So this is a topic that comes around every once in a while and seemingly more frequently in the last few years. On one side you have the Pro Gun people talking about the constitution as if they wrap their entire lives up in the holiness and legalness of the document. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. You know their line. On the other side you have outraged parents talking about how we have very weak gun laws and they want the Government to make laws to change societies problems. When I started thinking about this topic I thought I would have so much to talk about but when you get right down to it here is the dilemma, guns are too easy to obtain legally but way easier to obtain illegally. From where I sit, better gun laws are probably a good idea but PARENTING is where the real problem lies. Yes I said it. Some 64% of mass shootings since 1982 have been white men looking for attention. It is difficult to talk about this in politics since most of the politicians are white men. I am from a generation where a parent stayed home and got all in my business about everything from teachers to school work to friends, both good and bad, and every other aspect of my life. At the time this seemed excessive and annoying but in retrospect it was great. I never felt alone or left out or whatever. Today we have more and more families working where both parents have their careers and work way over 40 hours each to “provide” for their children while nannies do the real parenting. This is so selfish and incomprehensible. Why have kids if you still want to put all of your focus on your own goals? Kennesaw Ga back in the 80’s made it a law for all heads of households to have a gun registered and keep ammunition for said gun. This town routinely is selected as one of the nations top 10 and 25 best place to raise a family and for safety(Google it). This exactly proves my point. Guns are not the thing making this town safe or homie, it’s the fact that everyone there is on board with the safety of their neighbors.
We can have arguments going all over the place on this but we all know that we live in a very selfish ADD world where we want it all and don’t want to sacrifice anything to get it. I’m not sure where this entitlement came from but we are in the middle of it and we have to find a way to remember that the American dream is not a dream of self righteousness but one of hard work and sacrifice to achieve a way of life and piece of mind.
I’m not feeling a story today. Vulnerability is present. It’s a strange feeling. I like to think I’m not concerned with control but I want to be something I’m obviously not and it’s very transparent. Why can’t I simply just be? Why must I push when I know how see-through I am? I guess the bigger question is why, when faced with someone who can see right through me, do I proceed to try to hide behind words and rhetoric. Am I so used to people so about themselves that when I am faced with someone genuine I become the person only about myself? Yes is obviously this answer! I want to be like her. I want to be driven and be able to see past my life. I feel small and insignificant around her yet strangely comfortable and at home. Am I in love? Am I envious or jealous? Or simply just enamored? I don’t know but I feel nervous and scared and I can’t wait to see her again! When does life come through and put me on a path? Is this a path? Is it “the” path or just another learning experience? I don’t know but I feel nervous and scared. Why do I so want her approval? Why is my approval not enough? Maybe because I don’t approve of myself and who I am and how I act. Is this a story or just me being vulnerable? My brain is twisted. It’s hard to focus on anything. Wow I’m a mess. Definitely not a story just a random scattering of my panic. My heart is racing. Where is my strength? My assuredness? This is not a story but I’d be so glad to turn the page!!!
Well it’ been a great trip back to where I grew up. I had my 102nd family reunion and I’m marrying off a good friend. That being said I’ve had lots of time with family and working locally in the community. It’s reminded me really who I am and where I’m truly from. As we get older we view our past through the lens of our memory, which is corrupted so to speak by emotion and nostalgia. I walk through my local square and see the memorial to Confederate soldiers erected in 1906 literally right beside tiles in the sidewalk dedicated to “famous” Television shows and movies that were filmed here including “The Dukes of Hazard” television series. Such a bizarre sight of history and unique sense of pride.
Spending time with my family was great. My aunt just turned 85 and for the first time in years we all got together to celebrate and reminisce. Where I’m going with this is to say for the first time I think in my life I was able to embrace my entire upbringing through adult eyes. From the racism that most obviously happened here to my family growing up in that era and not passing hate on to me and letting me make my mind up on how the town and community would challenge and inspire me. We all come from places that have it’s own opportunities and challenges that we either spend time embracing or spend time denying. The reality is that all of that makes us who we are. The good and the bad. I guess you have to be comfortable with your life to be able to see all of that but it is very liberating to be able to understand it all and how it molded you.
