This Echo Chamber

It’s coming up on a year since my accident. A few years now that I have been having issues with driving.

So basically I spend a lot more time at home and alone than I use to.

Part of the way I pass time is YouTube.

It’s been quite a few years I stopped using cable. So I wasn’t able to sink into the grind of daytime soaps.

So I’d put on a YouTube video in the background while going about my day doing housework, cooking, or writing. At first usually some music video. Than I started listening to podcasts.

After awhile I found that I was seeing the same people on rotation. People who I felt made valid arguements based on logic and reason.

While I’m not a genius I don’t consider myself an idiot. I feel I’m rational and logical and can change my opinions and beliefs based upon the introduction of new evidence.

There are people I know, who I feel share these qualities, that are on the opposite end of political thought. I began to wonder how. What had they read or listened to, or had they come to this place on thier own.

I’m an 80s baby I grew up around technology. Saw the birth of the internet. I understand algorithms. To the extent I understand they look for patterns and try and show you things you’ve interacted with before.

I decided I wanted to break free of my echo chamber. Stop telling me everything I already think. The only way to test your views is to try an oppose them. Try an rationally argue against your points.

So I set about finding dissenting views.

I’ve found a few that I can listen to, but they tend to lean more my direction than the furthest from my starting points.

I need to push further. To create a new online footprint in the algorithm to truly find the break I’m looking for.

I must forge a path in stark contrast to my current. A brave new world where ideas, that in my mind have been proven to be fallacy. An idealistic world where stated intentions were exactly as they were described.

To do so I’ll be creating a new identity online trying to make clicks opposite of the way I do now. Hopefully I find some rational dissenting opinions.

Mic Gee

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Light on the work tight in the shield.

I think I’ve done it. I may have retreated so far within myself I’ve turned inside out and am unravelling.

Plateaued has probably been my status these last few months. I’ve been noncommittally excercising. Trying to rebuild my muscles waiting for muscle memory to reinforce the motion my nerves are fighting against.

I’ll say it’s a struggle.

My license expiring has been surreal. I let it go as it had been months since I’d driven. Before the accident I was only driving to work. Without work I haven’t been driving at all.

Driving was getting to be too much. Knowing I was about to drive was becoming enough to have me anxious.

I felt like I was playing Russian roulette with a car. The panic attacks I was having I could no longer catch my breath while driving. I was having to pull over which had worked out until this point. A close call or two. I’m sure I left some people cussing at me.

So when earlier this year I received the form to renew I decided I couldn’t do it. I would have to find alternatives. Which I could probably manage if we still lived in the city.

I got my bicycle lubed up, and although I have some issues feeling the pedals, I can for the most part just push down hard enough to keep my feet on board.

So that’s expanded my search range slightly. Cardio might keep getting it wider.

Going back to what I was doing isn’t really an option but I could swing a desk job. Haven’t quite worked anything out yet though.

So I’m doing my best house husband. Trying to help the kids and keep things up to snuff, emphasis on try. Never been my wheelhouse, but trying to make the most of it.

I spend too much time alone though. Coming from me that’s saying a lot. Yesterday talked to the bike store lady for way too long. Gotta keep it together.

Signed H.D. from the bottom of the wall.

Tips On How To Smile.

“Dad doesnt ever smile laugh or play with me.”

“Living with someone with PTSD you never see them smile.”

I’ve felt like this so long, I can’t really remember feeling any other way. A huge portion of my life I’m on autopilot. Maybe it’s the training. Ive heard people talk before about the training taking over. My memory is such a blurry haze I cant recall it happening to me.

Maybe I can train myself to smile though.

I often feel things are going well, only to realize that things feel that way because I’m withdrawing. I find solace in my isolation. In that comfort is the danger of not being able to leave it.

Does it matter if I smile when no ones around to see it?

What I do recall comes in waves, sometimes gently rolling up to me. Other times crashing beating me down and reshaping me. My memory being what it is it’s unreliable as well. I’ve found myself carrying guilt for things that weren’t the way I remember.

Smile, because it’s never really that bad.

It’s never the combat that eats me. That’s what I signed up for. What’s haunted me most has been the non combatants. The by-standers who ate shrapnel meant for us. The victims of the civil war going strong while we stood on the sidelines.

Smile for the people we saved.

After one such incident, I carried an unnecessary burden for years. I was the driver in the lead vehicle. We were coming from behind a building and getting back onto the road. A wall and trees blocked even my gunners field of view.

Smile for the beautiful day it was.

As soon as my tires hit the road a car collided with our front end at a high rate of speed. We didn’t budge. A turn signal marker was cracked. Not the light itself but the plastic cover.

Smile, because we were okay.

The locals car windshield was maybe a foot from the truck. Majority of the front passenger side of their vehicle was stuffed under our vehicle.

Smile to try and give them the impression they’re going to be alright.

My immediate impression was the front passenger was gonna die and the other 3 occupants didn’t appear much better. Our medic started providing first aid. I ended up pulling security near my vehicle while we now cordoned off the accident vehicle.

