I wake up every morning, wishing it wasn’t and as I mentally grumble about how tired I am of being tired, I have a little gratitude mantra that I do for 30 minutes that gets my grumbling to stop and my foot on the floor. I reach out for my mobile and go through my news feeds, this world gives me an endless supply of SMH (shake my head) news feeds that make me realise how petty my problems are.
Today’s news feed got me especially stirred up, and my next cathartic step is to blog about it. It was about how America is in the paroxysm of ‘FakeNews’ conspiracy psychosis. On the fateful day of December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members of The Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.A.
This sickening news was the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school in U.S. history and the third-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history. It triggered massive debates on gun control and thankfully stirred the country to rethink its gun laws.
What it brought along with it was the unmasking of conspiracy theorists who would go to ugly lengths just to prove their belief. While conspiracy theories like ‘whether we actually landed on the Moon’ and ‘Obama was not born in America’ makes for light-hearted humour, asking the father of one of the six-year-old victims to exhume the body to prove that the child existed or is, in fact, dead is downright despicable.
As a mother of three the thought of grieving for a child is unbearable in itself, and to have barbarians troll the internet insisting that my child never existed and is ‘FakeNews’ orchestrated by the government is just appalling. People are reaching a new level of low and it is disturbing, to say the least.
Conspiracy theorists can no longer be ignored, as they are the secret force behind the election of the world’s greatest bigot as the most powerful man on Earth. Systematically tracking the trending conspiracy theories that had the greatest support, he concurred with it and thereby drove throngs to the polling booth that had previously shunned the elections. Trump even appeared on the Sandy Hook massacre denier, Alex Jones’s Infowars during his presidential campaign and lavished praise on its presenter, saying that the conspiracy theorist had an “amazing” reputation and pledging not to let him down.
Not only has the President of America by his support of the conspiracy theorists vilified the memories of those lost but also shattered the ability of those left behind to heal. It sickens me to think that victims are the latest targets for acrimony and a growing brood of loud and angry haters are assailing those that dare to speak up.
Haters is a group because quite literally all they do it hate, they loathe free speech except when they use it as an excuse to hurl insults and debase. They abhor progressive thinking because it forces them to acknowledge their ignorance and malevolence. They despise the truth because it forces them to admit that they are wrong and holds them accountable.
Sadly they are not restricted to the borders of U.S.A. but they populate the entire earth, in fact, chances are there is one in your extended family. The one person who scoffs at your hardest attempts, ridicules your dress, your weight, your children, your spouse, your job, your beliefs, and quite often leaves you feeling miserable in your own skin.
They are a viral epidemic that is more life threatening than the Ebola, they are the superbugs of humanity. Left unchecked they will consume every last hope, dream, and aspiration until all that will be left behind is shattered dreams, broken spirits, despair, and uncontrollable odium.
Internet trolling is providing these toxic people with more power and the ability to persist, after all the written word is hard to erase and harder still to ignore. A mother posted a picture of her son holding a chook (chicken) and it garnered haters to comment that if she was a ‘good mother’ she would teach her child to be vegan!? She deleted her post.
“A Brown Girl’s Guide to Gender” by Aranya Johar is a poem where she, an 18-year-old speaks about misogyny and touches on a very serious topic of how men justify rape through women’s clothing and cleavage. It’s a plea of a young girl in India voicing what women all over echo in their silence and the hate comments that have inundated her youtube video and facebook page are appalling. They called her poem a misandry towards men, told her to stop her whining and crying, called her crazy, said it was all a publicity stunt and the list goes on.
When did we as a civilized world think it was our right to belittle an 18-year-old girl talking about her experiences in a poem? Which is why now more than ever we need to encourage each other, we need to shut those haters with all our positivity and mostly by refusing to let them bog us down. At every opportunity we need to make our voices heard; we need to laud those who dare to be positive, who speak the truth and we need to look to our right and our left and let our loved ones know that we are with them. We need to curb our own anger and replace it with peace, love, and understanding because this world is already overflowing with hate. We need to celebrate every last drop of creativity, inspiration, and beauty. We need to spread cheer and good will, we don’t need to talk about all that is wrong but about all that is right and good.
Let us fight the good fight, the one that leads to a victory of love and peace because if we don’t then no one else will.
I was watching a TED talk by Bryan Stevenson
His opening statements made me sit back and breathe deeply.
Bryan Stevenson: It’s interesting, this question of the death penalty. In many ways, we’ve been taught to think that the real question is, do people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed? And that’s a very sensible question. But there’s another way of thinking about where we are in our identity. The other way of thinking about it is not, do people deserve to die for the crimes they commit, but do we deserve to kill?
Do we deserve to kill?
Echoes from the bible resound in my ear, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” I have received a lot of flak from people who have derided my pacifist attitude. My husband is a strong proponent of an eye for an eye, which he is quick to point out, is also in the bible. As I stood explaining to my then seven-year-old son to forgive those who bully him and to avoid mean kids, my husband interjected showing him how to land a left hook. As a child with Autism he was greatly disturbed and emotionally scared by his experiences but I have tried my best to make him understand that there are only two kinds of people, good and bad. We empower the good and we pray for the bad to turn good.
I have had a turbulent life, filled with mean girls, cruel women, evil men, scheming friends, manipulative family members, and the racists few. I know too well the perils of trusting a friend only to be betrayed, repercussions of being a guarantee for a loan, helping someone only to be accused of having ulterior motives, being called pathetic and weak for not joining in, and the list of hurts goes on. However, what I’d like to add is that I too have committed the same crimes albeit in different contexts.
In my forty years of life, can I truly say that I haven’t been at some point in my life mean, cruel, evil or schemed and manipulated to get my way? Have I never made a sweeping blanket statement that might have been sexist or racist? When we sit with our girlfriends sipping coffee hearing how their husband/boyfriend cheated on them and remark, “All men are pigs!” Reading about the atrocities against the slaves by the wealthy American cotton barons, I must confess my thoughts were quite racist. When I despised my brother’s girlfriend for taking advantage of him, I shamefully admit many schemes and emotional manipulations. When I hear of a pedophile, human trafficker, or a rapist, I can assure you my desire of vengeance can be downright evil not just cruel or mean.
