Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm uncomfortable...and that's a good thing.

....Originally posted on Chicago Moms Blog

I have seen a lot of ugly things. I lived in Saudi Arabia for several years (as an Arab girl.) I remember my father letting soldiers use his phone and showers during the Gulf crisis. When I lived in Australia the news was hard to watch, in Copenhagen its outright disturbing. Honestly, sometimes news SHOULD be. At the risk of sounding a little like Tony Robbins during the 90's, I had a strange compulsion to clap and say "Yes! That was uncomfortable, I'm gonna change something!" after seeing a recent movie. Laugh if you must, but It's true for me, particularly when I see disturbing movies.

Time is such a hot commodity in the life of a mother, of anyone really. It is hard to "squander" free time on anything other than a guaranteed good time. A lot of parents think, I'm paying a babysitter, I'm buying $11.00 tickets, and $8.00 popcorn, I damn-well better feel good and laugh. I'm guilty of the thought process too, but I think there is something truly gained by being uncomfortable in the movies. I get the point: "My life is hard enough, I'm tired, I'm _____, so I don't want to come out of a movie upset." But being unhappy with something is one of the great catalysts for change. I notice a lot of us ( not everyone) see less and less of it with so many no-brainier options around us.

I recently watched Lions for Lambs, it only got two stars but it made me uncomfortable. It made me think about my own apathetic behaviors sometimes. My husband even said "All we can do is vote correctly" and then that sparked a conversation. Is that REALLY all we can do? I see on average a movie a week, Its a "thing" with me. Stop-Loss really pissed me off. All the angst and lack of support for returning vets in this country. Other movies that don't necessarily send warm-fuzzies down my spine: Babel, Traffic, Kite-Runner,Crash, Boys Don't Cry, Philadelphia, Kids,The Constant Gardner, Thirteen, etc...I could go on. Each one of them brought terrible, painful, emotions up in me. Sometimes the feelings are fleeting, and sometimes they stick, but it always sets my thought process into a ( in my humble opinion) better priority queue.

I feel the same way about TV, News, conversations. It is OK to be uncomfortable.I don't enjoy realizing I am over-privileged and under-appreciating my right to be so. It is good to see or hear or witness something that evokes a will to make something better for others. Even if the only thing you can do, is be more aware, or more open or listen. I find it fascinating how many people avoid facts, truths, even embellished stories of facts that tell us more about people, things and events that teaches us anything about the state of the human condition, the world around us, and the lives others lead. I spent half of my day today researching ways to volunteer and help returning vets in the Chicago-land area. It's not a huge change, but it is a start. I have nothing but the utmost respect for people who live their lives helping people. Kudos to those who deal with discomfort every day!

It's also overwhelming. Uncovering problems can lead to some pretty deep rabbit holes. That scares me, I'll admit it. One sick and homeless child is just representative of millions that I can't help, but the point for me is that helping who I can is still better than not helping at all.I will never give up my feel-good movies, or TV shows. I'm just learning that watching news and movies that make me feel less entertained and more enlightened might help the world, our children and our perspective shift.

Take a minute, think about the freedoms and luxury we have to CHOOSE not to see or be involved with things that make us uncomfortable....not everyone has that choice.

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