Realization and Release

Jay and I have been friends and so we’ve spent a long time chatting about this and that. On this particular day, my destination is Atlanta. On my way there, I see a police officer behind me. My hands become clammy, and I break into a cold sweat.

I explain these sensations and Jay feels that this is a good time to remind me that I only feel this way because of the media. About how police calls happen. About how yes some people do terrible things, but my involuntary, bodily reaction to the car in my rearview mirror was unwarranted.

When I quoted the Federal Bureau of Investigation on crime statistics and brought up recent events, he responded that if black people were doing positive things, they’d be on TV more. I asked what he watched.

Fox News.

I hung up and didn’t reply or respond to anything for a few months. Two weeks ago, he texted to ask me why I had not communicated or called.

“Well, when I explained to you that police in my rearview mirror gave me a low-level panic attack, you dismissed my experience as invalid. I took the space I needed to deal with that.”

I thought we were friends; I don’t understand why you would just cut me off like that over a difference of opinion.

I explained that my very real life and the lives of many others were not matters of opinion or debate. As the exchange receded into the back of my mind, I thought about how many times this has happened before.

He then sent me to a video of a black man sharing his reasons that reparations shouldn’t exist. I asked how this was relevant and got silence.

Now I’m here. In these situations, while there is a lot to be said about giving people chances to grow and evolve and learn, the discussion we need to have is one in which we see a person who holds a belief that is poisonous to us and is unwilling to have that perspective changed in any way.

Sure, they say that would be willing to given facts to back up claims, but then those facts – normally coming from painful experiences from ourselves and many others over hundreds of years and easily accessible on google, on the news, or just by interaction with other humans – are dismissed or derided if not entirely unremarked upon.

As this happens, I settle into the sobering truth: they aren’t changing for me. It’s not that I cannot save them, but rather that there was never any saving to be done to begin with.

The new normal for me of late has been looking at this across many communities and having to just pack things up because… what else am I going to do?

Sure, bygones could be bygones. I get that people are messy and imperfect, but I also have no tolerance who see discussions on systemic oppression and decisions on ice cream flavors on the same level of importance and are unwilling to change that fact about themselves.

And to be frank: do I want that? Why would I? It’s poisonous.

Suspended Animation

By and large, I tend to be on the minimal side of the line when it comes to owning things; I cycle through things I have – digital and non – on regular cycles and then rid myself of those things I don’t have a real need for. The Goodwill, in spite of my best intentions, sees me every few months or so as I continue to pare down on things.

However, today finds me staring down a box of letters from a friend-become-girlfriend-become-friend-again and it feels like I’m in a crucible. These are crystalline moments of openness to each other and I am loathe loathe to be parted from them.

On the one hand, we are more the people in those letters than we have ever been and we are also different people than we were at the time of those letters. Which is to say, having those letters in the scheme of things is not important unless, of course, we never speak again.

On the other hand, these moments of openness with people are rare. I part with many things easily, but handwritten letters? In 2019? When will I ever have that again?

And so the two sides of me war every single time I look at this letterbox. Also in here: an old journal. It’s amazing how so much, yet so little has changed since that writing. Work has the same issues, but I have had many different experiences and that raw feeling of writing just as the adventure was fresh on my bones… how would I ever recreate that?

Maybe it’s just that tendency humans have toward seeking immortality, but ugh. I don’t even have another word. Just ugh.

Compassion in Content

In a previous post, I spoke about my frustrations with the concept of how we get along with spoilers on the internet and while I am still in my feelings there, I also had a number of other things I saw within the last week where someone said, “You’ve had enough time to watch this, so if you haven’t done it, get off the net until you do…”

What gets to me about this is the lack of compassion. I draw my examples from the rush of Game of Thrones, but I have a larger question of why it never occurs to us to pause mid-sentence and just go, “Am I really about to ask someone to stop existing for my comfort?”

Because as I said before, that’s what we’re doing.

These are just strangers on the internet. OK, but also, it’s a space everyone shares and we post on the regular about the disparities people experience in all manner of ways on economic, societal, and other levels. How do you push and advocate for that, but then fail to notice the thread of that pattern in things like this spoiler debate.

It causes me pain because I have had to unfollow people I like due to the amount of “I don’t care” posts I see on this. In a world where someone asks for something so small as to not have a story ruined for them – in a world that is literally and figuratively on-fire – would this one exercise of thinking and caring about others really dampen your experience of the show?

