“We are all stars, you just have to unlock that inner star.”
“We are all stars, you just have to unlock that inner star.”
“And justice for all.”
We are just a few days away from the 4th of July celebration. A celebration which this year will mark 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And in those 241 years a lot has changed in our society that is unrecognizable to that time period. The physical landscape is now being built up and not out. We have gone through a lot of social changes. From slavery to electing the nation’s first African American president. Even politically, we are a nation of Democrat and Republican. Whereas in the past, presidents were a few elected who belonged to other parties. But my question for the topic today is what does freedom mean to you?
When you look at the American flag, which is a symbol of our freedoms, what do you see? How has living in this country shaped your views unlike someone living elsewhere? For me, I base one of my views on America by way of other groups of people coming to America. More people flock to this nation than anywhere else. We have the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in whatever business endeavor we choose to be apart of in this country. So if you want to be a physician, you can be a physician. I you want to become an attorney, educator, or even pursue a career in athletics, you can do so. The choice is yours to choose whatever path you want to take. But my other view of freedom is never going back to the way things once were.
And my feelings are this strong because as an African American I know what the past was socially and politically. And that experience that family of mine have gone through is not a shared experience I want. So, to me, another freedom is not being judged by ethnic identity, but who I am personally. And if you don’t want to take the time to get to know me personally, so be it. But having the ability to involve yourself in my life without wanting or caring to know me is problematic. Especially if you are unsure with your own belief system. But what are some other views of what freedom might be to you?
Freedom does not only extend itself to being able pursue your career interests or choice without racial discrimination. Freedom may also be to date and marry who you want to marry. During President Obama’s term, the United States officially announced that gay marriage was legalized. And for the first time in their lives, you had men and women, who were able to marry their significant others of the same sex. A union that people who were in their 50’s, 60’s, and some in their 70’s were hoping for their entire lives up that point. And that is what freedom may mean to so many of them.
In the end, freedom is up to the person perceiving what freedom is to them. Freedom could be pursuing career interests or marrying the person you’re in love with. And the key word when looking at freedom is the “pursuit” of happiness. Pursuing what you want and then accomplishing the want is the most gratifying feeling in the world.
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“We all run from something.”
Author Marianne Williamson has a very well-known passage in her book The Return of Love regarding our deepest fears. And she states that, “It’s not that we are inadequate, it’s that we are powerful beyond measure.” We don’t want to think that we are less than at sometime in life, then to realize we were destined for greatness in that thing. But what I would like to open up about are my own personal fears. And the top three fears of mine: dying destitute and poor, not attaining my goals, and monogamous relationships. Fears that have plagued me since I was a young child all the way into my adult years.
Well, let’s first start by looking at my first in life. My first fear of dying broke and destitute is number one. So much so, that even as a kid I thought growing poor my life would never change. And now that I am an adult, I see homeless people walking the streets of New York City. They converse with themselves. They have no friends and no family, but most of all, having to come to terms with sleeping in the city streets. What reality that must be, that wow, I am about to fall asleep for the first time on a park bench or in the subway system. What must that feel like that first night with no roof over your head. And that fear has made me not want to really enjoy too much of life because you just never know.
Which leads into my next fear; and that is the fear of not attaining my goals. I can go out, and get a job, work until my retirement, but that’s not good enough. There are career interests that I have, that are not quite conventional. But if not successful at them, very little in life is worth doing. I am not interested in a lot of stuff people in my age group are interested in. I don’t mind working on my indie projects and making $50,000 to $60,000 a year. I could easily rise in a corporate atmosphere and make well beyond that amount. But it’s not the title or the climb in an organization. It’s the ability to have a voice and say what I want and get paid to do so.
As far as my relationship phobias, I have multiple ones. They are phobias such as: fear of having to compromise, fear of rejection, fear of infidelity, fear of having to connect, and fear of failure. These have kept me from pursuing a relationship since the age of 16 years old all the way to now I am about to be 30 years old. As much as my previous passage about fear of not achieving exist, I still push forward. To be honest, I don’t even think about the fear of failure in career endeavor. Mainly because I was raised at such a young age to pursue, it’s normal now. For example, my first short film was not that great, and I already working on the crowdfunding for my next one. It’s not even a thought at times because it has become such a norm. Yet when seeking relationships, it has not been a pursuit of mine. So now it seems odd to do so.
