Why talking about social issues is hard

It’s been a month since I started this blog, and I still haven’t talked about ‘social issues’, which was supposed to be the main content as per my plan of changing the world one Post at a time. I realized that it’s difficult for me to talk about said social issues partly because it feels like a huge responsibility and I would never feel like I said it right, but mainly due to three reasons.

One. Much of what needs to be said has been said. There are talks and discussions and debates about it, and while I may have a lot to say, I wouldn’t feel like I’m adding anything to it, which makes me feel like the kid who mashes up all the points to make it sound like she’s bringing something new to the table.

Two. The talks that do happen fail to do anything productive. Discussions often turn into debates where people take extreme stands and stay there. You don’t find people accepting what another person says; they find ways to disprove their points – earnestly, like it’s some sort of a pissing contest. You end up having thoughts like ‘What is the point?’ and ‘Will people ever change?’

Three: How do you determine who is right and what is not? Nothing is ever in black and white – they’re all in varying shades of grey. Haven’t we all sympathized for a villain at some point? Aren’t we all guilty of forgiving certain wrongs in the name of ‘the greater good’?

I try to live by the ‘If you don’t know them, don’t judge them’ rule. It’s not easy living by that rule when you see people who are so obviously stupid and wrong, but then I remind myself that beliefs are a product of upbringing and experience and that people have their reasons to do and think the way they do (even when what they’re thinking and doing is stupid).

I do think it is important to talk about social issues not only for more awareness, but also because it helps people know that there are people out there who feel the same way. And while this can be harmful, it also makes people realize that they’re not alone. That there are people fighting for them, and trying to do something in the way that they can.

Need to unKnow

Need to unKnow

Some things, once known, cannot be unknown.

Once you know certain things, it starts to influence you in ways you cannot imagine. It creeps into your subconscious and influences your every decision and makes you act in ways you may not even realize is atypical of you.

Suppose you’ve been living in an apartment for a couple of years without a hitch. One day, somebody tells you that all of its previous owners have met with bad luck.

Suddenly it all comes back at you – falling in the bathroom the other day, the remote that constantly refuses to change the channel, failing to find true love, cutting your finger while chopping vegetables.. could it be true?

No, you rationalize. This could happen to anybody. Superstitions. Pfft.

But it happened to me, says that tiny scared voice in your head that pops up whenever you’re in doubt.

Now, everything feels like an accident in waiting. Every actual accident strengthens the veracity of the prophecy. Even if you try to invalidate this irrational thought processes, it will get into your head and mess with it.

Don’t all superstitions work this way? We try not to break these norms because – what if it might be true? No harm in not cutting your nails on Tuesdays, right? Or at night? I can refrain from whistling at night. A black cat crossed me. I have time to go back and take a shower, right?

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See how it escalates from okay to plain weird? That’s what could – and does – happen when you know and allow these things to spread.

Some things are better left unknown.

The Best Thing Ever

The Best Thing Ever

I don’t like to use the word ‘best’ except while wishing luck (All the best, Best of luck & Do your best). I think it simply robs me of the chance of using it again.

What if I watch a movie and declare it to be the best movie ever, and the next day I watch one I like even better?

There is always going to be something better than what you’ve watched or heard or read or even experienced. And that’s a good thing. It means that the world is full of endless possibilities for happiness and wonder.

There are also going to be things that are worse than what you’ve come across. And that’s a good thing too, even if it doesn’t feel that way. After watching a badly made movie, you can find solace in the fact that somebody probably watched a movie that is much worse than the one you’ve been subject to. And this is true for everything – bad movies, books you didn’t enjoy, experiences you wish to forget – nothing is truly going to be ‘the worst thing ever’.

You are not the first person on this planet, and you’re certainly not the last. You’re neither the only person on Earth, so you’re never going to be able to see everything, read everything or know everything. So why try and make the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ of anything?

A Cynic’s Rant

I can sit here and admonish all the rapists and the serial killers from the comfort of my home, but that’s not going to stop them.

Crying for all the homeless and the sick and the downtrodden isn’t going to change their lives; all it does is make it that much harder to go on with mine.

And my empathy doesn’t extend to that old lady with a rag for cover stretching her hand for a coin or two, because – how do I know if she’s really homeless? What if it’s a trick, and if I stop to take my purse to give her money, one of their gang snatches it and disappears. And if I stop and give her money, I’ll have to give the other person I see something too, because otherwise I’m being unfair, and the other one, and the other one… and how will my two coins help them, exactly? They’ll be there the next day, and the next, until one day they’re not.

So I pretend not to see her and walk past her, cringing in self-loathing while I do so, but walking past all the same – blaming the government for being so negligent about the less fortunate. Soon I forget this entire incident altogether, until I cross paths with another one… and repeat.

As I write this, I know I sound like a horrible person, but it is the harsh truth, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t run away from me. I think that the most important thing is to be true to yourself, and while I may not do the things society expects me to do, at least I’m not delusional to think that a million likes for a picture of a starving kid on Facebook isn’t going to fill his stomach.

