I hear a lot of talking.
Whether it be in the form of Facebook posts, Twittering, bar fights, or baseball caps with slogans printed on them. Everyone has a gigantic stick up their ass, a big ego, and a loud mouth, paired with an audacity to ask, “where did we go wrong?”
I’ve done my part to stay out of politics. Not because I am uneducated, uninterested, or unmotivated. But staying out, staying away from the news (despite being a Journalism major), and staying un-opinionated (on politics, not life) has given me something I feel a lot of you “LOOK AT ME, I KNOW THINGS” people seem to lack: perspective.
My mother has never been one for strong political views. My father probably was, but he dropped dead before I could hit puberty and give a shit, so I’ve grown up in what we’ll call a rather uninfluenced environment.
I’ve been born and raised in the Bay, where diversity runs rampant, but spent my “politically formative” years of college in what seems to be the rich-white person capital of the world. I talk a lot, I think a lot, but underneath all the bells & whistles of my exuberant personality…I’ve been watching. I’ve been listening.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Americans truly think social media matters. Okay, partially yes. It has become a platform for communication, education, connection, etc. Believe me, I get a nice little ego-boost when I tweet something sassy and gain publicity from it as well. But it seems like social media has become the end-all-be-all not only for politics, but for society. Like ISIS is going to see you changing your profile picture to a flag and be like, “Oh yea. That’s the one. That’s the profile picture that shows me what I did was wrong, and I will stop now.” I mean honestly, people seem to be more focused on Instagram likes and YouTube subscribers than, I dunno, maybe being half way decent? Than maybe actually getting involved? Actually donating? Actually thinking of solutions? What?Here’s a thought: maybe aim to have as many educational, well-processed thoughts as you do likes on your “finsta,” so you can add something to this society you claim to care about other than good contour and fake thigh gaps.
- There has become a beautification of mental illness. Yippy skippy, let’s all accept ourselves. WAHOO! It’s cool that mental illness is becoming more talked about, really. I remember being a little girl and being told I could NOT talk about my dad’s alcoholism because it was taboo. It was shameful. It was something those outside the family could never know…and that sucked. It sucked because I needed help and support and I was told not to talk about it. But I swear to fucking God, if I have to see one more BuzzFeed or Odyssey or whatever article about “10 Ways to Love Someone with Anxiety” or “5 Ways to Talk to Someone With Depression,” I am going to fucking lose it. Here’s a secret: those of us who are ACTUALLY fucked up, don’t think it’s great. In fact, we spend the entirety of our lives trying to get UN-fucked up. You’ll never see me posting “7 Ways to Be Friends With the Girl With a Dead Dad” because I don’t give a fuck. My shit is my shit. My issues are my issues. Do we need to educate people on mental illness? Yes. Is it good that it’s something being talked about? Yes. But it is NOT something you take a cute lil quiz about on Thought Catalog. It is NOT something that everyone around you should have to change their lives for YOUR comfort. YOUR shit is YOUR shit. YOU handle it. Asking everyone to baby you and say special words to make you feel safe isn’t going to help you, I promise. The best way to combat mental illness is to sack up, and keep going. The world does not stop spinning merely because you’re in pain. Tough pill, I know. Swallow it.
- What the fuck happened to basic manners? People. Seriously. Please and thank you. Like, if the two syllables in “thank you” are too much time for you to take out of your day, I have good news! It can be shortened to “thanks!” It’s not that hard. It just baffles me, because I’m a total asshole. Like, a full blown, no filter, very little sympathy asshole, and I still manage to find it in my cold little heart to FUCKING SAY PLEASE AND THANK YOU. And to smile at strangers. And say excuse me. And to not mean-mug every other girl I see, like god damn. All you have to do is be halfway decent to other people. HALF. NOT EVEN FULL, HALF. CIVIL. POLITE. HALF. It’s really too much energy to be (and teach your kids to be) HALFWAY DECENT?
- Everyone thinks they’re right, and you all sound the same amount of stupid. You. Yes, you. Sharing your conspiracy theories and “NowThis” clips on Facebook. You look just as stupid an uneducated as the side you are so vehemently against. Creating circular arguments on Facebook is never educational, only entertaining. And why? For the same reason “fail” videos, spoof cartoons, and “Impractical Jokers” are popular: people like to see other people look like idiots. So while you think you’re the next SJW with your 8 page long Facebook attack on *insert candidate or policy here,* the only attention you’re getting are those arguing against you, and those laughing at you.
The wrap-up: You probably read this thinking it would be about Trump or Hillary. Wrong. Like I said before, I don’t keep up with the nitty gritty of politics, I keep up with the nitty-gritty of people. Back to when I called you all audacious, asking “where did we go wrong?” The answer, to me at least, is plain as day. We need merely to be halfway decent to one another, create a community again, and it’s just that simple. You cannot advocate peace, and then engage in unbacked political arguments on Facebook. You cannot be against Trump’s racist policies, and then exhibit racism in your own life. Look in the damn mirror, and change YOUR life instead of expending energy yelling at everyone who disagrees with you. We are headed for a boat load of shit. Like, shit is about to go down. And when that time comes, we are going to need decent, open-minded people way more than we will ever need Instagram models and Facebook fights. There IS an “us” and a “them,” but it is not “Hillary” and “Trump.” It is not “African Americans” and “police officers.” It is those who will fight, love, and support when the time comes, and those who are going to be part of the problem. Choose your side.