Recording your attempts at "Being Peace"
Yesterday I tried to "be peace" by writing a letter to my mother. I haven't been home much over the last year, between school and studying abroad and my summer job away from home. When I went home for two weeks at the end of the summer, I realized that my relationship with my mom was pretty poor. We fought a lot... she wants to control my life, I want her to stay out of my business, that sort of thing. At some points during those two weeks I really wanted to just leave my house and come to ND early, but I couldn't leave early-- probably because I cherish every moment at home with my five younger siblings. Anyways, it was bad. We said goodbye on uncertain terms. I know she loves me but it's so hard to tell sometimes, except when she hugged me goodbye and we both got tears in our eyes I knew that we really do love each other, and perhaps we are too much like each other right now to get along. Who knows. But, yesterday I decided to write her a letter, which felt really good. I told her that I'm sorry and that I really look up to her and I know that we both love each other very much, despite the difficulties. I don't need to include everything here but I think it was good for me. At times, when I was writing, I found myself thinking, "Am I doing this just for Peace Studies? Is this a fake reconciliation?" But now that I am reflecting about it, I don't think it was fake. The words I wrote are difficult things to say/write, and the process of "having" to do it for class helped propel me into action. I mailed the letter this morning, so we'll see what comes of it. Even if she doesn't write back or respond well, I am confident that I made a good decision in reaching out towards possible reconciliation between us.
This is not an entry on any personal experience from this past week, but just some thoughts. Everyday I read up in the news and always, without exception, one of the failed states such as the DRC, Afghanistan, Sudan, or Sierra Leone is mentioned. The article two days ago was a brief on how the Congo’s transportation system is very old and decrepit (over 100 years old), that passengers have to ride on the tops of the train or sit in the bathrooms and just a week ago one rail broke off and all the passengers died. This example pales in comparison to the genocide in Sudan, but relative to American standards this transportation system is a disgrace. Africa has a lot more to worry about than transportation, such as the AIDS/HIV epidemic, and starvation, and corrupt rebels. But what do we Americans have to worry about? We’re well fed, college educated, and our only problems or difficulties are rather petty. Where is America’s heart? We could have just as easily been born to parents in the Middle East of sub-Sahara Africa. Peace does not just incorporate one’s respective nation; it is transnational. In order to achieve true peace within ourselves, we need to get third world countries onto the right track. The next step to focus on is how we can be active peacekeepers. I’ll write back next week with what I’ve actively been doing.
Having family and close friends that are alumni from Penn State and Michigan is embarrassing and sometimes downright irritating. This weekend, however, I decided to “be peace” by not rising to their bait for the first time in history. An e-mail from a Penn State friend read, “you got worked…how does it feel to know pain from Linebacker U?” while another phone call lead to continuous chants of Go Penn State…Not-re La-me! Although tempting to rise to and very difficult to ignore, I shocked all parties involved by simply replying, “you’re correct,” “you have a good point there,” and even so horrible an admission as “I love you, especially because you beat us.” Through all of this abuse and what now appears to be a steady upcoming week of e-mails too crude for mention here from Michigan family members, I have learned that not reacting violently is perhaps the best defense of all. Already the number of Penn State calls have slackened, and I even got an apology from one friend via text this morning (I was and still am totally and completely shocked). Who would have guessed that simply agreeing with someone could totally and completely take the wind out of their sails? This is definitely a lesson I will remember for future reference.
