A Call for Empathy

My history is a journey, as it is for all people. I write this not out of expectation that my life is any big revelation, but as being apart of the small 20% of the population that actually feels empathy in every capacity –  I try to provide a full circle of perspectives that are happening in our country right now (America, for you readers from other countries, as I have many). 

I am very transparent in my views, and if you think that people in occupations should stick to their occupations, I want to remind you that almost all artists have had some engagement in speaking against or about the political climates; ex: modern art in the 1930s and 1940s. Some people use only art, some use words, some use both – and words have always been a source of my therapy. 

You don’t have to agree with artists necessarily, but you do have the opportunity to expand your brain and take in new perspectives to help your own growth. I write all of my words out of empathy and love and never out of malice. I simply want the world, and the people in it, to do the best they can. You can only grow so much in one location and be so blind to the world that exists outside of that location. If you are a 70 year old fish who has only been in one fish bowl your whole life, your knowledge of the world beyond that glass is very limited. You can be only 30 and know more than your elders if you have been swimming in an ocean your whole existence. Age only reaches so much wisdom based off of who is around you and how much you have challenged yourself throughout the years. 

I think the thing I’m struggling with the most is the level of hypocrisy occurring around the world. The thing I once followed day in and day out, religion, is completely tarnished and hijacked by people claiming they are better in the name of the lord while making some of the most non-empathetic, self seeking, disheartening stances and decisions. 

I have a range of topics that I’m going to dissect and although they feel unrelated they all cross over very heavily. 

My life has provided me so many points of views of my own- opinions that I held before,  I have changed due to further educating myself on specific topics. I’ve always encouraged people to change their point of view and either admit they were wrong or that they didn’t know enough because of additional information introduced. It’s also okay to not have a firm opinion on topics because you don’t know enough – and this is a route I take pretty often.

I grew up in the church. Day in and day out that was my personality and belief. I went to church camp 3-4 times a year; I was active in youth group and in the church. My friends were only really within the church, but the difference was I was taught to be kind to everyone. 

Our pastor preached love and forgiveness, but made sure to repeat that you could not just ask for forgiveness and carry on with the same actions. You had to mean it, and you had to change to actually receive forgiveness. My congregation constantly challenged our pastor – although to this day I find him very comforting as a human being. He explained the Bible was metaphoric and never should be taken word for word. He explained the wording and language that probably was misinterpreted, but he never did explain, as I have learned now past graduate school, that the books of the Bible were written by specific political power movements. Meaning, you see a shift in power, control and narrative in every book of the Bible because of WHAT the church was combating against at the time and how they wanted to scare or control its population. I think that learning was what really shifted me away from religion but also opened my eyes, of course, that would be a thing. Current events are so important to all books, music, art written at the time.. .and power and greed are also not a new narrative that control these things being created.

My masters programs (yes I have two different degrees) and thesis I wrote focused on body ideology and specifically the body ideal, which was established in Greek and Roman times mostly (for men). A great example of the church and it’s control of power was the only reference to a man laying with a boy, and it was not speaking about gay relations but pedophilia which was actually referencing Greek and Roman eras, where men would literally dry hump their trainees for the Olympics in part of this ritual. It was normal for older men to train younger men and there was a lot of sexuality involved with that. Whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is speculation because it was normalized then and we honestly cant look at these times in a 2022 lens with the same standards, although, you can have ill feelings about it if you want. 

So the verse written in the 1960s becomes misinterpreted and used as an anti-gay talking point to the congregation and its narrative leaning in to the existing homophobia across the nation [and the world] to a verse written about something completely different.

I moved away from the church at 20 when I went vegan. The viciousness of the church and their unwanted comments about my veganism, while also disregarding genesis and many other books of the bible hyping up vegetarian lifestyles, made me distance myself heavily. How could so much hatred for my diet come out of others mouths about the most empathetic decision I’ve ever made in my life? I chose not to consume animals any more because I love animals. I learned about the brutality of the dairy industry and it’s byproduct of veal. I learned about the cognitive abilities of pigs and cows and found them no different from dogs [why do we have to compare them to dogs for people to care about suffering??]. I discovered the cruelty and death of whales, dolphins and turtles while commercial fishing sought out fish, and most importantly I found myself imagining what it would be like hanging upside down; powerless, seeing those before me have their throats slit while I was next. How can you hear those words and think “you’re wrong you hippy dumbass.” Guilt. It comes down to not wanting to confront your own decisions and having to change them because you have awoken to empathy. 

We don’t want others to see us as bad people. We don’t want to have to confront our past decisions or actions that definitely hurt someone else. It’s hard, but that’s growth. 

This will be a recurring stance in this blogpost. 

As of lately this country is something I don’t recognize, but also recognize it all too well. I walked away from religion completely at 23. I began to find myself MORE empathetic because I was simply doing it because I wanted to. Not because I’d be rewarded or punished from not being kind, but as someone who has contemplated suicide many times in their life, others kindness sometimes saved my life. You just simply do not know what someone is going through, what they’ve been through, if they’ve been abused, sexually assaulted, abandoned, broken, rescued or if they are barely together. But not everyone thinks of someone else’s footsteps, they only feel their own struggle and will only understand someone’s point of view if they’ve faced it. 

