Lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed with listening to slam poetry. So… I thought I’d try my own.

Linked to the post is a video I uploaded onto Facebook. I was trying to use poetry to contribute to the dialogue surrounding domestic violence. I will add that I placed a trigger warning on this. Please watch at your own discretion.

If this moves you, feel free to share, or leave a comment.

img_0075.jpg

(Author Note: Before I begin, I want to say thank you to those who’ve been with me since part one of ‘The Chronicles’. Writing them is a hoot! They might seem a little rough. I’ll admit, I do the best I can with editing and would also like to thank Amber for helping out and reading through them even though she’s crazy-busy a lot of the time. We’re now getting into some bizarre territory and honestly, one of my favorite parts to write. Who can’t love an ol’ fashioned ghost chicken every now and again?)

******

 

Saros awoke, the pain of Mira’s loss stabbed him harder than the throb in his back from the cheap, overused hotel mattress. Other than the prospect of relief from the hot water, taking a shower seemed pointless since he had no clothes to change into and little money to buy some. He knew he lacked resources, but right then, he didn’t care. His only preoccupation was how Mira’s warm lips collided with his own between decaying clouds of cigarette smoke and then, she left.

He picked up the daisy from its spot on the rickety end table next to his bed and twirled the still green stem around in his fingers. As the petals spun, he marveled that he hadn’t even bothered to put the flower in water, yet it continued to thrive.

He’d never seen anything like it; at least, not in his earthly lives. It was while taking a shower he decided to seek out answers, if for no other reason than to occupy himself and get Mira off his mind. He stepped out, mindlessly throwing on his old clothing and tying his shoes afterward. He did what he could to straighten his sandy hair, grabbed the flower, and checked twice before sneaking down the stairs and crossing an empty lot before being seen.

Staying the night at a motel and not paying was against Saros’ principles, but desperate times called for it. He knew he’d have to leave the town, fast. So, he bummed a couple rides and headed back into Missouri.

He stopped late afternoon in a small city named Everest Springs. The driver dropped him off on a main street that seemed to run straight through the town. Hungry, he pulled his wallet and noted  a ten-dollar bill in between two twenties. That was it— fifty dollars.

He sighed, he needed a job, but first, he needed answers about the immortal daisy he felt compelled to carry with him and before both of those things, he wanted to eat. He looked to his right and then left and saw a hanging sign for Pine View restaurant.

Saros headed across the street and nearly bumped into the waitress who was turned away from him and locking the place up.

“You closing for the day?” Saros was confused, it was just a little past two in the afternoon.

She squinted her eyes when she looked up at him. “Yah! Guess you’re from out of town, huh?”

Saros nodded.

“Kay, well. Sherriff’s put a three ‘o clock curfew on the entire county,” she explained, as she turned the lock.

“Odd,” Saros mumbled, hoping the frazzled lady would elaborate.

She did. “The other day was a normal one. We was up by the counter listening to the buy, sell, trade show. Dean from down the road came runnin’ in like Satan himself had set foot in our town. He was real anxious-like, saying that everyone should get back to the farms and take a look. We close the place up and I run out to the old homestead. Daddy’s out at the barn with Momma. Craziest thing— all the chickens were dead.”

Saros’ expression was incredulous.

The waitress continued, “I ain’t joking with you. All the chickens in the county. All of ‘em— dead.”

“Was it an animal attack?” he concluded.

“No, there wasn’t any sign that they’d been physically harmed. ‘Sept they were dead. But that’s not the weirdest part…”

“It gets stranger?” He narrowed his eyes, wanting to know even more.

“Yah! Our roosters crowed at four in the morning and then again around six-thirty. We still hear them. We’re not the only ones, either. A lot of farms began makin’ those same claims.” She ran a hand down her upper-arm.

“O— Kay…” Saros was racking his brain for any sort of logical explanation. The situation sounded familiar, like something he’d ran across in another life, but over eight-hundred lifetimes had a way of tangling memories.