The point being just because we can justify our wrongs with good intent, does it exempt our actions? If so then why can we not afford that same leverage to criminals that commit crimes due to poverty, drug addiction, etc.? Let me stress strongly that I am talking of the death penalty and not in any way advocating parole or shorter sentences. There are some mentally diseased humans that need to be locked away forever but what I question is the right to take away human life.
When did we as a society think that we could decide who lived and who didn’t? I am all for consequences and incarceration for the guilty but a death penalty for me is a downward spiral in our evolution. I cannot understand how we as a technologically advanced human race, wherein we have learnt to land on planets and study them, fail to appreciate human life. For me the only way forward is together but these cultural silos that we have created have now bifurcated even further into smaller isolated mobs of common goals, view points etc.
It is getting increasingly hard to have a discussion with anyone with a different point of view. All statements are emotional coupled with a myopic view that only they are right, reason and logic has been abandoned, compassion and empathy buried deep in the sands of self-preservation and personal comfort. I have never been more scared of voicing my opinions or of expressing them passionately for fear of being labeled a zealot. The world is getting increasingly corroded with hate and fear.
The words of Thomas Paine ring true today more than they ever did, “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals.”
I am dumbfounded when I discover the need to argue the case of saving human lives, with a history of slavery, genocide, oppression, tsunami, hurricanes, natural disasters and a nuclear bomb, we should know better. In the year 2017 we should not have prejudices based on religion, race, cast, gender, disability, or background, we should not have prejudices period. Before we plot a path to the stars and raise our flags on alien soil let us first nurture tolerance, justice and mercy.
There are a few statements that Bryan Stevenson makes that strike a chord in me that I cannot help but resound.
Our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity.
The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.
You judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated.
Presently in my life I have been engaged in a constant discussion about faith, my father’s insights often touch my soul. I am blessed that I am considered a good friend by people of different faiths and those without. My own personal journey has been quite colourful, born a catholic, turned atheist, then joined a Hindu cult, then a protestant group and now finally a Catholic.
I still cherish the sound teachings that had first attracted me to each faith and the lack of it. As an atheist I thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility aspect, we are in charge of our own lives and most importantly our choices. Unless someone puts a gun on your head and makes you do something, it’s a choice no matter how hard you disliked it. Accountability, I really liked that part.
In the Hindu cult, I enjoyed the concept of deriving meaning from mythological stories. Somehow it touched a chord; it triggered an ancient evolutionary process. The story itself was colourful and mesmerising and then the art of deriving hidden messages that gave you the ‘Aha moment!” was just splendid. The religion itself is steeped in ancient customs that somehow still managed to energise the chakras, and left you feeling exhilarated.
The Protestants on the other hand were an energetic bunch, so dedicated and passionate about their faith that I couldn’t help getting attracted to a life filled with purpose. Every morning was a new day; a new discovery to be made, a constant goal that kept evolving and I loved the whole momentum. The fact that we could feed off each other’s energy whilst generating our own and seeding others was just brilliant.
I decided to finally follow the catholic faith after researching other faiths, Buddhism, Islam, etc. I must admit that my research wasn’t extensive but enough to help me finally make up my mind. I realized that faith is a gift from God, providing you are willing to receive and nurture it, but religion is man made and highly dependent on your family, friend circle, society, culture and upbringing.
Let me elaborate using my own journey as an example, It was easy for me to be an atheist as I was a young science student and filled with questions that no one could answer. The concept that there was a God that allowed misery and we the blind sheep were supposed to entreat this unfeeling God with prayerful supplications basically defied common sense.
As a college student who was going through a rough patch at the hands of educated peers purely out of spite, I found refuge in the welcoming embrace of a new age Hindu cult group that spoke of tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness. Their love for life and every living being was such a welcoming change to the snooty cruel self-absorbed attitude I was accustomed to at my hostel. My disdain for money and those who valued it more than anything took root during this phase of my life.
As a young woman setting out to make my career I returned to live with my parents in Dubai, U.A.E. Muslim colleagues soon bombarded me with literature to facilitate my conversion. As an advanced member of my cult group I entered the organizational committee and soon discovered that money was indeed the core of everything. The love speech halted and turned into strategy and financial planning, albeit very transparent and honorable. I saw the stark reality of the romantic picture I had painted in my mind’s eye.
People were told exactly what they wanted to hear in order to lure them into a group that generated income by selling meditation, camaraderie, yoga lessons and supposedly enlightenment. All in all it is a good business, nothing wrong with teaching people to let go, live, sing and dance albeit for a reasonable fee that supported a community. Life coaches do the same thing on a smaller scale and charge astronomical amounts and benefit only themselves with the income. However, it wasn’t for me as I was looking for the truth, the path to self-evolution, not a song and dance distraction to help me live out my years on planet earth.
I spoke to a few Islamic friends and heard what they had to say about their religion and whilst I developed a deep respect for them, it didn’t take me home. That’s when I met a protestant evangelist, a powerful psychic who could read minds, see the past and foretell the future, gifts from the Holy Spirit he assured me. I was intrigued and more importantly lured by the promise that perhaps if found worthy I too could be blessed with such graces.
Sad to say money too was at the heart of his propaganda, and he literally thrived off the ‘donations’ made by generous followers. My tenure with him taught me a startling fact about the future, it is not set in stone. A person’s ability to choose brings about the biggest uncertainty to the possible time lines. I began to understand the question that drove me to atheism, why does God not interfere and stop the suffering? God’s gift of choice to mankind binds him and restricts him in making any changes or supernatural effects that could override mankind’s right to choose.
Suddenly the Lord’s Prayer made perfect sense, Our Father, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. We need to choose God’s will over our own, collectively to allow God to enact his miracles. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with love and respect for this unseen God, what a sense of justice, to stop oneself from interfering just because you have given your word not to.
For a split second I was transported to a world where honor, integrity, justice, and love was valued so highly. My head bowed with the realization that this unfeeling God was an honorable, ever-loving God of justice and suddenly I felt so worthless and regretted ever daring to question his righteousness. The verse from the bible resounded in my head, ‘Can the pot ask the potter what have you made?’
Long story short, I turned catholic after a brief experimentation with another protestant group that was more like a Christian rock concert, once again money being the central theme of everything. As I entered the Catholic Church after a sabbatical of five years, I felt as if I had come home. It felt familiar even though I had stepped into it for the very first time. That’s when I understood that everyone has a home, for some it’s a temple, to another it’s a mosque, to some a synagogue, but to me it’s a catholic church.
