To Those Of Us Who Find It Hard To Remove Bad People From Our Lives

I’m sure we have all read about how we should discard the people in our lives who are emotionally draining, who don’t deposit into the “friendship” bank enough to balance out the incessant withdrawals they make, who are verbally and emotionally abusive, and who generally suck the life out of us. We should dispose of the rotting remains of something that was quite possibly beautiful at one point but has turned rancid because of grudges or mistakes or general life changes. We are told again and again to cut the dead weight…But when it comes to our personal situations, we seem to make a dozen excuses as to why we must keep a particular happy-suck in our life.


Technology has made it really easy to maintain relationships these days…even the ones that would have naturally evaporated away in a simpler time. This means that it takes a few seconds to reach out and connect with someone who you probably should have left in 2009. Casual connections via social media allow us to remain attached to people we have outgrown. This is bad. We allow people to become dementors who suck everything good out of the world and leave us grumpy, shaken, uncomfortable, and desperately craving chocolate.

Here is a bit of advice for you, and for me to reiterate to myself: just cut them out. Slice off that diseased lump of rotting flesh and cauterize the wound. Make yourself your own patronus and scare off the dementors.

But what about second chances? We are supposed to give second chances!

He-hem, I am the queen of second chances. I give second chances so quickly that I’m usually on the forth or fifth one before I realize that I fell for the bullshit again. I have found that once someone shows me that they will be exiting my life (because they cheated or lied or stole or hit me or insulted me or wouldn’t stop texting me Mariah Carey lyrics at 4 am), I am probably going to give them a give them an undeserved second chance because people change, right? 


Okay, maybe that’s harsh. Some people may change. I’ve seen it twice. But generally, people aren’t too emotionally intelligent to understand why their actions are harmful and they will continue to treat you poorly. They will probably not change, because they don’t want to change.

So if you’re going to give a singular second chance, hold them at a distance. Study their actions and if you see that behavior resurface, let them go and don’t look back.

But we need to be tolerant of others’ opinions! I can’t cut someone out because they disagree with me.

I wouldn’t suggest that you cut someone off because they like Nickleback, but some opinions are actually intolerable and should be eradicated from society. “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”  I will not tolerate racism, sexism, or any -ism that proves someone is choosing to be close-minded. If I try to inform them of why their comment is hateful and I get bullied, I know that person is a piece of shit who is unwilling to hear why they might be wrong. 


Okay, but what if I need this person for something later?

Oh boy, this is a big one for me, and it is a little tough for me to admit that I have tended to keep people in my life who treat me badly “just in case” I need something later. The world is a series of networks and people and social connections. When we burn bridges, we can seriously affect our chances to get that job or make that deal. Right?


If I have to subject myself to being treated poorly, you can take that job/beach house/knowledge about programming and shove it. No one deserves to endure horrible treatment on the premise that the perpetrator might be useful later on. You don’t need that treatment now and you can guarantee the bad treatment won’t stop once you cash in that favor. In fact, it will be even worse.

But isn’t it rude?

If you’re a total asshole about cutting them out, then yeah, probably. Sometimes that rudeness might be necessary to get your message across to your ex-friend/acquaintance/lover/family member/stranger from the Internet who is rude to you. But if you have repeatedly tried “Hey, man, I feel like shit when you ______. Perhaps you can _______ and we can work together to maintain this relationship. I sure would appreciate it.” and they continue their shitty behavior? Then it’s time to cut the cord. If you are upfront about your emotions and how you feel, then you shouldn’t feed like it was rude.


But if you just choose to end contact swiftly without an explanation and it helps you not wince every time you see your phone light up wondering, “What on earth it is now?”:


I have removed contact from five different people who have been total jerks to me this week. It is only Wednesday. Two of them I have known and maintained a semblance of a friendship with for ten years. They are out. Another one? Two years. The last two? A few months. All of them were on their 5+ chance to become decent people and friends and they failed miserably. No one is irreplaceable.


