Saturday, November 26, 2016

OH, FIDEL.

Che and Fidel

I shouldn't have liked anything about you, Fidel Castro, but I have to confess I did. I liked your abandonment of your childhood's security to fight what you perceived as injustice. I liked your refusal to be cowed by failure and great losses in your fight to liberate Cuba from the corruption of American-based mafia with the might of the U.S. behind it. 

I liked your socialist ideals. You produced more doctors for the developing world than any of your contemporary leaders. You educated Africans in Cuba in great numbers and thereby contributed to the development of several countries on that formerly colonized continent. Your domestic economic policies created as much progress for the working Cubans as suffering. You equalized Cuban society within decades with direct intervention, not the violent, secretive and self-interested manipulations of the current New World Order's bankers and stock brokers. 

But, Fidel, you failed to recognize that your morality remained entrenched in Roman Catholicism. This allowed you to remorselessly torture homosexuals and AIDS patients. This allowed you to abandon all your egalitarian principles in order to justify concentration camps. Your hatred and lust for revenge against those who disagreed with you, as if they were damned by some religious dogma, prevented you from reconciling with the Cuban diaspora, which could have brought back so much good to your island. Your suppression of religions other than Roman Catholicism was tactical while your conflicted Latin Catholicism failed to root out its pernicious influence from Cuban society.

I learned a lot from your successes and failures, Fidel. Whether you did or not becomes irrelevant  to you with your death. Perhaps knowing that more actively would have made your leadership more effective for all of your Cuban people. We will never know.


Monday, November 21, 2016

HYSTERIA


Hysteria is a defense mechanism whereby a person or group exhibits exaggerated emotional and/or physical responses out of proportion to a stress factor. The swoon of Victorian women of a certain class is a good example. Another current example is the exaggerated reaction of some to the Presidential election in the U.S.. 

Hysteria is a rather primitive defense. It is a defense of a person whose personality has not matured in response to routine stress of daily life. In other words, it is symptomatic of stunted emotional development. It is common in adolescents. It is uncommon in adults who have separated from their parents emotionally and financially. The formation of a healthy adult identity entails developing other defenses, like reacting to stress with hard work or forms of artistic expression. Whining, ranting and throwing things are regressive (infantile) behaviors. 

I am embarrassed for many of the young adults I see participating in demonstrations today. They have adopted a belief that acting like a regressed child will get them what they want. Dressing up clownishly, mutilating themselves with tattoos and piercings, screaming as though assaulted when nothing traumatic has actually happened to them. This is symptomatic of childhoods which were never properly transitioned to adulthood by the normal demands of maturing, such as having to work for food and shelter. These are adults who are still being babied by family or by some social system, like a university or indulgent workplace.

Hysteria is an inefficient defense over time. The attractive young adult who may be babied in hope of reciprocal emotional or sexual response by peer or elder will not benefit from those responses with aging. Like puppies who develop into badly behaved adult dogs, hysterical middle aged adults are cast off into isolation by divorce or simple avoidance. Without adequate emotional defenses, these isolated hysterics often become depressed and self-destructive, They are prone to addiction and other forms of socially unrewarded behaviors. 

Rather than guiding hysterics on college campuses to forms of therapy, today's academics are indulging them. This is anti-scientific and against all traditions of sensible child-rearing. It is not compassionate. It is damaging. I can only assume these academics have some agenda in enabling these immature young adults. I suspect decades from now there will be endless stories of sexual manipulation and exploitation of these students by academics. Perhaps some of this is already surfacing indirectly in the obsession with rape many of these hysterics display. Time will tell.

Being hysterical is not political action. Manipulating your superficial physical characteristics to any degree is not political action. The current exaltation of sexually altered individuals by these hysterical young adults appears to be a sad symptom of the misunderstanding of what it means to effect social change through being the change. "Being the change" does not mean taking hormones or dying your hair blue. A child may think this way, because children are very simplistic and superficial in their understanding of abstract concepts. An adult works with ideas and translation of ideas into articulate words, objects (media) and, especially, exemplary mature behavior. 