I felt my burdens lift away, I felt comfortable like I was returning home after a long trip. In many ways I had.
I was watching the gorgeous and ever graceful Meryl Streep give her speech at the now famous Golden Globes awards of 2017. I watched and listened as her voice faltered with raw emotion as she spoke of a very powerful man who mocked a disabled reporter who dared to disagree with him. Even though I am an Australian of Indo-Burmese descent living in a bubble that is not affected by America’s President Elect, I could not help but absorb her fear. The fear that this world is angry and is taking it out on the defenceless, the very ones who need our support and empathy. I am beginning to sense the Jungle law being silently enforced and I fear deeply for the weak, the disabled and the meek.
My entire life I have seen the stronger prey on the weak, my mother’s family had suffered financially at at hands of a greedy cousin who stole the family’s wealth as my hapless widowed grandmother stood alone in a male dominated cruel world. I too inherited my family penchant for tragedies and in college the mean girls club took it upon themselves to alienate me and systematically ostracized me for daring to be different, sounding different and being opinionated, and these were educated women from respectable families. My father had visited the United States of America in the early 1980’s and he was refused service in an ordinary cafe because he wasn’t white. He had a lot of respect for American’s right up until that time. I still remember him telling me, they (the whites) pretend to be very evolved but deep inside racism is still deeply rooted in their hearts, never mistake their tolerance for acceptance.
My Mother had a different understanding she believed that money transcends colour, race and background. She spoke of how people were very happy to trade their deepest sentiments for the jingle of money in their pockets. She spoke of how a crazy person turned into a respected eccentric, an ugly woman into uniquely featured, an arrogant man into a straight talking individual, blood enemies would bury the hatchet all because they get coloured with money. Have enough money and offer it to people and they will follow you no matter what your colour, background or ideology.
Years later I read a narrative by Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, in it he mentioned a paraphrased story about Stalin by Soviet novelist Chingiz Aitmatov that resonated with my mother’s reasoning. The story goes that in order to make a point to his henchman Stalin called for a live chicken which he then grabbed and proceeded to pluck it’s feathers one by one. He then placed the traumatised chicken on the floor and threw a few breadcrumbs at it and astonishingly it hobbled towards it and followed him around. “This is the way to rule the people. Did you see how that chicken followed me for food, even though I had caused it such torture? People are like that chicken. If you inflict inordinate pain on them they will follow you for food the rest of their lives.”
Self-sustenance is mankind’s primary goal along with resisting change. People are scared of those who are different especially those who are bold enough to voice their views because they pose a threat to the status quo. They respond the only way they know how, with mean and cruel taunts in the shelter of like minded people. Change, whether it’s circumstances or opinions, scare people and the only time they are willing to accept it is if it offers a better safer future.
This innate behaviour stems from the primitive need of humans to survive. This pack mentality where there is one leader who forcibly vanquishes any alternative thinking has sustained mankind for centuries. The weak were weeded out allowing only strong bloodlines to survive and this survival instinct to systematically eradicate non compliant humans has been etched in the DNA of humans for far too long to let one speech abate it. Augmenting this is the sheep mentality, the followers who without question rally behind the powerful, the strong in the hope that they will be favoured, once again ensuring their survival.
The comment section for the video featuring Meryl Streep’s speech was inundated with hateful remarks by Trump supporters. They insulted her, attacked her credibility as a decent human, questioned her right to comment about their glorious leader, one even likened her and all those in the entertainment industry to a monkey whose sole purpose was to entertain him, all because she said it was wrong to mock a disabled person. It reminded me of a racist comment by a woman on Facebook who called Michelle Obama a monkey in heels that was responded with a , ‘You just made my day.’ by a woman who held a government job in a predominantly white upper-class neighbourhood.
I shuddered with fear and disgust as I digested the stark reality that haters are now an overwhelming majority and with their leader holding one of the most powerful positions in this world we the minority better be scared. They are consolidating and encouraging each other and they are getting bolder, louder and more dangerous.
We the different, the quirky, the weird, the strange, the odd ones, need to follow suit. We need to gang up but instead of attacking them the way they do us, we need to respond with love, compassion, logic and most of all patience. We need to inspire these primitive minded people into realizing that food and shelter isn’t everything, but honour, integrity, and most of all our humanity is. Let us forge a new way of evolution, the one that involves everyone and no one gets left behind. The future is a sum total of all our actions, let’s make ours count.
Is it just me that when I see a child cry my heart melts? Where everyone else sees tantrums and manipulation I see an unhappy child, and apparently I have been reprimanded for feeling such emotions. I feel like my 8 year old self again, being told that my emotions don’t matter, that my feelings are invalid and I deserve to be told what to do because I am incapable of seeing reality for what it is.
I thought being a parent would at least give me the right to parent my child with all the love and understanding I wish my parents had showed me. Apparently this wise world knows better, and I am a weak oversensitive emotional individual who shouldn’t be in charge of child who is equally emotional, sensitive and obviously not allowed to feel the emotions he does.
Apparently Autism is just an excuse for indiscipline and a good smack is required to shake the child out of his delusions. So while my child feels inadequate, different and all wrong, a strong hand is what is required to snap him into being normal. Someone should really let the professionals know, especially my sons’ wonderful Occupational therapist, she should just swap her sensory kit developed after years of research for a good sturdy cane, no need for those college courses. Oh and my son’s speech therapist, silly woman she should no longer spend her time developing social stories to explain social nuances to my son, apparently a cane is a magical transmuter that imbibes knowledge with one stroke, literally.
What begs the question is why am I still so inadequate? Apparently at the receiving end of quite rigorous canning, belting and the works, how did this magic fail me? Why did it not magically heal me of my dyslexia that still plagues me especially when I’m stressed?
What breaks my heart and makes me loose my faith in humanity, apart from Donald Trump winning the election, is also how we rationalise the use of the cane. I am a big proponent of love and understanding, and honestly believe that children are pure of heart and only act out when their little worlds are troubled. While it may be stressful for many parents to handle the emotional outbursts of children especially those with special needs, I am not such a parent.
