Tag Archives: current events

Time to Rebuild

“People are constantly not feeling, but numbing themselves, either through medication or playing on their phones. If you start feeling bad, it’s like, ‘Distract! Distract! Put on Storage Wars!’ And I know because I’m guilty of it, too.”
– Mary Lambert

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the biggest “non” Donald Trump fan that is currently walking the planet. But in this blog, I have to borrow one of his stupidest ideas and use it as my own.

Sometimes, a “wall” really might be the only answer.

And it’s time to rebuild mine.

A few months ago, I made the decision (together with my doctor) to discontinue depression medication. It was not an easy decision, physically or mentally. If you’re not a regular follower of this blog, I wrote once about how “addicted” I was to the medication I was on (see here). It was a timely and difficult process of weaning, but here I am on the other side and all is well, right?

Wrong.

And here’s why: I feel things again.

You know that feeling when you’ve been sick for a very long time and you finally get the inklings of starting to feel better? That the end is in sight? You become so appreciative and aware of how great it is to not feel sick. It’s almost like euphoria.

Well, what I’m feeling right now is the exact opposite of that.

I had a random discussion with someone once who declared himself an empath. As I listened to him talk, I wondered if that was what I am – if I had finally found the right “diagnosis.” An empath feels things. Not just temporarily and not just on the surface, but they feel them. That doesn’t mean they are just sensitive. Being sensitive means that you feel your own feelings very strongly. No, an empath not only feels their own feelings – but they feel others’ feelings at the same level that they feel their own (sometimes even more). It’s actually a fascinating phenomena. But the more I researched it, the more I realized that even though it may be fascinating, and even though it sounds like being this way would be a good thing, it’s actually quite horrible.

For instance. When my children were small, whenever they’d have a tummy ache, my stomach would hurt too. When they had their tonsils out, I could hardly swallow anything for a week. When my son had yet another bout of strep throat in his toddler years, my throat would not only hurt but I could ‘smell’ the sickness on him. Crazy, right?

Well, over time, I just passed all that off as a mother’s intuition. But it just wouldn’t go away.

And it’s not only my children anymore.

In fact, I don’t even have to know the person.

National news; the political firestorm that is surrounding us right now; the constant struggle for equality; the bombing and devastation in foreign countries – I literally cannot stand it.  I can’t sleep. My stomach hurts. I cry.

empaths

See? I read that quote and it started to make sense to me. Is this what is wrong with me right now?

And you know how I handle all of these feelings welling up inside me? Oh, it’s a complicated, difficult method that I’ve worked hard to hone over the years.

I get pissed.

Yup.  I get pissed right off.  Because anger is the easiest emotion to deal with, right? When everything starts piling up and I can’t stand it anymore, I just get mad. Those other emotions are hard, but mad? Oh, mad is easy. It’s my favorite.

picDoes it solve anything? Nope. Does it make me feel better? Nope. But what else am I supposed to do?

Oh yeah. Now I remember.

Drugs.

I sound like I’m joking, but I’m not.  That medication is apparently the only thing that’s going to “save” me. I can’t live like this. I just can’t. The medication serves as somewhat of a blinder. It helps me not “see” all that I’m seeing right now. People are so damn cruel. They just are. They are egotistical, they are condescending, they are furious and taking it out on any and every one who is around them. And me? Hell, I’m mad too. I’m so pissed I can’t even think straight. I start having a conversation about current issues or political happenings and what happens? The convo turns to criticizing and belitting me. Simply because the person doesn’t agree with me or doesn’t see things my way.

What the hell, man?

I recently started a fundraiser in my area called Agreeable Disagreers.  And even though it has done a tremendous amount of “good” in my little county, I’m starting to realize that everything has a price. Because of the title of the group, I have been personally attacked and ridiculed many times because I engage in controversial discussions on Facebook.  The last attack was just too much. The entire fundraiser’s goal was challenged because I, the leader of the group, chose to write a negative review about a local restaurant. Apparently “agreeing to disagree” is supposed to be interpreted as never opening your mouth and saying a word. I was made out to be a liar, a hypocrite, and a fraud, simply because I choose to place a review on a restaurant’s website when they asked for it.

I guess I didn’t make myself clear with the title of the group.

It has the word “DISAGREERS” in it. Do you know what that means? It means we still disagree. People aren’t going to agree on everything all the time. They just aren’t. But when you don’t agree, you don’t personally attack a person. Because this restaurant is in a small town, it was viewed as a “personal attack” on the owner because I wrote a bad review. To me, that is absurd. It’s a BUSINESS. I don’t know that owner from Adam and I personally don’t care who she is. She’s running a business and she has a website that asks for reviews. I gave one.  (Incidentally, this “negative” review included how fabulous the food is, but that the wait time is ridiculous. I’m sure I shut the place down with that, right?).