Saturday, November 19, 2016

"HAMILTON" HYPOCRISY



The cast and playwright of "Hamilton", a hit Broadway musical for those elites who can afford such trifles, had the audacity to shame Vice-President-elect Pence at last evening's performance in Manhattan. Pence was there as a private citizen in the audience. 

I did not vote Trump-Pence or Clinton-Kaine. However, I recognize that the outmoded electoral system of this country brought us a Trump-Pence administration. I have had to do this once before. The Clintons helped elect George W. Bush by withholding support from Al Gore in 2000. They were getting back at Gore for his remaining appropriately neutral as President of the Senate in the matter of Bill Clinton's possible impeachment. After Bush was elected under much more contentious and suspicious circumstances, I had to accept that he would be President. A war-mongering and economically corrupt airhead became our President. And the public, including many of today's corrupt Liberal elite, reelected that airhead in 2004 by a sizable majority. I had to accept that he was President lawfully. 

Later on, I watched as the Clintons snuggled up to the Bushes. Photo ops of George Bush, Sr., and Bill Clinton abounded. Hillary started hanging around with war-criminal Henry Kissinger and the like. She even partied with the Trumps in her reincarnation as a Manhattan politico. Hillary is a queen of political hypocrisy. She is a war hawk, a fan of Saudi Arabia, a pawn of Wall Street bankers. Her election would not have brought a smile of optimism to my face. No glass ceiling would be broken with those politics, in my opinion. She represents patriarchal status quo in female drag. Nothing more. To say that her election would have somehow benefited womanhood just because she is one is sexist. 

Barack Obama, a populist President of the Liberal elite, did not change the political, social or economic paradigms of America. To say he did simply because he is multiracial is racialist on the face of it. He sold out to the health insurance monsters. He received a Nobel Peace Prize without effecting any real peace. He emboldened jihadist Islam by not calling it out for what it is for nearly seven years. He did nothing to prevent the fomenting of racialism in this country. He deported more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration.  In fact, racialism in the U.S. became worse during his second term. And, his wife has been a First Lady in the exorbitant and self-satisfied manner of Nancy Reagan.

So, where have we come? An actor in a Manhattan musical which costs over $500 a seat is encouraged by an audience of elitists to use his stage to pre-judge an elected Vice-President's performance of his Constitutional duty. Is this the measure of today's social justice warriors, who are stifling the culture of learning in our universities and in our media by bullying those who wish to speak freely? I suppose it is. Those who always cry "bully" have become the bullies. 

I never considered myself a warrior. I detest violence in a way in which only a person who has been subjected to it from an early age can detest it. I think that worldwide disarmament is the only path to survival of the human species. I felt I was walking in the steps of a martyred non-violent hero, Martin Luther King, when I participated in the earliest Gay Pride marches 45 years ago. That is how I sought justice. I did not seek it by demeaning elected public officials from an elitist stage. I never thought my rights must come at the expense of the rights of others to free thought and free speech. I never thought humiliating those in power would gain their respect of my position. 

Like it or not, Donald Trump and Mike Pence were elected to administer our government. They are simply human beings with a job to do. They are not preternatural demons. They do not represent some vicious cult of sexism, racism and homophobia. Yes, they are conservative in many areas, but they were elected by nearly half the electorate as well as by the electoral college. Yes, they are not always eloquent or conciliatory in their speech. But they are American citizens. That makes them accountable to the Constitution and also protected by it. Judging their job performance before they have even started the job is not acting in the spirit of that Constitution. It is not even acting as a just and rational person. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

TRUST


Ever wonder why Halloween is America's second most popular holiday by some measurements? After all, what is Halloween about? It is about disguise and begging treats under the threat of mischief from strangers. It is also about drunkenness and unruly behavior for some. The increase in Halloween's popularity over the past two decades has been fueled by advertisers surely, but its popularity also parallels the decline of the American urban culture. Gun violence, drug abuse, alcoholism and homelessness have become just as visible as the rise of gleaming glass towers for the rich. Cities have taken on the costume of prosperity which masks the decline of the quality of life for a majority of their citizens. Our national government has been captured by Bible-thumping conservatives who are unbelievably corrupt and ineffectual. But trust on a purely social level is even more threatened by irrational social memes. 

