I’ve loved many songs over these past 57 years, having some favorites that I would play every day, all year long. But I never really adopted one as my theme song. That is until I heard this one above by Pink “Raise Your Glass.” I immediately fell in love with the lyrics of being a strong, self-assured being. I was going through some events in my life at the time, which gave me some insights on how to move forward. Being myself in every way possible became my motto, and the song certainly illustrated the importance of it. The release date of this song coincided with a convention I attended in 2010, and it was the beginning of my transformation and writing journey.
VJ’s prompt this week took me back to a place which was a beginning for me, a demarcation of when I stopped living in the acceptable little package society decreed I wrap myself in. I felt very strongly about the words in that song, it prompted me to get the tattoo below. Now mind you, I’ve always been the “loud” friend (enthusiastic, dancing, and singing when it was inappropriate, laughing at all the good jokes raucously), but the tattoo also represents having finally found the strength in my voice. I wanted people to understand that I won’t shy away from anything anymore, my opinion is OK to share, and we must go through this life boldly.
Thanks for this prompt, VJ! It has me rockin’ in my chair! 😉
We woke up to a strange landscape in 2020. We should have known it would be odd considering we had to witness the impeachment trial of Trump early on. Why would we dare to think it would get any better after that? Especially after he dodged that bullet by being acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020.
Even though I was feeling defeated, that event empowered me, even more, to become politically active in the 2020 elections that mattered. I looked forward to the involvement and progress which was needed. It was something to prepare for. I could think positively because so many people in this country felt enough was enough, there would be changes made – finally. Then Covid-19 added a whole ‘nother level of required overcoming to my day-to-day.
I realize that it’s difficult being held hostage by something out of our control. Large swaths of the US population are being walloped by the current situation, feeling even more desolate and in despair than those who have security and stability in their lives. For those suffering, it’s hard to ignore that their way of life is totally in shambles. And the solutions are not easily accessible.
Living in a rural area of Kansas, I understand I’m very fortunate. Social distancing practices are much easier to do in this small town when there aren’t many people to come in contact with. That is a huge plus during these times. The likelihood that something terrible would happen to me here as long I continue safe practices means it probably won’t. Residing here is a good thing since I’m in three risk categories. Considering my past rants of living in a small town, being grateful is not something I had anticipated feeling.
Maybe it will teach me to be looking out for the positives more so than be pissed off about the negatives? Let’s hope.
But what about those people who are selfishly demanding their liberty, saying it’s a hoax, spreading misinformation, and wanting to open businesses recklessly without safety practices? Don’t they understand this is an opportunity to change how functioning in life, in this society, and doing it together could change things for the better? I’m cynical because I don’t think we will learn from this.
Adding to the shit show known as 2020, the horrific, unjust deaths of more of our black community members – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery – one more layer of indecency added to twist all our lives in knots. The ensuing riots, protests, and violence which is escalating; when will this anguish end?!?!?
It is a struggle, to be sure, but I’ll keep hoping that the takeaway from all this will be an understanding that we are a world community – everyone is being affected by these events! The enormous loss of life we have been a witness to is excruciatingly awful. It could, and should have been less.
Let us see the positive in coming together in a way that suggests we care about one another.
I firmly believe an individual’s answer depends on their belief system, the values they hold and the experiences which impacted them the most. The meaningfulness of things which etch themselves into their being, sometimes even harmful exposures, these provide for the variety of answers that can be expected. And I don’t think it’s just one simply stated answer
At the end of the story, Elam states “But I thought why none of them said: “GOD. Or in these hard days, maybe ‘Patient’ would be the correct answer.” This line is what got me thinking, as would any statement about the existence of a god. It prompted my comment on Laleh’s blog.
I don’t think it’s god. In my mind, what is better than everything is imagination. When sad or disappointed in reality, we can escape for some joy. When inspired, imagination creates. It gives us room to breathe when we’re feeling oppressed, and awe when it’s lacking in our reality. So yeah, it’s not god.
The battle against COVID-19 raged on insidiously in the United States of America. “Flatten the curve,” the new mantra now, doesn’t feel useful. I tried every day to intentionally carve out some time to not be so sad about the spread in my area. At home, where I am free from death, it still felt like being a prisoner in the movie “The Platform.” At night, looking up at the moon, I wished we could escape all this death around us.
Oh, the lives lost because of the lies uttered by the orange-tinted excrement in the White House! Damn him!
Let me begin by saying, there are individuals who absolutely, positively, through no fault of their own, do not possess any capacity for intelligence. I get it and I’m not discussing that segment of our population. It is beyond their control and abilities, and are not being judged in this opinion piece.
The term stupid is considered derogatory, and yet, also a statement of fact about someone’s intelligence. A stupid person is one who tends to make poor decisions or careless mistakes because of a lack of intellect or understanding. The implication being that stupid people require more knowledge or education. However, even when given more information, they are not likely to absorb it properly. I see part of the problem as an unwillingness on their part to comprehend additional information. Another part is the lack of critical thinking skills. That’s the reality.
It would seem that many stupid people want to stay at their own ignorance level instead of proactively making the effort in understanding the issues, problems, and concerns surrounding their current situations needing dealt with. Throw into that lack of intelligence unfettered emotions that add absolutely no value to a problematic situation and well, you see, you have a mess. This scenario just leads to no resolution and generally more confusion for the stupid person. And frustration to those around them who are impacted by the stupid person’s poor choices and decisions.