And here’s the thing – I’m sure people aren’t going to like a negative business review. And I’m sure that business owner has friends who aren’t going to like me now because I gave it. Fine. Be that way. But to publicly humiliate me?  Move to shut down a fundraiser that I run because of my “hypocrisy?”

What the hell is wrong with people?

And most recently, I had someone who was supposed to be a “friend” bring this up as well – throw it my face that I set out to intentionally harm another person with that review.  Are you kidding me?  Me?  Set out to intentionally harm someone? Why on earth would I do that?

I feel their pain too.

I would never ever intentionally harm an individual. Ever. Trust me on this. Sure, it might happen – but it is never my goal. And I know I can be a fiery fighter when I feel like someone has been wronged, including myself, but I would never want to personally attack a person for some kind of personal gain. That’s just plain ridiculous.

Unlike some of my other blog posts, there’s no happy ending to this one. There’s no life lessons, no rays of sunshine, no finding the silver lining. No sir, this blog is just pure and simple telling it like it is. People treat each other like shit now, and I absolutely hate it.  It hurts me to my core and I don’t think I can stand it anymore.

Time to rebuild. Back up goes the wall, and I’m checking out.  You guys duke it out on your own, I’m choosing not to be a part of it anymore.

***

“Depression is something that doesn’t just go away. It’s just… there and you deal with it. It’s like… malaria or something. Maybe it won’t be cured, but you’ve got to take the medication you’re prescribed, and you stay out of situations that are going to trigger it.”
– Adam Ant

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Where is the Love?

“People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?”
– lyrics from Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas

Lord have mercy, I’m tired.

Let me tell ya what I’m tired of. People. Yep, that’s it. People.

I have this bad habit of commenting on controversial issues on Facebook. I know, I know. Generally, I’m quiet as a church mouse and keep my opinions to myself [Disclaimer: This is a total lie.], but occasionally I’m known to spout off my opinion here and there. And when I do that, there seems to always be someone somewhere who has the exact opposite opinion from me who comments soon thereafter. And no matter how hard I to try to make this happen:

mutebutton

…most of the time (okay, every time) it just doesn’t work.

Current case in point: Shakara in South Carolina.

I’m sure most of you have seen or heard something about what happened with this girl in South Carolina this week. (Click here if you haven’t.) Now, I’m well aware that the media can skew stories, and none of us really know what happened that led up to this incident unless we were actually there, but there is a VIDEO (see link above) that we can watch showing what happened during the incident. Now, regardless of the surrounding story, I’d say that without any knowledge of what happened prior to or after this event, we should all be able to watch this video and see that what happened to this student was wrong.

Right?

Ha. Obviously not.

Once again, I expect the world to see things the way I do, and once again I’m surprised when they don’t. (In fact, my own husband disagrees with me on this one…which I’m not sure has ever happened with us before regarding a current events issue.) How two people can look at an incident and see completely different things still never ceases to amaze me.

Here’s what I saw.  “Officer Slam” (hey, I’m not calling him that to skew this story to my line of thinking – that’s what the guy is known as around the school) is called in to a classroom to remove a girl who refused to leave the classroom when told to. Why was she told to leave the classroom?  Well, the media says she was asked to leave because she refused to put her cellphone away. But really, does it matter? The teacher decided she did something that was so wrong that it warranted her removal from the classroom.  The student disagreed and remained in her seat, refusing to leave.

Now, let’s stop here for a second. Was she wrong not to get up and leave?  Sure she was. She was told to do something and she didn’t do it. A teenage girl refusing to do what she was told?  WOW!  Now, there’s a news story. That never happens. Those South Carolina teen girls must be different than the teen girls everywhere else because the others are never belligerent. Never refuse authority. Never think they are being treated unfairly or feel like they know better than the adults around them. Am I right?

The little heathen.

So, okay, back to the story. This crazy alien teenage creature who refuses to do what she is told to do is now subject to the teacher having called in the school resource officer. School resource officer tells her to leave the classroom.

Let’s break here again. Okay, now we have an officer telling her to leave. Again, this teenager does something that’s absolutely unheard of – she remains stubborn. She stands her ground and refuses to budge. Was she right to do that? Nope. Was she defying authority? Yep.

Back to the story.

Here’s where the resource officer has to make a choice. And here’s where the division line is drawn between how people see the incident. What should he have done in this situation? There are many theories on that. But here’s what he did do.

