Sometimes certain observations, feelings, ideas, memories, or other thoughts weigh heavily on my mind, eating away at my conscience in search of a way out. This is my outlet, a place to share those thoughts with whomever may find them interesting. Thank you for listening.
In My Heart - Personal (August 8, 2017)
This is a very personal note i wrote to my friends recently. Because i feel that no matter how i feel, there is someone else somewhere in the world that feels the same, i decided to share it with all of you.
My heart is full of love, friendship, happiness, insight, experiences, memories, joy, and sorrow.
You felt alone that night, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship, happiness, and experiences. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Now my feet are damp from the love i tried to give, that wasn't wanted.
You talked about how you felt that day, wondering if anyone ever felt the same, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship, insight, experiences, and memories. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Now my feet are covered in the love i tried to give, that wasn't wanted.
You created something amazing and were really excited about it, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship, happiness, and joy. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Now i'm wading in unwanted love up to my ankles.
You are my family, so i poured out a huge bucket of my heart for you, offering love, happiness, insight, experiences, memories, and joy. You knocked me down, spilling the contents of the bucket back into my heart where i fell. You didn't want it.
I get back to my feet, standing in a knee-high pool of unwanted love.
You shared some things about you that are just like me, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship, happiness, and experiences. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Now my legs are nearly submerged in unwanted love.
You cried out for help that day, so i poured out a big bucket of my heart for you, offering love, friendship, insight, and experiences. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Now i’m up to my waist in unwanted love, and it’s getting harder to move.
You were all there in the same place as me, so i poured out little buckets of my heart for each of you, offering friendship, happiness, experiences, and joy. One by one you all knocked the buckets down, spilling their contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
Unwanted love is covering me up to my chest. I need to save myself, but i don't know how.
You gave a lot of your heart to the people around you, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship, happiness, and experiences. You knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it.
If i hold my chin up, i can still breathe okay.
You told me i was great, i was your family now, so i poured out a big bucket of my heart for you, offering love, friendship, happiness, and joy. But then you knocked the bucket down, spilling its contents back into my heart where i stood. You didn't want it after all.
My feet don't reach the bottom anymore, i'm struggling to stay afloat. My arms are getting tired and i can't see which way to move to find higher ground.
I just met you, so i poured out a little bucket of my heart for you, offering friendship and happiness. I don't know how not to.
~ S.S. White
August 8, 2017
What If You Really Knew Something About Them? (June 1, 2017)
When i meet a new person... whether it be a neighbor, co-worker, waitress, cashier, hair dresser, person looking for the same soup or cat litter as me, et cetera... i am happy to meet them and look forward to our future friendship. Now, of course sometimes our friendship only lasts until we finally find that certain kind of cat litter on the bottom shelf toward the back, but still it was a joy to smile and talk with them for a couple of minutes.
I often encounter someone who i instantly feel a connection with. Maybe they are dressed kind of like me, or they are talking about something that i really like, or they say or do something that i would say or do and it makes me feel comfortable with them. Maybe it is just a hunch with no tangible reasoning. But by gosh, we are going to be great friends!
My new neighbors, whether i moved or they did, are my family now, my people, my tribe. You need help with something? Here, let me. You like doing that? That is amazing! You are so talented, let me go brag on you to my other friends. Wow, i never knew that, you have really taught me a lot, opened my eyes to something i have not experienced before. I never really understood why people would do that, but you have made it make sense, i am so glad we got to know each other. Those people accused you of what!? No way, you would never do something like that.
A new friend, thank you so much, Jesus, for bringing them into my life. A blessing, a gift, finally someone who understands and appreciates me for who i am. Now i have someone to talk to, someone to laugh with, go see a movie or do yoga with, go to the local Mexican or Italian restaurant with, someone to get to know who will get to know me instead of judging me. They are awesome, so smart, so kind. I believe everything they tell me, especially everything they say about themselves, because i have no reason not to. Oh my gosh, you do that too!? I thought i was a lone weirdo for doing that.
Have these experiences always worked out that way? Ha ha ha! Ha! No. I can be wrong, am wrong, a lot. I have been lied to, taken advantage of, neglected, abandoned, robbed, tricked, stabbed in the back, ousted, denied job or business opportunities, hurt and broken, many times over. But the next person that i met... my new buddy! Why? Because not all people can be bad, right? Right?
