“Ill” Legal immigration; or what I like to call “moving”

This post is not my typical genre but it does have a direct and lasting affect in my life – so I will talk about it. 

It doesn’t affect me in the typical, mainstream-political-race-bating-American exceptionalism-xenophobic-vote buying-potential terrorist kind of way. No – it’s much more subtle. And by subtle, I mean not at all. 

When my wife moved to America (from Finland) in 2012 to be with the coolest guy ever, we chose the non traditional form of “immigration”. I think it was called following the law? Something like that. Anyway, the hoops that we had to jump through were oblong and smaller than a cheerio. They were literally that small. Squeezing through them was extremely difficult. Actually jumping through it was impossible. 

The dump trucks that delivered the paper work arrived months behind schedule and they just dumped them all in one big pile on our front lawn leaving large gaping tire tracks into the sunken grass. The wind had picked up and the papers scattered through the breeze like a massive blast from a confetti gun. Then came the rain…

My terrible metaphor is rediculous, but it does describe how government bureaucracies function. When competition is not allowed, there is no need to focus on customer satisfaction. 

When I hear about massive swarms of 3rd world illegal immigrants getting direct access to the government tit, I am astonished. I distinctly recall having to sign papers stating that I alone, was responsible for 100% support of my wife and she MAY NEVER take even a single slice of moldy government cheese and if she was not able to be fully supported by me, she would be on a plane back to her country of origin. Oh, and she is restricted from working in America for the first two years because…we say so. 

I’m not saying I wanted or needed any of the governments stolen money to support my wife but the double standard made an involuntary but audible dry heave sound from deep within me. 

The process to legally move my wife here was not only extremely expensive, it was also unnesassarily complicated. The language on each document was in Sanskrit and wing dings. Because I failed in those two language courses, we had a hell of a time answering what should’ve been simple, basic questions. 

The constant mistakes made by the receivers of our paper piles were simply idiotic. These people do this for a living and they were the dictionary definition of incompetent. When we finally received my wife’s first Green card – which took years to acquire, they put the wrong last name on it which meant we couldn’t acquire a matching social security card which meant no traveling back home for my wife. We complained to them about the typo And they respond with “you must pay $450.00 for a new green card.” Isn’t that lovely! After some internet searches, I quickly noticed we were not an exception to the rule. This was a problem for many applicants. 

One mistake I can understand. But it’s now 2016 and we are still waiting for her properly named Green card. We received a letter yesterday stating they wanted more proof that we are actually married. Seriously? Would a sex tape suffice? Or how about one of your little workers come down, set up some cameras in our home and make a reality TV show about how married we are because we have proven it beyond any other measure possible. 

The incentives to do the right thing are backwards in many aspects of our governing bodies. I don’t have a pull to break the law by any means but many people do. There are a lot of people who have zero moral lines or boundaries and they will do whatever they can get away with. This is even more true for people coming from the third world. 

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My Wife Stopped Breathing

The past couple weeks have been rough. Wait, no- I have been rough on myself the last couple of weeks. There, that sounds better. Wait, nooo- not better, just more truthful.

I was locked and loaded at the first of January to reach towards some new goals. War paint, tactical gear, and high-powered ammunition; all ready to set a blazing path of absolute rambo-style badassary through these puny underpowered and unarmed goals. And then…..

And then my wife stopped breathing. I know right?! That’s what I said! How could she be so selfish and stop breathing at a time like this?

After I realized “oh shit! she really can’t breathe!” I washed off my face paint, threw my night-vision goggles on the bedroom floor (it’s really hard to drive with them on), and I rushed her to the Emergency Room.

Come to find out, she had an unpronounceable virus in her vocal chords that became so inflamed that when she coughed, it would close off her airway. Her asthma was pretty pissed off as well. She was given some breathing treatments and a kettle full of various medications.

She is still getting over the sickness but she is doing much better. She also has her voice back. That is unfortunate for me because when she wakes up and reads this, I may be next in line for the Emergency Room.

All jokes aside, I don’t want to sound scornful or unsympathetic that my wife became ill. At the time, it was horrifying. The only thing that mattered to me was taking care of my wife. She is everything to me. She is my entire world. Without her I would live in a world of darkness and seeing her gasping; struggling for even the smallest drop of air, completely stopped my world from turning.

My silly little goals to become healthier, stronger, or just to become a better person will always be there waiting for me. (Was that an excellent way to make procrastination sound tender and inviting?) Anyway, my point is my wife needed me. I wanted to use my energy to help her through that nasty sickness because that’s what life is really about. Being there for each other when we need it most. The times when it is hardest for them to laugh or smile are the times we need to dig deep, and throw a big shovel-full of love right on top of them.

Despite the small deviation to “A Better Me”, I was not able to quit sugar cold turkey, but that is hardly a surprise. I have cut it back drastically. I have drunk 3- 12oz sodas in 11 days and I have been able to cut back on candy as well. I think I have eaten 3 pieces maybe 4 since Jan 1. One of those pieces was a piece of Finnish candy that tasted like overused engine oil with a hint of black licorice. I have also gained 2.5 pounds. That’s not a whole lot by that snippet of measurement but if I continue to gain a pound a week, I will weigh 692 pounds by the year 2025. Not bad Dustin…not bad!

Bulletproofing My Relationships in Sobriety

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My sobriety in the past– I noticed a reoccurring pattern.

1) I would get sober.

2) I would get lonely.

3) I would search fearlessly for a girlfriend.

4) I would find a girlfriend.

5) Our relationship would fall apart.

6) I would relapse.

7) Rinse and repeat.

After realizing why this continued to happen and what I was doing wrong, it all seemed so simple. There is a very important reason addicts are told to wait until they have acquired at least one year of continuous sobriety before they start any kind of intimate relationship. I think this is great advise and if you truly want long term sobriety, please follow AAs simple relationship advise. I think its a good first step, but to have a meaningful, happy, non-toxic relationship, a lot more is required.

Once I heard this in an AA meeting, I took it very serious (waiting at least 1 year). I knew I needed some time to learn more about myself and why I kept ending up freezing cold, homeless, running from the law- and self-inflicted needle scars up and down my battered arms. A real catch for any woman, right?

My life changed drastically (for the better) in 2006 when I spent 13 months behind bars for various drug related charges and theft. When I was released from jail in 2007, I decided to continue on the path to self-knowledge, sobriety, and continued celibacy.  No dating, no searching for women. Only self knowledge, spirituality, and the repairing and paying off of past restitution. I had dug a huge crater and I knew if I were to drag a new, unsuspecting woman into it, it could only end in despair. Relapse would most likely follow.

Waiting (including jail time) almost 3 years before I entered into a new relationship gave me greater hope that things would finally work out. I had built my life back to the point where my confidence and charm was second only to my sobriety and happiness. Guess what happened? The relationship fell apart and shortly after, I relapsed. Why? What did I do wrong this time? Did I not do things right this time? Nope. I sure didn’t. I didn’t put on the Kevlar. The relationship was not bulletproofed.

BULLETPROOFING?

Until I met my current wife, I have ALWAYS done relationships the wrong way. Whether it was lack of knowledge, too young, or too dumb… No it was none of those. It was fear. Now I no longer have any excuse. If a relationship starts wrong, it will inherently end wrong. It will be too weak to continue on. If I build my home on sand, it will eventually wash away. There is love and there is lust. What is the difference? When I say I love someone, is it really love- or is it lust? I believe that “love” must have moral and virtuous objective qualities attached. That person must possess continual virtuous traits; empathetic, warm, caring, helpful, non-violent, slow to anger, etc. This is fundamental in separating this love-lust dichotomy. For Dustin to love someone, they must have virtuous qualities about them!  Being pretty or sexy or beautiful is not virtuous, it is accidental, historical genetics. Relationships are so often founded on base-of-the-brain, mammal instinct; you are delicious so lets bump our nasty-bits. Relationships will often go years without either partner knowing even the most basic of questions about the other. Important, fundamental questions about compatibility. What is your definition of love? What religion are you? Do you believe in God? Will a difference in religion be a problem? Do you want kids? How will you discipline your children? Can you even have kids? What was your childhood like? Do you have unresolved childhood issues or abuse? What are you political views? Some relationships will start and end without either party asking any of these questions. We are often too concerned with manipulation, playing games, lying, jealousy and lust. Any relationship structured on these unethical premises will cause insurmountable problems, but we see it all the time (including my own past relationships.) They are weak and can’t create anything healthy or worthwhile.

The problem was- I was too afraid to ask these kind of questions. I thought I would push the other person away from me if we talked about such big and scary topics early on in the relationship. Instead, I let two or three years of wasted time and energy dictate our relationship compatibility. It is much easier to just have lustful sex with an empty and hollow relationship and think we are in love when we really don’t know anything about each other. Just agreeing with whatever. Not having any kind of opinion or identity. Enabling each other because its the short-term path of less fear and resistance.Then when the relationship ends with hostility, bitterness and anger, I would wonder what went wrong. It is so much easier to be “liked” then to be honest. This is true even for every day friendships. Do you have friends who work harder to be liked rather than being honest? I wonder often if there is a diminishing amount of people left in the world with real honesty, real integrity. Someone who will call you out on your shit. That’s what I need in my life. If they aren’t calling me out on my shit, then they are doing behind my back, amongst other people. I may have mentioned this before but the other day, someone had posted something to online that was clearly a bad idea for that person and yet all of their so-called friends posted how great of an idea it was. Not one person mentioned how it could cause serious long term concerns or issues. Yes you should run out in front of a moving train! In today’s world, honesty is very unpopular. I want to continue striving for “unpopular.”

I have made many mistakes in my life. I do accept that I still screw up often, I accept that I still make mistakes, of course- but I continue to work at not repeating these mistakes.I want to become a better person. If I can’t accept that I am doing something wrong, I will never try to change it. Being aware of what I was doing wrong in the past has now allowed my current relationship with my wife to continue to grow stronger. We do not argue, we do not raise our voices at each other, we do not call each other names and we both try to work with moral and ethical principles. When we disagree with each other, we negotiate some form of win-win situation that makes us both happy. There is no concerns or issues over jealousy and that is a first for me. I never thought it could work, but I promise you, it does. Like S. Molyneux says “The only thing that will separate my wife and I will be a coffin lid.”

Relationships that are founded on moral ethics will be bulletproof!