Thursday, March 28, 2013

Enlightenment and Perspective

This last week or so has been very ... interesting.  Rather enlightening, I'd say.  The fact of the matter is, the more human behavior I observe, the more disturbing the trends I see become.  I'm not quite sure if it's the people I have exposure to, or if it's a sign of how the human race is evolving (or, in some cases, devolving).

I've seen anger, hatred, hypocrisy,  rudeness  personal attacks, and excuse after excuse for awful behavior.  I've seen people blame there heritage, their past, their current circumstances, and a myriad of other reasons to deflect the real reasons why they are acting the way they do.  What I haven't seen is mature, supposedly rational adults taking responsibility for their actions and thinking before they speak and/or act.  Someone looses their cool and starts to yell, scream, throw things and say hurtful, hateful words.  They fall just short of terrorizing everyone around them, then sit back and says "I can't help it, I was raised this way.  It's who I was meant to be."  Then, when someone attacks them, or their family; they are livid and "can't understand why someone would behave like that."  The fact  of the matter is, if you have the ability to rationalize and make excuses for your behavior, then you have the ability to actually think before you speak and before you act.  When you choose not to, you can not blame others for being disappointed with you.  Furthermore, you don't have the stones to throw at others when they act in a similar matter to yours.  What you send out to the world, you get back in threes.

An even more upsetting trend I've seen as of late is self-loathing, and self-hatred.  I've seen intelligent, rational, emotionally stable people tear themselves down because one or two people have a negative opinion on them.  I've heard someone belittle themselves in every other sentence saying "I'm so stupid."  "I'm such a bad person."  "How could I be such an idiot." The list goes on.   Don't get me wrong, we all have bad days and we all fight with negative thoughts about ourselves.  However, when you continue to put yourself down; your outlook on life changes.  You suddenly find yourself depressed, unhappy with your job, your family, your life.  You don't enjoy things you used to and spiral into a dark and alone place.  If you can imagine, there's an even worse side effect of putting yourself down than the Spiral of Darkness.  It's the fact that the more you put yourself down the more OTHER people will start to believe it.  You say "I'm so stupid" in front of people enough times and they will believe you.  They will believe you lack intelligence, and even more, they will know you hate yourself and have a low opinion of yourself.  How can they possibly have a higher opinion of you if they constantly hear, from you, that you're not worth it?

I know that not everyone is a fan, but RuPaul says something at the end of every show that just hits home.  "If you can't love yourself, how the ($^@!) you gonna love someone else?"   Even more important than that .. if you don't love yourself how the heck is anyone else supposed to love you?  That doesn't pertain to only romantic relationships.. if you hate yourself how are your friends supposed to love and support you?  What about your family?

It was starting to feel as if everyone in the human race was sliding down this dark and desolate path.  Each time I read a Facebook Status or string of comments, saw a Twitter update, or talked to someone in person there was this "everything sucks" attitude flying around.  There, as always, are a couple of exceptions.. .but this has been an over-riding theme for the last couple of weeks.  It was really starting to get to me. I took a couple of days to myself, and tried to remove myself from the negativity.  Unfortunately, when I returned it was the same thing, over and over again.

Then, March 27th happened..and it pretty much changed my perspective and outlook on things.  I was asked to Witness the passing of one of my fellow Warriors.  He had become a pretty close friend over the years, as has his wife.  He's been sick for a while, and on the 26th, I got a call from his wife that he was placed on Life Support and requested I come to the hospital to be there with him and his family when they disconnected him.  I didn't even have to think about it... I simply asked what time to be there.

So, yesterday I walked into a hospital room and saw my strong, funny, Inspirational friend laying in a hospital bed.  Hooked up to a life support system, and completely vulnerable.  His wife was sitting beside him, holding his hand, her eyes red and puffy from crying all night.  It was obvious she hadn't slept, and I can't say I'd blame her.  She was saying goodbye to her best friend, her husband, and the father of a child he would never meet.  Her small, swollen belly was barely noticeable; but her right handing rubbing small circles around it ensured you didn't misunderstand.  She was subconsciously trying to soothe the baby when there was no comfort to be found for herself.

His older brother was standing in the corner, giving the Warrior's two nieces their last moments with their favorite Uncle.  He was always singing to them, playing games, and teasing them about their boyfriends.  They were well and truly hurting over the situation, but held onto their tears as best they could because, in one of their words  "Are you serious? He'd come back just to kill us if he found out we were weeping over his body!"  We laughed, in that sad, joyful laugh you get when you're trying to balance tears and laughter.

As the nurses came into the room to disconnect the machines, his wife told the story of their engagement, smiling through the tears streaming down her face, and his brother interjected with all the smart-ass comments a sibling has to say.  His nieces oohed and ahhhed about the romance of it all and how they want their engagements to be just as special.  I stood there, behind his wife, my hand on her shoulder and listened to the story of the Romantic Warrior.  Once the nurses left, his older niece started to sing "Lullabye" by Billy Joel.  'Good night, my Angel. Time to Close Your eyes".  We all gave him kisses and told him how much he was loved and how much he would be missed.  His brother joked about their lack of seeing eye to eye on anything, but reminded everyone how much our Warrior loved to debate.  

She finished her song, and her and I took turns singing while our Warrior's life slipped away.  We sang everything from "Who You'd Be Today" to "Walking on Sunshine" and even "Party Rock Anthem."  

There was no hate during those few hours in that hospital room.  No fighting, no self-pity, no anger.  Just a peace that can only be found when you open your heart and mind to what someone else needs and help them through the most difficult time of their life.

I consider myself very lucky to be able to Witness to my fellow Warrior's passings.  Yesterday was the 34th death I've attended, each one is different and unique to the Warrior.  Almost all of them were full of the love and peace we strive for every day ... and each one of them makes me realize how fragile we all are.

If we fill our daily lives with negativity, hate, and anger -- what's going to happen when it's OUR turn to go .. who will be with us?  What will we regret?

So, do me a favor, Beloved Reader, THINK before you speak.  Take into consideration ALL the people you are hurting when you act out of anger or frustration.    Be KIND...not just to other people, but (almost more importantly) to YOURSELF.

I love you, kittens.  Each and every one of you.  <3

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