I spend hours researching the latest breakthroughs, I read books by reputable authors and try as much as I can to assimilate all that I can to help my little man. I am actively involved with his therapists and teachers to see how best I can help him navigate this life. So when my 8 year old starts talking about how miserable he is, how different he is to everyone, what an idiot he is and how he can’t seem to do anything right and mostly doesn’t deserve to be happy, the last thing I expect from a psychologist to say is that all he needs is a firm hand and discipline in his life.
What’s funny is that a parenting course I did, circle of security, says parents should help their children to understand why they are experiencing strong emotions rather than trying to repress them. Made total sense to me but that is molly coddling, apparently a good smack should settle that emotional outburst, never mind trying to explain to a child to regulate his emotions. I am beginning to understand why so many adults behave like children; they are still waiting for their parents to discipline them since they never learnt to parent themselves.
We should ask ourselves are we trying to raise individuals who fear punishment or thinkers who reason for themselves the best course of action? This firm hand ideology is what led to an assembly line individual that led to a sheep like herd that obeyed dictators without question. Where free thinkers were ridiculed and often met with violent opposition.
Treat a child and his emotions with contempt and how will you get an individual that is sympathetic and kind? Punish a child for expressing himself and you will get a bitter adult who will resent anyone who dares to question the norm. Our world needs to evolve and go past our archaic ideologies that stemmed from a master and slave mentality. Reasoning with a child and giving them consequences that are not so delightful can get far better results than a dictatorship that refuses to even acknowledge one’s emotions.
After all in the real world we have all seen what happens when you try to thwart people’s right to feel and be happy, a revolution, war and the ugly winds of change. Just as a revolution can be violent and messy, so can a rebellious teenager who has been suppressed for far too long. We reap what we sow and I intend to sow, love, understanding and compassion.
As a child my mom used to deride my artistic ambitions, I wanted to be important; I wanted to be an artist. Writer, painter, singer, fashion designer, movie star… anything that involved creating art. My fashion sense is at best weird so that was the end of that dream, I am tone deaf so that was a no go for singing, my acting skills are ok and in college I realised I made a better director than an actor so that was that, while I render a decent copy I lack the passion of a painter and it is more of a chore than a delight, which left me with writing. Mind you, coupled with my dyslexia it does make for a rather hard task but what is art if not marked with the sweat of adversity?
While it might seem like I settled for writing as an expression of the creative spirit in me, I must stress that writing is what liberated me. I shudder to think where I’d be without my passion for writing, after all it is this very love that helped me overcome my dyslexia, helped me get an education, increased my vocabulary and truly schooled me in the art of being a human being.
There are many failed individuals who could not aspire to much on account of the cumbersome task of reading and writing, I have dodged that outcome purely out of my love of writing. Taming the runaway letters was indeed a mammoth task but I learnt a very important lesson about being a human being, we are not without our strengths especially our will to overcome. When we set our minds to do something and most importantly struggle towards it with bitter tears, help comes our way.
I still remember starring at my history books with tears welling up in my eyes as I starred at the jumbled words in front of me, wondering how I would ever pass my test the next day, surely my father would be ready with his belt to let me know the consequence of being mediocre. I called out to heaven and the angels, but none came and as I stared into my history textbook that looked more like a crossword puzzle, words popped in front of me. Just like a crossword puzzle that was being solved, I saw words pop that made a sentence; they summed up what the paragraphs were all about.
I began to jot them down, from then on I began to write all my answers in point form, not a great talent given that the Indian education system relied on rambling on and on but for me it was a breakthrough. I had a wonderful history teacher, Mrs. Banerjee, who didn’t mind my point form answers as long as I mentioned all the points it was ok for her.
This followed me into college and everyone marvelled as to how I could pull out such key points from pages of discourse that left everyone else confused. My weakness became my strength. My teachers noted that though I bunked my classes, failed to submit my journals, my reports/projects/seminars were always succinct, and simplified beyond belief, many suggested I take up teaching.
The point I am trying to make is that this world has us conditioned into thinking in terms of success versus failure, ability versus disability, what if we stepped away from that model of thinking? As a mother of a child with autism I am amazed at his sense of logic and baffled by his inability to comprehend a joke. The world tells me that my child has a problem, his teachers tell me that he is very intelligent but unable to translate that into paper, I get that, I was in that very same boat, albeit for a different disability. However, I know something they don’t, he can get over it just as long as people don’t keep shouting in his ears that he can’t do it and never will.
As I struggle to get him to learn and discover ways to overcome his hurdles, I realised why I overcame and he is struggling. I am an artist, I am fuelled with this love for drama, the poignant story of an underdog that overcomes uplifts my soul and charges me to break all barriers. Sadly, not everyone is born an artist, and hence life’s struggles are just that struggles, how depressing! While I am on an epic adventure to discover myself and get quite bored if life doesn’t throw a hurdle at me, others are quite heartbroken with their pain and brood over their scars.
It is truly a blessing to be born an artist, to see pain as an instrument to delve deeper into one’s soul, to see hurdles as an opportunity to know what you are truly made of, to see betrayal and treachery as lessons to grow and evolve. I thank my miserable life that has been riddled with pain and trauma of the most unbelievable sorts, like my mom says, ‘anything that can go wrong goes wrong in your life, still you laugh.’ I thank all the pain and the lessons because they have led me to discover what I’m truly made up of, what I truly stand for and who I truly am and the best part, I love myself, every scar, mistake, idiotic idiosyncrasy, past, present and future.
I am a staunch catholic, brought up in a Muslim country of parents from two different countries with friends from an assortment of religion, language and race. I am in a sense an International individual, I don’t hold any nationalistic views and the world is my home. I am more globally aware of different cultures and races than most of my peers and I am at ease in any country irrespective of its world status. I have no overt stereotyping apart from the belief that paedophiles, sexual predators and murders need to be put away.
Growing up in a cosmopolitan land with friends who fasted, prayed and behaved very differently than me made me not only tolerant but also appreciative of the human fabric. Having a church to go to on Fridays made me thankful of the kindness of the Muslim rulers and the daily blessings we always invoked for them in church made me understand that tolerance was a two way street.
There is a lot of talk about how people need to be rooted in their own culture, how cross culture adoption is not ideal etc. I beg to differ, my mom is a keralite, Indian and my father a refugee from Myanmar, I do not have a mother tongue, as the primary mode of communication for my parents was English. That is the language I grew up learning and speaking, in school I learnt Hindi and Arabic and friends taught me Urdu, Farsi and Swahili. Not one to learn languages I soon forgot all except English and rudimentary Hindi.
