hide in your shell and rebuild the mask.

Thoughts

Thoughts from recent days conversations, shows, and people doing things around me…

1. I am sick of guys response to a woman doing something that makes them feel good being to explain that guys don’t find it attractive. Women’s lives and pleasures do not revolve around you, get over it.

2. There are no circumstances that a grown man forcing a child’s hand onto his penis is humorous. To reiterate an earlier post on facebook … Jokes at others expense are not funny. Jokes about others are not funny. Exploitation is not funny. Rape is not funny. Assault is not funny.

3. No it is not an acceptable defense for murder to say he startled me. Why the Fuck do I keep hearing this? What the fuck is wrong with society that people actually think that?

4. Video games and movies do not cause violence, read the actual studies and examples people. It has been shown to have no effect of increasing violent tendaxies and to provide a healthy outlet for stress, and in the case of social games provide practice.

5. I am socially awkward and bad at accepting help, praise, and gifts but I am amazed and unreasonably grateful for people that stick around and do it anyway. Not all people suck.

6. Just because you own more than someone does not mean you are better than them. Elitists piss me off.

7. Homeless people are not all drunks and druggies and treating them like shit is wrong whether they are or not. They need help not disdain Assholes. I don’t care if you found an article to support your bias it is still wrong and nit backed by science, reality, compassion, or intelligence.

8. What someone is wearing is not an invitation, not a sign of intelligence or lack thereof, not a reason to insult them, none of your business. Why are we still having this conversation. People can wear what they want and it is none of your business.

9. You don’t know what is in other people’s lives so get off your high horse.

Life and Depression

I considered writing a piece about the appalling elitist attitudes and ingrained racism I have witnessed recently but to be honest, I’m tired. I’m tired of the anger. I’m tired of the widespread elitism. I’m tired of being depressed and broke. In general I just needed a break from it. My birthday is this week and I still want things to change but for this week I am admitting that there isn’t much I can do. So, art is happening and thoughts for future words percolate in my brain As I play escapism games.

Moving Past Depression

For me, depression is not a new thing but recognizing it is. Even more so, doing something about it is a whole new experience. I don’t mean eating well or vitamins or any natural way to pretend I am treating the issue without actually dealing with the problem. I mean actually going to someone and getting the medication to balance out my chemical state in my mind to get out of the deep hole I have been in. The idea of visiting a psychiatrist was a major taboo in the churches I grew up in and the entire field had a terrible name for doing bad things to children with medication.

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Dealing with others my age (gen Z) I find many have a very bad opinion and fear of the field of psychiatry and a disdain for psychology. It has left a generation with many in need that refuse to get help. Many things have changed in the industry, including the medications and understanding of needs. Gradually I see people I know accepting the industry is changing and seeking help for various things. Sometimes it is a simple thing or a small problem that is just too frustrating. Other times it is a crippling problem like my depression has been.

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What brings up this discussion now? I started my new meds this week. Although it will be weeks until I feel the full effect, I get changes and flashes already of the meds affecting me and moving toward balancing things back out. There are moments when I feel like myself again. All this time I didn’t get help and a few days and I understand how much damage those biases did in my life. How many people are hurt by those biased attitudes?

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You see, these things don’t just hurt the person in need of help. They hurt families, friends, coworkers, and others. Jobs are lost and marriages broke that could have been mended. Sometimes good things happen but what could have happened and how would it have felt if they had been in a healthy state instead? My marriage is strong and survived a great deal of strain because we love each other and we have been very close friends for almost 20 years now. Our patience and understanding with each other has been strained and pushed near limits but we put in our vows the space to be us as individuals together or apart so that we could be a strong partnership and continue.

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It makes me angry to think that as a child the two things that did the most lasting damage were the inability to afford correct medical and dental care and the psychological help I really needed but didn’t get. But more than that, I get angry thinking of the years I avoided any hint of treatment for major instances I needed it because it was ingrained in me to fear the help and the need. I was trained to hide the need and push through it. You know the whole “be a man” thing that is put on everyone in some way? Well it is a terrible foundation for a culture and relationship.

