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Three Months In, Three Things I’ve Learned

I’ve been married now for 90 days! Three whole months! I realize that that is not a long time by pretty much all standards, though, my marriage has lasted longer than Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian’s first marriages. That counts for something, right? No? Fair enough.

It all still seems a little crazy to me. I haven’t even known him for a year (we’re about 2 weeks shy of that). I only met him in person at the end of last December. And yet we’ve been married for 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything. Meeting and marrying Mr. Lyndsy are easily at the top of list of things to happen in my life (as it should be).

Because we lived 8,000 miles apart before we got married, we didn’t live together beforehand. I know that’s how things used to work all the time, and how it still works for a lot of people. I never thought that would be me though. I really subscribed to the theory that the best thing to do is to live with your future partner before marriage to see whether you can live together without attempting to murder each other. He leaves his socks out so you plan to strangle him with them. You refuse to put dishes away, so he thinks about breaking them over your head.

Here are some things I’ve learned about us.

1. Neither of us likes to put away laundry.

Laundry

Once I figured out how to use the washing machine, I was on a roll. We have to hang it to dry and I can get as far as folding it, but actually carrying it to the bedroom seems beyond me. I think it’s more convenient for him that it’s on the table, so that’s where it stays. We never actually eat at the table, or use it for anything else really.

2. We are TERRIBLE at sharing the bed and blankets. I would swear it started with him, but he says it’s me. All I know is that when I first got here, I woke up freezing, a lot. If you believe me, when he turns, he takes the blankets with him. If you believe him (which you shouldn’t), I’m the the one who turns with them. We both toss and turn a lot.

He’s also not great about sharing the space. I rolled over one night and just about lost an eye to his elbow. Another night I rolled back to the center of the bed and ran smack into him. I woke up by myself one day because, as Mr. Lyndsy tells it, I went to bed early because I was exhausted, but he was still up playing video games. He came in to go to sleep, but I was sprawled across the entire bed, so rather than wake me up, he slept on the futon in the second bedroom. I do have a habit of taking over a bed. (But only when I’m the only person in it. I think.)

For the blanket issue at least, we came up with a solution early on.

Blankets

 

We now each have our own blankets! Complete with duvet covers we picked out ourselves. I like how it ended up looking a little like a wedding dress and tux. And we don’t have to worry about trying to steal the others’s blanket anymore. I find his to be too scratchy and Mr. Lyndsy thinks it’s soft. I’m sure he thinks mine is too soft. Either way, we’re both much happier now.

3. None of this matters. His dirty laundry ends up everywhere. I leave a trail of stuff behind me no matter where I go. I took over his favorite corner of the couch. He leaves the TV on when he’s done watching. We don’t care. For us, the most important thing is that we’re together. We spent so long apart while desperately wanting to be near each other, that all of this is just not important. We still love spending time together. I’m overjoyed when he comes home from work.

It probably helps that he subscribes to the “happy wife, happy life” theory. You know how I know? He took me to Disney on Ice.

Disney on Ice

I know you’re not reading this, Mr. Lyndsy, but I love you to infinity and beyond.

 

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Putting it out there

I just finished reading a book called Write for Your Life to help me work through issues I have about my writing. The book was originally a seminar that the author used to host with his wife, but he turned it into a book so people who couldn’t make it to the seminar could still benefit. He also thought it might be a good way to sell the seminar. At this point he has stopped the seminars, so this was the only way I was getting the information. I found it extremely effective, in part, because the book encourages you to face your fears head on, because once you show them the light of day, they aren’t nearly as scary.

One of the exercises was to write down everything we wouldn’t want anyone else to know about ourselves. When we write, we shy away from going anywhere near those topics, lest anyone figure out that we are what we don’t want to admit. (I hope that made sense.) This was more effective at the seminar because people had to express these things to someone who is a relative stranger. They’d been interacting throughout the day, but after the seminar they were unlikely to see each other again.

I made the list, but sitting in my notebook, on a page no one else is going to see sort of seemed to defeat the purpose a little. So I’m doing what I do best – sharing more of myself on the internet than a lot of people care to read. However, I hope that once I put all of this out there, I won’t have anything to hide from anymore. I’ve debated about this for the last couple of hours, so I’m just plunging into the cold ass water, ripping off the Band Aid, [insert your own expression here].