“You ain’t gotta believe me, but I don’t have a reason to just go makin’ this stuff up,” she turned to a patrol car that slowed down. The officer waved and she returned the greeting.

“No, no… I believe you, I guess. Do they know what killed the chickens?” Saros folded his arms. Surely, there’d be a medical explanation. Maybe some chemical in the food?

“Nothin’. They’ve ran tons of tests, but they can’t find anything in their systems,” she paused and sighed. “They’ve sent a few of ‘em off to some advanced labs in the city. And until they have answers, the whole county’s on some type of martial law.” She added, “We didn’t even have church last Sunday.”

“I suppose it’s getting close to three then. Where can I stay in this town?” Saros ran his hand through his thick hair and looked at the waitress who scrutinized him.

“You carry’n a gun or anything?” She looked him up and down.

“No,” was his simple answer. Then he remembered, “Just the daisy.”

She scrunched her nose. “You just go ‘round carryin’ that daisy? It ain’t real, is it?”

The girl reached to touch it, but Saros pulled it back and looked down. “No, it’s not.”

“Well, I suppose you can come back to my place. It’s just me. Mom and Dad’s right down the road, though. So, don’t you try nothin’,” she warned.

Saros looked in her grey-blue eyes and studied her pin-straight, light blonde hair that frizzed a little at the ends. Nothing about her was attractive to him, but she seemed nice. “Don’t worry, I’m harmless,” he assured her.

“C’mon.” She gestured toward a faded pickup and they both walked over and got in.

The ride to her house was silent, except for a cassette tape of Kenny Rogers that sauntered through her speakers. She drove and Saros focused on the situation. What could’ve killed the chickens? Why were their crows still being heard? Where had he ran into ghost chickens before? It was somewhere during one of his Earth lives, but which?

It was that agitating feeling of having the perfect word on his finger tips and not being able to recall it. Maybe he needed a little rest and he’d remember. From out of the silence the waitress spoke up. “We’re almost there. By the way, never got your name. I’m Tammy.”

Saros nodded. “Hey, name’s Saros.”

“That’s an interesting name you got there,” she mentioned.

“You don’t like it?”

“Didn’t say I didn’t like it, just different. That’s all. Hey, didn’t see ya carrying any luggage. If you need spare clothes and stuff, I can get them for ya when we reach the house.” Tammy offered.

Saros was growing suspicious of her eagerness. “That’s sure nice of you.”

“Well,” she shrugged. “In a town like this, you gotta take care of one another. Ya know?”

He agreed and they reverted back to the bluegrass silence until she turned down a graveled path and parked in front of a brown one-story-double wide. Some clothes sat out on a wire line connected to two trees.

When Saros opened the door, a brown blood-hound greeted him. “Sammy! Don’t jump on the man!” Tammy scolded. Saros chuckled and pat the dog on the head. Tammy turned to him. “C’mon, I’ll show ya ‘round here.”

She took Saros on the tour of the small, but comfortable home. As she did, his mind lost itself in speculation of him and Mira living somewhere like that. How they could sit outside on the wooden porch as a twangy wind weaved around their laughs. How he’d grab her around the waist and kiss her all the way into the living room. How he’d catch her head with his hand before it fell against a tan sofa.

“…So. That’s it… Oh, I’ll show you to your room and you can clean up, if you’d like.” He jolted at her words. “Hello?” She waved a hand in front of his face.

“Uh, yeah…” In his daydream, he’d missed everything she told him.

Tammy sighed, thinking the traveler was probably tired and half-scolded herself for taking him in. She knew she’d be the conversation that’d linger between glasses of lemonade and hair-dryers, but she didn’t care. Hadn’t she always been the go-to for whispered intrigue?

“Well, there’s clothes hangin’ up already in that closet, right there. Shower’s down the hall. Get yourself cleaned up and rested. I’m gonna get to makin’ dinner.”

“Heh, thanks,” Saros half-replied.

