Tag Archives: hope

Shampoo Cycle

Change kind of sucks. Even if we’re the type of person who likes the idea of constant change, it’s rarely comfortable. So we get into habits to avoid it. We develop a system and apply it to stressful scenarios. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen multiple areas be destroyed by hurricanes and yet another mass shooting. And we treat them like we’re reading the instructions on a shampoo bottle.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Something horrible happens. We express horror and sorrow. We offer prayers and words. We but heads when the idea of actions to help prevent a reoccurrence are introduced. Tempers boil over and our collective stubbornness kicks in. We argue and insult.  We ultimately do very little. And then something terrible happens again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Hope is becoming harder to maintain. I sometimes feel like I’m one of the few people struggling with this, which I realize is foolish. So many are fighting right now for their own sanity. Technology for communication has advanced so far and yet we’re losing the ability to make a connection. Honest, intelligent discourse is becoming so rare we thank people when it actually happens.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m trying. I don’t have much money, but I’ve made small donations that I hope will help. I’m reading more information to improve my understanding. I keep looking for common ground with the people who, in my heart, I know are good and just have different values. I’m trying to call out the people who are just so far gone over into cultish behavior, because we are accountable for ourselves. In that respect, I’m doing my best to make sure that I’m accountable for what I do. But I’m only one human. I know I’m intelligent but I’m also aware that I’m flawed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was thinking that if I tried writing these feelings out in a new post perhaps, in the process, I’d come up with solutions. It doesn’t seem to be working. I’m really doing little more than venting, perhaps with an inflated notion that there’s anyone who wants to know what I have to say. Well, I don’t really know what else to try. I’ll go about my life as best I can. I’ll take care of my kids. I’ll feed the cat. I’ll go to work. I’ll watch Netflix with my wife. I’ll try to maintain the relationships I have. I’ll go to therapy. I will try to make sense of the giant mess that we as humans are.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

 

 

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2016-What the hell was that?

So, how’s everyone doing?

Anyone else feel like the world got some kind of galactic food poisoning this year? Am I the only person who thinks life suddenly seems to have far too much in common with things like Animal Farm and bad reality TV? I haven’t spoken to a single person who has said that 2016 was a good year. But it only has a few weeks left. Then we head into 2017 with cautious hope or abject terror. Maybe a mix of both. All while waiting to see what kind of existential cherry 2016 will drop on itself as a finishing touch.

So what the hell happened?

I will try not to get into much relating to the politics and election of this last year. I addressed that, with my own nerdy stance, in my “Blue Lantern” post. Go there if you are interested. So let’s look at the rest of it.

DEATH: I know. There is always a lot of death. Everyday, people die. Someone loses somebody they care about everyday. But one of the impossible to ignore points of 2016 has been a very high death rate among the famous. I’m talking about ginormous levels of death. Prince, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, and a seemingly endless amount more. Personally, I was and still am very sad about the loss of Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder. Don’t even get me started on David Bowie! I’m still holding out hope that he just went back to his home planet!

So with this in mind, I encourage that all records stop calling this merely “2016” and give it the more metal title of Year of the Reaper. We can have a plaque made or something. The year has earned it.

CIVILITY: Overall, I think that everyone just became meaner this year. We are less prone to being polite or civil to each other. We are more insistent that the thoughts and feelings of others have no value. The only opinion that matters is our own and it is always right. Also, I’m well aware that I’m putting my opinion into a blog in the hopes that someone cares what I think.

Look, I’m not saying we need to put a stranger’s thoughts at the top priority of our lives. That would be silly. Assuming you don’t play host to an alien parasite, only you live in your own skin. But how bad would it be if we actually put some thought into how our actions impact those around us? I like having nice things as much as the next person, but I don’t want to hurt anyone so I can have them. And what’s wrong with actively trying to listen to someone else? No one says you have to agree with an opinion. Hell, I don’t even think you’re required to respect it. But we can at least acknowledge that it exists. I have met people who said their favorite Batman was George Clooney! That is their opinion and I acknowledge it. I think it’s wrong and bad, but I acknowledge that they feel this way and it really isn’t destroying the world. They aren’t attacking those that disagree with them. So I’m not going to treat these people poorly because of their Dark Knight preferences. It shouldn’t be so difficult to treat other humans like they are human.