Things I didn’t want anyone to know about me:

  1. My first sexual experience was rape.
  2. I’ve been the victim of domestic violence.
  3. There was a period of my life as an adult where I didn’t believe my parents loved me, and if they didn’t love me, who would?
  4. I’ve never really felt attractive.
  5. I’ve been severely depressed and suicidal (like had a plan for how to send good-bye emails on at time delay and the manner of suicide).
  6. I’ve often felt completely alone in my life.
  7. I didn’t felt good enough for pretty much anything most of my life.
  8. I usually feel pretty alone even though I have some amazing friends and family.
  9. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never thought I was good enough.
  10. I went to law school to gain my mother’s approval, not really because I was interested in going to law school.
  11. I think that if I’m good at something, it has to be because it’s easy to do, not because I’m good at it.
  12. I’ve always wanted a family of my own, and a big one, but worried I’d never have it.
  13. I also never thought I’d find someone who really got me and wanted to be with me. (SCRATCH THAT OFF! Love you, Mr. Lyndsy – even though he won’t read this.)

Anyway, now that they’re out there, I do feel a little better. I’ve worked through most of these issues, and what I haven’t, I am still working on it now. I don’t feel nearly as concerned about my looks as I used to, though I occasionally have some lapses. I do think this will help my writing and I hope I’m not shying away from anything else going forward.

If you’ve ever felt any of the things I listed, you’re clearly not alone. If you ever want to chat about them, we totally can.

Also, even if you don’t want to be a writer, the book is pretty good for working through your fears, though a lot of the exercises are things you can find elsewhere. If you want more details about the book, let me know!

(And yes, that’s an affiliate link up there.)

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My friend Mary, the embodiment of Courage

A friend of mine from law school recently lost her son, Patrick, just before he was 11 months old. Patrick was born with a very unique heart anatomy and after an extended hospital stay in which doctors finally realized there wasn’t anything they could do for him, Mary and her husband Phil decided to bring him home so he could live out his life in a loving environment, filled with cuddles and snuggles from them, his sister Mira, and their circle of family and friends.

They knew about Patrick’s unique anatomy before he was born. Their daughter, Mira, was also born with CHD, so they knew at least a little about what this was going to be like for him. They remained hopeful that Patrick would flourish the way Mira has, but it wasn’t to be.

Starting with their decision to use IVF to conceive, Mary has been blogging about their lives. Those of us who have chosen to have shared the highs, lows, and everything in between. Mary puts it all out there – the joys, the questions, the heartbreak, when she feels like she’s maybe not doing the right thing (though she always acts through love). Those of us who have been reading along are heartbroken for their loss. A huge community of people is in mourning right now, at a loss for how we can help. This is truly a testament to Mary and Phil, and the love they put into this universe.

To me, this choice to share so much of their lives, even when she didn’t think it made her look good, is courage at its finest. She had no way of knowing who might find her blogs or what they might say, but she wrote anyway. I know that there are people who have taken comfort in what she’s written, who have found peace in their own lives.

If you want to read about their journey, go to Fixing Patrick’s Heart. You can find the link to her past blog there as well, and get in on this from the beginning. There are some really adorable pictures of Mira, Patrick, Phil and Mary on those pages. Those children will just light up your life.

If you’ve read this far, I would ask that you take just 30 seconds to send loving thoughts their way. They need all the love and support this world can give them right now. Also, take a minute to hug someone you love.

Mary, you will forever be a complete and total rock star to me. I’m sending so much love your way.

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Sometimes you just have to take the damn pill

It’s been just over 7 months that I’ve had a day without pain. It started with my back in late January (though it had been off and on before that) and has now spread to my right leg after a less than wonderful surgical result. Saying that chronic pain sucks is both obvious and an understatement.

My chronic pain is more than just the pain I feel in my back, leg, or foot. It’s the depression and frustration that come with the inability to do things that I used to be able to do somewhat easily. That come with the fact that things that we do every day or on a regular basis are now more dangerous for me to do. I can’t pick up my right foot, so stepping over the wall of the bathtub to take a shower requires a lot of concentration. If I don’t focus while I walk, I trip over my foot and go sprawling onto the ground, scraping hands and knees and tweaking my back. Not ideal after a lumbar fusion.

It’s also exhausting. Pain is the body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong and trying to get you to do something to help it fight an invader or fix itself. That process takes energy, and not a small amount. Add that to whatever it takes just to function through a normal day, and by the time bedtime rolls around, you’re pretty much done for. If you’re lucky, you can sleep well your while your body gets to take more time to heal itself. If you aren’t, the pain keeps you awake and your body doesn’t get the time it needs to heal.

