Today I voted.

Today I’d like to welcome contributor Reesa Turner, who I hope will contribute often.

I’m exhausted from lack of sleep and major stress, but something inside me was screaming…get yourself out there and take care of business, November 8th will not come soon enough. Place those votes and feel the rush of having contributed for the coveted space rewarded to me by being a citizen of this country. The waiting line gave me a little burst of joy.

I then went home and filled out my latest jury duty questionnaire and still need to mail it in. Yeah, I get called to jury duty on a regular basis. The fact that many people I have spoken to in El Paso cite” jury duty” as their main reason for not registering to vote is a lesson in just how ignorant the populace can be. Nothing ever changes when we don’t vote.

One small part of my stress derives from multi-faceted issues of being a legal guardian to my adult brother. Fluctuating from a calm and unassuming man into a raging tyro who is having meltdowns and aggression, my brother is a complicated and very mysterious being. He’s fine, and humorous, and happy with his thumbs up response to queries, until he isn’t. I cry for his pain, that remains a hidden and locked away demon within him. His outbursts are followed by apologies, agitation, and tears of his own. He truly appears incapable of not acting upon the urge to rage when he has fallen into this dark place. It is a sad thing to witness, sad for his peers and for his caretakers, and for those many other developmentally disabled individuals who have limited resources or skills to express themselves. Others vote for them on a daily basis.

This life of making decisions for an adult who does not often speak except for the bursts of spontaneous anger can be extremely worrisome. I am his voice, and I am his vote, and I am stifled by indecision at every turn in crisis for his well-being.

We work on it day by day, year by year. Unlocking that barrier that would be a breakthrough to understand his pain has been a lesson in futility. It’s a never-ending slew of worry, opinions, doctors, caretakers, teachers, pills, research, apologies, funding cuts to mental health causes, waiting-lists, reams of paperwork, and defeat when nothing seems to work but simply waiting it out.

Each victory appears undermined as he goes from calm to unhinged and back again. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s exhausting, it makes me lose sleep, it comes between friends and families who love him as I do, yet need to be protected. It’s more daunting than any other thing I’ve encountered in my own lifetime, but not contributing is not an option.

Every other day, another challenge, another choice, another vote.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *