Monday, September 1, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

I couldn't put my finger on why why I felt so down until early Sunday evening. I even felt old, something I rarely feel, and thought of my late grandmother who passed away when I was eight.

I recall feeling puzzled years later when my mother said, "She was ready to go and I'm glad she did when she did. She said the world was getting worse. She could see the changes coming. The assassinations of Martin, Malcolm and Bobby, the riots, the Hippies, all this free love, sex, LSD, the [Vietnam] war, all of that, would have been too much for her to bear."

I didn't understand back then why social changes would have been so hard for her. I grew up with it, and thus, it was normal.

As a teen, I was lucky enough to see hard-fought battles won by We The People. The Vietnam War ended due to public pressure, women got equal rights in jobs, and blacks finally got Civil Rights. Sure, there was still many miles to go, but I could see progress.

Thus, fighting for rights, democracy, and humanity winning those fights was normal for me. I expected it to continue.

It didn't.

When I entered this new century on January 1, 2000 (or 2001 for you picky folks), I had a vision that this would finally be a century of peace. America had a balanced budget and better technology. The Reagan years bred wealth for many of us including myself, but it was based on cheap oil and mindless corporate greed and lawlessness that is now biting our economy in the ass.

September 11, 2001, was traumatic for me. On that morning, I had just arrived to work with my son, Xavier, who had just turned 13. He was out of school because he had a dentist appointment. We watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center on the reception area TV at my job. I worked only three miles from DC, and when the Pentagon was hit, I raced to my daughter's school to pick her up. I cried all the way home and off and on for the next several days.

Then came the anthrax scare. My mom wanted to visit downtown DC, so I took her and the kids. We walked over to the Capitol that sunny, Sunday afternoon, but it was closed for tourists. That was fine. I fussed with my daughter Casie, then five, to stop playing in the dirt next to the Capitol steps and made her rinse her hands off in a nearby fountain.

I think it was next day or two that anthrax powder was discovered in the Capitol and it was closed. That week Casie developed a strange rash on her hand, the same one that had been playfully scooping dirt.

Her pediatrician and I both wondered if this shit could have been sprinkled around the entrance and affected her. The medication for it is so strong that we took a chance it was just a rash and nothing more. Meanwhile at work, our staff psychiatrist said he wore gloves when he opened his mail - outside in his yard. Everyone was scared. A mailman became very ill and died. I'm a native Washingtonian, and felt sad for this brotha.

We began to see and hear military planes fly over our neighborhood. It was unnerving at night because the tv talked non-stop about terrorism.

Xavier began to descend into severe acting out behavior and hedonism. He became moody and combative if I tried to set even the mildest limits on his new lifestyle of skipping school, drinking, and using any kind of drug he could get his hands on.

"It don't matter," he said. "The world is falling apart. There won't be no world when I'm grown. Fuck it. I'm having fun until it's over."

My child had totally lost his mind. Once a week therapy was not helping. He had broken up so much shit that summer and acted so bad that I wondered if he was possessed. I even privately entertained the idea of finding a priest to do an exorcism on him after he acted just like that crazed kid in the movie, The Exorcist when I tried to drag him to church one Sunday.

For you parents who say, "give him consequences," yeah, sure, you try that and watch your big azzed boy push right past you and walk out the door. Then take away all his stuff as a consequence and watch him break up yours in retaliation, and have the cops tell you that since they didn't see it, they can't arrest him and then recommend therapy which he's already getting.

Ask the school system for help, and have them tell you he's not much of a problem there since he mainly sleeps on his desk and doesn't hassle the teachers or classmates.

Drag him kicking and screaming to juvenile services, but they tell you since he hasn't broken the law, they can't do a thing for you, other than recommend a group therapy for kids with drug problems, where he makes more friends to get high with.

Then watch him laugh at you and try to keep from hitting him upside his head because you know you'll end up with Child Protective Services up your ass for years and they'll threaten to take away not only him, but your well-behaved child who couldn't be more normal.

Raising him as a young adolescent male like this was a nightmare. I've said it before and will say it again: some boys become totally lost and damned hard to manage without a father in the home to keep them in check.

But finally, a ray of hope. Xavier had his first psychiatric hospitalization that following year. It was late August, 2002, and he had busted out my bedroom window with a trashcan and threatened to kill me when I tried to make him start the first day of 8th grade.

