Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

Should I sit or stand
mi caah bother
speak well
look well
be well
you are your own master.
got to stay in the race.
to be a tough rock or a tender grass
"oh what a rat race, yeah!"

"Got to be true to myself" - 
but be like everyone else. yes?
Got to get up 
when told
so people will see
that I am good at taking orders.
I will be free but maybe...
maybe to much freedom is dangerous?

I must cry!
I must scream!
I must set the place on fire!
I must whisper or whimper
Spit my Seething displeasure
vomit up howling disappointments.
Be calm and say nothing - 
remain respectful
all the time...

I am hurt
I am a monster
beautifully made
blinded by a light
that makes me see

regurgitated slugs hang suspended
mouth ready to devour
spare a prayer...

scabs at all stages
across picket lines...

incandescent beauty
illuminates Gossamer
A web of lies
like a butterfly's fragile wings.

"Oh what tangled webs we weave"
until we have no silks to hypnotize
but regrets borne from grieve.

Look Deeper

For someone who has introverted tendencies living in the world today can be so challenging. What matters to most are first impressions, what people are most critical of is the outward appearance. Not everyone is born an introvert. There are certain traumas in life that can create a figure that is isolating and distant. One who carries little warm on first glance and who seems to repel the brightest rays of sunshine. But looks are deceiving.

Sometimes, we have to look deeper at those seemingly cold persons, we have to take a second glance and stare. We may even have to get into action and remove the veil they are hiding behind to uncover their warmth and their beauty. However, you have to be willing to look and many persons, sadly, do not want to take the time to look. As a result of this, we miss those wonderful experiences we could have had with those persons. Instead we leave them having assumed that they were never worth our time anyway, “stuck up much!” But did we really take the time to form an accurate impression of that person? Did we really give them a chance to thaw?

We are easily permitted to be quick to judge and slow to show grace, we do everything at lightening speed, so why not form an opinion of someone the same way? The answer, it can be dangerous. It can be dangerous when we have decided that someone is unequivocally the way we have perceived them to be. We need to be kind and not and not the #bekind which has been seriously misused by some. But truly authentically being kind to each other and that means being willing to give someone a chance and the time to show their true selves. I think especially of this today, Women’s Day. Some women are too willing to tear other women down in order to build themselves up, to judge on sight and to condemn based on prejudices. Instead what we need is to take a closer look to see that there are threads of connection that pull us together that tear us a part. Do not be naïve, but also do not become harden by life experiences. When we take the time to look closer at someone we maybe helping them to remove the mask that has silenced them and one that has hidden them from the world.

The Inconvenience of Convenience

It’s easy to sit back and let others take charge. You may not be the type who likes to appear aggressive or forward. You are not the type to thrive by being uncomfortable. Or, simply when someone else does the things you find unpleasant it makes your life easier. However, there are many dangers lurking just around the corner, when you get too laid back. Many dangers when you decide to allow others to make decisions about what you eat, what you wear, who you like or don’t like, what you do, and what you think. We think our lives are easy because everything is at our finger tips, but we do not know that we have to pay a price for it and sometimes that price is the loss of our voice and the stunting of our potentials.

Convenience can be the a gilded cage for many of us, who like the bird, must live with permanently clipped wings never knowing the joys of soaring high. We are fed information on a need to know basis and while we think we are living meaningful lives we do not realize that things have been constructed in such a way that we do not come to the truth of how little we truly experience life. Consider someone who does not have to worry about how to sustain themselves, cook, wash, clean, pay bills, or make any hard decisions about their lives. They seem to just have everything handed to them, they glide through live. However, that person is imprisoned by his ignorance of what life is about and if they are removed from their cage they cannot thrive. Others decide for them and determine what happiness should be, what the truth is and how much they can test the limits of their strength. Of course many make this choice because they think t is easy, better and safer. But as many of us know easier does not always mean better.

