Ask a teenager to clean the kitchen and they will tell you that they already cleaned the bathroom. Yeah the two have nothing to do with each other save that they are both rooms in a house. Cleaning the bathroom doesn’t mean that your kitchen isn’t dirty. Likewise, filters do not hide the truth. People get cancer. Racism exists. Injustice is an actual thing. Children are sold for sex. Harsh, ugly truths. The stench of it is filter proof.
I threw away the rose colored glasses a few years ago. My ownership of several pair had spanned decades. In my twenties, it was useful. They matched my ignorance and my naivete. By the time I hit my thirties, one lens was cracked and an arm was missing from EVERY SINGLE PAIR! It did not take long…Wait strike that, like fo’real heffa you were thirty! It took a long time for me to realize looking through the rosy lenses only prolonged my avoidance of many realities and that was not without consequences. I was willfully remaining blind to way too many facts. I lived and I learned.
And then came SnapChat filters!!!! I love my SnapChat and every single filter on it. The problem is that it is the modern day version of rose colored glasses. It is all really kinda sad. Most people cannot stand to look at the world without a filter anymore. Some funny bunny ears. New eye color. Big round glasses. Ta-da!! The reality is blemish free.
I truly like filters as much as the next gal and guy; however, I’m starting to notice image buffers in every aspect of our social communication. Instagram, which I also use, is filled with carefully staged photos. Everything is snatched, contoured, and funneled through easy access lenses. Until, it is perfect. In every way, except the truth. Authenticity is a carefully placed mug with the right inscription presented to the masses at a readable angle. We, as a collective, can’t handle the truth anymore. Under the table is dirty. The mug has Folgers, which I like by the way, and not a fancy Chai, which I also love. You don’t have any eggs for breakfast and no money to go get any. Your job doesn’t pay enough to live, let alone live your best life. Tuh. But whose gonna put that on the ‘gram. No one wants to see it; therefore, it must not be so. We have managed to filter reality through a variety of lenses until it’s polished clean. Dirt free. Illness free. Deviant free. Judgment free.
That is not reality.
I have a dear friend who is about to finish her final round of chemotherapy. She has a wonderfully supportive tribe of women and men around her. In one of our conversations, she shared with me that her fight with cancer had altered some of those friendships as the side effects of chemotherapy became more apparent. She had long-term friends that had become awkward and distant in their communications. Some panicked on her bad days and others over exaggerated her good ones. Some micro-managed ever part of her recovery to keep a healing lens affixed to the situation. Others dropped out of sight, because they just could not find a filter that blurred out the unpleasant edges and still kept her intact. She has had way more good days than bad, but even openly sharing about fatigue or vomiting or hair loss provoked such an anguished response from some of her support group that it has almost been easier not to share. From what she told me this is not rare; but unfortunately, a common experience for those diagnosed with a major illness. Loved ones do not always know how to look at you and not see the illness all the time.
She said, “Fuzz, they just don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know how to be around it.”
I said, “It’s not that they don’t love you. They do. It’s just that people are no longer use to seeing life without a filter.”
She told me I better write this down. I did.
The filtered life of iGens…
My grandboy loves, loves, loves Snapchat and Facebook messenger filters. He’s only 1 year old. If he gets his hands on a phone, he wants to look into the camera and add a hat or some glasses or bucked teeth. He giggles and giggles. He doesn’t know how it happens, but the filters give him happiness and laughter. When he gets fussy and restless, do you know what I do? I call his great-grandmommy on the phone, so that they can talk and play with filters. I distract him with illusions. And don’t be gasping…isn’t that what all the animations are for? Illusions to distract us??? Right.
Filters alter our perception of the image we are looking at. My grandboy looks very much like a rough and tumble little boy, but Easter egg ears and pink bubble letters make him look a little all soft and frilly. App developers, why aren’t there more filters for boys? Y’all do know that boys like the filters too huh? Well anyway….Will he grow to think his eyes were gray when they have always been brown? Will he wonder where his pink rosy cheeks have gone? Is he able to connect the concept of dressing up with make believe or will these features alter his perception of himself and others? We simply do not know.
Thus is life in these modern times. Enjoy the innovation and wait 10 years to hear about the adverse side-effect. One filter distraction after another. One filtered narrative after another. Nothing is ugly and if it is we go through a handy collection of frames to find the right one to dress it up with. A montage of images to illustrate our befuddled ideas and mystifying connections. Nothing is really what it seems. We detract and distract to the point of complicity. Life, as we perceive it, is good for everyone.
