Last night, I was texting my 15 year old cousin. He was asking me about how to register for automotive classes at the local community college. After that discussion was pretty much wrapped up, he began sending me “funny” memes. I know a meme doesn’t exactly sound like something that would spark a philosophical and spiritual conversation that would actually awaken and inspire both myself and my cousin, but that is exactly what happened. Let me preface everything by explaining that my cousin is autistic, and he was raised by very close-minded individuals. He is surrounded by people who are misguided and closed off to the realities of the world. My cousin often looks to me and my younger sister for guidance and a new perspective on political, social, environmental, and universal ideologies. Back to the story, he sent me a meme that had the word “midget” in it (the meme overall seemed to be mocking little people). I just briefly said “Midget isn’t pc (politically correct), “little person” is what those individuals identify themselves as.” He responded by saying “they are all midgets” because one person (with dwarfism) hit him once and was a jerk. What ensued was a discourse that I believe was guided by a higher consciousness.
It began innocently enough by me simply stating that you can’t lump all other individuals who are similar to that one person in the same category. His judgment of little people would be equivalent of hating all African Americans because one black person was rude to you. I continued by saying that “there are assholes of every race, size, gender, sexuality and creed, but you can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch (cliché, I know).” He followed with another meme of someone in a damn hover round wearing a KKK hood and joked “How dare you live in the south and not be racist lol!” I suppose this was kind of the tipping point in the conversation, I knew this was going to be an opportunity to erase some of the years of racism he had been subjected to (I just didn’t know to what extent this educational opportunity would change things for the both of us).
I responded to his “joke” by saying, “racism is just inward fear expressed as outward hatred. And that hatred looks like stupidity because no person comes into this world with hatred. Hatred is an unnatural thing.”
“Unless you’re Pepaw” he joked. Pepaw is our great-grandfather. He is the poster child of misguided thoughts, unapologetic racism, homophobia, sexism, and misplaced nostalgia for years past.
“Again, his hatred and racism is learned. Fear disguised as hatred.” I continued.
“You and me both know Pepaw don’t fear anything.”
“People can’t accept things they don’t relate to easily. So things that are viewed as “different” are classified as bad. Ignorance and fear are the roots of hatred.”
“So your (sic) saying everyone is ignorant (?)” he questioned.
“I’m saying exactly what I typed out! Hatred is learned because people don’t try to understand things they can’t relate to. Thus, when a person is ignorant about the plight or lifestyle of another person or group of people, they dissociate from it and label it as “bad” thus, they “hate” it. When the hatred could be avoided if people simply put themselves in another’s shoes and learned from the perspective of that other person.”
“Ok there’s something you might know, might not know. I am a Very strong standing Republican/Nationalist. So it would probably kill me to be in others shoes for a day. I mean, I understand what your (sic) saying, but you know I kinda think like Pepaw.” I definitely was well aware of his political ideology and the way he was raised. Pepaw has really been the only male figure in his life, aside from my own father.
“I think you have the potential to think like yourself instead of how you were “raised” to think. It’s a big world out there. Don’t shut yourself off to it. Everyone is different. But we are all human. We all love, hurt, cry, and bleed the same. You can love your country and have strong morals, but you should never avoid trying to understand the viewpoints of others. You can learn a lot about yourself when you look outside yourself.”
“How does one look outside themselves (?)” I wasn’t exactly sure if his question was sincere or genuine, but I continued. This is definitely the point where I feel like my words were coming from a higher consciousness. I believe we are all connected to divine energy, and when the moment is right and necessary, we can tap into that energy to share its power.
“Just try to see things three dimensionally instead of two dimensionally. Nothing is black and white. If a person is a jerk about one thing, stop and ask yourself why they could be acting out that way. Maybe “Timmy” acts like he hates women because his mom beat him when he was a child. His hatred of women is a self defense mechanism. He doesn’t actually hate women. He is hurt by the things his mother did to him as a child, and in turn, uses anger and violence like a shield to deflect the hurt he feels. There are always two sides to every coin. Just like how a lot of people think Muslims are terrorists. No, the Muslim faith actually condemns violence. Jihad is a radical branch of Islam that does not correspond to the actual teachings of the religion, yet they make Muslims look bad. It would be the equivalent of an alien landing on Earth and meeting a Jehovah’s Witness and thinking that ideology is the viewpoint of all Christians. Life is never black and white. The world does not revolve around a single person. We all inhabit this planet and we all have a unique story and life. Blocking ourselves from trying to understand others does nothing for us, for the planet, or for the glory of God. God is love. Universal love. Anything that is not a source of light does not come from divine providence. Anything dark comes from darkness. And if we try to understand that darkness, we can sometimes bring light to it. And heal the darkness in ourselves and in others.”
“Wow, you just blew my mind.”
“Is that sarcasm? Or are you serious?” I really was not sure if my message was clear or even getting through to him.
“Serious. I mean wow that had a lot of heart in it.”
“Well share the message with the world! This world needs all the goodness and light it can get. I am a really sarcastic, smartass, hardass person on the surface, but deep down I genuinely do care about everyone and want everyone to experience love and happiness. Because that is the entire point of life: To feel love and to give love. That is the “superpower” of the human species. We can love.”
“True, and I will (share the message). I actually did open my mind a little this year. I have a gay friend.”
“That’s good! A person’s sexual preference in no way defines that individual’s character. A person’s actions do that. It’s good to have a diverse group of friends. That’s just another way we can open our hearts and our minds to the lives and perspectives of others.”
“I mean, I realized he was a really nice person.”
“Which is what matters. A person’s character. I don’t give a shit if a person is purple, married to a plastic plant and only has six fingers – if they are a good person, I want to be around them.”
“Yeah, same here. But it’s getting hard to find good people in this world.”