At first the police didn't want to take this seriously until I told him he had threatened to kill anyone in his path or himself if they tried to make him do anything. Only then did they haul his azz to the psych hospital.

It was the alcohol and sniffing inhalents that made him nuts, combined with all the foster care, adoption issues, and his coming of age awareness in this culture gone crazy as he searched for his identity. He was so oppositional and angry that he was still hospitalized in early October.

This was a blessing. Xavier missed the news and most of the drama of two assholes acting out his own video game fantasy of how to cope with normal problems.

On one October morning, I left home with my daughter to drive her school and then continue to work. The Sniper hit my area. Yeah, I'm talking about John Muhammed and the teen, Lee Malvo who accompanied him.

I recall the first day well. At the time, I lived off Georgia Ave in Maryland and would drive 14 miles south on it toward DC to my job. I was one of those idiots who would stop at Star Bucks each morning and pay $3.50 for a large Mocha Frappuccino. I liked the ones they made at Leisure World the best and the lines were shorter.

That morning, however, I had to return a movie video in another location near my home, so rather than be late for work, I went to their Starbucks. This saved me and my daughter from the trauma of seeing, or maybe being victims, to the murder at Leisure World.

As I drove in that direction, I heard a zillion police cars and they were heading to my favorite coffee shop where I would have been had it not been for the movie return.

Those mofos hit nearly every place I got to on that day and week, including the Post Office located on the side street of the K-Mart. They killed a bus driver there. They also murdered someone at the then-new Shoppers Food Warehouse in the evening as I drove home. This was really brazen - it's right across from the police station. People left flowers in the grocery parking lot. Once in awhile I think about this when I shop there, and in fact, bought groceries there yesterday evening.

They also killed someone at a gas station off Georgia Ave where I don't refuel, but it was scary as hell pumping gas anywhere in my area. I'd make my young daughter lay down in the car so she wouldn't be a target. She seemed to think it was a bit of game but would also peep up while I pumped, with me fussing, "put your head down!" I was hardly the only parent doing this.

I later found out they'd shot a bullet in the old Michael's Craft & Art Store the day before their first murder, also where I was a frequent customer.

Xavier was shocked to learn about the carnage in our community when he was released from the hospital. Even he wondered if whatever evil that tried to get him couldn't since he'd been locked up and medicated, and instead moved on Lee Malvo, the luckless and just as confused teenager. It was a sobering thought. Xavier finished the rest of his 8th grade without significant problems until he hooked up with run of the mill bad boys the following summer.

Long before then, the police finally caught these creeps, but the military planes and jets continued to fly all over the area as Bush got ready for war. I hated listening to them at night.

On March 19, 2003, Bush took our country back into barbarism with his shock and awe, pre-emptive attack on Bahgdad. Me and Xavier watched the news in awe. Casie, only 7, just watched.

I knew Bush was trigger happy because I believed Hans Blix, the UN guy who said they found no weapons of mass destruction, but our Prez bombed Iraq anyway. At the same time, I was scared. What if Blix was wrong? What if Saddam did have WMDs? Wouldn't he retaliate and use them us?

I packed up the kids and drove to Disney World - only for us to see a military helicopter with a well-armed soldier half-way hanging out right over the entrance to one of the parks or the on-site hotel we were checking into. He had friggin' uzi or AK or whatever that scary shit is they carry. It would have made a great photo, and I cursed that my camera was in the trunk. At the same time, I wondered, WTF? Is there no escape from this shit?

In September 2005, I had a fit watching our government neglect the Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans for nearly a week and see, hear, and read the reports of much of this appeared deliberate in the thwarting of help for these people. They were being treated more like criminals than citizens who needed help, and the lock n' load mentality of some officials and the racist media reporting of this was revolting.

I still ain't got over it.

Now it's years later. My son turns 20 this month. He's got issues galore, but he's no longer insane, and other than smoking a little weed with his friends, he hasn't touched hard drugs since leaving rehab almost two years ago.

My daughter just started high school. I think her way of coping with social madness has been to throw herself into her studies. I have never once had to ask her to do homework in her life. Not one time. She skipped a grade in elementary school and has been on the honor roll since the 5th.

