This morning while shopping at my local grocery store, I encountered an employee who was the epitome of how we all should be acting these days. What he did wasn’t a grand display or over the top gesture that caught my attention, it was simply a “good morning” and a genuine smile that you could tell that it began from within him and radiated out to the world. That was it. We had no other interaction, other than my returning the smile and reply of “good morning” to him as well. But in that brief moment, it was a ray of sunshine, in a rather normal day of running mundane errands.
Such a simple thing changed my outlook for the day. I, in turn, greeted everyone else that I came in contact with in the store in that same manner. Expecting nothing in return, just passing along a simple greeting and a smile. And you know what, everyone I met, did the same.
Imagine what the world be like if we chose to practice such simple acts of kindness every day.
After watching, reading, and talking with others over the past days I am left with one question. Well more than one, but this one is front and center on my mind right now.
Why can’t we have different beliefs? Do we have to agree on everything? If we disagree on something, why is what you believe right and what I believe wrong?
My sixteen-year-old daughter and I were having a conversation the other night and she came up with this analogy. I thought it was very insightful and addresses this question in a non-political, non-religious way.
She said, “I thought about this when I was eight years old and we were out for dinner somewhere. I wanted to order chicken fingers because I like chicken fingers. I saw someone else order spaghetti and I wondered why did they do that? Why didn’t they order chicken fingers? Because chicken fingers are so much better than spaghetti.”
She went on to say, “I couldn’t understand why someone would choose something other than chicken fingers. But then again maybe they were craving spaghetti all day and so that’s what they ordered. But how could they possibly like something different? I thought about this for a very long time. It made me wonder, were they right and I was wrong? Or was I right and they were wrong? Eventually, I realized everyone has different tastes and that’s okay.”
Side note – she has since moved on from her love of chicken fingers to expand her palate to enjoy many other foods, including spaghetti.
But it brings me back to the question I hope you will take the time to consider and share your answer.
Why can’t we have different beliefs, opinions, views, and still get along?
I am a writer, this is my voice and I’m going to use it. I will not tolerate bullies. I will not tolerate hate. I will not tolerate discrimination.
I will not be silent. I will not sit idly by on the sidelines and watch. I will call you out if I see or hear it coming from your mouth, your page, your actions.
To everyone, can we please return to a civil society and respectful discussions? Instead of gloating, boasting, disparaging, and name calling, can we respect one another, agree to disagree, and move forward? Enough with the meme’s, the “let me help you pack” statements, the name-calling because of one’s appearance, it’s not funny, it never was.
It all comes down to one thing, respect.
If you want to have a discussion, where we engage in a sharing of ideas, without name calling or raised ires, then I’m here. Let’s talk.
If you are going to shout at me that I am wrong and you are right, I’m not going to listen. And you certainly won’t change my mind with that sort of behavior.
This is my voice and I’m going to use it.
I’m sitting here this morning, my heart pounding in my chest, my brain spinning uncontrollably, trying to find words, having a difficult time putting it all in an order that makes sense to my brain and my soul.
I am trying to find a way to calm my daughter’s anxiety. I am trying to answer her questions.
How do I explain to her that people now feel they have been given permission to judge her based on the color of her skin?
That they can openly harass and deny services to her family members because of who they chose to love?
How do I try to calm her fears that old white men are going to tell her what she can and can’t do with her body?
Please, someone, offer me the words to explain this to her, because right now, I have none.
I am sick to my stomach. I am scared. No, I’m beyond scared, I’m terrified. We are three days away from the most contentious election I have ever been witness to and I can not even begin to imagine what the world is going to look like in four days.
In the past year, less than a year, the level of vitriol, hate, prejudice, and downright nastiness that has been shared over the airwaves, online, and in person is beyond anything I have ever experienced. While I may be too young to remember the civil rights riots and well anything that happened before 1966, I do have memories of bigotry, segregation, and misogyny that have taken place in my lifetime. I’m also a student of history, it’s one subject I actually enjoyed in school, and firmly believe if we don’t learn from our past we are destined to repeat it over and over. Which I guess is what’s happening now.
But what really hits home about this is being a parent. My teenager is not yet old enough to vote but is old enough to be aware of what is going on in the world. The level of anxiety that this brings on for her, and in turn, me, I’m finding is difficult to describe.
It used to be that when I was a kid, I could look to the future and think “wow, I have my entire life ahead of me. There are so many amazing things on the horizon; inventions yet to be produced, cures yet to be discovered, experiences yet to be had.” We had hopes, dreams, and passions we all wanted to pursue.
When she looks to her future, she sees none of that. What she is faced with is a population that is killing off the planet. Robbing it of its resources and life-giving habitat. Not to mention what we are doing to the animals. She is faced with consumerism being the only reason to live; make money, buy stuff, repeat. Don’t think about saving money, just keep droning on, making those dollars, paying your taxes and debts, and turning a profit for the corporate giants that are taking control of every single aspect of our lives. Keep doing this until you die.
What kind of life is that? Is this really what we’ve become?
I’m not even going to speculate what the world will look like on November 9, 2016. Because every scenario I come up with, is not good. I only hope that we can come together as a country, as a world, as a human race, and somehow get past what has been dividing us, and save humanity before it’s too late.
It’s that time of year again. Prepping for NaNoWriMo 2016 has begun. For those new to Brain Drops, that’s short for National Novel Writing Month. Writers from around the world strive to write 50,000 (or more) words in the month of November. While a lot of it might not make sense when you read back over it at the end of the month, you should have at least a good start of the first draft of a novel.
So posts may be sporadic, okay, more sporadic than usual. But know that writing is taking place in this little corner of the Internet universe. And when it’s ready, I’ll be sure to share it here too.