In the end, we all have these crazy fears. But conquering your fears is a lot easier said than done. You try your best to persevere past them, but they’re there. And maybe that is a nature thing put inside of us to keep us safe. Only problem with being safe is that I don’t want safe. Vulnerability is a very intriguing trait that I like. I don’t want to be homeless, but I am chasing a career path that could lead to that. I don’t want to fail at my goals, yet I am actively attaining them. I don’t want to not have a relationship, but I am pushing to set myself up for monogamy. So let me ask you something, how do you take on your fears?
“Get over it, or move on.”
Men and women both agree that cheating is wrong, yet we both do it. It’s a very conniving action to take, and painful thing to go through. But my question to you is, can a relationship survive infidelity? Can you forgive someone who has cheated on you? What are the steps you go through in order to make the situation better? Me personally, I couldn’t survive a cheating situation. Mainly because every time we would be intimate I would see another person in my place. The image wouldn’t go away; so it’s not the idea of cheating. It’s the physical image of someone else in your position. Unless we’re just dating, then it doesn’t have the same effect.
And that is an interesting view because I don’t think a lot of men are willing to accept women back like women accept us. There are so many views on why it’s different. They are views that range from that’s what we do and women should not; to guys do it to do it, and women do it with malice attached. But it is ever a reason to cheat, and why? And if you think it’s ok, then why do you have such a hard time being honest about it? Because people say you shouldn’t tell your spouse everything. But if you cheat, it could leave a cloud of guilt over the situation. But I have a different view for cheating.
If you are in a position to cheat on your significant other, it’s probably best to break it off. Because what you do if you don’t, is that you hold the other person to this promise. But then when you go ahead and break the promise what does that mean? Does that mean that the promise is off the table? Because it’s hard for you to be taken serious from now on. You are making demands, but they are not taken seriously because you’re known for going back on your word. And if you are this person going back on your word you build up a reputation for not being trust-worthy. So anything you so moving forward doesn’t quite hold much weight to it.
See, in the end, cheating can cause more problems especially keeping it a secret. Because you leave the other person confused and in a state of bewilderment since you’re not being honest. Yet, there are people who take the cheating boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse back again. Some hold true to their word and never cheat again, and others don’t. Is once a cheater always a cheater? Or is it something that happens, and there is no going back? It’s all up to the person being cheated on?
“Worrying about you is your only full-time job.”
In today’s society, the use of social media has put everyone in everyone else’s business. But why, why have we become so interested in what other people are doing. Why have we become so enamored with how others are living their lives? Part of it has to do with the nothing going on in our own lives and other aspects of it has to do with loving to get others in trouble. And that’s an interesting account of us; the getting each other in trouble. Because no matter if it’s a public figure or the average Joe. We love to catch people doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Where is all this coming from?
Well, when looking at it from the context of nothing going on in your life, that’s key. When you have goals and aspirations of your own, it’s virtually impossible to concern yourself with others. But when nothing much is going on in your own life, you have nothing but time. Because in today’s society working a 40 hour work week has become 30 – 35 hours per week. So now we have more free time than prior years. So what are you doing with that time? Are you utilizing that time to pursue anything? If not, what is your purpose in life? Just waking up to exist to the next day and then the next day is not a way to live. But for the people who have nothing but time, this is how they live their lives.
Which leads into my next reason as to why people are so concerned. They see that someone else’s life is much more interesting than their own. Because if you’re constantly working on something, your life is appealing to those that aren’t doing much of anything. For example, I am working toward a career as a filmmaker, author, and blogger. People look at that and feel your life is quite interesting. To you, it is a struggle, but to them it’s something to talk about. No matter how positive or even negative, it’s something to discuss. But a lot of times today, it’s not positive feedback, but the negative. So much negativity is leant out to those who are in what people who perceive as a better position.
An example would be the Kardashian-Jenner sisters. So many people have so much to say about them. Yet their lives are progressing forward and the people who hate their lives don’t change at all. You’re concerning yourself with sisters whose lives are in a position far beyond yourself. You should be working at trying to remove yourself from your bad situation. But they for some reason cannot see past what someone else has in life. What’s interesting is that the same energy placed on worrying about others should be put into your own life. Because that same energy is what that person you’re worried about is putting into their work. But you can’t make the people who hate see that for themselves.
In the end, we have become a society of voyeurs. This voyeuristic behavior has cost people jobs and relationships. Now, I don’t see it slowing down, especially with the increase in social media usage. But eventually, so many people will be snooping that finding out something about another person will be irrelevant. Worrying about other people will always render the same outcome. And that outcome will be people wasting their lives concerned with others. But if your life is heading in the right direction, you have no time to concern yourself with what others are doing.
“They’re not going to be young forever.”
