Morbid Thoughts

Trigger warning: Some graphic descriptions of the Holocaust, accidents, and anxious thoughts.

As many of you know, my brain is a jerk.

Often times, I will be minding my own business, peacefully driving on the freeway or showering or reading or texting or WHATEVER, and then suddenly, my brain will flash a particularly horrifying vision of my car flipping over and Sasquatch being stuck screaming and crying in the back of my car, hung upside down in his carseat, and me in the front, either dead or pinned with an injury so I can’t get to him and he’s stuck for hours and I have to either listen to him or did I mention that I’ve died and —

I have to physically wrench my brain away from going down that path and either start literally singing “LALALALALALALALA” or force my brain to think of something else. It will often take me a few minutes to wrangle my stupid brain from those horrifying images or thoughts because again, my brain hates me.

Recently, I read Maus by Art Spiegelman for my SFF/Graphic Novel book club. It’s a graphic novel depicting Spiegelman’s father’s experience as a survivor of Auschwitz. This won Spiegelman a Pulitzer Prize.

It was so horrifying.

At first, I didn’t like how Spiegelman drew the Jews as mice and the Germans as cats, but by the end, I understood. I think that due to exposure and education on the Holocaust, many of us have gradually become desensitized to even the more horrific images. But seeing it as mice and cats caused me to see everything anew.

I also learned (or was reminded) of new things that the Nazis did to the Jews. I didn’t realize that near the end of the war, the Nazis just decided to mass exterminate the Jews (as opposed to slowly killing them) as a way to cover their tracks. I also didn’t realize just how gradual the Nazis eroded the Jew’s rights until it was too late.

Too late.

Two particular parts have been ingrained in my mind.

The first, was during a community sorting where all the families and Jews in the Jewish ghetto had to line up and be sorted into two groups. One group was allowed to stay and the other was sent away on trains to the camps.

One woman with four children was sorted to the trains because she had too many children.

I stopped right in my tracks. I have four children. (I was reading this right after Sasquatch was born. Delightful post-partum reading, I know.)

That could have been me. And there would be nothing I could do to change this and protect my children.

I closed the book then and there and took a break.

The other was the story of how near the end of the war, the Nazis moved the Jews from camps as they retreated into Germany and in one of those places they retreated to, they gave up all pretense of even trying to keep the Jews alive. The survivors had to pile up their dead in the hallways and soon, there was no more room to walk and they would have to walk on top of the dead on their way to the bathrooms.

But because there were tens of thousands of people in these camps, the bathrooms soon overflowed and stopped working. And the only way people could relieve themselves was to do so on top of the dead in the hallway.

I just.

How do you recover from that?

It didn’t help that as I was reading, I kept seeing similar parallels to Trump’s ascendancy to POTUS. I know. I’m not unique in this observation, but it’s another thing entirely to read about the Holocaust and then see how it started and then see how history seems to be repeating itself.

Additionally, I came across a video on Facebook (shown below) that told of a woman who gave birth in a concentration camp and I was shocked because it never occurred to me that babies would be born and then SURVIVE the concentration camps.

But of course there were babies in the camps. Pregnant women were sent there. And if they lived, they gave birth there.

I just.

To survive – that tenacity. I hope I never have to find out if I, or my children, are made of that type of stuff.

So of course, my brain freaked out.

I thought of my four children and my husband and assuming we survived being packed into trains like cattle and given no food or water for the weeks it took to get to the camps, how would my children survive and fare?

I thought of Sophie’s Choice, and if I were put in a similar situation, who would I choose?

And a normal person, would then stop their thoughts right there. But not me!

My stupid brain decided to torture me with incredibly logical and brutal thoughts about my kids.

Because really, in this situation, what can you do except choose the child who will most likely survive and adapt? And what else can you do except choose to condemn the children who would suffer more and not be resilient enough or compliant enough to make it through the other side?

And this in no way victim blaming because FFS HOW COULD PEOPLE DO THIS TO EACH OTHER?

And so, I assessed my children.

I decided that Sasquatch is a baby so the odds were against him.

Gamera is too fragile and cries too much.

Cookie Monster is resilient enough and good natured enough and healthy enough and strong enough and usually compliant enough, but if he is pushed to do something that he truly doesn’t want to do, he will not comply at all.