These past few years women have had to share their trauma online for other people to get it; the sexual abuse, rape, reason for the common “abortion pill” because of a miscarriage that left a dead fetus in their stomach which is traumatic enough, and even with these stories people still choose to not care or seek further understanding in empathy. The people who pride themselves about being “gods warriors” fighting for babies to live are the same ones telling the world women deserve to die in order to save a baby that will be left motherless – instead of saving the one that could produce another baby – potentially. It doesn’t make sense to me, especially in a world that has over 9billion people and a severe population issue in terms of climate and the crises we are fighting. But again this reduces women down to one thing : baby machines – and fuck, we are a lot more than that.

There are so many things I’ve further educated myself on these past three years. Not just with womens rights but equality among all races. 

The lack of education circulating the internet about slavery and who fought for that also drives me mad.

First of all, lynchings, in discussion of history, still were happening into the 1960s with absolutely no justice at all- and modern day lynchings are still happening (Ahmaud Arbery). This wasn’t 100 years ago, this happened after ww2. Many men returned from even fighting the war to cruel treatment, abuse, torture and murder (read White Lies by A.J Baime). The world continued on its nasty narrative and many of these men and families never saw justice.

Second of all, I saw a terrible meme going around about the people claiming to fight for babies equate it to why they fought for slavery, too- in the name of god- and … I can’t tell you how wrong that one is. Many of the people who perpetuated slavery and the murdering of black people did it in the NAME of their Christianity. Only a few were anti racists and abolitionists- in reality black people got the public eye to change their mind by constantly exposing their trauma (Emmitt Till/ his mother/ please watch Women of the Movement because she is what sparked Martin Luther King Jr and his willingness to begin to speak publicly). Tills mother, Mamie Till, did all the things she needed to, illegal and legal, to make sure the press put her story out there. But many people who shut her down and created further chaos were *todays* republicans and Christians.

The parties literally switched in the 1940s which the Republican Party started to get infiltrated by the kkk and when Johnson started to make anti lynching laws and propositions as he was working with the NAACP  because many black veterans were getting murdered by (surprise) cops for no reason (there was never a reason, but these murders were just pulling people off buses and beating them until they were lifeless out of pure hatred). 

I say this country is something I don’t and do recognize because these stories still exist but are modernized; Brianna Taylor. Yet the people screaming pro life, roll their eyes at the BLM movement, not able to recognize they have never had to worry about what part of town they are in, what rural gas station they walk into, or god forbid just sleeping in your own bed as you are shot to death because of a somehow legal, yet massive mistake of walking into the wrong apartment and shooting without any reason. These same people are able to rationalize the cops killing someone and using “drugs” as an excuse but aren’t willing to rationalize a woman who is about to die getting an early abortion to save her own life and prevent massive pain from her family and friends because of her passing. 

How can you protect a non yet existent life and rationalize that, but not stick up for lives murdered in the streets, or even understand how fucked up the foster care, orphanage, or adoption industry is. How can you stand for a child (10-12) getting raped by their family members, allow them to literally face death to have a baby as a child, and allow their assault of a man’s actions to define their future. And if your advocation is the baby can go to adoption or foster care; have you seen that in America? Not only is adoption very unaffordable for most Americans; the foster care system is worse. Do you know what it’s like to be born and not be wanted? Do you know what it’s like to move from home to home? Do you know what it’s like to be abused? I’d rather not exist at all then to go through that hell. Yes, sometimes there are success stories, but what about the ones that aren’t?

Most of the people arguing against women having control of their own bodies are also anti mask; anti VAX. They do not want the government in the decision of what they put in their bodies yet will force a woman to have a baby – this one makes no sense to me. If your argument is women shouldn’t have sex for pleasure – my question would be what about men? 

Another truth is birth control is not 100 percent. Many women I know have gotten pregnant while being extremely responsible but again, I want to point out that irresponsible ejaculation is 100 percent the reasons pregnancy exists. So really, it’s the man’s fault for either not wrapping up or pulling out. A dude can get 365 women pregnant in a year and a woman can only have one baby a year so- who is the responsible one here?? This is excluding rape and molest cases- this is simply only talking about consensual adult sex. 

I am so serious about myself never having a baby that in every stage of my marriage my husband and I have had 2-3 protective actions involved. Some are his responsibility and some are mine; but we are 50-50 in this preventative action to not get pregnant. But he has always told me if I got pregnant it’s my body and my decision of what I want to do in the future. 

But my point is, you can not be against a govt mandate aimed at protecting you and everyone you interact with from dying from a serious and complicated virus, and then be FOR a govt mandate for women having a baby if they are pregnant which may in fact kill them (we have a high rate of mortality as a developed nation and specifically for the disabled community this abortion restriction is basically a stamp on their death certificate). Sometimes people get pregnant when they are in no shape to have a baby- and that is just as valid too. 