Honestly, sadly, after all i have been through, it has become more difficult for me to get excited about meeting someone new, or even rekindling old friendships. Or, to describe it more accurately, it has become difficult for me to entertain that excitement. I still feel it, and guess i always will, but i will not let it show and will not think about that excitement, because too many experiences have shown me that i will just end up hurt.
I often get really confused, shocked, caught off guard, by the negative assumptions made against me. Sometimes i have no words in reaction to what was just said to me. I may literally sit there with my mouth open in shock, eyes welled up with tears, heart broken, stomach sunken, and cannot come up with anything to say in my own defense, because i had no idea i would need to defend myself. How do people do that? I really do not understand.
I am very honest, brutally, unapologetically, naively, self-wounding honest. So when i am accused of lying, it confuses me, especially coming from someone i trust, because i did not expect my honesty to be denied. I have countless stories of friends, family, doctors, teachers, or even police officers accusing me of lying. I know that God saw everything and knows i was telling the truth, but i often wish i had a floating digital video recorder following me around so i could show people the video. These accusations left me stuttering and confused out of shock of being called a liar by someone i respected, looked up to, admired, or had known for years, or all my life. What is it about me that makes people accuse me of lying? There is no record of me ever lying, in fact usually the truth comes out later, indicating i was telling the truth, which i already knew. So i just do not understand this constant accusation.
But it is not just lying, though that one hurts the most. I get accused of hating people, sometimes people that i really admire or cherish, or people that i do not know enough to have any reason to dislike them. I get accused of complaining about something when i am actually talking about how much i enjoy it. I get accused of not being able to take a joke when i am laughing and playing along with the people joking. I get accused of never wanting to do this or that, when i would love to do this or that if i just had the chance. I get accused of not knowing things that i have known, practiced, and taught others about my whole life. I get accused of demanding too much from people or for making them feel like they owe me something, when i was just trying to help them in some way and would have never requested any form of compensation. I am always accused of the worst possible scenario. Why?
A person new to your community tries to befriend you. They are wearing jeans, a baggy t-shirt, and old tennis shoes. They work from home, while their spouse works out of state all the time and is never home. Do you think they are poor? Do you think they are going to ask for money or other things from you, or steal from you, or in some other way solicit some kind of charity? Do you think they are lazy for not having a job outside of their home? Do you think they are actively coveting multiple other people because their spouse is away? What if they wear those clothes because they are more comfortable than all the dress suits hanging in their closet, because they are not going to a business meeting, but just saying hello to you? What if they love those old USA-made shoes because you cannot buy them anymore? What if they have more money than they really know what to do with and would actually give you things and do things for you rather than ever ask anything of you? What if they are putting their college degree to use by starting up their own home-based business, working from sunrise to the middle of the night every single day to get their business going, which is providing a service to people of your community? What if they have otherwise been unable to put that college degree to use because of an abnormal health condition that keeps them from being able to leave the house on some days? What if they cry at night and are too scared to sleep because of being alone all the time with unknown strangers driving by their house all day and night and sometimes walking around in their yard? What if the reason their spouse works out of state is because they make three times more money at their current job than any job within 60 miles of your neighborhood would pay? What if they were trying to be a part of the community but were being rejected by everyone, even having their charitable donations rejected, and could really use one person to stand up for them and convince people to give them a chance? What if they just want to be your friend so they will not be alone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long, including some major holidays, because their spouse is away and their family will not visit? What if they love the same foods as you and would share recipes? What if they would always be there available to help with tasks and chores if ever you needed them? What if it were one of your already accepted friends or family, would you still think negatively? What if you really knew something about them?
A person you have met, whether recently or a few years ago, does something nice for you. Do you decide they are "too good to be true" so there must be something dishonest about them? Do you think they are trying to get something from you? Do you think they are trying to be more than friends with you? What if they are just sincere enough to really think you are their friend, because they are sincerely your friend for their part, and they are just doing what any friend would do? What if it never crossed their mind to seek any compensation, because their deed, in their mind, warranted none? What if they see something in you that you try to keep hidden, like being alone, or not knowing what you need or where to get it, and they can fill in that blank for you? What if they just see something good in you and want to be friends? What if it were one of your already accepted friends or family, would you still think negatively? What if you really knew something about them?
One person you know tells you something negative about another person that you do not know, or do not know well. Do you just believe the person who told you the negative things and thus hold the same negative assumptions? What if that person is lying to you? What if the person telling you the negative things has done something to hurt the other person in some way, or something to hurt you that the other person knows about, so they are trying to keep you away from the other person so you will not find out? What if the person they are lying about has never done any of the things you were told? What if the person they are saying negative things about thinks the world of you and would love to be your friend? What if they could end up being your best friend? What if it were one of your already accepted friends or family, would you still think negatively? What if you really knew something about them?
