I was watching an interview with Stephen Colbert and writer George Saunders last week and the term “radical tenderness” was used to explain how compassion and understanding can be applied, even to those we strongly oppose. Is this possible?
I try to be compassionate and to write and share compassion, but my struggle is just as real, even as I write through my feelings.
I recently wrote about compassion, the other day was Pink Shirt Day, and bullying is real and damaging. I think name calling is unnecessary and immature, but we all do it. I struggle with the fact that I say name calling is wrong, and then I go and call someone something. The new U.S. leader is offensive to my every fibre. I don’t consider this name calling, but more like I’m simply speaking my truth. Whereas, I have vowed not to use his name on my blog, so I now call him 45 and that’s not so bad. It’s when I slip and swear under my breath at something he’s done that has made the news, because of course he has all that power now, power to command all that attention he craves. When I call him a foolish old man, then am I crossing the line into name calling? Is that compassion? Can I tap into my stores of radical tenderness?
This compassion thing isn’t easy. It’s the two year anniversary of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion
this week and I am still sad how the original steam of the movement started here has declined so rapidly.
There is ugliness going on in the world right now, truly, but there is also immense beauty and wonder.
All that ugliness could be part of the reason so many don’t know what else to say about a topic like compassion, I get that, but I can’t stop speaking out about it. I can’t.
The children in our lives deserve the best world we can give them (and so I dedicate my two year anniversary post on compassion to my niece, Mya Lynne, and to all the children, constantly teaching me that compassion is worth it):
I look down into your face, your beautiful face, and I see only a blur wrapped in a blanket. There’s no getting around that. I wish I could see you, but you are real, really here. I hold you tight. You restore my faith, now that you’re with us, and I find new stores of compassion in me.
You are beauty and sweetness and all that is good and right with this world.
How silly would I be if I assumed these things were only going on in isolated communities?
My town is a small one, around 40 thousand residents. I lived just outside it all my life, until I moved into it, ten years ago.
I had family and friends here. I went to high school here. This is home, but I am the isolated one, in many ways.
This isn’t just a problem in Canada, I would guess. Depression is a problem for people all over the world. Being young comes with so many new responsibilities, new feelings, and new and often scary experiences. I went through many of these myself, but I made it through.
What could be so bad that one feels so hopeless, as a youth, with their whole life ahead of them?
I ask more questions than I know the answers to. I still write this post.
I worry that some officials get their backs up a little. They want to think they are doing all they can to help their troubled young people, but they don’t live it with them. How could they possibly understand?
Well, they were young once too, right?
Of course, we’re lucky to live here in this country. So much of the world suffers things we can’t really imagine. However, saying a young person will live through it (whatever “IT” might be), that their is life after all the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, that it will get better sounds so great, but yet, it doesn’t. It doesn’t solve enough of the underlying issues.
I say I am isolated because I live a sheltered life. I struggled, of course, still do. I have my ups and my downs and I definitely had them when I was younger.
On the other hand, I was sheltered by all the love and security I received. Not all families, sadly, have this. It’s causes are many and varied. I don’t know what the answer is.
Bullying is a big part of it. Kids can be so cruel. I’ve seen it, but others have seen it worse. It could always be worse, right? Well, not much consolation when said to someone who feels like there is no place they can go to feel safe.
The school environment is so toxic at times, when the education system wants to educate, but misses out on key points of that education.
Stigmas remain. Disfunction is reality for many. I don’t know what to say, but more needs to be said.
“Oh, these kids just wanted an excuse to get out of school,” is a line some might say, an ignorant and narrow-minded observation, but what would a lonely youth do to get out of living?
It was a big, important, necessary morning at my town’s town square. These young people needed to be heard. I am glad they got that, at least.
But, in those darkest of dark moments, what do they do when they are told they need to wait for help, that they are being put on some waiting list for mental health services?
In that dark tunnel of isolation and depression, nobody understands and it won’t ever get better.
I fear that those moments will continue. I don’t like to think my city has this going on, somewhere in its homes, its schools, its neighbourhoods.
I don’t understand it all, budgeting, but we have a new hospital here. Where are the beds, the specialists, the mental health services when those in need really require help?
We all feel different, like we don’t fit in, like we’re worthless. I have seen signs of that, but it obviously goes much deeper. I care about the town where I grew up and where I currently reside. I, like so many, would probably prefer to live in denial, to believe all’s well and it’s not going on, but these students show, very clearly and with outspoken grace, that there is something more going on, underneath the surface of a small, south western Ontario town.
