There are a lot of people in this world. Over 7 billion. And that number is growing. So. Inevitably that allows for a variety of people. I think how we view people says a lot about who we are. Our interaction with people can be even more telling.
So, how do I look?
Image is often a topic of discussion among human beings. It is often, and unfortunately, a tool of judgement. We are harsh and critical of each other’s appearance. And our own. Vanity has a grip on humanity. One we as a collective cannot seem to change. Perhaps, it is not a matter of our ability to change. Perhaps the state of things is more questioning our willingness to do so…
I have tenderly broached the self-image thing here. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to say I have struggled (and continue to struggle) with body image. For a number of reasons I have a skewed image of myself (my bio-mom’s comments, the kids in school calling me names and moo-ing when I passed by, etc.). And I know there are people out there who would say, oh come on, you look fine, just get over it. But it is far from that easy. One does not simply acquire a new image of oneself. I cannot go to the app store and procure an upgrade. I have sought counselling. I have made a conscious effort to sort it out. But I am a long way from fixed.
I often wonder if our fixation on image is the strongest example of our animal instincts. In the animal kingdom we see many instances where image is used to attract a mate. I would argue you can see similar displays in humans. Just nothing as lovely as what we are offered by the natural world.
While I believe in personal hygiene and grooming, I do not believe in living in front of the mirror. Or the cell phone (I am talking to you duck faces). I believe in LIVING. And the only way one can do that is to go out in the world and do it.
The Disney Downfall
When we lived in the big shitty we were fortunate enough to be privy to a multitude of cultures and people. At times it was really lovely. A neat experience. Other times we struggled to fit in, find our place. But overall we were able to learn a lot from the experience.
The neighbourhood we lived in celebrated many different cultures. In a day you could travel the world via the specialty shops a short walk away. We met people from parts of the world we had never heard of. Places we knew nothing about. In many ways it was an education. One we were proud to be able to offer our little guy. But it was a short-lived experience. No regrets.
Our son does not watch a lot of television. This has been in play since he was an infant. We tried for a long time to keep him away from mainstream shows and commercial-filled programming. I do try to be realistic. If we didn’t want him watching television we wouldn’t own one (or two, as we do). We simply want to be aware of what he is consuming.
And that is why we figured Disney’s channel for young kids would be something suitable. They have some wonderful shows. Packed full of the popular characters, practical and applicable lessons, all delivered in the PC way we teach our children these days. But allowing him to view that channel and those shows altered my child’s perception of people.
You see, when living in the city we fostered the belief that we are all equal. We encouraged our child to see beyond creed and colour. We did not allow or promote boundaries of difference. Both my husband and I believe in the notion that we are all human beings. Neither of us see anything but people. And we firmly hoped our son had followed suit. It appeared he had. For four years. Then about six months ago he publically made a statement we found alarming. In a store we happened to pass a lady and her children. We smiled. They smiled. And then, when almost out of earshot, the wee one says, I am glad I have white skin and not brown skin like them.
What the fuck?
I was shocked. I loudly said, we do not say things like that, that is awful – I think with the hope they heard me. I was in a state of disbelief. Where would he hear such a thing? Such a notion? WHERE? We loaded the car. Headed home. There was much that needed discussing.
Long story not as long: the phrasing was his, the notion was not. When we asked why he would say something like that he answered, because they are different. To which we responded, sure they are different from you, you are different from them, but that doesn’t mean that your difference or theirs is better. And that gave birth to a plethora of apologies from the little guy. But that isn’t necessarily what we wanted. Sure. We were glad that he felt bad for what he had said and the feelings he may have hurt. But neither of us could shake the feeling that he suddenly had a different view of people in the world.
Where he once saw people he now saw people of different colours and creeds. Of course we want to raise an independent thinker. But not like this. WE confirmed where this new thinking all began. We sat together and watched the episode without the little one. And then again with the little guy. Both hubby and I agreed that the message was muddled. Thank you not Disney.
Parenting: it’s fucking hard.
Hey! You’re an asshole.
I hate ugly people. Ugly people bother me. Ugly people are assholes.
Geez. I guess I should explain myself. Reading that I sound like an asshole!
Ugly people can be attractive. Ugly people can be gorgeous. Stunning. Ugly people are ugly because on the inside they horrid. Rotten. Unattractive. On the inside. Ugly people think they are better than others. And act that way. Ugly people are rude. Judgemental. They hurt. Ugly people are cruel.
But if you thought I was talking people’s looks or attractiveness what does that make you?
My husband and I had a chat about ugly people the other day. We were witness to a bit of rudeness. The giver of said rudeness was a very ugly person. The receiver, a gal in a retail environment, took it well (better than I likely would). But that initiated our discourse about ugly people. The rude woman was well put together. Her shell would offer the impression she was in good financial standing. The image she projected would allow you to think she was also well mannered. Wrong. And this is often the case. The rude woman clearly thought she was better than the gal opposite her. And was going out of her way to make it really known. Disgusting.
Ugly people are assholes. Why? Because assholes are ugly. Can you see your asshole? No. It is tucked away. Between those cheeks. Out of sight. Because, let’s be honest, an asshole is fucking ugly. So…
Ugly people are assholes because assholes are ugly.
What about forgiveness?
There are a lot of people in this world. And each day that number grows. Is it silly for me to believe that by now we should have learned something? From each other? From circumstance? Yet. Each day you read or hear of the world’s struggle to get along.
Perhaps we are not viewing ourselves as we are meant to. Perhaps we have it all wrong.
We should view all our fellow humans like family members. And we should bear in mind that all families are fucked up. On some level. And that isn’t a bad thing. It helps you to take stock of the good moments. People shouldn’t run from that. There are many lessons to be learned.
Anyways, family. The world is a family. We should be anyways. If we were there would be more room for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a tricky thing for a lot of people, if not for all of us. I am certain we have all had moments where we have found it difficult to conger up forgiveness. Whether for ourselves or someone else. The thing about forgiveness that makes it so tricky is the time we lose when we go searching for the blame. That loss of time skews our perception. Skews our memory of actual events. And instead of just forgiving we go on blaming.
And what if we can’t find forgiveness? What then?
Well my friends. That isn’t tricky at all. If you cannot find forgiveness you will never find life. You will be absent of many blessings. And eventually you will find yourself alone. Because part of this crazy journey we have dubbed life is about forgiveness. Finding it. Offering it. Accepting it.
Forgiveness is important. But you will only find out how so if you entertain the art of living. Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing. It will take a lot of practice.
And that may include practicing on ugly people.