So over the past couple of weeks, I have actually been working on a couple of different peace projects related to my personal life. I had 3 specific things that I wanted to do. I have completed each, though it took some time and I am not sure how I feel about each. The following are brief descriptions and results from each:1. My first project was to make a distinct effort to mend ties with my mother. This past summer was extremely difficult for us as I am the oldest of four and she has had to deal with the harsh reality that I am growing up. Long story short, I left to come back to school while not on the best of terms with my mother. My previous approach to the problem was simply, “I am growing up. She needs to deal with it. The only way that will happen is if I cut her out of my personal life.” Needless to say, this was not the best idea and I have realized I was mean and blatantly hurt my mom’s feelings. This past week I finally built up the courage to talk to my mom for more than 5 minutes about topics other than “I need monetary help right now.” I talked to her about some of my classes and my friends. I even mentioned my boyfriend back home (who she HATES) and the conversation went pretty well. I was able to gauge how long I could talk to her without both of us jumping onto our high horses and arguing. It was an enjoyable conversation, but I can’t help but remain skeptical that if I make these talks as frequent as they used to be that I will not be able to grow up. Overall, I am going to continue to open up to my mom, but hopefully make sure that she knows I want her advice but am not willing to follow her instructions step by step.2. My second project is even more personal than my first and I am therefore going to be even vaguer about the details. This had to do with a personal conflict that has been haunting me for the past 11 months or so. I had an experience that I needed to come to terms with. For the longest time I have been convinced that it was my fault and I could have prevented it. After talking long and hard with the appropriate people and having quite a deal of self reflection I am finally able to begin the healing process. As I said before, I am being very vague and I realize this is anonymous, but sorry Professor I do not want to go into anymore detail :0) I guess that all I have to say is I have forgiven the person and do not let what happened interfere with my daily life. I have a deeper understanding of what happened and have finally begun to forgive myself.3. The final project that I completed was very similar to what other people did. During the game this past weekend, I paid attention to what people said. I tried to keep track of how much time elapsed between violent statements about the other team (and sometimes our own team) and the longest time from the start of the game to the end (including half time) was 4 minutes and that was because we were all watching COPS! So again there was violence involved as we watched police officers throw criminals to the ground! I also talked to a friend who actually went to the Penn State game and she had a miserable time because so many people called her names, threw things at her and actually chased her simply for walking around! I think the scariest thing that she talked about were two 40 year-old men that literally ran after her and her two girlfriends for wearing the color green! The whole concept makes me sick to my stomach. A lot of their problems had to do with the excessive drinking going on around them and I actually became somewhat grateful that they do not sell alcohol in our stadium. It made me really sad to see what an ugly side comes out with something that is supposed to be fun. I also forgot to mention that when I tried to tell one of my guy friends that I was watching the game with to tone it down with the cursing and killing remarks I began to fear for my own life! It was probably the most disheartening to be yelled at for reminding him that it is just a game. By the end of the weekend I had a greater appreciation for the necessity of including less violence and more openness in our daily lives.
Yesterday after I finished the reading, I decided to avoid violent media for the rest of the day. I don’t usually watch that much TV, nor do I play video games, so I didn’t think it would be that difficult. So I settled down to do some reading in the library with my iPod. I thought I would listen to some “peaceful” music, such as the likes of Ben Harper. But alas, my iPod decided to freeze on my Dropkick Murphys playlist. Now I’m not sure if all of the songs necessarily are violent, but the mere sound of this band made me feel like I was breaking the “no violent media” pledge. So after finishing my work I returned to my dorm. Sundays generally consist of movie marathons, popcorn, and procrastination. In one room a few of my friends were watching “The Departed.” If that’s not violent media, I don’t know what is. So I walked into our other room, where “Walk the Line” is playing. Musicians. I can watch that, right? Nope. June Carter just threw empty beer bottles at Johnny and friends. Instead I went for a walk with a friend, but not without the terribly violent line, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” on repeat in my mind. Blast. When we returned, the movie playing was “Night at the Museum.” Harmless. Until the older museum guards start attacking Ben Stiller and a wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt. Later on I went to Dillon to go to Mass with some of my friends. I walked into their room to hang out for a little, and of course they are all cheering as one uses the apparently famous “Donkey Punch” in Super Smash Brothers. By the time I was going to bed, I felt like I had successfully avoided actively pursuing violent media. However, every type of media I encountered all day had some sort of violence. Doing this little experiment made me realize how much violence is in media. Even a movie about the Museum of Natural History involves aggression and violence. Before I began, I didn’t think that it would be that hard to avoid I guess I never took the time to see the violence present in most media. Even right now, the E! channel is on in my common room. The current news clip is about Kid Rock getting into a fight at the VMAs. I think that we all are so conditioned to seeing a certain level of violence that we become desensitized. The consistent presence of violence must instill a notion in all of us, whether consciously or unconsciously, that violence is a normal and acceptable part of life. Is violence an unavoidable part of life? If it isn’t, how do we change this perception?
