For a while now I’ve had this tossing and turning feeling in my gut. It’s kept me up at night. I avoid certain areas because of it. I keep my headphones in while on the bus because of it. I connect with people better electronically than IRL because of it.
This world scares me. The weird part is I can’t exactly pinpoint when, how, or why I’m so frightened. I tell the world of social media I’m a loving, caring, charismatic person. Most of that statement is absolutely true, but when you get right down to it, how loving am I really?
When I ride the bus to and from work, my headphones buffer me from the world… when I get off the bus, my mace keeps the world at bay… if someone interrupts my music, I’m quick to dismiss them… if someone catches me in a brief headphoneless moment to use my phone, I get INCREDIBLY nervous.
I’m always in fear of someone robbing me. I want to believe that society is inherently good, but then the questions that come into play have a lot to do with:
society vs self.
Nature vs nurture.
Community vs character.
Tradition vs non-tradition.
Right vs wrong.
Throughout my childhood I moved around more times than I have fingers. Sometimes in the middle of the ghetto, sometimes to mostly upper class areas, but always moving. I continually had to learn to adapt. I got good at changing myself to fit in. I had become a bit of an expert at morphing who I was to adapt to the status quo.
And that was especially true in school; I had friends from MANY different backgrounds. I was never a part of any particular “clique”. I hung out with the theater kids, the geeks, the pretty people, the druggies, the hipsters, the fake ID people, the leaders. I continued to adapt to these groups, all the while figuring out who I was, taking bits and pieces from each group to form my own personal identity.
Once I moved out, I felt confident that I could survive. But then…that’s the ONLY thing I did. I simply survived. Lived from paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes incurring debt just to eat, to shop, to party.
What really baffles me though is I’m not the only one like this. We now live in a society where it’s scary to be different. You’re ostracized for speaking out. For being different. For refusing to conform. It’s hard talking to the homeless person on the bus.
What if they are crazy?
What if they steal from you?
What if they smell bad?
So many what ifs, but WHAT IF…
We changed our mindset. We changed our view of the world. We talk the talk and walk the walk. We put our money where our mouths are. What if instead we ask:
What if they are kind-hearted with a dark past and an interesting story to tell?
What if they simply need a friend?
What if they simply need a shower?
So many what ifs, and what’s your response going to be? It’s up to us – up to you, up to ME – to change the way we think, to be present in our lives, to give without expecting anything back.
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock