Fear Will Be Your Enemy...
Last week, a one year anniversary came and went... And it's one many of us would rather forget. On 6 January, a large mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol after a rally where the exiting president insisted his lost in the election was rigged and called for the group to fight back and overturn the election results. The mob overwhelmed police forces who barricaded the doors and entered the Capitol, where they attempted to harm, even kill, members of the joint Congress who were there to ratify the election results. Thankfully, all of the members were taken to safer quarters where they weren't harmed. I, like so many of you out there, watched the news in horror and disgust. "How could this have happened?" I wondered. More importantly, "WHY did this have to happen?" Before I get into a very logical reason, let me tell you another story. As my mom and I settled into our new apartment we moved into earlier in September 2021 and the days started getting colder, we both noticed mold on our bedroom walls and corners in late November/early December. We were both very concerned and called maintenance, and the first time they came they painted over the mold with a mold-resistant paint and instructed us to move my pictures, bed, and bookcase away from the walls. That seemed to help for a while, but then the mold came back with a vengeance around the holidays. I ended up sharing pics on Instagram detailing what happened for the second time, and while many of my friends were concerned, there was one person I knew from college who decided that it was the perfect time to call me out on a little thing like mold on the bedroom walls as "being scarier than COVID," and called me out for still living with my mom at the age of 32 and telling me all sorts of things leading up to being called a bitch. I tried messaging her on Facebook and explaining that what she said hurt me deeply, but she must've unfriended and blocked me right away without giving me much of a chance to get a word out. I ended up returning the favor on Instagram, unfollowing her and blocking her. But not before telling her that what she said to me that day deeply hurt me and she had no right to tell me that I was a failure for living with my mom at my age (there are plenty of people doing this right now due to rising costs and jobs not providing enough pay to fully live on their own), and then blocking her again. It also didn't help that a total random stranger told me that both my mom and I needed to lose weight, even though I lost over 70 lbs. at this point. I was heartbroken, to say the least. Social media strikes again. It seemed to bring out the worst in people, right to the point of me sharing this post: Without going into too much detail, I received comments from two insensitive people in regards to a post that I since deleted from Instagram last night. Both said cruel things to me and about my mom and I.
I can handle most things, but when someone goes as far as insulting me or the people I care about deeply, that’s when I have to take a stand. Or even block them after they commented in such a cruel way.
There are times when I am not happy about my sensitivity, but this is not one of them. It shows that I care and can feel the things that those out there don’t seem to feel.
Bottom line: don’t give those who don’t know you very well or at all the satisfaction of pushing your buttons any further if you’re going nowhere. Take a stand if you have to, but if they’re not willing to listen or apologize, it’s time to move on. Even say a prayer for them, if you want.
There are plenty of good people out there who outnumber the insensitive ones. Surround yourself with them and it will make your days so much brighter. Like many things, there can be a downside to social media, and that can be in the form of trolling. AKA constantly criticizing others for no reason because they have too much time on their hands. AKA bullying others because of their successes and you like them better when they're failing. AKA spreading lies about them to others so that you can have a gang behind you to back you up. AKA deliberately offending another person to get an angry response from them out of pleasure and satisfaction. I hate to say this, but they're EVERYWHERE. And thanks to a lack of policing on the internet to keep them at bay or even permanently banned for life, the trolls seem to multiply to the point of dividing and conquering all the day and night with no intention of stopping. It seems to me that they're main goal is to push people's buttons out of their own delight or even boredom just so they can have a little bit of excitement in their lives, no matter what they do as an occupation (if they have any) or where they live. It's scary to think about the number of times we have to watch our backs every single time we share a post about our lives or even comment on a story that's uplifting and positive, or even importantly and universally horrible that makes sense to the vast majority of people. Sure, many of us have strong backbones and can take on the trolls any day with a sparring match, but what about the times when it's best not to engage any longer because nothing you say will convince them to change their minds or otherwise? What do we do then? You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, and it's quite simple, actually. In Frozen, the royal family heads to the mountains to see the mystical trolls to help the unconscious Princess Anna who was struck by Princess Elsa's magic. After Anna's memories the magic are removed and replaced with the usual wintertime memories of the sisters having fun, Grand Pabbie takes young Elsa aside and says this: "Listen to me, Elsa: your power will only grow. There is beauty in it. But also great danger. You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy." Hmm... What if the reason why 6 January 2021 happened was because of fear? What if the reason extremists are popping up more than ever before is due to fear? What if the protests and mobs appearing at school board meetings, town halls, and more with anger and confusion in their hearts is because of fear? What if anti-vaxxers spewing lies and misinformation about vaccines is due to fear? What if attacks against blacks, AAPI, Muslims, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+, and more groups other than the white majority are happening because of fear? What if the trolls are wandering around the internet with no intention of being kind is because of fear? What if individuals aimlessly go on social media with nothing better to do with their lives is due to fear? What if the people who follow us on social media or in our contact lists, whether they're family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, or colleagues, pop out of nowhere and hurt us unexpectedly is due to fear? What if the two people who commented on my post about the mold in my apartment in cruel ways back in December 2021 was due to fear? What if all of us say or do things against people who are different from us, including avoiding them and making assumptions about them, are out of fear? What if the things that are going on in the world today are because of FEAR being our enemy? While magic may not help us get over our fears, maybe some personal reflections and observations from yours truly might steer you on the right course to give into love, and not be afraid of the unknown.
I know around this time last year I wrote a special blog from my regularly biweekly posts in regards to what happened on 6 January. For much of those days, I was the one who was willing to listen to others, and give my heart & shoulder to cry on. But afterward, I shared my feelings. There was much shock, anger, and frustration over what happened. I also remember saying in my post that day that if there was any of you out there who actually supported the insurrection that happened and the ideals that came with it, prior to, during, or after the occurrence, you're no longer welcome in my life. To give into hate, division, dominance, and fear all because of a leader who seems to be the exemplary person who brings forth those emotions and qualities that describe the nation is downright appalling. And the very idea that you won't even listen to reason, or even compromise, is sickening to me. I know what I shared in that post and subsequent Instagram and Facebook posts was rash on my part. But here's something that I will continue to do even though those of you who support the 6 January insurrection will be surprised to hear: I will continue to pray for you. And I also forgive you. First of all, hear me out: You are NOT taking your country back by supporting white supremacy and encouraging bringing back the Jim Crow laws, sending the immigrants back to Mexico and other Latin American nations, calling the physically and mentally disabled worthless, and more. You are NOT standing up for the future of this nation by claiming the information you get online from "reputable" sources is true and accurate, and those silencing you are the enemies. You are NOT freeing this nation from socialism and liberal lies about a virus that's killed over 800,000 human beings in the U.S. when you attack those who are looking out for the well-being of people of all ages and races when they impose mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccine requirements by shouting loudly and booing those who are sharing real stories of losing loved ones to COVID, being bullied for being LGBTQ+ or even being a human being. You are NOT asserting your intelligence on social media by provoking others who act and think rationally because they genuinely care about a cause or story that matters to them and you think its hilarious. You are NOT being a Christian or following your respective faith by only caring about your own needs and not caring about the needs & welfare of the poor, hungry, naked, outcasts, lost, and others who need to hear the message. You are NOT protecting your children by protesting schools and institutions remove books written by authors of color, various sexualities, and more out of claiming innocence for being white. You are NOT doing or being any of those things you say you are. What are you? You're a BULLY. You're a COWARD. You're NOT THINKING or WILLING TO ASK QUESTIONS. You're SELFISH. You're INSECURE. You're STUBBORN. You're THOUGHTLESS. You're NOT WILLING TO MOVE FORWARD & CHANGE WITH THE TIMES. You're JEALOUS. You're ABUSIVE. You're filled with HATE. You're HURTING OTHERS and you don't even know or see it. You're CRUEL. You're ARROGANT. You're NARROW-MINDED. You're UNHAPPY. You're DISHONEST with others... and yourself. You're CLINGY. You're UNTRUSTWORTHY. And above all... You're giving into FEAR. Don't you see? The things you say you're doing for the well-being of others, this nation, and even yourself is not true at all. You're not allowing yourself, even through force, to open your eyes, mind, and heart to acknowledge and actually see that what you're doing and saying is harming others who are actually trying to do good and move forward. You're not willing to get to know others who are different from you as human beings because they're successes through hard-work, asking questions, and doing their best at what they do and you feel you should get a free pass because of your race, gender, religion, income, or even sexuality. You're not being good parents or caretakers of children who just want to read good stories about the world around them and potentially change their and others' futures by taking away stories everyone should hear and replacing with books that only YOU want them to read. You're doing more harm than good to others, and even to yourself because of the gifts, unique abilities, personalities, and humanness another person has that is a supposed threat to you, your family, and your very way of life and they must be eliminated in order to maintain the status quo. In other words... You're letting FEAR rule your life. You're letting FEAR get in the way of thinking clearly and rationally. You're letting FEAR stop you from getting to know others who are different from you. You're letting FEAR prohibit you from being a truly good person. You're letting FEAR cause you to do things from a place of hate, greed, divisiveness, and jealousy. You're letting FEAR win. And it needs to stop. Like, right now. And here's the tough pill that's even harder to swallow. It can happen on either side of the political, gender, sexual, and religious spectrums. We're all guilty of this, even yours truly. So, the question is... What can we do about it? I've got a few ideas... And it starts with looking at ourselves, and realizing this:
Sure, we can each have our opinions on all the things we see, hear, and even do on a regular basis. We can even agree to disagree on certain topics. But it is not, I repeat, NOT okay to attack, belittle, or even humiliate another person for having a different opinion from yours. No matter what the topic is. Granted, if a person doesn't believe in the basic human rights or treating others as people, then we may need to have a conversation about that. But it is NEVER okay to attack or harm others for having unique outlooks and thoughts on life that is not seen as commonplace or even normal. That can put you just as much at fault as the other person. If you want to look at this from a religious standpoint, here's something consider. The primary teaching of Christianity is best summed up like this: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. ~Matthew 7:12 The primary teaching of Sikhism is best summed up like this: I am a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. ~Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1299 The primary teaching of Islam is best summed up like this: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. ~The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith The primary teaching of Zoroastrianism is best summed up like this: Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. ~Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29 The primary teaching of Hinduism is best summed up like this: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. ~Mahabharata 5:1517 The primary teaching of Buddhism is best summed up like this: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. ~Udana-Varga 5.18 The primary teaching of Judaism is best summed up like this: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. ~Hillel, Taimud, Shabbat 31a The primary of teaching of Jainism is best summed up like this: One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. ~Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
The primary teaching of Taoism is best summed up like this: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your loss. ~T'ai Shang Kan King P'ien 213-218 In other words... The primary teaching of being a good person is best summed up like this: Treat others the way you want to be treated. And if you decide you want to treat others who are different from you based on how they look, think, act, or just being alive, chances are that will come back around to you a hundredfold. It's not nice to be humiliated, abused, or mistreated for doing something others think is wrong, or just plain being yourself. (Opinions and thoughts included!) So why go about doing the same thing to others when we each have unique ideas and opinions about various things that we may not always agree with? If you even wish harm on others just because their mind is "warped" or "sick" or "twisted," chances are karma is going come back to bite you. A hundredfold. I get it. We all want those out there to see the world the way you do. But we shouldn't have to resort to acting like children by name-calling or even belittling others in person or on social media to the point where we can't even have a conversation with one another about anything anymore. If we do decide to resort to this type of behavior... You're letting FEAR win. We shouldn't have to give into that. And there's a very good reason why that is. (Chances are you may have figured out that these are stressful and frightening times right now. I hope my blogs are bringing some sort of calm, reassurance, and a little bit of humor during these unprecedented days. Like the previous posts, these are my opinions and thoughts, nothing more. I hope after reading this particular blog we can all agree to disagree and not stoop to name-calling or belittling one another if we can't agree. I won't tolerate any offensive, disrespectful, or harmful comments from any of you who think this is the best way to get your point across. I will block you if you decide to do so.)