And you deserve better. There are 7.6 billion people on this planet. Go find the good ones.

Re: Wanted: The Perfect Woman

I am not my own person.

Pieces of others have built me up; I am some of this man’s hobby, some of this interaction at the supermarket, some of this failed marriage. I am Lisa to every Gary and Wyatt. Others’ experiences have built my expectations; I fill the gaps of what others are looking for and don’t think about what I could be instead.

What do you want from a woman? That could be me. I could fulfill your expectations and continue to change my own. Give me your list and I’ll check it off. Show me what you need and I’ll box myself in to fit your narrative. I exist for you.

But I’ve played this game before. I become everything you wanted, your perfect mold of a woman most desired…and then the box can’t contain me anymore. I step out of your guidelines and become your irritation, a marred perfection of what you thought you had built.

But you never built me. You were one more who thought they were working with unmarked clay. Your hands created lines that crossed ones that were left by the men I disappointed before.

In becoming my own person, I become rogue; you watch me slowly destroy what you set as tacit rules for your love and acceptance. Once I step out of your box, you find it easy to leave, just as they did.

So once again, I become cluttered with more of what someone else expected. I am not my own person.

What do you want from a woman? That could be me.

Make Your Mind Map for 2018

Here it is, the last day of 2017. It is a day of reflection and relaxation before the onslaught of a few months of work without a decent holiday. Today, between eating homemade cookie dough and watching the Patriots play the Jets, I will be thinking about what I hope to see and accomplish in the next year. Part of this process is revising my yearly mind map. A mind map is a visual representation of things you wish to accomplish in the new year. It doesn’t have to be all inclusive and it doesn’t have to be all new things. It is a good way for you to visually keep the things important to your personal growth in perspective. So while I don’t subscribe to waiting for an arbitrary date or day of the week to start personal improvement, I believe the beginning of a new year is a good time to refocus your goals and direction.

This was my mind map last year:


As you can see, I started with a bubble in the center with the year and branched out into seven main categories of Career, Love, Finances, Education, Family, Health, and Personal Growth. From there, I specified the various things I wanted to accomplish.

(The fascinating part of doing a yearly mind map is having the ability to revisit the last year’s map as you make your new one. I love to see what I thought was important and what I thought I could accomplish. It is both humbling and invigorating to see what I actually did!)

If you wish to create your own mind map, start with drawing out the areas you want to improve in. Some suggestions are “Health” (which could further branch off into mental, physical, and spiritual), “Finances”, “Family”, “Love”, “Career”, “Hobby”…you are not limited by possibilities or even paper. Simply grab more paper and tape your map together. From there, identify at least one specific thing you would like to see yourself improve or continue to rock! Remember, no one has to ever see your mind map, so be honest with yourself. Bare your soul and write the hopes and dreams that scare even you. Expect more from yourself, and when you are able to look back on this mind map, you may be surprised at what you actually accomplished.

This year’s mind map:


Remember, this mind map of yours is only the beginning of your self-improvement journey. A goal is not a real goal until you have steps to accomplish it; otherwise, it is just a wish. If you wish, include how you expect to accomplish these goals through the use of tertiary bubbles. Write the physical steps you need to take to begin tackling this mind map such as “Have automatic paycheck withdrawals for 401k investments” or “Schedule trip to Russia”. Be assertive with your ideas with actions.

You can color-coordinate the categories, you can make different shapes represent different levels within your map, and you can be as crafty or as simple as you need to be to fully map your mind for the new year!

And when you think about whether you should tackle a new goal, remember that the time will pass whether you are improving or not. Where could you be next year?

New year, new you? No, new year, an actively trying and more focused you. Happy New Year, my friends!