I’m not sure if this current COVID-19 situation brought these thoughts out in me or if it’s 45’s (lack of) leadership that has irked me to no end. And just so you understand, I’m feeling more than just irked.
It’s like leaving a relationship; you realize the love is gone in a relationship, and you finally stop trying to summon that feeling of cohesion. You feel sad and possibly terrified, but mostly you feel relief because you know there isn’t an actual relationship between you two. The next step is you are on your own but you will be okay.
It’s not our lack of belief in a god that concerns most fundamentalists. It’s the fact that their words have absolutely no power over us. The Jedi mind tricks don’t work. The threats of hell don’t work. Screaming louder does not work. They realize that they have been disarmed and they are more than a little frightened and bothered by it.
Recently, I wandered unto the Poetry Foundation’s site and stumbled upon this poem by Billy Collins. Several books of this American poet are sitting on my book table as I write this. I do believe I should take some time as soon as possible to immerse myself in his works if I can expect more like what I’m about to share with you.
What impressed me the most were the multiple layers. I could read through it once and see Collins speaking to readers on what to visualize; then, in the second read through, it struck me that he was also talking to writers and poets on how to be open to inspiration. He not only interjected humor into it like a professional comedian, but you could see he was authoritatively guiding a student’s mind as a teacher as well. Written with such ease but yet it was interweaving the subject matter like a piece of M.C. Escher art. I found this piece amazing. It left me with a smile on my face and sighing loudly. And hoping that I might one day write so well.
May this piece hit home for you as much as it did me.
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
Billy Collins, “Introduction to Poetry” from The Apple that Astonished Paris. Copyright � 1988, 1996 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press. Source: The Apple that Astonished Paris (University of Arkansas Press, 1996)
It was around 2009 that social media became a part of my life. I joined reluctantly. “Who has 1000 friends they communicate with regularly? It’s just a shallow trend!” was frequently heard uttered by not only myself but others.
I’d seriously underestimated the positive as well as the negative I found there eventually.
The initial intent was to stay in touch with faraway friends and family, but my circle quickly grew to include lost friendships from high school, in-common friends I’d not ever known, and new friends who shared common interests. It was a wide variety of people from all walks of life and which had a wide range of interests that I began to include in my daily life. I can honestly say this brought me a great deal of joy. Adding Twitter and Instagram to the mix allowed me to share with even more people, most of which I’d never met, but they seemed to like what I added to their lives. Hopefully, as much as what they contributed to mine. It turned out to be a good decision to join up on all these platforms.
There were drawbacks, though. The thing which became glaringly obvious was the amount of time one can spend at the computer, phone, or tablet keeping up with all that was shiny and new to see. It may be fascinating, but oh, the time suck!!! There was much left undone in those early days that genuinely needed to get done, and where was I? At the keyboard, of course, looking at the monitor, having fun and interested, and unable to tear myself away because I wanted to read JUST ONE MORE THING! Dishes in the sink, laundry waiting for attention, a dust-filled house crying cleaning – all not considered as necessary anymore because there is something way more interesting going on in the place called the Internet. I’m ashamed to admit it, but early on, that’s what happened.
More and more, I watched social media polluted with a new form of comedy. The news feed streamed a lot of the satire sites, confusing our thinking with content, which was not true but purported to be real. Sometimes it was just that – satire, but so many times it was propaganda pushed onto the masses for an agenda. It was distracting, and in that sense, a time-waster because it required more research to determine whether it was true or not. That was frustrating to me, and many of my friends who were striving for knowledge and accuracy. And it’s discouraging to see so many others who ingested all content they were inundated with as if it were fact.
Personal details about our friend’s lives endear us to them even more with this far-reaching tool, but with anything, when used to manipulate for gain, then it’s a detriment, not beneficial. And so many can’t see it as it’s happening. Drama after drama plays out online, and tugs at heartstrings. The generosity pours out, but sometimes the people are just pawns. It’s sad to see, and devastating to those who succumbed to the deception. Social media has the potential for harm and teaches us to be warier and to be less trusting because of it.
Social media can allow us to feel more anonymous and thereby more confident in the presentation of ourselves to our audience. But some choose to remain anonymous just for the sake of being bold, extremely deprecating, and even insulting to others. It’s like social media has given them the super-power of assholey-ness, and they have a worldwide audience. I’ve talked to many who have had encounters that have left them feeling demoralized, marginalized, angered, and humiliated at times.
I also think having this tool to be more “social” also impacts us more negatively. Information gets to us quicker, but it is more devastating when our constructed social network or our personal ‘community’ is injured more dramatically than ever before. It can escalate or dial-up the drama at a much faster pace, and the negative can ratchet up to unheard-of levels quicker than ever before. The misery of others is the fodder in our everyday news cycle, where previously, it may have taken weeks, months, or not at all to hear the gossip. Now, it’s a laid out on our Newsfeeds. And what a nasty pile-on it can become.
Stepping back, when I evaluate it realistically, social media is just the extended version of real life. All of the things I mentioned above do occur in person to person contact. The only difference is it happens on a much grander scale in the online world. There are more people involved, more interactions, more hype, more distraction, and more drama. It’s helped make our community bigger but in a much different way than we thought it would. Social media is representing life on a larger scale, where it’s become louder and more visible.
Thankfully, we will encounter good individuals in our electronic travels, but people being people, some of them using these platforms will be twat-waffles. Unfortunately, that group will dim the positive impact social media can have on our world.