One night recently I was trying to fall asleep. That day I’d been feeling especially overwhelmed, stressed out, and depressed. My back, leg, and foot were causing me a lot of pain and I was also trying to get a handle on my life and what I’m doing with it. Between the thoughts racing around my head and the pain, I could not sleep. No matter which position I tried a pain in my hip would not go away. I finally gave up and dove into my supply of oxycodone. It took about 15 minutes for the drugs to take effect, but once they did, everything got better. With the pain gone, I could focus on my thoughts and come up with a battle plan for life. I was able to break the stress into more manageable pieces and stop feeling the stress as much. I stopped feeling like I was trapped at the bottom of a well with no way out.

I’d been avoiding painkillers, trying to force myself to get used to the pain. My reasoning was that since it wasn’t a constant 8 out of 10 on the scale it wasn’t really that bad. Most of the time it hangs out somewhere between 2-4, spiking up to 10 occasionally, but the spikes usually cap at a 7 or 8. I realize now just how ridiculous I was.

Having a low level of constant pain is like having a fly buzz around your ear all day long. It’s annoying, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s just a fly, right? The problem is that constant stimulation like that will drive even the most reasonable people to snap. You have to do something to take care of it before it gets to a breaking point. Upping the level of the pain only increases the rate at which you reach the breaking point and the force of the explosion.

I need to have more respect for the constant stress my body is under, especially since it doesn’t look like the sources of pain are going to get better any time soon. I’m considering a tendon transfer so I can walk a little more easily, but that doesn’t guarantee that the nerve pain will go away though I hope it eases some of the foot and ankle pain I’ve had. My back is still just recovering from the fusion. If I need a pill so the little fly doesn’t turn me into a suicidal or homicidal woman, then I need to take the damn pill.

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Random Ramblings: A self-sustaining USA, corporate greed, and community

My brain likes to torment me as I try to fall asleep. A few nights ago it started with, “Why isn’t the United States more self-sustaining?” By this, my brain was trying to figure out why the US imports so many goods. (At the time I wasn’t thinking about the number of people in the US from other countries who provide services, but that’s a good question too.) You look at the labels most things and they say “Made in [insert country not the US].”

Don’t get me wrong – we live in a global economy, it would almost impossible not to import some products. But it seems like a lot of what the US has comes from somewhere else. It blew my mind to see that we get our frozen chicken from overseas. Don’t we have the resources in the US for pretty much whatever we want? A lot of countries don’t have the diverse terrain we do for growing different crops. We can’t grow everything, but we can grow a lot. We used to make a lot of cars. You get the idea.

And then I wondered if it comes down to the money of it. It’s simply cheaper to get the goods elsewhere. Obviously businesses exist to make money. The cheaper the product, the more they can make on it, especially if they’re selling it at the cost we were used to paying when it was made in the US. When I worked at a big box retailer I got to see some of the product mark-ups. The biggest mark-up I saw? Christmas lights! Those things cost maybe 10 cents and get sold for $2.50, which seemed like a great deal! If we can grow our own crops, how is it cheaper to bring them into the US from somewhere else?

Is it the labor surrounding the product – both cultivating the raw goods and the labor to build the product? And, if it is the labor, how is it so much cheaper? Labor in the US got more expensive as human casualties from working conditions rose. The 40-hour workweek, insurance requirements, minimum safety conditions, etc. We decided that human lives were too much to pay.

A lot has been discussed about the labor standards in China, or rather, the lack thereof. A lot of products sold in the US come from China. If we weren’t willing to tolerate it for people who work in the US, why are okay with it for the people of China? Or Vietnam? Or Pakistan? Is that we think we, as US citizens, are better than they are? That they don’t deserve the same kinds of safety regulations?

Also, on a related note, if they don’t have the same safety conditions for their workers, what about the safety regulations of the products? Is a product that comes from somewhere else going to be as safe as they are allegedly supposed to be if they’re made in the US? Don’t we care about that? Is it an out of sight, out of mind philosophy?

The other thing is why we allow corporate greed to control so much of what we do. A lot of people in the US don’t have jobs and yet instead of moving toward finding ways to put people here to work, we continually export jobs to other places. When did we stop caring about each other’s welfare that we are so okay with people here starving? Being okay with people being on government assistance because the jobs were shipped overseas (but then telling them to quit being lazy and find a job!)?

And is that the real core of the problem? That we just don’t care about each other anymore? Are we so obsessed with having that we forget about being? How can we fix this?

Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into these discussions and I need to do a lot more research, but it seems like it goes back to an Us vs. Them mentality, but on a global scale.

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Two Years

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my stepfather, Pat’s, death. That it’s been two years already is ridiculous to me. The first couple months after he was gone seemed to take forever, and since then time has just flown by. It’s both sad and comforting to see that happen. Time stops for no one and it’s so sad that he is missing out on so many things. I got married! He would absolutely have loved how we did it too – low key, totally casual, and a BBQ on the 4th of July. It doesn’t get more Pat than that. I know he misses his granddaughter and he would have loved tormenting my kids when they finally show up.

At the same time, life DOES go on. I got married! I’m building my own family and exploring my life in new ways. I moved around the world and it is definitely a difference experience. He would have been proud to see me go off on my own and live MY life the way I want to. He was big on striking out on your own staying true to who you are.

The funniest part about my new life is how Mr. Lyndsy occasionally does or says something that reminds me of Pat. There are phrases he uses and hand gestures he makes, and I would swear that he is channeling Pat’s spirit. Mr. Lyndsy has a passionate love of football (soccer) and when he watches games it is quite a bit like watching Pat watch a Steeler game, particularly when the team isn’t doing well. For some reason the losses upset him more than the wins excited him. In this way, I feel like Pat’s still with me. Makes me love Mr. Lyndsy all that much more too.

This past weekend was total shit. I was sick. This anniversary was looming. And then I lost my little dog Buddy. He was the sweetest and happiest dog I’ve ever seen. He was ferocious when he thought he was protecting one of his hoomanz or his friend Lily (or other girl dogs), well, as ferocious as a 10-pound ball of fluff can be.

The only consolation I have is that the way I see it, Buddy and Pat are off playing somewhere together. Buddy might have driven Pat crazy on occasion, but if Pat could be friends with my guinea pig Orpheus Offenbach, he would have enjoyed Buddy. I’d be willing to bet there’s a recliner somewhere with Pat in it, Buddy nestled in between Pat and the arm, Buddy listening while Pat acts as a commentator on the Steeler game, occasionally barking in agreement.

I won’t miss either of them any less as time goes on, but I like thinking that they’re hanging out together.

Buddy Pat

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Not My Bidness

I love TV and movies. (Not as much as I love my books). The characters almost become real people to me. I love to watch series TV shows, so I get to see the characters evolve and watch as their relationships grow (as much as the shows allow anyway).

Naturally (or maybe unnaturally) this makes me curious about the actors who play them – what they’re like in their personal lives, whether they’re as funny in real life as they are on the shows, who they’re dating, etc. I get really hung up on the funny thing. It’s one of those things that I don’t think people can fake, so I’m always trying to find a way to prove that theory.

I used to love reading People Magazine, OK!, all the random rags that follow celebrities, get photos of them being “real” people, making up stories about them (like Jennifer Aniston getting married 7 or 8 times, the Obamas getting divorced because he’s gay, an so on). I was all over Kimye naming their kid North (still – seriously?), was heartbroken (twice) when Ryan Reynolds got married, following them on Twitter just to see if they’d say anything interesting that might give any kind of insight into what they’re really like. All I learned is that John Cusack is kind of out there.

I’m not even sure what got me thinking about it, but a few weeks ago I realized how ridiculous it all is. I have watched celebrity reality TV – Gene Simmons – The Family Jewels, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It’s horrible, but you can’t tear your eyes away from it. I didn’t turn it on, but my stepfather really enjoyed it. It’s not real life. I don’t even know if the know what real life is.

The point is, it’s not my business. That Kim Kardashian was only married for 72 days or Britney Spears for 54 hours – that’s all their own shit. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live under the constant scrutiny. I would like to think I’d be the same person I am right now since I don’t tend to change much. (Seriously, I ran into a middle school friend after college and she commented on how I hadn’t changed… since I was 12. She’d probably say the same now and that was 20 years ago.) But, I can’t know that. I don’t think I have anything to hide, but Mr. Lyndsy may not want everyone knowing everything about us.

Being a celebrity doesn’t mean that their personal lives become our business. I’d be willing to bet my future lottery winnings that most people wouldn’t want to be watched 24/7, unable to do much of anything without some papparazzo following them, having everyone know when you have a pap smear or a prostate exam, speculating on your physical and emotional health.

