"There's so much pain in the world today." That's what my cousin said and she is completely right. There were maybe three generations of women sitting at one table and talking and that's what they were talking about. The pain that people feel in today's world and how it has changed everything. My Aunt joked that her grandson would only date someone if they were on three medications or less. "When they get to four, he's done, but he expects them to be on something nowadays." Some drug prescribed by a doctor to lessen the symptoms caused by deep pain. They even spoke of one woman who committed suicide because of a broken heart. I'm sure she was on something to lessen the pain as well, but it didn't help obviously. According to npr.org, about 11% of Americans are taking some form of antidepressant. The numbers for women are even higher; every 1 in 4. I thought about this when I got home and was still thinking about it when my naive little mind got hit by its own sledgehammer of hopelessness.
Monday afternoon, a friend of mine showed me a video that was posted on Instagram involving a person she knew and a person she "knew of." The video was apparently in response to the male (can't say man) finding out the girl he was involved with was cheating on him. He seriously posted a video on freaking Instagram of the girl performing an act that should've been private and between the two of them! He posted TWO videos in fact and was completely disrespectful to anyone that commented saying he needed to take the videos down. I was completely appalled! My first thought was "Oh my God that poor girl must be so embarrassed!" "Report it, block it, do something to get it taken down!" I said to my friend who did all of the above a while later. I was even more appalled by the MANY comments congratulating this person on putting the girl "on blast" and posted things like "lol" or crying laughing emoticons like the shit was funny. That same day, I heard story after story about people cheating on their significant others and only cutting things off when it became convenient/inconvenient for them to continue the side relationship they had going on. Not because they realized it was wrong to say "I love you" to one person while doing something that HAS to be done in secret because it would destroy that same person emotionally, but because it became too difficult not to get caught. In short, they stopped cheating because cheating became too hard for them. What the FUCK kind of reasoning is that!? Why would you KNOWINGLY put someone that is committed to you in a position to go through the same pain you've probably gone through in the past? Why are so many people OK with being a shit storm in the lives of others?
It was around 6PM Monday night that I seriously had a mini panic attack and began to realize I was losing all faith in mankind. THIS is what the world has come to? People using people for their own pleasure and then discarding them without a care, a person being publicly humiliated because someone was mad at them, people being unfaithful and the people around them seeing nothing wrong with it, men spreading a disease that kills without thought, MOTHERS that torture and murder their own children. I talked to friend about it and he said to me "it's normal in today's world." Is this really the "new normal"!? Some of you may think I'm being dramatic about the thoughts going through my head about this, but I say, why the hell aren't you feeling the same way? I want to get married and have children one day, but how the hell am I supposed to find a partner and safely raise my children when there's a pandemic of bullshit, selfishness and insensitivity that's considered normal? This is Detroit, MI where there is a church on every damn corner, but there are so many people that are completely in it for themselves. How the hell can people go to church on Sunday, say how much they love Jesus, leave church and be the example of What Jesus Would NOT DO? In my translation of the bible, when Cain asks "am I my brother's keeper?", the Lord replies "YES BITCH, YOU ARE!!" But I rarely go to church...the irony.
There was a time when neighbors and neighborhoods all looked out for each other. There was time when "it takes a village" translated into loving acts of kindness and protection. Almost anyone over the age of 29 can remember having a neighbor tell them to "take their butt home" because the street lights just came on. There are still people around that remember having a friend of the family babysit them when their parents had to work. When my dad died, one of my NEIGHBORS cried for hours because my dad was "the man he learned how to be a man from." His father was still around and he wasn't the greatest role model, but he still had other people around him willing to show him love and talk to him when he felt like there was no one to talk to. I remember, (please don't judge me) a time I was in so much emotional pain I tried to commit suicide. I don't say this to focus on the pain I was in, but to share a moment when a stranger asked me "do you see your parents? Why would you do this to yourself when you have two people that love you so much?" I cried as soon as he asked it because he was right. 15 years AFTER I fought through my problems, I still remember the EMT worker that cared enough to SAY something that changed the course of my life. A VILLAGER spoke up and reached me at a time I was holding everything inside and felt like I couldn't talk to my parents. A VILLAGER told you to go home so nothing bad would happen to you. A VILLAGER sat on the porch and talked you through your pain and was the example you needed when your home life wasn't perfect. That is the power of a village. But, we've lost villagers to the "new normal".
The "new normal" is the constant perpetuation of pain. I will not accept this and neither should you. The "new normal" failed those children that were living with that mother, hell, it failed the mother! The "new normal" cheered on as a young woman was being publicly branded a whore on social media, the "new normal" perpetuated the idea that men should use women no matter the pain they cause because that's what men do. People laugh at the pain of others and they tell them to "suck it up and be quiet" when they cry out for help. The "new normal" teaches us that we should mind our own business and stay quiet when we see someone in pain. The "new normal" teaches us that it's every man for him/herself. The "new normal" teaches that selfishness and apathy are what makes us strong. But we are a VILLAGE and as such, we should know that selfishness and apathy makes us weak. The "new normal" is literally killing us on a daily basis with its lack of concern and action.
I want to be a villager, so, I say the "new normal" can kiss my ass. Everything in human beings is meant to be emotional and empathetic. We have been able to create language, build civilizations and progress because of a natural need to come together and share emotions, thoughts and ideas. We have used empathy to interpret good and bad situations and react accordingly in order to survive. We have used EMPATHY as a tool for change in order to move people to do what is right. If it weren't for the ability of human beings to FEEL the emotions of complete strangers, slavery would have never been abolished, the Civil Rights Movement would have been an epic fail, Hitler would've won. These are only a few examples where, throughout history, people on the OUTSIDE of a crisis have gotten involved because they empathized with the paid a bunch of strangers were experiencing. Did you cry when 9/11 happened? Did you watch it on TV and begin to think how it must feel to lose a loved one to such a senseless act? How it would feel to lose your mother, your father, your child, your best friend. Yeah, that's what empathy is, the ability to UNDERSTAND and SHARE the feelings of another. We will kill ourselves and the others around us if we continue in our selfish apathetic ways.
The "new normal" is reactive, it shouts out against injustice once the injustice has happened, it talks more than it listens, it pities more than it understands, it sits by and watches more than it acts. It is apathy and apathy is death. Apathy is desensitized to the pain it sees every day. On the other hand, the village is proactive, the village listens and understands, the village acts. The village is empathy. Do you see the difference?
Empathy is LIFE. Empathy is love. Empathy has to beat the crap out of the "new normal" if we are all to survive. I challenge everyone that has read this post to the end to re-post it, go out into the world and EMPATHIZE with a stranger and share how it FEELS on my Facebook page. We have to find the villagers if we are to be a village again.
I know most of you won't take the time to watch this documentary, but you should if you can.