Check Yo Self

The past month has had me on some highs and lows. Reunions with friends = a high for sure. Berated with all manner of negativity on social media = a constant low. And by negativity, I mean the anger people have expressed with regards to COVID, BLM, Alberta separatism, the federal government being poopy (yes, a true political term), American politics, and on and on and on. It is very draining, like an oil well being sucked dry, except my spirit and idealism is what is being taken from the earth.

Many people have been jumping to conclusions on many topics, whether it is calling people racist for having questions regarding the activism, or calling people sheep and idiots for not questioning enough about COVID-19 and some of the regulations that have been thrust into the public, like mandatory mask wearing. For me, it has been such a negative experience that I have been avoiding Facebook a lot more in the past week (though I should for all eternity, yeesh). However, and this might be relatable, to deny and run away from the problem isn’t going to solve it.

I have been growing more cynical over the past couple weeks, especially after hearing the Republican National Convention (RNC), the Democratic National Convention (DNC), WEXIT, even BLM and other groups and activists that continually paints a boogey man in our midst, which can unify people to a collective hatred. And with that collective hatred, those groups can easily hide behind it in order to not seek help, try to make change within it’s ranks, or recognize that they are contributing to the problem.

I feel like Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke when he intervenes in the fight between Eboshi, the leader of a town of miners, and San, the “Princess” and warrior fighting to save the forests from the destruction enacted by Eboshi and her workers. Ahitaka receives a curse from a boar god at the beginning of the film while fighting with him, and he is told that the curse will kill him in time. He goes on a journey to figure out how the boar god went crazy, and to hopefully remove the curse.

Ashitaka (Middle) intervening in San’s (Left) and Eboshi’s (Right) fight while his curse magnifies.

The curse on Ahitaka is a representation of those caught in the middle, caught between those shouting vitriol and committing violence to each other. While the anger and hatred are continually pushed ahead by San and those of the forest, it is the same for Eboshi and the miners of Irontown. They are both strong in their convictions, so much so that to relent is to ultimately die to their enemy, at least this is what they believe. This kind of dialogue is how the politics of the United States is being perpetuated right now. Even Kelly Ann Conway, an Anchor on FOX News, has said, “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.” She said this after Donald Trump acknowledged Kyle Rittenhouse and him killing those protestors.

Ashitaka’s curse starts as a brand on his right arm, but gets larger as time goes on, and is further increased in size when he himself is fuelled by anger, or when the rage of the two sides consume him. I have seen this play out a few times, even amongst my closest friends, that when a single word is uttered, it could spell the end of a friendship. We aren’t giving our neighbors, friends, and loved ones the benefit of the doubt anymore, and it is so sad since we can all live together. And that is another thing, no matter how you slice it, or how much money you have, we are all in these times together, so let us heal and recognize that we aren’t all enemies.

But, something about Ashitaka is also important to note: Everything he strives for in repairing the wound between San and Eboshi is entirely for his own sake. Doing so will potentially help him to remove the curse and will allow him to live. He also gains an infatuation for San and wants her to live with him in peace. He is a kind soul for sure, but he is still a selfish being that isn’t truly that caring of the environment like San. That isn’t to say he was wrong to intervene, but he has his own reasons for doing so. However, what makes him different is he acknowledges this, and he at least knows that he is being self-serving. My point is that my feelings with what is going on in the world isn’t that genuine, and it is because I have my own problems that I have not been fully addressing as of late, so it is easier to piggyback on to the problems of the world. When some people cannot find solace in their lives, they try to fix them in others. It is partly why I cannot pursue training anymore.

I haven’t been to therapy this week. I haven’t worked out in a week. I have been holding space for people that don’t care to see or talk to me, nor give a damn about me. I have been mindlessly scrolling for a few days now on social media to feel any glimmer of happiness. I have been spending more time alone reading, but not enjoying it. I have been watching short skits on YouTube to make me laugh for a moment, before realizing that I am not really in the moment. In other words, I have been regressing to how I was before I left my job almost a year ago now: not doing the work to ease my mind and have a better relationship with myself.

It really is easy to look for something to fix or make sense of rather then the perils of our own minds, and it is easy to feel offence or some great injustice when something intrinsic in our lives is completely out of whack. And this even goes for those in the states, whether BLM activists, or the Republicans that have been screaming the end of times. Maybe for some, the sexual frustration that permeates their homes are why anger is easy to resort to. Or the lack of work and thus money to support themselves. It could be all manner of things really.

Something that allowed me to slip up like I have was feeling like I was 100%, and that idea is never helpful. That is like proclaiming mastery over a sport. The thing is you never do achieve mastery, you are always learning and improving your craft. Just like boxing, masters don’t exist, and you can learn something from every fighter you come across, whether they have been boxing for one year or twenty years – you’ll learn. My point is, you could be a multi-millionaire, a CEO, have the perfect body composition, or be a famous actor/actress, but that doesn’t mean you are perfect in your convictions and life choices. If characters like Patrick Bateman, Bojack Horseman, or Don Draper don’t teach us these things, then the real life examples of Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, and Marilyn Monroe should suffice.

I get that anger can be a helpful emotion to have when it might be the mater of life or death, but jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst of your neighbor simply because they don’t think the same, haven’t asked the same questions as you, or are too skeptical is simply not helpful. I also see that this kind of thinking could limit any calling out of the government or any other institution for actual crimes against humanity (which I am not advocating for), but at some point we have to take responsibility for our own happiness and way of life. And that is a horrifying reality for some I am sure (definitely me), but blaming other things all the time as the problem isn’t that conducive either.

So, perhaps, instead of saying that leftists are destroying the economy, Trudeau is a steaming pile of poop (even though he could be), that the right-wing are racists and sexists, that Donald Trump is a fascist (even though he could be), or that Erin O’Toole is going to bring American politics to Canada after a day of him being the Conservative leader, maybe ask yourself how are you doing. Or in the famous words of Ice cube,

“…Yeah, come on and check yo self before you wreck yo self…”

Ice Cube, Check Yo Self from Who Got the Camera?

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