WE HAVE BECOME TERRIFIED OF MISTAKES.

Nobody likes mistakes. Nobody likes making mistakes. I believe we all hate them. Mistakes bring embarrassment, shame, and one can easily be referred to as ignorant, sometimes even stupid. Then again, if someone makes the same mistake repeatedly, it is hard not to judge the person. When that happens, the judgment is never flattering. I am being nice here.

I remember a time when making mistakes was the best way to learn. A mistake was a learning opportunity. Yet, today, a mistake is a death sentence. There isn’t any room for teaching, rehabilitation, reflection, introspection. As a corollary, there isn’t any room to show remorse, contrition and finally to apologize. A mistake equals sentence and there are various sentences, one harsher than the other. What the fuck happened to us? Why do people like to crucify people so expediently?

Let’s be honest, let’s be real; some people say horrific and heinous shit. Yes, it happens all day, every day, all over the globe. As life would have it, one person’s heinous speech could be another person’s cry for freedom. You know, it is all a matter of perspective, which is the new normal nowadays. You’d think that by now, since this world has become connected like never before, there would be some set of universal values. But no…There isn’t.

I always thought that murder, rape, child molestation, human trafficking, genocide, famine, war, massacres, ethnic cleansing, invasion, and conquest, to name a few, were universally nefarious acts. I bet you there is always one or two sickos, perhaps more, who would valiantly defend these abominable acts. I chose these extreme examples to show that we cannot even agree on some concepts that are self-evident to me.

So, whatever happened to us? Why are mistakes considered grievous and unredeemable faults? Social media is to blame somehow. Everybody has a voice and I am a staunch defender of free speech. Nevertheless, the ability to say anything doesn’t mean every opinion has the same value. Nope! My opinion on menstrual cramps is nearly irrelevant because I don’t have a uterus. If you don’t have a PhD in nuclear physics, your opinion on that subject isn’t worth much.

We don’t talk to each other anymore. Everyone wants to stand on their own principles and opinions. Listening to others has become a rare act, a weakness some say. How will we ever live together if we don’t talk to each other? Are some people unredeemable? Yes, but it is a minority. Most people aren’t bad; they just don’t know, let’s even call them ignorant, a condescending term I despise with all my heart. Not knowing something shouldn’t be a sentence otherwise, everybody should receive a prison sentence because nobody knows every fucking thing! Jesus Christ people! Chill! Bitch be humble to quote the illustrious Kendrick Lamar. Shut up, take a step back and think; were you always this open minded? Were you always this knowledgeable or did you learn stuff along the way? Are you perfect? You don’t make any mistakes? You have never talked out of turn? You have never said anything stupid? Yes, you have, we all have.

I know some people will jump and say, “I am tired of teaching people about this and that”. Usually that refers to racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and a few other subjects. I get it. Nothing is more infuriating than being a victim of racism regularly and then having to “educate” (another term I consider condescending) people left and right. Of course, it is draining mentally and physically, I understand that. But, what is the alternative? Condemning anybody who shows any sign of discrimination and prejudice? How is that going to work? Excluding everybody who says some backwards shit? If we do that, how are we different from the bad and ignorant people? Patience and forgiveness go a long way in this life.

I see people educating kids but refrain from doing the same activity when it’s time to educate adults. You think kids and adults are that different? You think ignorance has an age limit? You think ignorance discriminates? For real? Come on! Educating yourself and others is a never-ending quest. Talk to people older than you. They will tell you they are still learning stuff every day. They probably lived through an era that was worse than yours, yet they still learn. You could tap out and decide you’ll never educate people or forgive their trespasses. How is that going to work in this complicated and complex world? Patience and forgiveness go a long way in this life.

To err is human. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Surely, “mistakes are as serious as the results they cause” according to the amazing Dr. Gregory House, from the show House, M.D. Some mistakes are less hurtful than others. We should use caution and good judgment when we speak. I know it’s rich coming from me. I offend people often. Yet, on a personal note, I make incredible mistakes every day. Some are shameful, others are barely a nuisance. However, every time I do so, I learn something. A friend recently asked me to tone down my vivacious speech when I talk about certain subjects that might offend people. The problem is, in 2021, every goddamn thing offends somebody. I can’t shut up for fear of offending someone. I’d rather speak, say what’s on my mind, get called on it, learn from it and move on. If people want to convict on me based one thing I say, well, that’s out of my control. Learning from the mistake, is entirely under my control.

I do despise and hate this mob mentality, these cowards sitting behind their screens and their phones who always seem to stir shit up instead of teaching people. This need to exist through putting people down, is a sight for sore eyes. I do hate it. These caped crusaders who prefer ganging up on people instead of having the humanity and humility to teach, are craven and they are filled with insecurities in my opinion. I know I wouldn’t be the person and writer I am today if I hadn’t made thousands of mistakes since the day I was born. Mistakes, except for those with extreme consequences, are good for the soul and the mind. You can’t learn anything if you don’t make mistakes.

Listen, I don’t have a magic solution for this problem. Yet, condemning people swiftly and never looking back is a bleak way of life. That is a fact. As we become older, we realize there is so much we don’t know and that should give us the patience to listen and teach others. Some people will never learn, that’s a fact. I am tired sometimes of teaching people. Fuck yes! But, the alternative is way worse. Please do not rush to condemn people. I do that sometimes and I got to walk back and open my mind. To err is human. Last time I checked we were all human.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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