However, I never forgot the culture, the accents, the traditions, the views, the prejudices, I absorbed all, assimilating it in my mind and developing an understanding of ethnicity and more importantly appreciating it. I remember asking my mom as a child that if Jesus was the way, the truth and the life, what about all the other religions would those who follow it ever make it to heaven? She read out what St. Paul had said, that for those who did not have the law if they followed what was right and did what was pleasing to God, they would indeed make it to heaven, for the law was written on their hearts. We were Catholics because we weren’t so good and needed the love and mercy of Jesus to save us.
If only I could see that kind of love and tolerance in today’s world, there wouldn’t be such arguments about building walls, keeping immigrants out and turning away the destitute because they didn’t belong geographically. Nationalistic pride and self-preservation has made us hardhearted and xenophobic. We have forgotten what it means to love, to be kind and most importantly to be human. We fall to our knees in times of crisis but when given the chance to show mercy we turn away, it is no wonder that our societies are turning cold; crime is on the rise and hatred an all time high.
We talk of colonising Mars for we have already given up on planet Earth, we talk of peace but perform acts of war, we talk of winning hearts without really believing that the enemy has a heart and we raise awareness about all that is wrong in the world without celebrating all that is right.
We talk but we don’t reach out, to the elderly neighbour struggling to take the garbage out, to the homeless who shivers in the icy cold wind, to the orphan who has turned to drugs and to the family member who could use a kind word.
Perhaps the view on Mars would indeed be pleasant.
I heard an inspiring speech by Elif Shafak on Ted talks where she says that if you want to destroy a human soul all you need to do is surround it with thick walls, she then extends this analogy to state that if our inner circle is our mirror image then we to run the risk of being trapped in our cultural cocoons. The result is a shrivelled human spirit lacking the dynamic vibrancy that fuels our progress.
This thought lingered with me for days, and I pondered over the deeper consequence. As I was brewing my coffee and I watched the hot water hit the coffee grains and saw it foam and coagulate and then separate to rush where the water took them and I saw a pattern emerge. The wafting smell of fresh coffee excited my soul and already I could taste the creamy deliciousness I knew would be the end result.
I had a revelation; we are like the coffee grains, identical until fate and life decide our path. We aggregate towards likeminded people but life ultimately decides our destiny. We bond, break, separate and ultimately give forth our essence that is the nectar of humanity. Of late I have been wondering about my life, why has it been riddled with troubles and aches and the only positive aspect is that it has made me compassionate. I have become less judgmental, less critical, more grateful and more passionate about life. In hindsight if I had to learn these great lessons only by having my heart ripped over and over again then so be it.
Our lives are not a quest for comfortable living, happily ever after is a myth, there are no prefect lives, only fleeting moments. Life is a journey of self-realization and no it is not of your choosing, you may run to the mountains and hide away in a cave but through the howling winds and cracking stones, nature will touch your soul.
Look at human history, the stories of the common man and the glorious prince; they all collide at the point of birth, love, friendship, betrayal and ultimately death. The love felt by an innocent farm girl is no different than that felt by a celebrity, love is love, how we express it and where we find it will differ but not the raw emotion of euphoria. The pain of betrayal is no less if you are a commoner or no more if you are a warlord.
Read the stories that writers have penned down through generations, the ones steeped in truth are often the most interesting and very often they never have a happy beginning and almost always have a tragic end. However the protagonists learn life lessons that are illuminating and often heart wrenching. There are no happy endings, there are just lessons, there is only life.
TED Talks – Elif Shafak
I was chatting with a dear friend about the unbearable pain that almost breaks you, crushes your soul, the pain that is inflicted by a loved one. It is the by-product of the oldest sin in the history of mankind, the sin of betrayal. There is a sacred bond that is formed when we love someone, give them our trust, our love, our time, our respect, and most importantly the keys to our heart.
Then when they sadistically hurt you, the one they should have protected, nurtured, supported or simply loved back, it breaks your soul. What kills slowly and seeps poison into your being is the nonchalant way they behave after literally crushing your soul, to nail it, the quip “Ohh for the love of God stop making this into another one of your dramas.”
With one sentence they disregard your right to feel, to ache, they question your right to be loved, respected; marginalising you with an unfeeling stone. However, you are not a stone, no matter how they justify it to themselves, no one deserves to be hurt and then told that they have no right to feel wronged.
I can go on and on about the pain, the hurt, and most importantly how unfair it is. Most of the inability to forgive and bitterness comes from the deep-rooted feeling that, ‘it is not OK, I’m not going to forgive and let it go because it is not OK to do what was done.’ Forgiveness isn’t about the other person; forgiveness is actually about letting go. It’s about not torturing yourself over and over again but about letting the pain go. Being at the receiving end I know the desire to hold onto to the pain, after all what proof is there about what was done and heaven forbid seeing you free from pain your perpetrator gets the green signal that it turned out all fine so its OK, no it’s not OK, never will be.
What we fail to realise in our naïve attempt to punish the wrong doer is that seeing us squirm in pain, and watching us torture ourselves daily, gives them a sick sense of accomplishment. They have power over us, and by one act they can control our entire life, every action we take will bounce off from their malicious betrayal. Whether we love again, trust again, be happy again will all depend on how badly they hurt us, why give someone evil that power? When that realization hit me, I learnt to let go, reading the bible verse, ‘Vengeance is mine’ helped me, there was someone all powerful who knew what happened, doesn’t need proof and he will deliver their comeuppance.
However, I wonder if there is a more to it than what meets the eye? I remember seeing the movie Matrix and feeling a sense of déjà vu, somehow I could totally relate to the concept that we are all prisoners, trapped in this illusion that life is what it is. We are all programed to follow the rules, comply with the laws of the social construct but the gnawing truth was something sinister. While I don’t advocate the possibility of AIs controlling us to use us as an energy source, what I do find possible is that the world is lying to us about our purpose in life and the pain is a wake up call.