How can you readily trust someone whose gender is indeterminate? How can you gauge his/her relationship to you on an instinctual emotional and sexual level? You cannot. There is more to the fear of sexless bathrooms than intellectual prejudice against transgender people. A person's appearance is his/her most salient clue to his/her trustworthiness. Dislike of the burqa and the hoodie also relates to the issue of trustworthiness. It is not simply an anti-religious or cultural bias. In a world which is increasingly crowded, sharing less and less space with people who cannot be clearly perceived as trustworthy or not by their visible demeanor naturally feels unsafe.

It is ironic that neo-feminists, or social justice warriors, are most plaintive about safe spaces. Yet these same people defend burqas and unisex bathrooms with vehemence. They support violent Black Lives Matter protests with enthusiasm. This alone is an indication of the lack of measured logic in their positions. People who display this kind of double-messaging are not perceived as trustworthy by any rational person.

Donald Trump has been vilified as untrustworthy and dangerous by some people in the political center and center-Left. Why? Most often they quote his positions on immigration and lawfulness. The reality is that Donald Trump is by far less dangerous than Liberals whose agenda is hawkish and tied to predatory capitalism, like Hillary Clinton and George Soros. 

Donald Trump's conservative mania is right out there, audibly. The center-Left is not trustworthy because it has been exposed as covert. When Hillary Clinton allowed 20% of her presidential campaign to be financed by Saudi Arabia through her so-called charity, she became untrustworthy to any rational person who truly believes in the quality of female, gay and transgender rights. It makes more sense to trust a man whose positions, however wild, pour out of him on Twitter than to trust a woman who illegally used various email servers to manipulate foreign policy and plot taking over the American government with her pro-Saudi/pro-elitist minions. 

Trusting people who illegally migrate across a legal border for whatever reason is not rational. Desperation is not an excuse for lawlessness. If I am desperate for money to buy heroin, I am not excused for breaking into someone's house to steal money to finance that heroin purchase. If I have chosen to have too many children in an impoverished country where I doubted from their inception my ability to raise them, I am not justified in making myself and those children dependent on another country without at least having the courtesy of applying for admission to that country legally. Courtesy is not expensive. Lawfulness in a democratic society takes effort but pays off for everyone involved. Voluntary participation in lawfulness is the measure of a truly peaceful and civilized society. 

Blind trust is the province of religion. Science is the province of skeptical and rational trust. As society becomes more scientific and less religious, trust becomes a commodity earned, not demanded. Falling back on religious notions of blind faith and trust is often the tactic of politicians and other scoundrels. Hopefully, it is the beginning of a time of reevaluation of the measures of trust in American society.  




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

HOW ABOUT SOME SANE FEMINISM?

A Scene from "Slutcracker"

I recall the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I became very ill with what later became recognized as the early symptoms of HIV infection in the Spring of 1984. I missed a week of work. I developed profound weakness and jaundice, yet tested negative for hepatitis. My initial call to my medical provider was answered by a female nurse practitioner. Since I was then a practicing nurse as well, I readily told her I was in a homosexual relationship with a former male prostitute. I thought this would help her reach tentative diagnosis related to what was already known as a deadly viral STD affecting gay men.

"No. That's highly unlikely," she snapped over the phone. "We don't have any information to support the idea of an initial reaction to exposure." I remember becoming angry at her attitude. I also remember asking her how the hell she would get such information if she blew off intelligent patients who are voluntarily presenting her with clinical data. She ended the phone call by saying, "Well, I suggest you practice sexual abstinence until we get this thing figured out." The call offered neither comfort nor cure. She also did not ask me to come into the clinic for any testing. The clear message was, "You're on our own." I knew her response was deeply influenced by her female conditioning to see sex as something bad. 

