I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but lately my writing has been lax. Not really just lax, but few and far between. This happens to me when I feel completely overwhelmed by life and the sheer amount of topics that are weighing heavily on my mind. There is no doubt that it only takes a few seconds with the television to send my emotional- empathetic monitor pegging past the danger zone, which results in huge amounts of anxiety and the need to retreat to a zen place within my own mind. Let me be the first to tell you that I do not do conflict well, I do not enjoy watching murders live on television, I do not enjoy crash em bash em movies, and I can’t stand the continual Covid coverage, I loathe abuse of any kind and I don’t like feeling like there is no way out. There. Whew! Now, do you want to know my feelings about some of these triggers or would you prefer tales of long ago where Social Media didn’t ruin lives? Either way, I think today is a good day to address both.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love seeing your babies grow up and your vacation pictures!! I love to see people happy and enjoying the very gifts God intended you to enjoy! I love pictures of dogs and cats and happy toddlers! I love seeing you with who you love (and that goes for everyone who you love) and enjoying life’s little moments. The problem I face often within social media has come like a wrecking ball of hate. So many people post their political opinions, snarky one liners, pics of flags and oppressive speech, pictures of things that are so disturbing (animal and human) that I have to hide them immediately because it is so incredibly upsetting I cry instantaneously. Look, I am fairly certain that most think that those comments and pictures are so right and correct that readers might just make someone change their ideals and join their “team”, but the reality is that these posts and behaviors are the very things that polarizing our country. They don’t even have to be fact checked and true to get posted over and over again! I gotta tell you that I have never had to agree with you to love you. Let me say this again. I HAVE NEVER HAD TO AGREE WITH YOU TO LOVE YOU! That being said, I don’t want to see all of the crap that you believe posted so blatantly reminding me of the one or two things we may not agree on!! I get it the first time you mention it and I let it go so that we can still be friends. I hope that you do the same for me!! I don’t need the daily reminder of the the things you believe or don’t believe! After it is posted more than the twelfth time I begin to question our relationship because I think, “do they hate me that much that they feel the need to post this the thirteenth time?” Now, I realize that it isn’t necessarily pointed at me or meant for my benefit, but if you are my friend on Facebook, I consider that a personal friend! Would you say it to my face with the hostility your post depicts? Do you walk around with your face reflecting and representing the angry post you just made? Do you really feel so adamant about these sensitive topics that you will jump me in person like you are so quick to respond with your negative comments in the comment section? I had a grandmother who believed Thumper had the best lesson for life, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” I attempt to live that way. She also said, “not everyone needs to hear your inner thoughts.” For that very reason I don’t shoot out one line snarky negative crap on your posts! It is hurtful. It is divisive. It is unkind. It creates anger and animosity. I won’t do it. I wish you wouldn’t do it on mine or anyone that I can see because whether I like to admit it or not, I begin to think less and less of those I thought I knew. I don’t want that! I want to love you with our differences and our abilities to overcome those differences so that we can learn from each other and still remain friends in the real world, not on Facebook!
I have this thing I am trying to do, and that is to understand different cultures from a perspective different from my own perspective! I live in the the mainstream middle America and I am a 52 year old white woman! I am trying to learn why I believe that everyone living in this country should be like me!! Lol!! Don’t we all do this?? Don’t we look at certain groups or cultures and wonder why they dress the way they do? Why they treat the old and the young the way they do? Why they don’t bathe? Why they don’t tuck their shirts in or why they wear those pants or why people wear pajamas to town? Then subconsciously I think “well if they would do this, this and this….there wouldn’t be these issues!” I catch myself quickly and spin it around and say “Woman! What makes you so right?” It is a constant battle to remind myself that my way isn’t the best way, it is just the way that works for me. In public, I feel like if I can try to blend in then the discrimination I receive based on a number of issues, from weight to health won’t be pointed out by people. That simply isn’t the case, but in my head I try to make it so! I am trying to remember that the life we work hard to maintain is not a reality for much of America. We become so isolated in our thoughts and the way that we live in the Heartland that anything different isn’t only scary, but it becomes easily judged and repaired in one fell swoop of our overactive analytical minds. I need to know why things are the way they are. Why is alcoholism so prevalent in Native American culture? I know why! I studied it. What can I do to change it? Not to much from here, but I find that St. Josephs Indian School is doing amazing things and I am able to support their efforts! I am but a speck on this globe. I am one person. I can make noise that works, but it won’t work on FACEBOOK with memes and hate!! I don’t think we are all meant to be loud, sign carrying activists, but we are all activists in that we can actively snuff hate. You can actively learn!! I highly suggest learning! I suggest that you travel!! Go out of your comfort zone. Maybe that doesn’t mean that you travel around the world physically, maybe it just means don’t take the same route to work! Drive up north 9th street and get off on one of the side streets. Look at other people’s reality in their neighborhoods! Find a way to empathize and stop with the divisive memes! We are one people. We are only as good as the sum of our parts and right now it ain’t lookin’ too good. If you start to make uneducated judgements, stop. Remind yourself that your way is working for you….and you only.
I have said a million times that I am just a work in progress. I try to do better than I did yesterday. I take my medication. I do what the doctor says and I try to do more for others when I can. I am not perfect. I have the old flaws that when I am not being diligent raise their old heads. I quickly smother them and remember that I am blessed to be where I live. I am not better than anyone and everyone has a story. My job as a story teller is to listen to their stories. I am starting a new project that isn’t in a blog form to attempt to tell the stories. I can do what I can to improve this country one thing at a time. Can you imagine the progress we could make if everyone didn’t have to always be so DAMN RIGHT?? Try it!! I love you. I want to be your FB friend, but that isn’t as important as being your friend in the real world. I want to see you and feel like hugging you! I don’t want to feel like telling you that your mean meme hurt so many people. We are all different. We are all ok. Believe it. Change it! Do it!!
Kindness matters and love smothers hate.