He put the child – the CHILD – in a choke hold and slammed her to the ground.  He then threw her body forward to the front of the classroom (breaking her arm in the process, for the record) and pinned her to the ground and put her in handcuffs.

W. T. F., man?

And here’s the kicker – it looks like our country is divided on whether or not he did the right thing here.  Did the right thing?  Again, W. T. F., man?  How on Earth is what this officer did, the right thing?

See, here’s what some will tell you.  “By Gawd, if I’d have behaved like that with my teacher or any adult for that matter, my teacher and parents woulda whooped my ass.”

Ahhhhh. The “I’d have gotten my ass whooped for that” defense. That’s my favorite. You know why it’s my favorite?  A few reasons actually.  Number one – it’s a downright lie. Nobody got their “asses whooped” nearly as much as they claimed to. But number two? It falls right there in the category of that other defense I love – “We’ve always done it this way.” Yep, kids used to get paddled in school (hey, I was one of them). And yep, kids used to get the hell beat out of them at home on occasion.  I get it. But you know what? That was then. People were IDIOTS.

You don’t fight fire with fire.

See, there’s this thing called evolution. Whoa now. Simmer down there, right wing Christians, I’m not talking about that evolution. I’m talking about humans evolving. Learning. Growing. Moving forward. Lots of things have changed. We don’t have slavery anymore. Women can vote. You know? Change? Evolvement? Thankfully, that’s what is happening in our world. And this whole beating the hell out of a child when they do wrong is one of those things that we used to do that was WRONG.

It was wrong. It didn’t work.

Let me tell you what happened to me when I was a teenager. I ran my mouth like nobody’s business. I know that’s probably hard to believe, but alas – ’tis true. I gave my mom a run for her money, that’s the truth. And did she beat the hell out of me?  No. Sure, I got spanked when I was little – I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about when I was a full-grown (physically, that is) teenager standing in front of her running my smart mouth. What did she do? She took things away from me. She grounded me. She took away my privileges. I wasn’t allowed to go places, wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone, etc.

Did it work?

Sometimes. Sometimes not.

But you know what happened? I GREW UP. I became a functional, successful adult. I still run my mouth, but she’s proud of me for it now because I’m usually saying something that others may not have the courage to say. I run my mouth on this blog. I run my mouth in short stories that have been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul. I run my mouth in my own self-published book of essays. I’m currently running my mouth in a novel that I will have published next year.

I run my mouth.

And that’s a good thing.

Because my mom raised me the way she did, I don’t fear running my mouth. Yes, I suffered slight consequences for it at times when I was being disobedient. But she didn’t completely kill my desire to stand up for myself and speak my mind. And now? Now, I’m an adult who is proud to stand up for what she believes is right.

Did my mom do the world a disservice?  Hmmm….I guess that depends on who you ask. But if you’re asking me? Hell no, she didn’t. She made me who I am and I am proud of it. I’m not afraid to be me.

Back to Shakara in South Carolina.

Something the world didn’t know at the time of this incident…something that resource officer probably didn’t know…is this. Shakara just lost her mother and grandmother. No, this doesn’t excuse her actions as some might be quick to point out. But you know what? It explains them.  And see, that’s what happens when you actually take the time to know someone’s story before you immediately jump in there and try to take control.

You can’t fight fire with fire.

Fire needs water. Fire needs soothing. It needs the opposite of what it is to put it out. Adding fire to a flame makes it burn brighter. Makes it do more damage. This young girl in South Carolina was damaged. And now? Now she’s damaged in a much more profound way.

Where is the love, people? Seriously. Where is it?

Where is the empathy? Where is the tenderness? Where is the understanding? What are we turning our children into by throwing them across a room when they test their bounds? I’ll tell you what we’re turning them into. We’re turning them into the cold, heartless creatures that are treating them that way. So many will say that “this is what is wrong with the world today” – that children are not “punished” for their actions. But I’m going to disagree.

This is what is wrong with the world today – a lack of empathy. This whole “shoot first, ask questions later” wave that seems to be sweeping the nation these days….that is what is wrong with this world.

But hey – what do I know, right? I’m just a loudmouth redhead who didn’t get the hell beat out of her for speaking her mind. So, here I am. Just another opinion among the crowd. But I can tell you one thing – I’m proud of the person my mother raised. And I’m proud of the people I’m raising.

No child of mine is going to be afraid to speak their mind. And I wish I could say the same for all of the children out there. This situation is a shame. A crying shame. Not just what happened – but the fact that so many out there agree with it.

I’m so sorry that Shakara will not know the world that my children know.