I would like to challenge everyone to truly soak in everything that is who you are and where you are from. The bad is probably more impactful than the good but all are part of our DNA. As a people we have become very entitled and righteous but at some point we have lost our pride of self. I think that is because we are denying who we really are and how that affects our decisions and we spend so much time wanting to showcase the parts we have worked so hard to create. The problem is you can build a beautiful house but if the foundation isn’t solid all is for naught.
So I pretty much think I have seen and heard most of the simply outrageous things in my life but today I was smacked in the face with something I just needed to share.
A high school friend was telling a story of her son and a friend sitting in a courtyard before school meditating to try to prepare their minds for school. For most of us this sounds like something we all should have done rather than large amounts of not preparing that me and my friends all worked hard at doing. Anyway, another kid saw them and turned them into the school administration as worshiping the Devil! First off wtf and second and thirdly WTF!! They get scolded by some uninvolved administrator and went about their day but before her story was over, she rather nonchalantly, as if common place even, mentioned that not long ago someone judged her yoga practice because yoga is….. wait for it….. “of the Devil!” Seriously?!?! I realized right then that in no way can I let that go so here we are.
I have wondered today what makes people lash out and be so quick to judge especially in the name of christianity where everyone is taught that only God can judge. This sort of thing is not new and I get that, nor is it exclusively a Southern thing btw, but I feel as if some just need a reason to judge others so they can feel better about themselves. Why must so many try to remain so small? The world is a big place and much much older than any of our families. Why is it that education or expansion of the mind is viewed as bad at some point? I mean by that logic, no one would have followed Jesus cause he was saying some new shit for his time(there are many holes in that statement but for the sake of this argument let’s let my timeline and actions just be as to not derail my point). When I was a kid I remember the stories of bands and devil worship. KISS meant Knights In Satan’s Service and AC/DC meant Anti Christ Devils Children. I think someone even came up with one for Van Halen but I think it was too many words for even haters to remember. And besides everyone loved Diamond Dave and EVH. Anyway, who took the time to come up with this and work so hard pre-internet to get the word out. The world takes all kinds and fear should not be our factor to judge anything. This fear is there to push us out of our safety zone to grow as a person and as a people. I’d like to think we all have the capacity to grow and move away from hard lines in some of our positions. As my mom would say, “How boring would this world be if everyone always agreed and thought the same?” It’s as true now as it was then. I’d like to challenge all of us to find something we feel strongly on and find someone with a different point of view and at least entertain it if for nothing else to just know that there are some out there that are not on your wavelength. These people probably have an impact on your life by either buying a product you make or sell or frequent an establishment you are a part of. Don’t we owe it to our kids and our planet to at least try to get to know our neighbor?
Lie to me! What is truth other than some sort of disguised weird motivation? Why is the truth so important to hear? Isn’t truth just our perception of the facts? The truth sets us free we are told. Does it set us free to hear it? Or does it encapsulate us in our thoughts wondering why we didn’t know this truth? Does it make others bad for protecting us from certain truths? Why do we think the facts are so important? Do they wake us up to ourselves or push us away from the reality we are trying to create for ourselves. Questions questions! Do we really need to hear answers? Isn’t reality ours to create? Why yes it is! Damn this notion of the truth. And why do others spring this truth on us? Why do we spring the truth onto others? Selfishness I say and no other reason. Spare me your psychoanalysis. I love my reality. Don’t destroy it because of your own guilt. If you really are paying attention to me as you say, do me a favor and lie to me!
