Some Weeks Are Tougher Than Others

Sometimes I really want to write about what’s going on in my head, but the internal voices and noises are too overwhelming. Too triggering. Too distracting. Voices of anger, resentment, hopelessness. What can I do when these other voices and memories pile up in my head, occluding my mental vision, preventing me from putting pen to paper (or “keyboard to document”)?

Not sure if there are any drugs or alternative psychiatric treatments that can address this. To help quiet the voices, help me focus on JUST one memory… but more importantly, to make me less emotionally sensitive, overall. Maybe lower my natural Empathy levels. Make me stop feeling or caring so much (or at all) about being reconnected with the rest of the Human race in any meaningful form.

Escitalopram: Side effects, dosage, uses, and more
What did people do before medical science and mood-altering therapies? Oh, right… they didn’t have TIME to be depressed… what with all the wars and daily trials and tribulations of survival. Good times, good times…

Reconnecting seems to be a dead-end for me anyway. Even without the COVID19 pandemic lockdown, I was largely “disconnected”, and not due to lack of trying to connect. However, statistically speaking not everyone was meant to “make it” in this life. And by “make it” I mean “be a acknowledged and mutually beneficial part of a community, the Homo Sapiens way”.

No matter what we do or say, no matter how well we try to live our lives, no matter how decent we live, no matter how much positive messages we try to spread, statistically, some of us are simply destined to live unremarkable lives, mostly as lonely hermits, eventually dying alone, and subsequently forgotten within days. Evidently I’m one of those individuals… Just like countless other random, unremarkable individuals throughout human history.

if I had my way, this video would be played at every school classroom across the world, at least once a semester.

Not everyone can be “normal” or “fit in”, that’s just a statistical fact. Numbers don’t care about our feelings, and the universe never promised Fairness. Obviously.

I don’t have to like the facts, but it is better to acknowledge and deal with the Harsh Reality of Mismatched Expectations and being Misled to Failures, than to wallow in the False Hopes and Dreams of an alternate timeline.

I’d just like some “substances” or procedures to help me get there, and STAY there with a smile on my face.

My New Tenant Is An American-Black Girl

After almost 6 months of seeking and screening, I finally accepted a tenant to rent one of my spare bedrooms. She’s 18 years old, from the inner city (“hood”), near-morbidly obese, and – most relevant to this article – American-black.

Why is that last part significant? Well, anyone who knows me In Real Life or reads my articles, know that American-black women between ages 21 and 35 have been a huge part of my Failed Reintegration Project. So much so, that for a long time in 2020, I would be triggered by even the sight of American-black women (or just black women in general). I would constantly have thoughts along the line of, “It would be best for everyone if they were sterilized, or better yet, exiled from this otherwise great country, along with the all American-black men who share their mindset”.

Some of my thoughts were worse than that. Some real White Supremacy shit, I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes the resentment and rage approached the intensity of a hundred main-sequence suns, goddammit. However I’m not gonna deny my feelings. I was mentally seeking ways to hurt the very demographic that I believed hurt ME (even if they didn’t do it intentionally).

It took a LOT of therapy, emotional work, and intellectual justifications to get over the worst of the dark thoughts. Eventually, I could see and interact with a American-black people without harboring those mostly-irrational feelings of repressed anger.

Fast-forward to March 2021. I allowed a compatible tenant, who just happens to be in that most despised demographic, into my Luxury Prison AKA “Sanctuary”. I have ZERO angry thoughts towards her, only Landlord thoughts, with just a hint of Fatherly Protectiveness. I don’t see her as a villain or judge her a Bad Person by mere virtue of her skin color and upbringing. I can, in fact, interact with her like a regular human being.

That’s progress! That’s healing! I’m learning to give myself credit where credit is due.

That being said, I’m still pretty rational – I had a few major justifications for my decision to allow this person into my Sanctuary.

I’m learning to give myself credit where credit is due.