When growing up, parents are very protective of their young. Understandably so because it’s your job to protect them. But at some point in time that parent has to let go and let their child have their own lives. And this is generally the hardest job that any parent has to do is let go. Eventually, that kid grows up, and goes into the world to start their own lives. They must have their own identity and embark on their own career endeavors. But why, why must parents really need to let go of their child/ children? Just saying they need their own lives is not good enough.
I heard Denzel Washington make a statement regarding having a hard time letting go of his son. His son was heading east to college from California. And he told an interesting story of why he had to let go. He was flying a private jet when the pilots had to drop some fuel from the plane to increase the altitude in flight. Denzel stated that is how he had to look at parenting like flying in that plane. If he didn’t release his son the he couldn’t have flown to the heights he wanted to fly. And that is a strong reason why parents have to let go. But so many parents have the hardest time letting go. Their children have been their lives for so long it becomes tough to let go.
But the moral of the story from Denzel is that how will your kids be prepared to take on the world if you keep them so close. They need to step out into the world. Try things, fail, and then work to come back and succeed. You can’t protect them forever otherwise they won’t grow. You’ll do nothing more but create an environment of codependency. And trust and believe, no one else is going to allow them to live off of them without stepping into the world. You stunt their development and actually make them fearful of walking into the world themselves. You have held on so long, they are terrified that maybe you held on because they can’t succeed without you.
Another reason why parents find it so hard to push children into the world is also because this may be the last child to leave the house. When having children, the first you get emotional and last you get emotional. Because the first is that oldest to come into the world. And the last kid is confirmation that no more children are in the house. So now you have to get used to making decisions based around you and your best interest. No more coming home and making sure everything is right on the home front. Get used to coming home and not hearing any noise, just silence.
And in the end, that is the toughest adjustment a parent must make in life. Getting used to adjusting to life with no one there unless you’re married. You now have to learn how to go back to life when there weren’t kids around. And that for a lot of people is hard to get used to. So parents find themselves contacting their children in college asking what are they doing. It may seem overbearing to the kid, but to the parent it is completely normal. Yet, the kid has to go off and carve out their own identity, their own plans, their own futures.
“Too many contradictions to have both coexist.”
The conversation regarding church and the state has been a topic of debate for decades. Should we include the religious practices of the Christian faith into our schools, workplace, or even leisure activities? And I for one am against the involvement of religious practices into our daily lives on these levels. Not because I have an issue with Christianity, but mainly because the people aspect of what could come of it. People are fine with God entering all of our lives so long as it does not interfere with whatever it is that benefits their lives. This is a key reason why we have the separation of church and state. Well, let’s go a little further into what I mean by benefits their lives.
When sending your child to school, you want and expect them to receive an education that is based in academia. The obvious reason why religion in school wouldn’t work is because you don’t have children at your schools that all believe the Christian faith. But another thing that people don’t think about is the idea that we have many sects of the Christian faith. So let’s say we do put Christianity in schools. What sect of Christianity: Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, or Johovah Witness? Here is where even more fighting could possibly take place. Because the way in which each of the above sects serve God is different. So even with Christ in schools, not all Christians worship the same.
What about the use of Christianity in our laws? Here is the problem with laws in our society. It’s easy to say, “Thou shall not kill.” But what about laws such as, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” If you ask anyone do they cheat, they’ll say no. But if you make it a law, people will fight for their right to cheat. It will be fought under the guides of “everyone makes mistakes.” But cheating is not a mistake. You don’t mistakenly sleep with another person. You mistakenly spill a cup of coffee, but you know you are in a relationship. Cheating is thinking you’re getting away with something. Well because cheating is human nature. But if the bible speaks against this human nature, can you make it law? That’s why structuring laws around religion can be dangerous.
Another place where we separate the church and state decisions are in the workplace. Everything from how you dress, to both genders working side by side. Christianity has something designed around the workplace. And you really start to run into issues, even more than children going to school. Because you have adults policing other adults who live the same way. And what do I mean by the same way. For example, I am a male boss telling a woman what to wear. But the tables are turned the moment another man tries to enforce his will onto our wives, sisters, and daughters. We are comfortable telling other women what to do, just no one telling those close to us the same.
And in the end, all of what I have explained is the reasons why church and state have to be separated. Because when I do something you feel go against the bible it’s a sin. When you are now doing something that goes against the bible, it becomes either nobody is perfect, or the God I worship doesn’t judge. You can’t say abortion is wrong, then conduct research and abortions are up in the communities pushing against abortion. You can’t say wait until you’re married for sex, and then we find out you have been married for five years, yet you have a seven year old child. It’s the hypocrisy of us as people as to why we have to, and will always keep church and state separate.