Friday, June 17, 2016

Too Much Noise

In my youth, one of my favorite pastimes was riding my bike. I would put on my Walkman, pop in my cassette tape of the Chipmunks singing "What's New Pussycat?", "Downtown", and several other songs that were even then, "oldies but goodies." Then, I rode in circles around my driveway for hours, usually with a Cabbage Patch kid in the "baby" seat attached to the rear of my bike and unabashedly irritating my older brother who was trying to shoot hoops in that same driveway. 
When I read this week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, "When it comes to more youthful days . . . . ", that's the scene that topped into my mind. A picture of simpler times when life was uncomplicated. That kid-version of me on the bike had few worries in the world and all she needed was a bike, some music, and a little sunshine to bring her joy. The memory transported me to a place that, for just a moment, felt so much lighter and more carefree than my adult reality.

After I thought about that scene for a minute, I continued to scroll through my Facebook feed (where I saw the prompt to begin with) and that carefree feeling quickly disappeared. 

"Mass Shooting" wasn't even in the vocabulary of 8 year old me, but, now, I know exactly what it means. I know that tragedy like that brings out the best in some people and the worst in others. It becomes a platform for more arguing and extreme points of view - more gun control or not; gay rights vs.homophobia- which all eventually turns into Trump is awful and Hilary is terrible.  

Then there are the other headlines. Teenagers dying. Children, literally, swallowed by alligators. People debating which life is more precious - a human child or an endangered animal. Celebrities chastised for being too fat or too old or too not-good-enough-in-some-other-way. 

So much sadness. So much arguing. So much judgement. 

I scan the headlines and think to my 39 year old self, "When did this become our world??"

The truth is that there have always been bad things happening, but there was no Facebook, Twitter, or internet to give us all the gory details instantaneously and give us all a platform for "public" arguing, boisterously imposing our own opinions on others, and levying harsh judgement on anyone who takes a different stance. 

It's no secret that I've struggled with my writing/blogging over the past several months and, when I started this post, I had no idea where I was going with it. I just read a prompt, saw an image in my mind, and tried to let the writing lead me for a change.

As I typed the words, I heard some other words playing in the background.

"We didn't turn it on but we can't turn it off, off, off.
Sometimes, I wonder how did we get here.
Seems like all we ever hear is 
NOISE . . . 
24 hour television, gets so loud that no one listens
Sex and money and politicians talk, talk, talk
But there really ain't no conversation
Ain't nothing left to the imagination
Trapped in our phones and we can't make it stop, stop this noise"

It's a song by Kenny Chesney and was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. 

Sometimes, I get so tired of all the "noise" that it makes my head spin and my heart hurt just thinking about the world my daughters will inherit. All of these opinions and judgments; all of this ignorance and hate; all of this "NOISE" about who is right and who is wrong; tragedy and sadness; judgment and hate. 
Like anyone else, I certainly have my own thoughts and viewpoints. Mine are, typically, more on the conservative side than what I hear from most people around me. Most of the time, I choose to keep them to myself - not because I'm afraid of backlash or criticism; not because I doubt myself or fear I will offend others. I keep them to myself because there is already too much "noise" and I don't want to add to the pollution.

At the end of the day, we are all just human and none of us are perfect - far, far from it. We all have crosses to bear, ideas to share, and feelings to feel.

I wish there was just more respect and understanding and a whole lot less sadness and  noise. 

If only I could go back to the days of my youth when I was naive and the world seemed simple. I'd hop on my bike, slap on that Walkman, and just drown out all the other noise. 

Finish The Sentence Friday is hosted by Kristi of Finding Ninee. 

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