I wasn’t going to write this post. I thought of twenty reasons why I shouldn’t, why I couldn’t, and that I didn’t have to, especially since it deals with a bit of controversy. In the end, my heart, speaking ever so quietly as it ofttimes does, reminded me that for change to happen, even those with small, quiet voices have to speak up. So, I thought about it, and have decided to be true to my heart. Before I begin my post, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Lizzi for this post. Please go read it. It’s a gorgeous, heart-felt article, and made me very glad I’d participated in OctPoWriMo if only so I could meet someone as wonderful as her. I can’t wait for her trip to the States because I will knock down brick walls just to meet her. She’s incredible. Lizzi, you make me very proud to know you!
Now, on to my post. First, what led me to where I ended up. It involves Facebook, which I do not use as much anymore. I use Twitter, and prefer it over Facebook because too many people use FB as a forum to air their grievances and drama. After making the decision last year to lose as much negativity as possible I realized that Facebook was one of those negative aspects. So, while I did not delete my account, I did dramatically decrease my presence there. I have a lot of family on it and knew they would still want to receive updates about me and my kids. But I was done with the soap boxing and dirty laundry.
Yesterday, I got on it to see what my friend, Michelle, had tagged my name for. While I was waiting for it to load, I noticed a comment from someone who is disgruntled about Christmas being ‘sold’ early. (This is sort of a controversial subject but not the one I am intending to address, although, I guess I am now. ~wink) The status update ended up with a lot of ‘likes’ and comments, all were people complaining about Christmas decorations being out before Halloween and Thanksgiving. It was enough to make me want to say “Bah, humbug, Grinches!” I love Christmas, and I have no problem with stores putting out their Christmas merchandise months before it actually gets here. One of my favorite stores is a Christmas warehouse that’s open year-round. I love it! I love going in there and feeling the Christmas spirit fill me the moment I walk through the doors. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having. Once I see the decorations and the trees, I feel happy. So, when I saw this person’s status update, especially this particular person who, during the holiday season, touts wanting the Christmas spirit to last through the year, I couldn’t help but think what hypocrites people are. And then, I felt bad because they are entitled to their own opinions, just like I am. But why is someone like me ridiculed and made to feel bad because I enjoy seeing the decorations out and about, but they get liked and a majority of people supporting them? Then, I scrolled down and saw something truly heartbreaking that made my little indignation shrink to nothing. And yet, it applied as well.
There was another status update from a different person. This particular person has some very strong opinions and has let it be known that if you don’t agree with their views you should not be friends with them. Also, if your views are different from theirs and you support the ‘other side’ they will unfriend you and call you out for it. For the most part I admire them for standing up for their opinions even though my own differs from their’s like night to day. They have a right to their views and opinions, and to believe however they want. But how far are they allowed to take that right? The status update this person posted was airing their views on a particular subject. I am not going to say what this subject was. It is not actually pertinent information and will only promote more negative than postive energy, and that is not my intent. What I want is to make you think about how you are seen by others when you post negative statements on social media or in public in general. The person posted an article that they had read on a controversial subject and then made a statement about it, saying the people the article concerned had lost their marbles. The comment made by this person could have been seen as harmless, but it was that very fact that made it stand out to me. I’ve seen this person post up similar articles and call them abominations, that these people should have no rights, and that they are abhorred by God. This person is a devout Christian by the way.
Do not call me out about Christians. I am not attacking them. I was raised in a Christian family and I knew the Bible inside and out by the time I was a teen. But, I’ve also developed my own views, and I’ve changed a mindset I was in serious danger of adopting forced onto me by people who meant well. In the end, I came to the conclusion that I’d rather be a good person than a good Christian. And that’s the wonderful thing about this world we live in, especially if you live in a country where you have the right to worship whatever religion you want. I ended up with the view that hypocrisy is one of the worst sins you can practice. I do not like it when people have one set of rules for others and one for themselves but say they don’t. I practice the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. But too many people use it when they are being mistreated, and I don’t get that. It is true for the situation yesterday. And so, after questioning myself and how I want to live my life, I decided to unfriend the person. This doesn’t mean that I think this person is a bad person or evil in any way. It’s that their views are too negative for me to accept anymore. I’d rather be true to myself than go on ignoring the rather obvious fact that this person cannot be my friend. I have no doubt that were I to air my views they would unfriend me in a heart beat and without any remorse in doing so, unlike me.
