My boyfriend and I have had an ongoing dispute for the past four years. It's the kind of disagreement that keeps coming up yet never gets resolved because neither of us is willing to back down —until last Sunday.
After spending the entire weekend feeling frustrated, defeated, and unheard — standing our ground against each other instead of working together as a team — we opened a dialogue that touched on the backbones that led to our convictions, and had our first real breakthrough. As it turns out, the issue at hand wasn't one thing in particular, but rather a series of complicated feelings we were each having with ourselves. By exposing those weaknesses for what they were, we learned two lessons: 1) we are both stubborn as hell, and 2) we want the same thing.
This year has felt like a never-ending series of holiday visits with extended family. Everyone is at each other's throats, and no one is willing to pass the salt without throwing it in our eyes. What are we doing? The world doesn't need to keep spilling more beans and sweeping broken spirits under the rug. What we need is to cut malicious apron strings, band together, and experience a global breakthrough. But first, let's take a selfie.
Look in the mirror. What do you see? Look harder, deeper, and longer until you see yourself for you are. Then ask if that is the person you want to be. Is it? Okay, now ask if that is the person you want others to see. The other day, I watched a friend rage-scream until her face turned blue. It wasn't pretty or productive, but she needed to get things off her chest, so I listened until she laughed at herself for getting so upset over something she has no control over. It's probably a good thing we had masks on because I'm sure my jaw was on the floor.
Want to know a secret? Being right doesn't solve problems; it destroys relationships. When passion turns to rage, the best thing to do is back off and let people vent. Sure, it's okay to have healthy debates over stupid shit that doesn't matter, but when someone loses it over something they feel strongly about — whether you agree with them or not — what they are looking for is to be heard, so be a friend and listen.
My motto has always been to live and let live. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, or what side of the bread you butter your toast on, as long as you are a decent human being, you're okay in my book. I'm hoping you feel the same. I created TOXIQUE to build a community of independent thinkers who are searching for inner peace. When I started the column, my boyfriend -- a skeptic with piercing eyes that can see through bullshit a mile away — scoffed and told me I was fighting a losing battle. He said that no one wanted to engage with positivity these days; they only wanted to fight and watch train-wrecks on Facebook. While I agree to a certain extent, I also believe that people can talk about real shit without putting each other down —even if they wholeheartedly disagree on a subject. If you're still reading, thank you for proving him wrong. It's time to break free.
Peace, love, and joy are elements in life that truly mean something to me, and knowing I'm not alone in my quest to dismantle negativity, violence, and rage is what keeps me going. We cannot stand united without standing together. Let me know how I'm doing by sharing this with someone who is standing alone. In the bizarre words of one of my dearest friends on the planet, my brother from another mother who passed away far too soon, "Peace, and chicken grease." Let's make him proud by keeping it real.