***

“If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence.”
– Bayard Rustin

shakara

***

The Great Divider

“Yes! Truth, truth! What’s so awful about it? I like it.”
– Maggie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I haven’t been writing for a while. Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m a very opinioned person so current events are usually the fodder for many of my blog entries…and there has definitely been no shortage of those these days. The Kentucky court clerk, the upcoming presidential election, the transgender boy who wanted to use the girls’ bathroom at his school – I’m telling ya, it’s a blogger’s smorgasbord out there.

But yet, there I sat. Silent.

Until now.

Now, maybe “silent” isn’t exactly the right word. (I mean, silence is not exactly something I ‘do.’) I’ve had a few things to say here and there…shared some articles and memes on Facebook…that kind of thing. But when it came to sitting down and writing my thoughts out in a blog, there just seemed to be too many. There’s just so much going on out there, where would I start? Should I blog about each issue individually? No, somehow that just didn’t seem to be the right answer. Deep down, I knew that there was an underlying theme to all that was going on in the world…all that was going on in my head and in my heart…and I couldn’t sit down and write about it until I figured out what that theme was.

And now, here it is.

Two specific events happened this week that put all of this into perspective for me.

As I said, I’ve been sharing a few memes and articles on Facebook with regard to current events. I’ve also ventured to comment on others’ posts as well. One such post was one about the Missouri teen Lila Perry, a transgender teen who, though born with male genitalia, fundamentally feels female and lives his life as such. But when he attempted to use the girls’ locker room at school, that didn’t go over so well. Cue the media.

lila perry

Lila Perry

Now, although I do feel strongly about certain aspects of this whole situation, I do completely see both sides of the coin. So, rather than venture into sharing or posting about this particular situation, I opted to just keep quiet and observe. Until one commenter really pissed me off. He referred to this child as “it.” Not “he,” not “she.” IT. That really got my blood boiling.

Like homosexuality, being transgender is something you’re born with. Argue with me all you want to, you’re not going to change my mind. It’s not a choice…it’s a truth. So, when this man called this child an “it,” it suddenly became clear to me what monsters some of us can be. Okay, let’s jump on the “choice” bandwagon for a second. Let’s assume that the kid was not born with a scientific disposition that made him feel female. Let’s assume that he is, in fact, choosing to live his life wearing a wig and dresses and that he actually ‘enjoys’ the ridicule and the, I’d venture to guess, thrashings he has received because of it. Ask yourself this, if you were truly in your right mind, could you choose a life like that?  I’m thinking not. So, if It Man is right and this child did actually choose this, then I guess it would be safe to say that he’s not in his right mind, right? That he is a “freak” and that he is “mental” as some of the other commenters have called him. Okay, so we’re agreed?  So, with that being the case…are you now going to call mentally retarded children “it”?  How about kids with down syndrome? How about anyone with clinical depression? Hey, those are all mental impairments, right? Are we all “its”?

I’m going somewhere with this, I promise. Bear with me.

Moving on to Incident #2 of the week.

Now, anyone who knows me know that I am not a fan of The Donald. It’s pretty safe to say that I despise Donald Trump. I hate everything that comes out of that billionaire bully’s mouth. So, being the outspoken liberal that I am, I occasionally share these thoughts in the form of memes or articles on Facebook. In the process of doing so, I have had the unfortunate occasion to find out that many of my friends and family are actually supporters of that blowhard. How do I feel about that?

Eh.

I mean, I wish they weren’t, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not going to change their minds anymore than they’re going to change mine. Is knowing that people I love disagree with me going to stop me from speaking my mind? Heck no. Who I am says nothing against who they are. I’m just me and this is how I feel. My own father and I have the most varying political stand points you’ve ever seen in two people. He’s Republican all the way, I’m Democrat all the way. How do we handle that? We mostly avoid the topic and when it does come up, we just condescendingly grin at each other’s ignorance and end the day with an “I love you” and move on with our lives. That’s how it should work. To quote my Aunt Rebecca’s Facebook status the other day:

A very wise woman once passed on a quote, from another wise woman, that stuck with me. “If two people agree on everything all the time, then one of them is not necessary.” Sometimes, we need the “sandpaper” of other’s opinions to “smooth out” our own perspectives.

We disagree and life goes on.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 28: Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells 'you're fired' after speaking to several GOP women's group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

But this week, that philosophy didn’t apply to a few of my family members. Because of my standpoint on certain things, and one of my family member’s disagreeing with those standpoints, she “blocked” me on Facebook. Now, I know that sounds silly. (The “I unfriend you” commercial comes to mind…) But silly as it may be, it’s actually pretty hurtful. In this day and age, social media like Facebook is a way that we keep in touch with people we don’t see every day. So someone “blocking” you is a way of saying “I no longer want you in my life.” And to have that coming from a respected, beloved aunt that you’ve adored all your life?  Well, let’s just say it doesn’t feel too swell.