I have worked extensively with women, both as colleagues and patients. Few of my nursing colleagues of my age were feminists in the 1960's and 1970's. Most were conservative, religious (mostly Catholic) and vocally sexist. Most were married with children. Many had husbands in blue collar jobs. Yet these women occupied one of the first recognized professions staffed and administered by women. This informed many of my opinions about women, their programming and their mentality as determined by their biochemistry. My appreciation for those factors has led to my usually keeping those opinions to myself.

There is a production locally of a play called "Slutcracker". It is staged predictably in the epicenter of hipster neo-feminism of Greater Boston. Judging from the subway poster, it entails women of all sizes on stage in underwear with various shades of hair dye derived from a crayon box. The play on "Nutcracker" is obviously a neo-feminist attempt to cash in commercially on the conventional Christmas season here in Catholic Boston. Good luck with that.

This represents the current confused state of young feminists, who mouth victimhood (rape culture) yet take on the trappings of female prostitutes, women who choose the sex industry out of poverty, ignorance or perhaps shrewd business planning. Young women in this city walk the streets night and day in skin-tight pants in bright colors to draw attention to their bodies, yet are politically prone to alienate the very people they might attract with this costume. This is an addled and superficial assertion of egoism, not the assertion of the right to dignified consideration as a mindful human being.

Hillary Clinton was not representative of this confused feminism in her own life, despite becoming its avatar in the recent election. She has chosen a life far removed from the neo-feminist confusion. She has been focused, self-educating and cosmopolitan. She has chosen the company of the toughest and most predatory men on the planet. She had one child. She dresses conservatively, speaks with traditional rhetoric and has never looked like she was soliciting sexual attention. Hillary Clinton was not a radical feminist of the 1960's and 1970's, yet she has drawn intense loyalty from that sector. This strikes me as another symptom of the current dysfunction in the modern feminist movement.

Why are young feminists not talking about the core feminist issue: Child-bearing? This morning, I heard a BBC report about poverty in Australia, one of the world's richest nations. They dragged in a whining unwed mother of three on welfare. Was this woman asked why on earth she decided to bear three children she knew she could not support? The woman sounded intellectually competent enough to have thought about this. She did not claim she had been raped. There was no overbearing husband in the picture. 

So, why wouldn't a female journalist bring up the subject of birth control and choice? I can only guess that the BBC would not allow it. Why? Because there is pressure on media by powerful religious, political and economic forces which oppress women by encouraging unintelligent reproduction (right to life). So-called feminists in Academia and mainstream media have adopted the meme of reproductive "rights" over reproductive "responsibilities", because this keeps them from having to challenge the establishment while still feeling morally superior to those who advocate reproductive responsibility, a much more difficult and revolutionary path in most societies. 

Instead of speaking plainly and scientifically about the impediment child-bearing places in the path of women who wish to ascend out of poverty, modern feminism has done the opposite. This does not surprise me, as a person who has worked with many women, but it seems surprising on the surface. Contemporary feminism encourages unintelligent reproduction as a human right. It defends the self-oppression of traditional women in religious cultures who accede to having too many children and killing their own healthy sexual desires. It accuses men of being natural rapists, then defends patriarchal religions, like Islam, Christian fundamentalism and Hasidic Judaism. While superficially supporting obese women, contemporary feminists elevate outrageous transgender exaggerations of traditional femininity and masculinity.

Contemporary feminism in America is the product of thirty years of exploitation of religiosity (often cloaked as "traditional spirituality" or simply "faith") and anti-science in Washington, DC, and on college campuses. Thus the rage of contemporary feminists when challenged. They are trying to stage a new Inquisition, in which the heresy of confident adult gender and sexuality are punishable socially, if not legally. This feminism is a movement of thumb-sucking regression, not progress. That is why it is doomed to failure. Its proponents will not succeed ultimately in the real harsher world to come. That world will not be shaped by transgendered academics or celebrities. It will be shaped by climate change, overpopulation and the reality-anchored scientific minds who can come up with real solutions, when and if politicians allow them to implement those solutions. Hopefully, among those minds, will be women of the future who see a saner path through the impediments of misogyny and sexism.








