The Kobayashi Maru of Sexual Assault

It’s the classic unwinnable scenario.

If you come forward, what he did is ignored. Instead, it becomes about what you did to cause it. Or what you didn’t do about it.

It’s all about his future. Yours is ignored. You’re just looking for attention. His future will be ruined.

So you say nothing. The aftermath isn’t worth it. Nothing is going to be done anyway and it will only make things worse on yourself.

Besides, maybe you don’t want to talk about it. Maybe you think you have just have the fortitude to “get over it.” So you move on and keep it to yourself.

Until the incident comes back again and again, in different, subtle ways, throughout your life. Maybe you can cope–but you can never forget.

Until, you decide the time has come. Maybe you just feel you need to not carry the secret anymore. Maybe you see that he’s in a position to harm someone else and you can’t let that happen. Maybe he’s coming into a position of power over others and the character of the man must be known..

So you finally speak.

But why did you wait so long?

If it were me, I would have said something when it happened.

You’re obviously lying.

You’re just looking for attention.

That was so long ago, surely it doesn’t matter now?

What about his life, his reputation? Have you thought about that?

Like the Kobayashi Maru, the situation is unwinnable. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. He’s innocent until proven guilty, so you must be guilty.

The only way to win the Kobayashi Maru, is the to change the parameters of the scenario. Turn the tables and not play the game by the rules. Do not accept the norms. Speak truth to power. Stand tall and firm in the face of adversity. Gather your allies and all the coping mechanisms you can and be no one’s pawn. Live long…and prosper.

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Parts Unknown

Today I was gut-punched by news of the apparent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his television work where he managed to be tough, thoughtful, sarcastic, and compassionate all at the same time. He was a true citizen of the world, a great storyteller, and a force to behold in his mission to show the common humanity of peoples and cultures around the globe.

In the end, his personal demons caught up with him and, tragically, took him away from us far too soon.

In battles with my own demons, I have seen the precipice that Bourdain fell from today. I have walked to the edge and, in the end, with the support of professionals and friends, walked away. There are many calls today online for those that are suffering at this level to get help and reach out. This is well and good, but the problem is that, too often, folks on the edge have passed the point where they feel that they can reach out. They feel alone and too far away from the help they need. That’s why it’s equally important for those around them to reach out, reach through the veil of circular thoughts and crushing sadness, and reach those that they love.

If you see someone in your life drawing away, approaching that precipice alone, you have to reach out and hold their hand, try to bring them back. Even if you’re wrong and they aren’t that far down the darkened path, you will have made a connection and proven that you care and that they are important enough to make the effort.

Please, reach out. Make that connection. It can save a life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-8255

Suicide Hotline (UK): 0-8457-90-90-90

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For the Love of Country

 

I’ve always had a strange relationship with patriotism.

On the one hand, I love my country. I appreciate the ideals on which it was founded and struggle of those, throughout history, who have lived and died to ensure that this country lived up to those ideals. It hasn’t always been successful…there are some dark chapters to that history. But the ideals are sound and the struggle is true.

On the other hand, I’ve always been uncomfortable with ostentatious displays of patriotism. To me, patriotism is a private thing, a matter of the heart and mind, an impetus to action, not a glorious display. People who wear their patriotism on their sleeve instantly earn my suspicion and skepticism. My gut wonders if they play the game of “more patriotic than thou.” Flag pins, giant flags waving on people’s lawns, patriotic slogans–all of these tend to ring false to me. They are empty vessels, sham pots meant to hold patriotism that are mistaken for being the thing itself.

Too often, I see people mistaking such displays for actual patriotism. Singing the national anthem is not patriotic; protecting the rights of citizens to choose whether or not they participate in it is. Waving a flag is not patriotic; ensuring that citizens are able to express themselves politically in whatever way they see fit is. Wearing a flag pin on your lapel is not patriotic; principled dissent that holds your country to account is.

Patriotism, like any act of love, necessitates action. It is not a game of who sings the loudest or waves the biggest flag. It is getting involved in what makes this country work. It is standing behind the country when it is doing what is right and protesting when it is doing what is wrong. To love the country, you do not turn a blind eye to its problems but seek solutions. It is not assuming that America is great in and of itself, but truly getting out there and doing the work to ensure that it is. American exceptionalism is a myth–the country is only exceptional as long as we the people work to make it so.

Today we honor those that fell in service to this country. Their sacrifices are worth remembering. No amount of flag waving or sloganeering can compare to the ultimate sacrifice for love of country. Make their sacrifice worth it. Make the country better. Hold it accountable to its ideals.

Perform acts of patriotism, don’t just act patriotic.

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Close…But No Cigar

giphySo I got word from the nice folks at Writers of the Future…my story did not make it into the top three. But it was officially a Finalist in the contest for the first quarter, which is still pretty damn cool considering how many entries from around the world they get and the status of the judges they have. Here’s a link to their blog post announcing the winners and my finalist status:

https://www.writersofthefuture.com/writers-of-the-future-contest-1st-quarter-2018-winners/

Congratulations to the winners and thank you, WOTF, for the accolade. It is truly an honor to have made it as far as I did.

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“That’s Mr. Writers of the Future Finalist to you…”

leglampawardSo…I just got some good news. The story I workshopped at FenCon last year is now a FINALIST in the Writers of the Future contest! That means it beat out thousands of other stories from around the world and is now in the top 8 to be voted on for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I’m very excited! I can’t say what story it was because the judges may see my post and be influenced, but this is very cool!

I had had a story make Honorable Mention in the contest a few years ago–which is an honor. But this…this is pretty sweet. I’ll keep you posted!

 

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