Innovation bends old rules…
Of course not everyone is so easily blinded. Their olfactory sense still tells them that something in rotten over the fence. They know that they have to live by certain rules in their community and they take pride in being honest and not cutting corners. But…then..they step a toe on the neighbor’s lush green grass only to find out is artificial. If they tell the association, they are a snitch. Nosy. But they feel it’s not fair for their neighbor to break a rule that’s meant to keep things uniform. Pleasant. Authentic.
Questions enter the discourse. Why are they putting toes on other people’s grass? What exactly were they doing over the property line and is that technically trespassing? What is the state of their own grass? Doesn’t the neighbor have the right to maintain his appearance of grass anyway he wants? Did they know that someone down the street doesn’t even have grass? Why aren’t they telling about that? And just like that the association rules against artificial turf is not the issue. It becomes who has the right to say who has broken rules and how. Justifications. Historical data. Real life examples. Filters.
Can’t hide reality forever…
Ask a teenager to clean the kitchen and they will likely tell you that they already cleaned the bathroom. Yeah the two have nothing to do with each other save that they are both rooms in a house. Cleaning the bathroom doesn’t mean that your kitchen isn’t dirty. Likewise, filters do not hide the truth. People get cancer. Racism exists. Injustice is an actual thing. Children are sold for sex. Harsh, ugly truths. The stench of it is filter proof.
It is okay not to want to look at that all the time. Completely understandable. All I’m saying is don’t forget that you’re not actually a blue eyed cat with zebra print glasses. Be present in real time, so that you will never forget what’s truly authentic in a world full of fake.
Out of sight is not out of mind. Not in the case of you and me anyway.
I think about you literally every day. I knew that I should reach out, but I just couldn’t.
I want you to know that I’m ok and my absence has nothing to do with you. It’s all about me.
I’m not being cliche. As much as I love and adore you, I had to give myself quality time.
I’m graduating in May, applying for another program that starts in August, trying to study for the LSAT (not going good), and applying for some faculty jobs.
My first draft was a bit rough, but I learned quite a bit about myself and my motivations to teach. Worthwhile exercise.
Everybody wants an essay these days. They want to know my teaching philosophies or my career objectives. They keep asking why and how. (Shit! I don’t know, but I kinda figured it out)
Sometimes, many times, I think I can juggle it all. It takes me time to grasp the reality that I must put my sanity at the center of my priorities in order to even hear my true intentions for myself.
I stopped smoking (again) and let go of meat. I didn’t like either one very much anyway. Both smell bad and make my head hurt.
I listened to an audiobook on learning to sit in silence. I read two books on healing the body and brain. I joined a support group as an emotional outlet and a crocheting class to develop a fun new coping skills.
Image: I’m making a Cali-King blanket for our bed. I’ve learned that I really dig crocheting❤️
I miss you, but I have to focus on me. I have to be quiet in my spirit. Stay committed in my focus.
I am not good at commitment. I told you that in the beginning. So all my energy is spent staying the course.
Anywho…..I’ve gone on a bit long. But I had to tell you that I’m not gone. I am just off building myself. Learning and living my philosophies.
Many times, we start things with the best intentions. We want to help others. We want to provide for our families. We want to have a little fun. Sometimes what comes next prevents others from seeing our initial good intentions.
The eye of the beholder
We all know that different people see things differently. That’s because we all tend to view things with ourselves at the center. We look outward and determine how what we see relates to us.
If I stand in the opening of a valley, my eye will gravitate towards whatever symbolically represents what I need from the view. When I’m grateful, I watch the sunrise. When I need strength, I look to the hills. When I’m bored, I look for other creatures and bugs to watch for my entertainment. My needs probably have very little to do with why the sun rose, how the hills formed, or what business the ants were busy performing.
Aww… The cool wind blew and I felt refreshed. The sun went down and now my life’s questions are resolved. And they know nothing about my expectations for them to enrich me time and time again.
My perspective is narrow
Truth be told. My perspective is narrow. It is only focused on the parts that I can and want to see. I can zoom focus in and out or turn away from whatever does not interest me. I can miss vital happenings and totally lose clues about my surroundings.