What if life isn’t about going to work, earning money, getting married, starting a family, becoming successful, what if all this is just to keep us busy from discovering the real purpose of our lives? The pain would serve as a disrupter, to jar us out of this fantasy world that we live in and realise that all is indeed not what it seems. Life isn’t just about procreation, about hollow successes; it’s about discovering our inner self.
There are many things the bible speaks of that lends to this line of thought. It is written we are made in the image and likeness of God, we can tell a mountain to uproot itself and throw itself into the sea, we can heal the blind, mute, sick and even the dead. The living who are not seeking the path are referred to as dead. We can do all these things and more but only if we defy the worldly construct. Akin to Neo changing the matrix to suit his imaginations because it doesn’t truly exist.
Every religion in the world talks of the devil who seeks to deceive, we are told to defy the logic of the world and seek a higher purpose, and to those who truly discover the light, the power to distort reality is given, we call it miracles. The Hindus have often referred to the glitter of this world as MAYA, an illusion. Buddha tried to give us a path that we should follow letting go our desires and explaining to us that pain is a result of desire that is worldly.
Jesus showed us the way, the truth and the life, he told us to hate this world and to love only truth. Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
We are all broken that is how the light gets in – Ernest Hemigway
There has been a lot of talk about technology, how it has taken over our lives, how we rather txt someone than talk to them, and I admit I have been guilty of some of the rantings. Especially when it comes to my children and how they can’t ‘live’ without their i-pads and literally turn deaf when on it.
Yesterday, South Australia had the worst storm in 50 years, a cyclone no less. We were without power, as transmission towers were ripped from the ground, for almost 5 hours and during that time we were thrust back into time, a pre technology era and it opened my eyes to the reality that is technology.
As the winds lashed our home that glowed with candlelight, the temperatures dropped forcing us to huddle together under blankets, the smoke from the candle began to trigger my son’s mild asthma and I had to switch over to emergency torches, I still kept a few candles burning in strategic places.
Kids being kids demanded food, I reached out to my fridge and with ninja stealth took out eggs, milk and butter. We have a gas cooker so in no time a good meal was prepared; the dancing candlelight was very forgiving towards the mess I made in the process. As I washed the dishes in the icy cold water I remembered that our water heater though it ran on gas, needed an electric spark to get it going.
My mum called and we spoke for a while, she lives down the street and I was grateful that the mobiles were working. She spoke of how she missed heating up the wheat bags in the microwave, how it was getting cold and the battery-operated radio was keeping her company in the dark. She too has asthma and can’t use candles so was grateful to the emergency torch that ran on batteries.
She told me that she spoke to her friend and had advised her not to use camp stoves or light up the barbecue without good ventilation, not an option in this freezing weather. Her neighbour who needed oxygen had to have the ambulance take him to the hospital as the oxygen dispenser was electrical and his spare oxygen tank wouldn’t last the outage. They had called the ambulance using his mobile, as the landline phone worked on electricity.
As I sat in the dark and saw the candles dim I wondered how long until the electricity was back? As if an answer to my silent prayer the mobile buzzed with a message from the SA power Networks, electricity would be restored by midnight. Messages from friends all over the world streamed wishing my family and me safe. There was a lot of banter about marriage, dance lessons, kids’ exams and they all kept my mind off the fact that I was in a blackout state facing the worst storm in five decades.
My brother was forwarding me snippets about the outage; there were people from other states making fun of our outage. One tweet read, ‘Well I suppose one good thing about this SA power blackout is at least Adelaide’s nightlife won’t be affected at all.’ There were fears that the water supply might be disrupted and emergency services were being stretched to the limit as all vehicles were running low on gas.
When electricity was finally restored the mess as well as the smoke from the candles astounded me, I had to open windows to vent it out and as I could switch on the heater the cold was no longer prohibitive. I vacuumed, loaded the dishwasher, put the toys away, wiped the tables, sorted the laundry and messaged all my friends and hubby that we were safe and the worst was over.
The truth is Technology makes our life so much better, safer and convenient. People use it for medical purposes so that they can live independently without being a burden on family and friends; we use it to power our homes, hospitals, and emergency services. We use it to spread awareness about social concerns, diseases, potential hazards, and acceptance of people with differences to name a few.
Does it get abused? We are humans if there are ten helpful things one can use an object for then we will find that one way with which we can cause harm, it’s our nature so yes it gets abused. It isn’t technology that is bad, it’s our innate nature to turn everything good into something not so good. Give a child a crayon expecting him or her to be Picasso and they decide to chew it. Shall we throw out all the crayons and rant about how it is leading to teeth discolorations, potential poisoning from ingestion of colours and not to mention the mental anguish of a mother trying to get colour out of a toddlers teeth?
Yes social media poses risks to privacy, a tool used by Paedophiles, a means for cyber bullying etc. but it also helps a mother like me alone with three kids during a state-wide blackout to feel connected, safe and loved.
It’s a cold balmy morning and as I open my inbox, Quora decides to educate me on ‘How do you quickly recognize a manipulative person?’ Now why Quora decided I needed that bit of information is quite an interesting topic and maybe ‘Google’ does indeed know?
However, this post is not about that it is about, wait for it, my objections to the article. No, I’m not a troll, I’m not one of those who have to find fault with everything kind of person but read on and hopefully you’ll see my point.
Let me start with the title, quickly; now I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever had the unfortunate experience of encountering a manipulator but let me clarify there is nothing quick about spotting a manipulator. It often takes years of damage to one’s self esteem, soul, heart and mind to realise that it wasn’t your fault; you were just being manipulated. A con artist is easy and quick to recognise but a manipulative person who has weaved himself or herself into your fabric of life, not so much.
Manipulators are sneaky, in the sense you get this gut feeling that something is amiss but you can’t pin point exactly what. They are so good at turning everything into your fault that you can hardly take a stand, after all they are always the victim and you are made to feel guilty about it. Nothing quick about spotting that, it often takes years of emotional and mental turmoil and a tipping point, an illness, or some other catastrophe to get you to finally realise what’s going on.
What’s worse is that most successful emotional and psychological manipulators have a home court advantage. They either are your family (parent, sibling, spouse, child, in laws etc.) or in a position of authority (employer, senior, etc,) You get the point, they can’t be easily ignored and they often bring along social obligations that they use to their advantage.