Now, as things like this tend to do, this family division spread like wildfire. Sides were taken – I was accused of disrespecting my aunt. (I still for the life of me can’t figure out what I supposedly did – I haven’t had one direct conversation with the woman about anything, political or otherwise, in months.) I can only assume that my outspoken political and social opinions went against hers and that she took them as a personal attack on her character. I hate that. I truly do. In fact, I spent a good part of that evening crying my eyes out. Knowing that this woman I have always adored and that half of my cousins (though not as a big of a loss, truthfully) all decided that I’m some kind of monster and ganged up against me over some mysterious offense is a pretty tough blow to take. I wanted to defend myself…and I did for a while. As is always the case, I covered up my hurt with anger and responded accordingly which, as is also always the case, got me nowhere. I considered deleting my entire Facebook account (the typical cowardly way out). I considered contacting the family individually and begging them to show me my transgressions so I’d at least know what it was I was supposed to be defending. I considered so many things but what I finally settled on was this: sleep.

That’s right. I went to bed. I stopped crying, got a good night’s sleep, and then woke up with a clearer mind and vision. And I also woke up with the answer to my non-writing conundrum. Just like that, the tie that binds all of these events together was staring me right in the face.

TRUTH.

That’s what is happening here. Truth. You had the middle ages, the ice age, etc. And here is what we’re in now. The Truth Age.

Suddenly, people are no longer afraid to be who they are. Somewhere, somehow a switch has been flipped. Be it political progress (or regress, depending which side you’re on), or be it the social media craze that has swept our nation…people are now speaking up and letting the world know who they really are. Lila Perry is no longer living as a girl trapped inside a boy’s skin. She is now a girl. Gay couples are no longer living their lives behind closed doors as if they are some kind of dirty secret. Non-Christians are no long adhering to laws and customs that go against what they don’t believe. And I, little nobody Melissa in Nowheresville, am no longer afraid to publicly state my opinion on all of the above. And not only am I not afraid to do it, I now have a platform to use for it – Facebook. A blog site. Social media.

Remember that famous movie line from A Few Good Men? “You can’t handle the truth!” Well, there you have it. Some of us can’t handle the truth. We just can’t. Hiding our heads in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist has just been so easy for so long. And now, suddenly, truth has descended upon us like a hawk who has finally located its prey. Truth is EVERYWHERE. It’s in the eyes of Lila Perry. It’s in the two men’s hands that are clasped in matrimony. It’s in the stubborn refusal to change that exists behind Kim Davis’ words and actions. It’s in the picture of a three-year old Syrian refugee boy’s body washed up on shore. It’s in the hatred behind the word “it” as some random man typed it onto a social media site as the description of a child.

It’s truth. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s beautiful. And sometimes it’s all of those things all at once.

But it’s real. And it’s here. We can cast blame all we want to. Blame our President. Blame the Christians. Blame the media. Blame out-spoken redheads like me who won’t shut up. Blame, blame, blame. That’s what we do. But the only thing we have to blame is the fact that truth always rises to the surface.

“Three things shine before the world and cannot be hidden. They are the moon, the sun, and the truth…”
– Buddha

The truth is here, folks. What are you going to do with it? Hide from it? Let it divide your friends and family? Try to stop it?

Accept it?

The choice is yours.

But as for me? I welcome it with open arms. And I am more than willing to accept the consequences.

***

truth

Love Thy Neighbor. (Aw man, do I gotta?)

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44

Okay, honest show of hands. Who else has unfriended or un-followed people on Facebook over the past few weeks? Anyone?

Well, I sure have.  *both hands raised high*  And you know why?  Because people are ignorant and that pisses me off.

Okay, so that’s not very lady-like of me, I don’t suppose. Doesn’t exactly go with that whole “turn the other cheek” spirit we’re supposed to have. But dear Lord, I cannot shut up when people are spewing hate and ignorance towards recent current events.  Racism, gay rights…you name it, people are throwing around their opinions about it…swearing that they know all and that the confederate flag should fly high and gays should stay in the closets where they belong. It absolutely infuriates me. So, what do I do?  I jump right in there and tell them how wrong they are.  And do you know what that solves?

Nothing.

