People often times refer to America as being the greatest country in the world. By people, I mean of course, Americans. Now I could spew statistics or rankings all day but when it comes down to it, the problem is simple, it’s the people. The problem with being blindly confident that your country is the best in the world while having no real knowledge of why is that people become arrogant, cocky, and close minded. America is way behind several other countries in education, opportunity, and over all freedom. That’s right, freedom. The word that everyone wants to vomit out anytime they are met with a legitimate question or reason about why America simply isn’t the greatest anymore. Hell, it’s not even that great. America is way up on the list of number of incarcerated citizens per capita, national and person debt, number of obese citizens, and most allowed genetically modified food that has been proven harmful. One of the biggest problems with America is the intent behind which it was founded. People talk about our founding fathers being so great and America in its golden age being so much better than it is now, but was it? Columbus used the guise of religious conversion to gain funding and support on his exploration to this continent. He was told that the first man to physically see the new land would gain a new title and wealth. As it turns out the man who first saw the new land was killed by colobus for “mutiny” so that Columbus himself could gain the title and wealth. There is now documented proof that despite the Native Americans looking up to the explorers, and being very trusting and easily persuaded as a result, Columbus would kill any Native Americans that didn’t simply want to give up everything they owned or work for free. He was unbiased as to whether they were men, women, or children. This is just one example of one of the men who started this country moving. We also have a national holiday for him. That alone says a lot about our society. We came from greed and lack of empathy or concern for human life. Why would it be surprising that we’ve come full circle and have been for decades. Trump and Clinton are wonderful examples of this. They care little to none about anyone who doesn’t directly benefit them. They are consumed with the idea of greed and power and will say and do anything in order to gain more of either. One is a dictator and one is an extortionist. Both are liars and both couldn’t care less about America except how it relates to their title and pockets. Trump has declared bankruptcy several times over, has been sued for defrauding investors, and has almost always attempted to settle out of court to keep the publicity down. He’s said on national television that he’s physically attracted to his daughter, and listening to him speak is like listening to an angry child. Clinton is currently under federal investigation for crimes against this very country. She’s possibly the most bought and paid for presidential candidate there has ever been. Yet these seem to be the two candidates most widely backed by american society. Again, it says a lot about the people here. The people are not a result of poor leadership, the poor leadership being allowed to remain in control are the result of the people. We are a country of greedy, apathetic, falsely confident, prideful, ethnocentric, close minded, uneducated, and simply shit people who are terrified of any form of responsibility for their thoughts, words, or actions. America is full of pathetic children who need to be thrown out into the real world to see how things really work. America is full of politicians who need to be thrown into the sea to understand what being truly powerless feels like. Elections aren’t nearly as big of a deal as the media wants to make them. Elections don’t matter much at all. Things will continue down the same path. The numbers are not in favor of the intelligent, rational, logical, or observant. It is too late for America to come back. There will not be some great awakening or revolution. There will be spiraling into the gutter of the future. I don’t find myself caring about who the next president will be nearly as much things that are happening at a global level. I become agitated when people complain, argue, or bitch about current politics. This is the way things have been since this country started. What is the point of acting surprised or making a big deal out of any of it? Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. People seem to lack the ability to understand that politics are not personal. I’ve grown weary of the bickering, the complaining, the arguing, all of it. I’ve begun to largely question the intelligence of those who can’t have a difference of opinion with anyone else without making it personal or even understanding what is truly being discussed. Alas, people are people and this country is this country. Nothing has really changed and I’m doubtful it ever will.
There’s a song by Bon Iver called “Skinny Love.” If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s beautiful. There’s something beautifully tragic about love. When love is lost, the ties cut, and the blood spilled, love is just as overwhelming as when it was alive and well. That’s the danger of love. It’s the most powerful thing known to man but it can be the greatest feeling you’ve experienced or the worst. It can foster life or bring death. It can and will bring you to your knees at some point in your life. Love is an absolute. It doesn’t fade or die off. Love is like a magnet. It requires two poles to pull separates together, otherwise it’s empty and grasping at nothing. Love is a dangerous and blinding force. It can make us do things we never expected and even then look back in disbelief. Love is the most wonderful and terrifying thing in the world. Having experienced it myself, I can’t say it’s always worth the risk, but that’s the thing about love, it doesn’t always give us a that choice.
