Raise Them Up

I’m done with the trolls and their hollow, spewing hateful opinions.
I am over the ambivalence.
I’m done with people who say they don’t care about politics, only the value of their stocks, guns and the art of the deal.
I’m done with friends and family who live under the crowded veil of ignorance.
I’m done with the bullies, the posturing, the greased palms, the narcissists.
We won’t recover from the great divide or reign of terror.
I’m happy I don’t have kids who’ll have to clean up the hate, greed and arrogance.
Will there still be a world with flowers in bloom and clean oceans to traverse, or will we be buried under a mushroom cloud fast forgotten?
If I could I would foster ten million lost children from the poorest, farthest, gang infested, malnourished corners of this earth.
I would shelter them all and tell them everyday how truly beautiful, strong, brave and tolerant they are.
Every single day, I would tell them over and over they were safe and loved showering them with pride filled kisses.
I would raise them up to be kind, curious, doers, artists, empaths, dancers, deciders, givers and leaders admired for their tolerance and passion.
I’m done with the assholes, “adulting.”
I’m not done with the belief that all children are born good.
I’m not done with our best and wisest hope for the future.
The kids.
I’m not done with them; I’m down with that.

Empty Shells

If you are desensitized over mass shootings and more preoccupied with Award Season and Entertainment News, you are not listening at all.
I’m begging you not to turn away from a corrupt government, greed, and the narcissistic, evil billion dollar machine that is the NRA .
Violent acts happen every day.
I do not want or need a gun in my home, schools, concert halls, or vacation suites.
They won’t protect me, they won’t protect you.
They’ll leave you riddled with bullet holes, tears and blood spilt on your shoes.
To the motherless child who grieves the loss of her child by the barrel of a loaded gun, I’m sorry.
My prayers mean a goddamn, fucked up nothing.
I promise you are not a fifty second afterthought blip on the tube.
Or some shallow, vapid, ridiculous Trump tweet.
You are pain.
You are love and loss.
You are heaving sobs on Sunday afternoon, and hollow grave visits.
You are lies and propaganda, buried six feet deep.
You are humanity gone haywire, and modern time’s biggest failure.
Borrow my voice, my disgust and shame too, so that we might stand strong, peacefully united and stop ripping each other apart.
Future generations will breed empathy, novelty and grow flower gardens from empty shells strong. 

Enough

Believe that you are better than
Money
Power
Greed
Hate
Terrorists
Trump
NRA
Bullies
Shady Politicians
Believe that if you haven’t lost someone you love
To Mass Shootings
You are blessed, the lucky one
Pretend it won’t ever happen
Pretend it’s impossible
Pretend doesn’t work much these days
It can’t happen?
Not today, not in your town, not in your house
The one safe space 
And then indulge me
Close your eyes
Feel for a baby’s hand
A small child, maybe your child 
So innocent and pure
The hand feels wet and cold and you cannot stop the chaos
The screams are all around you
You hear them as if locked in
Stuck in a nightmare
You cannot wipe the blood from your hands soiling your jeans
Pretend is only one day away
Reality states there’s a dark tomorrow
Believe you care enough to make a difference
Believe you can make a difference
Citizens of this great nation
Believe you have the right to say
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE VIOLENCE
NO MORE GREED TURNING A BLIND EYE
I pray, I do but my prayers seem futile and nobody hears them
Until I remember
To be beholden
To believe in the toil and dreams fulfilled by our forefathers
Believe in your legacy
The past is our great teacher
And the present needs a new healer
Believe in the peaceful resisters who are protesting the ugly regime
The reign of terror
Believe in your gut
Believe in your voice
Believe in your heart
And stand up
Do the right thing
Let your conscience be clean when you lay your head down
at night

Believe your life matters more than an AK-47, hatred, or idiotic, ignorant opinions
How you live is up to you
How you die well that is the disturbing, frightening question of the times
Believe that humans are inherently good
Be a good human
And stand together for everyone’s right to an honest, purposeful life

I Am Adam Lanza – by Jacqueline Cioffa

I Am Adam Lanza.

A decade ago I lived a frivolous, spoiled, privileged life. An International fashion model, I worked in more countries than I can count. Freedom was something I took for granted, until the earth fell from under me and my whole world shattered.

My first psychotic breakdown took away everything I knew to be true and buried me whole. The paranoia, delusions of grandeur, mania, the irrational and out of control behavior. I wanted to die, too exhausted by the fragile, broken mind. I wanted to let go of the rage, the fear, the despair, I wanted to end my life. The slicing of the wrists, my escape and a way out. Dancing in the streets, in stores, I was too out of my mind to be ashamed, by my behavior. The shame and isolation would come later, as thick and heavy as a steel beam, freight train crushing my soul.

