Tag Archives: think

Musings from the Middleground


The color of the sky on a rainy day. The color of aged hair. The color of Gandalf before his return.


The color of humanity.

Nothing is black and white. Not in this complex world.

I recently saw Star Wars: Rogue One, and as odd as it sounds it touched on thoughts that had been weighing on my mind. Why do we categorize people and things into boxes they don’t quite fit in? Good or bad. Hero or villain. It’s not that simple.

People aren’t perfect. People are flawed. People are complex. And especially, everyone is coming from a different point of reference.

In Rogue One the “good guys” weren’t completely innocent. Some of the “bad guys” had no choice. Unlike so many films and media portrayals, it demonstrated a slightly more accurate reality of war than the polarizing evil vs. virtuous narrative. It acknowledged that many are just doing the best they can with what they are given. A reality of modern warfare.

Much of the media continues to polarize conflicts. A conflict of reference, one I can’t do justice to, is the current situation in Aleppo. Yes the Assad regime is reposnible for inexcusable and atrocious crimes against humanity, however some of the rebel groups backed by the US aren’t innocent themselves. For the media to try and swing the narrative to condemning the Assad regime as the “bad” and the Rebels as the “good” is an injustice to the citizens trying to navigate and survive in the divided and complexly dangerous reality honest civilians live in. It’s a simplification of their plight. The plight where 100,000 people’s lives are at risk while the international community doesn’t guarentee their safe exit, the plight of people who must make heartbreaking decisions many can never grasp.

We blindly condemn any member of a terrorist organization, without knowing why they participate. Yes, hate is never the answer. Yes, blind violence is inexcusable. Nor do most resort to these. But could you say, that if you saw your relatives killed in front of you by  US military weapons that you wouldn’t be triggered? Would you be tempted to take up arms?

We put people like Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. on pedestals for the good they did, meanwhile they commited questionable deeds in their personal life. The good they did stands alone, strong and outright amazing. Changing the world for the better. I am in no way saying their invirtous deeds overshadow the good, I am simply reminding that as humans, they weren’t completely innocent. They caused pain as well.

Who is a hero and who is a villain is dependent on your point of view. Just because someone opposes your view doesn’t mean they are “bad”. Sure if your view is that other people are “less than”, and won’t be changed due to new experiences and information, than that is inexcusable. Many who oppose you, however, are just doing what they believe is best with what they have.

Polarization is dangerous. Idealization is dangerous. It leads to seeing others as the “enemy” when in fact they are not too different from yourself. Stop seeing people black and white and see them as they truely are- flawed individuals trying to survive in this world, just like you.


The Past that Follows

How do I move on when the past is a part of me?

“Scars remind us that the past was real..”

– Shakespeare

I struggle with the present. I know it’s a “gift” and all but I’ve always dwelled on the past and worried about the future. I have moments of laughter with friends, contentment in my surroundings, or pride of my actions where I know I’m happy in the moment. True euphoria. I cherish and recognize these moments because of their rarity.

Everyone has had obstacles to overcome and in that we can all relate. Unfortunately I don’t often meet many with similar experiences to me, leaving me feeling isolated and without the understanding I for some reason so desperately crave. I’ve overcome my obstacles, but in a way I’ve been unable to move on. Traumatic in nature, some of my experiences have shaped me into who I am today. So I ask again-

How can I move on when the past is a part of me?

“My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.”

William Golding

The reason I try so hard to make others laugh is because I know what it’s like to be in pain. The reason I ask frequently for reassurance is because I’ve been told enough times I’m worthless. The reason I worry is because I struggle with mental health. The the reason I strive to be kind is because I don’t ever want to treat anyone in the undeserving manner I’ve been treated in. I don’t want to perpetuate the cycle of hurt and cynicism that I’ve witnessed.  I want to be a ray of sunshine that brightens people’s day. A reminder that, as cheesily as it sounds, that like Samwise Gamgee said in Lord of the Rings Two Towers, there’s some good in this world and its worth fighting for.

My past has shaped me. To move on from it is to move on from myself. To forget it is to fight the daily battle I fight to overcome the challenges that continue on from my past and the lasting effects of some experiences. To accept that in some cases I don’t get closure is to leave my world tangled.

At the same time I can’t continue to let the past distract from the present. Too often I spend too much time wrestling with thoughts of times gone by. What happened in primary school shouldn’t be effecting me now. But it does. Questions of what if shouldn’t keep me up at night. But they do. Those moments could be spent being present, being content, being appreciative of the amazing people and things in my life. There’s enough in the present to think about without the past clouding my judgement.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

The past made me who I am, and I shouldn’t forget who I am. But I can’t let the past take over. It may have a place in my life but not at the expense of my happiness. I don’t know how to change the past’s power. I don’t know how to alter my ways, thoughts, or patterns. But I know I must try. The past might have led me to where I am but I can’t let it dictate my life. I can appreciate the good and bad that’s come before and it’s place in my journey without letting it define me.