I have had a lot of different thought racing through my head for the past few days. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around these ideas, and to be completely honest, the contrast between these recurring themes is so extreme that at times I am embarrassed.
On the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I find myself comparing today’s issues to the issues faced during WWII. The U.S. is engaged in several conflicts across the globe today, whereas 70 years ago it I mainly isolated concerned with its own problems and issues. I think about the major conflict in the world today and my heart aches. Learning about the bombings on the Shi’ite holiday makes me wonder when we and if we will ever learn acceptance of difference and love for all people. I know this is an idealistic point of view, but have we not learned from mistakes from the past? We can read the horrific accounts of genocide from our history books, but then see it in action today. Many of the gains that were made with the Arab spring are being threatened by oppressive regimes and electoral problems, it makes me incredibly grateful to live in the United States where my freedom has not been oppressed and I am allowed to exert my basic rights because they are constitutionally protected.
I get on my blog with these types of thoughts and I see that yesterday I posted a picture of a hairstyle that I am lusting after and I feel extreme guilt. When entire communities suffer in depths of poverty that I cannot truly even fathom and I am upset because my short hair is limiting. Plus, by posting a picture of Katy Perry, I am contradicting another topic trending in my mind right now, and that is of the assault against women’s values and intelligence (see Miss Representation). I have been raised in a world that taught me my greatest value and worth is that of how I appear to others. While various lessons have taught me otherwise, I see that while my value isn’t based on these things many people will choose to judge me based on this skewed value system.
Congratulations to those who have taken a stand against this, see here and here. I hope for a world where my daughters are not raised under these conditions. I know that this will depend largely on the home I raise them in, the values I choose to instill in them. I am grateful for a mother who taught me and showed me what it means to be an independent woman. I read these great ideas
Simultaneously I see how ingrained these ideas are in my day-to-day life. I worry so much about what I eat, that it practically consumes my thoughts, then I talk about it with my friends who are also consumed with it. My best friend on the other side of the country calls me to complain about the weight she put on, while I feel terrible guilt for eating Christmas cookies a newspaper sent my department. All the while, there was a giant famine in Horn of Africa that put over 13 million people at risk. People in war-torn nations unable to know when their next meal will come as they are displaced in surrounding areas, and I worry about my inability to control how much food I eat?? I see a major conflict here.
I don’t have a solution to any of these issues and I don’t suppose that I ever will, but I do know that I can take action now. Be the change you wish to see in the world. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic life pursuit to change the entire world but it begins in the entertainment I seek, the clothing I buy, the way I raise my children (assuming I’ll have some one day) and the example I set to those around me, along with the role models I seek.