Belief Trumps Knowledge – When Truth Is Merely An Opinion

belief-system-1
Over the past few years, I have gotten increasingly disgusted by what is sold to the public as truth and by how little people actually inform themselves.
As a modern and intelligent society, we are failing miserably. We have made our fights and passions about beliefs instead of facts. We follow what we have been taught and are conditioned to believe, even though said beliefs may be downright wrong or untrue; and we are willing to defend them and our views at all cost.
We follow; even in the face of blatant injustice; and even when someone proves us wrong. We take questioning as an attack on our character and we lash out. I want to trust in a society that is growing and evolving as a species. Alas, a lot of people are regressing. We used to laugh about movies like “Idiocracy” and yet, there are times when I wonder if we are headed this way.
I used to be super spiritual. I believed in “god” very strongly and devoted a vast majority of my time to convince others that believing in a higher power is not a bad thing. My beliefs were based on the need to escape from an abusive childhood. After all, if you have the option to choose between having been visited by angels, over your brain creating an alternate reality in order for you to cope, you’ll choose the angels. If you get to pick the idea that you’ll live on after you die and hang with friends and relatives that have also died, you’ll probably choose that, instead of the, somewhat cold and not so inspiring version of you going nowhere and just being dead. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of that! I still believe in life after death! I still believe my mom came and visited me after she died! But the key words in my statements are “I believe!” I am not traveling the world and my circle of friends or co-workers, selling my personal views as the ultimate truth. I always stated very clearly that my personally held beliefs, faith and views are up for grabs, debate and debunking!
I pride myself on being open-minded, even though I sometimes am not and haven’t always been. However, there is this thing called “self-awareness,” and that dictates that I look at my own biases and hypocrisy; namely applying the same common sense I expect others to have. Being open minded also means that I am open to the idea that I may just be completely and utterly wrong! Sometimes, this means overwriting a belief or view I may have held for many years, or even most of my life. But having free will dictates that I am shifting my views and opinions as evidence to the contrary surfaces. If proof comes from sources that are not based on belief and bias, but instead on extensive study, research and testing, how can we turn around and respond with “screw you! I don’t believe you.” How do we justify arguing that creation trumps science, but call other other religions nonsense? The gist of all religions is the pretty much the same. The interpretation, however, varies immensely.
Why are we lacking the fundamental reasoning ability to make the “right” decision, regardless of what we have been taught? In what universe can we defend harming, hating and killing others?! In what universe do you live when your compassion has been reduced to a “I’m not supporting moochers” every time you are asked to help people that are less fortunate. Do you feel better by thinking that everyone without a job, or who is poor, is a moocher and therefore not worthy of your help? Why is it OK to not care about the well-being of our fellow men? Is it because you, as the stronger and wealthier one, are asked to step up to the plate and help out?  Does it make you feel better to tell yourself that you don’t have a lot either, and therefore shouldn’t give at all? How can you not see that by denying basics like food, health, shelter and compassion, you are also contributing to a society that is no longer able to sustain itself in healthy ways.
The only time people tend to change false beliefs and biases is if it costs them dearly, or if they are affected. When I first moved to this country, my neighbor used to be a minister for the Church of the Nazarene. He preached and engaged in missionary trips with his wife for most of their life. “Rules” included crap like women having to dress modestly – no make up, no “flashy” clothes, etc. And of course, the ultimate evangelical rule: NO HOMOSEXUALITY! He preached this stuff, across the globe, until his son came out to him. He left the church. As he and his wife told me, they could no longer engage in a religion that taught them to outcast and hate their own child. This is awesome, but where was that knowledge that he was harming another, before he was affected!? Why did he think it was OK to hate gay people before his own child came out?
And sadly, this is how we operate. We badmouth those on welfare, because they must be lazy. After all, WE never had to use welfare or unemployment. We fight equal health care, because god forbid, we have to pay more taxes; after all, we have healthcare and take care of business. But boy does this change when you get diagnosed with cancer and can’t afford the treatment; or when you have an accident and have to stay in the hospital for a while and can neither pay the medical bills, nor your house payments any longer, because you lost your job. We don’t pay, unless we have to. We don’t donate, unless we are affected. We have no compassion, unless we are hit.
We vote for government officials that are bought by the Koch Brothers and other filthy rich individuals, as well as corporations who don’t pay a single dime in tax dollars, or actually harm our environment and/or health (just look at who voted against the health reform and who paid for their campaigns!). If you look at the officials who run the FDA, health departments, etc. and who sponsor their campaigns, namely Pfizer and Eli Lilly, just to name two, you’ll realize that your truths may need a major revamp.
Yes, Obama is also one of these officials. He and Hillary Clinton took huge amounts of campaign money from corporations that contribute to everything that is wrong with us as a nation. You scream about taxation and how the liberals and lefties will kill this country, while you fail to see that the “taxation” you are going on about stems from major corporations paying ZERO dollars in income tax. See, the small business owner is put out of business by the Walmarts of this world; and guess how much these corporations, including Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Pfizer, Facebook (geez, I could drag this list on forever), pay in taxes? ZERO! ZERO dollars!
But who brainwashed you into believing that you are doing the right thing by opposing equal pay, higher minimum wages, affordable health insurance, and all those other nasty social services that are being sold as communism and crap socialism? The very corporations who don’t pay a dime, outsource their jobs and rely on a dumbed down society that actively votes and fights AGAINST their own self interest. The very corporations who pay off the government officials in BOTH parties to turn their interests into laws. All the while, you are too busy fighting the opposite side to see that the entire government is corrupted and has very little of your interest in mind.
I realize that I have no power to change anyone. I realize that I piss people off and that they will argue that I am wrong. But I DO invite everyone to investigate, learn and be open, before you shut people like me down. I have no interest in convincing you. No one pays me, I make no money off of sponsoring electric cars, organic food, equal rights and affordable health insurance. I do, however, want a better life for everyone and a society that gives a shit about each other. I want happiness and freedom for everyone and I have no problem paying my share for it.
I have no children, so technically, I don’t have to give a damn to what happens to this planet or country after I die. However, I have compassion and I want the world to be a better place. And making the world a better place starts with each and every one of us. In this spirit, go and inform yourself before you fight. Knowledge is power and the only way we can advance as a species.
Most of our senators, governors and officials are a bunch of corrupted, bought off douche bags. The few who want to make a difference don’t make it very far, because they don’t have the millions of campaign dollars needed to run for office or even get a vote. Inform yourself, instead of holding on to a belief!