So needless to say when I find an article that says, “If a person is too nice or caring, suspect them.” I cringe. I take personal offence to this generalised statement; doubt good people on the off chance that they are manipulators? I now realise why some people have given me the cold shoulder or responded rudely when all I wanted to be was kind and helpful, they have been getting this kind of advice!
While I understand that being in the snares of a manipulator is one of worst experiences imaginable, hardening your heart and suspecting everyone you meet is hardly the solution. For me this advice is akin to someone saying I’m going to sit in this cold dark room because something bad might happen to me if I step out. Yes, nothing bad can happen to you but neither will anything good and that isn’t living it’s existing.
“If they make you do things, that you don’t really want to do, but you do them anyway because of them then you are being manipulated.”
I’m a mum I make my kids to do things they don’t want to do all the time but it isn’t because I’m manipulative it’s because vegetables and fibre is really good for them. A jacket no matter how unfashionable is a must if it’s chilly in the garden. Going to school no matter how boring is not an option it is mandatory, period.
The article was hardly a comprehensive account of what it stated in the title. All it did was offer swooping generalised statements that I felt caused more harm than good. If you truly are in the clutches of a manipulator or suspect someone of being a manipulator this article is not to be read, instead advice from a psychologist would be more appropriate. The truth is manipulators work by eroding your confidence, making you doubt yourself, guilt tripping you into every situation, it is a sad slow process that begins with gaining your trust, isolating you from anyone who might help you see though the manipulation or support your self worth.
Here is an example of what it’s like with a master manipulator as posted by Eden Strong for YourTango.com:
Manipulation always starts with guilt. If he can convince you to feel guilty for your actions (even when you’ve done nothing wrong), then he knows you’ll be more willing to do what he says. “I mean sure, I guess dinner was OK. It wasn’t what I was hoping for and I would have rather done something different but I guess as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. I love you and it’s important to me that you are happy, even if that means setting aside what I want.”
See what he did there? How he turned that around you? On the surface, he makes it seem like he’s a loving boyfriend but spoiler alert: guilt is not love.
While this isn’t as good as going to a professional psychologist or counsellor for advice it paints a fairly accurate picture of a manipulator. A half page article with generalised statements does more harm than good, and this concept of posting advice about anything and everything under the sun after reading a few articles by other equally unqualified people is what is wrong with the internet today. Dr. Google has become the go to professional for advice, and Dr. Google is filled with quacks that want to raise their ranking on sites like Quora by posting as many articles as they possibly can with blatant disregard to the repercussions of their actions on impressionable minds. It takes 5 likes on a post to get people to trust the nonsense some people pass off as advice.
What I find ironical is that this blogger is doing exactly what a manipulator does, “Manipulators may appear selfless and helpful. It’s because they conceal their intention, ambitions and desire for power.”
Author’s Note: I got a lot of feedback on this article and apparently it’s not the words but the ‘tone’ that the statements were made that was hurtful. Condescending, judgmental, dismissive etc. these are the emotions that infuriate and offend. No one has a problem with genuine emotions, which should have huge doses of respect for the individual if not unconditional love. However, the superior attitude or the ‘know it all’ attitude that most carry around them is what irks most when going through a crisis. Then there is the bunch who when emotionally troubled hate to bump into the ever smiling, flower smelling, diddy singing optimist. They have an emotional range far wider than just happy or sad and they find obsessing only about these two extremes vexing. While I do not understand that, I get it, I really do. We all have the right to feel whatever we do and it doesn’t need to be justified to anyone. My optimism infuriates another and their morose outlook baffles me, perfectly fine, it’s all part of being human. The confusion, the hurt, the misunderstandings, the passion, the trauma and all the drama, that is what is life and such is the journey we are forced to traverse and not always with our consent.
I was reading an article and I was surprised to find two comments that were listed as hurtful.
“You should pray!”
“Relax, it will be all right.”
The mention was from someone who was facing a personal problem and had listed all the comments that well-meaning friends and relatives had often touted when made aware of her plight, before a doctor was called in for proper diagnosis.
The reason these two comments stirred me is because I mouth them, quite often and it shocked me that people would find it hurtful or offensive. I agree that they are not diagnostic in nature but one comment asks that we seek help from God, the one who raises the dead kind of powerful and the other is to ease the stress and the pain, a sort of don’t be too hard on yourself.
The only way I find it hurtful is if one recommends praying to an atheist and if a doctor quips that one should relax instead of offering proper advice or medication.
I can’t image the opposite to be recommended.
“Don’t bother praying it’s hopeless!”
“Yeah, you’re right that does sound like something is terribly wrong with you!”
Makes me think that maybe when people are that sensitive perhaps they shouldn’t talk about ‘problems’ to friends and family and seek medical counsel instead. You can’t possibly expect ordinary well wishing family and friends to be updated on all the latest medical conditions and ailments. If I have a friend who calls me up saying she has a headache, my first rhetoric will be to ask if she has taken any panadol and my advice to her will be to relax and take it easy. I won’t be mouthing recommendations for an MRI, CT scan or start drumming about blood clots in the brain or tumours. Does my general assumption that things are not catastrophic make me insensitive and rude? Sorry for my optimism.
It brought to mind an incident a few years back. I had met a woman at a parenting session she remarked that her son did not start speaking until he turned two. I told her that neither did my son and we never had any reason to worry. She was offended with my comment, staying that I was ‘not helping’ by telling her that it was OK, her son apparently has an issue that needs to be dealt with. I apologised but I kept shut about letting her know that people only relate information that they experience themselves, what course of action she takes for her son cannot be based on what other people have experienced but instead on her instinct as a parent and on the recommendations of her doctors.
My point being, only you know the depth and extent of your situation. Family and friends can support you in whatever decision you take and can offer advice that they would apply on themselves, they cannot offer medical or legal counsel (unless they are qualified to do so) and it is wrong for you to expect otherwise. If you take a wrong decision because you choose to accept an advice from a friend or relative that was wrong, is it really their fault? In this day and age when the Internet abounds with information, how hard is it to Google a query and come up with all the various issues relating to your condition. To speak to a few friends and base life changing decisions on their counsel is foolish and placing the blame on them for any wrong decisions taken, even more so.
Seriously speaking when was the last time anyone actually did what parents, friends or relatives, recommended? We all know an Aunt Bertha who wanted us to become a doctor or an uncle Jim who felt being a charted accountant was the way to go. How many times have friends told us not to date so and so or to seriously stop doing something, for our own good and yet we have ignored their advice time and time again?