10410790_10153491412603707_6179317090721641426_nNot one flippin thing.  In fact, it probably hurts my cause more than helps it. I am doing exactly what they’re doing, just in reverse. I am infuriated at them for being so judgmental and so narrow-minded, and yet I’m being the same way in a sense. I’m exercising my own hatred, it’s just directed at a different group – the ignorant and the narrow-minded.

Now, I’d like to believe that I’m a Christian. I fully believe that Jesus was who he said he was.  I really do. But I don’t believe that we are supposed to adhere to everything the bible tells us to do. I don’t believe that a rape victim should have to marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).   I don’t believe it is shameful for me to cut my hair (1 Corinthians 11:6).  I don’t believe that eating or touching a pig is forbidden by my lord (Leviticus 11:7-8). And I sure as heck fire don’t believe that  a woman is supposed to remain in quiet submission while she is in church (1 Corinthians 14:34).  Heck, just ask my husband – I don’t believe that a women should be in quiet submission anywhere. Ever.

I could go on and on and on with the things in the bible that I don’t believe are still accurate today. I believe that times have changed and that much of what was put in there was just what the writers of the time believed to be the case based on how things were done at the time they were walking the earth. I’m a writer – just about everything I write is tinged with my opinion.  (Ha! “Tinged.” Okay, maybe I need a different word there.) But still – you get the point. I think God wanted some stuff done and we were sucking at it, so I think he sent his son to explain it to us. And I think his son did a fine job of doing that when he told us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31).  In fact, he made it pretty clear that no other commandment was greater than that one.

And what have I been doing?  Failing miserably. I don’t love my neighbors. I hear and see the hateful things that people are saying about people I love and I get mad. I get ANGRY. And do I feel love towards them?  No, I don’t. I think Jesus rocks – and I think he had some seriously good advice, but I’m not him. I just can’t do it. I can’t feel love towards these people who make others feel dirty and worthless, and then use the bible as their weapon in doing so. The God I believe in wouldn’t stand for that for a second, and neither do I.

A woman that I recently did a community theatre play with posted something as her Facebook status one day in the midst of the hatred, and I want to share it with you.  Take a few seconds to read this, won’t you?

I will not “UNFRIEND” those who lack empathy or those who refuse to understand. If I “UNFRIEND” them, then I allow them to retreat deeper into their closets of ignorance. If I “UNFRIEND” them, I offer them greater refuge from the reality of the world around and deprive them of the opportunity to develop sensitivity and demonstrate true love for humanity. No, I will not “UNFRIEND” them. Instead, tidbits and snippets of my life will continue to pop up in their news feeds. I will continue to allow myself to be available should curiosity get the best of them and one day, they decide to try to understand. SOMEDAY; that closet of ignorance might get lonely and they might start to crave the richness of life that comes from connecting across the differences. Don’t get me wrong- this is not a passive surrender because I REFUSE TO LIE DOWN AND ALLOW THEM TO TRAMPLE MY SPIRIT!! I WILL STAND UP AND RISE ABOVE!! I will keep living this GLORIOUS life and do it with BOLDNESS, JOY, and LOVE because that is the true children of God!!
Tiffany Christian

Oh wow. Tiffany, what I wouldn’t give to have your attitude. I try, I really do. But then I backslide all over again. Am I just made of a different caliber of material than others?  Oh, I don’t know. All I can figure is this: I’m human.

That’s it. I’m human. I’m not perfect. And neither is anyone else. None of us have all the answers. We really don’t. Are gay people going to hell?  Heck, I don’t know. Is there a hell? Is there a heaven? Did that first haircut I got back in 1983 seal my spot on the front pew in the pits of hell?  Don’t know that either. NONE OF US KNOW ANYTHING. We really truly don’t.  So why do we go around acting like we do?

Why do I go around acting like I do?

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know the answer. I really don’t. But I’m pretty sure love is the first place to start looking for it. I have to try to find a way to get this anger and hatred out of my heart because it’s not healthy. I wish we could all just love each other, but there’s nothing I can do to help anyone else with that if I don’t first start with myself.

Anyone care to join me?

It’s a work in progress, friends.  We have to start somewhere.

***

“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

– Sun Tzu

Controversy

“I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights.”
– Ellen DeGeneres

So, here’s an idea. I know it might sound crazy, but hear me out.

So you’re sitting there and this crazy controversial issue pops across your radar.  Let’s say it’s…oh, I don’t know…Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) And let’s say that your uber-Christian beliefs tell you that Bruce (not Caitlyn – because you refuse to call HIM Caitlyn) is going straight to hell as fast as the little fire-breathing demon chauffeurs can get him there. And let’s say that you think, “Hey! You know what?! I think the whole world needs to know that Bruce is going to hell” and so you decide the next logical step is to post something about that on Facebook. And let’s say you lean back, prop your crossed-legs up on your desk, place your self-righteous hands behind your self-righteous head and wait, with a “God loves only me” smile, for the ever-supportive comments and likes to roll in like the waves at high tide.