The past few weeks, all the readings that have been centered around nonviolence compelled me to attempt to spend one day without acting out in a violent way. I was going to try and be nonviolent all day. At first I thought this would be quite easy, but boy was I wrong. On Sunday, the day I had decided to try and be nonviolent, was my one year anniversary with my boyfriend and so we had agreed to spend a relaxing day together. Well, my boyfriend was over at Penn State with the marching band and arrived back to campus at 7:30 am. He promptly sent me a text message at that time, which caused me to awake from my lovely sleep, which I wasn’t very happy about. Having gone to sleep rather late the night before, I was not exactly thrilled about him waking me up so early and I began to send him a text message giving him a piece of my mind, but quickly remembered my promise to be nonviolent that day. After waking up, I went over to his dorm expecting him to be ready to go eat breakfast, but he was far from ready. Being already rather grumpy, my first inclination was to get mad at him for making me wait for him, but I remembered that he was probably just as tired as I was from his long trip and that today was supposed to be a special day and my waiting a few minutes was truly nothing major. As I waiting for my boyfriend to get ready, his roommates where in the common room and so we began to talk about how everyone’s weekend was and naturally the ND game came up. My first inclination was to talk badly about the Penn State team and about our poor performance during the game, but I remembered my promise to be nonviolent, and instead I tried to emphasize the good plays on both sides and how our team improved from the Georgia Tech game. Towards the evening, my boyfriend and I began to watch TV and as I skimmed the channels, everything seemed to have a component of violence. After scanning all the channels half a dozen times, my boyfriend was pressuring me to decide on a channel to watch. My saving grace came when the fire alarms in my dorm went off just then and we where all forced to go outside until the all clear was given. As I stood amongst the crowed, I could hear everyone complaining about the alarm going off. Once again my natural inclination was to join in on this complaining but I held my tongue and simply reflected on how hard it was to keep my promise of being nonviolent.
After reading others’ blogs, I think I have finally gotten a handle of this whole peace blog thing. While I was looking at my life, I searched for a way in which I could make it more peaceful; the first thing that came to my mind was my relationship with my sister. My sister is one year older than me and we used to live in the same dorm on campus but now she has moved off-campus so I no longer see her everyday. We have had a horrible relationship since as far back as I can remember. We fight over every single thing and I catch myself thinking during the fight about the stupidity of the argument. Recently the relationship has only gotten worse. I feel horrible because I know that it breaks my parents hearts to see us constantly fighting like we do. Anyway this year, with the contact between us significantly lower, we have not fought nearly as much because of this but I can tell that it still hurts my parents since we have not made very much effort to see each other. In the spirit of peace I decided to call her and take her out to dinner this past weekend. This was the first time that we truly had interacted since last year (she was gone the whole summer). I went into this meeting with a little apprehension since I did not know what sort of mood either of us would be in towards each other. I tried to keep a peaceful mindset throughout the night and I never took any of the bait to be confrontational or to fight out of stubbornness (a quality both of us share in superfluous amounts). We had a few little tiffs but they never escalated as they normally would have, and overall I believe that it was a pretty successful night. This was definitely not easy because fighting with her is second nature and it is so easy to slip back into it. There were also many times when I had to bite my tongue to hold back comments. All in all I am very glad that I made that first move to try to make a more peaceful relationship.
