Is the Afterlife Waiting for You?

Hi guys.

Sorry for the lack of snappy openings, but this month I think we should be a bit more serious. Think of it this way: the world where I live is starting to dieówinter is coming (shut up Game of Thrones fans)óand therefore my sense of humor must disintegrate a bit too. Iíll get right down to business while I watch Beat Bobby Flay and eavesdrop on my parentsí conversation. Itís okay; they know I do it. And theyíre not talking about me, so itís fine.

The Personal Stuff

The job hunt is still on. I thought I had an interview scheduled with a medical company doing blog writing for psychological research, but as of right now it appears it may have fallen through. Theyíve delayed contacting me during the application process because theyíre going through a ton of papers about a ton of people though, so itís possible that I just need to be patient. Regardless, I still need to keep applying. Iím looking at internships and remote jobs (so I can work from home) for content writers and editors. Iím sure Iíll get one soon; itís the lack of experience thatís eating me right now. No worries, I got this. And the babysitting job is going rather well, so I have that to keep me going for a while anyway.

Iím sure a majority of you know I saw Green Day at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre about two weeks ago. I have never had that much fun, nor have I ever danced or partied like that in front of my parents. I swear they think I was possessed. Maybe I was. Or not. By the end of it, I had managed to throw out my back and my neck, blow out my knees, and sprain an ankle. It was worth it. We also saw El Monstero (a local Pink Floyd cover band) just last weekend, and that show was fantastic too. Itís been a wonderful year for music, let me tell you. Normally Iíd tell you about the smelly garlic bread dude at Green Day and the basic chick from El Monstero who wanted to fight me, but like I said, itís time to get serious (please donít go to punk concerts smelling like garlic bread and sweat, and no, you canít reserve a spot on the near-sold-out lawn the size of my living room for you and your boyfriend. I will sit there. Itís the lawn).

The Professional Stuff

Iíve finally moved on to part three, and Iím currently drafting the first chapter in that section. Itís been hard switching back to writing new content rather than editing old stuff, but itís also been kind of fun. I feel like my gears arenít quite churning, but theyíll get there. Generally I wrote my chapters during lunch break or during a review day in class (I was usually ahead; itís all right), so my brain was already warmed up to write. Now my brain is kind ofÖclogged, I suppose. I donít always get to write every day, and usually Iím exhausted when I have a day off, so I lay around and catch up on my reading (Iíve started The Black Dagger Brotherhood over again. Iím on book five).

Unfortunately I havenít cranked out any short stories this month. I have them in mind still, but again itís a matter of time. Iíll get there. But as always, the novel will take priority.

Side note: I think Bobbyís going to lose this oneÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ. HE LOST! WOW! GO CHEF DANA AND YOUR AWESOME BROWNIE STUFF!

Story Time ...? Or not.

So, maybe this comes out of the blue to you guys, but I think itís time we had a talk about hate, particularly in the United States, but really all over the world. Donít worry, I wonít be sharing my personal politics. On a blog like this, I donít think thatís right. Instead, Iím going to use examples from both sides.

Think about this for me, to start. We are always connected to something. Whether itís a computer, or a phone, a television, a tablet, or maybe even an e-book, weíre all connected to something. My parents are going to attempt to establish a rule in my house: twice a week, we have to turn off our phones, set them on the table, and play a game together or take some personal time for ourselves to read a book, draw, or take up a non-electronic hobby. Simply to disconnect from the rest of the world and realize we are still a family living in the same house. At first, I was taken aback. I have a schedule, and a routine. Everything revolves around my phone and the time on my phone. But then I thought about it. All my phone does, for the most part, is make me angry. Why? Facebook. Social freaking media.

And why would things like that make me angry? Well, in my opinion, there are a lot of people on those sites that donít know a whole lot. Iím sure you probably feel the same way. People are morons, am I right? But why are they morons? Most of the time, itís because we disagree with the people around us. Donít argue; think about it. Recently, itís all been about politics for most people. Inanimate objects offend us, or define us. Skin color divides us. Opinions pit us against each other. The past becomes the present. Thereís more to it than that, but Iíll leave it there. And what are the consequences of these divisions? Violence in the streets. Name calling. Segregation. Whose fault is that? ďWell, not mine,Ē you think. ďItís those damn [insert political party slur here].Ē No, genius. Itís not them. Itís you, if you think about it. Maybe them too. But it starts with you.

You make the choice to let an object offend you. Ten years ago, odds are you didnít know what that statue or flag meant. Odds are now, you still donít know what it means, or at least why it matters to people in this country other than you. You make the choice to march in the street and block traffic when you know itís illegal and youíre going to get hit. And then you make the choice to smash somebodyís face in for defending themselves, or trying to get their child to a hospital, or trying to get to work. You make the choice to wear racially charged clothing and burn things down because for some reason you decided skin color matters to you. You make the choice to comment on that Facebook post that triggered you and start something with someone who, prior to that, didnít know or care that you even existed. You choose to call someone a ďLibri-tardĒ or ďdeplorableĒ or a ďsnowflakeĒ. Nobody holds a gun to your head and makes you do these hateful things. You do those things yourself, and you call it justified. Youíre the one who judges people based on an opinion that, in the grand scheme of things, doesnít even matter.

Iím not innocent in this. Just tonight I lost my temper and decided to pick a fight online. Odds are all itís going to get me is blocked. Which is a shame, because Iíve been pretty good about ignoring that stuff. But I insult people regularly, sarcastic or not. I canít let a minivan pass me in traffic without some vile insults about their speed and choice of car, believe me. Iím just as guilty as you. I choose to look at things that upset me. I choose to look at the news. I choose not to unfriend people from high school that I never had anything in common with. At the time, I just wanted friends. Now, Iím just too lazy to delete them. Thatís a choice. I own that. But I want to try to be better with how I react to people. After all, thatís what they are. People.

People have a right to their opinions, even if you think theyíre wrong (and believe me, Iíve seen some nasty, wrong opinions). In this country, people have a right to free speech, and you have a right to ignore it if it offends you in any way. People have a right to march for what they believe in (as long as they donít block traffic and/or kill people). What you donít have a right to do, is ďnot be offendedĒ. Youíre going to be offended, regardless of who you are. Youíre a person, and you have feelings. But you donít get to tell other people to censor themselvesóin person or onlineóbecause it inconveniences you. Your work life doesnít care if youíre offended. Do your job. The university I went to didnít care if you were offended. Do your classwork. The real world doesnít care. Move on.

We have to move on from walking on eggshells, and talking about reparations, and face stomping and shooting people who say ďI support TrumpĒ or ďI support ClintonĒ or ďI love ObamaĒ or ďI love SandersĒ. And guess what. Those politicians? Theyíre just people too. They are people outside of their jobs, just like teachers and police officers. Iíve heard that Obama has the best sense of humor. And that Sanders is pretty darn smart. And that if Trump was sitting at the local bar (though he doesnít drink), heíd be a great person to sit down next to and have a beer.

Everyone on this planet is a person. Just that. A person. And in most religions, people were only made to follow one rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. The Golden Rule. And right now, nobody is following that rule. Not me, not you, not your parents, not anyone. Except maybe your dog. I donít know about your cat. My cat is pretty sketchy sometimes. Human wise, people are not following that rule. Whatís that got to do with anything? Well, friend, that means youíre not getting your ticket into the afterlife. None of us are. Weíre all going to Hell (or some version of Hell) right now. Because weíre all horrible to each other. And Revelations is coming. Or the asteroid, or the plague, or Armageddon, or whatever you want to call it. The end is coming. The signs are showing. And here we are, arguing over who deserves to go to college for less because of their skin color, arguing over whether or not a piece of metal is offensive, and arguing over who has a right to shoot who in the head during a riot over who voted for who. How pathetic does that sound? No wonder other countries are laughing at us.

My advice is this. Put down the phone. Turn off the computer (as soon as you finish reading this). Disconnect the internet for a while. Put on a Disney movie, or a kids show, and stop watching the news. Regardless of whose side youíre on, we all know the media is lying. Turn everything off. Watch that eclipse. Go to church. Volunteer to help in Houston or Corpus Christi. Talk to your family. Hug your cat. Take your dog for a walk. Play a game. Color like you did when you were a kid. Bake a cake, read a book, sing a song to the stars, hug your significant other and tell them you love them. Live. Love. Let it go. Stop fighting, and start helping. Stop glaring, and start smiling. The world is going to end, probably sooner than you think. And wouldnít it be nice to know that, as the Lord comes down or the world explodes or whatever you believe in, you enjoyed the sliver of life you were given? That you didnít waste it arguing with people who donít care about you? That you didnít let the negativity eat you alive for once in your life?

I want to live. I donít want to die as just another loser, taking a selfie with my political sign stapled to my forehead and wondering whose face I need to spit in next. And neither should you. Youíre better than that. At least, you ought to be.

Best regards,

Kat Jenning // Shade Shadows

**Song of the Month: Brother My Brother -- Blessid Union of Souls **

Not the most accurate thing in the world as far as lyrics, but if thereís ever a link you should click, click this one. Let Pokťmon teach you something...
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