“We are a country where everyone has rights, and no one has responsibilities.” I don’t want to be part of that, do you?


Where Are They Now? Or “Why Bullies Never Win”

YourPhoto_0101

I remember when my mother moved me and my brother to a new town, when she met husband number 4. I was 12. I hadn’t been all that successful in making friends before. I was bullied and made fun of, because I was fat and we were poor. My mom, who made her living as a cleaning woman, couldn’t afford to buy the latest fashion trends, toys or whatever else kids my age had. See, the country doesn’t matter. Privileged kids  tend to be jerks, no matter where you are at. I can attest to that first hand.

So, in 5th grade we moved again. I was immediately outcast by the “cornflake” girls. You know, the pretty, or maybe not so pretty, but at least spoiled kids; the kind who has it all and felt that this entitled them to make fun of me, cast me out and badmouth me, every chance they got. I felt terribly lonely. I had spent 3rd, 4th and part of 5th grade in the library, but this new school didn’t have a library to run to.

For example, I made “friends” with a girl who lived across the street. She was stuck up and loved letting me know, every chance she got, that she came from a much better family. She spoke “proper” or “High” German and made fun of my Adidas sneakers from the supermarket, that weren’t really Adidas, but the so called “Adidas with the missing stripe,” the cheap, two-striped shoes, made of plastic. She made fun of my roller skates, which were 3 sizes too big and featured large wads of toilet paper in the toe area, so they’d fit me. My mom couldn’t afford to buy me skates and so I got a pair she found at a supermarket; on sale…3 sizes too big. I didn’t care, I was happy to have roller skates and didn’t care what people said. I had learned to, at least outwardly, ignore the comments and douche baggery coming from my peers. She made fun of how I talked and loved showcasing me to her equally stuck up friends and then kick me out, because I wasn’t good enough to hang with them. When she did “allow” me to come over, it seemed more out of feeling sorry for me, which was quickly overwritten by the fact that she simply lacked compassion or the ability to look passed my “poor” exterior. Her mom didn’t like me either. Her daughter was much too good to have a white trash friend like me.

There are other crap stories I could add. Alas, there isn’t a whole lot of use in regurgitating the stories of abuse and cruelty I had raked up by the time I was 12. But wait, there is a point to all of this; I promise 🙂

When I was a teenager, I was the most miserable. I wanted so badly to fit in and be like the popular kids. I envied them for the things they had. I envied them for having parents, for being able to afford the school trips, the school supplies, clothes and things I never had. I envied them for being better than me; well, at least my idea of being better. I vowed that I would prove that I, too, was good enough and deserved to not being bullied, made fun of and put down anymore. And boy, did I go overboard with that, but again, that’s a different story and still, not the point I want to make here.