Friday, November 11, 2016

GET TO WORK


The protests against Donald Trump's election are a good symptom of Constitutional democracy. The violence and vandalism exhibited by some among those protesters are a symptom of the loss of civility in American culture. Yes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are culpable. The media, social and commercial, are also culpable. But, most of all, parents of these youngsters are culpable.

Huge banners declaring that Donald Trump is a racist are infantile and irresponsible. In fact, this is a form of low race-baiting which has undermined the message of Black Lives Matter to the general public, most of whom function in American society without racist behavior or intentions. The throwing of "racism" around as an insult devalues the legitimate complaints about real racism when it happens. It is crying "Wolf!".

Infantilizing our American youth by two generations of overprotective and permissive parents is showing its effect in social contexts. Social science has colluded by validating the extension of adolescence to the age of 30. Education has shifted from preparation for challenges in life to enabling of dysfunction, enabling of substance abuse, and emotional retardation. 

Rather than hand-wringing and whining over Trump's legal election, intelligent opponents of his stated agenda should be getting to work. There is a structure through which protest can be channeled to produce effective counter measures to legislation and executive orders. However, to do this you must get educated, really educated, in law and policy. Dying your hair blue and putting a piercing in your nose achieves nothing other than making you feel cool. It is a form of ineffectual masturbation. 

I did not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I found them equally odious during the campaign. Donald Trump strikes me as the less dangerous of the two actually, despite all the paid-for hype about Hillary Clinton. She is a hawk with great debt to fundamentalist Muslims in Saudi Arabia, who are  turning from less profitable oil production to weapons distribution and manufacture. Her friends are responsible for racist apartheid, violence and suffering on the planet. 

You see, I was not gender-blinded by her propaganda. I vote for a female presidential candidate, who is a pacifist physician and environmentalist, and her Black vice-presidential running mate. If you do not know who they are, then you have a lot of catching up to do. Breaking store windows isn't going to get you there. 


Sunday, November 6, 2016

THE VERGE

Trumps and Clintons at the Trumps' Wedding. 

Yes, my fellow Americans, we stand on the verge of a new government's further screwing up our lives. Whether the titular head of that government is Hillary or Donald does not matter in the least. Sorry to burst your bubble. And, by the way, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Caitlyn Jenner's tits are not real either. It will just be a continuation of the media-fueled fantasy that has spun the so-called-by-him Obama Legacy. 

Look around. Do you see an Obama Legacy on your street, in your city? Do you see happy people of all colors and origins humming along and saying 'hello' to each other and the local beat cop? Are your medical waiting rooms gleaming shrines of secure and prompt medical care at low cost to you? Is your car insurance cheaper? How about your home insurance? Do you feel any safer downtown after dark? Is your urban neighborhood peaceful? How about the response time when you call 911? Do you encounter thoughtful and polite citizens on your roads, in your shopping malls, in your supermarket?

You've been bought by cheap gasoline. Yes, car-hooked America, you've sold your souls out so you can drive a few blocks to Dunkin Donuts for a sugar fix  in your over-powered pickup or SUV. You take solace in Netflix on your huge Chinese flat screen because the local multiplex shows crap and smells of putrid fake popcorn butter. You've complied with your conformist conditioning to consider getting drunk in a fake Irish pub a good night out. You've subscribed to inane political correctness to save yourself the anxiety that comes from thinking hard about ethical and social issues. It's all good. That is why it will soon be all bad.

Neither Hillary nor Donald are interested in saving you from your out-of-shape, addicted, materialistic self. They both want you to continue to eat processed crap and drink lots of craft beer. They want you to buy legalized marijuana. They want you to take sleeping pills, testosterone, female hormones and tranquilizers. An anesthetized electorate is a malleable electorate. An isolated selfish electorate requires no dividing to conquer. A population which defends Islam, even when it threatens the roots of Western Civilization, need not be feared by any control-minded politician. Poorly educated religious people are better at accepting myths, untruths, dogma and anti-science. 