Oh look! A jackrabbit is running (hopping? Running? Skipping? I don’t know but he’s sure moving fast). How exciting! Maybe I can film it and sell the video to National Geo (Go! Blue and yellow!). Oh shit! A coyote is chasing him!! Where did he come from? Why did he have to ruin my shot?!? The whole universe is against me!!!!
This is the same way that we can miss the bigger picture when we are observing the behaviours of other people. We tend to view others that we come in contact with through that same narrow lens. Seeing only the parts that relate to us and our own good intentions.
No judgment y’all. It completely makes sense. If I meet a fellow blogger, chances are that we will be conversant with blogging tips and marketing expertise. Even if we expound on some personal areas, it’s sure to coincide with why and how we started blogging. We will walk away with a great new connection; however, our scope of really understanding what drives the other person is limited. This is also true for what obstacles they may face.
I confess that everyday I wake up with the intention to add one more post to my content. In actuality, I write maybe three days a week. Based on almost every How To Blog article I’ve read, I am doomed to lose the interest of my readers because I fail the daily challenge.
I won’t make excuses, because no one cares WHY you didn’t do something they think you should do. Chances are they’ve already judged through their own needs why you have not lived up to the potential they thought you had. My reasons are mine and the way I see it is narrowed down to me.
Truth: In all honesty, I don’t write everyday, because I don’t have something to say everyday. I do not like to hear myself talk just for the sake of hearing my own voice. My writing is my voice. It’s truly that simple.
Give a little mercy when someone fails to live up to their good intentions. We have to try not to immediately believe that they purposely set out to sabotage us. Our lives may overlap and intersect, but we still have individual goals and objectives.
Our vantage points give us a stingy view of what’s going on in other people’s lives. Be willing to judge other’s intentions with the same grace and mercy that your own mistakes require.
We raised our children with rules to follow. Standards. Expectations of how they conducted themselves. Don’t lie (thieves lie so if you’ll lie you might steal). Don’t spit (it’s gross)! Don’t date until you’re sixteen (sons and daughters). Simple don’ts.
I caught several of them in lies over their preteen and teen years. Things like “I’m going to So-and-so’s house”, but I catch you walking on the other side of town with Whose-dat. Or “Did you guys clean the kitchen and the living room?” “Oh yeah Mom. It’s been done”. Lies. Fuckin’ lies. With my key in the door, I could hear them scrambling to put my house back together again.
They proved to me that liars tend to steal too. Now I didn’t raise no outright thieves or nothing, but they definitely took candy money out of my change jar. The dollar bills always remained, but quarters and dimes sure came up missing. 😂 The funny in that is that organized pilfering was the whole point of the jar!! It’s where I’d send them for ice cream truck money, last minute field trip money, and a little teenage gas money (you can’t get too far on $3 worth of change when a gallon costs $4 🤔🤣). I’ve come to realize that telling kids “don’t” translates to “do” in their ears. That doesn’t mean don’t say “don’t”. It means be prepared for when they “do” the “don’t”. Telling boys not to spit is equivalent to saying “don’t piss on the toilet seat”. There’s always slip ups and spit drips. I remember very clearly watching my Hubby watch the boys see who could make their loogie hang the closest to the ground and then slurp it up. 🤢 GROSS!!!!!! I married their nasty-ass ring leader 🤦🏽♀️
So you can image how the “don’t date until you’re sixteen” thing worked out. I will say that 4 out of 6 were obedient. The two that didn’t now admit that they emotionally scarred themselves forever. (WHICH IS WHY IT WAS AGAINST THE RULES!!) Now they understand that we were trying to protect their mental and emotional health, as well as physical. Especially our sons. Girls are so wishy washy and fickle that young men can be drug on an emotional roller coaster, put through the love ringer, and then hung out to dry (and get no sympathy for the severity of their heartbreak).
Men and women are fed lies that men do not feel love to the same depth and capacity as women. I call bullshit!!! That lie robs them of genuine experiences, because partners can be callous to their vulnerability. It was easier getting our daughter to stick with the rule, since it socially acceptable for parents to restrict the social lives of girls. Dating rules are not equally applied to boys, but they need the same parental protection.
Rules. Rules. Rules. Standards is what I call them. I know that my kids didn’t always obey them. They tested every barrier to see if it was sturdy. They never went far past the fence. I know as adults they will understand why those rules were there and appreciate parents that provided boundaries and buffers.
Now I get to sit back at laugh when my grandkids break their rules! ✔️👸🏽