What if you really knew something about me? What if instead of making all these negative accusations that make no sense, that you actually listened to and believed all the things i told you about myself? What if you saw, through my expressions and actions, how i really felt about things? What if you let me be your friend, to make you feel better on bad days, to share your laughter on good days, to be there if you ever needed someone or to make sure you did not reach the point of needing someone in the first place? What if you accepted my gestures of friendship, big or small, and let them bring you a little happiness or comfort? What if you really knew why i am the way i am?
I tried to know you. I knew your feelings about the differences between your traditions and your husband's. I knew storms gave you migraines. I knew you wanted people to treat you in a positive manner, same as me. I knew you felt lonely sometimes and just wanted someone to chat or watch television with. I knew you had everything you needed and wanted for very little. I knew who you distrusted and why. I knew who distrusted you and why. I knew that you knew how to take care of yourself. I knew how hard you worked in your life, and how successful you were. I knew when your birthday was and how you preferred to celebrate it. I knew what you loved to do most, and that you were really good at it. I knew how your family treated you, and how you felt about them. I knew how your exes had treated you, and what you were looking for. I knew where you had been, and where you wanted to go. I really tried to really know you, because you are an amazing person and i was lucky enough to share this life space with you.
What if you really got to know someone? Some of the best friends of my life were people who, like me, were judged negatively by others, but not by me. I loved and cherished and admired them, and still do. I cannot fathom the idea of having judged them negatively from the start and never getting to know them. What would my mind and heart be filled with had i never learned about the minds and hearts of these people that crossed my path? As empty as my life feels sometimes, that would be an emptiness i do not think i could bear. To have never learned about another soul would be the same as never having learned to see, as choosing to go through life with closed eyes. As beautiful as God made the landscape around us, with its mountains and streams, He also made the landscape within us, with its wisdom and energy.
What if you really knew people, knew their hearts and thoughts and wants and strategies? What if you learned about people instead of judging them? What if you got to know those who were trying to get to know you? What aspects of your life would you lose or damage if you got to know someone? What might you gain?
~ S.S. White
June 1, 2017
Why i Type "i" (May 28, 2017)
Years and years ago, i had engaged in email conversations with a local radio personality. While i cannot remember the reason or the context of the correspondence, i do remember him acknowledging that i did not capitalize "i" in my writing. He said his grandpa did the same thing, and he found that interesting. While i had already been typing that way for a long time, his acknowledgment of it made me embrace the practice even more.
Laziness? Ha! It takes twice as long to type a message using lower case i's in most cases, as auto-correct features consistently capitalize it. You have to backspace and retype it each time to keep it lower case, sometimes two or three times before it finally leaves it alone. It is a never-ending battle.
The short version of why i do it is humbleness. I capitalize God, and your name, and any other name of another person that i am referring to. But why should i hold myself in that regard when i am the one speaking? If the "i" comes at the beginning of a sentence, i will capitalize it to not contradict other basic rules of grammar. But i do not feel comfortable signifying myself above you, him or her, them, or any other reference to others.
Several years ago while working at a factory as a line lead on the night shift, my production crew found a mistake left by the day shift crew. Our lean processes manager was standing right there as they found it. He instructed me to place the mislabeled boxes aside for the day shift to correct, and send an email to the production manager to explain what happened. Doing as i was told by my superior, i typed up the email with details of the first 10 minutes of our shift, what the crew found and how they found it, and what the lean processes manager told me to do. The line leads on the day shift were my friends, we were a team... for my part. I did not want to name anyone or place any blame on anyone, so my email was carefully worded with only the facts of what "my team" found, or what "i" saw, or what "i" was told to do. To say "Rusty's crew messed this up" sounded wrong to me. That would be naming and placing blame, which i did not want to do. Who made the mistake was not important, only that a mistake was made. (As a side note, if the lean processes manager was not standing there telling me not to fix it, we would have just fixed it ourselves, as it was not that big of a deal. But he instructed me to leave it for them to correct it, not to spend our production time on it. He was angry about the mistake, and he was my superior. I had to do what i was told.) The next day when i got to work, which is the end of the day for the day shift, i found several photocopies of my email to the production manager lying around in our department, with every instance of "i" and "my team" highlighted, and a comment written about how i made everything about me because i am so self absorbed. All because i did not want to name or blame my friends. (Yes, said "friends" are the ones who highlighted, commented, and photocopied the email that apparently the production manager shared with them.) This incident fortified my refusal to capitalize "i" even more.