And when I truly want something, it’s not the people who are worse off than me I think about – it’s the millions of people who have what I want.

I used to care, I did. But there is so much violence in the world that it is not humanly possible to think about it without breaking into pieces. The extent to which people will go to please their deepest, darkest desires is unimaginable and, frankly, not something I want to think about when I can’t do anything about it.

And because I can’t seem to do anything – anything useful, that is – I try to detach myself from these horrors. It gets easier once you try. When you’ve heard about serial killers with 11 murders to his credit, hearing about one with 2 is almost a relief.

Because they’re strangers. And it’s easier not to care because of that. Not to think of them as fellow human beings with hopes and dreams and loved ones whose lives have been snatched to satisfy a whim, or some wild fantasy.

So I focus on finding answers to my problems, and leave world peace for other people to tackle.

Mean and selfish, I know. But also the truth.

A Ramble on English

“I wonder what people who write ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ do with all their extra time…”

I love the English language. I judge people who type in short forms and destroy its beauty. I think that anything worth saying is worth saying right. Good grammar and a decent vocabulary will not destroy your ‘cool’; it’ll only make people respect you, and if not that at least understand what you’re trying to say. Unless that was your intention the whole time.

Yes, I’m a Grammar Nazi. It physically pains me to see errors, especially in print. My mind focuses on that one mistake and it’s all I can see. I’m more lenient while chatting. I will go as far as saying ‘cuz’ (because), ‘wanna’ (want to), ‘dunno’ (don’t know) and ‘btw’ (by the way) but that’s it. Oh, and ‘Sup?’ (what’s up). But that’s it. Maybe this is enough to make me a hypocrite, I don’t know. (I do often use idk too, and idc… OMG!)

I just realized I’m unfit to criticize others anymore. If I can make reservations for myself, I should be able to let others do that too.

I still think I’m right about judging them though. Is that wrong?

Yep.

Oops.

To ‘like’ or not to ‘like’

I browse through my News Feed on facebook, as I usually do, and come across a Post that makes me want to hit the ‘like’ button (or the ‘react’ button, I should say), as I usually do. But my eyes wander to the empty space beside the thumb indicating that if I press that button, I would be the first one to do so.

Does this imply that I’m a stalker? Is there something wrong with the Post I haven’t noticed yet? Is the Post not likeable for the others as much as it is for me… is that the case? So something’s wrong with me?

Yes, something is truly wrong with me. I caved into my instinctive need to be like the others. I started the rolling hill ride to overanalyzing the simplest of gestures – appreciation. I gathered doubt and insecurity, and my wish to not stand out too much took precedence over my desire to appreciate somebody.

And even though I know exactly what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling this, sometimes I still won’t hit the ‘like’ button. I wait until somebody else does and then go for it.

The first ‘like’ is always the hardest.

ps: I know I sound mean and stupid, which is why I’m working on it. I know what appreciation means when I’m on the receiving end, so I try and overcome these stupid delusions as much as I can.

Running away for an upgrade

Have you ever felt like you could be a better person if you weren’t surrounded by familiar faces who hate it if you so much as did your hair differently?

I have. I studied in the same school from kindergarten to Grade 12, and I have felt burdened by prejudices and preconceived notions of the people around me, who’d known me for ages. I kept thinking that my past was getting in the way of true progress, and that nobody could perceive me any differently than how I might have been five or ten years ago.

So I waited. Impatient for school to get over, not because I hated it – I had amazing friends (still do) and teachers there – but so I could go to a different environment and become the bold, trendy and popular woman I knew I could be, and wanted to be.

So after school, I left the country I’d lived in my entire life. I flew to my home country (not entirely by choice, but that’s another story) and went to a college where nobody knew me. There were no acquaintances, no family, absolutely nothing with a link to my past. Yay! Time to test run my 2.0 version.

I enthusiastically began to start conversations instead of being pulled into one, made a lot of acquaintances and talked about their lives and their pasts. I pretended to listen and care about their day, and other people’s lives (which they were more eager to share).

Suffice to say it didn’t work. I slowly started retreating into the person I was at school – shy and socially awkward and out-of-place. I realized that I don’t want to make small talk – I need meaningful discussions to truly engage myself in a conversation. The tags of ‘bookworm’ and ‘nerd’ and ‘genius’ didn’t go away either. Not entirely surprising as you could always find me with a book in my hand to escape the mindless chatter a lot of people are fond of. I was also the most travelled of the lot, had the most marks in high school, and a passion for learning none of my peers were fond of.

Slowly it dawned to me that I wasn’t trying to start anew. It wasn’t familiarity that hindered my progress, it was the fact that I had to compromise my personality for a fantasy. And when I realized that, I knew I couldn’t do that – I love me (if that wasn’t already obvious from the heavy usage of I, me and myself in anything I write). Sure, there are times (a lot of times) when I’m struck with inferiority complex and low self-esteem and existential crisis breakdowns. But for all that I am and all that I am not, there is nobody I would want to be other than me.

No more running away from me.