The fact is you've already bought into the eventual use of martial law and media manipulation to erode your control over your own government. Unlike the Brits who dared support Brexit against the daunting tide of propaganda and threats placed against them by the likes of Trumps and Clintons in Britain and Europe, you Americans have rallied to Hillary and Donald, despite being offered a man of conscience, Bernie Sanders, who could have started an overdue new American revolution. Why? Because your concept of government is akin to your understanding of Little League baseball. Two sides, our side, their side, rah, rah, boo, boo. A tawdry snit between husband and wife in a dead marriage. Something you all know too well, yet strangely admire. 

The verge ahead will be a trip over a cliff. I would have said "waterfall", but the harsh reality of climate change makes riding over a waterfall seem too gentle an image. The geopolitical forces at play with either Hillary or Donald at the illusive helm of our nation have been set on a path of population management and segregation of the haves from the have-nots, the necessary but inconvenient 90% of humanity who support the 10% who have no intention of lowering the quality of their lifestyle. If you are reading this, you are most likely of that latter category. So fasten your seat belt and down a few Xanax with your craft beer. It's not going to be like anything you've seen at a Disney theme park. 


Thursday, November 3, 2016

I DISAVOW ZIM.


I disavow a new breed of  narcissist who are making a mockery of the gay rights movement. Find your own movement. You do not identify as gay or lesbian, so bugger off. 

The recent attacks on Professor Jordan Peterson at University of Toronto are the latest in a putsch by a mentally disordered minority who are so obsessed with their bodies that they want to get the whole world to pay proper attention to them. Proper attention to these stunted personalities entails speaking to them in their own infantile language as if they were 4 years old. People like Nicholas Matte, professor of gender studies at U of T, is jumping on this opportunity to carve out an faux-scientific niche in Academia.

Matte displays his profound arrogance and dishonesty by quoting science about human biology that does not really exist. He's either making it up or has read it while waiting in line at the supermarket. What the hell is "gender studies" anyway? I thought those of us who try intelligence on for size are also trying to move beyond gender. After all, the human ecosystem is degrading rapidly. Do we have a lot of time to be staring at ourselves in the mirror, obsessing on our superficial appearance? I think not.

As for LGBTQI bullshit, I stopped financially supporting organizations which keep adding these letters to our homosexual rights movement decades ago. I will continue to withhold money from them, and from so-called LGBTQI organizations which cozy up to religious ideologies which have oppressed gay men and lesbians throughout history.

Listen up, trans fascist. I will support your wearing whatever you want to wear wherever you want to go, as long as you take responsibility for the consequences. Yes, I think you have a human right to walk around peacefully without having your head bashed in. Absolutely. But you do not have the right to be stupid and act stupid without consequences. Nobody has that right in the real world. You also do not have the right to dictate my opinion of your choices. You also do not have the right to tell me how I must speak to you or anyone else. If you don't want to hear me, walk away, turn the page, flick the switch, stick your index fingers in your ears and sing... or just mind your own business.

I will not support your decision to pay an unethical surgeon to castrate or mutilate you for profit just because you want him/her to. I will not support your taking hormones which will make you crazy and kill you prematurely just because you want to. The thought of one cent of public money, my tax money, going to these unethical medical practices enrages me as a healthcare professional. If some goofball politician or judge decides he/she knows better than the body of medical opinion, that does not make castration better science. It cheapens all medical science. 

So, feel free to descend into regressive baby talk with your girlfriends or boyfriends or neuter friends. Ze this and ve that. Refer to your individual self as 'they'. Perhaps that intentional grammatical error is an honest one. You may indeed have multiple personality disorder. Or it may just rightly warn your listener that you are so self-centered and self-righteous that you cannot be bothered to appropriately use a common language with the rest of us. And, if that is true, you certainly don't belong anywhere near a university.






Wednesday, November 2, 2016

RELATING TO GRAVITY


It occurred to me today that my relationship to gravity has been a conscious process throughout my life. This was no epiphany actually. More of a self reminder.

When I was a boy, I was a chubby kid. I used to be a deep sleeper. Getting me up for school in the morning was one of my mother's most hated tasks. I can remember feeling the weight of gravity, even then, as I pulled myself from bed. I was never fully awake until I was halfway through my walk to school.