Glow Worm is resilient enough and young enough to be adaptable to most all situations. He is also young enough to not remember as clearly how things used to be.

It would be a coin toss really between Cookie Monster and Glow Worm. They would be separated from me though because they are male – but hopefully Hapa Papa would keep them alive as long as he could. Given that, maybe I would get to keep Sasquatch or Gamera after all.

And then, if I survived, I would hate myself every single day of my life and want to die but live only because if I died, who else would my child have? (Well, I guess here’s to hoping that Hapa Papa also survived.)

OMG. I have to stop.

You see? My brain is an asshole.

How can I detachedly assess my children like this? WTF is wrong with me? (Truthfully, I believe in being prepared.)

And also? HOW COULD PEOPLE ALLOW 6-11 MILLION PEOPLE DIE?

Easily.

You know why? Because it is happening now. It has happened before. And it will happen again.

Because we think we are small and don’t want to make trouble and we are afraid – OMG we are afraid – and when I dwell on this, I AM AFRAID.

I want to say that I would be one of the “good” Germans who actively helped hide Jews. That I wouldn’t prey upon them and steal their jewels as they desperately offered their assets to buy their lives.

But you know what?

I have four kids. And I have eyes. And if I saw people being disappeared, I would be afraid that I and my family would be next.

I do not think I am brave enough in that situation.

I don’t know if Trump will bring us to another Holocaust. I know that the seeds of it are out there – and that Trump has fertilized the seeds and made it more acceptable to be “out.”

I know that if I speak out behind the relative safety of my keyboard that any moment, I could be doxxed (and since I’m a woman and a person of color, the odds of that are high), and that my children could be threatened and harmed.

I mean, odds are against it happening because I am totally small potatoes and who can say when and where a writer will go viral?

But it could.

And that possibility makes me afraid.

Not overwhelmingly yet. But if I let my brain run with it, it can.

So I tell myself to be brave now when the stakes are low so that I can train myself to be brave when the stakes are high. (God willing, this will not happen.)

That my bravery and courage are muscles: the more I use them despite my fear, the more I will choose the right thing for all peoples. And that truly, my standing up for all peoples will ultimately, make the world safer for my children.

And the more of us who do so, the less likely we will ever have to be brave and courageous when the stakes are high because hopefully, we will have stopped it in time. (Whatever that “it” is.)

So, my friends. To those of us who are afraid: be strong and courageous.

Let us practice being brave together. 

 

 

Hibernating

HibernatingI’m not gonna lie to you, Marge. I almost didn’t write a post tonight.

All I want is to curl up in bed, finish the latest book I’m reading (Amazon affiliate link), maybe eat congee (which I am currently doing), and perhaps, watch last week’s The Vampire Diaries and its crossover episode with The Originals.

I’m a simple woman with simple wants.

But I thought, if I get in the habit of blowing these posts off, especially when I’m starting to pursue my goals of writing, then really, I’m self-sabotaging, right?

I have no idea.

But I do know that I tend to fall off the writing world when I just start to gain a little traction and dammit all if that’s not annoying.

Now, I have good reasons to be tired and lazy. But there are always good reasons to be tired and lazy. But if I want something as badly as I say that I do, then I should also be willing to put in the work. (Something that I have not been good about doing since I was a child.)

So, here I am. Banging out a few words so that I feel better about myself.

Okay. What is my point for tonight?

1) Go to my link on congee. It’s so yum, folks. And there are still a few more cold weather days in store for us and it’s sooo cozy and makes me feel instantly better. Remember: GINGER IS KEY.

2) I’m currently reading The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley and I have to say I am really enjoying it. I’m confused as all get out, but the payoff is starting to come and I am super glad the sequel (of what I presume is a trilogy) has already come out so then I only have to wait for the conclusion.

Plus, Hurley has written another trilogy prior to this so I can blast through those, too.

Why do I love her world so far?

Violence. I mean, it’s not super violent, I guess. But it’s not a safe world. And there are multiple worlds and for awhile, you’re not sure what world you’re on. Also, all the characters kind of are assholes. Or idiots. Let’s just say I don’t particularly like any of them. But you still want to root for them to win and succeed seeing as their real enemy is even more despicable.