So what is the point? Well, let me get to it, because I think it’s an important one. One that, especially teenagers, and all those who were treated like trash need to know (if they haven’t learned it yet). Ready? OK, here it is: THEY WERE AND STILL ARE THE REAL LOSERS!

Over the past few years I have slowly found quite a few of the people I went to school with on Facebook. I didn’t add the jerks, but I didn’t have to. Lots of them had the jerks as friends and all I had to do was go to their page in order to learn the true meaning of success.

I was the mousy, ignored, poor and bullied girl I in school. The one who was quite insignificant, couldn’t afford anything, wasn’t well traveled and probably the least remembered in the ranks of awesome. But, here I am, living the life I dreamed of having one day. I may not have been “rich” but where everyone else screwed around, unable or unwilling to pay attention in school, because they were too busy being cool, I poured all my passion and energy into getting good grades. I recognized that the only chance I had to “make it” was to get a great education. And I was right.

I live in California, I travel(ed) the world and I have a career I am passionate about and can’t wait to get up for every day. I look at the pages of these stuck up kids, boys and girls, who have grown as unattractive on the outside, as they used to be on the inside.  All of them are now insignificant people, with mediocre jobs and lives, and being as uninspired and miserable as anyone, who felt that it was enough to be cute or hot in high school. NONE of them did anything worth mentioning. Their “fame” and popularity has long faded. There is nothing to envy them about anymore.

I just celebrated my 45th birthday in Hawaii. I stayed at a 5 Star hotel, I swam with dolphins, I snorkeled and I was able to cross two more items off of my bucket list. I paid for it. I worked for it. I earned it. I had no help, no husband who paid for me and no one to kiss up to. What I lacked in popularity and good looks, I made up in wit, intelligence and street smarts. I not only moved out of the white trash life I knew, but I ventured to California, working my way up from a receptionist to a director; and I did it alone. I worked and I succeeded in part because of these people. Because I was told that I was nothing and would never be anything, I fought to prove them all wrong. And I did it with integrity, honesty and kindness. Yes, I sometimes screwed up, but my heart was always in the right spot and I never forgot where I came from.

I didn’t want to be a victim, I didn’t want to be a statistic and I didn’t want to be one of them. I didn’t want to sit on my butt, while whining about how crappy life is and blaming the world, my childhood, my abuse and my sad stories for my short-comings and choices. The douche bags taught me how not to be; in my personal and professional life. With each bully, jerk and unaccountable finger-pointer and victim I’ve met, I learned a little bit more about what not to do. And with each amazing, inspiring and kind person I’ve met, I learned more about the person I aspired to be.
I never gave up and reached every goal I ever set for myself, while still being able to look at myself in the mirror, knowing that I not only worked for what I have, but paid it forward. To this day, the biggest joy for me is helping others and standing up for those less fortunate; for those who don’t have a voice and can’t defend themselves and for those who are bullied.

No, I wasn’t and still am not perfect, but I kept chipping away at creating a life that is meaningful, so I can look back one day and be proud of the things I’ve accomplished and the person I am. I set out to find happiness and joy and I found it. I set out to be a good person, over being a rich person and within doing that became richer than I ever hoped for. Best part? I am not done yet.

Success isn’t measured by the crap we have. I learned that as I sold my house and got rid of almost all my belongings in order to pursue my dream career. On paper, I sure as hell don’t have a lot, but in my heart, mind and spirit, I am wealthier than anyone in my family and anyone I grew up with. I know that when I die, I will have an amazing journey behind me. I know that I have touched and hopefully keep touching, the life of many. I know that I have made a difference for quite a few and I know that I am emotionally, mentally and spiritually wealthy beyond measure. Now that is true success. For each person that wronged and hurt me, I have met ten who loved and supported me. I think this is karma at its finest.

So – don’t harbor resentment and regret. Don’t dwell on the naysayers, the jerks and self-centered douche canoes. Don’t engage with the toxic and miserable ones, but know that there is a price to be paid for all our actions; and doing it right, i.e. standing in honesty, integrity, kindness and decency pays off – if not sooner, than definitely later.

Growing up, the bullies may have been popular, prettier, thinner and “richer” than me. But today, they are just people. People who reaped what they’ve sowed. I am proudly proclaiming that I am reaping what I’ve sowed. Next time someone puts you down, speaks badly about you or treats you unkind, don’t sweat it. Just look at their life and the people in it to understand that they truly and honestly don’t matter. Remember that happy begets happy, successful begets successful and misery loves company. Just smile and say “thank you.”