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But I am not angry in that I feel anger because it is in the past and I can only actually change now for myself. I am angry for all the people hurt by these things every day and I am glad I moved past it and am improving myself and my life with the support of my husband and those friends I reached out to in support of my decision to get help.

Literature and Modern Teaching

Literature is on my mind this week. I have had a lot of time on my hands with little else to do but sort books on Goodreads. As I add books I have read over several decades and rate them, date them, sort them, and check for similar titles I have though of recent conversations about historical pieces of literature and entertainment such as plays. I studied a fair amount of literature and language over the years and read a lot on my own. As someone that enjoys reading of all types and the development of language I am interested in more than just the story in what I read.
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A book is a product of the time leading up to it and of the cultures that impacted the author. It is also a product of the language and history of the author. I write in the English forms I learned. I learned to read in Old English with books like the King James Bible, then authors like Rudyard Kipling opened my mind to other perspectives on the cultures of the people I knew. I read everything I was allowed until I left my parents house, then I just read everything that struck my fancy. When I took literature classes we read the classics in a way that feels a little like the way churches teach scriptures.
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Classic and historic literature is presented as the shining example of how to write and what literature is as opposed to modern books. But literature is writing with enduring merit not just any historic piece that survives and not automatically discarding anything new. Some pieces are worthy of study because of their historic significance. Others are prime examples of the language of the time (as far as we know.) Some showcase the culture at the time and others protest the culture at the time. The difference can grow confused the greater the distance from present.
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What I see however is that classic literature does not mean better. I do not mean because the language is old and hard for many modern readers, that just takes the time and willingness to adapt. I refer to the continuous development of culture, language, writing forms, and moral understanding. In the same way that I grow and change over time, giving up attitudes and behaviors when I learn better; I expect culture to grow and art forms to grow. As artists we develop our skills on the knowledge and examples of the past. The masters of the past are our foundation. We strive not just to be different and new but to grow and develop, to reach people with a well developed understanding of our craft.
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I do not accept the attitudes of the past as acceptable because they were common at the time. Some authors were opposed to them even then. Yes, reading the pieces is important. Understanding them in the context they existed is vastly more important. However, I do not want to emulate them. Language has changed. Culture has changed. I am a product of a mixed tapestry of cultures, languages, people, and teachings and am not as much a product of the mass culture around me as a touchstone of oddities from our time. My writing shows the perspective of one observing the culture and interacting with it as not quite a part of it. I see this same phenomena in some classic literature.
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We can appreciate the skill of a writer that opened a genre or questioned their culture but we do not need to feel they are an example of what to be. They are a signpost of change, a piece of history to be understood, appreciated, and improved upon. Dismissing modern writing as less than because it uses modern language, modern concepts, experimental forms, new genres, or is in electronic form only does us personally and all of society a disservice it shows a blindness to the purpose of writing. Those methods, thoughts, and examples from the past developed the communication tools. Those are the tools of improving culture and writing. History and experience are the foundations of new literature to be. Shakespeare is held up as a shining example now but was written for the masses entertainment. It was the soap opera of the time not the high brow art. Sherlock Holmes stories were a newspaper serial and are a favorite sample from the time.
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Literature can come from any genre or culture and in any form. Quality writing is not limited to the past or to what publishers approve of. This is a topic I love to explore and discuss and as it keeps coming up I may well return to it again soon. But for now, I leave you with the thought that we should read broadly and consider each piece in it’s context and with it’s purpose. Remember the story behind each author and think how does it touch the audience. If it does not reach a broad audience it will only survive in a limited circle. So a piece that is considered a literary achievement by the university but that people just aren’t drawn to has no place in the world of literature. It did not achieve the goal of communication and connection and cannot endure. Quality writing is in the tone and reach not in the approved words and form.