When writing poems i rarely capitalize anything. The overall appearance of the poem adds to its meaning, and capital letters and punctuation just do not look all that appeasing to me. It is possible that my use of only lower case i's in poems is where my practice of never capitalizing them began.
With a little cringing and slight stomach upset, i do still manage to capitalize it in more formal writing, such as business letters and book covers.
~ S.S. White
May 28, 2017
Our Country Divided (May 27, 2017)
There are many laws in place to prevent segregation and discrimination based on many different human characteristics and beliefs. You can not speak or act out against other people in our country because of their faith, who they love, how they dress, their heritage or lineage, age, gender, et cetera, without being scolded by peers or facing legal charges in some cases. Hate is not allowed.
Yet, our country is governed by a segregated congress. One side automatically votes for or against proposed bills and acts based solely on which side presents it, regardless of how good or bad it will be for the people of our country. Elected officials are expected to stay true to their party in all matters. They are not allowed to make decisions based on staying true to their race, religion, gender, heritage, or other characteristics, but they are urged, sometimes coerced into making decisions based on their political party.
"Will it help people? No. Will it hurt people? Yes. Will i vote for it? It is my party proposing this bill, so yes, i will vote for it."
"Will it help people? Yes. Will it hurt people? No. Will i vote for it? It is the other party proposing this bill, so no, i will vote against it."
This is something i have never been able to understand or find any justification for. But now, with the world-wide open window created by social media, this segregation has become worse by a hundred fold.
If a person speaks out on social media to ridicule or attack another person based on their religion, or heritage, or who they love, it is considered hate speech. They can be banned from social media, shamed by other people, or again face legal charges in some cases. Hate is not allowed.
But yet, all i can think of when i read some of the comments made on social media now days based on political parties is "oh my God." In my life time, i have not witnessed such foul and vulgar hatred based on any other human characteristic as what is being said about people who agree or disagree with some political idea or action. It is beyond disgusting, it is inhumane, insane, nothing but hate. It is hate speech beyond the scope of anything in our life time... because it is not only allowed, but encouraged by elected officials on many levels.
Most of it is based on assumptions, perceived ideas stemming from one person's intense, blind hate against a different political ideology. The discussions never stay on the issue at hand, but consistently and instantly turn to personal insults, attacks, and threats. The first thing these hate-filled people will do is assume that a person who criticizes one politician is obviously a full-on supporter of some perceived opposite politician, and is called vulgar names accordingly. I have even read these obscene arguments between two people who, according to their comments, share the same opinion of the issue. But since one person used a slightly different wording to state their opinion, the vulgar insults and attacks instantly exploded. People are hating and attacking other people who live in the same area, who share the same beliefs of faith, family, and community, who shop at the same stores, listen to the same music, watch the same television shows, love and enjoy the same parts of life, who they would otherwise embrace as a friend or neighbor... had they not heard or read what the other person liked or disliked about a political action. It is sickening. It is a disgrace and embarrassment to the American culture, and the human race as a whole.
This segregation has been going on for far too long, and is destroying our country's integrity. History expresses praise and respect for Abraham Lincoln, who brought about changes in our country that it needed in order to grow and prosper in a healthy manner. Abraham Lincoln was elected President as a new party candidate in 1860, because the people of that era could see that the established parties were not leading the country in the proper direction, and new leadership was needed. Rather than stick with the status quo of the "major" parties, voters elected a new party President who made history in a positive way. The 2016 election had the opportunity to do the same. It was time to make a change, to lead our country down a fresh, untainted path, at least for the next four years; to bring some light back to the people, the land, the foundation of our country, and let some of the political hatred calm down for a while. Sadly, only 7,132,020* voters saw this opportunity, as everyone else chose to continue down the same worn out and damaged path.
Respect your chosen elected politician. Hold them to a high set of standards of behavior. Respect them every day, scold them and hold them accountable when they do wrong. Do not condone their bad behavior and make excuses for them because some other politician behaves badly. If your only defense is to say "someone else did something just as bad or worse," you have no defense. Think about it... if you can recognize that the other person has no defense for the action they made, then you already recognize that the person you are making excuses for also has no defense for the same or similar action. You are already admitting defeat by comparing.
And for the sake of the future of the United States of America, stop with the freaking hate!
~ S.S. White
May 27, 2017
*Popular vote count as presented at http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php.