Tag Archives: Feelings

Mid February Thoughts

I’m still on my deconversion journey. Work is going good. Life is good. I want to get some thoughts off my mind. So much has happened since my last post. We lost Kobe Bryant 💔. The 2020 election coverage is heating up. The primaries are in about two weeks. Dwayne Wade’s daughter came out as transgender 🏳️‍🌈.

  1. Kobe Bryant: on January 26, Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and 7 others died in a plane crash in California. The news sent shockwaves across the country. I grew up watching Kobe play so it was surreal to find out he passed. I’m still shocked that he is gone. What’s even sadder, is that his 13 year old daughter as well as two other 13 year olds and their parents passed away as well. Kobe and Gianna have been laid to rest in a private ceremony already. The televised public memorial service will be on the 24th of this month. That date was picked because Gianna’s jersey number was 2, and Kobe’s number was 24, so 2/24.
  2. 2020 election: the Democratic field is narrowing down. I don’t know if the candidates are able to beat Trump, but I hope so. I’m glad the field is narrowed down though because there was just so many nominees at one point.
  3. Zaya Wade: I am so glad Zaya and her family decided to share this news with us. Dwayne and Gabrielle are doing the right thing by supporting their child. Of course there are naysayers out there who have negative stuff to say, but honestly it’s none of our business what Dwayne and Gabrielle do with their child. Their decision to come out publicly was for everyone who can’t come out. It’s for the families with transgender kids who don’t have the wealth and resources to be out publicly. I applaud their decision to allow Zaya to be who she is. Unconditional love is something that all parents should show their kids. The child didn’t ask to be brought into this world, so the least the parent can do is love them unconditionally. Dwayne and Gabrielle are loving their child unconditionally and I love to see that.
  4. Deconversion: I’m about a month into my deconversion journey. I’m currently reading Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. I am part of two Facebook groups that are for non-believers and those who are de-converting. I am glad to have found these groups because I live in the Bible Belt and I don’t really have anyone to talk to in real life. I also watch a lot of YouTube videos about atheism and de-converting from religion. Some channels I really enjoy are: GM Skeptic, Cosmic Skeptic, DarkMatter2525, Seth Andrews & The Thinking Atheist, William Jones, Mr. Atheist, and Atheist Experience.

You Can’t Learn in An Echo Chamber

I was raised Christian. I believed God was the creator of the universe and Jesus died for our sins. I believed the Bible was the infallible word of God. As I was thinking about my childhood and past, I realized as I got older, my views evolved, but I could not express them. As a Christian, I was expected to believe wholeheartedly in the message and shun anyone who didn’t. I did exactly as I was raised to do and I truly did believe. It wasn’t until around my high school years that I began to question.

In youth group and Bible study, we were encouraged to question, but not too much. Soft questions were allowed but not hard questions. Any religion or competitive thought was ridiculed and seen as something “dumb.”  

I remember one time we were discussing Islam and Muslims. One kid commented that she despised Muslims and wanted to snatch their hijabs off their heads. I recoiled at her remarks. I didn’t say anything, but that’s where my issues with how I had been raised magnified. The group leader did not chastise the kid. Here I was in church and another kid was talking about essentially assaulting someone because they did not believe in the God we believed in.

It was also around that time I met my first atheist. I was a sophomore in high school. She was Caucasian. Everyone hated her and kept their distance. I didn’t hate her per se, but I sure didn’t hang around her.

As time went on I continued in Christianity even though I had serious concerns. I was expected to go to church and act Christian, even if everyone around me acted one way Monday through Saturday, and another on Sunday. I was growing tired of the hypocrisy in my family and in the church I attended at the time. I felt myself pushing away from the whole thing. I was going through the motions of being a Christian.

I started looking at other religions out of curiosity even though I knew I had to stay a Christian. It was absolutely discouraged to leave Christianity for any other religion, because that meant you were giving up on Jesus and God and you’d be going to hell.

I kept the threat and fear of hell in my mind even as I started looking at other religions. I was unconvinced about converting to anything, but I wanted to learn more. I learned as much introductory stuff as I could about other religions. I didn’t even know there were so many religions. Yes I knew about the Big Five: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, but I didn’t know about Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and Jainism, among others.

All this time I had been ignorant to the religions of other people. I had only been around people and ideas that reenforced how I was raised and what I believed in. I had grown in an echo chamber. I now realized that I couldn’t continue in that way. I had to go outside the chamber. I needed to expose myself to other beliefs and ideas.