So I’m giving it up. Hard as it may be, I’m no longer looking people upon IMdB to get whatever I can of their background (well, most of the time anyway, it’s not easy to break old habits). I don’t go to people.come to check out celeb photos. I don’t even think about picking up the magazines (not that I have a lot of access now anyway). If it’s relevant to the public sphere I’ll check it out. If not, it’s off limits.

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Not a Lark

I know that moving 7 time zones takes some getting used to. I read and was advised that for each time zone you move, it takes 1 to 2 days to get adjusted. On the short end it could have taken a week to get used to being almost a working shift ahead of Florida, but at the longest 2 weeks.

It’s been a month and I am still not sleeping on what most people would consider a “normal” schedule. I’m not falling asleep until 4am or 5am and I don’t wake up until noon or 1pm. Some days I’m up for 23 hours and then I sleep for 3 or 4 hours, waking around noon or so. On those days I’m tired most of the day, but still can’t fall asleep before midnight or 1am.

I started doing some research on circadian rhythms and sleeping patterns. There are apparently three types of people: Larks, hummingbirds, and owls. Owls, more commonly known as “night owls,” are those who prefer to stay up past midnight and sleep in later. About 2 in 10 people are owls. Larks are the “morning people” – those who like to go to sleep early and wake up early. About 1 in 10 people is a lark. Hummingbirds are everything in between.

I don’t understand larks, not even a little bit. Since high school I have hated waking up in the morning. When in school or working a “normal” day job, I woke up as late as possible and rushed to get out of the house. I don’t drink coffee or read the paper,  and breakfast was usually eaten on the way to or at work.

But, I can wake up in the morning if I have to for work, appointments, etc. Right now I don’t have to. There is rarely a day that I have to be up before 4pm. I do wake up before then, but I don’t have a need to.

People have told me that there are health benefits to rising early, but I can’t find anything anywhere that supports that. I’ve read that there are all sorts of other benefits to rising early. I’ve also read that morning people are happier than night owls. That makes sense to me. If you take someone who goes to bed later and force them to get up in the morning, before they’re ready to be awake, and then subject them to people who are super excited about the new day, you’re bound to get some unhappy people. People who are chipper in the morning make me twitchy.

What I’m trying to figure out is whether I should be pushing myself to get up in the morning and do stuff. Doing something because I should without a good reason behind it is idiotic to me and I can’t make myself wake up for that. I just don’t know if it’s a sign that I lack discipline and if that should be the reason I force myself to become conscious before noon. Things like “seeing the sun rise,” “greeting the day,” and “luxuriating over breakfast” are not valid reasons to me. Also, I can see the sun rise too, just before I go to bed.

Thoughts?

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Random Things #1

I anticipate posting a lot of randomness here, so I figured I would try numbering them. I think this will last for maybe two more posts before I forget where I am with the numbering. Anyway…

  1. I have managed to avoid screaming at people when Mr. Lyndsy and I go to the movies. People walk into crowded movies 45 minutes after they start  (thanks to reserving seats when you buy the tickets online) and spend a good portion of the movie talking to each other or doing something on their phones.
  2. I have handled more raw meat since I moved here than pretty much in my entire life. (No, that is not a sexual euphemism.) I hate handling raw meat, especially chicken. However, we are really enjoying chicken fried rice and it requires that I cut up the chicken. On a related note, I have managed to avoid chopping off any of my fingers in the process. Trust me that is no small feat.
  3. I figured out how to make the oven work. That sounds like it’s not a big deal, but I’m not used to cooking with gas. Mr. Lyndsy hadn’t used the oven before I got here (yeah, I have no idea how that hadn’t happened), and I really wanted to bake some cookies. We both stared at the oven expecting it to magically go on. He was getting ready to call his mom, when I figured out how to stick the fire stick into the oven while holding the temperature gauge down. I managed not to blow us up. And the cookies were delicious.
  4. I have learned that I can go 23 hours without sleeping before I am completely loopy. I don’t know if it’s that I’m not adjusting to the time change or if I just really hate mornings so much that the only way I can deal with being awake while they’re happening is if I haven’t been to sleep yet.  Not having to be at work in the mornings may not be the best thing to happen to me.
  5. Mr. Lyndsy and I are still happily married. The other day he said, sounding surprised, “We’re married!” Like he wasn’t there when we signed the paperwork?
  6. I have not yet melted despite the fact that the temperature is easily above 100 degrees during the day and we’ve gotten a nasty wave of humidity. I likened it to being stuck in some guy’s jock strap. Yes, it’s that unpleasant.
  7. I’m beyond excited that Cold Stone’s Cake Batter Ice Cream finally made its way here. Though I have acquired the ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid and I have discovered a recipe for cake batter ice cream. My dependence on Cold Stone for its deliciousness my finally be nearing an end. (Assuming I can actually get the proper drive assembly for the attachment that is. Apparently KitchenAid didn’t really mean it when they said that the attachment fit ALL stand mixers except two that no one has anymore.
  8. I make pretty damn good fresh pasta. Mr. Lyndsy and I ate 600 grams of it the other night. This does not bode well for my thighs or stomach (see above re: Cold Stone and cookies).
  9. Hanging laundry in your home to dry isn’t as weird as I thought it would be. Yeah, there aren’t any dryers here. So we hang the clothes in the living room to dry. We have racks, it’s not like I had to string up a line. Still, it’s a bit weird. On the plus side, things don’t seem like they’re fading quite as much.
  10. The people here really can’t drive. Amazingly enough I’ve only seen one accident and it wasn’t even while were on a major road. It was just a guy who can’t park his big ass SUV. Like two-thirds of the people here drive Toyota Land Cruisers. Given how most of them park and drive, they really ought to be driving a Fiat 500.