Smile and do your job.

I can’t remember if I moved the vehicle or if it was moved for me. I do remember looking back too often and telling myself to pull security. Especially once the popshots started.

Smile none of us got hit.

For years I thought those guys died. Only when I did a paper on the incident years later was I able to close the loop. Corresponding with my former platoon leader and platoon sergeant I got answers to questions I guess I never asked. Our medic was able to stabilize all 4 of them. They lived.

Smile we’re still in touch.

My point being, that while digging through the past can hurt, there can also be closure there. We all carry the weight of our decisions and thier impact on the world. We don’t need to shoulder additional weight.

Smile because it really wasn’t that bad.

We all do the best we can with the information available at the time. When seconds matter, having years to second guess can be grueling.

Smile because we still have the option.

Now what?

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Since I got out the army my family has noticed I’m fairly good at maintaining my situational awareness.

When I go places I pay attention for exits, I evaluate the threat capacity of all my fellow patrons, and I sit with my back to the wall so I have best field of vision. Doing so also removes threats from behind.

Most vets probably do similar things. Not because we think the world is crazy and constantly erupting into gunfire. Rather we’re this way, because we know when the wall does pop off, it does so in an instant.

You don’t have time when the burger joint your at is getting robbed to figure out a side exit to slip out with your family.

You don’t have time to practice loading your magazine in the dark when you hear burglars downstairs.

Knowing these things ahead of time could be the difference between life and death.

Now I can’t look over my shoulder. With my broken back my ability to keep my head on a swivel in severely diminished. Sep.>>>>>Nov.

I have worked hard though. It has paid off. I spent a few months in a rehab center, and I’m out of the chair.

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For that matter I’ve cast off the cane. Nerve pain is new ,but it’s just another type of pain. A signal to the brain, or in this case a misfired signal. I’ve been in pain more or less since 2002 just increasing in scale.

I have had pain killers here and there over the years, and I will say I could get used to not being in pain. I mean “sneaking into people’s houses to support it” used to it. At that point it’s a fight you’ll probably have the rest of your life. I got too many wars going on.

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Starting a battle on another front would have been too much. I would have lost myself, so a week after my surgery I was already eyeing dropping some pills out of my life. I was introduced to medical cannabis, and am now living opiate free.

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Along this path though I realized the medical community is not very pro-marijuana. two incidents specifically stick out in my mind. The first was when my Dr., a nice young lady who I probably had a few years on, made me promise not to smoke and take THC pills for fear of an overdose.

It’s happened so many times over the years don’t you know.

Later an incident involving one of my nurses, she lost track of days and thought she had given me medication the day prior when it had actually been two days.

Mistakes happen not a big deal, but she refused for awhile to give me the THC pills while I was in pain. Eventually she acquiesced, but not before offering me a Hydromorphone. Which is an extremely powerful opiate. One which I wasn’t even prescribed anymore.

I’m not suggesting there is some big conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, but we should probably have some information sessions.

I have seen first-hand the destructive capabilities of someone with an opiate addiction. Not only to themselves, but the people who love them. As a lightning rod for madness I don’t need to add a steel skirt.

Currently the Veterans Affairs of the United States follows the federal stance on marijuana, which is that it is a schedule 1 narcotic. A drug for which there is no medical purpose. Which is ridiculous and hypocritical as it recognizes derivatives of the plant as having medical purpose.

Many soldiers are being given cocktails of pills to deal with wide ranging issues that could be helped by one plant. From the pain relief of CBD which I am now a firm believer in. To studies linking marijuana to helping support people dealing with mental illness such as depression and PTSD.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/talking-about-trauma/201712/medical-marijuana-ptsd

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4578915/

At this point there is certainly a need to remove marijuana’s status as a schedule 1 narcotic, and allow clinical trials to be conducted of the effectiveness in treating mental illness.

Part of me would like to try and spearhead this movement. The rest of me wants to close up shop and move into the vault. Only time will tell.

The sun hasn’t set.

Just wanted to put a little note out. Let people know I’m doing well. My recovery from my recent accident has been amazing.

For those of you who were unaware, I recently mangled the 3 vertebrae at the top of my back. I underwent a spinal fusion.

After a few weeks I went from the hospital to a rehabilitation center. I rolled in on a gurney and walked out about a week ago.

I am letting the people who follow and read my blog know that I’m not done. I have a few in the pipeline still, but I am also focusing on a few opportunities at the moment. So if I go awhile without posting it’s not that I cashed it in or gave up on life.

I’m living it.

To the best of my abilities and in reverence to those no longer with me.

Levels

Levels is a new online fashion store catering to a culture that has grown from the inner cities to dominate fashion all over the world.

Full disclosure I’ve known one of the owners of levels613 for several years. We have discussed some shared business ideas but never actually pursued anything together.