ConflictBut then…wait.  What is this?  Oh no!  You drop your feet back to the floor, sit forward and stare at your computer screen in utter disbelief.  Right there, in the midst of the support you receive from your like-minded friends, suddenly a comment pops up that….*gasp!*….goes against your opinion.  Whaaaaat?  Oh yes, ’tis true. There it is. Right in the middle of the self-righteous (have I used that word already?) rants from you and your cronies, there is a comment that has the audacity to imply that you might just be wrong in your stance. A comment that suggests that CAITLYN Jenner is, in fact, not going to hell and that God actually loves HER just as much as He loves you.

Whoa, nelly!

So, what do you do? You pout. You and your friends gang up on the commenter and tell her how wrong she is and how “rude” she’s being by going against what you have to say.  About how she and anyone who agrees with her are on the wrong path and had better turn from sin and see the light. And then…in a display of utmost maturity…you DELETE said comment so that your post remains nice and one-sided like the good Lord intended.

There. That solves that.

But wait….along come other comments that go against your beliefs. What?!  There are more heathens out there!? “Delete!” Pretty soon, after tedious editing on your part, your post sits there just as you like it, with only the supportive comments accompanying it.  Shew!  That was a close one.

Oh, but wait.  You’re not done just yet. Since you know the initial commenter’s mother, you decide you had better tell her what her teenage child did. You proceed to send the mother…let’s hypothetically name her…oh, I don’t know…”Melissa”… a private conversation you had with her daughter (where you contacted her to tell her how rude she was being by disagreeing with you) and then sit back to wait for the mother’s wrath to ensue upon the kid.

But uh oh. This didn’t quite turn out like you thought it would.

Momma Melissa doesn’t quite agree with you.  In fact, Momma Melissa is actually PROUD of her daughter. Can you believe that crap? What kind of mother actually encourages her child to stand up for what she believes in and to speak out against something she feels is an injustice? The NERVE! What kind of mother has raised her children to believe that just because someone is different from you, that doesn’t make them wrong? What kind of mother would not only not punish her child for voicing her opinion, but would actually congratulate her for doing so?!

What is the world coming to?

But no worries. At least you’re not the one going to hell, right? Those poor lost souls….

So, back to my point. That crazy idea I had, remember? How about this? How about you not post controversial things unless you want a controversial response? Hmmm? How about that? How about you realize that Facebook is a public forum and, as shocking as it may be to you, there are actually people out there who think differently from you! I know, sweetie. It’s insane, it really is. But alas, ’tis true. Some people out there don’t sit at their computer pushing the little “share” button on articles knowing that they sit at the right-hand of God and that they alone are his chosen one. Seriously. Some people out there feel that we’re all created equal and that, if there is a God up there looking down on us, he wants us to love each other and save the judgment for him to take care of and decide for himself what he deems judgment-worthy.

I know, it’s weird, isn’t it?  But darling, these people do exist. Sad as it may be to you…they exist.

And those Momma Melissas of the world?  Sheesh. Look out, lady. You try to tell them that their kid has done something wrong, when they know good and well that they haven’t…well, be prepared to hear about it.

In fact, the really crazy Momma Melissas out there?  Ha!  They might even have a blog and might write about it and call you out in it.  Crazy, right?

People these days, man.  I tell ya….

***

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.”
– Chauncey Depew

The Basic Human Rights Struggle…um, I mean The Same-Sex Marriage Struggle

 “Gay rights is just one of the social issues I’m interested in. I think that people might be less tense about it if we would all accept the fact that not everyone is wired the same way.”
– Charlaine Harris
Let me start this out by saying that I’m the least informed person when it comes to politics that you may ever meet in your life. Why is that? I don’t know. I just have a brain block or something when it comes to that subject. I don’t like things that don’t have a clear-cut right or wrong answer. To me, politics is just a massive pile of personal opinion being thrown around that ends up creating laws that force others into submission, regardless of how they may feel about the situation. Call me crazy, but I just don’t like that crap.

And you know another reason I stay out of it?  It’s pretty simple, really.

I HATE when people don’t agree with me.

I do. Oh my gosh, do I hate it. Why are other people so darn dense? Why can’t they see that I’m always right??? Sheesh.

Which brings me to one of the current topics of political discussion these days. Same-sex marriage.