Regarding being hurt or offended, when one faces a sensitive issue everything gets perceived in the wrong light. Even common sense can seem rude and insensitive. If you comment you can get perceived as nosy and if you don’t you get labelled as someone who just doesn’t care. Apparently the rule is only those who have personally undergone that particular crisis has the right to comment.
To all the people who were hurt when asked to pray about a crisis in their life, are you guilty about something? Do you feel that bringing God into the equation means that you are going to be judged or that you are being punished?
Let me clarify, God is love and he does not punish, unless you are a dictator who has killed thousands and often they live long happy lives and people tend to lament, “why is God not dealing with him/her?” Asking God for help does not mean that you are going to get judged or that you have to account for all your sins. All it means is that if all fails, he is always there and he is quite merciful.
To all the people who were upset about being told that all will be well, next time seek out the pessimistic lot, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
In lieu of the new information the aforementioned article has brought to light, my new comment to all queries from friends, family, strangers and everyone in general will be, “Seek profession advice, I am not qualified to comment.”
The hidden truth, flourishing in our neglect, requesting the seeker to submerge in it’s wisdom in order to impress.
There is a world within the world we live in, pure and full of wisdom, the one we are oblivious to. We go to work, play, eat, sleep, populate this Earth and generally live a life that is not cognizant of this veiled truth. Like a dream within a dream we fool ourselves into believing that we are truly alive and in that moment, we conjure up tragedies, triumphs, obstacles, emotional crossroads and everything else that our ever-imaginative minds can emotionally create, just to numb the sensation that we are indeed asleep. Death actually is a circuit breaker that jerks us out of this elaborate illusion that the entire human race has collaborated into existence.
Stories abound of this conspiracy theory, the dream within the dream state of mankind’s existence. For though we have wilfully chosen to bury it, the knowledge of it gnaws in the depth of our subconscious. It surfaces ever so often in paintings, stories, myths, and mad ramblings of a troubled soul.
Religions have tried to ease mankind into truth, first calling one to a more evolved living, then renunciation of all worldly pleasures (the truth suppressors) and eventually embracing ‘life after death’ (the circuit breaker). Jesus had spoken these words, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” To fail to see the truth is akin to being dead, asleep to the reality that exists.
Do wish to be awakened?
I am a philosophical person and I like to think that I am a good person, but sometimes I seriously wonder if I ‘live up’ to the standards society has placed on ‘good people’. How many conversations have you heard or entered into where the dialogue goes something like this:
“Oh so and so is such a good person.”
“Really? Do you know what so and so did to somebody? I don’t even have the complete details but I am so judging them!”
We are such a judgemental collective lot, to the extent that if there is one feature that connects all races, classes, societies, cultures, countries, ethnicities, personalities, and whatever new classifications the anthropologists and psychologists might come up with, it’s our tendency to judge and label.
We might be guilty of adultery but it won’t stop us from calling another person licentious, a con man will be the first to scream ‘thief’ if someone steals his wallet, the man who is on death row asking for pardon won’t consider twice before he reports an inmate for a trivial crime, such is the state of the human consciousness.
Talk about a genuinely good person, even a saint and you will find people crawling out of the wood work telling you why they fail to meet that standard. Mother Teresa is a saint, she took in the deceased, the poor, rejects of society, the abandoned, the lepers and for no other reason that to give them dignity, cared for them, fed them and looked after them. That makes her a saint by any definition in any culture or society, right? Apparently not, her greatest detractors, among others are protestant preachers (non-Catholic Christians) who call her a demon worshipper (they refuse to acknowledge the images of Christ and Mother Mary as a Christian tradition). Which makes me wonder the obvious, if everyone is claiming to belong to the light and those who do selfless acts of charity belong to the dark, why is this world going to hell?
Every time I walk into the supermarket with my brood of three wild energy tornadoes that physically resemble children, I mentally brace myself for all the judgments. As I accomplish the arduous mission of grocery shopping, I know that everyone probably thinks that I am a terrible mother, someone who lacks the common sense to discipline her children. What they don’t know is that my oldest has borderline Asperger, a birth control failure has led to my daughters being born hardly a year apart, with both parents working it’s a complicated household.
The point I am trying to make is that we as a society have a tendency to judge, harshly, we tend to generalise, stereotype and compartmentalise. We have justifications for all our actions but God forbid if someone else tries to do the same. We resort to hurtful slander and defend it as freedom of expression but if a genuinely good person is applauded, we as a society deride them.
A good person is never supposed to do anything wrong, past, present or future. Even a parking ticket is unacceptable, how could someone good break traffic laws? Human emotions like anger, frustration, bitterness, etc. are unacceptable, not for a good person. Human errors like hurting someone, being rude, inconsiderate, or just plain wrong will instantly demote you to a normal person.
In the rare event that someone does fulfil all this unachievable standards there is always a technicality that you can discredit them on. Are they martyrs or saints? They belong to the catholic community, list all the errors (how the majority in society have decided to interpret certain historical events) made in history by the Vatican and use it to debase them.
When did we as a society decide that being good meant to be free of faults or character flaws? Good means that generally a person if given the option would choose a course of action that results in a good deed, someone who does not wilfully do wrong to others, someone who would more times than not seek for an opportunity to help and bless. Those few times that they would do the opposite of good, makes them human, it does not give anyone the right to shame them.
In this day and age when even saints fail to meet the standards of the Morden puritan, what hope lies for us mere mortals? The ones who breathe to 10 to calm down and still end up screaming, the ones who swear never to do it again only to find themselves in the same situation, the ones who try every day to get it right but every night retreat a failure, the ones who despite their best intentions still end up hurting the ones they love?
There are many great men and women in our history and most of them had character flaws but that doesn’t make their actions any less great just makes them more human and what is wrong with that?
To be great means never to give up trying, to fall a hundred and nine times but still rise the hundred and tenth time, to always believe in yourself even if the world is shouting down at you and most importantly to support others in their struggle. As far as mistakes are concerned, in the words of a wise man, it’s not what you did but what you will do about it that matters.
Supporting every human out who has fallen and will fall, “Get up and get going! It’s not the end of the world, it’s part of our DNA, it’s a human trait to fall, it’s getting up that counts!”