After a rough episode that involved me sobbing on the phone to my father, inadvertedly convincing him that he needs to send my mother out to ND, I have decided to go for it- it being peace. I think I have always heard the whole thing about "being at peace" or "finding inner peace" but to be honest I never took it seriously. I wrote it off as a hippie idea with no real consequences or purpose. This experience with a struggle has really highlighted to me how wrong I was. SInce being in this class, I have come to recognize all the difference peace can make- and I am not referring to world peace- I am talking "personal peace". Maybe it is selfish to aim for my own peace within myself but that is what I am doing. I read something that said " how can we offer what we do not have" - this has inspired me to assume finding my own personal peace as a priority in life right now. This realization has led me to engaging in several "out of the ordinary" activities. The latest of which has been meditation. I think for the first go I understand the value and how it may eventually contribute to my inner peace but I have to admit it was weird. I have had facials and massages, retreats and prayer services, but never have I had the incredibly fulfilling experience of being in a state of complete relaxtion where my body, breathing, thought are literally at peace. It was an interesting experience, maybe selfish, but in the end I felt closer to finding that inner peace that will allow me to offer peace to others.
Last night when my roommate and I were just sitting around doing homework and talking, we somehow got on the subject of what we were doing the next day and what-not. Somehow the date came up - September 11th. I said something along the lines of, "Wow, I can't believe it's going to be September 11th tomorrow!" I was taken aback by the fact that I didn't even realize that infamous day was approaching. It didn't even cross my mind until I actually looked at my calendar and thought, "How could I have overlooked this."My roommate and I ran through the whole "what were you doing when you found out?" deal. Six years ago, we were both 8th graders in junior high school, which prompted another "Wow, that was a long time ago" from both of us. We learned of the attacks at school (being East Coast dwellers, we had been up for a few hours before it happened). I walked into history class to see my teacher glued to the TV, saying that something horrible had happened. Then our principal's voice came over the intercom, saying that the teachers were to turn off the TVs and go on with classes and, as a side note, there had been a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.That day was the first time in my life that I felt unsafe. Before that day, I had held this idealized notion that nothing bad would ever happen to me because I lived in the United States and no one messes with the United States. It scared me to think that my nation was made vulnerable, that my nation may be at war, that peace was not as prevalent as I had believed. I can't fully describe how I felt on that day because I had never felt anything like it before.After school, my mom drove my little brother and me to our dentist appointments. I asked her to explain to me what had gone on and why. She did her best to answer, but I don't think that she could fully grasp the depth of the situation at the time. I don't think anyone could.And six years later, I can still remember that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that I experienced on September 11, 2001. I hope I will never forget to appreciate the significance of that day in my life and in the lives of all Americans. September 11th opened my eyes in a way that I can't really explain.So, at 9:11 PM tonight, I joined section 3B in Farley to commemorate with a brief moment of silence the men and women who lost their lives on September 11th. During that silence, I extended a prayer for peace, in the hope that the underlying causes of that act of aggression will one day be addressed and solved. I hope it was enough to show that I remember and that I will probably never forget what I was doing that day.
As a side note, the Free Huggers didn't make it out yesterday, which was International Free Hugs Day. But I would definitely like to extend the free hugs invitation to any and all who would like to put a little sunshine in someone's day in the future. I would love to stake out a spot on campus and hold up my sign (which I saved, by the way). So, let's say that plans will be in the making for a free hugs revival. It really is awesome!