Tammy turned and left him to it. He placed the daisy on his pillow and sifted through the clothing that hung in the closet. He wondered where she’d gotten it all. Maybe a brother? Maybe she had a plethora of male visitors? Regardless, it wasn’t his place to judge.

He came across a fresh pair of jeans and simple navy cotton t-shirt that looked as though it’d fit him. He grabbed them and took off toward the bathroom where he found razors, deodorant, basically everything he’d need to clean up. He wondered if the woman was her own hotel.

He washed and returned to the bedroom where he lay against the fresh sheets, reveling in the comfort of the mattress. Saros closed his eyes until he heard Tammy’s shrill call for dinner. He got up, straightened his shirt, and headed down the hall.

When he reached the kitchen, she was setting food on the table and he hurried to help her out. “Brace yourself,” she warned.

Saros didn’t get the opportunity to ask why. From out of nowhere, an army of crows and cackles sounded. “What the— ?” he started.

She nodded her head. “Told ya so!”

After a moment, they stopped and Tammy resumed setting out the food. When they were settled, Saros helped himself to the spicy, watering pork-chops that dissolved on his tongue. He filled his plate several times, not wanting to look like a pig, but also thinking it was one of the best meals he’d eaten.

Saros helped Tammy clean up after dinner and they sat for a while watching some game shows and, to his chagrin, reality television. Hours passed when she stood and announced that she was going to bed, but he could stay up if he wanted. He declined and followed her, turning at his bedroom and shutting the door behind him.

He picked the daisy up and put it next to him. He stroked its white petals and pretended it was Mira’s hair he was running his fingers through. He closed his eyes.

A rooster crowed and Saros looked around the darkness of his room. He steadied his breathing and reminded himself of the ghost chickens before finally getting his bearings. He’d no more than sat up when his door creeped open. Tammy was standing in the entrance of the spare room in cut-off shorts and a bra.

“Wha—” Saros started, uncomfortable because he wasn’t attracted to the petite blonde in the least.

She placed a gentle finger against her lips and shushed him before sifting through his soft hair. She whispered, “Is this what Mira would do?”

His forehead crinkled and he bit his lower lip. How did she know? What did she know of Amiralina? He couldn’t ask; she had him pinned on the bed, her thin body hovering over his. Her breath a sickening cinnamon smell, she neared his lips and he tried to move away, but her fragile body somehow overpowered his own.

“N-no…” he stuttered and sat up. His forehead was coated in wax-sweat. It was a dream. Thank God, it was a dream.

Then, a whisper.

Saros…

At first, he looked at the daisy, picking it up and clutching it to his chest. Another whisper. Saros…

                Saros…

It was Mira’s voice. He pulled the curtains back and looked out the window. Her black hair flowed in spring wind as she drifted into the forest.

So, like any love-sick fool who had yet to come to his senses, Saros pulled on his jeans, t-shirt, and shoes. He was quiet as possible as he snuck down the hall, still grasping his daisy. He gave the door a gentle pull until it closed and made his way off the make-shift porch.

Saros… Came the seductively, eerie whisper.

The logical part of him knew it couldn’t be Mira, but he wanted to believe it was. So, he continued following the sound until he entered the wooded area that surrounded Tammy’s home. The crunching of the forest floor made him glad he’d put on shoes.

And just like in most scary movies involving nature, Saros was standing still, adjusting his eyes to the dark surroundings and strange noises, being stupid in general, as thick roots grew over his feet, knocking him to the ground. “What the actual hell?” He muttered while he kicked in a fallacious attempt to free himself.

Saros…

The whisper evolved from Mira’s welcoming voice to something sour.

As he struggled to escape, a dark wisp approached him and Saros knew immediately with whom he dealt. “Why do you want me?” He called out in an angry voice.

The wisp took its time to manifest and floated until it became its best impression of a hooded figure. “You know…” The voice wavered. “We need your energy. You’re the oldest of souls and when we felt your presence nearing us, we had to have it.”

