Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hell Yes I Changed My Profile Picture To Paris

I never write about anything remotely political or religious, especially if it doesn't directly mental health. But I'm fed up with people. Fed. Up. And let me clarify that before I go any further, that the "you" here is generic, not at any specific person, and the "I" is representing myself, but also those who are kind of in the same boat.

Here's the thing: what happened in Paris is awful. What happened in Lebanon is awful. What's happening in Syria is awful. What's happening in Burma awful (I'm not calling it this for political reasons, FYI, it's just early and the morning and it's easier to spell). The too many genocides to name in Africa that have happened are awful. What's been happening in Israel/Palestine is awful - and yes I'm intentionally leaving that vague because where I personally stand isn't the point. I'm sure I forgot some because the world is mighty fucked up right now, and I can't possibly name them all - it's not a political statement, so don't get your panties in a knot, please.

But let me explain: I was just in Paris last year - literally a year ago last week. I stood where those people are standing, I have pictures of them, pictures of me standing there. I got to know a few people over there. I fell in love with the city years ago and it was only confirmed when I visited last year. I always said I'd move there if I could. I have a trip to Belgium this spring in which I was toying with dipping into Paris just for a day, because not going would pretty much like seeing the love of your life standing a few blocks away and not walking the two blocks to see him/her when it might be the last opportunity for a long time.

So guess what? Hell yes I changed my Facebook profile picture to Paris. Does that mean I'm anti-muslim?  Let me put it this way. Last year, I was in Morocco. Two years ago, I spent two weeks in Dubai, Jordan, and Turkey. They're some of my favorite places in the world. I have a recording of the call to prayer in Turkey on my phone because of how beautiful it sounded. I tell everyone they should visit these places. So, um, no, it does not. Does it mean I don't care what's going on in Syria, Burma, Lebanon, the rest of the world? Absolutely not. But here's the thing - I've never been to Syria, or Burma, or Lebanon, or many of these other places. SO I CAN'T CHANGE MY PROFILE PICTURE TO THEM! Nor can I reminisce about all the great times I've had there. BECAUSE I'VE NEVER BEEN THERE!

When my dog died, she was my profile picture. When my friend passed away last month, a picture of her was my profile picture. When my Great Aunt Lucy passed away last year, she was NOT my profile picture.  Because I don't have a picture (that I can find at least) of my me and my Great Aunt Lucy. This doesn't mean that I hated my aunt. I didn't at all. I loved her. But she was 80 and living in a nursing facility in Buffalo and I hadn't seen her in a few years.  I don't have the same recent memories to reminisce about on my social media. I don't have a picture of us from... ever, I don't think. But I mourned her. I was saddened. I wished I'd gone up to visit her more recently. I told close friends about it. I may have put it on social media but I can't recall. It wasn't a statement of who I love more or not. It was simply because of the pictures and memories I had. Simple. As. That.

My Facebook feed is filled with political and religion-related posts one way or another due to the upcoming elections and recent events around the world. Do I sit there make negative comments all over the posts I don't agree with? I do not. Maybe silently, in my head. But I don't spew hatred at them because if we've not realized it yet, hatred and not understanding people who are different from us is pretty much the world's number one problem. If it gets too offensive, I might mute their feed for a bit so that I am not tempted to go off on them when I'm having a particularly bad day (feisty Sicilian over here, it takes a lot to keep my opinions to myself but I'm proud of myself up until this point). But I let people have their opinions, because who am I to say that I'm right and everyone else is wrong. Isn't that exactly what we're fighting against with terrorism, and basically every genocide in history - one person/group/etc believing that everyone should be like them and eliminating those who aren't? And now, seriously, you're upset because I changed my Facebook picture to Paris.  You think it means I don't care about the rest of the world? Well let me tell you something - you probably shouldn't be my Facebook friend after all. Because clearly, if you're going to judge me on that one thing, you don't know me at all.