This year is coming to a close and as excited as I am for the next year of my life and for the 2020 chapter to end I can't help but be a little resentful. I'm resentful of those who rather believed that COVID was made up. I'm resentful of those who believed that Trump wasn't doing anything wrong. I'm resentful of those who think we don't have a problem with race in America. I'm resentful of those who think that America doesn't need to grow. I'm resentful of those think that we aren't in this together. I am resentful of those who are satisfied with hersay information. Although, if I am being truthful, I don't resent having the stances I do. I resent that I've gone through this year unsure and without conviction. As we are dragged through the holiday months, squeezing out whatever undesirable actions are left to do for the history books, I have been plagued with the unspoken arguments of the to-be-had family gatherings in my mind.

This year I have often woken up to an impenetrable, unmovable, intolerable, unsympathetic, group of people in my head who walk, act, and look like family but don't talk like the family I thought I knew or grew up with. Often I play out these uncomfortable conversations I wish I had that are based on suggestive pauses from actual but previous conversations lightly brushing on the barbed talking points of this year. In these arguments I have well-formulated thoughts, and coherent sentences during an otherwise tense situation but loop on a never ending track until I get them just right. These are the conversations I wish I could have, knowing they would be productive. But this year has made these conversations unnavigable.

Ha, probably to some, they may think this is not who I am, but in general, I do not like confrontation. Healthy or not, I would rather err on the side of silence to preserve the boundary of argument and maintain the now fragile essence of social ties. Because I do not do well once I get passionately flustered. I am generally adamant in how I feel or view things but struggle to express, motivate and allow others to see and understand those viewpoints. If anyone reading this has read any of my previous posts you would probably pick up on the fact that I want to be able to do that. I want to be an influencer. I want to have an effect.

But how does one navigate deeper waters under the familiar and calm surface level? I know that to have deep personal relationships you need to disturb and explore deeper waters. But my family has always avoided that. It's abundantly obvious when you start to dive into our conversations. So maybe that is why I am plagued with these imaginative hell-scape conversations where family and others close to me are depicted as unempathetic to the stuff going on this year or things I have to say and the way I feel. It's always the worst case scenario.

When all said and done, and to beat the dead horse a few more times, this is what has made me the most frustrated about how people like my family have been dealing with any news this year. I've received comments that suggest that people are skeptical of a given topic. Questioning the validity of a statement or concern. Or even questioning the source of the information. But... that's it. That's as far as it goes usually. They don't begin to take the next steps to discover more about the source or the validity of the information. We've adapted to being OK with sensationalist news headlines as truthful topic points and perpetuating that information in form of gossip.

It's OK to be skeptical and reserved for the vaccine that is coming out. It's OK to question the intent behind a movement. That's an acceptable response. What is not acceptable is seeking out information that is agreeing with the skepticism. Or spreading information because of the shock value and the shook level that was received from hearing it. I fail to understand reservations and perpetuating fear when we have the biggest tool to verify and justify whether or not those fears are justifiable.

But the government is controlling what we see

Of course, the information can be skewed, of course, the government can manipulate what we see. We can't help that. The best course of action is to try to discover other sources and be as educated as possible. Just because the above statement may be true doesn't invalidate the need to know more. I'm not saying believe whatever you see on the internet, that can go negatively just as quickly as it go positively. I'm just saying take that same ideal of freedom and free-thinking and become educated. Read more on the topic and come to a conclusion of whether or not you still feel uneasy about a topic. Because if you do not reach out further than your hearsay information you could have been just as easily misguided by those you trust.

My family or friends wouldn't lie to me

Probably not. But they probably didn't know that the information was wrong for the same reasons, or that they misunderstood what the information meant. Hell, they could have been listening to entertainment news stations and received biased or incorrect information believing that it's factual. Does anyone remember the telephone game? It's not a productive or accurate use of time and effort to participate without verifying the infromation every time it is passed on.

Today I think that people don't realize that we are affected by social media regardless if you are on it or not. If you own a smart phone, you are sugestively influenced by your biases whether you are aware of it or not. And even if you aren't on these platforms there is a pretty high chance your social bubble is connected.

The point is, people are not reaching out for more information. They have fallen back to asking their friends and solidifying their stances based on social bubbles. Not doing their individual research and reaching their individual conclusions. Which is perpetuating and enforcing willful ignorance.

This happens a lot in my field, and I'm sure my field isn't the only one. I've even tried to pull this off realizing later I was dumb for having such confidence. (see: Dunning Kruger Effect)

Have you ever spoken to someone about a topic and you need them to understand something or do something and you immediately pick up on the fact that they don't know much about the topic? So then the conversation changes to you needing to probe certain points to see if they just misunderstood or that they don't actually have foundational knowledge on the topic?

It's pretty obvious where people are at with the various topics of this year. When you are talking to people that bring up the same talking points as the last 3 other people and the information is several months old, this is usally a clear sign. Their opinions are the same and no one is bringing new information to the table. This tells me, they haven't really researched the topic. Another clear winner is they shut down because I'm challenging their bias and creating internal conflict because in order for what I say to be true, their reality must be wrong.

The reason why I can tell is that if I am somewhat informed on the topic, I may have read the same articles as them or their social bubble. I may have read both sides of the story, so it becomes obvious when I am hearing a regurgitation from a source (or a particularly biased source) V.S. someone who is keeping up with the latest information but has done additional research into other opinions. Another hint I see is that usually, the conversations evolves into a more in-depth discussion beyond what's been published and is a mixed bag from both viewpoints. And by that I mean it moves beyond the watered down what-about-this conversations. So it doesn't matter if you agree with me or not, oftentimes I end up growing from a conversation where both parties are informed because I am able to make connections on similiar datapoints.

So, the question becomes, what do I do?

I know this sitation i'm in with my family isn't healthy. I was reading previous blog drafts (which I have many from this year) and I talk about panic attacks and anxiety. (A topic I rarely bring up.) I mentioned how I dealt with it in the past. I mentioned that the thing that grounded me was looking forward to visiting my family and going down to Lake Powell. This year, I was fearful. Partially due to spreading COVID, but a lot was around dealing with political standpoints that were sure to come up.

I don't have problems with conservatism. I think being conservative is a needed part of this country because conserving our ideals (so long as they are productive for everyone) is a good value to have. There has just been a lot of bullshit and justifications I can't tolerate. The biggest intolerance I have to some of those justifications have been particularly a centerpiece of Christ's teachings and the fact that it's conditional makes me want to flip tables. I'm not huge into religion, I think there can be some really good teachings from it. And the values from it is something we need a lot more in this world. But seeing people who actively "practice" it but then throw a pissy-fit when people suggest doing those actions really pushed me to be cynical.

In a big way, I was hurt by that. I think because that was foundational while I was growing up. And seeing people who taught me those values all of a sudden abandon those because it was allowed to become political, shattered it. So to me, a new foundation that I can place my family and friends on, needs to be repaired. It won't be based on that understanding again but it's been hard to want to face certain people because of that.

I guess there was some truth to that since my eyes are watering. So I guess I will end this now.

I'm glad for this year to be over. I hope we can move forward. I hope we can mend. There is a lot of work to be done.