“You just killed thousands of chickens. Isn’t that enough energy? If they’re still crowing, you didn’t even siphon it all,” Saros contended, knowing it’d be impossible to argue for his life. The Forest Walkers were a stubborn bunch; they were the very essence of nature. He didn’t know why they desired his ethereal energy, but he wasn’t about to give it up.

The figure bent to him and he braced himself. It reached its slimy fingers to the daisy. “What’s this?” It asked as Saros jerked the flower away.

“A daisy,” he answered simply.

“Yes, but I sense it is more than a simple daisy,” the misty figure replied. “There’s an energy to it.”

Saros thought of Mira. “You cannot have it. Take me, leave it be.” He hung his head. “I won’t fight you.” Why was he willing to die for the flower?

The apparition thought for a brief moment, that seemed more like eternity to Saros. Finally, it answered. “No…” It seemed to contemplate further. “I want to know more about this exceptional flower.”

Seriously, Saros thought because he’d wanted to know for days.

“I don’t make deals, but I am going to make you one. Have you heard of the Vein of Elisha?”

Saros jumped. Of course he had, but it didn’t exist anymore. “It’s extinct, right?”

“Nearly. The last of it is being held by Kansas City Jo. You find him, secure the Vein of Elisha, and I will have enough ethereal energy to wage war against the human race and provide you with the answer you are wanting about the flower. Unless, you decide to go against our plan.”

Saros shook his head. “I don’t have a pony in this show. You want to wage a war, do it. Earth isn’t my favorite dimension anyhow,” Saros shrugged, anxious to seek out the plant.

The figure took in a staggered breath. “We have reached a deal, I believe. Hasten in what you do, our spirit dies a bit more each day. If you cannot get the plant, I will be forced to capture you once more, and I will not be in the mood to negotiate,” the smoke warned to a grateful Saros.

“I want answers, you want enough ethereal energy to wipe out Earth. I believe we have a deal.” Was his response.

“Very well.” The roots loosened around Saros’ feet. He stood and brushed himself off.

Saros didn’t like making deals with the Forest Walkers, but if it meant getting answers about the daisy and how it related to Mira and him, the offer seemed enticing. Equipped with the only information he had and without giving another thought to Tammy, he headed down the gravel road and continued until he reached city limits.

He wondered how much time the Forest Walkers would give him. The more complex question was where he’d find Kansas City Jo. It only made sense with a name such as that, Kansas City would be the perfect place to begin his search. He started walking north as the sun rose and lit the fields next to him.

He continued through the day, pausing to flag down a car here and there, but with no luck. Though, he knew the Forest Walkers were making good on their promise and backing his journey; each time he started getting too hot, a cool wind breezed past him, a hint of Mira’s freesia scent embedded within. If he was hungry, he’d run into a patch of strawberries or an apple tree.

Relief overcame him as a four-door station wagon slowed and stopped a way in front of him. A middle-aged guy pulled his sunglasses down. “Hey, kid. Where ya goin’?”

“Up north. Kansas City,” Saros replied.

“Jump in.”

(Back to Part 3)           (Onward to Part 5)

 

img_0045

 

While not much is written about Menoetius, or Menoitios, or at least much that I’ve came across, he is thought to be the god of rage and anger who fought against the Olympian gods and was struck down by Zeus.

The literal translation of Menoetius is “to defy fate” or “ruined strength”. But, is there strength in the defiance of fate? Or, if fate has a certain design, would fighting against it only be doing yourself a disservice?

One of the questions I get asked a lot has to do with how I chose to title the books in the ‘Sync’ series. Most understand the idea behind ‘Synchronicity’. If you don’t, Google Carl Jung– mostly because I’m lazy and I refuse to add the link right now. I’ll wait. I won’t wait long, but I’ll be here… for a little bit….

Finished? Great!

I was almost finished with ‘Synchronicity’ and still didn’t have a title. I’ve mentioned in precious posts how the working title was ‘Medium’, but as I wrote, I realized the telepathic abilities of my characters didn’t need to involve contacting the dead. Rather, I took a different approach.

