“Alcohol. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson
At least I think it was Homer Simpson. Whatever.
This quote came to mind today, after finishing my Kindle book and getting back onto Facebook. I got right back off (again), and turned on the television. Nope. Can’t do that either, right now. Facebook is as informative as it is addictive, if that’s your main source of keeping up with people in a world where we don’t call each other on the phone anymore.
But right now?
It’s all too much.
Facebook is a shield behind which many people can be righteously indignant and say all kinds of things that they wouldn’t ordinarily say to a crowd of people. I’m including myself, but to a lesser degree, because well, if you’ve met me… I’m without filter most of the time. Oh sure, I have my church voice (not cursing) – but my personality doesn’t change according to the atmosphere. I say what’s on my mind. Sometimes (a lot of times), that gets people riled up and pissed off and maybe even let down.
I am unapologetically bold. I don’t hint. I rarely sugarcoat. I generally know damned well that what I say isn’t going to go over well with everyone, all the time. I’m apparently hilarious to some people because of this. And I genuinely give no fudges (See? Church voice.). Honestly, it means nothing to me that speaking the truth will upset people. Good. Be upset. Maybe it’ll open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Or maybe you’ll just think I’m a bitch. Either way, I’m not going to hide who I am…or cower behind any worry that someone won’t like me anymore.
That being said, I also know when I’m too incensed to keep arguing. When I am passionate about something, or irate about a truth that I know so deep in my soul that I cannot and will not be shaken, there comes a point where I have to step back to avoid explosion.
Facebook has brought me to that point in the last couple of days. I just can’t anymore. I’ve been so upset and so angry that my head hurts from clenching my jaw, even in my fitful sleep. I’m scared to death for my black friends, and at the point of asking them all to stay home and don’t drive anywhere, and offering myself as a taxi service – because my skin won’t get me killed. And maybe you’ll be safer if my lily white ass is in the car with you.
But the filth I’m seeing on Facebook…ohmygod. The denial, the whines of how the media is to blame for how upset everyone is because racism isn’t that big a deal because it doesn’t really happen as much as the media says and all lives matter…. ohmygodstopit.
Black Lives Matter ideal isn’t, hasn’t been and was never meant to be exclusionary. Frankly, the comparison to cancer is pretty spot on. I’m not going to go screaming into a breast cancer awareness rally about how cholangiocarcinoma (the one that killed my mom) matters too, dammit. Nobody would ever say it didn’t. But they’re fighting for a cure for this one, because someone they love is suffering. It really is that simple.
And then the sniper shootings…Lord Jesus, help us! How desperately hurtful to the communities across this nation. Not only is it senseless and unjustified, it just takes more fathers and mothers from their babies, and the maniac(s) responsible have just completely defeated a cause that was worth a righteous anger, because NOW law enforcement has even more reason to be overly cautious to a point of making it all worse. Now, the questionable ones who needed to use restraint have even more reason in their hearts to be afraid of the black community.
Good going, asshole.
The denial and the vitriol, the arguing and the anger is making me physically ill. I’m at a point of desperate, depressing hurt for my black friends and desperately let down by people who share my skin tone. I’m riding a fence here, because ignorance isn’t always intentional. Experience, and lack thereof, will absolutely dictate how a person perceives the world. We are each the sum of our own experiences.
I used to think the way they think, until I spent more time with people who live in a different world than the one I grew up in. I spent time with them in public places and witnessed what they’d been saying for years that I had always dismissed as, at the very least, exaggerated. For a while, it was so, so subtle that I almost didn’t catch it. Then there was that moment…the one where I thought, “Wait. Did that just happen?”. I looked at my friend, and she didn’t bat an eye, so I thought maybe I was wrong. So I asked her later if my perception was off. “No,” she said, “but you just get used to it. Could be worse.”
So then I started paying attention.
It happened so much more. Things that could be blown off as coincidence before I’d started paying attention, no longer could be. I had to examine myself on such a gut-wrenching level…and then had to work to expose my own heart and my own misgivings and my own denials…and then forgive myself and vow to do and be better, and to speak up on behalf of those who are just used to it.
What made me even sadder still, was how many times my black friends asked me NOT to say anything, because it would only cause trouble.
But back to Facebook. My point here is that I have to forgive those who don’t have the same experiences as myself. Nothing can be done to change that, which means nothing can be done to change their minds. I can’t make anyone see what I’ve seen, or force anyone to look deeply enough into their own heart and subconscious to experience a paradigm shift. Its something that will hopefully come in time. God knows nothing’s going to change much anytime soon, so there’ll be plenty of opportunity.
Until then, I want to like the people that I love. So until this dies down a bit, I’m taking a break from the pain of that fence riding that Facebook is forcing me into – it ain’t a nice feeling, y’all.
Facebook (the only social media I actually use with any regularity) is currently exposing many painful truths, while simultaneously bringing out the devil in us all.