Hissy Fit - May 2020 - Leave Your House And Stay Home
...because everyone needs one every once in awhile
May 2020 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
Well, isn’t life full of surprises? If someone would have told any one of us on New Years Eve what lay ahead for 2020, we would have thought they were out of their mind. “Really” we would have said in a tone more like a judgement than a question. All the stores closed? Schools and colleges shut down? Everyone staying at home? Millions of lost jobs? We would have discounted it as poppycock and claimed the messenger to be drunk. But nonetheless, it’s all true, and here we are, slowly and thankfully getting back to normal, which is the new bad word.
Why do people vilify others for wanting normalcy? It makes perfect sense. We all have our own definition of “normal,” and we have all spent our entire lives building it. Normal is what is familiar to someone. Normal is what is safe to someone. Normal is what each individual’s life is made up of, so why is it wrong to want to get back to where you feel the most comfortable?
All the judging of others and finger pointing is the fuel for this hissy fit. If you look on Facebook, and I caution you take a Tums so you can stomach it and have a large machete to cut through the amass of opinions, you will find that many know for a fact they are right, and anyone who doesn’t think like them is a hater, a villain, has an ulterior motive or is just plain crazy. This is the case no matter what side you take…and nowadays, there is always a side.
Here are the popular current topics people are getting judged about: Leaving your house. Staying home. Wearing a mask. Not wearing a mask. Wanting businesses to reopen. Not wanting businesses to reopen. Liking what the government is doing. Not liking what the government is doing. It’s maddening, and this condition is caused by exposing yourself to everyone’s opinion, which is not normal in any way.
Did you see the movie Bruce Almighty? God gives Bruce the job of being God and takes a vacation. One scene shows millions of prayers coming in all at once. Bruce is so overwhelmed he says yes to every prayer and that’s where the mayhem begins. Though this movie came out before social media, this scene is a powerful visual and emulates the overwhelm social media has elicited. Please take a moment to watch the clip at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0cG11lTS1E. You will have an ah-ha moment.
Have you ever heard the phrase “birds of a feather flock together?” Well, it’s true. One day while walking the beach in Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, SC, there were almost 1000 birds lining a long tidal pool left by high tide. As I walked, I noticed there was one species of bird, then a gap, then another species of bird and then a third. It was like I had a V-8. “That’s where that phrase comes from. Birds of a feather really do flock together! Well, not on social media.
As a general rule, humans normally enjoy hanging out with like-minded people, and usually just a limited number of those. However, social media throws us into an endless pit of constant opinion, which is too overwhelming for human emotions. The platform allows birds of different feathers to get in the middle of other’s flocks and disrupt everything. The result is everyone commences to fighting, hence, the increased stress and anxiety of today. The ugliness is unbelievable; people are rude as hell. I bet if these people were sitting around a dinner table together, such banter, and the mean-spirit behind it, would rarely be exchanged. It would be much more civil because one has to be infinitely more brave to say such to one’s face. Social Media has become a breeding ground for bully’s (and narcissists)—for both children and adults. It’s a pandemic in itself!
And then there are those social media mavens who boss people around through their posts, and if they are really angry…are you ready for this…they type IN ALL CAPS. And, they believe they are making a difference—that people are actually going to obey them. Seriously, most seven-year-olds won’t even obey parents or teachers these days, and yet someone writing in all caps on social media thinks their font is going to magically make people comply. QUIT HOARDING TOILET PAPER! See, it doesn’t work.
People have turned social media, something that was meant to be fun, into a modern day Pandora’s box with too much leeway and too little social grace. Unfortunately, we all drank the kool-aid and now it’s probably here to stay.
One morning at church, Wendy Cummings conducted the children’s sermon, and I will never forget the lesson. She gave the kids toothpaste and paper plates. She told them they were allowed to squeeze as much out as they liked. Some squeezed a little, and some squeezed a lot. Then she asked to see how much they squeezed out, and they were all showing her their plates. Then she said, “Now, put it all back in the tubes.” The children looked at her dumbfounded. They didn’t know what to do. Then she explained to them how what you say to your friends, family, schoolmates and others are like the toothpaste. Once you’ve said it, it’s almost impossible to take it back and put it in the tube again. It was a powerful lesson and I think many adults learned from that children’s sermon, too.
So remember whether you are speaking, typing, OR YELLING, your words—and actions—are like toothpaste. Before you squeeze them out, try to make sure you don’t have to put them back in the tube.