Anticipating Harriet Oleson's narcissistic antics...
I was raised in a bubble. My parents were brought up in the depression era, and entered their teen years in something not unlike the movie Pleasantville. I'm not exaggerating. My dad lettered in everything, mom led Sunday school, and looked very much like a Disney princess in her senior picture. I don't think anyone ever raised their voice in my house. Don't get me wrong, we had our own version of dysfunction like any family, but it was a far cry from the abusive homes that many are forced to endure. In fact, our favorite pastime was watching Little House on the Prairie, anticipating Harriet Oleson's narcissistic antics. This bubble was never confronted with things like violence or race.
As my childhood offered insight through time, I started to notice that things weren't always equal. The girl in my class that lived in a trailer park wasn't able to get a haircut or new clothes, and the kids on the playground split up by church affiliation. Now this is all in Idaho, so most separation was religious or economic, as race was fairly monochromatic before we became a refugee destination in the 90's. Like I said, a bubble. I never saw any depiction of violence outside of the Karate Kid as a child. Yet somehow, I grew up desensitized to it all. I don't know if it was all the Zelda and Mario I played as a teen, my obsession with the movie Natural Born Killers, or the news- but at some point my innocence was lost. I felt sad about it, but walking around the world like a gaping wound isn't sustainable. We adapt, or we would hurt too much.
Crazytown I tell you!
While I've tried to compartmentalize the ugliness in this world, it seems to be increasing in severity. Some say it's always been here, but now the cameras are watching. I agree. Ugliness has always reared its head, reinventing itself through humiliation, separation, and violence. The platforms in which to share the darkness, is now infinite. There is rarely a morning I wake up, when the news hasn't bombed my phone with notifications about another atrocity. Shootings, natural disaster, plane crash, ISIS hurt more innocent people... and we react, buy more guns. Crazytown I tell you! Now, as much as I would love to stick my head in a mound of sand, and mumble "lalalalalalalalalalala" with my ears plugged, I'm raising a little person. This person that hasn't lost her hurt. She is part of the future our society will one day become. I've taught her about racism, violence, mental illness, abuse, predators, and how hate is bred. I've also taught her love, compassion, kindness, healing, hope, and the power of forgiveness.
Goats prancing on YouTube...
There are a great many things in this world that I lack control over. I can't assure safety, health or happiness for my loved ones. I can't know that the world will get better, that love will actually win- because I don't know that it will. Hate has more guns and a mighty roar. My control becomes smaller, orbiting my personal universe. I can show kindness and love to those that surround me, hoping it will spread like ripples in a pond. I can teach this nugget the same, so her light will radiate wherever life takes her. I can search for the beauty that exists, that can't be extinguished by those determined to make the world uglier. I see babies laughing, goats prancing on YouTube, and I laugh. I say "I love you" when I feel it, and apologize when I mess up. I spread smiles to strangers at the grocery store, and offer assistance when the opportunity presents. I take my part and give it my all. Love may not win, but it is my very sincere hope- that everyone will be better off, for the time I spent in this world. I am so thankful for that opportunity. Happy Gratitude Tuesday. What are you thankful for?