Inner peace can sometimes be the most difficult to maintain. I decided to take the suggestion of monitoring my own level of inner-peace this weekend when I worked security for The Show.Strike One: I couldn’t see the stage from my position on the floor, keeping the bleachers under control. That was fine – I took a deep breath, and resigned myself to the fact that in spite of my unfortunate position, I would still have an awesome time; my friends were seated a couple rows in front of me, so we were still technically sitting together, and besides, I was about to experience the magic that is Ok Go.Strike Two: Lupe Fiasco. I understand he’s an artist, and the medium through which he communicates is rap, and that he feels very strongly about certain issues, but I didn’t agree with the way he was trying to share his views; if he feels so strongly about violence and profanity in music and television, maybe he should strive to clean-up some of his own lyrics first. The crowd was so riled up by his performance, they started throwing things; I got tagged by a mean plate of nachos, and got cheese sauce all over my pants. I got someone to cover my area, went to the bathroom to wash off my pants, and returned; at intermission, I very calmly went over to the nacho thrower, and informed him that I would have to take him out of the concert if he continued to throw things (I was surprised at my own level of calm – I think the trip to the bathroom gave me a chance to cool-off), for the safety of all the people around him. He called me a rude name, but his friends calmed him down and said they’d take care of him; I smiled, thanked them, and walked away, proud of myself for maintaining composure.Strike Three: Perhaps the most difficult (and most rewarding) task of the night; dealing with getting trodden on by at least fifty different groups of concert-goers, many of whom were drunk, most of whom were just being down right rude. One group of girls stood directly in front of me for a good twenty minutes; I overheard one of the girls mention to her friends that they were blocking my view of the show, to which her friend responded that I “could wait.” WHOA, did that ever take self-restraint not to do anything at that point! But I decided at the beginning of the night I would try to maintain inner peace in order to enjoy the concert as much as possible. When they finally decided to move, I noticed one of the girls was especially drunk, and saw her trip on a television wire taped to the floor of the arena. I caught her, supported her for awhile (it took her a couple minutes to regain her balance), and ushered her back to her friends, who had gotten all the way to the entrance to the arena before realizing their friend was missing. The girl who ignored my existence earlier in the night looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry. We should’ve been keeping better track of JANE DOE, I guess this means it’s time to get back to the dorms now. Thanks a lot.” It may sound really corny, but I felt like when she said that to me, she was apologizing for the way she and her friends had treated me during the concert, and made me feel really good about not loosing my temper.Oh, and by the way, Ok Go was AMAZING.
This anecdote is a bit personal, so I apologize in advance for being vague and sparse in details.Last year, I started talking to a guy who was in a couple of my classes. At first, I thought we had a lot in common and I was kind of excited at the prospect of a new friendship. I can’t say too much else except that my initial impression was wrong (at least partially). To put it briefly, our personalities didn’t click as much as I had thought. He wasn’t a bad guy by any means, but I felt suffocated because he seemed to want more out of this friendship (mostly just my time) than I was willing or able to give. I didn’t think I could handle such a demanding relationship, what with everything else on my plate, and my inherently independent nature was causing me to freak out a little bit. I didn’t know exactly what to do, and since subtlety is not one of my strong points, I inadvertently pushed him away, much further away than I had intended. Basically, I cut off all communication. I didn’t mean to initially and I never intended to hurt his feelings, but the estrangement happened anyway. I felt bad about the situation, but in a way, I was kind of relieved because I didn’t have to deal with it anymore, and I was afraid that if I apologized and things went back to the way they were, I would feel suffocated again.So I let things be…and it became very awkward. We basically ignored each other, as if we had never even spoken before. At that point, I realized what had happened but I felt like I had crossed the point of no return. It would be very difficult to mend our relationship (i.e. without sustaining major damage to my ego), and even though I knew things could be better, I didn’t want to deal with the situation and I let myself believe I was fine with the way things turned out. I thought it was just easier this way. He lived on the other edge of campus, and we only had one class together last semester and none this semester, so I figured I’d never see him anyway.But who was I kidding? This is Notre Dame. You’re bound to run into someone sooner or later, and for me, it happened to be last night at the dining hall. At first, I saw him from a distance, and I thought I could just hide from him, take the easy way out, the coward’s way out. But then I realized that I had been hiding from this issue for a long time already; I had been playing the coward for almost seven months. I finally admitted to myself that things would never get better unless I actually did something about it, unless I stopped hiding behind my laziness and my excuses and actually attempted to mend our friendship. So as I was walking back to my table with my tray, I saw my opportunity. He was walking toward me and there was no way he or I could avoid each other, so I took my chance. And as we passed, I looked him right in the eye, smiled, and said, “Hey.” To my surprise, he looked back at me and smiled in return. It wasn’t a big move on my part, but it had taken a lot of courage. I could have just ignored him, but I didn’t. I faced my fears and I offered my olive branch of peace, and to my immense relief, my gesture was returned. He could have pretended not to have seen me, but he didn’t. He smiled back. This whole interaction spanned but a couple seconds, but sometimes a couple seconds is all it takes to begin to heal the broken ties.As I was lying in bed last night, trying to fall asleep, I remembered what had taken place earlier that evening, and I smiled to myself. I then realized I had been smiling like an idiot in the dark, and my smile started to fade, but then I realized I didn’t care, and I smiled again. Sometimes it’s our smallest steps toward peace that end up bringing us the most peace. Hopefully, next time I’ll have the courage to say more than just “Hey.”