But she's cool. Not as in hip, trendy, fashionable, stylish cool, but cool like Barack in temperament. She grew up watching my soft heart cry over 9/11, freak out over anthrax, be extremely protective and worried about the sniper, anxious over the US invasion of Iraq, and furious over Hurricane Katrina.

On a personal family level, she's watched my heartbreak and anger over terrible racism on one job, her brother's descent into mental illness, and like him, was with me when we rushed to her grandmother's place and saw the ambulance carry away Grandma kicking and yelling in protest for what would be the last time.

My mama always said she never wanted to leave her apartment 'feet first' in a stretcher. Fortunately, she died peacefully a few days later in the hospital. She didn't even know she was gonna die that day. She was very happy and looking forward to another family visit from us, and expected to be released soon. She suddenly got sleepy, rested her head, and died. She looked happy in death.

When we arrived, she was gone but her body was still warm. This was the first time Casie cried since she was a little girl. She was stoic about it though. She asked to be alone with Grandma, and after ten minutes, joined Xavier and I in the hallway. It was then that I saw her tears. This was the last time I saw her cry.

We lost my father earlier that year but she wasn't close to him, and luckily wasn't with me when he painfully gurgled out his last breath.

Somehow my daughter mastered the art of emotional detachment so she can enjoy her childhood and academically achieve. On the surface this looks great, but I wonder if one day she'll become a 'kaboom' kid. On the other hand, she may be well prepared for whatever chaos lies in the future.

I'm not.

The phrase cognitive dissonance finally snapped into my mind late yesterday. Cognitive dissonance is a psychology word. A person is stressed because they have two very different beliefs or contradictory ideas. George Orwell, the author of 1984, called it doublethink.

You see, I came of age amidst social unrest, but I saw progress. I keep looking for signs of it but other the possibility of Barack Obama becoming the next President, see none. I believe in progress, but it's feeling more like I'm mistaking magic for the real thing.

I've watched us go backwards since 2001 and descend into a dark, near-dictatorship where lies are routinely told and the media - our only news source - collaborates with them. News is so critical because if people don't know what is going on, they can't stop it or demand a different course of action.

As many of the so-called conspiracy theories have turned out to be true or at least provable if we could ever get the major players in a trial, the media continues to minimize, lie or deny the obvious when it suits them.

All they've talked about for the past few weeks is the elections and now Hurricane Gustav, as though more bank failures, our rapidly dying economy or our relationship with Russia or Iran doesn't matter. Were it not for the international news, alternative news sites and bloggers, there's a whole lot of stuff we wouldn't know about.

I, like many others, keep expecting something to give way and be different. Instead it's more of the same. I'm not even certain that much will change for the better with Obama in office because so much damage has been done, and he's also made some compromises, like to the 4th Amendment by supporting FISA, and that doesn't bode well for us.

My daughter has no cognitive dissonance. She grew up seeing the worst and never expects anything to be different, and thinks I'm a sucker every time I get hopeful. She's a hard-eyed realist - without the cynicism - more than I could ever dream to be. The world is what it is, and she expects no more or less from it, or the people in charge.

My son fronts like he's a straight up gangsta, but is really soft inside like me. He grew up on Disney, Aesop's Fables, nature, animals, and happy music to dance by. He's so soft that a baby squirrel allowed him to hold it and play with it this summer. Just him. No one else. Squirrels, as you know, are assholes if you try to touch them.

Animals trust him, except my current or previous dog when he's going off in a rage over some silly-assed thing. Then they'll let me know by growling or barking at him. Otherwise, Xavier has a knack with horses too. By his second day of horse camp a few years ago, he was riding that baby like he'd been doing it all his life.

The rug of idealism many of us stand on was pulled from under Xavier at age 13 on 9/11, and his flight into pleasure-seeking and feeling powerless to make something of his life is a symptom of this.

I wonder if these very different reactions in each of my kids is common among the youth in our country, i.e., they are either over-achieving or have fallen apart and given up. Nearly half don't even care enough to finish high school.

Tonight I'm trying to hang onto my belief in progress and hope that all the bad will reverse course, but with so damn little evidence of this, I find myself wondering if it's time to put that dream away...


