Now, before you ask any more questions in your head, this post is not motivated by any political event or person or anything of that sort. I am not writing this in response to anything.
I am writing this because I feel I need to write this.
If I am going to constantly be spouting off how important artists are to the world because of what our stories do, what our words, our images, our creations do—then I better put out something that fills that role.
If we refuse to speak, even in the safety of the internet’s relative anonymity, then we are, in a small way, responsible for the way things are.
So, here we go: let’s preach to the choir. Let me say the things that we all say. I know no decent person who doesn’t think we should treat people well—to not be racist, sexist, or simply attacking to people who have been attacked already—but it bears outward written repetition. It’s not enough to just think and agree anymore.
I stand by the idea it’s hard to find true evil in people. Pain is the creator of pain. It’s difficult to consider anyone a villain when you can see how they broke.
Since a young age, I saw in certain people what I would just call “the darkness.” A cloud over their eyes, and flowing into the space that surrounds their bodies. I’ve felt it myself, too, at my worst moments.
It’s always a sad thing when someone falls—even if you might think they deserve it. There was an innocent baby, once, before they made all the wrong decisions, and the world warped them, and systems broke them, and they suffered and hurt others and themselves.
I am not saying we shouldn’t punish criminals or take on tyranny. It is morally right to undo and prevent the horrible destruction people inflict. I am simply asking others to remember that evil acts are easy to find, but evil people are not.
I must at least make a plea for empathy in our daily lives. Empathy toward the people we know, and exist alongside.
Whenever I upset someone—whenever I feel like I was not my best self and put my foot in my mouth again—it is always because I forgot to have empathy.
There is only good that comes from truly understanding each other. Thinking not only of what a person wants but what they need, what might have hit them or tore at them, makes it so you might not do something that only makes the world a little worse.
All actions matter in aggregate.
When you get wrapped up in your own life, it’s so hard to consider what the life of others might be like. We have busied ourselves, stressed ourselves, or myself at least, into not always doing what is kind.
It’s hard to consider others feelings when we have so many of our own.
But we must try.
Watching, reading, meeting, talking to, asking questions of, people who are not like us—who have a different life than us. It’s important.
I know I am simply repeating an echo that’s been going for a long time. But just because it’s been said does not make it a platitude, and does not ever make it untrue.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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Want to read some longer fiction by me? How about a whole novel!