I’m from the New York Metropolitan area, and needless to say September 11 impacted my life in more ways than I could have possibly imagined. Someone earlier wrote about how she talked to her roommate about where she was when she heard. On Tuesday, I overheard some friends in the dining hall discussing the same thing. I suppose this is our generation’s version of “Where were you when you heard Kennedy got shot?” Well for me, I was in science class in eighth grade, when I heard my teacher talking to another teacher. He whispered, “Those are their fathers up there. We have to tell them.” Ten minutes later, our eyes were glued to the television screens. And they were for the rest of the day. Teachers were walking around with page long lists of messages for students informing them the safety of their parents, and whether their mother would be picking them up early. When I got home, my siblings, mother and I tried to keep busy, but all I really did was cry until ten o’clock, when my father finally got through on a telephone line to say he made it out of the financial district alive.Among my friends from home, my experience was not abnormal. We all understand each other’s perspectives because no other event in our childhoods directly affected our communities as much as that solitary day. But elsewhere, people cannot identify as strongly. And therefore I have always carried a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I immediately just assume others cannot possibly understand how I feel about the disaster. Instantly I get angry and bitter towards someone for even mentioning 9/11, for throwing the term out there for no good reason (or what seems like no good reason to me). I assume that they don’t take it as seriously, that they don’t understand what happened. I even get angry when people want to take pictures while visiting Ground Zero (something I picked up from my father, who will haughtily walk in front of cameras daily). This year, as 9/11 approached, I really tried to change my perspective. I suppose I never fully dealt with the impact on my life, nor did I want to. But I think it is very important for me to understand that yes this is something that has affected my life, just as there are things I don’t understand about other people’s perspectives. So over the past week, when people have talked about it, I hold my thoughts, bite my tongue, and hear what they have to say. Their experience is just as valid, even if they did not have a direct experience. Today in class, someone said that 3,000 people is just a fraction of the amount of civilian deaths in Iraq. It took all my willpower to not say something about the circumstances or how dare someone make light of such an event. But I held back, because there are far worse cases of violence and far more innocent lives are being lost in other areas of the world. What happens to me may feel more significant in terms of my life, but an Iraqi girl thinks the same of the destruction in her life. I don’t need to forget my past, but I do need to move past my focus on anger. I am trying to think beyond my own world, to think globally, to put myself in others shoes, just as I would expect from others.
So I was taking a break from reading last night and I decided to play the Sims 2. I know, pretty nerdy, but it’s a fun little game. For those who don’t know, the point of the game is to create a sim, and then control his life, getting a job, building a home, forging relationships, and everything else that one does in life. While playing the game, my character ran across a computer controlled one who was very unpleasant. After a few minutes of heated exchanges, the computer sim launched himself at my sim, and the two of them engaged in an enormous fight. After a few seconds, my sim lost the fight and was tossed away by the victorious sim. The craziest part was that after losing the fight, all of my sims attributes took a hit, making him extremely unhappy. All of a sudden, I realized that this life simulation game was doing exactly that, and was in fact simulating what we had just discussed in class, that a person’s mood can be affected by the outcome of a fight. Intrigued, I sent my sim to work out so I could see if winning a fight would make him happy. Sure enough, the next time the two sims met, mine won and all of his attributes shot up, and he started strutting around town. It was amazing. I had always considered The Sims 2 to be a nonviolent game, mostly because I always tried to make my sims successful, so I never entered into a fight. However, it was amazing for me to see that even in this game; the effects of violence were for the most part realistically portrayed. The sims are encouraged to become stronger so they can win fights, which makes them happy, and since they are happy they are much more apt to make friends and get with the opposite sex, if you know what I mean. I think this is an amazingly accurate portrayal of our actual society, as anyone who has ever been in or witnessed a fight knows; the winner is respected and in some cases even admired by those around him. This aspect of socialization in society, that fighters should be admired, is so ingrained into our society that it even makes an appearance in one of the least violent video games on the market. I think that this is a sad commentary on society as a whole, as violence shouldn’t be rewarded like that. Even this game reinforces the notion to children that fighting and winning will gain you friends and happiness. Of course, maybe it will also discourage some kids from fighting by showing them that losing brings unhappiness, which they won’t want to risk. Either way, upon seeing this subtle little nod to violence I was surprised, and I will have to see if I can’t get my sim to refuse to fight next time, in the hope that the game has also included rewards for peaceful sims.
