While in Savannah, Georgia, I went to the local Prohibition Museum. Prohibition is something I knew of, but didn’t know much about. It wasn’t a subject I had an interest in or an opinion of. The museum was informative and I definitely left with more information on the subject than when I walked in.
Here is what really stood out to me: The division in our country regarding the subject, the way each side manipulated their messages in order to win the vote and how we still see this behavior now in our country (only regarding different subjects).
Each side had propaganda implying if you didn’t support one side or the other, you were not patriotic. If you supported prohibition, it was implied you were morally superior. If you didn’t support prohibition, you must not be supportive of the family unit. Either this or that. Each side stated they were better than the other and demonized anyone who didn’t agree with them. Each side played to emotions and promoted fear. There were threats and worse- actions from hate groups such as the KKK. I couldn’t help but see the direct link to behavior in our country then and behavior in our country now. Then I wondered: How long are we going to keep buying this bullshit? When will we wake up?
Fear mongering, degrading name calling, divisive rhetoric, “either or” campaign tactics, character attacks… it’s still in play and we still fall for it. I believe we need to level up and I also believe it’s not impossible. It might take time, it might take perseverance, it might take difficult conversations and a complete unwiring of personal belief systems. But it CAN be done.
Please go to my Facebook page (Inspiration by April) for all photos from the museum.
This was posted inside the slave quarters at the Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia. While visiting the city, I realized there was little mention of slavery and when it was spoken of, it was rather sugar-coated. (There was NO mention of indigenous people at all). Each tour guide or museum made it sound like the slaves were beloved members of the family and well taken care of. Ummm….. they were SLAVES. Owned people. There is NOTHING right about that.
You can see it in the verbiage above. “Enterprising slaves”, following a sentence that reads “with the approval of their owners”. The lack of accountability is appalling. Maybe that is a huge part of the problem we have with race relations now- there are still entire communities throughout the nation that refuse to call it what it was. To acknowledge the horror of slavery- and the numerous ways we justified it.
Another piece of this display struck me. It was “illegal to teach reading or writing” to slaves. That further validates my belief in the importance of education. Just the mere possession of a pencil or paper would be cause for punishment. What better way to continuously oppress people? Cut off their ability and access to learning. Fast forward a few decades, and we still see the effects of this treatment.
When it comes to the topic of slavery, specifically within our country, I am saddened. I am hopeful that we continue to move forward, even as I can be discouraged by what appears to be taking steps backwards. We have come a long way, and yet have so far to go.
One of my favorite memes to pass through Facebook stated: The problem is you are comparing your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. How true! None of us are exempt. I have perceptions of other’s lives based on their posts just as others have a perception of my life through my posts.
It’s easy to allow social media posts to influence how we feel about ourselves and our life situations. But we need to keep it in perspective. We don’t know the truth behind the pictures, the reality behind their words or their struggles behind the memes.
Here is my perfect example. I recently went to Anna Maria Island on the west coast of Florida. I was on the beach at sunset. I was taking photographs, as well as a 15 second video of the water as the sun set. It was beautiful! I posted the recording on my accounts and titled it “15 seconds of calm”. The responses were positive, it received likes and hearts and there was even a comment “It looks like gold is falling on the water!”. Lovely. What was not seen was the dead fish that littered the shoreline because the west coast of Florida is experiencing it’s worst red tide event EVER. You don’t see the carcasses, you don’t smell the odor emanating from the shore and you can’t tell the normally blue-green water is now the color of sewage. Perception.
Next time you’re perusing Facebook and you feel a little unworthy, discouraged, self-conscious, depressed or less than, keep this example in mind. You just don’t know the full story. Much love!
Recently I was at Disney World and was thoroughly enjoying a ride I had never been on before. I was admiring the colors, the layout, the unfolding of the ride itself. My thoughts wandered. I was thinking of how society often overlooks and underappreciates creative minds and underfunds creative programs. There are many that think the arts in general is unnecessary. That other subjects should be the main, if not only, focus of education. And yet here I sat, on a ride in the midst of a theme park that people of all backgrounds spend billions at on a yearly basis. A theme park that would not be celebrated, let alone exist- if it were not for creative, artistic minds.
I have always considered myself creative. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized how much I NEEDED to be creative. As in, it feeds my soul. I love photography. Specifically, taking pictures of nature and landscapes. I love capturing the moment, never to be repeated or seen the same way again. I love the editing process. I love pushing the process in a more artistic direction with my photos. I love creating!
I think of the many years I didn’t know how VITAL creating was for my life. I think of how many people out there don’t realize it is vital for them. The world needs them! The world needs YOU! If you have an inner nudging to create- DO IT! Maybe it’s photography, painting, writing, sketching, sewing, building, music, cooking- the options are endless…. Everything we know had a beginning. Something was made from nothing. It was CREATED. Follow that pull. Listen to your inner voice calling you. Start where you are at- there doesn’t have to be a grand plan. I encourage you to honor yourself and your creative gifts. When you show up in the world and share it, you give others permission to do the same. Much love…