The word ‘Synchronicity’ never would’ve came to mind if I’d sat and racked my brain, but while researching telekinesis and telepathy, I was fascinated by the many subcategories. So, like many writers, I dug deeper… about a hundred open tabs into the subject, I ran into ‘Synchronicity’ and Carl Jung. Eager to justify procrastination, I refreshed my memory on Jung’s theory.

I connected with the idea that occurrences aren’t a matter of coincidence. That everything happening around us, good or bad, has a purpose; there’s a much bigger picture. I slammed the top of my laptop down and exclaimed, “That’s it! I have it! The title has to be Synchronicity!”

img_0048
I slammed the top of my laptop down and exclaimed, “That’s it! I have it! The title has to be Synchronicity!”

 

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I was bubbling with excitement, so I told a close circle of friends with eagerness. My replies were, “Cool, explain it.” Fair enough. Right?

Without going into details, my life hasn’t always been stable, and by no means has it been ‘normal’. Humor became a defense mechanism. But, more important than searching for the comedic lining in things, I had to believe everything had a reason. No matter who did what, or when. There had to be a reason because without one, I doubt I would’ve held it together, much less survived.

If book one in the series speaks to the idea of events working together and connecting for a greater purpose, I thought it only logical that book two speak to the entity who designs and directs the objective.

‘Menoetius’ begs the question of fate. Is it fate’s doing? And if so, do our choices ultimately construct our fate? Or, is everyone’s end game already set?

Woah, that’s a lot, right there!

I know…

‘Menoetius’ explores the old argument of, ‘You gotta help fate out a bit. You’re not going to meet the love of your life sitting at home on the couch, or you won’t start that career if you never apply for jobs.’

But, can events happening outside our own lives affect our choices?

To clarify, let’s take the person in the above scenario and call him Fred. Fred’s sitting on his couch… for those who require more imagery, let’s imagine Fred’s couch is burgundy because it sits well with his white carpet. White because, let’s face it… Fred doesn’t worry about stains because HE DOESN’T DO ANYTHING… ever…

Okay, continuing… SO… Fred lives on his couch and watches infomercials and Court TV. Even though Fred is stagnant, events around him continue.

Here, we can speculate.

What if Fred’s sister passes away? Or, what if she’s terminally ill? Perhaps, there’s a fire at the neighbor’s house that might spread to his. Or, his television is on the fritz and he telephone’s a repair service.

Any of these events set into motion could trigger a series of occurrences that result in Fred leaving his couch and venturing into the jungle of suburbia. What happens from there?

At least one, if not more times in ‘Synchronicity’, Lila asks herself if her parents hadn’t been killed prompting her to go on the run with Wesley, would they share an attraction? Was all of it, including the tragedy, a push for them to connect?

I felt that if book one asks those questions, naturally the follow-up would concern fate.

The last thing I want is for the series to provide answers. Rather, I hope the books serve as a vehicle to dialogue about possibilities. This is the joy of writing in first person. I have a means to explore a variety thoughts on the matters.

For example, (The following Might Will contain spoilers for book 2)

If fate is working to bring Lila and Wesley together, Why? And how do they feel about it?

It’s safe to say by book two, Lila’s been through the wringer. She’s lost her entire life and the two most important people in it. She’s learned she’s been living a lie. She’s capture by Sullivan and dehumanized and stereotyped.

Forgive her if she seems a wee bit disconnected and jaded by the time you roll around to “Menoetius”. Coming out of the trauma and struggling to redefine herself, the last thing she wants is to build a new relationship. I don’t think she’s ready to trust that it won’t fall apart. She’s not prepared to give answers when Wesley asks for them.