  1. How the hell do you come up with this stuff???
    The greatest heartbreak of my life is the big fizzle that occured in the 70s. Like, everyone just packed up and went home.
    I gave up in '74 and went to work for a corporation instead of following my dream. I guess I'm just as guilty.
    The horror began for me when Bush the Elder invaded Iraq the first time. I didn't want my children to see the hell of war.
    Well, at least both my children are in public service. My son is a big time organizer and political operative for a huge international union that caters to service workers. My daughter gives out SSI benefits to everyone she possibly can.
    OK, carry on exploring my life.

  2. Sagagious, you asked, "How the hell do you come up with this stuff?"

    When I began this blog, I made a decision to keep it trill, ie, true and genuine. To give the no-frills, no-bullshit version of Kit. To courageously write what I've been through, what I think, and what I feel, with no holding back. Wish I had been more like this early in life, but I had to become middle-aged before I felt secure enough with myself to be like this.

    As they say, the truth will set you free (which ain't necessarily true in real life because people can hate you for telling it), but writing from the heart allows me to flow as a writer.

    There are some downsides to this. I'm sure some readers don't like a particular post. Or they do, but the shit is so 'out there' that they don't comment because it's not a mainstream viewpoint and they don't want to be seen as agreeing with it, or hurt my feelings by disagreeing with it.

    So far I've only deleted multiple comments from one reader after their first one, not because he/she disagreed but b/c this person appeared to be trolling and have an agenda of spreading hate that condoned genocide.

    I still haven't gone nearly as deep and 'trill' as I know I could with sharing some of my other life stories or thoughts about world events to date. There are a few topics I wouldn't touch with ten foot pole - not because it's not PC, but because it intuitively doesn't feel safe.

    But back to you. I'd enjoy reading about your '74 experiences on your blog. Giving up all or part of dream is a common human experience that many can relate to, and the young occasionally learns from.

  3. Kit, believe me, I can certainly understand. I saw those horrors with you. I watched when they arrested the DC snipers at the rest stop where I always stop on my way to DC or Baltimore. To give it a local angle, we had a sniper in my honey's town. Two people were killed at the gas station where he always gets gas. I begged him to go elsewhere for gas, but he didn't. Fortunately he was fine and the shootings stopped although they never found the culprit.

    We MUST keep hope. That is our ultimate weapon against the powers of greed that are trying to push us over the thin line into dictatorship. If we have hope, we keep fighting. As Atticus Finch said, "Just because we were beat a hundred years before we started is no reason to stop."

    In times like these, hope is the ultimate expression of courage. And we are strong. Stronger than the forces opposing us. Because we have hope.

    SH, I dont' think you've sold out. Perhaps for a while, but you raised your children well. And that is your ultimate legacy.

    Kit, when I don't comment, it's not generally that I disagree or that I'm afraid to agree. For me,often times it is that you have written so beautifully and eloquently that I have nothing to add. Even more, none of my words can stand anywhere near yours. Sometimes the key is knowing when to be silent.

  4. Laurel, yeah, I remember when the Sniper hit Virginia too. I was sad for them, but relieved he moved on, but scared he'd come back. That was an awful time period, wasn't it?

    As for comments, I never expect anyone to comment all the time; I don't either. But thank you for when you do and the wonderful compliment you gave. It's very nurturing to me. Hugs.

  5. Actually, that particular sniper was in West Virginia. (Pretty sad when we have to specify which sniper we're talking about, isn't it?) MH and I still think that it was drug-related, and that the authorities probably had a pretty good idea who it was, but weren't going to do anything so long as they were just killing their own and not members of the non-drug communities. That's one reason MH felt pretty safe going there...he's not in with the drug community here so felt he would be OK. I still worried, though, as I don't know what I'd do without him. But then again, we can be a bit cynical.

    I'm just surprised we made national news. Seems they're not often concerned if we kill each other. Adn it was rather amusing to hear everyone but Matt Lauer call it KANNA-wah county (it's kan AW wah, spelled Kanawha).

  6. Laurel, I don't recall that particular sniper! Oh, what a crazy world!

    Emeritus, *hugs back*. I'm still dragging around a treasure chest of of hope (Barack is in it, too). Last night I just felt like I couldn't get the damned thing open.

  7. Kit, Your personal stories always seem to weave deeply into social commentary. . . they are not the usual senseless tripe that many bloggers write about when they cover their personal experiences.
    Keep on keepin it trill.
    Yes, maybe my walking away from my dream does comment on what happened in the 70s nationally.