They recently ran a contest to promote their opening. I was the fortunate winner. I received a package with a long sleeve, crooks tee, jeans and hat. Very happy with my gift box.

Anchored by Crooks and Castles and featuring exclusive brand King/Queen status levels613.com is poised to be the store of choice from hoods to burbs.

Levels has room to grow and evolve bringing back brands we love while showcasing some of the newest available swag in North America.

Not only does levels613.com have you covered with clothing options but accesories for headwear as well. With an ever changing and evolving product line levels is worth checking out every few days.

They also have the option of getting your own design put on your swag. Wanna rep your hood? Have an album or label you’d like to promote? Just a dope image you want on a tee, send it in to the team at levels and get it professionally done.

Prices are comparable with stores, prices being in cdn dollars. It has run several discount promos since it’s recent opening. With the steam it’s gathering I see no reason they’ll slow down anytime soon.

Stay busy my friends.

Idle minds are breeding grounds for misery. It’s best not to overthink this. Life is for the most part blunt and straightforward.

Sometimes we’re searching for meaning that just isn’t there. We start to attribute things that are irrelevant memory fails and the subconscious fills the holes.

Other times the subtext is all there reeking of metaphor and we catch some insubstantial piece. We lock onto some negative detail, we gas it up, we let it become a bonfire in our subconscious.

The reality is I always did what I could. Bad things happened, and even if I could of done something different, it’s too late to change the past.

So now I find myself sometimes trying to recollect and make peace with the past. There isn’t any beds left to make. We’ve been sleeping in them a long time.

Now if I start to trail off down memory lane I try and apply myself to the dozens of projects I’m neglecting.

Don’t let your thoughts betray you. When you know something is wrong don’t linger on it. The mind will start to make it true.

Plow the energy into something. Whether it be creative, practical, or controlled destruction. This energy is mine to control or I’ll be controlled by it.

What am I here for

As I lay in this hospital bed, having survived another experience that could have been my last, I teeter back and forth between a few feelings.

On the one hand I am extremely grateful. I managed to survive a broken spine. Sounds crazy to me as I write it. I broke my spine and walked down the hallway a week later.

The other hand I’m feeling not worthy. I have had so many oppurtunities past what some people have. Whether being witness to violent crime as a youth. Being hit by a vehicle, being shot at, being blown up, and now having literally broken my spine.

Why do I keep getting these passes? Any of those moments could have been my last, some of those moments were people’s last. Yet I tick on.

Part of me wonders… Why. Why have I survived these near deaths. I’m still standing.

Must be the lil guys I’m leading to greatness.

Sometimes though, I feel it’s not enough. No matter what I do I can never justify the life I still have, and others don’t.

I guess I don’t have to, but it drives me. I feel like I owe it to the, people who haven’t survived the shit I have, to live life to the fullest. When I figure out what that means I’ll get on it.

I guess until than if you didn’t break your neck, your not giving it hard enough. Ha see everyone one the otherside.

Freefalling

Freeeeeeeeeee freefalling.

Feeling scary good.

Sometimes I just have to walk away. I’m not the biggest or baddest guy, but I can have a bit of a temper. I have lost a fight or two or three. Didn’t preclude four or five or six.

Over the years, I have realized there comes a point in angry disagreement where there’s nothing left to be said. At that point I look that man in the eye, and can usually tell if things are about to get violent.

Anyone who says violence doesn’t solve anything, has never split 12 beers between 5 infantrymen.

That being said it’s usually pretty avoidable. See the pissed off veteran who looks like he’s about to explode, leave him alone. Don’t come try to be the peanut topping on my turd sundae.

Everyone knows the golden rule. It’s a common theme across majority of the worlds religions. Simple. Respect. Treat others how you expect to be treated.

Say your pissed off and tryna curse out the grass. I’m not going to come up and talk about your vibes affecting the grass growth. You’d be in your rights to make the green grass grow.

I may be a bit of a xenophobe, but I treat people with respect. Even when my brain is screaming DUMBASS; knowing I have a temper I tend to assume I’m over reacting.

Hindsight says im only over reacting about half the time. Sometimes though I feel like I’m standing around handing out free passes all day. Eventually enough is enough.

I understand jobs aren’t fun and games. You gotta do tasks you don’t want to. If it was fun and games why would they pay you to do it.

What I’m not going to do is hide and not voice my concerns. After I’ve done that and see no acknowledging of those concerns I’m left with two options.

Fight or flight.

There is no turning that off. My instinct is to fight. A fight left unfinished today could hit you when you least expect it later.

That blood starts pumping. Every nerve in my body tingles ready to pounce. I can feel my ears turn red.

Abort abort!

My mind pushes through. The consequences flash in front of me. The thought of losing my freedom. That time with my family.

As satisfying as the three part plan to inflict maximum damage I’ve developed would have been.

I take a deep breath. Unlock the jaw. Open the wall of blocked thoughts.

Punch right out and count to four.

Got no main forgot the reserve too.

Look out ground I’m coming through.

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