She scrutinizes the idea of fate, wondering if its a ‘cheat’ for her and Wes. She asks, ‘If fate is working so hard to bring us together, is the connection we feel, our elation, and our need for one another simply an illusion? Would we feel the same if fate wasn’t fighting for us?  If fate hadn’t tried so hard for so long and we were just two people in the world, would we be able to pass by one another and not give it a second thought? And if so… is this genuine love and ecstasy?’

img_0047
Coming out of the trauma and struggling to redefine herself, the last thing she wants is to build a new relationship. I don’t think she’s ready to trust that it won’t fall apart. She’s not prepared to give answers when Wesley asks for them.

Then, there’s Wes, the borderline narcissistic lady’s man. You’d think he’d be the one angered at the idea of being with one person. In book one, he makes it clear he never wanted a relationship.

You got that, right?

In case you didn’t, or you missed it in the book, I’ll write it once more: Wesley doesn’t want a relationship; in fact, he never has. He’s perfectly content with a conveyor belt of women.

But why?

SKIP THE REST IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

Okay, that was your warning…

When you dig through the surface, it’s because of the secrets he’s had to keep. His telepathy, for example. He’s lived nineteen-and-a-half years carrying the burden of this veiled world and all the implications that follow.

He feels like he can never truly get close to someone because they’ll never really understand him, but Lila does.  When he’s with her, he doesn’t have to hide behind his arrogant mask (although, I find his arrogance human and endearing and it’ll be a quality that follows him through the series). He can allow himself to care about Lila so much because she’s essentially his equal. She a representation something he’s never had and I think that’s a large reason why when she snaps her fingers, he can’t help but come running.

His feelings about how fate is working is to the tune of ‘Why does it matter if we’re happy’.

img_0046
He feels like he can never truly get close to someone because they’ll never really understand him, but Lila does.

I realize, for those who’ve read the first book, it’s hard to believe that a character like Wes would let the question go. I don’t think it’s a stretch. I feel like he’s questioned so much throughout his life that if being with Lila is good, he’s afraid that asking those questions could ruin it.

Again, I don’t want the series to carry the burden of answering why things work out the way they do, or why bad things happen and how fate works in that. I want them to create a conversation and explore the possibilities.

Unfortunately I can’t write out all my feelings on the topic right now, but free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mommywars

The carpool line– hands down the bane of my existence. And it was one of those days I was sitting in the unwavering string of cars coupled with drivers who mistake the procurement of children for social hour at a nightclub, my phone dinged. A friend had sent me an article she said I should read because it was sure to make me mad, not that my friends purposely set out to ‘make me mad’. But in all fairness, I was the one complaining of boredom.

The article she sent was written by Janie who chose to be submissive to her husband. Notice I linked the word ‘article’. I did that so you’d read it, that way you can follow along and what I’m about to write will make more sense.

It’s okay, I’ll wait…

(more…)

lila

I’ll start off by drawing your attention to the new layout of my blog. I had no part in this, it is the creation of a wonderful and talented friend of mine, Amber Newberry. I linked her blog; check it out because she’s an amazing writer, human, and friend.

This is post is going to be chalked full of little known facts about “Synchronicity” for all three of you who’ve read it, want to read it, or have just ran out of shows to binge watch on Netflix and feel like this article might be an entertaining substitute… boy, are you going to be disappointed. I did want to add a warning: This piece might  will contain spoilers. (more…)

Pencil

OMGeeeez, I don’t pay enough attention to my website, or blogging. Recently, it’s seemed as though the plague descended upon me and no amount of antibiotics will treat it. Whining aside, I wish I had an excuse for not keeping my site updated.

If you follow my Facebook or Instagram, you’re aware that in addition to the ‘Sync’ series, I’m working on a separate novel, “Snowfall” due out next year as well. I posted a trailer here (Note: you should be able to click the word ‘here’ and it’ll take you to the video. I’m only saying because I think I’m cool now that I’ve mastered the ability to add ‘links’ to my blog) I’m excited for the challenge of publishing two polished, action-filled novels in 2017.

