Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter


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She comes into your life and brings nature’s blessing. And with her entrance comes a curse of wanton passion. The grass is still alive as it blazes in the sun. The chorus of our laughter floats gently in the Spring breeze. We are the definition of love and our hands are linked as we dance amongst the growing and the grown alike. We enjoy timeless sunsets on picturesque settings creating canvases waiting to be painted at each moment. We love.

Time works wonders and bonds grow firm. We resolve to walk quietly into the night together. Hands held tightly against the shadows we once faced alone. We pick each other up in the heat of the Summer, against the blazing sun and humanity’s punishment. We turn as one, in unison with one another’s needs. I am your need and you are mine. And like an oak tree we grow together.

The rain has come and we have weathered storms. We still touch… but sometimes our hands Fall like leaves from our tired limbs. The chatter of children running around our base keeps us united, we are still united with finger painted signs and chalk figures. But some nights are cold and the moon shines two shadows upon the ground.

It snows here in Denver. The Winter seems to be most of the year… at least lately. But even with the constant ice, it does melt with the strength of will. A will we share each morning and return to each night. The seasons form a timeless ring that hardens into a golden promise. They touch each time our hands unite with infused emotion. Regardless of what emotion that is the presence of feelings means that we still care.

Jason Cushman

-Opinionated Man

7/11/2014

Bullying – Understanding a Killer


I am not a therapist or a psychologist, but I did get bullied for most of my life during grade school and through high school. It is a tough thing to be Asian and live in the South, even tougher still to grow up in Memphis and to truly understand what it is like to be a minority. I am sure others can relate with different names of cities and different skin colors. It isn’t easy and we are plagued by thoughts that might seem drastic and evil at times. Are we afraid of admitting our thoughts or is it simply taboo to speak about subjects that release inner demons the public feel should be left asleep.

I laugh when I watch the news reporters and their comments on bullying. “I am not sure what is going on in America, this growing society of bullying.” Then you have the pretty reporter, who was most likely a cheerleader and very popular (yes I just generalized) who will say “I just feel sorry those kids felt so alone.” Sure you do. That is why you ignored half the lunch room, you know the “corners” the cool kids didn’t go near. Yes, I am sure you NOW are very concerned about such topics because it is your job.

I was not a total outcast at my schools, nor was I part of the coolest group either. You had to be black to be part of that group, which is understandable. From what I gather in Korean culture it is exactly the same way and maybe even meaner to an outsider. So I don’t begrudge kids for being kids. That doesn’t mean I didn’t hate a lot of them. There is a difference between encountering racism a few times (or once in your whole entire life) or bullying on “the occasion” and receiving it every day. School, random parking lot, anywhere I went in the 1990s I normally had something said. I would ignore it. I was a kid, I had white parents that didn’t really get “the struggle” and that is ok. I don’t hold that against them, how could they? They were white and in the United States that is a +1 mark for you regardless of how low you are on the ladder. I challenge anyone to say otherwise and that stands to this day.

That is cool, this isn’t a post about race actually. I can understand why kids that get bullied go on shooting sprees. The media is so stupid. I will admit the access to weapons is part of it. This does not change the fact that I am a strong supporter of guns rights and by the way the federal government is actively trying to disarm veterans right now. They are claiming they are not sound of mind, because of the wars we are being SENT TO, and now they want to remove their right to bear arms. A right EVERY citizen in America should have. Why? Read the news what do you see? You see murder, war, terrorism, random shootings, revolution, political struggles, and it is everywhere in every country. Fear is what we see, but we also see a world growing more desperate. Desperate enough to kill.

I am sure life for women is very different in regards to the social games we play. I know they can be cruel and mean as shit, I saw my sister go through it. But I don’t know if women are as physically violent as men. On the majority I would say you are not. I would even venture to say that this is why we see more shootings by males. In this case it serves my purpose because I am male and I will show you what that mind can seem like.

I remember well getting bullied in school. Mine wasn’t even that bad, it was almost done on principle and had a chain reaction affect. One person would say a minor racial slur, they normally weren’t horrible, and a guy down the hall would hear it and would also say something. Normally high school hallways were gauntlets for these types of verbal abuse. It wasn’t physical normally, although I do recall often being bumped “by accident.” But I also had friends and generally stayed in the back. My friends were all white and I also had some black friends growing up and to this day. That isn’t relevant really to this, because like I said many of you I am sure went through some form of bullying just with different racial characters in the picture. It is a rough life and I understand and sympathize with you for it.

I wrote a post recently in which I showed a visualization for an internal struggle after murder. Because that is what killing is, you are murdering someone and taking away their right to live. A long time reader asked me if I was being serious about the write and I responded that yes it was a truthful post. I have thought of killing before and it isn’t necessarily something I am proud of. It also isn’t something I am ashamed of nor feel any need to hide. When I was being bullied I was alone in it in that my friends were white and didn’t understand why “I was so bothered by things people were “just” saying.” Yea, they didn’t get that it wears on you. Psychologically it tears at your mental stability after years of it. Let me paint a picture for you of a male childhood ladies. This is only one example, but let us see if any males agree with it.

