So yesterday was Father's Day. My dad just so happens to be one of the coolest that I know (he's like an Obama sorta dad). Anyone who has met him probably knows that's where I get my chill, zen-like demeanor from. I do live almost halfway across the country so it's hard for me to see him or the rest of my family all the time, but I do try to call whenever I can. All that being said, father's day is sort of a weird holiday for me. Six years ago, father's day was on today's date, June 19th. That day I woke up to missed calls from everybody telling me to call my dad. I knew I had to call him, but sheesh, it was super early and they told me to do it immediately. That phone call would turn out to be the worst I've ever received in my life. My mom passed away that morning. Looking back on it, I don't think I ever did tell my dad happy father's day that day. I know that some people take the death of a parent harder than some, and some take it much easier. In a lifetime, we may go through numerous tragedies. It's part of the human experience. I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the things we go through in life. While consuming ourselves in our own misery, we tend to forget there are billions of other people going through things as well. Sometimes it seems like our own problems are worse than everyone else's. This makes me wonder, why do we make sorrow a competition?
This past week, I was feeling a bit out of sorts, about something trivial I can't even recall now, but while reading the news, I came across the apartment building fire that happened in London. I'm not even sure why, but it hit me super hard. Perhaps it's because one of my worst fears in life is being trapped in an apartment fire. Or trapped anywhere period. The feeling of helplessness. Knowing that the end is near and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's all I thought about really. I even almost posted something about it on social media. I stopped myself. I remembered a time not too long ago when there was some tragedy going on in France and everybody was posting about it. On the flip side, there was also a tragic situation happening in Africa. I saw that some people were downplaying the French tragedy saying the situation in Africa was far worse/needed more media attention. Around the time of the London building fire, there was also the Philando Castile murder trial with a verdict of not guilty. I felt as though some might think I was more concerned about one than the other. It is however possible to care about both. Even today, there was yet another shooting of a black mother in Seattle by police AND another tragedy in London involving a vehicle attack. Basically, the world is full of chaos. We can't really choose what one thing impacts us more than another thing. We can't choose for other people either. I do understand how society in general treats one tragic event over the next as far as media coverage and cover-ups go. You have the choice to fight for, grieve over, and mourn for whatever you choose, but in the process, we should not abate what another chooses. It's not our place to say which thing is worse than the other. It's all bad! Putting our own emotional state above others, or even expecting everyone else to have the same level of concern about each event can be very counterproductive towards becoming more empathetic.
On a much smaller scale, people in general like to make pretty much anything a competition, even if it's who's doing the worst. Yes, even I am guilty of this. Have you ever been having a bad day and then you talk to a friend about it, who is also having a bad day? Do you find yourselves trying to one up each other by saying how much worse your day has been going than theirs? It may be subconscious, but I have seen it happen many times. Guess what people, we are ALL going through this thing called life. Together. I could've stubbed my toe and felt worse than when you broke up with someone you've been dating for 10 years, but that's neither here nor there. Trying to gauge impact is like trying to measure love. The world may never know! I may never fully understand what the next person is going through, I'm just trying to not make anyone feel like their feelings aren't important or real. Whatever YOU feel is very real. What I feel is also real. Let's stop worrying about who has it worse off and start realizing we are ALL affected differently.
As you can probably tell, emotions are still a fairly new concept to me, but I'm working on mine each and every day (I even cried two whole times in the last few months). I'm trying to interpret and discover new things about myself in connection with the universe. I do believe that a lot of the problems we face these days stem from selfishness. We all like to think that we aren't, but there are many unknowing ways that we can be. This is not to say don't talk about or express your problems in life. It is very therapeutic to have an outlet. The thing is to remember to be respectful and understanding in doing so. I'm going to try a bit more to not downplay other people's grief while still embracing my own (which is really my main point of this post). If someone thinks it's the worst thing in the world that "The Getdown" got canceled, then by golly I'll try my very best to be supportive. As much sorrow as there is in the world, I still think that there is MUCH more joy, so even in hard times like these, try to hold on to something...and each other.
P.s. I've always thought about how certain dates and holidays can become tainted by devastating events. Father's day will probably always remind me of my mom from now on. I also have an uncle who's birthday is on September 11th. I'm sure his birthday was never the same afterward. (STILL thanking my lucky stars that my birthday wasn't forever marred by the Beyonce twins.)
P.p.s. I also have heard a number of people celebrating Juneteenth today. Juneteenth is the day that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the US. I actually first heard of this day from the show Atlanta. This is the very first time I've ever heard of people celebrating this day, but it's good that more of us are becoming aware of our past.
P.p.p.s. One trick that I do find very helpful in NOT becoming the biggest loser... Listen more than you speak.