Walled In, Walled Out

Closing In On Me by Heroethic on Flickr


Tired today. Of a lot of things for a lot of different reasons.

Physically? That’s easy. Daughter asked to sleep with me last night. This never happens so I allowed it. This never leads to a good night’s rest on my part and I knew that going in and it was no different last night.

I lay there for a while between Daughter and Boyfriend (seriously, I have the lamest nicknames) listening to their generally synchronized but still completely different breathing. Daughter’s was mixed in with a slight whistly wheeze and Boyfriend’s was rougher with an occasional snore. Daughter’s was shorter than Boyfriend’s but they pretty much started and ended at the same time which is impossible for me to understand right now much less explain.

There’s a lot of yawning going on here.

But I’m also tired in a different way.

Why are so many people angry today? Fearful? Depressed? Anxious? Hopeless? The election insanity is not helping, I know. The economic crisis. It just feels like everyone is on the brink– ready to explode. And instead of coming together, reaching out, embracing each other, linking arms, we’re taking sides. Division, division, division. What happened to all the shades of gray?

White people here, Black People there, everyone else over there somewhere. Men here, women there. You “others” just go and hide somewhere so we don’t have to acknowledge your existence and recreate our nice little division system.

Republicans here, Democrats there and the rest of you grow a damn spine and either take a side or shut your mouth because this has nothing to do with you. Conservatives here, Liberals WAY over there, Moderates please see above Republicans/Democrats memo re: “the rest of you”. And by the way, changing your mind is something that no longer exists. It’s called flip-flopping now and it will not be tolerated, respected, or accepted.

United States vs The World. Poor vs Rich. Corporations vs People. My Pockets vs Your Pockets. Progression vs Regression. Spend vs Save. Capitalism vs Socialism. Free Market vs Regulation. Healthy vs Sick. Big government vs Small government. Rent vs Buy. Illegals vs Citizens. Baby vs Fetus. Hetero vs Homo. Stay at Home Mom vs Work Outside Home Mom. Atheism vs Theism. State vs Church. Single Parent vs Married Parent. Slut vs Prude. 1% vs 99%. Planet vs Global Warming. Custodial Parent vs Non-Custodial Parent. Religion vs Science. English vs Math. Candidates vs PACs. Fact vs Opinion. South vs North. East vs West. Blue vs Red. Manning vs Tebow. Blog vs Trolls. Star Wars vs Star Trek. Facebook vs Google+. WordPress vs Blogger. Knit vs Crochet. My Way vs The Highway.

Why are we so eager for a fight? Why are we so ready to jump? Why are we convinced someone/something is surely out to get us?

It is so exhausting but as much as I want to just let it go, the fighting is all around me and I can’t always stop from being caught up because so many times it just goes too far. We can debate but stick to the facts, not your interpretation of them. Contrary to popular belief, reality does not have a liberal bias. We can debate, but refrain from insults. We can debate but please keep your ears open as much as you keep your mouth open.

Every day it gets louder and louder. Everyone is screaming to make this point and that point, to be seen and to be heard. Look at me! Listen to me! Pay attention to me!

When did we forget we’re not animals? Our gut instincts are about as right as often as they’re wrong folks. Why are we listening to them more and more instead of listening to each other? My gut might tell me punching your face would be the most effective way of getting you to shut up but my  mother taught me better than that. Who do I listen to? My gut tells me to blow my paycheck on whatever I want, when I want it but the people I respect tell me to at least save some of it and I’ll be better off in the long-run. Who do I listen to? My gut tells me I should work hard to get ahead and you should do the same for yourself but Mother Teresa taught me the value of working hard to get many of us ahead together. Who do I listen to?

Isolation everywhere. Bickering. Divisiveness. This whole feeling that if you see things one way, you must be crazy/uneducated/immoral/fanatical/classless/lazy/dirty/pathetic/foolish/not human.

We don’t want to accept each others differences, we just want to know what they are so we can somehow gain the upper hand.

Isn’t it interesting how the most hyped movie right now is this thing called The Hunger Games? And the central plot to this wildly popular movie based on a wildly popular book is a bunch of fights to the death? We are drawn to this concept like moths to the flame.

There can be only one.

It’s stifling. It’s confusing. We’re being forced more and more to take narrower and narrower sides.

Am I the only one feeling claustrophobic?


12 thoughts on “Walled In, Walled Out

  1. Diversity. Multiculturalism. Instead of uniting us, they divide us. We compartmentalize ourselves into all the sub populations you describe. There exist very few common denominators. Those common denominators unite us not the celebration of accepting differences. For example: pizza is a common denominator. That’s an easy one. The city’s baseball team – another easy one. The historical common denominator. That should be an easy one. When all of us see a $5 bill we should all think “Lincoln-Emancipation Proclamation” . But Miami is 51 % foreign born and never heard of Lincoln and Veterans Day or Memorial day are given little attention. Common values advocacy is as the white establishment’s efforts to “colonize ” people. Has nothing to do with that. In our economic times, one’s survival means you have to claw and step on someone else to make it. We have become self serving starving rats out of necessity.