I lived with my brother, exasperated, helpless, not knowing what more he could do, he put me on a bus back home to my mother. My Irish, stubborn, loyal, family first, capable mother. She had experience dealing with Mental Illness; my family had been plagued by the unlucky 1 in 4 gene pool.

My sick, wracked mind betrayed me, no longer mine to control. The whole and intact me, I used to know now gone forever. The carefree, compassionate, strong, independent person is living her worst nightmare. Even on the hard, horrific days, the dark evil thoughts dominating my brain, I fight desperately to regain control. If you have not been exposed to Mental Illness, please do not talk to me about it. You are out of your league, cannot begin to comprehend the exhausting toll it takes. On a family, friends, that is if you are lucky enough to have any left. Mostly, you are left with isolation and shame, your own.

My second breakdown brought black days, numbness, and a shell of a person. The depression and anxiety, so crippling I was forced to leave the big city, retreat back home to the safety of familiar surroundings. The pain so deep, so heavy, the fear immense, death seemed my only option. A welcome release from the demons, the evil lurking in the corners of a tortured mind.

I work hard to beat the beast daily, as soon as my feet hit the floor, shaking. I take the psych drugs, Lithium, Xanax, Valium, the shock treatments and practice alternative medicine. I do yoga, eat healthy, exercise and live simple. I try to avoid the triggers, terrified of the next episode.

I never know when the outbursts will come, when paranoia will convince me the man in the park wants to kill me. In my heart and my soul, I know this is completely irrational. But, the mind plays tricks. I have to fight, every minute, every second to control the grappling Illness I must live with. Day after day, in constant fear of what I might do next. I don’t own a gun, I would be afraid to have one in close proximity. I hate violence, I find it abhorrent, but I do not trust the beast.

There is no concrete help for the Mentally Disabled; there is half hour, once a month consults with the overworked, underpaid psychiatrist, who spends your time glancing at a clock. There are no solutions, into the mysteries of a broken mind, they throw pills at you. Pills that may very well be your undoing, send you deeper into depression, trigger manic episodes or worse an acute psychotic episode, and the killing of innocent souls. Those are the worst breaks, the psychosis, and the hardest to come back from. I have visited them firsthand.

I watched, helpless as my beautiful, brilliant, Yale educated, compassionate cousin ended her own life. She was a Dr., the smartest person I know and she could not find a way out of the Mental Illness that plagued her. My own father, who endured 17 years of Mental Illness, endless pills that made him worse, psychiatric hospital visits, a dementia ridden mind at the end. My mother, who fought every battle with him, and for him when he couldn’t. His daughter who would always be in my memory, his adored, precocious, funny face, happy and intact child.

He died not knowing my name. Although, in my heart and my spirit, I know exactly what I meant to him. His last breath I was beside him, holding his hand and on his heart. I felt the unbearable pain and destroyed mind, set free as he floated up to heaven. He was a good man, the kindest, most selfless I know.

I am a good person, who doesn’t deserve this fate. I am not a violent person, but I am Adam Lanza. He may have committed a horrific, unspeakable EVIL, act. Did he start out evil? He must have been an innocent, child himself at some point. When did his broken mind take over, when did he lose all rational, self-control? It’s too hard to grasp, too big to think about without immeasurable faith.

When are we, as an empathetic society going to care about the Mentally Ill? Fight for them; stick up for them, as eagerly as we fight against gun control. When will we do something about the fact that there is no place for ‘us’, when the evil, mind disease takes hold? They send you to the ER, push a pill, perhaps a 72 hour hold to the Psych Ward. There is nowhere a parent with a disturbed, sick child can turn. We are in trouble, as a society. Take the guns off the streets, a mentally disturbed individual will find another way to kill. Help us fix them, with more research, better facilities, more culpability from the Government and its people, for the Mentally Ill.

I weep for those children, the families, the unimaginable depths of pain and sorrow. I rejoice in my youth, safe, happy and healthy. I’m grateful for that. I expose myself, sharing my story. Perhaps it can help bring insight and perspective. I don’t believe human beings are evil, I believe they are defective and commit violent, unspeakable acts.

Mental Illness has afflicted me, but it could’ve been you or a loved one. One in four is not great odds. I am alone, completely and utterly alone with my Illness, even while surrounded by an empathic family. I am not a child; I am an adult, who’s better equipped to manage this bastard disease.

Please, don’t judge me. Don’t judge Adam Lanza. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me.

Help us instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published by Brooklyn Voice.