I’ve always found the news stressful, and tried to limit my television time as a young adult. It always seemed that every time I turned on the t.v., there was something horrible I would see. Wars, racism, violence done onto the most vulnerable people in our world; children, animals, the elderly and those most easily victimized.
It wasn’t only the acts that horrified me, it was the malice in the hearts of people from all cross sections in life. The rich, the poor, the uneducated, the over educated (and perhaps under humanized). White collar, blue collar… burger flippers to CFO’s. And all I saw was malice when I looked outward. Growing up, I didn’t have to go far to see malice; I ate it for breakfast as a child every day.
One of our twins is exceptionally sensitive. I never asked to “feel” things the way that I do. In fact, it makes life a lot harder I think when you feel others and their problems as acutely as I do. Someone you know may be having a serious problem; how do you respond? Stating that you’ll be there for them (as much as you are able or until it becomes inconvenient for you). Perhaps you’ll try to help in some small way, feeling a visible gesture is in order; maybe you will cook them dinner or bring over a 12 pack to watch the game and spend time. These are all good things, but when you are empathetic, you absorb the circumstance, the emotions and the consequences of others you care about.
I am always shocked when I see the ugly underbelly of people. As a writer I sit back and watch the nuances of others, and the relationships that they create. I grew up in a house of manipulators, so manipulation is something that jumps out straight away. Someone will be telling me about a friend or a family member, and I can see the lines of psychological manipulation being run on them. The lies, the guilt trips and the wool being pulled over the eyes of people who just want to feel a sense of belonging to people. Connected. And you are connected when you are being “run” by someone like that; they’ll even make you feel grateful for it. It is bad medicine and bizarre magic I’ve fallen for… watching other people lap it up is painful to me. But these days, I say nothing.
Game players come in all guises and I could never really spot them before; but I can now. And I used to think it was my duty to kind of show others how they were having ‘game’ run on them. I learned that people prefer to see infallibility in those that matter to them. People who are strong that draw in people who are less resilient in life like to keep vulnerable types tethered to them, and fed by their ‘assurances’. It makes the vulnerable feel stronger, and the manipulative feel God like. Disciples are hard to come by, and they tend to cycle through them. You can only bullshit people for so long right? I have been bullshitted many times in my life by people very close to me; dude, I could write the book.
As I am, a woman desperate to feel less but acknowledging that its not something that I can ambulate without and still be the human I want to be in the world, I was gifted with a step-son who could be a carbon copy of me, emotionally. He is aware of bad things now and he adds them up, sharing them with me when we talk. He asks me “why?” and I don’t have the good answers that perhaps seasoned parents would have. Can we afford to lie to him and tell him the whole world is good? I don’t think so. I think that would make him a walking target or beacon for the manipulative types.
Do I want him to think the world is ready to pounce and injure him every day? Of course not.
Somewhere in the middle I am teaching both the twins that there are very few people in the world who truly have your back. It starts with your family (in their case) and four parents who would die to protect them. And sometimes Lucas will ask me questions to test his status with me.
Lucas: “If zombies attacked and we had to climb up a tree to get away, would you climb up first and then pull me up?”
Me: “No, I’d find an army bunker that was well stocked with water, food, medicine and ammunition …. “
Me: “Okay, no. I would find a good tree and I would lift you on my shoulders first to put you somewhere safe, and then I would run away.”
Lucas: “YOU WOULD LEAVE ME???”
Me: “Nooooooo… I’d make the zombies chase me away from the tree so you’d be safe, and then I’d circle back, and we’d go to the army bunker.”
Yes son you are safe with me, and you always will be. I would never feed you to the zombies, ever.
When you look at the world as a grown up, it is hard to keep finding the good. When you see the terrorism, the starvation, the violence and the political agendas that come before humanism. When you see animals abused, harmed, tortured and mutilated for sport or for the machine that is our unsustainable method of underfeeding and over-wasting. Children, women… anyone really victimized. If I turn on the news and allow it, it can knock me off my feet and send my head to a place where I stop having faith in the existence of good in the world.
But then comes the “march of angels”. The consistently kind, loving and caring people I have in my world. The steady, balanced and positive minded people, who despite the ugliness of the world sometimes, choose to stare away from the dark and into the light. The people like me who look for good things every day. Blessings. The #victory in GMO’s banned in certain countries. The #victory in France passing a law that makes it illegal for grocers to through away bad food (donating it instead to charities). The people who break the cages and free the animals, speak out against the dog meat festivals, who point us to a kinder way to treat all animals in our ecosystem.
And those that find compassion and kindness in their hearts for people who have nothing; like the families fleeing Syria. Like victims of all terrorism around the world. Like my good, Muslim friends and their families who are being treated with such contempt in the cities where they work side by side to build their communities. Have something negative to say about Muslims? You would do well to avoid mentioning it to me… I will knock your ignorant racist ass back to the stone ages verbally.
On the way to buy donuts at MoMo’s today (I know… I know health food) Lucas asked me if Diego was going to die. I could have lied or deferred the question, and my eyes welled up quite a lot as I fought back my tears (kids do not need to see you lose your shit ever in my books).
Me: “You are a really good person Lucas. I want you to know how proud I am of who you are. You are loving and sweet, honest and helpful, and you always care about other peoples feelings. You are a good young man, and you are going to be an awesome grown up too.”
Lucas: “I just want to be like you and Daddy, and Mommy and Josh.”
Me: “Yes booger, you are a good guy from a good family. Stay that way okay?”
He nodded while scootching his butt into the bucket seat of my car. Seat warmers… who knew they were a perennial favorite for kids?
Ganesha is the Hindu God of “success” but he is known for removing obstacles. Like anything standing between you, and your ability to continue to seek and acknowledge goodness in others, in the world and in yourself.