In response to Tara's blog comment about her experiences on 9/11, I hope I did not offend you in any way when it came to discussing my own recollections of that day. I realize that I could never understand how it would have felt to be directly impacted by such an event in my hometown, wondering if my dad would ever make it home from work or call to say he was all right. But in a different way, I was affected by that day. I do not view it as a spectacle to be gawked at. I only extend my whole-hearted respect to and honor of those seriously impacted by the attacks in any way, shape, or form. My blog comment was meant to communicate the fact that 9/11 opened my eyes to many things that I had understood in a very naive way at the time. I hope this clarifies my comment a little bit!
Many people from our class have written about football in the peace blog thus far, and we have discussed this topic in class over the past few weeks. After my experience this weekend in Ann Arbor, I really feel it is necessary to write about my football-fan experience. Due to being in our peace studies course this semester, I thought about and changed how I reacted in certain situations.I have never been to an away ND football game, and I have always heard about how some of the other team’s fans were rude, so I felt I was prepared to endure some hassling. Yesterday morning, two of my friends and I were walking to tailgate and some Michigan fans started yelling the most inappropriate comments I have ever heard. They were not directed at our school in general or in any way related to football, they were personal derogatory comments. In the moment, I wanted to yell something defensive back, but instead, I decided to take a deep breath and keep on walking. My friends and I looked at each other in shock. Three of my good guy friends from home go to Michigan, so we stopped by their tailgate yesterday. One of my friends started throwing eggs at people, and we left immediately. I couldn’t believe how they were acting, especially when I know they were treated respectfully here at Notre Dame during the game last year. This week, we read about violent culture and socialization. I focused on the “desensitization” part of the reading, and this experience made me wonder if we are every fully “desensitized,” and less likely to feel shock at awful comments like the ones they yelled at us. As much as I thought I was “prepared” to handle yelling from the other fans, I was shocked by what happened. How and when did this type of behavior ever become “appropriate”? Even if it is not acceptable, why does it even happen in the first place? Did they only want a reaction?We found that just ignoring all of these rude people was the best solution. I felt that by simply walking away, I was somehow “increasing the peace.” I think learning not to retaliate in these types of situations can make you less likely to in a more pivotal one. I think the media and our violent culture have made this type of behavior seem more appropriate, even though it should never be tolerated. Maybe by just walking away we can help other people think about their actions so that maybe we can all have a more pleasant experience with friendly, healthy competition.
Hey All,Time to wrap up the third week of Peace Blog. Your contributions have been great keep them coming. For my peace blog this week, I decided to join the Wednesday Lunch Fast "coldpenguin" talked about. I've blogged about it on my regular blog if you want to read more. The first day of actually fasting was interesting--I was starving! It wasn't a good feeling, but it did one thing that fasting is supposed to do--it keep the issues related to the reason I was fasting on my mind. Even though that day was a harried one (the big "party" was that night), I had a more peaceful day because the hunger kept reminding me about peace blog and also continuously made me thing about how minor my hunger was compared to some many other people in the world. I'm sure I'll experience some desensitization by the end of the year, but it was a good start. This activity relates more to next week's discussion of positive and negative peace than it does to the culture of violence topic, but I know that one will come around later, and the opportunity presented itself...Speaking of Wednesday Fast, I really think it is a good program and I've issued a challenge on my blog. We finished the "peace racket t-shirt contest, and if you join the Wednesday Fast, I'll give you a free Peace Racket t-shirt. See you all on Tuesday.
Post a Comment