Ohohohohoh! And did I mention that there are many different societies and one of them is cannibalistic, polyamorous, magic-wielding pacifists? And that other societies are female dominated and men are ruthlessly culled and only used for breeding and prostitution? And still yet others have vigorously segregated the sexes? Or have multiple genders and intersexed and transexual peoples?

ALSO – people of color?

It’s pretty awesome. It would have been awesome WITHOUT these aspects, but WITH? AWESOME^2.

Now granted, I still have about 1/4 of the book left to go, but it’s building up to end well. I’ve already put the rest of this series and her books on hold.

3) Why do I keep buying produce that just goes to seed? Or sprouts? Sigh. I really should just save everyone the trouble and throw my money directly into the garbage.

4) Three years ago, when I was pregnant with Glow Worm, I got it in my mind to plant vegetables from seeds in my backyard. I planted them all, didn’t cull any seedlings, and then I had Glow Worm and didn’t really harvest or do anything with the veggies and they just died and flowered and seeded and whatever it is that plants do when you utterly ignore them.

Then we had several years of drought.

Well, this year has been less droughty and stuff has been sprouting up all over the place that I finally noticed. I now have tons of random carrots sprouting everywhere. And perhaps kale. And perhaps onions. WHO KNOWS? DO I LOOK LIKE A BOTANIST? OR A FARMER?

Whatever it is, the kids have really enjoyed digging up carrots in the back yard. Also? Those nice carrots you see at the grocery stores? I have no idea how they get them. Mine are ugly and scrawny and are weird looking.

Whatever. They’re going into juice.

Alright. I’m going back to my insane fantasy world where multiple worlds are trying to annihilate the other. See you Friday. (That post, at least, is already written.)

The Old School Games I Miss

Old School GamesI very rarely play computer games now because once I start, I cannot stop. Next thing I know, it will be 2017 and the kids are grown and in college or something.

So, I really couldn’t tell you anything about the new games that are out there. But back in the day, I was KING of Minesweeper, baby!

Of course, I played Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo. But I am talking old DOS games and old games included on Windows 3.1. Ahhhh. Those were the days.

So, without further ado, I bring you the games I used to waste hours of my teenage (and college) years upon. I am pretty sure they contributed heavily to my carpal tunnel syndrome, too.

You can thank me when you finally emerge in 2017.

Tetris – Oh, come on! Do I even need to explain this game? I mean, this is a classic. I could play this game for hours, even now. It was one of the only games I bought for my DS Lite (yes, yes, a decade ago). So, so fun!! My brother and I would try to compete against each other. I don’t think either of us will admit that the other might be better.

NEVER!

tetris

Welltris – My mother used to work for Spectrum Holobyte, and as a result, I am pretty sure we got this game for free. It is like Tetris, except in a well. The pieces are flat and they “slide” into the well. The point is to clear lines without having any of your pieces “go over” against the wall. If all four walls are hit, the game is over.

welltris

Blockout – Like Welltris, but 3D. The point was to clear a plane. If you didn’t manage to clear all the planes, eventually, your blocks would stack up until it hit the top and then your game would be over. I loved all these Tetris-type games because of the spacial puzzling it took to figure out. I’m going to make my kids play these games because GEOMETRY.

blockout

Minesweeper – I LOVED THIS GAME. I used to dream this game. My brother and I would constantly try to beat each other’s high scores when we were younger and it was so much fun. Oh, and of course, I loved it because of the deductive reasoning and math skills it employed. I can’t wait until my kids play this game. I am pretty sure they will be unimpressed. TOO BAD.

http://davidwonn.kontek.net/images/minewon.gif

http://davidwonn.kontek.net/images/minewon.gif

Freecell – I wasted so much time in college procrastinating with this game. I loved it. Such a fantastic game of solitaire. I loved how every game could be solved if I just figured it out right. I would explain how the game is played, but I am too lazy. Trust me when I say it is better than Solitaire.

courtesy of http://www2.isye.gatech.edu/

courtesy of http://www2.isye.gatech.edu/

Ok. I am done. I didn’t say anything about this post being a deep or meaningful post. This was for pure nostalgia – and for a few hours of “Research” playing in order to reacquaint myself with the games. The things I sacrifice for my readers.

Alright. Hopefully, you didn’t kill too much of your precious “work” hours playing these games. See you on Friday.