What is the point of this blog? I've been asking myself this question a lot lately as I've mulled over what my next post should be about. I had a blog for years and I would post updates about my former acting endeavors. When that career path no longer felt right, I used the blog to post about my plant on my desk at work and other inane things. After a while, I stopped posting at all. It became so infrequent, I simply retired it and took it offline. I don't really read blogs. I try to, but I am not the best at keeping up with them. I don't even know if people read blogs, honestly. I struggle because Robot Interiors is my business so it is a professional blog, but I find myself teetering back and forth between wanting to use this blog for simply updates on the work I'm creating and affordable design ideas, or for using it to share my thoughts and observations on human behavior in our society in regards to mental health and compassion for others. I am not a doctor, I am not educated in Psychology, I am simply a human being looking around the world at other human beings, and working to digest what I see and process it so that I can understand and learn. And I ask myself, is it OK to share what I see, learn, and feel?
Every time I watch a video of a police officer killing or beating a human being who has a different color of skin than they do, I cry. I cry very hard. And my instinct is to say that I should not have watched it because I always get so upset, but I immediately dismiss that away because it's not that I shouldn't have watched it, it's that the person who is being hurt or killed should not have EVER had to experience it. The videos that are so quickly adding up online should not even exist in the first place because no one deserves to be treated this way. I watched the video from Texas of an officer attacking a 15 year old girl in a bathing suit, and I sobbed because those kids did literally nothing to put the officer's life in jeopardy; his response was beyond egregious. I put myself in the their place, being handcuffed at a suburban pool, or being pinned down by a man twice my size. I imagine the pain she must have felt, having 250 pounds being pushed into her back muscles and spine by two hard knee caps, for no reason at all. I imagine her heart pounding, trying to catch her breath with all that weight on her, and how vulnerable and terrified and angry she must have felt. Then I imagine the next day, how sore she must have been when she woke up and climbed out of bed. How it probably hurt to simply go to the bathroom and reach for the toilet paper, or to brush her teeth, or to even lay down. With every move she made the next day, she was reminded of that man's knees pushing into her back. And I think about how this horrible experience at such a young age will now affect how she views the world. And it makes my heart ache. My heart aches for those kids.
But my heart also aches for that officer, because what happened to that man that made him see the world in a way where he thinks that this is acceptable behavior? What happened in his life that was so awful that makes him want to treat another human being that way? Where did he learn that this kind of physical abuse is OK, and why in his life did he never stop and realize that it's just isn't? I am certain, as many people are, that it's difficult to be a police officer. That is not up for debate. Violence is sadly very much a part of their job descriptions. But if this man were, say, a manager of a fast food chain restaurant and part of his job description is to keep the bathrooms orderly, that doesn't mean he should do so by screaming at patrons who use the bathroom, or pointing a gun at someone for dropping a paper towel on the floor and not picking it up, especially if those patrons simply have a different pigment of skin.
The thing that he may be missing, and something I've noticed is missing a lot these days, is compassion and empathy for humanity as a whole. It's missing from many people in power. It's missing from those who make laws that help fund programs for those with mental illness. It's missing for people who see someone who is black and makes an assumption about their character based on nothing but conjecture. And for that matter, it's missing for people who see someone who's white, asian, hispanic, gay, transgender and so on, and makes an assumption about their character based on nothing but conjecture. It's missing for those governing who can't see that people in poverty and the working poor don't even have a chance to simply live a life that is without stress and that allows them to find their passions or purpose, because they don't have the resources, time, energy, or the comfort of feeling safe, to do so. These are the things that run through my head when I watch videos of this nature. And it's hard to not feel angry and helpless and frustrated and scared about the state of our world.
But then I stop. Then I remind myself that empathy, compassion, love for your fellow human, these qualities are not missing for everyone. There are people out there who stop to help if they see a stranger struggling or in need. There are people out there who dedicate their entire lives to those in need, and most of them are barely getting by themselves. And then I start to feel hopeful again.
Hope, empathy, compassion, love for your fellow man, these are all things that can be learned. It's like any change a person makes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. The decision to make the change has to happen and you have to be ready. That's step one. Step two is simple: practice, practice, practice, and keep on practicing. The more you stop, think, and feel, the easier it becomes to do and soon it becomes your go-to way of living. Acceptance of others as they are, no matter what their race, sexual orientation, or choices are, becomes a lifestyle. I know you think you can't do it, but you can! Humans are extremely adaptable to change, they just have to accept the change and understand that it doesn't make them weak to want to change, it just makes them adaptable and that's a good thing! And it makes you someone who people actually want to be around and engage with; when you look at the world through this lens, you'll realize that engaging with people who are also like this is really quite a beautiful way to exist. And by following these two very simple steps, a lot of that anger you feel inside that doesn't need to be there will melt away in time. You will start to feel grateful for everything you have, instead of frustrated by the things in life that in the end, don't matter. They never did. What matters is that you love hard and you do so to everyone, even those who they themselves haven't learned these two steps to happiness. So far for me, this has been the most difficult part: loving those who don't yet know how to be kind and compassionate. But rest assured I am really working on it.
Like I said, I am simply a human being, and I'm just trying to get by. I am not religious; I don't associate with a faith. I am a human who believes in humanity and the right to exist in a world that is kind, patient, caring, and empathetic. We are all just trying to get by, so let's all try to keep that in mind, judge others less, and love more. Stop and think about other peoples' perspectives, even if you don't agree or get it, because that is the only way you'll ever move past the feelings of anger or hatred; and those feelings will never allow you to grow into the amazing human you can and should become.
So I guess I'll use this blog however I use it, and stop judging my choices about how to use it. And if no one reads it, that's ok because it's nice to get these thoughts and feelings out. And all I can do is hope that maybe it will make at least one person stop and think about how their actions affect others. And maybe instead of hate and anger, they'll choose love and kindness.
Mikaela and Robot Interiors