A boy gets bullied in 6th grade. He has endured words and insults throughout his childhood, so in the 6th grade he punches a kid and gets in a fight. The bullying stops for a month and the kid feels like maybe Chuck Norris was right. Maybe taking action brings a reaction. The next year the bullying starts again. Or we could even change it, the kid is forced to move to a new city and suddenly he isn’t as confident as he was. There is always a “bigger” kid on the playground and unfortunately it never seems to be you. Damn that sucks huh?

So you envision beating those kids up. That is how it starts of course. Anyone that was “bullied” in life and I mean truly set upon that says they never thought about beating that person up or punching them is a fucking liar. Well those fantasies don’t satisfy the appetite for long. It becomes a choice of paths. Fortunately for me I grew up with a father that is a priest and a doctor so there were no weapons in our house. I didn’t get a chance to shoot up a school. This is where I say easy access is a part of it, I will admit that. And I also admit no one goes hunting with an M-16 assault rifle with an AK47, just in case the M-16 jams. They normally do. I am 32 years old, a father of two children, and a husband who understands what these kids are going through, even at my age. Because I still have the memories that are sometimes dreams, but are always memories. I hope anyone that is being bullied can find some type of support or can realize that once you move things can change. But I won’t sit here and gasp in shock and say “how did little Billy do that?” Because little Billy got fed up with taking shit and decided hell didn’t sound so bad.

-Opinionated Man

Death of a Salesman


He sells dreams and glory, all the while living in mediocrity. Does he believe the words he spits into the wind or is he really trying to convince himself? I see them each day… their personas shine through my screen. I hit the dimmer and tone down the brightness of the world, too much light reflects off my weak constitution.

He writes images of strength and presents a brave face. Hiding who he truly is because that is not what is important. The big picture, the lights on the screen, that is the goal of the day. Picking free daisies from a never ending field… I love it. He smiles at the labor because it is what he enjoys. A habit or an obligation, it rolls into the routine he has come to know. What a tragedy to slay that dream and yet the pyre is built. Who has a match?

He sees failure where people view success. And in the lonely hours of the night he finds little solace in empty words of comfort. They neither feed, nor cloth, nor comfort against the stack of bills on his desk. His wife mumbles, she does not audibly complain, but sometimes the faintest noise can sound like our own failure. Where is it coming from? From within, I am the harshest critic of myself. No one will ever take that throne.

They said it couldn’t be done. When I did it, they said “what have you gained?” Christ… I can only perform one miracle at a time people. Shit.

-OM

Hoping to Die


There was a time in my life when the land was covered in darkness. It did not matter what time of the day it was, there was simply no light. I walked the world a ghost and prayed to any god that would listen that he or she would simply end it for me. I wanted to die. I wrote the below poem in remembrance of that time of weakness.

And there they lay. The tools of the day. A razor, a pile of pills, and a bottle of Tanqueray.

I have stared in the mirror for hours. All have gone to bed. With each tear has come resolve. We may as well end it all. I hate you. With a hand I gulp the pills, the bottle is already near. I gulp death’s companion. And to the left are the backup dancers.

A letter to someone… I hope… anyone?

Never there is a reply. I say this aloud now as the razor cuts once, twice, thrice… and as the ice cold water washes away my sight. I feel life fleeing from my nearing empty vessel. And suddenly a wrongness, a surrender of an opportunity? I do not know.

And as the light flees the coming darkness, all I can do is embrace the growing warmth.

People fail to realize that there is depression and there is suicidal. To me suicidal is the point you reach when you just don’t care. You could give a shit less about heaven or hell, they are one and the same because your life has become a living hell. It doesn’t matter how many “do gooders” speak soft words in your direction, you only see darkness.

I remember well that time still to this day. The feeling of that night, sitting online and telling a few “close online friends” that I just didn’t care. That it was time to see what the next page brought. I remember a feeling of finality when I shut down my mother’s computer. My steps were almost light as I walked slowly upstairs. Neither asleep, nor really awake… I walked like a man in a daze to my bathroom. I starred at myself in the mirror for what seems like hours and in those precious minutes I decided I was ready to die. I made that choice. I took those pills and I drank that bottle to the head and I remember smiling. Because finally I didn’t feel so cold anymore. The warmth of death was my friend that night and I was ready to receive him.

It changes you… that type of experience. It is nothing to brag about and many might feel ashamed of that type of weakness. To feel ashamed of being human is a shame in itself. I was human that night, but I am lucky my humanity failed to die.