ABCs of Life

Are we sure this is the life we love?
Being someone else’s path to their dreams?
Careful not to rock the boat or risk failure.
Does it take drastic change?
Every person exists part of the whole and in a vacuum,
Feeling connected or isolated desperate and afraid,
Going anywhere to make it okay
Here we are.
Internal peace or external salves to our pain.
Just because what we want makes us want more.
Killing the moment in the distractions.
Love this place or hate this place
Mystery of the daily grind.
Never alone but never in control or connected.
Ordinary life stretches before us.
Pleasure and pain blended in a patchwork.
Questioning the purpose and our dreams.
Ready to be something greater.
Settling for the safe comforts of the known.
Taste the difference of a risk for a dream.
Until our wants no longer control our lives
Victims we live lives like rats in a wheel.
When we go outside ourselves and our designations
eXtended to see the world outside and inside
Years change as our perceptions warp our path
Zero distance to peace the desire is an addiction.

Elitism and Confirmation Bias

Classism and elitism bring with them a whole set of blinders that people don’t know they have or don’t care they have. Elitism comes in many forms, from intellectual, dietary, monetary, bloodline, social class, race, religion, experience, politics, location, work, title, or simple arrogance. But what they have in common is the disdain of one or more other groups or people because they are less than in some way.
The owner of a company that considers his employees less than him and nothing more than cogs serving his wallet does not see a problem in his behavior. For him, his time is worth more and his skills are better because he deserves where he is for some reason. He may think he worked hard for it or has better breeding, or better education, or better skills. Sometimes he just thinks he is better and more worthy or obviously they would be where he is.
Recently I had dinner with a vegan group on the other side of town. The food was good and the people nice but several conversations reminded me of others I have had and I was struck once again by the inherent classism in many vegan groups. Maybe it’s the type that tend to form the groups but there is a blindness to the basic need for a reasonable amount of money to afford the ingredients to support a healthy diet or alternately the storage space and transportation to make your own alternatives. The idea that a Sam’r membership was out of my reach and that I share a small apartment with 4 strangers and no ac was beyond their comprehension. The expensive meat alternatives are simply not in my budget. I use mushrooms and other things when I can afford them but when I am offered a good, healthy free meal I accept meat or no meat. The snide comment that I would grow a better backbone as I grew older does not make me want to be rude to my friends or go hungry, it just assumes I have the funds to eat how I prefer.
As a gamer I interact with a lot of random people of all types and it is interesting to me how different the response is from active game groups to some things that other groups I deal with. Maybe because we are so mixed and we have a different perspective because of it. But at work I always get shocked or degrading comments about my neighborhood and how unsafe it is. Many of them are racist in nature but most are economic because I am near the low income housing in an inexpensive area. On the other hand when the group at game heard I walked to the game because I lived nearby the general response was jealousy because they loved the area and all the stuff available there. It was a completely opposite response and one based in a different perspective.
The same variance in views occurs in various groups I visit or interact with around the world. A lot of them fall into various forms of confirmation bias and the tendency to disregard information that does not agree with you. Sometimes I get the impression is is an arrogance based in fear of failure and weakness. Sometimes they genuinely think they are better and that is why they have more. Sometimes they don’t even realize they act that way.

Cults and Memories

The past, mothers, religion, improv, and relationships are coming up a lot lately in a mesh of memories and reminders. Relationships are challenging when you have depression and social anxiety. Flashes of memories or just the feelings from the past can sweep over you when triggered and your mind is confused but your body is set in the reaction to something years long gone.
My family was very religious, restrictive, and poor. Unlike some of my siblings, I did not do home schooling at any point. I attended private religious schools. However, I was expected to follow my parents rules of dress, behavior, music, work, speech, and life and not participate in most of what my fellows at school did. Simultaneously being told I needed to be more open and friendly because I was shy and felt isolated from others I was expected not to integrate or enjoy the things they did. My clothes were a source of mockery, along with my speech impediments and that I wasn’t allowed the entertainments those around me shared.