AlterNative African

First of all, she’s young, and fairly self-aware. She knows that she uses junk food as a coping mechanism for her Depression and Anxiety. She’s also very aware of her “ghetto heritage” (my words). Despite her obvious obesity, diabetes, and slight “ghetto mentality”, she has SOME time to course-correct (well, assuming that she lives long enough to do so). Point is, unlike all the American-black women with whom I interacted over the decades, this kid is NOT beyond hope. Not yet.

Secondly, she enjoys much of the same pop culture as I – mostly cartoons, as well as a few other things. The few times we’ve watched cartoons together, we’ve also had good conversations about social issues and how they are portrayed in media. She’s not so old and jaded that she automatically looks down upon nerds, like most American-black women in my generation do. Point is, she can be good non-judgmental company in reasonable doses… and that matters to me.

The above major factors compelled me to give her a chance. As of this article she has lived in my house for just 2 weeks, so it’s still too early to tell. However, I am optimistic.

Aahh, optimism that involves another human being… especially an American-black person… I almost forgot how it feels to be optimistic and trust someone even just a little. Some months ago, as part of my Mental Health journey, I promised myself I’ll make conscious efforts to be more positive, so as to counteract the pervasive chronic depression. Therefore, no matter how this tenant turns out, I plan to enjoy this feeling for as long as possible!

Happy Easter weekend, everyone.

We Are All Victims of Genetic Variance

Earlier today I had a fun little online exchange on YouTube. It was under a video about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala being the first woman AND the first African to lead the World Trade Organization.

File:Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - 2020 - 10.jpg
New head of WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, seen here protecting her head stylishly as it shatters the glass ceiling. Like a boss 😁👍🏾

The user “Corn Pop” was all like, “Glad to see that famine has finally been eradicated from Africa.”

Yeah we get it, dude… the entire continent of Africa is just one big blob of “lions”, “Nigerian email scams”, and “hungry starving people”… so of COURSE seeing a single well-fed Nigerian business leader means that the entire continent is cured of hunger now, hardy-har-har, dude… hardy-har-har 🙄

10 Absurd Ways Movies Are Messing With Our Reality
All it takes is a Google Search, an open mind, and (the best idea) a freakin’ passport so one can travel and educated ones-self about other countries and cultures.

However, that exchange made me think of something else a little deeper: our basic human physical body shapes and sizes aren’t entirely contingent upon self-control and calories… they are, tragically, controlled more by genetics.

I think about my rural township in southeast Nigeria. Much of the population is “limited” to 1 big meal and 1 snack per day. The poor transportation infrastructure means that most people walk a lot just to get necessities and carry out their daily tasks, so they consistently get daily exercise. Despite these lifestyle factors, there STILL exist some chubby people, right alongside the thin ones, in the same township – sometimes within the same nuclear family – eating the same food and living the same lifestyle.

 “We know from research that some genetic predisposition increases your risk to be overweight and obese, but it can be overcome by lifestyle… genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. Genetics does play a role, but the truth is who you are is still determined by how you live your life.”

Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA

This perspective comes from experience. I’m a middle-aged man, naturally predisposed to being slender like my dad (with additional “blessings” of a big head and round tummy, haha). At age 28 I embarked on my fitness journey, trying really hard to gain muscle and grow in overall size. I did intense resistance training 4-6 times a week. I consumed 5 protein-rich meals a day, supplemented with Creatine, mass-gainers, BCAAs, Animal Pak, and also a little pro-hormones (back when they were still legal).

Despite all that hard work, I could not get past 210 pounds in my prime.

Now I’m in my mid-40s, with a bad right knee, and a far less-forgiving stomach. I telecommute full-time, exercise moderately 3-4 times a week, eat 2.5 nutritious meals a day… aaaaand…

I’m back to 178 pounds, skinny just like my elderly dad 😒

The frustration is real - Frustrated Cat | Meme Generator

My point is, when it comes to body size and shape, we can rarely escape our biological inheritance 🤷🏾‍♂️ We’re ALL simultaneously benefactors AND victims of Genetic Variation.

So, whenever we look out on the street OR in the mirror, and we see someone whose body shape or size doesn’t fit the media stereotypes, preconceived notions, or personal expectations… let’s all remember that they have just as little control over their basic genetics as we.