I don’t think it would, however, next Sunday, I will likely see this same wave again of people going, “here’s me posting without a care in spite of people asking for weeks on end not to do this. In spite of the fact that I’ve ended whole relationships with people over being spoiled on a story or major plot point on things I want to enjoy. I’m going to just… do it to someone else.”

Maybe this isn’t new at all in any way shape or form, but for all of that lack of novelty, the wound sure doesn’t seem to be any less painful.

Drowning in the Dead Sea

So as those following my account may be aware, I’m a fan of Tré Melvin. He is funny and insightful and sharp all at once. For example, see how he goes from funny to punch-in-the-gut serious here.

He announced his release of this song to the world and so I had myself a listen. I got the immediate Jhené Aiko vibe circa a freestyle from the Souled Out album. In sum: very relaxed. You feel the numbness settling in here as he keeps the same tone throughout the song.

What got me in this song was the imagery. Here we have Tré drowning in the Dead Sea and the person he’s relating to – likely in a romantic scenario – paddling through his Red Sea.

Here in this relationship we have the contrast between drowning in a sea known for being so salty it removes moisture from anything that it touches versus the Red Sea that the Hebrews in the Bible passed through into what would be their freedom.

Moreover, this person is paddling. Not diving. Not swimming. Not even trying to get the freedom that the Red Sea promises.

I expect there will be more to look forward to from him in the future, music or otherwise, and I’ll enjoy writing about that when it happens, too.

Spoiler Alert

To be very clear: this is a rant. Let’s start here.

Let’s start with the context. You are a fan of a series and are rightfully excited about its next episode of silver screen iteration. Fantastic. I’m happy with you.

In your enthusiasm to speak on your experience, you  have taken to the online world of social media to share. Alright. No problem.

Then in comes someone to say, “Hey, I haven’t gotten around to having this experience yet. Can you please hold off on sharing the details of your experience so I can enjoy that experience with the magic of not knowing how it will go beforehand?” and somehow – somehow – the best response we can muster are things like this:

Really? This is just bad.
I am certain you can hear my sighing in the halls of Valhalla.

I don’t know the first person. Denny is a cool guy in general. A fantastic one, even. However, this take going around on the internet of “F*ck you and your being upset about spoilers” is flaming trash from the farthest reaches of the void.

You’re telling people on a social medium that connects them to family, friends, news about the world around them, their favorite games about to roll out, and so on to just… not exist. To just not be on their phone until they can afford the time to watch multiple years of a show or hours of a movie marathon.

We have DMs. We have secret groups. We have services for watching things as a group and discussing what we watch, but somehow the better decision was to just tell people not to exist where their connections to the world are.

Are there filters? Sure. Can we mute things? Sure. Can we just unfollow our whole list of follows? Absolutely. Should anyone be demanded to do these things so that you are at your convenience to live tweet every scene of your favorite tv series or movies?

No. No. Why are we even considering this as a question? I can’t help thinking about the many other times over the course of my life that I asked someone for one reason or another to consider another perspective only to be told:

  • grow thicker skin
  • man up
  • move out
  • quit and find another job
  • wear different clothes
  • be more polite first

And here, to add to that list: f*ck you. Just uninstall your connections to a sizeable amount of the humans you know and network or commune with regard shared interests.

Is this really the take to have? Because it’s garbage.

We’re talking about people making arrangement we know we aren’t all at liberty to make. We’re talking about time that people aren’t at liberty to spend watching a single show for 8 years. We’re talking about people like me who didn’t get introduced or even invited to the fandom until recently and who, after being asked by a friend who wants to introduce them to said fandom, has to run the risk of not being able to live through those defining plot moments unspoiled.

So… f*ck them, too? Really? Is being able to live tweet the whole thing right then and there so important? Do we not have DMs? Do we not have facebook and Discord groups and group DMs and spaces hidden away from the general public we can use?

Because it sure is a lot easier to talk to people I know who have seen or experienced something away from the public eye than it would be for me to find a secret group to discuss social issues (for example) since the only way I have of knowing about them is to… you know… be in those many places and countries OR get on the internet.

It’s not that deep, fam.

Someone who clearly doesn’t value their edges, 20xx

It was that deep when you made three months of memes about people who didn’t watch your show or movie series. It was that deep when you made weeks of memes that I had to wade through to mute and block individually by the dozens. It was that deep 24 hours ago. It was that deep this morning.

So yes, it was deep enough to warrant this read. Now, go learn some compassion and good sense and don’t come back until you have.