The cruelest irony of all is that of the love story. The bitter truth is that the people we love the most, have the most potential to hurt us. The people that we give the most to, have the most to take from us. This is a constant and dangerous game we play in our lives. How can one truly love without being vulnerable? Yet, how can one truly love and use that vulnerability against someone? It is my humblest opinion that if one does in fact truly love another, they not only won’t, but can’t use those gifts given to them against their intended. If they at any point do, did they truly love? Were they mistaken? Was it infatuation? What causes the heart to become selfish to a level that it disregards the mental and emotional well being of someone close to it? People can sling blame and point the finger at past experiences, personal shortcomings, or a slew of other excuses but when it comes down to it, it is simply the lack of love that allows or causes pain in another. Many are not self-aware enough to even realize this but the ones who are have a responsibility to not let it happen. The most tragic part of this story is that more often than not it’s the ones who have been hurt the most who perpetuate the pain. They know the pain yet don’t take the required action or responsibility to end the cycle. This is one of the most tragic cycles of the human condition I’ve ever experienced. To the ones who have been hurt and made a decision to end the cycle I salute you. You, my friends are the lights of a world covered in shadow. This story is yet another that though I understand it, I’ll never truly comprehend it. I’m glad I don’t however, because if I found a way to understand it fully I feel like I would have to had justified it in my head. I am in no way advising that anyone should stop getting close to people or allowing themselves to love, but I urge you to be careful, as hard as that may be. I myself I’ve fallen prey to the swift fall into someone’s arms and I, better than most, understand how difficult it can be to take a step back and think when someone offers open arms and a kind heart. Learn from mine and your own experiences, though hard as it may be. Life is a series of ups and downs and then you die. The most important part of life is to make sure that no matter how much you love anyone, you make sure that your happiness is based in yourself. Once you’ve done that no one can ever take it from you. Understand the difference between happiness as a reaction to circumstances and happiness as a state of being. No matter how much anyone can offer, you have to make sure you they do not hold the key to the door that is your happiness. The happiest married couple I know once told me that as much as they loved each other and enjoyed being a part of each other’s lives, if something happened and they found themselves apart or alone, that life would go on. Tough as it may be, life would go on and they would find happiness not in another, but within themselves again. That, I believe, is one of the reasons they are the most happy, successful, and wonderfully married couple I have ever met. They know this one key element that so few others seem to. So to conclude my rant, I urge you to seek out the parts of yourself and things in life that make you happy and surround yourself mentally and physically with them.
We are all born sick. We all suffer. We all struggle. What so few people fail to realize is that it’s not what we’ve been through, or even what we are currently going through that defines us. Some people have gone through hell and back just to survive and yet most of the time you’d never know it because they don’t let it define them. Some people have had most of their life extremely easy with minor problems here and there and yet they try and use every single hardship, no matter how small, as a crutch. They lean on them and say “But you don’t know what I’ve been through,” when confronted about their actions. This difference, this decision, it is what makes us who we are. Do we sit back and try to get pity for the things that have happened to us or do we stand up and say “I’ve been hurt, betrayed, abused, lied to, and dragged through most of my life kicking and screaming but that doesn’t mean I can’t control where I step next.” We are not our problems or even our past. We are who we are, good and bad. We alone decide what is next for us. Every step, another conscious effort to move forward, stand still, or fall back. Those who have been through the most, those that are broken, yet still decide to love and keep moving forward, this are the rare gems. Those are the strongest people around. They usually never even know it, but that’s one of the things that makes them great. They just need someone around to hold their hand and remind them that their future is so much brighter than their past. Life simply isn’t about what has happened. It’s about what will happen. History only repeat itself when no one remembers it.
After years and years of being treated terrible by certain family members, betrayed by friends, cheated on by girlfriends, and being exposed to the depravity that is society, I’ve become cynical, bitter, hateful, closed off, and untrusting. I developed these traits as a direct reaction to the negativity I’ve experienced and witnessed. In some ways I’m more obvious about how I feel but in others I’ve kept it hidden. Only those closest to me have been enlightened as to my daily struggle with how I view most people. Having the ability to read people to a deep extent is a very draining thing. I see their core, I see their intent, and I see who they are. I see who they really are. Up until this point in my life I had been so aware of the negative in people that I’ve started to hate them. Truly hate them. I’ve become disgusted at who they are, the way they treat others, and the intent of their actions and pursuits. Tonight (02/15/2015) however, all this changed. I witnessed an individual who contained the most pure sincerity, humbleness, zeal, love, and heart that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was all I had not to be brought to tears immediately. Our interactions were brief, less than 5 minutes. In that time I saw more sincerity and kind-heartedness than the previous 26 years of my life. It gave me a glimpse of what is out there. Of what I could be. Of what we all could be. It showed me that there are still people worth helping out there. It made me want to find a way to change, to alter my views. I implore you to do the same. This was the most eye-opening, life changing experience I’ve ever had. I’m still somewhat in shock and trying to process everything. I don’t expect this will be a quick realization or change but it will be dramatic. I’m not saying I’m just going to magically start seeing the world through rose colored lenses, but I am saying if someone as cynical, bitter, and hateful as myself can take a step back and re-evaluate their entire set of views, so can you. Do whatever it takes to be happy. Don’t care what anyone else says or thinks. Search out happiness through career, education, social interactions, and simply in anything you can. Cherish the good people in your life. Don’t be afraid to cut off the negative influences or inputs to your life. Talk to someone about your goals, realize them. Make plans, set goals, take chances, and live.