Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chaos, autopilot, & Steubenville

Life has been interesting over the last few weeks. Part of me wants to say, "When isn't life interesting?" but there are a lot of times that everything slides past me and I hardly notice because I'm running on autopilot. But right now I'm calling it interesting, because the mundane is where the genius of our lives germinates and grows. It's those little unseeing moments that turn and mold us into the very beautiful people that we are.

I've spent a lot of time in the past few months writing - and why shouldn't I? It is what I want to do with my life. I've also spent a lot of time being angry at the world, annoyed with it, and wishing it would somehow get swallowed up by a nefarious black hole, which would finally leave me with the peace and quiet I have not only earned, but so very much deserve. But that's not life, is it? Life isn't a pretty picture box of only splendid moments, with a few awkward ones here and there - it's a big heaping mound of garbage. It is the public city dump (especially in a time of social networking) where you have to sift through to find the good, and pull it away from the bad and the down right stinky.

For me, life really is on repeat most days. I have a small child. I am at home with said child. I write. I watch TV. I text. Sometimes I even shower - I really should do that more. I rely on the internet to talk to people more than not - for when I am lonely, it is you reader, that keeps me company - even if you don't realize you are doing just that.

But for others, life is the true definition of chaos. Which looks like this:


  1. Complete disorder and confusion.
  2. Behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.
confusion - disorder - mess - clutter - muddle - welter

I feel for these people, and I know that I'm lucky. I really do. I've known that for some time, and I am thankful for it. Now, this isn't to say I haven't had my share of "moments" - everyone has. But in this moment, what people from the outside world see when they look in on me is calm, and this is where it all gets interesting because, when we look in, we automatically compare - because we are taught that competition is life. People thinking, feeling, openly admitting that we/they think that we/they are better than someone else. This is, in my opinion, the biggest problem we have in the world, and it is the root cause for so many of our problems - case and point, the Steubenville Rape Trial that exploded in the media and on the internet over the weekend, bleeding into this week. [The link I posted above was chosen for a reason, because it is the only article I've read, and I've read way too many about this case in the last few days, that not only tackled the issue, but spoke of a solution.]

My initial reaction to this case was to get very angry and hateful towards the two offenders - which I'm sure many can relate to. Part of this is as a mother, another part is as a female, and a victim, because honestly I think I know literally ONE female out of the hundreds, who has not been sexually assaulted at one point of her life. (Granted, I've never asked, so I could be wrong.) Sexually assaulting females in this country is more prevalent than cancer - but we never talk about it, because it makes us feel awkward. And why does it make us feel awkward? Because we live in a country that refuses to talk about sex in a positive light. We only can hear these loons with their poster board signs that tell us we are wrong to feel human. They tell us we should be ashamed for having human urges, so we sweep it all under a rug and we - the parents and the guardians who should be tackling these issues head on in order to teach our children, both boys and girls - turn our heads and then act surprised when our kids don't know the difference between right and wrong, because they, just like us - have never been taught how to deal with these urges in a positive way.

"I'm sorry I posted the photos" said the offender that received two whole years in juvenile detention. A place that will not education him on his wrong doing - no, but it will only group him with other boys who think they are better than girls. Better than the female body that brought them life, that cared for them with a warm place to incubate for months, before becoming the arms and the breasts that held them and fed them. He never apologized for what he did, because he is not sorry. Because he has never been shown that he should be sorry - by his family, by his coach, by the community, by this country. Hell, didn't Ben Roethlistberger do the EXACT same thing? And what was his punishment? 6 months on the bench and a Superbowl ring? (BTW, that link isn't to the original rape in question - that one is here). So these are our heroes. This is the world we live in - a world where suggesting someone take a Women's History class will get laughs and jeers if you're NOT female, and were we idolize people like Ben Roethlistberger, Ray Lewis, Michel Vick, and best of all O.J. Simpson - the man who murdered his wife and another man and got away with it. And why? Well because he was better than her, and he is better than us.

Everyone is saying that we shouldn't feel sorry for these boys, but I do. I feel so sorry that they were never taught to see the beauty in this world. That they were never shown that we, men and women, need to work together as one, as friends and family - because this ability is what makes humankind special and the "top of the species". But we aren't taught that, are we? We're taught we are better because we can be violent, because we are white or black or green or purple, because we can hate, fear, conquer - because we have a penis or a vagina. We are taught to use sex as a weapon, and not only on TV, Film, & Video games, like everyone likes to blame - at home, in the street, in our sports teams, in our military, in our Congress, our government, our religion and in the world.

I feel sorry for these boys because sex can be a wonderful, fun, exciting and beautiful thing. It's an amazing bonding experience on many levels, and should never be taking lightly, and should never ever be used as a weapon.

An average of 93,000 women are raped in the United States in a year - but know this, since the victims are usually harass,   and told they somehow "deserve it", this number is highly inaccurate, because the women are ashamed and don't come forward. We harass them, because we think we're somehow better then them, because it didn't happen to us - but we're not better than them, if we are anything it is an extension of them. I always tell myself, "Imagine it was you, Aryn" and then react. Imagine it was your daughter, sister, mother, friend, lover.

You are no better.
I am no better.
We are all the same - we eat, we sleep, we hurt, we love.

The moment you hear yourself say "I'm better than..." another person, you need to step back and reflect on your life. The only person you should ever strive to be better than is the person you were yesterday - and yes, maybe you have a not so shiny past - that in no way means you can't have a beautifully mundane blessed and shiny tomorrow.

We need to take moments like this, like Steubenville, to reflect on - to discuss in a constructive way - and to make change on SO MANY levels. This is not the world I want to leave for my son. Is this the world you want to leave behind when you die?

Life has been interesting lately, because a corridor to conversation has been opened, and we need to take this time to talk about what went wrong, and figure out how to change it. We need to figure out how to change ourselves, how to evolve into humans who can talk about sex without feeling weird. To evolve into a class of humans who embrace our mistakes and fix ourselves, so that we begin to change the world into one that doesn't see the deprecation and humiliation of another human as something that is funny - because it's not. We need to evolve into a world where we help these offenders to grow and change, to see the wrong in their ways, so they realize and understand what they did was wrong, and that we are all very much equal. We need to live in a world that offers help to the person who has been victimized, and not make fun of them, only spreading more hate through ridicule, finger pointing and saying ridiculous things like, "she deserved it." No one deserves violence towards them.

Education and equality is where we will find the change and compassion this world needs.  And that education comes in the small moments - when we take our child's hand and explain to them the difference between right and wrong, and show them they are to be held accountable for their actions.

It's easy to get caught living a life on autopilot, I do it all the time - but that doesn't make it right. We need to look around, objectively, and speak up. We need to look at ourselves, and start there. We are not better than any one but ourselves, and that is OK. We need to be as Gandhi said, to "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Don't judge, don't assume - listen, love, grown, and learn.

We hold the power to change, and it begins in ourselves.

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