That brings me to the end and point of my story. Because of what I read, I began thinking about how people are persecuted for being different. If you are: fat, black, gay, have a lisp, have a disability, wear glasses, have a big nose, have any disfigurement, have different views, don’t dress “right”, and are different in ANY way, you are bullied and made to feel that you don’t have the right to live. Hate crimes, cyber bullying, persecuting minorities…where does it stop? I’ll tell you where. It stops here. It stops when people stop getting upset at anything different. It stops when people change their mindset and see that what they are doing is allowing negativity in to rule their lives. That is where evil lives, in the negative actions and thoughts we allow in. It is inherrent in them. We are NOT born evil. I have held each one of my children in my arms after they were born. I looked into their faces and there was nothing evil in them. Each one was born innocent and holds a glorious burden. But, we can all do and speak evil things. It’s all in the choices we make. We all have the right to a life, and to live our lives the way we see fit, without anyone’s permission. And don’t use something positive to extend and support your negativity. That is not what it was created for. There is a reason Light was created. Ghandi, Jesus, Mother Theresa, Mandela…points of Light and Love in the darkness. Instead of regurgitating things they said, maybe we should look at their actions and copy those. Repeat as often as necessary until our lives become points of Light for others.
I am leaving you with two poems I wrote yesterday after spending the day ruminating on this person’s statement. In my head, I view the second one being read by someone representing each line or adjective. Do feel free to comment. We are all entitled to our opinions and we have the right to speak those opinions when invited to do so. I am not one of those people who is unaccepting of opposite points of view. I welcome them because they challenge my own and make me see another side that I might not be able to view from the side I’m standing on. Sometimes they change my opinions, and sometimes they strengthen my own beliefs. But I do ask that you be respectful. Name calling and mud slinging accomplish nothing. Bees like honey.
The Scarlet Letter of the Disgraced
By Jessica Scott
I wonder what would happen
If you could see yourself through the eyes
Of the ones you brand with your
Scarlet injustice and hate.
You censure those like me
With different ideas, different ways of thinking,
Different choices in lifestyles,
Those who you, with your limited understanding,
Have no compassion for in your heart.
You judge us, label us,
Paint your vulgar sobriquets on us
For everyone to see,
We the abominations,
Contemporary Hester Prynne’s in modern society,
And say we should be judged
Before God, before Man,
As if you have the exclusionary right
To decide our fate.
Then you sit in your fortress
Of self-righteous morality,
Congratulating yourself on
Your high standards of principle,
Plotting the next persecution.
Until that one day you
Find yourself stigmatized by someone’s hate.
You, with your faultless rectitude,
Crying out “Do not judge me! You have no right!”
Let those who are without sin
Throw the first stone,
But I’d move out of that glass house
If I were you.
I Am Different
By Jessica Scott
I may not be tall or thin.
I may not be beautiful in that supermodel way.
I may not have mountains for breasts,
And my legs may not work,
In fact, I may not have legs or arms at all.
My face might be disfigured,
And I might have to wear glasses.
My teeth could be crooked,
And my hair might be missing.
My nose might be too
Large, wide, pointy, bumpy, short…
I might not speak correctly.
I may be
Just plain big.
I may be too round,
Too much of something that goes against your standards of beauty.
But do not underestimate me.
What you view as flaws
Are my greatest strengths,
And who are you to judge me?
You have no idea who I am…
Eccentric, edgy, easy-going,
Natural, noble, nonpareil,
Optimistic, open-minded, original,
Unadulterated, unequalled, undaunted,
Gifted, gentle, gallant,
Heterosexual, homosexual, happy.
I am so much more than you will ever see
If you only look at my appearance.