Consider convenience food. We all love them because they are so easy, in no time at all, presto! We have food! However, they come with their own set of problems. They have consequences for our health both young and old. They can lead to developmental issues for children, and lead to diseases such as diabetes, but we love them and we are encouraged to consume them, and we do not knowing the full story of their impact later in life. So, it is easy to be led, to be told and be inspired because it is all convenient but we lose the art of being free thinking and being creative, to make new discoveries and experience different ways of being and experiencing life. We think we are excited about things but we may not be because everything has been pre-packaged and shipped to us for our convenience. The pandemic has made it even harder for us to explore beyond what we are fed on social media. We spend so much time consuming truths that have been prepared to engage us, we depend on them to make us happy, laugh and find meaning in life and rely less on out tenacity and natural zest for live. We forget the steps we would have taken beyond those monitors that would enable us have experiences and not just view them though a glass pane. There is no longer the thrill of realizing that our efforts can yield pleasant surprises because we have forgotten what it feels like to enjoy the journey, of realizing that inconveniences hold many precious life gems that can enrich our lives. Instead we are bombarded with microwavable experiences filled with bland and unappetizing mush that has been mass produced for our enjoyment. And we are told that is what we like, and so we consume it with enthusiastic chagrin.

As a teacher of literature I see the harm of convenience in the attitudes of my students, who do not want to take the time to enjoy the experience that a novel can give. Instead, they want to pass the exam, but they do not want to engage with the work. So, they find all the summaries and videos they can and miss many live lessons and insights on human nature. They miss the opportunity to have their humanity challenged and if compromised, restored. Many persons, just like my students, say they do not have the time nor the patience to try, the courage to face challenges nor to explore beyond their predetermined ideas of what people are and what the world is like. We don’t want to struggle, we don’t want to fail, so we bury our heads in the sand, accept that this is all we know and become slaves to conveniences, a life created for us with much of our input.

Maybe it is that some do not want to enjoy the journey but the destination. Maybe it is that persons’ lives have been enriched by the modern conveniences available to many today. And yes, it is true that not all persons can and do have access to all those modern conveniences. But, where we may realize that we have become dependent on conveniences not vital to living, there is nothing wrong in questioning or being alert to how we can be lulled into inactivity by the pull of convenience.

Pretty Lies, Ugly Truths, You Choose.

We all care about he aesthetics of things. Though we are often told that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, we all like to be surrounded by things we and society deem beautiful, even lies. In many instances we have allowed ourselves to be led, to see false narratives as the truth, untainted, because it pleases “me” to do so. We are quick to see beauty in things that have been made to look so, an optical illusion that hides many many ugly truths. The truth is too real and too painful for too many and so many are willing to cover it, stifle it or kill it in order to live lives of lies. We accept the unspoken rule that some things should never be spoken because they are unpleasant and too many turn away from the ugliness right in front of us to stare at mirages that spring from our imagination.

Lies become beautiful, seemingly harmless nuggets that attract the sensibilities and lull us into a false and piteous sense of security. You see lies hold prominence because so many want to be convinced of them, they want to hold tight to them and so they are whispered time and time again until they are in grained in many psyches. However, they are fools gold that rust easily when correctly challenged but many of us are not brave enough to look the ugly truth in the eyes – many of us would not survive such exposure. This of course does not stop many from flirting with those lies, because they are so tempting, many reflecting and aligning with many of our desires.

So, on one tables lies a buffet of tempestuous lies, disguised as very tempting morsels that will delight the palette and beside this are only the bitter pills of truth that may hurt and cause acid reflux; Which will you choose. Whether we spread them or we believe them sometimes lies are hard to reject because they have become the basis for how we exist in this world. Each day, each lie that we accept makes it less likely for us to understand how far we have sung in a web we may have helped weave to trap ourselves in. But, we must be willing to finally break free from that web, to be honest enough to see things for what they are and not what we always wished them to be. “The truth will set us free” they say. There is nothing more freeing than not living within the bounds of pretentious smiles and fake interests. From returning the cult membership of being on trend with the lies we tell ourselves because we want to fit in somehow.

Now, what will you choose? Will you choose to embrace those pretty lies that may lead to more complications down the road – but not right now of course – or, truths that paint a realistic picture with all the gore and grime that lies never truly erase, but instead covers for consumption later, much later? Each day we have a choice to make, to go along to get along or be the truthsayer and disrupt those false narratives.

