I have a bunch of global issues going around in my head this morning. I’m not worried or stressed out about them necessarily, but with FB and the internet, it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the problems our world has.
Yes, those problems put my own life into perspective.
One of the things that I hear frequently from people after they vent about issues going on in their lives is: “Look at me. Complaining and moaning about my stuff when you have things worse than me. Cancer and money woes… I’m sorry for being so negative and selfish.”
That’s whooey. While comparing ourselves, our lives, our problems to others can give us a healthy perspective, I don’t like it when people minimize the important things going on in their lives as though they aren’t as important as mine.
Everyone’s stuff, whether it’s a splinter they had to deal with or a cheating spouse, has importance in that person’s life and needs to be acknowledged as important. Sure, there are those people who are consistently “woe is me” about every whip stichin’ thing, and those are the people who intentionally stay stuck in their muck. Not healthy. Sometimes I see people like that coming down the sidewalk toward me and I quickly think of some excuse to cut the conversation short.
God. I hope people don’t view me that way.
Everyone’s experience is valuable and needs to be felt and dealt with. Mine included… but it shouldn’t overshadow others experiences. You are important. Every part of you!
And then I think: Our world is seriously screwed up. Young girls being kidnapped and sold for marriage, LGBT people being beaten and burned alive, wars, rumors of wars, censorship of critically thinking citizens in Saudi Arabia, discrimination, hunger, yada yada yada.
So when people bitch and complain about our country and how unjust things are affecting people (yes, I do my fair share of complaining and don’t get me wrong, people should speak up) I look at the problems around the world that are inundating me daily and I am so thankful to live where I do.
I don’t sweat it too much when a president I don’t like is in office. (When people say that a president is the Anti-Christ I defriend them. They are crazy.) When our friggin’ lawmakers make something like $170 an hour and they vote down raising the minimum wage, I get mad. When stupid people spread uninformed and inaccurate stats to support things like ex-gay therapy and voting legislation in that makes it legal to discriminate against a group of people that they don’t like, I speak up.
All of these things are horrible and I am thankful that I live in a country that I can write my opinion, speak out against injustice and try to DO something to change things.
I am thankful I live here. In America. Do I drape a flag and American symbols all over my minivan? Nope. But the perspective I have is: My problems are important. Your problems are important. The world’s problems are important. And if I didn’t live here? I wouldn’t be able to talk about them openly, and neither would you. I wouldn’t get to choose to follow a certain religion or not, I wouldn’t get to have a blog, I wouldn’t get to openly proclaim my support of LGBT people or teachers who get screwed by unemployment just because they are teachers. I wouldn’t get to show my students how to think critically and question everything. If I wanted change, I would have to go underground and live in fear that my kids and I could be punished or killed because of my conscience.
I love living here, despite not getting everything I need from our system, because I have people in this world who decide to take care of others in the face of a system that often fails others.
Check in with me tomorrow. I’ll probably be bitching about something and down and out on our country’s systems that are in place to help but aren’t doing it. I’d rather be here than somewhere else, though, getting to express myself freely.
So express yourself to me. Share your issues with me. But don’t minimize your problems by comparing yours to mine. Be thankful that you can express yourself. And do it often.
Remember that if you lived somewhere else, things would definitely be worse. Despite the crap that happens here, we should be thankful we live here.
In my opinion.
Love, America the Beautiful and Not-So-Beautiful All the Time