TRUST: From what I’ve seen, this took a beating for a lot of people this year. Don’t trust the government. Don’t trust the media. Don’t trust the cops. Don’t trust the activist groups. Don’t trust your neighbor. Basically, don’t trust anyone at all.

Now to be fair, I think that people as a whole find their trust gets abused far too much. It’s good to be wary and think critically. But the important word in that last sentence is think. Dismissing everything is just as bad as believing everything. People can be easily manipulated in either extreme. So when it comes to trust, there are things we need to work on. Read everything. Trust your own ability to be analytical, but also trust your instincts. If something feels off there is probably a reason that it does. Find out that reason. Check facts as much as possible. Get varying opinions and try to find what has some real weight to it. And remember that trust is something we have to earn. If it’s lost, then see if it can be earned back. If one person proves that they absolutely cannot be trusted, don’t assume this needs to apply to everyone. You don’t want to be naive and being paranoid isn’t any better.

We still have a little time left before 2016 is over. Many things can happen still. But I think it would be wrong of me to not include something that, at least for myself, was a positive point this year. I would like to thank the individual who made the following video. You filled a void in my life I never knew existed. And to everyone else, I say best of luck in the coming year. REGULATORS! MOUNT UP!

 

Blue Lantern

Sitting down to write this particular post has proven difficult for me. I think there is a possibility that I may anger some folks and lose a few readers after this, though I’d prefer if that isn’t the case. But I’ve also made a promise that I would do my best to be open on this platform. So let’s do this.

Lots of things have been happening in this country since the election. I think I echo the sentiment of many when I say the 2016 Presidential Election was a nightmare process. For many people, the nightmare is continuing. Donald Trump hasn’t even been president-elect for a month and things aren’t looking good. Hate crime is increasing (some fake instances, but mostly not) and that is wrong. Violence has occurred from some of his more fanatical supporters and detractors. The latter only seems to be helping orange narcissist. He has stated he hopes to be a president for all Americans, but this seems to be another lie from one of the country’s biggest cyber bullies. He’s looking at Washington insiders (the people he claimed to be against) for cabinet positions. He campaigned on a platform of fascism, racism, misogyny, and fear. Trump offered snake oil to people who are financially hurting and they bought it. Now he’s planning to put known white supremacist Stephen Bannon into a key power role. Another guy on his team has called the Japanese internment camps a precedent for how they should treat Muslims. Then you have the nightmare that is Mike Pence and his belief that gay people should be jailed for wanting to get married. The damn KKK is glad Trump won!

I now have a huge number of people in my life who are upset and terrified. I know barely any people who voted for Trump, with those that did claiming it was because of economics or a belief that Hillary Clinton is a criminal. They fact that this other stuff wasn’t a deal-breaker for them is disappointing. Most of the people in my life either voted Clinton or went the third-party route. The point is there are a lot of very scared people, wondering if they will be attacked for just being themselves. I’m scared, though not for myself. I’m a straight white guy. But I’m worried about my wife and daughters. I’m worried about the other women of my family and many of my friends. But worrying isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been thinking about the people who aren’t worried because the things the Trump campaign promised didn’t threaten them. I’m thinking about the people on both sides who are taking the attitude of just giving up and moving on. The election is over and we can’t do anything for the next four years.

I don’t agree with that. So I’ve decided I am embracing the Blue Lantern Corps. This will be a symbol and attitude for me going forth.

There are probably some of you who have no idea what I’m getting at. Permit me to get my geek on and briefly delve into comic books. If you need more detail, get thee to a search engine! The Blue Lanterns are from the DC multiverse and are allies of the more famous Green Lanterns. There are multiple Lanterns, most emerging just before or within the “Blackest Night” crossover story. Each gains power from a specific emotion tied to the color spectrum. Green Lanterns have willpower. Sinestro’s Yellow Lanterns have fear, and so forth. For Blue Lanterns, their power comes from hope.

Hope. One of the most powerful, yet easy to forget, forces in existence. I have forgotten about it myself. Being prone to depression, it’s any easy thing to do. Then one of my Twitter friends made mention of the Blue Lanterns in a tweet. It was a slap to the back of my head that I desperately needed. So I am going to embody that symbol as best I can. I need to be hope.

