Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Dealing With the Election
I had a post written up for today, but I'll save it for next week. I'm going to write something else now.
I lift every day, and have the calluses to prove it. I batter my body running, swimming, and biking. I've been training martial arts for most of my life. I don't fear pain; I embrace it. I rode a motorcycle for many years. I own several guns. I think lumberjacks are awesome. A kilt is part of my regular wardrobe.
I've hurt people. For a long time I was selfish, judgmental, and self-centered. I drank, I took advantage of women, and I constantly sought pleasure. I didn't have many values and mostly cared for myself. I was an asshole.
Given that background, here is the most important thing I've discovered about life. It is this.
A lot of my friends are suffering today. They are sad, scared, and angry. Fear and anger is a big reason why Trump was elected. But those same friends are what help me get through today, and every other day. The people I love is what brings joy to my life. I know many of them are in pain and I'm sorry for that. But I want them - I want you - to know that you are the ones who make this world amazing.
I didn't delete any friends today. I don't care how anybody voted. Because unless someone purposefully injures me, I'm not going to kick them out of my life for their opinions, or difference thereof. I've done that before, and the only person it hurt was me.
I'm not a woman. I'm not African American, or Hispanic, or Muslim. I'm not gay or bisexual (although sometimes people think I am!). It would be unfair of me to pretend to understand what these folks are going through today. And I don't mean to trivialize their feelings. Some of them have very legitimate fears. The suffering they go through comes from a lack of understanding and a lack of compassion from others.
I don't want to contribute to that pool of anger or close-mindedness. Judging someone for how they voted isn't much different from judging them for the color of their skin, their religion, or their sexual orientation. Maybe you don't agree and that's OK. Maybe you feel their vote was a direct statement against who you are. We're all human. We're not inherently evil. We don't do things out of deliberate hatred or spite. Confusion, fear, anger, misguidedness, yes. But I choose to believe that we're inherently loving.
I get scared too. I don't know what my future holds, and that's frightening. I push myself every day to the brink of injury, and that's frightening. I often feel alone, and that's frightening. But I remind myself every day that what rescues me from that fear is love. The love I feel for others and the love they generously give to me.
Love may not fix all of the world's ills. But many of the problems out there come from a lack of compassion. A lack of sympathy. A lack of appreciation. It's easier to dismiss someone who's different than to try to understand them. It's easier to think of someone as "bad" than to say, "how am I similar to this person." Because when I see rage, pain, and bitterness, I see a reflection of how I feel sometimes. I'm done lying to myself. I'm not going to pretend that I'm better. I'm not.
But I want to love. I want love in my life. And I hope that, by some small measure, I can help others feel better by giving them my love.
Thank you for reading.