Beyond the Bourgeoisie- The Communist America

The revolution to free the proletariat (the class of wage earner who are dependent upon employment; the working class) from the bourgeois (the property owners and the upper classes) is based on 10 measures, or planks, that are laid out in the Communist Manifesto written in 1848. While reading these measures of movement, I began to see that our current society has long emulated many of the communist tendencies that they so vehemently opposed during the Cold War (1947-1991). The American government so opposed communism that they initiated the Truman Doctrine in 1947 to restrict Russia’s communist influences on Turkey and Greece.

It is worth noting that the Russian implementation of communism is not communism in its purest form as written by Karl Marx as shown below.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. While not completely imposed in force, the federal government can retain eminent domain (stated in the Fifth Amendment in 1791 and established by Boom Co. v. Patterson, 98 U.S. 403, 406 in 1879) and take your property at any time while paying you what they deem “just” compensation. So your property is never truly yours, and you are renting the property you own by paying your annual property tax (first began in 1798).

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. This is currently imposed in a graduated tax bracket (established 1913) that ranges from 10-39.6%.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. This is partially imposed through the United State’s estate tax (established in 1916) that can be upwards of 40%.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. This is currently not enforced (although an argument can be made about the taxation of expatriates that practically becomes a fee to maintain U.S. citizenship without retaining any of the citizenship benefits that come from taxes.)

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.  The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 to prevent banking panics and to provide more supervision into the banking of America.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. Subsidized communications (think net neutrality) and transport (federal subsidies that impose federal regulations) have existed since the Transcontinental railroad crossed America in 1869.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. Agricultural improvement of less-than-desirable lands have been in place since the Mayans slashed and burned their fields. This is not currently federally enforced but it is highly encouraged in the agricultural arena.

8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. This is not applicable for America as not everyone is not forced to work so it is possible for there to be “leeches.”

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. This is possibly indirectly imposed through the rapid gentrification of our cities, which pushes lower incomes out of the populated areas and into the countryside.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c. Education is imposed on a state level versus federal level with Massachusetts leading the way in 1852 with their compulsory school laws. Child labor was eradicated in 1938 under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

So most of Karl Marx’s points on Communism (minus the EXTREMELY important #8) have been in place in America for dozens, sometimes hundreds, of years, with the majority of our communist laws in place even before we began dissenting Communism during the Cold War. American has been caught in a half-assed communist democracy for so many years that we don’t seem to see the hypocrisy that we have shown the World since 1947.

It is also worth noting that the current administration is striving to remove or lessen #2, #3, #6, and partially #10.

So what do we do? Do we continue as we have for years (but perhaps humanely enforce #8) or do we strip these laws and allow the Bourgeoise to return?

When Comes The Numb Heart- A Letter To A Friend

My dear friend,

I know you are confused about how numb and overcome with frustration you are right now. You have lack of excitement for anything good and you are keeping fear and sadness at more than an arm’s length. You aren’t happy, but yet you aren’t unhappy; you don’t feel love and butterflies for anything in life, and you can’t associate with anyone who is going through painful things. For you, this is extremely unusual. You have always been wide open about life while maintaining your naivety and innocence. You are goofy and so smart and so willing to go full-bore into activities that push you physically and mentally. And you’ll focus with your brow furrowed with focus until you finish and then you’ll grin broadly. But not now. Now you are practically deadened with a lack of emotion while going through the motions. It is hard to enjoy the highs when you have no lows.

I told you that I would tell you my thoughts on this numbness and here it goes:

Your numbness reminds me of the surgery I had three years ago. I was cut open and put back together to deliver my son into the world. I was warned about nerve damage to the area, so I thought I was well-informed enough to not be shocked. However, nothing prepared me for how I felt, more so, how I DIDN’T feel, when I ran my hands over the area of the surgical cut. I could feel my fingers’ pressure but there was nothing, no receptors that told my brain how it felt to be touched there. The area spanned about two inches above and below the incision. I kept touching the area, willing to feel again, and I was sufficiently freaked out about the numbness.

When someone gets an open wound, it gets sutured by stitches or surgical glue that binds the edges of the wound back together and encourages healing. However, when the person is wounded and has their physical body torn open, the nerve endings of the wound area are damaged. Sometimes, the nerve endings grow back and the area can be felt again. But sometimes the area is irrevocably damaged.