What exactly does this entail for me? It means doing what I can to show everyone who is scared that I’m still with them. It means I’m donating whatever money or time I realistically can. I’m signing the petitions against the hate-monger appointees. It means making the phone calls to senators and representatives. It means wearing the Safety Pin and doing my best to be an ally. We are quickly seeing that this is an administration that will not unify people. Those that think it will are choosing to remain ignorant. And in case I haven’t been clear, this doesn’t have anything to do with who didn’t win the election. I have yet to see a candidate who I didn’t have doubts about in any election I’ve voted in, and that includes the often deified Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump is the first person I’ve been absolutely adamant against. Frankly, I could have lived with most of the other options. But I am hoping that those who did vote for Trump are realizing it was a mistake. I’m hopeful that most of those people will not stand by and ignore the harassment or the hate crimes. I hope, like me, they plan to call it out and hold those embracing the white nationalist poison accountable for it. We are in for a very long four years. This is not the time to pretend we can do nothing or blame everyone who isn’t ourselves.

The first Blue Lantern is an alien called Saint Walker, who repeats the phrase “all will be well” as a mantra. If we do what we can to protect each other, all WILL be well. But the effort must be made.Doing nothing is only going to guarantee our problems will get worse.

It occurs to me that in the Lantern breakdown, orange is the color connected to avarice. Has Trump has actually been Agent Orange this whole time? Are the lines between fiction and reality blurring that much? Talk about scary!

Enough now. I’ve made my mind known. Time to focus. Stand against the hate. Speak against the fear. Be a safe space. People need you.

All will be well.

 

Sometimes it is people

Let me begin with an understatement. Things are a little screwy in our country right now. Actually, there a little screwy in the world as a whole right now.

I think I’m probably not alone when I say I’m torn up when it comes to interacting with my fellow humans. We are social creatures and even the most reclusive of us need some interaction, even if it’s through social media. But for much of the past year, I find that being interactive and informed is giving my mental health a constant kick to the crotch. Seriously, just sitting down to write this has taken a few days of personal pep talks.

With all due respect to those of you with religious convictions, I am not a person who has ever gotten much comfort from an almighty anything. If it helps you, that’s cool. I agree there are things in the world that are hard to explain. But I’m someone who needs to put his faith in other things. Sometimes science, sometimes karma, sometimes nature. Sometimes it’s just Occam’s razor.

Sometimes it is people.

This is the one I struggle with the most. People, as a whole, are really hard to put faith in. An individual person is a little easier, but it’s also riskier. It hurts more if the individual fails you than the group.

So why do it? Why put any faith at all in people? We are prone to being greedy. We are easily scared and tend to react negatively to fear. It seems we are increasingly unlikely to listen to each other. So why do I even try to bother with people at all?

Because every now and then, I’m reminded that people are potential. People are capable of just as much good as bad. People are change, which is a crazy thought in itself since we can be so resistant to changing anything. Yet we continue to change, for the better or the worse, and we’ll continue to do so. Things will become amazing. Things will become terrible. This is due to the choices we make as people. And in the big scheme of the multiverse none of it matters. How crazy is that? Space and time continue while so many of our societies have fallen apart. But people continue to be here. We continue to move and make noise and try to make ourselves have significance. We continue to put on pants. Why is there any significance to pants?!? People made it so! Holy fuck!

It’s hard to remember this, but people give me hope. Not all the time. We like to pay attention to bad things. Frankly, negative is usually louder. For someone like myself, it doesn’t take a lot to send me into a swan dive towards depression. But a few times a week, I get a little reminder. Maybe it’s something my family does. Maybe a stranger is just unexpectedly kind. Maybe it’s just a really good cup of coffee or an amazing song I haven’t heard in a while. All these things involve people making a moment happen. Sure, I need to get away from other people to recharge my energy. That doesn’t mean I want a Twilight Zone, last man on Earth scenario. I want people to exist in my world. Even if it means I have to deal with the scary ones.

So sometimes, I have to put my faith in people. I think it’s worth it.  If I’m wrong, I guess there is always good old-fashioned voodoo.