Month: May 2018

Exit 202. I’ve been debating all weekend whether or not to write this.

I’ve been debating all weekend whether or not to write this.  I’ve said at times that part of the reason I feel so out of place everywhere is that I often feel like I don’t fit neatly into categories and boxes, and the culture is so divided and polarized these days that I end up feeling rejected from both sides.

An example of this that has been in the news lately is the recent decision by the National Football League to require all players on the field during the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the USA) to stand.  For those of you who don’t follow the NFL, or those of you reading in other countries, the very abbreviated back story is this: It has been customary to stand during the performance of this song for as long as I can remember, but in the last few years a number of players have been sitting or kneeling, with many of them saying that it is a protest about police brutality and the mistreatment of African-Americans.  Most people fall into one of two camps regarding this issue: “Yay America!  Everyone should stand!” or “Boo America, forcing people to stand is what dictatorships do, and the protesters are right!”

I think that protesting in this way is indeed disrespectful.  As we remember on this holiday weekend, people have died for the ideals that this flag and song stand for.  We have it so much better in this country than much of the world.  Many of us still believe in the ideals that founded this country.  And I also believe that the NFL is within their rights as a private corporation to require its players to stand for the national anthem.  It is comparable to having a dress code at a place of business.

But, that said, I don’t agree with this decision.  Respect is earned, not forced, and while a corporation does indeed have the right to impose rules of conduct on its employees, doing so also infringes on the concept of freedom of speech, one of the ideals that the flag stands for.  In the 1980s, the Supreme Court ruled in a controversial case that burning the flag in protest is free speech and cannot be punished in and of itself.  Although burning the flag extremely disrespectful, I agree with this decision.  Forcing someone to show love for their country is not love at all.  The NFL did say that players who don’t want to stand for the national anthem can stay in the locker room if they wish to, but that still sends the message that their protest isn’t wanted.  And I don’t believe that the NFL owners and leaders really care whether or not players love their country.  They saw that fans who love their country were upset about the players not standing for the national anthem, and less support from fans hurts their bottom line.  This had more to do with money than patriotism.

So am I going to watch NFL games this fall?  Does the fact that my team’s owner abstained from this vote, since the attention on these protests began with that team?  I don’t know.  I haven’t decided yet.  Should I care about any of this?  I don’t know.  Maybe the more important thing is for both sides to listen to why the other side is upset.  Maybe we really need to work on making this country a place that people love again, but without sacrificing the values and ideals that shaped this country.

Advertisements

Exit 201. Bullet points and thoughts about the weekend.

I missed last week.  Sorry.

And I’m not sure what to write about this week.

But I had a great weekend.  So I’ll just share some bullet points and thoughts about the weekend.

Friday night, a friend went out for sushi and issued an open invitation.  Three of us plus her showed up.  My mom noticed that my friend had tagged me in a Facebook post and said that she didn’t know I liked sushi.  I don’t know when I tried sushi for the first time, but it was definitely in adulthood.  I probably would have thought the idea of sushi was disgusting as a kid, but it’s good to try new things, because sometimes you like them.

Saturday morning, I played Pokemon Go and helped some friends move.  I watched exactly none of the royal wedding.

Saturday night, I had people over for another one of my retro gaming parties.  It was a small crowd, only 10 of us, but we had fun.  Sometimes a small crowd is a good thing.  I feel more connected to everyone.

This morning, I went to my old church in Davis, because the youth pastor, under whom I volunteered in my early 20s, is leaving the church staff and changing careers after having been there for over two decades.  They had a reception for him after the service.  It was heartwarming and uplifting to hear so many stories about his work in youth ministry.  I shared about how, in addition to having such a heart for the young people of the community, he invested in the lives of the volunteer leaders the same way.  It was also inspiring for me to be greeted by so many old friends who are still at that church, and some who came just for that event as I did, almost 17 years after I moved away.

Then I came home and took a long nap, so I hope I’m able to fall asleep tonight.  If I’m not, I have plenty of cleaning to do to tire me out.

How were all of your weekends?

Exit 200. Emotional clutter.

As I said recently, I have been wondering again whether or not it is time to cut my losses and start over somewhere else other than California.  This is a very difficult decision, and I have a lot to lose if I don’t make the right decision.  It isn’t as simple as, say, getting groceries from a different store or taking your money to another bank.  Those decisions can be reversed with relative ease compared to leaving a job I love and the only state I’ve really known as home.

I’m not here to announce a conclusive decision.  But in thinking and praying about this over the last few weeks; I have come to one important conclusion: My life is too cluttered, both physically and emotionally.

Physical clutter is easy to identify and remove. Put stuff away when I’m done with it.  Make a place to put things away instead of just tossing them on a table.  Throw away or donate things I don’t need that take up space.  Although physical clutter is easy to identify, it is very time consuming to deal with completely, but this is something I can work on over time.

Emotional clutter is a bit more complicated.  When I say emotional clutter, I mean things that are clouding my head and my moods and feelings that don’t need to be there.  Emotional clutter takes a variety of forms.  All the hundreds of people who I follow on social media just because we were acquaintances briefly in the recent past, despite the fact that they are not the kind of people I would normally be friends with, are emotional clutter.  Situations in which I put myself and stress myself out about, despite the fact that these situations are not enjoyable to me, that is emotional clutter.  Pages and blogs that I follow because I used to know the author, but which cover topics that are of no interest to me, those are emotional clutter.

I have been spending time the last couple weeks fiddling with my Facebook settings, making some tough decisions about who can see my posts and whose posts I see.  I have also been thinking a bit about how, and with whom, I spend my time, and if I need to cut certain activities and places out of my life.  These aren’t easy decisions.  Cutting people out of my life isn’t in my nature.  I spent too much of my childhood and young adult years being lonely and not having many friends, and it hurts me to think of friendship as expendable.

A few months ago, I wrote (part 1, part 2) about having unfriended five people on Facebook in one day, something I don’t believe I had ever done before.  One of these people was SN1604, the girl I dated off and on in 2015.  I made this decision on the grounds that, even though there was a time when SN1604 and I were very close, and there were times that it was looking like we would stay good friends despite our history, her more recent behavior has shown that it was not realistic for me to hope that things would ever be like that again.  The few times we did communicate in 2017, for example, all started with me hoping that maybe we would be close again, and ended a few minutes later with her not replying to a message in a conversation she technically started.  I never see her in person anymore, and keeping her in my life on social media was just causing more disappointment and pain.

I am realizing that I can, and should, apply the SN1604 Doctrine in other areas of life.  Maybe some of the activities that I enjoy aren’t worth it, because the other people involved with those activities are not the kind of people I want to be friends with.  Maybe some people I’ve known for decades aren’t worth staying in touch with, because all they want to do is spew hateful political rhetoric.  These are tough decisions, though, because there are things I enjoy about these activities themselves, and some of the people spewing hateful political rhetoric were a big part of my life at one point.  I don’t know.  But at least I’m asking the right questions now.