My brain is not working today. How is that a thing? Every time I try to focus my mind sees a shinny object. I feel locked in thought and I can’t get out yet my mind is blank. It’s like getting owned by a wave wondering when it will spit me out for a small sip of air. You are certain that it will but the panic of not knowing when makes it hard to breath. Why does my brain play possum? I know it’s in there. I know it wants to come out and play. But yet it hides and makes me play guessing games as to what I should be thinking or doing. Who is really in charge of me when my brain is being stubborn? And why is he confused if he is in charge? Why won’t my brain just come back and hang out? It’s like there is a secret handshake that I forget sometimes. Why must it tease me? I’ve been a good boy. Wait, is trying to talk to my own brain weird? And if so, is the fact that it doesn’t respond make it even weirder? Damn weird one way communicating brain. Stop being on strike. Who authorized this leave of absence? Not sure if you know this but you are in my body and you work for me. I guess I can’t fire you though so you win this round. Well played. I’ll just continue to coast until you’re back. Come back brain! Please clock back in so I can continue thinking about stuff.
Someone told me once art comes from within. But once tainted by an objective other that itself it ceases to be art. That’s heavy and somehow pure and simple. Are we all not works of art? And don’t we lose bits of our true selves every time we try to change for someone or something else? I don’t know. I feel deeply connected to myself then something comes along and I feel I need to change or adapt. That has never worked and it has never stopped me from trying over and over again. To what end is some part of me trying to sabotage another part? Isn’t happiness the true goal? Enlightenment maybe? So I must struggle to complete the journey. I must challenge the stubborn side of me every day. Why is it so hard to convince yourself something you know is correct? I don’t know. Who does? And would I believe them? What is enlightenment anyway? How do I achieve something that’s hard to explain. I know someone. Never in her own way. She walks among us, with us but somehow a different light illuminates her path. I long to be near her. Close by to her. I want to share that light. But I’m afraid. Afraid I will fade under it’s glow. Art comes from within. It can never be tainted by an objective. To truly join and stand in her light I must shine just as bright. Just as strong and as brilliant. Art comes from within. Never ever sacrifice. Never let it cease to be.
So I’m not much of an inspirational kind of guy but somehow I have friends that want to come to me and tell me their woes and then look for some type of guidance. I’m not really sure why me except maybe I listen and I usually can come up with a relevant story to tell but it happens. Inspiration is a strange thing. For me it comes from pressure. Or when my short comings get pointed out by someone I respect. Some need a tidal wave of these “inspirational quotes” that are offered to us via social media on like a million spots. Although seldom if ever do you see someone successful posting one of these gems which is a little suspect to me. Anyway, now that I am drunk with verbal power from my blog I figure I will tell everyone a little secret that someone told me when I was 17 and boo hoo’n from some oh so very important high school relationship. “Everything works out in the end. And if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.” Now I have lived by this my entire life. At times I get a little to relaxed knowing that the change is coming rather than run and go make it happen but over all good words. Now this “secret” is like the weight loss secret which simple is burn more calories than you take in. Or the financial planning secret of spend less than you make or financial planning for the future of spending much less than you make. As people we somehow don’t like to simplify things. There needs to be some magic pill or mysterious words that right our out of control ship. Which is a curious notion by the way. I think that complexity makes us feel less oblivious and let’s us off the hook for not seeing the obvious. I don’t know but at the end of the day we all seem to be looking for something that we don’t naturally know how to find. That last key to life we think no one told us about that holds all of our happiness and takes away all of our stress. I’m not really sure but I’ll end with this, there was a song lyric that has stuck with me most of my life. Well two actually. The first says ” it’s not having what you want but wanting what you’ve got.” The other, “just because you’re winning don’t mean you’re the lucky one.” Somewhere in these words there is something real. Something special. Turns out I guess I do like inspirational words. Whatever it takes I guess to get our brains firing and thinking in ways we previously thought we couldn’t.