Empathetically speaking I cannot imagine having a baby at 24, I also cannot imagine having 2 kids, unable to make payments, barely feeding them and myself, getting pregnant and wondering how the fuck I’m going to feed by current children, myself, keep my home and also pay thousands of dollars for the BIRTH ITSELF, and then care and pay for another human. Or imagine your homeless and either consensually or non consensually get pregnant. What then? There are all these people that say “there are people that can help!!!” But what a fucking privileged thought. They may help short term (maybe) but after the baby comes, then what? Are you going to house them? Get them enough money to be able to feed themselves and the baby ? Are you going to shame them for being homeless? (Like we do in America?) And how can they find a job and also pay or find child care? Thats unaffordable, too. What if their family has died and they have no support? They are literally pinned in a corner… what are they supposed to do?

And get this. Millions of people who are homeless in America actually HAVE FULL TIME JOBS. I heard several interviews but one stuck out to me. A woman, who had a felony for attacking her rapist, yes her rapist, had a full time job but because of that not many people would hire her for a better paying job. So 20 years ago NPR interviewed her. She had a full time job but it wouldn’t pay enough for rent. So she had a phone, a small amount of savings, food, but no home. She was working 40-60 hours a week but didn’t make enough to have a home so she lived in a shelter. Literally they found that woman last year [2021] and interviewed her again. Same situation. Except rent is now even more control. Can you imagine doing “your part” in society, working, trying to do the American dream, being shackled by your past of an abusive man’s actions; and still not making enough money to have a home and still being shit on by the common public.  Add this new attack on women and you may have that experience AND are told you must have a baby if you are sexually assaulted, but don’t worry, no one will offer you health care or help to pay for that birth alone in a hospital or the after care of it all. 

Empathy. 

This blog seems all over the place but the reality is these issues are completely a cross over. 

You cannot be pro life and anti health care 

You cannot be all lives matter but against the movement just promoting  the idea that equality needs to be across all lives 

You cannot be anti mask because of govt control over YOUR body and also forced birth by the same hand of govt 

You cannot be pro gun and anti gun legislation and pro life (some how people do this and this one wilds me out too). How you gonna say pro life, all babies lives matter and then say it stops when they go to elementary school because idk “people are crazy??” And then also not give funding to mental health if it is in fact they are crazy?? 

All of these hypocritical stances are literally too below my iq for me to understand. To be able to bend and mold these ideas to fit a narrative to make people feel better about themselves is just too much. How can you literally only think from your own small point of view? How can you not take into consideration these complex situations? Others walks of life? 

Another wild part in American right now is the Supreme Court which is setting up things in place to be able to over turn an election. And if you have read up on this at all- from either side this should terrify the SHIT out of you. 

Not only is the Supreme Court not separating church and state, which is actually what this nation was founded on, but they are also revisiting and back tracking this country 100 plus years by looking at documents that have been amended because they were out of date with our current times and are creating instances where votes will not matter, in which could over throw an election. Listen, there is literally no reason why someone’s vote here should not count unless it’s in bad faith to cheat to win. Even those in prison should be able to vote. You live here? You vote. 

Some states are even putting things in place that state if you don’t vote in a primary you don’t vote in a general election, and for a country that doesn’t give either of those days off as a holiday that’s pretty janky and bold. This isn’t freedom: this isn’t democracy. This is insane. 

Times change and things need adaptation. Women and minorities weren’t even mentioned in the original constitution (made by 18-30 yr old slave owners by the way), and even they didn’t think the document would hold up for longer than 30 years (there are many books and podcasts I’ve heard about this). But in reality,  a lot of those men were shitty and no way could they anticipate our technology, diversity, way of life and how much society has changed in 200 years. Even the birthright of a born on soil citizen, we have planes now, but before we literally had to cross an ocean on a boat to get here, so that’s outdated too. 

I really want people to see others as people again. Not left, not right – not repeating the same bullshit talking points but LISTEN to one another – ATTEMPT to walk in shoes you have had the privilege of not being in. If you disagree with me on some of these topics, know that that is ok, but also figure out in yourself of why you disagree – grapple with it – ask yourself hard questions – and if at the end of it all you still are unchanged that is okay!! But the process of critical thinking on your own with out the impact of the media or very dirty politics is important.

Thank you for reading. Remember: c h o o s e e m p a t h y

One Reply to “A Call for Empathy”

  1. marymtf says:

    Fifty years ago, the contraceptive pill gave women (including me) reproductive autonomy. And there’s the morning after pill. That’s the original meaning behind ‘my body, my choice’. My generation was given the freedom to make love, (not war.). Yes, there are exceptions, but. we are a throw away society, and abortion has been so easy, we aren’t forced to think through the consequences of our actions. Parenting is exhausting, ant it’s expensive. If women aren’t prepared to put in the hard yards, they should take care not to have them.

    Like

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