    • I like the common denominators you mention. I feel it’s a chicken or egg sort of thing– do we feel we don’t need to emphasize the common denominators to get ahead because that sort of message doesn’t play out in the mainstream media surrounding us or does the mainstream media that surrounds us push forth the differences because we as a crowd move that way to start with. We certainly eat up scandal and discord.

  2. When I see that picture I think of my early childhood in a similar flat in the city. I loved looking up at the sky. The clouds would go by quickly and if you stared long enough it was like you could get dizzy feeling the earth move underneath you.

    I was allowed to go out alone in that little area because the alleyway was locked on both sides. On one side I could get to the shared garden if I had a key, the other side led to the street but I wasn’t allowed out there. So that tiny box represents a kind of freedom. I loved it. As much as I liked the wide open rural spaces that followed when we moved out of the city… I still feel freedom looking at that picture.

    Maybe things aren’t so bad.

    • That is so funny you see that! Different strokes, different folks. That picture makes me feel dizzy and small and alone. I’d like to think things aren’t so bad but I have a hard time accepting it when all I see and hear is bad news everywhere.

  3. As I looked at that picture, I thought of the Tenement Museum in NYC. In the midst of the dingy, cramped apartments was a central air shaft where people threw their trash and night-pot contents. The stagnant and fetid air was what people breathed. The windows facing the outside have breezy curtains and vining flowers growing, open to the outside. One side was stagnant, dark, and depressing. The other side had life, flowers, and pretty curtains. Inside, families finally in the land of the free were living a squalid life. I doubt they came from the farms of other lands to live their lives in such an oppressive atmosphere.

    There will always be dichotomy. There does not have to be division. Difference can work for a single goal. However unified a thing appears, it is not.

    You did not live in the 1960s, did you? Everything you said sounded so much like the 60s felt to me.

    • That is an amazing image you conjured up. Wow.

      That’s a great way of saying it– dichotomy vs division. That’s exactly it.

      No I’m a young one. But I’ve been told I feel like the 60s to a lot of people. That’s interesting that you mentioned that.

      • Even though it was an era of discontent and fear, there was a hopefulness for the future, a willingness to be part of the change, and a peace that was born of the young heart. I was an adult in the 60s. The difference today is that some people don’t fear. Some are resigned. They show a discontent that is frightening. There is little hope from those I see that actually want to do something. So, they don’t act. They are resolved to their fate. I am trying to fight condemnation of my home by the city. But, there is no solidariiy with people because they think it is hopeless on my part to fight. Friends ignore my fear. In the 60s, people ralied to help others, even if it just were moral support..

      • I am so sorry you are going through that. I know what you mean. It’s a surprise when communities DO come together and it shouldn’t be that way. I’m sorry I’m not your neighbor, you could count on my support.

  4. I think the economy has far more of a negative impact than many believe. And the older you are – and the longer you are fighting just not to fall off the map (or allow your kids to fall off the map) – the more exhausted, bitter, and yes – angry – you are.

    Anger can be energizing and motivating if channeled properly. But when it runs too long, when it turns away from solving problems to blaming, hatred takes hold. It’s a release for the powerlessness, and in today’s social media world we have a means for millions to voice that fear, that anger, that powerlessness.

    I also remember a time – idealistic, yes – when we thought we could change the world for the better. But those of us who wanted to do so, even if we didn’t have money, could see a doctor if necessary, could find some sort of work, could see our parents and grandparents caring for extended family.

    So much of the social landscape has eroded. It’s a house of cards, built on dollar signs.

  5. I just keep believing that the little things I do will someday have a big impact. I also hope that people will follow suit and also do nice things. Niceness, leads to more of it. Doing nothing sucks. Doing nothing about things that bother you and complaining about it sucks even more. I get annoyed when I try to organize something and then get the note back “when are you doing my kid’s school, or my neighborhood, why did you pick that other one?” GRR….so annoying. I don’t get involved in politics. Sometimes I think I should, but there is so much mudslinging I just don’t even know how I could help in that regard.

  6. Thanks. My present neighbors raked all their leaves in their yard into my yard, seeing my age and knowing I could barely walk. Then, the punk called me a bitch because I wanted to get in my driveway NOW, not when he felt like getting someone to move a truck LATER, a truck that was in front of my driveway. I almost hate those people. But, they are quiet!


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