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Posts Tagged ‘outcast’

I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.

 

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of eating lunch with a friend of mine from high school. The last time that I saw her was 1982. As with most high school friends, we lost touch, and never even heard from each other until about a year ago.

We did know what each other currently looked like thanks to the wonder of social media platforms such as Facebook. So at least there would not be the initial shock of what 30 years of aging had done to either of us. We had time to adjust and be prepared.

Within a couple of minutes of us meeting, the memories flooded back as we rambled down the road of memories. Or as she so aptly put it, we sounded like we were in “old home week.” We spent the next couple of hours talking about places and people. And yes, I admit that we committed the heinous crime of boring my wife, who was with us, with far too many “do you remember whens?!”

The thing that surprised both of us was how similar we felt about ourselves during our high school years and never realized it until yesterday, 30 years later. When I was in high school, which I might add I did not enjoy at all, I felt like the social outcast, loner, a nobody, etc. I was the outsider looking at the insiders where I was not welcomed. No one understood how I felt, or cared, and so I stumbled through four years of being a misfit and pretty much hating every minute of it. When I verbalized this to my friend, she just looked at me in shock and could not believe what she was hearing. The reason why is because she felt the same way! Then it was my time to be shocked. I had always thought she was pretty, smart, funny and about 10 years ahead of everyone else with her ideas and points of view. I had no idea that she felt like an outsider with similar feelings that I had.

Later when I was home, I continued to think of our conversation and how little I really knew anyone I went to high school with. Perhaps we all had similar fears, doubts and insecurities. Everyone from the top football jock, to the head cheerleader right down to the original “geek squad.” I may have spent four lonely years in high school because I was waiting for someone to reach out to me, while at the same time, they were waiting for me to reach out to them.

Now let’s bump this concept up a notch to people with disabilities. I was 36 years old when my injury happened so I had a few years of maturity under my belt. But a lot of people that I deal with are much younger in the 18 to 22 age bracket. I do my best to offer hope, motivation and inspiration to them because I see them closing themselves off to others and the world around them. Being disabled, it is very easy to think that no one understands, or cares and so we hide. We build walls around us to “protect” ourselves, when the walls are actually causing harm, and preventing us from connecting with people that want to help, do care and desire to be friends. I am very thankful that I met up with my high school friend because it made me see in a new light that I self inflicted much of my own hurt so many years ago. When continuing to work with people who have any type of disability, I have many personal transparency stories to share in order to encourage them to look beyond the disability and to get out and live life. Never feel like you are the outsider looking in. The truth of the matter may be that there is someone right now, just like you, that needs a friend as much as you do. Do not hide behind your disability. Look for someone that is hiding behind there disability and reach out to help them. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how similar we all are.

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