I am a reader. I always have been a reader. But my choice of books was highly restricted. I read everything I was allowed multiple times, even the encyclopedias and dictionaries. But once my options opened when I left their home, I realized that despite the apparent attempts at a good education I was woefully lacking in knowledge, experience, and variety. I began to read a wide variety of books and materials and continue that to this day.

Each incident at school was the start of a chain of emotional events and trouble I knew to expect. In many ways, the expectation was worse than the series of punishments. The schools had orders to use swats for any offence they felt worthy, which is broad and covers most things including failing to turn in homework I completed but didn’t give them. I would ace a test and go to receive my swats for not doing the homework to prepare for the test I aced. Walking dejectedly to the office I knew it was only the first because when I got home I would would get a lecture separately from each parent and swats again from one of them.

Rarely did I do anything truly deserving of punishment because I had a very clear understanding of the consequence and reward ratio. I felt I had a hard enough time without adding extra issues for limited reward. Of course, that means when I did choose to do something the punishment was fairly pointless because I knew what it would be and chose to act anyway. I had already determined the risk to reward ratio was in my favor.

The lives around me were like another world to me that I watched from a distance without relating or fully understanding. From the girl whos parents dropped of hundreds for her to go shopping in the mall alone after school or to take her friends out to the kids sharing the newest dance moves in the halls I could not participate. I was quiet, shy, and introverted and places like a shared locker room were a terrifying thought. Numerous times I opted to accept detention for changing in the nearby restroom rather than endure mockery and embarrassment in the locker room. I also had it drilled into me not to undress in front of others so a locker room was a problem.

Conversations were hard because we shared nothing in common other than classes and those were mostly boring and too easy so I didn’t really pay attention. At some point there was always the risk conversation would veer toward my mother and her cancer, which was not something I wanted to discuss. Religious people would imply either that they were praying which was obviously not working or that if she actually had faith she would not be sick. The added issue that she was a test patient because we couldn’t afford treatment much less any extras or luxuries. I absolutely was unwilling to discuss where the food on our table came from because that was a mockery I knew I could not handle. How do you feed 7-10 people on $20 a week, sometimes more, sometimes less? The poor ladies of the church had a list of stores that discarded usable food and mom had an agreement to collect discarded vegetables for the horse. We sorted through the horses vegetables to see what could go on the tale first.

Many times I remember sitting in a parking lot while my mother composed herself or cried in the one place no one could see. After a horrifyingly degrading day trying to meet the needs of the family or accepting charity she would go home to dad’s anger and screaming rants about anything and everything. She would go home to 2 children in constant medical car and her own terrifying medical care. She would go home to the holes in the floor and walls and the car held together by duct ape and wood. She would go home to watch me cower from dad’s anger and my brothers acting out. Failing that we would go to church, where we spent more evening than not to be told how we were all sinners and needed to give more, do more, be more, bring in more people, and earn a place. We went to the church where I was yet again alone and mocked and here knew the question of my families lack of faith and why they were poor and sick would come up. I knew there would be taunts and often physical confrontation. These happened at school but more consistently at the churches.

Each service I listened then as mom taught me I went home and studied. I read their books and teachings. These always led to questions that if I asked someone other than my parents resulted in something to the effect of me being a girl child that should learn my place and be silent and do as I was told. Years of memorization and reading led me to no other conclusion than the religion was a compounded grouping of modifications stolen from older teachings and chosen by various leaders in the worst periods of history to best control, dominate, and instill fear. It is a religion based on fear and control. It is a religion that teaches the only reason to be a good person is to avoid punishment not because it is right. Each test of the history I was taught led to the inescapable conclusion they had manipulated the teaching to show a lie and manipulate the views of the children they took into their care.