In other news, I entered my very first writing contest, Sudden Denouement’s divergent literature contest and won second place with a piece titled “Suburban Suicide”. More rewarding than actually winning was happening upon a site chalked full of amazing poetry. I’d recommend checking it out. You will not be disappointed– Promise! But all-in-all, what a humbling experience. Absolutely incredible and when they posted the top five, I read them. Fantastic, strong pieces of writing.

To be honest, I rarely submit pieces to anything. It’s not necessarily because I fear rejection, although I do to some extent. It’s because I question my work… a lot.

I write what I feel, how I feel and early on in life I was taught my instincts were off. It’s only now, I’m learning perhaps they were spot on that whole time and those telling me otherwise were determined to see me fail. Even as an adult, I receive passive aggressive messages on media platforms such as Facebook from voices of the past, attempting to censor me (Kinda desperate, huh?).

Everybody has a voice. Never let another person convince you otherwise, don’t ever believe it if someone scolds you because, “people will think you’re weird.” Weird is good. Different is good. Our world needs all kinds of ‘different’ and ‘weird’. So just go for it… you do you (this is my pep talk for all three people reading this).

Until Later! (And I promise it won’t be much later!! I’ll update soon!)

 

welfare-state

Happy Friday the 13th; I know it’s been a while since I posted and I can attribute that to the constant circus that is six children and college. Between the snow days and the reading, this semester is killing me, by the way.

Worry not, I am here, writing, about nothing in particular so that all two of you out there who read my blog will have something new to laugh about.

The only thing I really have to write about is the new law that states are now adopting which requires individuals who receive welfare to undergo mandatory drug testing. I have always considered myself to be somewhat conservative and I know that typically  I focus on humor and not politics; however, I must say that as a person who has been employed since the age of 15 years old, I find those who commit welfare fraud to be deplorable.

With that said, as a former welfare recipient who was not a drug user, I am not quite sure how I feel about this law. My biggest problem with this, aside from the fact that it endorses a blanket assumption that everyone on welfare must also be doing drugs, is that with all the welfare fraud that is committed already and the high case to social worker ratio, I am wondering how adding another mandate will be enforced.

Perhaps I am too compassionate, but I think about people with drug addictions, particularly those who I met when my children and I were homeless after escaping my abusive ex-husband. I am not justifying their addictions, but many of these women were suffering emotional and physical trauma from being abused that, in many cases, proved worse than mine. I was fortunate that I was able to have a bit of financial support and access to better resources than many of these women.

I am not sure that taking resources away from welfare recipients who may have a drug addiction is the best option; rather, I would contend that mandating that they enter into counseling and are provided with extensive resources could prove a better option.

I feel like these laws simply mask the symptoms; it does not look to solve the core problem: if we advocate that people who receive welfare must take drug tests, then we must also believe that a significant amount of welfare recipients have drug addictions. Taking away their welfare is not going to get them off of drugs; for most people, addiction is a disease, in many cases it is not a practice that a person wants to continue.

In short, everybody has his or her own ‘rock-bottom’ and for the lucky few it might be a matter of running out of hairspray or being late for work. For some, it is physical, emotional, mental abuse, it is drug abuse, or addiction. If drug addiction is a significant problem, then we should also be looking to the systemic issues that made the ahddict feel as though he or she had no other avenues.

I know I will receive a lot of backlash if more than two or three folks read this. I also understand that people work very hard for their money and that it is their tax dollars being used for welfare and that these people find it incredulous that drug addicts are getting federal benefits. I get that; but I also see a lack of compassion, a disregard for the life circumstances that would lead a person to make detrimental choices in life. I dislike the assumption that those who receive welfare do not work, I worked and received benefits and I know many people who do work and receive welfare.

I just decided to write this because when I try to find material to write about, I begin scrolling on Facebook and some of the most interesting things are not the articles but the comments. Lately, I have been very discouraged at some of the remarks and the lack of intolerance and empathy. It has pretty much made me stop using Facebook because I cannot understand how one person has the right to harshly judge another when he or she has never and can never be in their shoes.