for your happiness and well-being. I refuse to accept that burden for anyone other than myself. I’m responsible for my choices and actions and not yours.
There I said it.
This morning I was driving to my office to take care of a couple of things. I also had a haircut appointment in that area so I decided that I’d kill two birds with one stone. It turns out I almost killed an idiot on a bicycle.
This was my post on Facebook this morning. While I realize in my own pithy way, it was received by some as humorous, my hands were still shaking while I wrote it. I don’t mean I figuratively almost killed someone; I mean locked up brakes, squealing tires and my heart jack-hammering in my throat and somehow by the grace of God I missed her kind of killed someone. As my hands clenched the wheel I thought over and over, where are the birds? Two birds, one stone…three bikes, one truck. Oh God I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it. And then once I realized she would not be hit by my truck, when I realized something horrible had been averted, the anger started.
As I slowly calmed down, I started thinking about choices. She clearly held me responsible for her choice to move her bike into oncoming traffic. She made me the bad guy in this scenario. And while I seriously contemplated getting out of my truck and tossing her into the ravine on the side of the road, I clearly can’t do that. That choice is inappropriate. I usually bury my phone in my purse while driving so texting wasn’t a viable scenario, but what if I had looked down at that moment to change the radio station? What if I was drinking tea and spilled it? What if…what if?
We have so many freedoms in this country that I think we sometimes forget our basic responsibilities to conduct ourselves as conscientious adults.
This idiot this morning was screaming at me that she had every right to be on the road. Of course you do; so do I. I have the right and with that the responsibility of acting and driving appropriately. If I was speeding, if I was distracted, if I was texting, if I was sneezing…I could have killed her. This notion that somehow I’m the bad guy is ridiculous. I observed every rule. Every. Damn. One. If anything I was actually driving slower than normal because I was exceedingly mellow this morning.
There has to come a point that we stop being so mortally offended at every frigging thing and all the while society has basically become a bunch of Cartman’s screaming they’ll do what they want.
I have the right to fly a Confederate flag on my house. I have the right to march around my living room in my underwear while singing the Russian national anthem and kissing Putin’s picture. I have to right to tell people to go screw themselves because I don’t like the color of their shirt or the way they smile. I have the right to shave my head and panhandle on the streets. I have the right to use racial slurs. I have the right to all of these things. It doesn’t necessarily make any of these things good choices. I don’t use or advocate any of these things because I try to live a good life. I try to be understanding and kind. I also try to live and let live.
Now here’s the flip side. Bad things have happened in history. History teaches us that certain symbols are now interpreted as hateful. There are memorials and historical sites which have been defaced. Does this vandalism constitute free speech? Or do we need to collectively allow the healing and stop blaming. The past is there as a moral marker. The day we start rewriting it is the day we begin forgetting our own history; good and bad. Personally I do believe the Confederate flag represents something painful in our history, but it is history and deserves the acknowledgement of being so. Over 620,000 died in that part of history. Don’t tell me it’s not relevent. Therefore, I believe it belongs in a museum. It should be preserved so we never ever forget where we came from. Only then can we know how far we’ve come.
We are living in a world which has advocated the blame game. We are living in a world in which we can find innocence offensive. Someone sneezes. Someone says God Bless You. Someone insists they’re an atheist and said well wish is offensive. A child dresses up and walks around their neighborhood for candy for Halloween and someone wants to turn it into a loss of holiness and a cultural embracing of evil ways.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.
In the scurried need to accept everyone we are alienating each other. Happy Mother’s Day…but I have two fathers. Happy Easter…..but I don’t believe in Jesus. Happy Birthday….how dare you acknowledge I grew another year older. Have a good weekend….are you accusing me of drinking too much? We don’t celebrate differences. We don’t honor diversity. We shun and scorn and blame. Any and every one of the above referenced scenarios is fine, but I refuse to accept the looming politically correct Happy Parentage Day unless you’re adopted because some asshat commentator in the Olympics says they don’t count so we need to come up with a separate card for those families all together because they live by a different set of rules right?
It is amazing to me that a glad tiding, an offer of joy can turn to dust as someone rises up on their soapbox. So I will toss this out from my little ivory tower.
My family has been blended so many times it’s ridiculous.
My brother is actually my half-brother. My father is his step father.
My husband is the step father to my daughter. He is the step grandfather to my grandson.
Ask him what he is. He’s been there since the day that little boy was born. As far as he’s concerned…that’s his grandson. Do we need to divulge every detail of the origins of our lives or families because someone is uncomfortable with the unknown? Does everyone need to know exactly how my family came to be a family? Does it happen by marriage or birth? Are friends family? In my case…yes. They are. If someone introduces me to their child and they are white but the child is black…does it make that family invalid? In the name of being “correct”?
There may be some who are offended by my life choices. I’m fine with them; I’ve made them and owned them. While they may be unconventional none have been illegal. I had my daughter when I was twenty. Does that make me immoral? Does it make me stupid or a slut?
So here I’ve come round robin to my original question. No one else has had to live my life. No one else is responsible for my choices or my happiness nor am I responsible for theirs.
If there’s something that makes one feel entitled, why are they so much more deserving than the rest of us? Because somewhere someone somewhat done somebody wrong?
Yeah, welcome to the human race. We can be a heartless lot. Wrongs done in the past may never be righted. What we can do is take today…start today and make the choices now that will positively impact tomorrow.
Start making yourself happy and the rest will fall into place. No one can save the world. Humanity has been trying since time began. No one can rob us of our own humanity unless we allow it. We all have the choice. Choose wisely.