When Your Career Just Isn't Good For You

As it happened I was dragged into the Federal civil service, pretty much kicking and screaming.

"I'LL NEVER BE A BORING BUREAUCRAT," I wailed, as we sat there considering my future.

What I wanted, in my head, was that image: the glamorous brand consultant, glamorously traveling the world.

But it wasn't good for me. It wasn't good for us.
  • "How are you going to do all that traveling?"
  • "What about the kids?"
  • "You know how unstable consulting is."
  • "This is where the jobs are - you're in Washington, D.C."
  • "Think about the hours they keep over there."
I did it, and it hurt me to do it, because I wanted what I wanted so much.

In the end it turned out right...working for the government changed me.

Yes, for the better.

Government workers are in the end a group of decent people. They give back to the community.

They are rationally oriented, focused on the details, extremely knowledgeable, stable, and committed to what can be done within the limits of procedure.

For a creative mind like mine, which works fast and goes off in fifty different directions at a time, the discipline has been healing.

I remember there was a time that I wanted to be a writer. Full-time, just a creative in the coffee shop, turning out book after book.

But as it turned out, the art and the craft of creative writing was destructive for me.
It took me to dark places inside my head.

Sure the writing was beautiful. But it was harrowing, too.

One time, before I started grad school, I had an interview to work at a fashion magazine.

But the environment was wild. Morally, I am traditional.

I couldn't admit it to myself, and so God solved it for me: The night before, I got a terrible migraine, and it did not go away until I cancelled.

As a young adult, I wanted to be a volunteer.

It happened that I knew several people who were raped. And in those days, the victims just disappeared from school.

They also rattled the doors when they went to sleep at night, obsessively and compulsively. (For they remembered having opened the door when they shouldn't.)

So I chose the Rape Crisis Hotline, and the first time I showed up at the hospital, and I saw the victim laying there, I ran out of the room and vomited.

It was hard, because I cared so very much. But my presence in that place, at that time, and for that cause wasn't helping anybody.

Today I have gingerly re-entered that space, of trying to help.

It is frustrating; I can only yell out from behind a very tall fence.

Because I can't fall down the rabbit hole, again.

I guess the point is, what are you good at in life?

What is your purpose on this planet?

You need to make money, and your soul needs you to make a difference as well.

But you have to keep yourself as intact as possible. Not do things that drag you away, into the pit of Hell.

For as they say: "Life is not a sprint; it's a marathon."

There are people on this Earth who need you.

All opinions my own. Public domain photo by pixel1 via Pixabay.

A Personal Report from the #Pedogate March

This is me. 

Today I attended the first part of the #Pedogate / #Pizzagate march. 

Here is my poster.

I chose to focus on human trafficking (#humantrafficking), the broader problem. Others are focused on the underreported and unexplained phenomenon of missing African American girls in Washington, D.C. (#missingdcgirls)

The march organizers took a middle course, emphasizing community concerns that law enforcement is dragging its feet about investigating child sex trafficking by influential people connected to Washington, D.C. elites. (The term "elites" covers anyone with money, political power and influence.)

The social media icons used to advertise the march used the hashtags #pizzagate and #pedogate. This has been made fun of repeatedly in coverage by The Washington Post and others who repeatedly suggest that concerned citizens are victims of a conspiracy theory "which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor."

In fact, the term "pizza" refers to two things. 
  • Number one, leaked emails that have never been contested with respect to their validity. Those emails contained references to pizza that do not appear to have anything to do with pizza. 
  • Number two, graphic sexualized images of pizza and children that appeared on the public social media accounts of a pizza shop proprietor. (I leave it to the reader to Google these images.)
It is noteworthy that the Department of Homeland Security released a video for human trafficking month (January 2017) showing a minor being trafficked outside a pizza parlor. The symbolism was hard to ignore.

In any case, I was at the march as it began and documented some of the goings on. 

The most noteworthy thing, to me, was the focus on children rather than on a particular person or place accused of wrongdoing. It was clear that the event organizers (as you can see from the poster behind me) seek their safety. The poster contained three demands, as explained by event organizer Neil Wolfe:
  • Release the children being held captive
  • Surrender to law enforcement
  • Beg for mercy
Wolfe stated that he planned to organize a protest in front of the NYPD, which reportedly has incriminating evidence from Anthony Weiner, to demand that they release it.

We know that organized sex trafficking of children by people at all levels of power is real.

The second thing that stood out was the emphasis on prayer. I saw two people praying as they stood on the podium. This video shows researcher David Seaman, there to give a speech on the topic, praying for our Nation to have the strength to deal with this issue, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to heal. (He, too, previously has shared his experience of being targeted for covering this issue on numerous occasions; here is just one example.) 

As far as the people who attended the event, I can only speak about a few. 
  • Speakers: I was there for the introductory remarks, mentioned above. During researcher David Seaman's speech he talked about someone who was filming him at the event, and everyone got distracted by the interchange.
  • Journalists: When I was there it seemed like there were as many cameras as protesters. There seemed to be people filming the event and asking questions in a genuine way.
  • Attendees: I spoke with a woman who was outraged that John Podesta had not been arrested. She said that this cause was very much a matter of "light against the darkness."
  • Passers-by: A woman from South Africa asked me what the protest was about.
I did not get the impression that people attending were "crazy." Rather, they seemed sincerely concerned about kids. If anything, observing conversations, it was clear that they were self-educated, and trying to get some official information. This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly share: Let's get the facts.

Getting an official investigation going, without citizen investigators having to do the work, was the entire purpose of the protest.

It is not acceptable to tell young Black girls to "stay home" to avoid getting kidnapped and trafficked.

I left at around 11:30.

All opinions my own. Photo of myself, and video, by me. 

Today I Saw The Bomb Squad

Went out for lunch and the area is covered in police cars. I see them gathered around one person who has "Bomb Squad" written on the back of his jacket. Briefly I consider, is it my turn to die today? (God forbid) Then I proceed forward, march on, just be normal.

In the park there is a guy trying to look homeless, but he is obviously not homeless, and I wonder at the fact that I may have just seen my first spy going "undercover."

Forward, forward, forward. I get my usual falafel wrap, and sit down to eat in silence, scanning the news headlines on my phone.

There is a story about the DC police telling kids they should "stay home" if they don't want to get trafficked.

I stare at that headline in disbelief, and share it without any comment. What can one possibly say?

And on.

I go to Starbucks and sit down to write, to contemplate, to stare at the people coming through this great city. All of them different, all the time.

I think to myself about what the Rebbe (z"l) told me, so many years ago. You have to live your life in great joy, not in misery.

He was right: It's going to end anyway. Like that line this week in "The Walking Dead" -- "you think you have forever to life your life, and then you don't."

May God bless us with the wisdom to stop tearing each other apart, and start solving problems that really matter.

All opinions my own.