Unless you live under a rock (and hey, if you do – scootch over, I’m coming in too), you have heard that same-sex marriage is a hot topic these days. And now, it has made it to the supreme court. Hearings started yesterday and the outcome is not expected to be heard until June 30th.  June friggin 30th.

protestSo, let me get this straight.  (No pun intended.)  A discussion is going to start on April 28 and is going to continue throughout TWO FULL MONTHS before the final decision is made…and it’s all about whether or not two people who love each other can get married?

Excuse me while I scratch my head for the next two months straight because I don’t know what the heck is happening here.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a voracious reader. I constantly have a book going. Actually, I usually have at least three books going at any given time. I listen to audio books in the car, I carry a paper book with me wherever I go, and I have audio books on my phone so I can listen to them when I’m running. Now, for someone who reads as much as I do, there’s a massive potential for me to be supremely intelligent, wouldn’t you say?  I could be reading “how to” books and history books and current events books. But nope. I just listen to novels. Made-up stories. Not anything earth-shattering or informational. Just pure old-fashioned entertainment. But every now and then, a little nugget of awesomeness slips through from one of these novels. Let me share one with you. This is from The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett.

(Young girl to a nun): “What would the church say about something like that?” (Nun’s answer): “No, the question is what would God say. And that’s between her and God. It’s none of our business.”

Now, did you catch that? It’s NONE OF OUR FRIGGIN BUSINESS. Why in this world is it going to take TWO MONTHS for a bunch of supreme court justices to sit around and decide the fate of something that is none of our business? It just blows my little novel-reading, politics-ignoring, pea-sized mind.

Am I looking at this too simply? Perhaps. But is the world making this much more complicated than it needs to be?  YES. For God’s sake, YES.

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but Christianity is not the only religion in this country. (I’ll pause here while some of you catch your bearings. Breathe. Just breathe.) Thus, that whole separation of church and state thing that everyone ignores. We are a country of diversity. Beautiful, precious diversity. Why is it any of my business what the neighbors are doing with their personal life? Why? If same-sex couples are not allowed to marry, are they all going to suddenly break up, repent, see the error of their ways, and get back in straight relationships where they belong? Puh-lease. This is a formality. Straight people are straight, gay people are gay, and there is nothing that a supreme court is going to be able to do about that. It’s nature, people.

I was recently at a conference for my job. Now, I work in real estate, mind you, and guess what topic came up at this conference? You guessed it. Same-sex marriage. A local North Carolina county register of deeds was the guest speaker and she was speaking about the changes that have been enacted in relation to same-sex marriages being filed with the court. While same-sex marriages are supposed to be recognized in the state of North Carolina now, many court workers have refused to participate in the preparation and filing of the licenses. So, how has North Carolina responded to this little problem? They have allowed the workers to refuse the work if it goes against their beliefs. Oh, same-sex couples can still be married, mind you. But they have to wait to be sure the register of deeds herself (or himself) is present because they, unlike the other workers, are not allowed to refuse. What the heck?

Scene. Okay, I’m a worker at the register of deeds office. You with me? I’m sitting there playing solitaire on my computer and in walks my ex-boyfriend. Yep, that sorry, no good ex-boyfriend of mine that broke my heart into a million pieces. And who does he have with him? The good-for-nothing little blonde that he LEFT ME FOR. And what’s he there to do? Get a marriage license. Are you kidding me? Oh HELL NO! That jerk doesn’t deserve to be married. So, nope. Not gonna do it. Why? Because my BELIEFS say that this lowlife doesn’t deserve marriage like the rest of us do. Why not? Because he’s a cheating bag of scum. So there. BAM! No marriage for you, sucker.

And guess what? I get to keep my job. Nanny nanny boo boo.

Oh, wait. That scenario is different, you say?  Pray tell me how? That was me letting my personal beliefs interfere with my job. Why on earth do I get to continue working there? Shouldn’t I have to do my job or get the heck out? What is it about this that I’m not getting, people?  Help me out here.

At this same conference, the register of deeds was talking about all of the new e-filing systems and how technologically advanced North Carolina is when it comes to those matters. Somewhat under her breath, she followed that up with, “North Carolina: technologically advanced, but legally backwards.”

Amen, sister.

I_Support_All_Kinds_of_Love_by_Hazel_AlmondsWhat’s my point of this blog? Nothing really. Just a rant, I suppose. Just some rambling thoughts about an issue that affects people I love. Will what I say make a difference to anyone?  Probably not. But should I keep saying it? You betcha. If one person out there knows that one other person in this world has their back, then my job here is done.

Why can’t we just love and let love?  I just don’t get it….

***

“If Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?”

– Chief Justice John Roberts, April 28, 2015