Walking that Treadmill…

Walking on a treadmill versus walking is a big difference. When you walk on a treadmill you walk aimless because you are walking in the same place. Many of us want to change, we want to grow and have new experiences but we are walking on treadmills. We think the same way we have always thought, do the same things we have always done, go the same places we have always gone, we become slaves to habits that have never served us and wonder why we are stuck. We want to shake off 2020 and all that did not go right but, we still are thinking about all that went wrong last year and have not committed to looking ahead. We are stuck. Escape is necessary but hard.

There are many who also think they are getting ahead but have not looked down to see that they are moving at a predetermined pace on a predetermined device. All that they have accumulated to themselves have bogged them down to remain in place. We may think we are in control but how many times do we feel out of control when we are overwhelmed by all that we are required to do. We certainly do not require it of ourselves, but some how, in order to pass the test we remain committed to a cause not our own. A cause that we can never explain without being more confused than we were a few minutes before we started our explanation.

And do not think for minute it is easy to get off. With many doubts about getting off, many choose to ride or walk it out until they can stop. However, a crazy though is to get off while you can even if it means risking all and grabbing back only the pieces of yourself. It will be worth it trust me.

Lies Tastes So Good

In a world were people speak about integrity, it seems that many did not get the memo that lies are a no no. We see it every day but we ignore it. People who spurt or wax words of wisdom about the importance of being honest from the right side of their mouths while on the left the spew lies and call them necessary or worse, say they represent in some twisted ways the truth.

It tastes so good to the ego, sweetens the image we want others to have us and scintillates the pride of those willing to be deceived. Many deny that they do it- especially the righteous upright. Especially the moral gate keepers who are quick to point out your lies and wrongdoings. But Lies have become the bread and butter of too many “upstanding” “political correct” deceivers. So when you have to defend the truth against a lie that has the strength to kill, you shake in your boots because even you see its allure.

Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive. Not only do we deceive others but we deceive ourselves and we allow ourselves to be deceived. They catch up with us and expose us, maybe not to the world but to someone who thought better of us. One lie leads to another, until our whole life is built on lies and because there was no strong foundation, eventually, everything comes toppling down. Lies consumed daily become like oxygen, hard to survive without, they become so vital that even if they destroy us or those around us they become a necessary evil.

Lies may bring us the desires of the heart but they also take them. They may grant us fame but then mold us into infamy, they can be our salvation and our retribution. Lies may seem harmless but they are monsters when they are overfed.

Being Vigilant

It is hard but necessary to be vigilant. We can become distracted by what is happening around us and we lose sight of what we should have been doing in the first place. All that potential and possibility goes to waste because we stood still too long while opportunities pass us by, unseen, unknown.

We may feel so desperate that we grab the first thing we see or get. However if we are too hasty we may grab at straws too short to save us. Straws that are too weak to bear our load. It may be that this straw comes with too many compromises that cause us to lose our identity so that when we walk past a mirror we cannot see ourselves.

Then, when we get too desperate nothing makes sense, no one is as they appear to our impaired minds. So those who come to do us harm appear to us as friends who are there to save us from those who really are there to help us. We make enemies based on perceived injuries and miscommunicated good intentions. Our minds do not help us to see the truth but speaks to us of wrongs done that can never be reappeared alliances that break relationship and make us suspicious – illogically so.

This is a time when we have to cling to what is sane. To cling to the truth, not because it is popular but because it is simply that, the truth. It is the time to be vigilant about extending grace to those who truly need it, not because of what we can gain by being so but because we are sent to support those who need to be uplifted.

The are so many more dangers around us today than there were a year ago, so much that it seems as if form last year to this we have aged ten years. However, we cannot allow fear to be our companion, to set the tone for how we proceed. We need to face the truth whether we like it or not and be every mindful that difficulties, like some potholes, cannot be avoided.

Be vigilant and rely on God to help you to see those things you cannot see. Rely on Him to give you the wisdom you do not have. Be humble enough and acknowledge that you cannot control or prevent the dangers that lurk just out of sight, but, you can determine how successful you will be in resisting them, by vigilant.