Land Cruiservs. Fiat 500

(Image)                                            (Image)

Anyway, wish me continued success on not setting our place on fire and keeping all my digits attached!

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Racism is Just a Red Herring

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white law enforcement officer in the small town of Ferguson, Missouri got me thinking. The United States has a long and well-documented history with racism (depending on the history books you read anyway – there are some which suggests that the slaves were paid). Black Americans have long suffered at the hands of white law enforcement. Michael Brown’s death is (possibly) just the most recent. Do not misunderstand me – I am NOT in any way trying to minimize what happened. This is an issue that needs to be investigated for a number of reasons: Whether the officer should be tried for murder, use of force by police generally, and what constitutes a justifiable basis for the use of lethal force, etc.

But at the end of the day, it’s really not about racism. You read that right. It’s not about racism.

And it’s not about homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, nationalism, or anyone else we “fear” or hate.

Eradicating racism won’t suddenly bring about world peace. If everyone in the world suddenly decided Christianity or Judaism or Islam were where it’s at, people would still fight. If everyone came around to realize that sexuality is just one element of who a person is and doesn’t actually say anything about the kind of person anyone is… you know where I’m going with this.

I had the realization just this weekend (and I’m a little disappointed in myself for not seeing it sooner) that the real issue is the “us vs. them” mentality that is so pervasive. Our natural inclination to divide the world into ourselves with people like us (based on whatever criteria we choose) against everyone who doesn’t fit into the little circle we’ve created. Race is an easy one because it’s so obvious. You just take a look at your face in the mirror and look around you as you go about your day. Religion, sexuality, and ethnic origin are harder, but that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions based on stereotypes and limited exposure/experience.

It’s important to note that the little circles are of our own making. We create them. They have meaning only because we give them meaning.

The thing that amuses me the most is the assumption that if someone shares A characteristic with us, that characteristics B, C, and D will follow. But they don’t always. I took a class in law school called Race and the Law. For a portion of the course we were divided into smaller groups to make discussion easier. I was grouped with other black students. When the professor walked by our group she said something to the effect of, “Now you all can discuss affirmative action without having to argue over the need for it.” She just assumed that because I’m black that I support affirmative action. The thing is, I don’t.

I don’t know why we create these dichotomies. To make ourselves feel more comfortable? And if so, more comfortable with what? To try to understand ourselves? Attempting to define ourselves by the qualities of others strips us of our individuality. When we do it, it means that our definition of our self is limited by who we meet. If we don’t see it, we can’t be it. Are we so fulfilled in life that we think we can get by not understanding probably more than half of the rest of the world or more? Do we do it to distance ourselves from others so that we don’t feel saddened when bad things happen? Does that make it some kind of self-preservation? Do we do it to feel more self-important?

Do we need to figure out the why? Can we find our way to a solution without getting to the root of why? I don’t even come close to having an answer for that.

What’s obvious is that focusing on differences will always yield results. We’re all special snowflakes. There are literally billions of ways to come up with an us vs. them. Perhaps by focusing on what we have in common, recognizing that those commonalities are far more important than what divides us, can lead us to a better place. At the end of the day, we’re all seeking the same things – love, acceptance, and validation of who we are. We don’t need an us vs. them for that.