“It is. Which is why we have to be sources of light. Like spiritual lighthouses. When other people see the goodness in you, they flock to it. Then they want some for themselves. You have the potential to teach others how to find the light within themselves. When you give love and respect to others, you get it in return, and the universe gets it as well. Life is a cycle and a circle. Everything is connected. A huge chain reaction. Our choices decide our fate. When we choose goodness and love, we make the world a better place.”
“Wow, you’ve gave (sic) me a lot to think about. I’m going to go to bed and let you know tomorrow what I concluded. Well goodnight I love you.”
“Haha just be the light and let love guide your choices. That’s what life boils down to. I hope you sleep well. Goodnight, I love you.”
If you’ve read this far, brownie points to you. If this conversation felt contrived, constructed or pretentious, I apologize. Not because of what was said, but because you’ve missed the point. This conversation genuinely has inspired me such a great deal. I have always been an individual who hides her true feelings behind sarcasm and a “no fucks given” facade. I have always known the things that I shared with my cousin, but I have failed greatly in truly living in that fashion. Last night has awoken something that I have suppressed to the point of dormancy within me. I want to have more conversations like this with anyone who is willing to listen. I want to be a source of light in this world. I want to share my love and passion with the world. We all have the potential to do good in this life and change our fates for the better.
I am not a religious person. But I do believe in a universal energy, a “God source.” I believe we all stem from this point of energy and our actions, when positive, have the power to strengthen that energy source and produce positive, residual waves – and conversely, our negative thoughts and actions weaken this energy source and in turn, weaken the universe as a whole; breeding hatred and violence. Everything in the universe is connected. Life is a circle of dominoes. The beautiful thing is that each one of us has the power to decide if each fallen domino will have a positive or negative reaction on this life. Choose love. Choose understanding. Choose light. Share your divine energy with those around you. We all have the “God source” within us.
Live your divine truth and watch the world illuminate – one spark at a time
It feels as though I have been coming to terms with a lot of things in my life lately. Big changes have been taking place in my life - by my own doing and by the actions and choices of others. My ex moved out of my house and I moved back home for the summer. We are having trouble navigating our relationship, because now we are no longer roommates. The friendship is not one out of necessity, and since I am no longer forced to interact, I am finding it difficult to want to spend any time with him at all. I know that he is heartbroken, but the choice to move out was his. The breakup that transpired was supposed to be mutual. I don't think I should be feeling guilty for not wanting a friendship with him - our relationship ended for a reason, he was toxic in my life. I don't think his influence would be any different just as friends. I was honestly so relieved when he decided to move out; it was as though a huge weight had been lifted. The months of strain caused by living with an ex is not something I want to ever experience again. Since moving back home for the summer, I am faced with a new challenge. I moved back hoping to get closer to my younger sister. Living three hours away has made it difficult to be close. She is currently in a very happy relationship - in fact, her boyfriend is my roommate. My relationship with my sister has been seriously strained.
I will admit that I am an individual who lives for nostalgia. I romanticize the past. I miss being close to my sister and not having to share her. She was always my biggest confidant. But now, I feel like I am forced to face things completely on my own. Being alone scares the shit out of me! There, I admit it. I am scared shitless of being alone with myself and my own thoughts. I've never been someone who surrounded herself with lots of friends. I have always confided in my sister and in whomever I was dating. I am realizing that I use people as crutches. I am scared to dig deeply into my own psyche. What if I don't like the person I am? I think I use my sister and my significant other as crutches because those individuals are a bit biased. They are emotionally obligated to love me no matter what I throw their way. And in turn, I realize that I treat these people like shit. And furthermore, I never actually fully open up to them. I expose fragments of myself to paint a full picture for them. But no one, no one gets the full me. I don't even know who she is.
Since I am finding myself in the most alone state I have ever been in this summer, I am using this time for self-reflection. I am determined to find myself and nurture my spirit. Years of conformity and withheld information has tarnished the inner workings of my being. I feel like a corrupted computer file. I have years of incorrectly written code to sort through. It is a running joke in my family that I am going to end up old and alone. I don't want to be alone (see above deep seeded fear of being alone). I am aware, that I will end up alone if I don't find out who I actually am and what I truly desire out of life. Love is about vulnerability and I have never been one to allow myself to be vulnerable. I am scared of opening up to people, especially new people. I've clung too tightly to the past. I have romanticized past loves. I have villainized past loves. I am always putting blame on other people. My feelings of loneliness stem from me and me alone. I could not allow myself to be exposed. Exposure is weakness. I have a fighter's mentality - strike first, as questions later. I know that I can come on too strongly to people who do not know me. I know I am a very misunderstood person and that is largely because I barely know who the true me is. I will find her though (I am developing a certain set of skills haha).
When I look at my own reflection, I want to see someone who is confident and self-aware. In order to do that, I can no longer suppress aspects of my being and I can't ignore the messages my brain sends me. I am determined to break down the hard exterior I have built around myself. I want to be vulnerable. I want to feel. Truly feel. In the past, especially with love, I always thought loving someone less than they loved you was power. It is actually just weakness. I want to love people completely and unafraid. I am aware this will make me an easy target for heartbreak and disappointment, but maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I need to feel emotions I have avoided for as long as I can remember. I struggle with empathy and sympathy - those emotions are for weak minded people (or so I thought). My resolution for the summer to come to terms with being alone and allow vulnerability into my life. Once I let my guard down, maybe wonderful things will enter my life. Only time will tell. But, for the first time in my life, I feel in control. The choices I make from here on out will not be based in fear or secrecy - they will all stem from my desire to live my life as authentically as I possibly can.
Lindsey. Twenty-Five. Currently pursuing a degree in Professional Writing & Film Studies.