Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Human Being of Greater Substance

It's times like these when I realize how small minded and internally focused I sometimes become. I'm in the midst of my grade 11 exams, and I'll say, they're rather scary pieces of dried-out tree pulp. However, as I can never find it within my power to simply close off the rest of the world when it comes to exam time, as so many do, I watch movies in doses and also check my CNN app during my breaks. I guess I should start with what I watched today that has thrown me into this blog post today. Milk.

As the final scene of the movie rolled on, the real faces of all Harvey's fellow activists and associates and what their lives culminated to were shown. Harvey Milk was shown last, in a video taken of him, laughing in his utter joyous way that he did, and I began to cry, and I also began to laugh. I cried for the loss of such an incredible human being, and I cried for what actually killed him; insecurity and the desperation for power. 
I laughed for the unimaginable good and rightness Harvey brought about by saying No! to something that was wrong. For those of you who haven't seen Milk, I'll give you a short blurb. 

Milk follows the real life story of Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay Supervisor of San Francisco and a gay-rights activist that brought about such change in the fixed, hard doctrines of the conservative masses in the 70s in the US. He stood for what he believed to be right, and Milk is the most brilliant showcasing of Harvey's fight for his cause and his legacy that he left on with him. Sean Penn plays Harvey, and I am certainly not the first to say that Penn was completely Harvey from head to toe. He is an amazing actor, and I salute him for pushing past societal doctrines and taboos of acting a gay character, and for showcasing what Harvey Milk did for the world so poignantly. 

I cannot begin to express my love for human beings like Harvey. 
My heart glows with the love they showed in their everyday being, and seeing what he did for humanity makes me think. 

It makes me think about all these "GINORMOUS" worries and stresses and offenses and petty fights that we all seem to be so caught up in within our lives. What are we doing for humanity? 
While we sit in our homes, fussing about what we're afraid might happen and what they might say, and what was dad thinking bringing home that for dinner, there are people in this world devoting their every action to the uplifting and universal good of this planet. I feel like a total twit for worrying about the menial, little, insignificant "HUGE STRESSES" of my life, when there are people in the Philippines who now have no home because of Typhoons Haiyan, and who don't know where their next meal will come from. 
I feel like a twit when I think about the millions of Syrians displaced from their homes, their cities, their country by their own country. I think of what it would be like living in one of those camps. What if I lived in that little compound?

What if that were me, knee deep in flood water, waiting for my small helping of food?

What if my rights were being stripped away like the wrapping off a 10 year old's Christmas present? I would think far more about my priorities, my goals, my authentic being. Yes, I feel like a twit, but then I remind myself that I am a human being. I remind myself that I am not a twit, and that I do have deep gratitude for my life, and that I do hold the people stricken world-wide in a cocoon of love within my heart. 
But, I also see that I forget. 

I forget what I was put down here for, and I forget to take a step back and see how relative everything in this reality is. 
At this moment, millions of students around the world are writing and preparing for exams, nervous breakdowns galore, but then on the other side, millions of students that would be doing the same thing have had their homes destroyed by chemicals, or the wrath of a typhoon. And after all this thinking that has been going on within me, I have Harvey Milk to thank. Thank you for reminding me to be a human being of greater substance. 


P.S At this very moment, an electric storm has taken over my city in South Africa, and I hold the deepest gratitude that I am in a home that not only keeps the rain out, but will not collapse at any point. I wish for the people who do not have this during this storm, and I wish for them to be okay.