Around the middle of last year, a little while after I moved into my own apartment, I decided to learn more about Buddhism. I had remembered the main concepts of the religion from when I learned about it previously. This time, I wanted to go deeper. I watched videos explaining the religion and personal accounts of believers. It was very interesting. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Buddhist temples where I live. The closest one is about two hours away. I liked what I learned about Buddhism, but I still wasn’t certain if I even wanted to still be religious. Although, Buddhism has no deity, as Buddha was not a God, but an enlightened man.

As the year winded down, I started looking at atheism. Now up until that point, atheism was as foreign to me as Dutch. I knew that atheists didn’t believe in God, but I didn’t know much more than that. I started watching videos from YouTube atheists and learned much more. I learned that atheist don’t believe in the monotheist God nor do they believe in polytheists gods. Atheists are not a horrible group of people and they aren’t devil worshipers. Also, atheism isn’t a religion. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a God or gods. Atheism does not claim affirmatively that no God/gods exist. Learning about atheism has been interesting. I am seeing yet another different perspective from my upbringing and I don’t feel threatened by it.

I am not sure if I am an atheist or if I am just in a questioning stage and may go back to Christianity in the future, but I do know I feel freer. I feel I can breath easier as I look at other belief systems and I’m not closing myself off to other experiences and ideas. I now know I cannot learn in an echo chamber. Therefore, I am going to learn more about religions, atheism, humanism, and any other belief system because I feel that is how I can grow as a person.

2019: A Look Back

It’s the end of the decade! Wow. I made it to 2019. It’s been a journey.  I’m going to recap the year and some big moments from the past decade.

2019

  • Got promoted to full time at my job
  • Cut my hair for the first time
  • Got my first apartment
  • Got two tattoos

2019 was a big year for me. I am very happy how things have turned out this year. If you have been following my blog for some time, you have read about my ups and downs over the years. So for this year to go as well as it did, I am very grateful.

2009-2018

  • Graduated high school in 2010
  • Voted for Obama in my first eligible Presidential election in 2012
  • Started my blog in 2013
  • Finished college in 2014

These were some of my best moments over the past decade.

Across the Nation

The past ten years have been a rollercoaster for the country

  • Obama served two terms from 2008-2016
  • Gay marriage was legalized in all 50 states in 2015
  • Mass shootings continue to claim the lives of hundreds each year
  • Police involved shootings of unarmed Black people led to the founding of Black Lives Matter
  • TV shows such as Scandal birthed the phenomenon of live tweeting
  • Netflix became one of the biggest streaming platforms ever with original programming premiering in 2012.
  • We lost Michael Jackson in 2009, Whitney Houston in 2012, Prince in 2016, and Aretha Franklin in 2018. We honestly lost a lot of famous people this decade.
  • TV shows and movies got more diverse, even though the awards shows did not.
  • Disney now owns pretty much everything, and released their own streaming service this year
  • Reboots of 80s and 90s movies and TV shows have ruled the airwaves much to many people’s disapproval.

 

This year has been good for me. I am grateful to have been able to accomplish what I accomplished this year. I hope the new year brings more joy and good experiences. Have a happy New year.

4 Years of WordPress

On June 5, 2013, I created my first blog. 4 years later and I still have so much to say. I remember in the post I had mentioned that WP was the best site to hold a blog on, that still rings true today. This blog has allowed me to share my thoughts with a wider audience and as time has gone on, I feel less fearful about how my words will be judged. I still have Facebook and Twitter profiles that I use often, but I feel this blog gives me more freedom. In the last four years, I have dealt with many changes and my writing has reflected and chronicled those changes. At this point in time, I can say I am thankfully in a good place emotionally and mentally. I still love television, music, and sports and I love writing fiction. I will continue to use this blog to share my thoughts and I would like to take time to thank my followers and anyone who has liked, commented, or shared my posts. Cheers to more years of blogging! 🍻

Television as a Mirror of Reality

As 45 further makes a laughing stock of the United States, we as citizens seek some sort of comfort elsewhere. I can honestly say I have not consistently watched news segments since 45 has been in office. Everytime I turn on my television I am reminded of how fucked we are and it turns my stomach. I had to turn to any other channel or fire up my Netflix.

Television has always served as an escape mechanism and mirror for our reality. From shows such as All in the Family to Modern Family, TV programs have had no problem addressing the societal issues of various time periods.

Peaking in the 1980s, shows like Different Strokes began tackling issues such as eating disorders, drugs, sexual abuse, and crime. TV programs would have “Very Special Episodes” that addressed these issues and ways to deal with them. Since the shows were family friendly, there would often be a disclaimer at the begining of the particular episode advising viewers of the serious subject matter. As the 1980s turned into the 1990s, shows such as Saved By the Bell and 90210 continued to feature “Very Special Episodes” during their series runs.