I want to remember youth. Days gone spent by the ocean. But I can’t. Memories have faded like a poster in the sun. The gist is still there but the color and power seem lost. I used to see the ocean as the end of the world. Now it’s where I call home. Was I really so small then or was I able to see the world in a different way? I’m filled with peace and tranquility but angst and urgency at the same time. Why? What am I missing? What have I lost? Where has my youth gone? My sense of fun adventure. I’m so cool these days and so incredibly boring. But yet the waves keep coming in. Unfazed by my years with no idea I’ve changed. Earthquakes happen, gravity happens, the moon happens but the waves keep coming. Strong in their resolve. The ocean is in a constant state of renewal yet somehow it’s always the same and reliable. Maybe that’s why I like it. You can always count on it. I’m envious and struggle to find what I am constant with. My parents seem to have it. So did Clinton and my grandparents. What am I missing? I have all of the ingredients but yet like the ocean, I am in constant renewal mode without the steady reliable tide coming in. Life seems to always be happening around me and my part seems relevant only in retrospect. I seldom feel as if I’m living but always remembering life as a magical ride that I was once on. I want it to be magical in real time. But not with the feeling of being out of control. Earthquakes and the moon be damned! I want to have them all and still roll in like the tide. I see the ships on the horizon. Are they coming or going? Hard to say but they are sailing. That is certain. Not tied up at bay but loose in the ocean with a purpose and direction but with a plan that is constantly changing because of the ocean. Because the earth is constantly moving. But always the tide comes home. Earthquakes and ships be damned. The tide always comes home!
Not so long ago I posted my thoughts on a social media page about the Confederate Flag situation. As a Southern man, I saw this flag literally daily some way or another. Now I am not racist nor does that flag make me angry but the gist of my post was how the South lost the war that that flag was representative of and it seemed odd that keeping it around in a government setting was still a thing. There was tons on controversy and ultimately it was put to a vote in South Carolina and the flag came down. Hooray for moving forward. But then things go too far and that is what brings me here today. I have friends, social media friends anyway, in the South that will tell you that the confederate flag is their heritage and they give all of the reasons why they aren’t racist and the world is just too PC. Maybe. Then I have the same set of friends out here on the west coast that say all southerns are a little racist for not seeing that the flag is a symbol of hate. Also Maybe. But here is the problem, The Dukes of Hazzard has been removed from syndication and all of the toys have been pulled from shelves. Now If you are someone that doesn’t care then you just aren’t involved in what is really right and wrong. What does a television show that is free to watch and not watch have to do with anything. Like it or not the Stars and Bars is a part of our history. And if you think no blood was spilled in the name of the Union flag(our current one) then you are mistaken. If you think the civil war was about slavery, you are mistaken. Also If you think the removing toys and a show is acceptable, you are, that’s right, once again mistaken. The problem with something offensive is that it is learned and not inherent. We have been taught to take offense to something rather than learn how to understand what is really going on and move forward. Being “offended” is often as offensive as the thing that is offending you. I was lucky enough to not be taught how to be offended but instead to pay attention to the reality around me and try to find the truth in things without rushing to judgement. I feel as if this is an easy thing to do but again it’s because of how I was reared. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that yes, state or government sponsored symbolism of racist or offensive things are bad. However, subscribing to what I like to call the lowest common denominator theory of making sure no one ever can possibly be offended is equally bad. Passion drives us all and it is a good thing. Hate is bad but passion is good. The difference is subtle sometimes and is usually case by case but it’s there. If you truly are arguing or discussing about right and wrong, you will need to be able to, not only tell the difference, but care about the difference if you are trying to get a resolution.
I’ll end with this if you think my issue with them Duke boys is ridiculous…. You can go right now and buy any number of different Jesus action figures and any sunday morning there are numerous Christian shows. In my opinion these are just as offensive to someone of a different relegion. Why can I buy a Jesus figurine but not Daisy Duke? Why, if I’m not christian would I want this programming messing up my sunday funday? As ridiculous as it seems, what will you do when something you think is harmless is removed because it makes someone of a different background and culture slightly less uncomfortable. We, as a community first and Country second, need to be more acceptable and tolerant of others. Especially if we don’t agree. For that is how we make progress.