I keep meaning to write more, I really do. Unfortunately, it seems that I'm usually driving when the muse hits and I mentally come up with a really long post I want to share and by the time I get home I've forgotten the words I came up with. I try to write anyway but end up giving up and saving it as a draft, waiting and hoping for the words to come back. You should see how many drafts I have...Tonight, however, this post just jumped out at me while I sit here waiting for my phone to charge before bed.
Today a new President was sworn in. A man who many (myself included) don't feel should have won. That point is no longer relevant; he's officially the President like it or not. All we can do now is stay vigilant and use our voices and actions to keep him in line. Who knows, maybe the people who voted for him were right. Maybe he's not going to do a bad job. Maybe things will get better...only time will tell.
It got me thinking about things though. Ok, maybe I've been thinking about this for a couple of days. I'm actually afraid for my daughters' futures. I'm afraid of what things are going to be like when they are older. The way things are going I don't think the prospects are good. People are just plain mean anymore.
I didn't used to think that. Beyond the way my mother was and a few people here and there, I genuinely thought most people were generally nice. Either things have gotten worse or I was extremely sheltered and the Internet has opened my eyes. You tell me.
It's heartbreaking to read the news most days. Parents killing their children, children killing their parents, strangers killing each other, the racism, anti LGBTQ, anti-muslim, cops shooting unarmed black people, people killing cops, rapes, raping babies, shooting up an elementary school, school shootings in general...I could go on and on but I'm going to get depressed so I'll stop. You get the point. It's heartbreaking.
I actually cry while reading the news most of the time now. You can laugh but I kind of consider myself an empath. I'm a really good judge on other people's emotions (almost like I can sense them) and when I see or read about people hurting it hurts me. I'd stop reading it but I don't want to sit here with my head in the sand anymore. As much as it hurts I want to know, I need to know, so I can help make a difference. I've mentioned before that I was abused but I'm not sure if I said I lived a sheltered life or not. Yes, it's possible to have both. We never went ANYWHERE beyond school, the store, and sometimes church. We didn't watch or listen to the news; very sheltered. I believed most people were fairly decent because in our small town, most of the people I encountered were decent. I believed racism was gone because I didn't ever see it.
As an adult I see now that I was wrong.
I like to read through the comments sections of news articles and Facebook posts and I'm astounded at the amount of racist remarks I've read. I shouldn't be, but I am. In June Jesse Williams gave a very controversial speech when he accepted his award. It ticked a lot of people off big time! I'll admit to being one of those people. But here's where I differ from a lot, if not most, of them: I was so upset because I LOVE his character on Grey's Anatomy and I was offended by what he said that I couldn't stop thinking about it...the more I thought about it the more I tried to justify myself. And wouldn't you know, the more I tried to justify myself the more I realized he was right and I was wrong.
I don't remember exactly where my argument with his speech started but at some point I remember thinking "I don't see color when I look at people, I'm not racist!" But that thought was quickly followed by "ok, maybe I do see color, I have eyes there's no way around it." Somewhere along the line I was angry about his 'white privilege' comment. I'm poor, grew up that way. Where's my privilege? But of course that was followed by "ok, so I can be relatively sure I'm not going to be shot by police at a routine stop, and ok, people don't automatically assume negative things about me based on my skin color, in fact I have never been judged by my skin color and never will be... OH THERE'S MY WHITE PRIVILEGE. You don't have to agree with me. You're agreement on the matter doesn't change the facts.
Once I saw my privilege I set out to do better. I started following a ton of civil rights awareness type accounts and basically any account that pointed out racism and how to overcome it. I've started calling out coworkers and family on anything remotely racist, and I also started talking to my girls about it more and telling them about and making them watch the news. I want them to be aware. It's not much, but it's a start. It's why I call myself an activist in training... During one conversation I asked Abby if she knew it wasn't ok to judge someone based on the color of their skin or physical appearance. Her response was the best I've ever heard, "Of course it's not ok. Never judge a book by its cover, you don't know what's on the inside." -She's 9.
I think I might have went down a rabbit trail; sorry. So anyway, I was wrong and racism still exists. But it's more than that. People are really mean, especially online. Read any article about a child going missing or getting seriously hurt or dying and a good number of those comments are blaming the parents. Without any proof or evidence! What happened to compassion and empathy? What happened to waiting until we have facts before crusifying people? Are people getting worse or just finally showing humanity's true colors because of the anommity of the Internet?
I know there are kind and compassionate people out there, I know I can't be the only one. I can't be the only one that watches a movie or clip about the civil rights area or slavery and cries when I see the atrocities done to black people, I can't be the only one whose heart breaks watching or reading the news, but sometimes I wonder where they are. We need to get louder. We need to overcome all the hate with kindness. Now more than ever, and not just because of our new President but also because hate seems to be running rampant these days. Love Trumps hate, or so I've read. In my attempts to be louder, I like to use the hashtags #BeKind and #TheWorldNeedsMoreKindness in my tweets. I like to start the week with a good morning tweet and then quote it while tagging as many people I can think of to let them know someone is thinking of them and hopefully make them smile. More recently I've started trying to make most of my tweets inspirational and reminders to be kind. My feed is full of #BeKind tags now. Because of this, I've started using an old account I haven't logged into in years and am in the process of moving most of my TV and fan accounts I follow it. I don't want my fan obsessions to overrun my kindness tweets...not that I'm mean, exactly, when live tweeting my shows, but I sometimes get a little grumpy...I'm not perfect.
I think I've forgotten my point...except to say that the world really does need more kindness. Yes, Trump is now our President, yes people are killing their children and children are killing their parents, and yes, the news in general is showing the future to be pretty bleak, it doesn't mean we have to sit back and let things get worse. We can actively work to make a difference by spreading as much kindness as we can. Don't let the hate win.