Avalanche

Okay America, we need to talk. For a long time now we’ve been the richest nation in the world, a boon of capitalism and materialism. I don’t think it’s been good for us. We’ve lost our grip on reality. We’ve been too sheltered, too distracted, too self involved. And it’s ruining our great nation.

We somehow got this idea in our heads that life is about comfort, accumulation of things, and some sort of odd all-or-nothing perfection. As the Buddhists say, we strive for pleasure and avoid pain at all costs. But we’ve become so sensitized that everything is pain, and we can’t handle it. The way we cope with life is by escaping through drugs, alcohol, food, sports, entertainment, sex, shopping, the internet, or whatever else turns off our endless thought stream for two blessed minutes in a row. This isn’t healthy. And it’s not effective. Our angst makes itself heard through what I call “snowflaking.”

By now everyone knows that a snowflake is a derogatory term for liberals who feels triggered over every little thing, resulting in the person attempting to get everyone else to change their behavior to make the snowflake feel more comfortable. Let’s look at this more closely.

The word “triggered” is borrowed from victims of post traumatic stress disorder. A trigger is an outside influence (a noise, an object, a situation) that causes the fight or flight part of the brain to become overactive because the brain is afraid of incurring further trauma. For PTSD sufferers, a trigger is a real and serious problem. However, treatment for PTSD does not involve avoiding the trigger indefinitely. It involves slow, gradual, repeated exposure to the trigger, while working to calm the brain and teach it that the trigger is actually harmless. The person must accept their initial discomfort and work with it in order to diminish and overcome it.

Snowflakes, both liberal and conservative (yes, conservatives are also snowflakes…watch how they demand you change your behavior to suit their comfort if you sit for the national anthem or wear clothes made for the opposite gender) don’t actually have triggers. They have biases. They have opinions. And they are so averse to discomfort they insist the world is the problem and needs to change, rather take responsibility for their own feelings.

To be clear, I am not talking about people getting upset over real violations of human rights. Transgenders being banned from the military: yes, get upset. That’s discrimination. Unarmed black people being shot by police: yes, get upset. That’s not okay on any level. Banning a book because the language or theme or content makes you uncomfortable: not okay. Your opinion does not trump everyone else’s. Claiming everyone needs to be loyal to the President: are you freaking kidding me? If you can’t be loyal to both Obama and Trump, shut the hell up and get a real argument for why your guy is so great.

Now that the whole snowflake concept has been clarified, let’s talk about the real issue, which is that people try to avoid discomfort like the plague. We do anything to stop any sort of pain, as soon as it happens. When we get sick we take medicine and go back to the distraction of work instead of just resting with our illness and letting it pass on its own. When someone feels depressed we either try to cheer them up or we avoid them, instead of sitting with them and letting them feel how they feel. We obsess over exercising and eating healthy (gluten-free, non-dairy, plant-based, grain-free, taste-free, no-sugar-no-artificial-sweeteners, low calorie, nonfat, all organic, please. And a Diet Coke) because we are terrified of death. We’ve sheltered ourselves in offices, in our individual houses where we have never met our neighbors, and in cyberspace. We’ve gotten so used to modern medicine we are shocked when people die. We have lost touch with how nature works.

As much as we have tried to perfect things, life is still full of hardships and labor and pain and dying. That is the inescapable way of it. To be able to accept that you will feel pain, you will die, you can’t control much of anything that happens to you…that is freedom. When we know this freedom we lose the need to control others, to force life into our image, to jump through hoops trying to stay positive at all times. We stop being snowflakes, offended by everyone and everything that is different. We stop wasting our energy trying to fit life into a perfect little box of our own making.

America’s disconnect from reality is turning our wonderful country into a dumpster fire. People are so busy being offended over differences of opinion and creating alternate realities that real issues get dismissed. It’s time to stop seeing other people as the enemy and start working together for the good of all people. Life isn’t going to be perfect and you’re going to have pain and disappointment and compromise. Let’s accept this, and stop demanding life be our personal version of perfect. We can’t make it perfect, but we can make it better. Are you strong enough to handle real life? Or are you a fragile snowflake? The choice is yours.

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