Gravity was my nemesis whenever I tried my hand at any sport, even swimming. Balls went down and hardly bounced back or went careening off out of control. I sank like a lead weight in fresh water. Hiking around the undeveloped hills of my childhood neighborhood was punctuated by falling and rolling downhill. Climbing trees was a particularly hazardous passion. I fell from relatively great heights more than once without major injury. My adversarial relationship with gravity changed later. 

I entered college a burly 16-year-old. I weighed 220 lbs.and was 6 feet 3 inches tall. In my sophomore year, after three semesters of degree-related courses in science, I devised a Coca-Cola and potato chip diet which melted 40 lbs. off my frame in several months. When I stabilized at 180 lbs., I remember feeling so much lighter and better coordinated. My popularity on campus soared. I enjoyed dancing for the first time. Gravity had been put in its place for the first time in my life.

I now realize that shedding that body weight helped me shed the weight of a depression which had weighed me down since my grandfather's death when I was 11. Shortly after his death, three friends my age also died precipitously. Two in car accidents and one from spinal meningitis. The girl who died of meningitis was born on the same day in the same hospital where I had been born. Our mothers were close friends, and the family lived on the next street. The weight of that period dragged at my consciousness for the following six years. 

When my depression lifted with my weight loss at 17, I began my adult sexual life as a homosexual. I had been aware of being homosexual from an early age. My adult sexual activity with older and established gay men saved me psychologically. I was living at home with my parents and attended a conservative Catholic university on an academic scholarship. 

I wisely partitioned my life. Monday through Friday were days of long commutes and hard study for my degree in cellular biology. One weekend was devoted to partying with my conventional school friends on campus. The next was devoted to being at home where I helped out and studied. The third weekend was mine. I left home Friday evening with an alibi arranged with a school friend. I spent that weekend dating or meeting new gay lovers. This cycle got me through college with good grades and a modicum of adult maturity, for a 20-year old.

My breaking the gravity of depression allowed me to become flexible and energetic. It took me six years after college to develop the professional nursing career which sustained me for decades. Despite my family's absolute separation, emotionally and financially, due to my coming out to them when I graduated from college, I was able to navigate the urban world and gay society with significant others in my life.

The only up side of experiencing serious depression is the ability to recognize its recurrence before it becomes crippling. My relationship with gravity is key to that recognition of symptoms. Objects, including my own body, feel heavier by gradual increments. I gain a few pounds. I cannot walk as far without tiring. Since I walk regularly, this is a pretty early sign to me that I need to do something.

What do I do when I suspect an oncoming depression? The first thing I do is adjust my diet after assessing it carefully. If I can stimulate some weight loss, I am speeding up my metabolism. As soon as I feel lighter, I know I'll be fine. Yes, I firmly believe that all depression has a biochemical component which is both symptom and potential tool for treating it.

I had an aggressive cancer fourteen years ago. During cancer treatment, I went from 190 lbs. to 145 lbs.. My mirror image resembled a Holocaust prisoner. The bones of my whole skeleton were readily visible. Amazing lessons came from that experience. My lighter-than-ever adult body felt heavier than ever. But my mind and emotional state were lighter than ever. Subsequent near-death experiences from complications (septicemia, cardiac infection, renal failure) boosted me into a body-less state more than once. Talk about freedom from gravity!

It is interesting to me that dissociation of my conscious mind from my body, to the point of observing my unconscious body from above my hospital bed, did not make me feel completely free of gravity. This leads me to believe that consciousness itself may entail some form of mass or electromagnetic energy which interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. The way back from cancer remission from radiation and chemotherapy was indeed an experience of dealing with gravity on many levels.

I am now 66. The intensity of experiencing gravity is naturally increasing as my muscles atrophy and my joints harden. I have found that my relationship with gravity is a friendly one most of the time, as I accept my aging. I have great respect for it. This has allowed me to develop caution in movement. I have been able to adjust my exercise to stress flexible coordination over strength. Rather than curse gravity, if I fall, I take the lesson: Slow down, look where you're going, stay centered. Gravity and I are fine, but I won't miss it when it's gone.