You, my friend, have experienced some shitty times recently. Your heart has been broken, and when a heart breaks and mends, like physical wounds, I believe that it mends with a hardened scar that has no more active nerve endings. So when our heart experiences enough breaks, the scar tissue becomes large and so overwhelming that we can no longer feel, no matter how hard we press on the area and will the feeling to return.

You wonder why you don’t feel. You are pressing on the edges of your heart in confusion and while you know you SHOULD feel something, you don’t.

My friend, it took years for the feeling in my abdomen to return. But this is what the doctors don’t tell you. Yes, you may feel again, but the feeling will not be the same. Something in you has changed and your body has adapted and grown different nerve endings. Maybe your heart is changing and moving away from the innocence and belief in the world that had you so wide-eyed and receptive to love.

This sounds bad. It isn’t. It is a part of life and learning wisdom, I guess. And it happens to people at different ages.

If you want to feel that uninjured innocence and love again, go watch a child explore the world with glee and run back into the arms of their loving but injured parent. Watch how the parent encourages the fun and love and desperately tries to retain their child’s excitement and hope and happiness. The child does not feel the pain that you do. The child hasn’t experienced the pains of the world yet. But they will, and they will yearn to feel that free again. So watch the child and know that you are experienced and will have to grow new nerve endings that make you feel differently. And try to protect those around you from experiencing the pain that wounded your heart.

Please let your scarred heart move from excitement and happiness into acceptance and contentment.

I’m sorry you are experiencing this horrific period of growth.

I love you.

Is It Good To Hurt Bad People?

Who guards the guards themselves?

Do you think you are a good person? In a world that isn’t inherently black and white, we can find ourselves playing on both sides of the good and evil fence according to the situations we are placed in. No one truly thinks they are the villain because they are abiding by their own moral and ethical codes.

But what if we are the villain? What if the decisions we make to harm people based on our own judgment of their character, their morals, and their wrongdoings makes us evil? We may think we are justified in our actions as the Bible says,

“Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death.” -Lev. 24:19–21

But “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.” By serving our own justice, we are merely becoming the villains we seek to vanquish and subsequently harming more than we are bringing to justice. Friedrich Nietzsche is a philosopher known for the following quote:

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Those of us who choose to fight what we perceive as evil are merely peering over the edge of what we can become. Eventually, there comes a time when the lines of good and evil are blurred, and the superhero becomes the villain without a noticeable change in pace.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? (Who will guard the guards themselves?) -Juvenal, the Roman Poet, Satire VI, lines 347–348

If we are all abiding by our own code, serving justice where we see fit, can you see how the lines of good and evil become grayed? Who is to say that the ones serving justice in the name of revenge, in the name of love, in the name of their political power, in the name of their god, are wrong? Who watches the watchmen? Who holds the monsters accountable?

So is it good to harm bad people? Should we kill murderers? Should we castrate rapists? If given the opportunity to “right a wrong” that you saw committed, would you gaze deeply into the abyss and become a monster yourself? This topic is extremely painful for me to discuss regarding war and revenge and sexual assault and revenge. After seeing war, and feeling the rage of wanting to murder and “right a wrong”, I believe this topic of philosophy is very important to discuss (See Chapters 23, 24, and soon to come 36 and 37 of The Breaking of the Innocent). Perhaps I can convince friends to stop becoming the monsters they so desperately seek to vanquish.

Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game for a group of people who go on adventures. Each character type can be put into an alignment of moral code varying from chaotic good to lawful neutral. Are you good or evil? Are you lawful or are you chaotic? Will you steal from the rich and give to the poor? Will you murder a rapist? Everyone can find that they fall within an alignment of personal character. Where do you draw the line on what is right or wrong? Take the test below:

Personally, I flip back and forth between Lawful Neutral and Neutral Good.