Friday, December 21, 2012

Identity Theft pt 3 – America’s Macho Ego & Ammunition

It’s a shame, but I have to admit it…I’ve become numb to the violence that seems so common to American news headlines.  And yes, I’m speaking about Sandy Hook, and the thousands of other nameless people that die from guns.

When I stop to think about why I feel numb, it’s not because I’m emotionless or don’t have any empathy for those who are victims of  gun violence. The real reason I feel numb is because I feel powerless against it.

What can I do? And this is not a rhetorical question. At the end of the day…what can I do? Yes I can sign an online petition…but after that…clueless. It seems like the agents of change around legislation and gun laws are all caught up in red tape.  So nothing gets done while people die from the trigger of guns daily.

Perhaps I’m too extreme in my personal thought that we should just get rid of guns altogether…I mean, we saw what happened with alcohol and Prohibition. But just take a moment to imagine a world with no guns? I know it seems hard…but just try.  Hunters, you can still use your bow and arrows.  Of course there’d still be crime…but I’m sure the drive-bys, massacre killings, and pre-meditated murder would decrease significantly.

Sometimes I feel like America is just as backwards as it is progressive. America is suffering from an identity crisis. And I’m not calling America insecure, but it sure has an “ego” and issues with feeling powerful.  Why does America cleave to its guns like gum to the bottom of a shoe?

A gun was created to kill…sure initially the right to bear arms was meant as a form of protection against rowdy soldiers, but come on ...we modify a lot of laws to reflect the times we live in.

The wars that have taken place on American soil have all involved guns…when Americans have gotten involved in other foreign conflict affairs & wars…guns are involved. Americans like feeling powerful and they use guns as a means to flex their muscles.  Guns are used for recreation sport, for hunting (on a full stomach), threatening, intimidation and for killing.  And what we’re saying through our gun laws , gun usage, and glorification of gun culture is that  we don’t value the loss of life that comes through guns. We value the person’s right to own the gun. We value feeling powerful, and letting someone know that if they mess with us…they got another thing coming. We value feeling like God, because with our guns we can decide when and how someone can die or be caused pain.

I know that a lot of people argue that guns help defend and protect, and I know there have been cases where a gun has helped protect someone from a robbery,  etc. I’d like to zoom out from those micro-incidents and say, if no one had a gun to begin with – there’d be less robberies.  And if guns are really so suitable for protection – where were the guns for the people in the movie theater in Colorado? Why shouldn’t we all just walk around with loaded guns and be ready to pop off on someone who tries to mess with us? The idea sounds absurd because it is.

In a lot of our movies, music, and video games gun violence is celebrated or seen as a justifiable common solution to resolve disagreements and complete an agenda. The years of our fascination with guns is starting to really unfold in dangerous destructive ways. I don’t know what it’s going to take to thaw our icy hearts and hands from the triggers of guns…I wish I could end this with something more hopeful. I’m not a pessimist, but I am numb.  And the person who owns and shoots the gun is winning…they feel powerful. I feel powerless. America has robbed me of my identity to feel like my voice, my safety and my life counts.

Confessions of a Clinger

1. I don’t like taking out the trash…I will allow it to pile up and spill over, or smell really bad before I finally throw it out. What’s wrong with me?
2. I save old papers and documents that I will probably never use again, but all I can think about when I attempt to throw them away is – “wait, you may need that.”
3. I save old grocery and shopping bags…and they take up too much space in my home.

As I was addressing the three aforementioned occurrences in my home,  it got me thinking. Now, I’m not a full-blown out hoarder, I can walk through my home with ease. But was this a brief manifestation of a larger issue I have? Do I have attachment and detachment issues? If I’m going to be honest and admit it to myself, I can be clingy at times.

I cling on to what I think provides fulfillment, safety, stability and other forms of happiness enhancement. And if I don’t have those things, I cling on to the pursuit of bringing them to fruition. Writing that I can be clingy is mildly embarrassing because it has such a bad connotation to it, but allow me to explain.

Clinging to things that improve my character and quality of life seem to be justifiable. Or we can just wrap that in a prettier bow and call it dedication and discipline. However I’ve been known to cling to people and I see the cling at its best in romantic relationships.  My relational cling has little to do with my family and friends. My parents didn’t abandon me and I had friends growing up.

 I think the source of my relational cling is rooted in the stifled emotions I felt about my attractions. I didn’t date at all when I was younger and for a long time my sense of worth with respect to liking someone who liked me was pretty…low.

As I’ve been dating as an adult, I know in my mind that I’m a sufficient catch. I’ve done a lot to affirm myself and recognize what I bring to the table. I’m handsome, loyal, compassionate, funny, intelligent -I could name a bunch of things. What tends to get me though is that when I get affirmation from someone I desire, I cling on to that person as if they are the last person on Earth who will think good things about me. I’m not too prideful to admit if I’m insecure, but that isn’t the case. While we’ve all got insecurities, I don’t lack confidence about what I have to offer. I lack confidence that someone will consistently choose me and stick around through the good and the bad.  With each relationship that I’ve had, an underlying fear for me has been...are you going to leave me? While some of the blame to that question can be placed on people not valuing commitment and monogamy, my clinginess can perpetuate it until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What I’m learning about my tendency to cling in relationships is that it may always be there, and  it’s not my partner’s responsibility to soothe it, rather my own. Sure my partner can accept it, empathize and do their best to make sure I don’t feel like they are going to just leave me; however, at the end of the day, it’s not their issue…its mine.  I’m actually glad to be so self-aware that I can pin-point my strengths and all the reasons someone should be with me, and the things I need to work on. And I’m clinging on to the idea of managing my clinginess.

Revelations on Childish Gambino's "This is America"

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” is a nation’s self-portrait highlighting its flaws while seeking celebration for its ability to do so ...