These episodes often reflected particular time periods in American history and culture, such as the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, the Gulf War, Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign, the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots, the Gay Marriage movement, and more recently the deaths of Black citizens at the hands of police.

In the last few years television programs have not shied away from tackling real issues. Even normally comedic shows like Family Guy had an episode regarding domestic abuse. When television shows decide to do an episode or story arc related to real life issues, some viewers may see it as Emmy bait or bad timing, but when done right, the show’s subject matter can start much needed conversations in real life.

Black-ish’s 2016 episode “Hope” which dealt with a police brutality case similar to that of Mike Brown, and their post election episode “Lemons” were two episodes that I felt did well regarding fictional universes discussing real life issues. In both episodes, viewers see how Bow and Dre as parents have to find a way to explain to their kids what is happening in the country. The episodes feature stunning monologues by Dre regarding how the events make him feel as a Black man and father in America. From “Hope”

“Oh, so you wanna talk about hope, ‘Bow? Obama ran on hope. Remember when he got elected? And we felt like maybe, just maybe, we got out of that bad place and made it to a good place. That the whole country was really ready to turn the corner. You remember that amazing feeling we had during the inauguration? I was sitting right next to you. We were so proud. And we saw him, get out of that limo, and walk alongside of it, and wave to that crowd. Tell me you weren’t terrified when you saw that. Tell me you weren’t worried that someone was gonna snatch that hope away from us like they always do. That is the real world, ‘Bow. And our children need to know that that’s the world they live in.”

And from “Lemons”

“You don’t think I care about this country? I love this country even though, at times, it doesn’t love me back. For my whole life, my parents, my grandparents, me, for most Black people, this system has never worked for us.

But we still play ball, tried to do our best to live by the rules even though we knew they would never work out in our favor. Had to live in neighborhoods that you wouldn’t drive through. Send our kids to schools with books so beat up, you couldn’t read ’em. Work jobs that you wouldn’t consider in your nightmares.

Black people wake up every day believing that our lives are gonna change, even though everything around us says it’s not. Truth be told, you ask most Black people and they tell you that no matter who won this election, they didn’t expect the hood to get better. But they still voted because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

You think I’m not sad that Hillary didn’t win? That I’m not terrified about what Trump’s about to do? I’m used to things not going my way. I’m sorry that you’re not and it’s blowing your mind, so excuse me if I get a little offended because I didn’t see all of this outrage when everything was happening to all of my people since we were stuffed on boats in chains.

I love this country as much, if not more, than you do, and don’t you ever forget that.”

Scandal also dealt with police brutality in their season 4 episode, “Lawn Chair.” In the mist of Fitz’s presidency, the shooting of a young Black boy by a DC cop garners Olivia and his attention. Recovering from a harrowing ordeal, Olivia goes to the scene to find the boy’s father sitting near his dead son’s body while a protest begins to form. In trying to decipher this case, Olivia must grapple with her own identity as a Black woman and her duty to “handle” the sensitive crisis. The episode’s storyline was closer to reality compared to previous episodes in the series, and served its purpose of continuing the dialogue regarding police shootings of unarmed Black people.

Comedies have been known for the laughs they garner and slapstick, sometimes offensive jokes, but they can get serious too. The Netflix animated series, Bojack Horseman is a sort of spoof on sitcoms of the family friendly variety. The titular character Bojack Horseman is a washed up sitcom star who is trying to make his big comeback. He spends much of his time in and out of a relationship with his agent Princess Carolynn and doing copious amounts of drugs and alcohol with his famous friends. Through three seasons the show has tackled depression, abortion, substance abuse, sexuality, and death. In a season three episode, a beloved character dies and Bojack is forced to really look at his life and the influence his actions have on others. The show forces one to look at their own self destructive actions while also providing a space to speak on fame and its effect on one’s mental health. The deaths of Heath Ledger and Robin Williams come to mind. When fame and money don’t bring happiness, what is a person to do? How are they to feel?

Another Netflix hit, Orange Is The New Black began as a comedy based off the memoir by Piper Kerman that saw a well to do White female enter the federal prison system, and has since turned into a drama tackling mental health, sexuality, prisoner rights, rape, and police brutality. The show, which will premiere its fifth season on June 9, has garnered critical acclaim for presenting the characters and storylines in a realistic light. Begining the conversation on the private prison complex and its effect on inmates.

Television is the mirror to our reality and as our reality becomes more crazed, we will look toward TV to help us make sense of it all.