Where the Scary Things Hide

Humor is my therapy. When things get a little pear-shaped, I try to find humor in the situation. I was able to do that most of the time last year when I was trying to deal with Bryan’s death. With humor, I built hope for 2020 – the year I would be traveling, the year I would be healing a bit more, the year I would be a little more myself. Instead of doing all the wonderful things I had planned to do, however, I haven’t been able to visit with family and friends because of COVID, I’ve been working fewer hours due to COVID, not able to travel due to COVID, not able to do fun things around town due to COVID, not able to shop around for cool things for my condo due to COVID.

Then there was the threat of murder hornets. Then there was Trump’s general craziness.

I have friends on both sides of the fence with all of it. I stay quiet mostly because there’s not much point in arguing. My friends have their opinions. I have mine. The bottom line is I wear my mask out in public for the most part when I’m going to be in close contact with people. I limit where I go. I’m Democrat and I’m also a psychology nerd so what I think of Trump is pretty obvious to everyone. I choose not to enter into arguments about it for the most part. I vote.

There’s another monster that has reared its ugly head again in our country in the midst of the world’s mayhem. It’s the racist multi-headed monster. It’s a monster that never dies, it never lies completely dormant, and it has a ravenous appetite. It tears people apart like Saturn tore apart one of his children in the famous Goya painting.

This racist multi-headed monster is insatiable. For every person who desires peace and harmony, there are two who are caught up in the throes of racist madness.

“I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.” ~Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

Today’s media has conditioned us to treat death as we do a bad weather report. It took me a while before I could bring myself to type that, but that’s the harsh reality of it. And through that emotionless conditioning, we form our opinions. We see death, we shake our heads, and murmur horrifying things.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“They shouldn’t have resisted.”

“They shouldn’t have done what they did.”

We coldly speak from our podium of whiteness, of privilege. It’s a podium that is protected from the outside world. It’s protected from the struggle of living day to day in fear.

Fear.

We all have fear. Real fear. Our fear is not other people’s fear. Other people don’t understand our fear. We don’t understand other people’s fear. We don’t like to acknowledge our own fears so we downplay how it affects us. We lock our fear in the closet, as Dorian Gray locked his portrait away. At some point, though, we’re going to have to look at our own painting and acknowledge what our fear has done to us and to those around us. We will have our day of reckoning.

Instead of locking our painting of hate, fear, and racism away in a dark closet, please take a few minutes each day to pull it out and study it. Take a close look at that reflection. Does it reflect love? Or does it reflect hate? Does it reflect peace? Or does it reflect chaos? Are we calm? Or are we full of fear? Until we can objectively examine our hearts and our minds and make a conscious effort to form ourselves into a better human, we will always fight that multi-headed monster who feeds on all the things we claim we aren’t.

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