When it comes to the news, of course, there’s been a lot, a heavy news week. Stories surrounding the US election and its nominees is front and centre. There’s horrible injustice with the privilege and light court sentence of a university athlete. I want to write and speak up, but my frustration with humanity sometimes makes me hold back, keep it all inside, until I threaten to explode. I calm myself then, simply by saying, but humanity isn’t all bad, not by a long shot.
My town is no different than any other town. Whether it’s a town with a suicide and mental health story or a bunch of shootings in a big city like Toronto, it all matters. Big cities, small towns, and if you dig a little under the surface, you find the same problems, begging to be addressed.
This has been a finish the sentence Friday post. Here is Kristi’s take on one of the stories, from the news, of which I briefly alluded to above:
would be coming soon after. Rather than talking about what I’ve learned about having a blog for two years, I figured that instead I would round up each monthly contribution I made to 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion over the last twelve months, all in one place. This, I’ve decided, is the best way I can think to truly illustrate the importance it has had in my life this past year and I hope to continue with it in the future.
“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
Labor Day was Monday and now it’s back to school. This week is, thought by many, to be the end of summer.
A lot of what’s been going on in the news, I’m not sure, should be talked about. I’m not sure those I am referring to deserve to be mentioned by name, so I am going to try my best not to.
Instead, because these stories are still on my mind and, many are extremely bothersome, I will focus on recognizing those who do deserve it, just to balance things out a little.
Not sure how I feel about the British monarchy, but I did watch
in theatres, on its release, and again, on television the other night.
It’s sixty years of Queen Elizabeth and Britain is celebrating her this week.
At the moment, those making the news with names I hesitate to mention include: a “comedian” who believes fat shaming is acceptable, another “comedian” who has gone on the record and defended rape, and the continuation of the circus around next year’s US elections.
There is a difference between honesty and bullying behaviour. It’s a fine line and I don’t know where that line is. We’re much too serious these days, we must learn to laugh at ourselves, but that can hurt when you constantly feel as if you are the one being laughed at and the universe always seems to be making jokes at your expense.
I don’t know what right anyone has to say any woman is “unrapeable”. I’m sick and tired of men like this, making stupid statements like that, falling back on the “innocent until proven guilty” line. I also don’t care how important of a TV sitcom doctor/father icon anyone was for the African American community during the eighties.
As for all talk of building a wall and kicking people out, splitting families up, this is likely a non issue anyway, but, I must admit, I do look forward to Colbert’s Trump jokes over the coming months.
Then there’s the judge who is becoming some kind of right fighter for the cause of religion and biblical belief. She has the right not to do anything she doesn’t feel sits well with her and her God of course, but she does not have the right to go against the newly set law of United States, as it has been set. The world is becoming a more accepting place, overall, and those who wish to fight this will get left in the dust of the past. Why do we seem so keen to stop progress and challenge love? It’s fear. We can’t let fear rule over common sense.
There’s been more news, stories every day, about the flooding of mostly Syrian refugees, into neighbouring, European countries. Boat. Train. On Foot. They keep on coming.
Images are powerful. I heard something about the image of a dead child on a beach. I can’t see it, but the visual in my head is still heartbreaking.
Germany is being praised for its acceptance of these people, so desperately in need and so is Iceland.
What about Canada? Would we here step up as well? What if I had to flee my home? Wouldn’t I want a safe place to open their arms wide for me and my family?
The decline of the once so self righteous Ashley Madison cheating website continues and I was, admittedly, happy about it from the start.
Then, last week, a literary website that featured a short essay of mine back at Christmas ran into some issues. There was a hack or a virus and the person running the site wasn’t sure everything would survive.
I have included a link, in a past blog post of my own, to my essay on that site. I was worried that would be lost forever, as sometimes backlinks fail. This has happened with things I’ve written, guest posts I’ve done previously.
Surely, my glee at the misfortune Ashley Madison’s been having wasn’t resulting in karma being directed right back at me, was it?
I offered up that possibility, on Brevity’s Facebook page, that it may have all been down to it being my fault, and thus issuing my sincere apologies to them, assuming this might be the case.