-Opinionated Man

Mixing Races? How I knew I would marry my Color


If you have read any of my previous work you have no doubt begun to garner some idea of who I am, or who you think I might be. You may have been able to piece together, detective that you are, that I am Asian (South Korean actually, we generally HATE to be called Asian), I was adopted and grew up with white parents, had white and black friends growing up, and really did not realize I was Asian Asian till I went to Korea in that long Summer of 2000. That being said, I really didn’t touch on the topic yet, but during this time period I also came to the realization that I would marry someone of similar color. This decision was based solely on race period, so we can go ahead and bypass the suspicion of racism, because that is what made the decision so easy.

Let me explain, I grew up “dating” girls that were mainly black and white growing up, though we use the term “date” loosely here because my father was both a Priest and a Doctor and the iron grip of communism might find a competitor in what I went through as a child. I laugh here, it really was not so bad, because who can really tell how suffocating a bubble truly is when a person has never known the freedoms of the “outside world?” That is why I was perfectly happy in my soft, protected, and comfortable world. A world of structure and organization, of coming home from high school and immediately cooking a whole DiGiorno Pizza and scarfing it all by myself because guess what… I could. The enviable bubble, enviable now that I look back at it and can compare to the hardships that might or might not have been going on beyond the boundaries of my own domain, that had clean and freshly laid sheets by a maid every Wednesday afternoon when I came home from school, which I would uncaringly threw my backpack onto. You never realize what you have had in the past until reflection.

This is the world that exploded in 2000 for me. It was not the Y2K bug, sorry to disappoint, if that was the inevitable word you were waiting for you can do a U-turn at the next stoplight. My world exploded due to internal torment and a new self-awareness that was more powerful than any terrorist attack or global catastrophe. My new ethnic and worldly identity left me broken and hoping to be mended at the same time. And in that moment I knew, I pieced together my past and my past hardships and I knew, I could never marry anyone that was not Asian.

When I journeyed to Korea, wide-eyed and excited, I went with the love and support of my girlfriend, who was black, whom I had been with for my whole senior year of high school. I left thinking that was perfectly normal and I was content with her at the time. She did nothing to change that outlook, far from it; she was not the cause of my ultimate reverse in personal preference. For some odd reasons when I learned of the existence of my birth sister and my birth mother it bred hope with the hate and anger. Something also “clicked,” I realized I was Asian. Perhaps some cheesy self-epiphany occurred here, if so I will spare you the audacity of trying to put it into words, but let us just say at this point I knew I was Asian and not white or black.

Growing up I dealt with so many trials and tribulations of being Asian, with no Asian friends, and being picked on by any and every race that it built a complex inside of me. I did not know who to relate to. I remember some days praying to God to change me, stop the suffering, I would rather be ANY race but Asian. Black, white, even Mexican it did not matter, I just did not want to be yellow with small eyes. Surely God has a sense of humor right? I saw the joke every day. I had the smallest eyes at my school and yet I saw the most pain. The humor only works if the joke saturates for a few… twelve years or so, so don’t be fooled if you just don’t see it.

I made a decision way back then; I would NOT allow my kids to have both the hardships of being Asian and also of being another race at the same time. It was hard enough being Asian, how could I ever want my kids to ALSO have the discomfort and shame of dealing with the mocking and jabs of being two races, not even fully one or the other. Some may look down on this, I am sure someone will even comment about “moving on and the end of racism and how this type of attitude empowers racist,” I don’t care, I simply know what I think, what I have been through, and what I want to save my kids from.

So to conclude, in a less lengthy fashion, yes I knew around that point I would always marry someone of like color. I would not mix races or mix hardships. If you are of mixed races and you dealt with any challenges you may have had and were stronger for it, kudos to you I salute you, I obviously would not have been strong enough for that additional obstacle, and perhaps God knew that.

-OM

Dear Males – Be Proud of Who You Are!


It is a little unfair that males have to suffer the scrutiny and scorn of women when many of us don’t deserve it. I of course am not referring to myself, I am generally an asshole and probably deserve every single insult directed my way.

Men and boys alike heed me! Take pride in yourself! Take pride in your manhood! Don’t let women trod all over our rights and self-image, just because they feel oppressed by men in the past. Are we the past men? Are we the enemy women? No, the enemies you combat are either privileged, dead, or OVER THERE. They aren’t standing here with your husbands and boyfriends that respect women. So why do we feel the need to turn our backs on respecting ourselves males?

Don’t allow the clubs of feminist and women to cause you to second guess your worth. Men are an amazing gender and we do a lot in this world women cannot and will not do. We don’t need to be ashamed to trumpet what we consider our own value simply because society wants to tell us the “norm” is now a humble, quiet gentleman. SCREW THAT! Let us be loud and proud men as “they” are over there.

Where is our pride men? Do we lay it down simply because society tells us it is “uncool to be a confident male anymore?” That it is no longer politically correct to say you are proud to be a man? I scream TO HELL WITH THAT. Be proud of the gift that was given to you, a gift many women probably wish they had. Be strong men and unite behind the banner of a common cause. If we allow ourselves to be labeled and boxed, we will be packaged and obsolete before we know it. Instead let us show a singularity that even feminist might be jealous of.

Male Power.

-Opinionated Man