What I saw from the outside was a cult that manipulated participants to view the world through a filter and with careful blinders. They were trying for the isolation of those in the retreats but in the city so they could better raw more people.

My mother was a brilliant and strong woman trapped in a world that treated women as a lower level being. She did all the work for a doctorate but was denied the degree because she was a woman at a baptist college. She was a writer and a researcher by nature, a leader and communicator but denied the right to lead, teach, research, or speak freely. The man was the head of the household and the wife was expected to follow him, obey him, accept his behavior, and not question or attempt to teach men. With permission a woman could teach other women or children but that would be shut down if they questioned her teachings or behavior outside class. Children were under her rule but punishments were the prerogative of the man, as were the rules she was to teach. Girls were expected to be obedient, submissive, silent, and learn the proper behaviors of a good wife. I refused to learn any wifely duties at every step, only many years later learning some of them were fun skills when used for your own pleasure or business rather than in service to a master.

Abecedarian Collection

This first one can also be seen on Writers digest in the forum https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/abecedarian
Writing our Minds (A Poem in 27 Lines)
Abnormalities are the normal place for writers who
Began their path through experiences and stories.
Cars provide a private space to tell a story to yourself
Doing nothing but the composting of the writing process.
Eaters of experience we reach
Frankly for the reality of the world
Going inside our minds and stories to find the
Hero that can touch our heart and expand our world.
Indigo or blue we wonder as we debate our use of
Jargonistic phrases and obscure terms.
Kelp waves gently under the surface of the ocean like our stories.
Limbs on a tree reach for the sun and we see
Money and industry, life and lovers, history and future
Naively seeing the tree and all that happens under it like an
Orifice opening to show us glimpses of life with pains and
Paeans that ring out in our minds both loud and
Quiet in their passion.
Radicals and racists
Sadly showed their violence in those branches.
Tall in the night the tree remembers lovers sprawled
Under the sheltering canopy of leaves.
Vassals shared their meals under these branches.
Wind blew across teachers and students in the afternoon sun.
Xenophyles, we reach across the world through the leaves of a tree.
Yielding ourselves to the stories told in the wind and the bark we
Zone out of reality and into our pen.

The Bus to Work

Around 6 am I leave my room and catch a
Bus rattling and jerking its passengers to their jobs and homes.
Casual observers see people bored and irritated
Deep in their own spaces, phones, needs, and fears.
Examination shows otherwise.
Friendships are made on the bus.
Groups share space each day of their lives.
Haphazard groupings linked by shared routs.
Individuals that know the daily habits and patterns of the others.
Just as they know idiosyncrasies and dreams of their bus rout companions.
Kindness to strangers vies with the need for distance in confined space.
Languid tourists join the groups in passing and roll luggage down the aisle.
Mild mannered introverts read or watch the city pass.
Noisy extroverts converse across the aisle and over the seats.
Obvious homeless clutch their possession and warily watch
People passing too close for their comfort.
Quickly passing stops keep the flow of conversation new and fresh.
Respect for personal space varies by need as the bus fills.
Strangers stand shoulder to shoulder and smile awkwardly.
Tense individuals try for isolated seats and physical barriers.
Unnecessary anger surges when paranoia threatens.
Very patient strangers step in to sooth or eject ruffled emotions.
Wide gaps of experience and lives interact in a tourist city bus.
Xylocarp smells waft from lotions, lunches, drinks, and grocery bags.
Yes, the bus is a microcosm of society interacting and living together.
Zonal interactions confined to a movable space within society.
2019
Analysis
Becomes
Cultural
Dissonance.
Empty
Fabricated
Geoeconomics
Hurl
Intoxicating
Justifications.
Kneejerk
Lies
Manipulating
Nakedly
Opportunistic
People
Quickly
Retelling
Stories.
Tenuous
Unrelenting
Victimization
Worsens
Xenophobic
Yearning
Zealots.

Writing, art, Business, and practice, any medium is fair game.