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More On the Subject of Life Lessons…

Man, oh man, could I write a book tonight. I happened upon a news article that was a follow up to an existing story about a (now former) police officer who fabricated a story about experiencing hate simply because he was a cop. The tumultuous divide this propagates (more on that in a minute) left me feeling a little dumbfounded as the continued situation unfolded. My reaction is below. You can find the news article I’m referencing right here.

I hesitated to comment on this article but I’ll do it anyway because when have you ever known me to shy away from telling you what I really think?

I remember reading the original article on this, when the news story first broke about a police officer who’d been given a cup of coffee with insulting profanity on it. At the time, my heart sank for what only highlighted a seemingly nasty divide in our country. 

But then I read the article today, which cleared things up. 

The story was false. 

The former officer had made it up and, only after it could be proven that he had lied, he came clean. He said it was a joke (it is never, ever a joke). That makes my heart sink even more. 

This past season on Survivor, one of the male cast members was accused of inappropriate behavior with a female cast member. 

From what was shown, it wasn’t dangerous behavior that he was doing but it made the woman feel uncomfortable and she’d asked him to stop, which he didn’t…so it was inappropriate. 

Some of the other female cast members intentionally used the discomfort of this woman and claimed to have ALSO experienced the same from him, only to later say that they hadn’t…that they were just using it to get ahead in the game. That’s not okay.

We live in a world that is often confusing, where it seems hard sometimes to separate fact from fiction. We live in a world where news media, for better or worse, spreads quickly and the court of public opinion is strong. We owe it to each other to condemn this kind of behavior and to teach our children that it won’t be tolerated. 

I don’t want to assume malintent in either situation because I’d like to believe all parties involved here truly didn’t consider the magnitude of their actions but we HAVE TO DO BETTER. We can’t continue propagating this kind of hate in the world, it only serves to make things worse for us all.

I think it’s going to take positive actions, from each of us, with our friends, family, neighbors, and strangers, to counteract the negative ripple effect that things like this cause. Let’s take a moment to show the world that it’s a beautiful place to be. 

Furthermore (can’t stop / won’t stop), in this #MeToo era truth telling is PARAMOUNT. 

If you want to know WHY this feels like such a colossal ordeal to me, I’ll tell you. 

Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) is VERY hard to prove and for every person who fabricates a story for personal gain (or for whatever sick reason they justify in their heads) there are victims out there who struggle to prove what’s happened to them, who are terrified to confront their abusers, and who simply aren’t believed. 

These human beings are often left to deal with the aftermath of the trauma they experienced for years. It creates a strain on our mental health system and continues cycles of distinction. 

We owe it to each other to not tolerate this kind of behavior. 

Victims deserve to have their stories believed and heard. When people spread falsehoods, it makes it that much harder to believe those who are telling the truth, who need help. 

I was reminded, after posting about this on my social media, about a situation in my own life where someone I know doesn’t want men spending time alone with their thirteen year old daughter. As parents, it is 100% their prerogative to add that stipulation onto visits with family and friends, whether other parties agree to it or not.

Only one of the family members in the situation is distraught about the idea that her husband, whom she loves and adores, isn’t to be trusted (her perception of the stipulation) around their daughter. She’s left questioning the WHY behind their decision making. That’s fair. On both accounts.

But here’s the thing…you are not OWED an answer as to why someone does, says, or decides something in life. You aren’t owed an explanation, no matter HOW badly you want one. So in the situation with the contestant who felt uncomfortable with the man on Survivor, she doesn’t have to explain WHY she was made to feel uncomfortable…once she articulated that she WAS uncomfortable the behavior should have stopped. Plain and simple. End of story, end of discussion.

Similarly, this family doesn’t owe anyone an explanation as to why they’ve made this decision or are uncomfortable with their newly pubescent teenage daughter spending alone time with men, regardless of who they are. Nobody is owed a justification for that decision…no matter how badly one is wanted. I think it’s fair to ask for one, but it’s not fair to be upset if it’s not received.

The other big life lesson here is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for the way in which your interactions, behaviors, and actions impact the world around you. You aren’t responsible for other people’s emotional well being, no way, but you are definitely responsible for the impact you make in this world and in BOTH situations (where the former cop was a lying liar who liked to tell lies and where the other contestants on the reality show decided to lie to get ahead) the potential negative impacts and ripple effect is pretty severe.

Bottom line, and I’ll go because I know this is long….We have GOT to be better about being good human beings. We just HAVE TO. For ourselves and for future generations.

That’s all.

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