All the names of those caught using the cheating website have slowly been released. This included a member of America’s most notorious TLC family of religion, and multiple children, so recently known to have been outed for sexually abusing his sisters over the years. Not to mention, the head of the cheating website himself.
He swore, although he ran it, he never used it personally. Yeah right!
One of my favourite late night television segments joked about the hack:
Although the fate of Ashley Madison may be in question, Jimmy is right. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, it could always become OKStupid! This is because I believe people would continue to share their private details and take foolish risks and engage in secret keeping against those they claim to love.
Again, I hate to pick on them and specifically the guy who ran it. Anyone who can convince so many men and women to hand over their most precious personal information (names, addresses, credit card info, fantasies) may think he’s clever, but may not be making the wisest of choices, even for himself.
As the new school year begins, there is more of an uproar on the newly revised sex education curriculum in the schools here, last updated back in 98 and as school has begun, certain parents are keeping their children out of the classroom.
I don’t know what these parents are imagining. It’s as if they are picturing daily sex ed classes, all day every day, all year, from September until June, with a continuous bombardment of sexually descriptive indoctrination, but, from what I heard, the sex ed program is only days long and isn’t even scheduled to begin until the spring. So, these children aren’t missing anything, right now, other than the usual: math, science, and language arts. The only damage being done is that the children are pulled out of regular classes, with their peers and friends, into a make-shift class, organized by the fearful parents themselves.
I like how Canada and the US seem to be so afraid of the proper education, our priorities so horribly messed up on so many things, but something as important as sexual health and physical safety are left up to the internet and tales told out on the playground. Maybe we should have Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver explain the whole thing to us all:
This week, not only has school resumed, but the late night TV wars are beginning.
I like Stephen Colbert and I have been looking forward to his taking over of David Letterman’s spot.
I watched the premier and it didn’t feel all that different. Speaking of the cheating website’s troubles:
“With this show, I begin to search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don’t find him on Ashley Madison.”
Sure, he is now no longer playing a role, but just being himself. I just couldn’t tell. The tone in his voice and his style of speaking were very nearly what they were on The Colbert Report. I am glad because that’s what I like about him, all political affiliations aside.
I’ve always loved Conan and Fallon is always entertaining. I rarely have stayed up until midnight to watch, often preferring to check specific clips out on Facebook and YouTube after-the-fact:
A lot of these shows have been bringing the children into their skits lately. The other Jimmy has been asking kids a lot of interesting questions in his segments. It’s always a slam dunk with the audience.
I just saw a goofily-captioned picture of a puppy right next to a photo-story about the awful things we did in Hiroshima 70 years ago. How can we be the same species who loves cute puppies and came up with such a terrible idea as an atomic bomb? This being human is a strange thing.
Indeed, JEG, indeed it is. Let the stories about cute puppies and children always be there to balance out the horrible headlines about injustice and hatred.
I recently heard about this one and I thought about taking part, only for a second, before common sense returned: perhaps next year.
I already have enough on my plate, so much that I am letting this blogging thing take over my entire life practically.
Okay, that’s a tad over-dramatic perhaps, because I really do enjoy it.
I have a place where I can go to write about all the things that are important to me. I feel, even for a few moments, that I am doing something worthwhile, even if I can’t do all I would like.
I just need to keep things in perspective, if I can, and try to maintain a balance in my life.
This blogging universe, I am learning, is really quite a small one. It’s a bit, I’ve noticed, like school.
It’s like the playground, I suppose you could say. It would make a good metaphor, especially for the topic of bullying I’ve just mentioned.
It’s not a bad thing. There seems to be a lot of support, from what I’ve seen and experienced so far. I haven’t witnessed a lot of bullying or judgment, but then again I didn’t see that constantly when in school either, but it did exist.
I just see a lot of the same bloggers, on any particular blog I might click on. I end up feeling a bit like I always did in school, a part of it, yet not really. It was like I was on the outskirts, looking in. I just keep doing it for my own reasons, doing what feels right for me, and that’s all I can ask for.
I continue to write about what matters to me, what my heart tells me to write.
I should be back again for my usual Monday post next week, with hopefully a few more in between, if I don’t let all this technology trouble get me down in the meantime.
I will be making this, at least, a once-a-month thing on my own blog. If a particular month’s theme is especially close to my heart I may use it as the theme for the entire month here or simply write about my own personal take, in a blog post here or there, throughout. I want to keep the awareness going because the alternative is already dominating the news.