  8. Yes, I feel that too. The changes you describe so well are so dissonant that I often deny them. What the hell is up, for instance, with the extreme crackdown on protesters in both Denver and the twin cities? As if they want to squash any possibility of noticeable protest. Whoever "they" are, they seem awfully organized.

    Doublethinking . . .

  9. Sagacious, yes you summarized my style and goal perfectly; I always aim to weave the social commentary into my personal stories, otherwise it's a diary that misses an opportunity to teach.

    Macon, I'm upset too about this extremely heavy-handed situation both at the RNC and the New Orleans approach to looters, so much I'll be doing a post about it soon.

  10. Kit, fortuitously enough, Democracy Now! covers both those topics in yesterday's show. Great reporting, as always, from Amy Goodman (who was also arrested at the RNC yesterday, I guess after this show was filmed). Both protesters and journalists are being brutally targeted. Pretty good interview with Jon Stewart there too.

  11. I'm sure there are some things in my life that are perfect examples of cognitive dissonance, but I know for me being where I am right now, I'm more cynical and apathetic than anything else.

    I think I could deal with a lot of the problems in the world if I knew the fight was for something. But when I turn on the television and I just see the CRAP that's on there and the level of anti-intelligence and the inability to think critically I get scared. So as opposed to being a walking 23-year-old zombie of emptiness, I'm learning to hold my peace more often than I want to and then I gush out when I get around someone who can handle me.

    It's time and events like this that brings the conspiracist out in me.

    But, at any rate, there's the old saying based on the KJV of the Bible, "It came to past, it did not come to stay."

  12. Ms. Kit,

    Is your son a Virgo or Libra?

    (I know this seems like a trivial question to ask...but I just have to know, since you mentioned his birthday is this month)

    (I'm a Libra, btw)
    Great post, as always!!! :-)

  13. Goldiilocks, you wonder what sign he is? He's a Stop Sign. A master of the word 'no'. Lol, I don't believe in astrology anymore. I learned how to do charts in college days like a pro, and learned the hard way that the knowledge doesn't make a lick of difference in assessing people or situations.

    Uppity, if this helps, something is only a conspiracy in the absence of good, hard evidence. After that it's an open case that simply hasn't been proven in court or admitted by the characters in question. The mind-fuck game leaves us feeling crazy or zombi-ish because the reality we see is constantly contradicted in the news.

    Suggestion: Since you're in school, try to say F the apathy for now and enjoy your youth and college years while you can.

  14. I'm like your daughter. Except with the cynicism. lol.

    In most of my adult years I've been accused of being a cynic. And probably up to 1999 or so I bought inot the American Dream...until I realized it was all a lie.

    I read quite a bit. A little too much and when they say ignorance is bliss...well it is.

    The world is what it is. And I don't expect it to be any differently nor for those in power to actually do anything to help...and that includes Obama.

    I went through a very angry period at the world, at white people, at Black people at the willful ignorance and stupidity (aka cognitive difference) that went on around me.

    I became apathetic. I become fearful of the future. I worried about my family and life and asked what was the point of it all.

    This world is NOT getting better so why should I try?

    Now I'm past all of that. I've learned to hold my tongue more often than not. I've learned that folk have a right to their cognitive dissonance. And that until the American people get tired..really and truly tired and no longer fearful then we can expect more of the same.

    I've learned to plan for my future as if it still exists simply b/c I'm not in a position to do anything else.

    I'm learning to love and let someone love me. I'm pursuing my dreams simply because it doesn't make any since to do anything else considering the world in which we live.

    These are our times.

  15. @kit

    I've just begun my third year of grad school in a four year program. Shyt got real for me over this summer. Nothing serious in the wider realm of things, but since about March/April of this year, I just got hella apathetic. I think the whole Jeremiah wright thing since it was so personal to me just started making me feel zombie-ish, like what's the point of alla this.

    I think if I was still in college the optimism level would be higher, but I'm about to stare down the barrel of ph.d. work or just going to work in a field that doesn't pay much and job security is almost nill unless you just "got it like that" (or a member of the good ole boy network which I'm not a part of).

    I just feel disillusioned all around.

  16. Rippa, your last two sentences are absolute common sense and I second the motion!

    Hey, Uppity! My bad, I've been to your blog a few times and had the impression you were an undergrad, but you're hardly a newbie in a Ph.D program. Congrats and I really hope you see it through. I know a brotha who did some nice good ole boy networking when he took up golf and tennis. Like Obama, he didn't give up the basketball court though. Re: Rev. Wright issue - read my older post, Bloods For Obama.