You see that quote from above? The one from Elsa & Anna's grandfather? It's clear that he personally thinks that magic makes people who have it too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Replace the word "magic" with words like... Being black makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being Asian American makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being Pacific Islander makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being indigenous makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being LGBTQ+ makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being non binary makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being Jewish makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being Muslim makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being a feminist makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being an immigrant makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being physically disabled makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being a free-thinker makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being in a non-traditionalist marriage, family, or career makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being an artist (actor, dancer, musician, painter, poet, author, etc.) makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being a civil rights activist makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. Being "different" makes people too powerful, too entitled, and makes them defy the will of his rule as king. See what I mean? Now, look at Elsa's response. "That is not what magic does; that's just your fear. FEAR is what can't be trusted." Don't you see? Elsa and Anna's grandfather gave into fear because of how one simple difference in the Northuldra that made him believe that he and his people were inferior to them. He gave into fear just so he could feel the power of his rule that he believed was his own, and shared it with no one else who didn't look or even think in the same way he did. And you know what? It's the same with all of us. Especially those of us who align with the extremists, the racists, the sexists, the bullies, the trolls, the homophobes, the religious intolerants, and more. The fact that these groups of people would give into fear just because someone doesn't look like they do, have more success and strength in their chosen paths than they do, force schools and other institutions to ban books, songs, and art that challenges the status quo and brings light to the topics that they want to hide, and essentially believe that it is their God-given right to be the more dominant race/creed/people just because of what was taught to them by their families or in history classes or even both is just heartbreaking. And these things that they consider to be doing the right thing for the good of the nation, their families, and future generations? Even for themselves? They think they're doing the right thing. But that's not the least bit true. Fear causes our minds and hearts to not think clearly. It's "fight or flight" mode in times when there's so much going on, and the times when we do confront the fear that is in front of us, we may not always do the best thing for ourselves and others. It's the same with those groups of people who claim to be doing the right thing by being loud & obnoxious at town rallies and meetings, lead protests against those who are truly doing the right thing, and just not being good people. They believe that what they're doing is the right thing. But it's fear talking. When there's fear, it often leads astray from doing the right thing. Why? It's not out of love for themselves, their families, their communities, their governments, or the world for its future generations as they claim it to be. Fear of others who are different from them, the constant ebb & flow of change, and more is driven by a fear that causes things like... Greed. Jealousy. Insecurity. Ignorance. Arrogance. Even insanity. And it goes to the point where they no longer listen to reason from outside sources or from within their own circle. They believe that by giving into their feelings of doing the right thing in order to maintain the status quo and keep the world turning as they see fit, they're doing the right thing. I can tell you right now that's going to get you nowhere fast. If you truly want to do the right thing, and make the world a better place in the process... You are going to have to CONFRONT and CONQUER your fears head on. Not GIVE IN to them. We shouldn't have to be afraid of one another because of what we look like, how one group is flourishing in a career or educational setting over another, how things are constantly transforming and changing every single day, It shouldn't have to take much to get to know another person, preferably outside of social media. Let alone ask questions in a way that's non-judgmental. The things people see as different, whether that's physical or mental, might just be the very thing your soul needs to truly understand & know how special a person can be in your life. The books, art, songs, and more performances that you might find appalling or disrespectful, might just be the thing to open your eyes to the world around you and see how much can be transformed with the right information and willing & open heart. You do remember what Elsa did at the end of Frozen? She gave into LOVE. And by doing so, she learned to accept who she is as an individual, and open her eyes to the world around her. A world that learns to accept and cherish who she is, even with her ice & snow magic. LOVE truly has the power to thaw out even the coldest of hearts, and the most ignorant of minds. It even has the power to calm our deepest & darkest fears. If we take a chance on conquering & confronting those fears (even if it's from a place of selfishness) and giving into love & acceptance, think of how truly wonderful this world can be! I can't promise that all of you who went to the Capitol on 6 January will read this. Heck, I can't even promise that all those people who bullied & mistreated me over the years will read this, especially the two people who commented on my Instagram post from December 2020. But what I can promise you is this: By doing these actions that you think come from a place of security, assurance, the good of the people & nation, maintaining order & stability, and more, you're not doing any of those things at all from a place of love. You're doing these things from a place of FEAR. You cannot trust FEAR. Nobody should. The only way to stop the fear is face it, and as scary as that is, it's the best & only solution that can help make this world a better place. And it starts through accepting, respecting, and treating people who you believe are different from you & the cause of fear as actual human being. And it also starts from looking within yourself to figure out the root of those fears, especially if it comes from a deeper longing for love, acceptance, respect, encouragement, and kindness that you never received as you were growing up. Getting to the root of those fears and confronting them, even conquering them will be messy, yes. But it will also be so worth it when you realize how foolish your fears are, especially if it's from a place of selfishness because of how society places the idea that one group of people should be successful than the other or how the status quo should always be maintained for the good of the nation. We should never use fear, disguised as necessity, freedom, empowerment, and power to guide our decisions and course of action. It will never end well. Take fear as the enemy, and fight it. Each and every day, every chance you get. We don't need or want fear to win, not now. Not ever. Especially not now. As for me, I will give into love each time I feel the fear and worries creep in. And I will also pray. Like I will pray for all of you who give into fear through the guise of hate, jealousy, greed, and selfishness. Those emotions you feel as if you're doing those actions for the good of all. I pray that you somehow feel love and be transformed every chance you get. I place all of you and what's going on in the world in God's hands. Because HE should be the one you need to trust (or at least a higher power). NOT fear.