Dafremen I spent 10 years of my life working my way from minimum wage to Software Engineer. They told me that it couldn't be done, because I am a high school drop out. They were wrong. So was I.

11 years later, I was making close to 6 figures, and funny how the bills just kept right on coming and, the food got more expensive and indulgent, but didn't really fill my belly any better than beans and potatoes always had. I found myself with an "easy" solution to not having time to spend with my family...I had MONEY to throw at them! Here's some money, go shopping, why don't you? Here's some money go catch a movie. Want some money? I'm in the middle of this project..see?

One day I came home and my wife was crying. It was the anguish of a woman who'd watched all of her wildest dreams come true, and had realized how empty her wildest dreams really were. It was the misery of a mother who didn't know why her children were always gone and why they didn't listen to her when the were around. It was the despair of a person to whom family is ALL watching her STRONG, loving, nest beginning to atrophy and wither away, with only the cold, empty clacking of her husband at the keyboard to keep her company. Not his smile or his voice, just his presence, and that..was little more than a warm body, for his mind was always somewhere else.

I came home one night a complete stranger. Unknown to the woman that I had been married to for 12 years at the time, an intruder and an unwelcome authoritarian nuisance to my children. So well trained in their middle class, white, suburban schools. So poorly educated in their middle class, white, suburban neighborhood.

That day drove the final lesson home. I knew why I was miserable that day. I knew why my family was falling apart, and REGARDLESS of what my coworkers, with their well meaning advice and my neighbors with their prehensile noses kept telling me, I knew that there WAS something that could be done about it. There was a way that I could bring us back to the love and the closeness we'd once known. There WAS a way that I could take back the parental authority that this system has so insistently tried to convince me is no longer mine.

I quit my job. I sold our belongings. We packed up the car, and we MOVED. As we did, I let my children know that I would do this again and again and again if necessary, until they got serious about being a part of our family.

I warned them that friends were great to have, but that the day their friends became the focus of their lives over this family, was the day that their friends would become their pen pals.

I've resisted the urge to get that big, fat, cushy job that I worked so hard to earn a right to. I've resisted the urge to dive into the isolation and LUNACY of the consumer lifestyle. I know now what Olympic athletes feel after winning the gold. I know the emptiness they must feel inside. The let down. The feeling that comes with having been betrayed by ones own ones own lies. The devastation that comes with reaching the goal of a lifetime only to find that it was the pursuit of the goal which you were after all along, not the goal itself.

If one day, you reach that highest of low points in your life, you too will realize that the chase is nothing and that since pursuit was the prize, one day your efforts too, will almost certainly amount to nothing if you do not choose those goals carefully and with purpose.

The kids are happy now. They have plenty of friends and there are boyfriends and YES there are moments of rebellion too. They are my children, not my robots, and they are teenagers, not seniors. The moments are brief, and they are few, for our authority as parents, and our RIGHTS as kin have been restored.

There is a smiling lady in our house today, with a joy in her heart so profound, so TANGIBLE, that you couldn't help but grin if you saw her. Where her heart had withered and bled so empty before, today it could practically skip around the world with the hopeful tune it whistles.

When a heart beats that strong, it ties its rythmn to the heart of a close-knit clan, bound together, through good times and bad..lifelong and beyond.

This is OUR clan and OUR family.

If we don't care for these people enough to cherish and nurture the bonds between us...who will?



P.S. To whom it may concern. I am doing the Og Mandino thing still man. Still on Pergamino Number one. That's the one that is teaching me to make a habit and STICK to it (and apparently, to be more repetitive than usual.) It's working. Slowly but surely, the habit is getting easier not to avoid. If you think it'll help you, give it a shot folks, if you've found something else you'd like to try...make it happen! Each of us learns in different ways, but doing SOMETHING has GOT to beat doing what we've BEEN doing for so long, which is next to nothing compared to what we SHOULD have been doing.

If you need company, look right next to you, people.

I'm the little guy crawling on his hands and knees, breaking a hard sweat trying to keep up with my dreams..and ahead of my demons.
Lemon_Soda Clan.

What comes to mind? Some third rate chinese b-movie? Vampires roaming the night claiming loyalty for a layolis race? Scottsman, immortal or not, living in the highlands, fighting for their freedom?

Or maybe...

Maybe something else.

There are people in this world, our conjoined and consesual reality, that mean more to you than anything else. People that you count on, people who are always happy to see you, people who need you, and people you in turn need. These people arn't just anybody. Not general acquaintances or friends in passing. Not enemies, indifferents, or non-entities. Nobody to ignore or abuse. These people are your all.

You live your life every day being the person that you are, but when they show up something is quite different about the way you act. You don't slip in white lies or pretend to things unimportant you. You find yourself lavished with a personal attention that defies casual acquaintence. The music plays sweeter, the food tastes better, and the wine tastes finer. Your excepted and part of a whole.


I know that I have proffessed a lack of knowing what this emotion conotates but I firmly believe that these people inspire atleast an aspect of this emotion.

You would do anything for these people and they in turn would do the same for you.

They are your chosen blood. They are your pack. They are your circle.

They are your clan.

I acknowledge them proudly and they mean the world to me. What happiness I have is directly inspired to my clan.

May I always treat them as the royalty they are and I pray that each and every one of you has or will soon have the type of ties I have to them.
misstree pokes the poke with the poke in the poke daf, wow. i have a frustrating lack of words at the moment, but just this urge to stand back, arms crossed, and say, "yeah. that's how it's done." heh. it inspired me so much it stole my words. :)

and lemon_soda, i agree and disagree. words may return to me later. but for a slice of my perspective, see water_brothers, though clans as you describe them are a bit more encompassing, and i'll try to remember to poke at that more specifically later. very nice piece, though.

and someone poke at me to poke at tribes later.
realistic optimist daf, i am literally moved to trembles by your story. it is told proud and true. not proud with hubris, but proud as in you know what it was that was done, and would do it again in an instant. fucking beautiful. tears are waiting in the wings, but do not need to even set foot on stage to make their presence felt after reading something like that. you are quite obviously affecting the world in wonderful and positive ways. keep on taking_it_to_the_streets even if that street is the same one on your return address stamper. :) 031009
janes addiction true leaders gone
of land and people

we choose no kin
but adopted strangers

the family weakens
by the lengths we travel

all of us with wings
what's it to you?
who go