  17. Uppity, hang in there. You're paying your dues now but later on you CAN make a difference. I'm also in higher ed and also wondered why I was doing it when I got to that stage of my doc.

    You'll be making your own network. That's what I've done..and me a little country girl. And you have the opportunity to take your field in the direction that it needs to go. You'd be surprised how quickly the old guard is going. Keep the faith.

  18. @kit and mountainlaurel


  19. ;) Anytime, bro. I love to see us succeed.

  20. "September 11, 2001, was traumatic for me. On that morning, I had just arrived to work with my son, Xavier, who had just turned 13. He was out of school because he had a dentist appointment. We watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center on the reception area TV at my job. I worked only three miles from DC, and when the Pentagon was hit, I raced to my daughter's school to pick her up. I cried all the way home and off and on for the next several days."

    Almost the same exact story for me! My mom and lil bruh and sis were at home getting ready for work and school when they watched the second plane hit the towers live. I was already in class at Robert Goddard middle in lanham, MD so i didn't know any of this was happening. So my mom left to go to work, ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE PENTAGON IN VA! A few minutes after she got there the plane hit the pentagon and smoke filled the buildings surounding the area. So she dipped thru all the traffic, more like crawled cuz they shut down the streets, and got me out of school and to the house where she planned our escape (if necessary) to Hagerstown MD.

    Hard to believe it's already been 7 years since then. Those were the worst times I've gone through because I couldn't sleep and that's all they talked about on the news every single second.

  21. "I read quite a bit. A little too much and when they say ignorance is bliss...well it is.

    The world is what it is. And I don't expect it to be any differently nor for those in power to actually do anything to help...and that includes Obama.

    I went through a very angry period at the world, at white people, at Black people at the willful ignorance and stupidity (aka cognitive difference) that went on around me.

    I became apathetic. I become fearful of the future. I worried about my family and life and asked what was the point of it all.

    This world is NOT getting better so why should I try?

    Now I'm past all of that. I've learned to hold my tongue more often than not. I've learned that folk have a right to their cognitive dissonance. And that until the American people get tired..really and truly tired and no longer fearful then we can expect more of the same."

    I went through this too but now I'm just expecting the worst based on where we're headed in our society.

    KIT I can understand when you say your son is like "fuck it" because thats how most us people under 25 are right now. It's like, the future is only gonna get worse so we might us well live good and have fun while we can. That's sad ain't it?

  22. Rippa, wow, I see my story really moved you. Yours moved me. I hope you post about it tomorrow. The idea that your poor mom worked across the friggin' street from Pentagon on 9/11 and then drove back home to pick you up... damn! You know she loved yo' azz 'cause she could have kept have kept heading for Hagerstown!

    LOL, nah, just joking with ya. On a serious note, I got choked up a bit reading out loud what you wrote to my son. He listened very seriously and then said sadly, "It almost feels like George Bush was driving that plane because he knew it was gonna happen and could've stopped it but didn't."

    Sigh. I'm still not convinced it was a plane that plowed into the building. The photos I've seen look like a bomb hit it, and didn't see plane parts on the ground in any of the tv film footage. That's bizarre, and IF it wasn't a plane, what was it, who did it, and why?

    And yeah, I agree it is sad that so many of the under 25's have so little hope for good future or even a long life. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. God bless you and your family.

  23. lol that was me KIT. and yes my ma is a heroine.

  24. Jay baby, I'm glad to hear you're were nuts as a teen and made it through! Yo bro, gives me hope for my bad azz not-as-bad-no-more son, lol.

  25. lmao hey KIT i'm still only 19 tho so i gotta lot more life ahead. And I can tell you straight up when I was in MD i was in all kindsa shit WAY earlier than I was supposed to be so thats one of the benefits of my ma movin us to Denver. But I'd go back in a second and do plan on coming back home soon lol

  26. I'm impressed, Jay. 19 and knowledgeable about the wicked ways of the world already! Politics, in case your mind is wandering...

    Yeah, it's easy to get into all kinds of wild shit in this area. Glad y'all moved at the critical time in your life. Here's a hug for your mama for all she did for you and a high five for you!


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