Off The Cuff Friday: Looking For A Fight

This is what is on my mind today.

Just call me ‘battle-axe’: I was raised in a very traditional, conservative Christian home. (Run by a feminist, and a former socialist, no less) My mother is a nurse. My father is a contractor. My brother is a teacher, and I’m a snarky know-it-all mostly, with aspirations of being a youth counselor. We may look mundane on paper, but there’s one thing that sets us apart: we never back down from a good fight.

Not a reckless fight, or a stupid fight, but a good one. A fight that, though you aren’t always certain you’ll be the victor, you won’t give in because your reasons for fighting are more important than the ultimate outcome. My parents always taught me that people will challenge me anyway, so I may as well do everything I can for the cause of victory.

This lesson came in handy when we had to go through one of the most trying situations we have ever experienced as a family. In the beginning, it seemed as though we were doomed to fail. Nothing went in our favour, and the only things that brought us any sense of security were our faith in God, and in each other. Well, that warrior spirit helped see us through to the victorious ending. Today, we stand to reclaim everything that was taken from us, and we would not have gotten to this point if we had lost hope. Fighters never lose hope.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me: Well, not just me: all of us. I’m currently reading Mc Mafia by Misha Glenny, and I was disturbed (but not surprised) by how politics and organized crime are so tightly connected that one would not be the same without the other. Scary stuff.

I’m not nice: It has taken me years to admit this about myself, but I’m really not a nice person. I can be friendly, (sometimes) and I was raised to be polite, but I’m not “nice”. Nice people do whatever they can in the interest of maintaining the status quo, even if it conflicts with their beliefs. I’m not like that. Nice people withhold information they think others perceive as offensive. I don’t do that. Nice people will flatter you openly while mocking you privately. I will mock you openly, and compliment you privately.

Nice people do whatever they can by keeping the peace, even if that peace is based on a foundation of dishonesty. I will tell the truth to make peace, even if it temporarily causes conflict. I’d rather be me, with all of my flaws and contradictions, than be a counterfeit representative of nice. Besides, kindness always beats niceness because one has to do with how you’re perceived, and the other is an extension of your personality so it cannot be forced.

Mental Health: Feb. 12th has been set aside as a day to talk openly about mental illness. We’re getting better at acknowledging it, but there’s such a stigma about it still that many people won’t admit to living with it because they’re afraid of how they will be scrutinized, and even more will refuse treatment.  (Or worse, they can’t afford treatment) Here’s the thing: mental illness kills people. We need to stop treating people with these types of illnesses as a burden. They need treatment, just as people with heart disease or cancer need treatment. They should not be made to feel ashamed when they seek it.

Black History Month: Today marks the beginning of black history month, or, as I jokingly referred to it in high school, “the month in which all the non-black people whine about not having an entire month to celebrate their history”.  Sadly, they didn’t have a month. They had 11 months in which their history was taught, featured on TV in documentary form, and written about in newspapers. Besides, February is the shortest month in the year, so really, it’s nothing to gripe about.

We have a common history. No matter where we live, we have shared experiences. Granted, some are more tragic than others, but it’s not a competition to see who fared worse. We need to learn about each other so we can avoid making the same mistakes our ancestors did. In celebrating black history, we celebrate the history of all of us.

Peace,

Erie

 

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