Cornerstone Content,  Writing

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

It’s a peculiarly early Sunday morning for me, the world outside still shrouded in the quiet darkness of the pre-dawn hours. As I sit here still in bed, a thought lingers in my mind: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

This phrase echoes through the generations, each one pointing fingers at the one before, blaming them for the world’s woes. But really, aren’t we all just a continuation of a cycle, a pattern as old as time itself? Our current chapter, the Information Age, has us enthralled with numbers and statistics. Our worth, once measured in character and deeds, is now quantified in likes, followers, and digital validations. These arbitrary numbers are a strange new currency of self-esteem, where our social interactions are distilled into metrics, becoming a scoreboard for something as intangible as human connection.

In today’s world, we seem to be irresistibly drawn towards a binary system, a sort of black-and-white worldview where there’s little room for the gray. Anything that deviates slightly from the norm, any idea or person that dares to tread a different path, is quickly labeled as an outlier, something to be wary of. It’s a disturbing trend, this fear of the unorthodox, as it stifles creativity and diversity, elements so crucial to the growth of society. We’re quick to judge, to shun, to label anything remotely different as suspect, and in doing so, we close the doors to understanding and empathy.

This tendency to polarize extends into our fascination with celebrities and political figures. We elevate them to near-divine status, worshipping them as if they’re infallible gods, not humans with flaws and complexities. In our eyes, these figures become larger than life, and we often forget that they, too, are susceptible to mistakes and misjudgments. This idolization blinds us to their humanity, creating a dangerous illusion that they are beyond reproach or criticism, and we dismiss any notion of their fallibility, forgetting that they, like us, are just human.

Then there’s our approach to crisis and tragedy. We send thoughts and prayers, a phrase that has become almost reflexive in the face of adversity. We shift the burden of action to a higher power, an imaginary deity, referencing a religious narrative where divine intervention once played a pivotal role, but that seems conspicuously absent now. This is a passive approach, one that absolves us from taking concrete action. We wait for a savior who, according to beliefs, made the ultimate sacrifice millennia ago, but we hesitate to make even the smallest sacrifices ourselves. Instead of being assertive and proactive, we retreat into prayer, often failing to recognize that change often requires our hands and hearts, not just our hopes.

In this climate, anger has become the new normal. It’s as if we’re simmering in a cauldron of discontent and frustration, ready to boil over at the slightest provocation. This pervasive anger is more than just a fleeting emotion; it’s become a cultural undercurrent, a defining trait of our era. It manifests in our politics, our social interactions, even in the anonymity of the digital world. We’re quick to ignite, to lash out, often without fully understanding why we’re so enraged. It’s a concerning trend, one that threatens to erode the very fabric of our society, replacing dialogue and understanding with blatent animosity and division. In recognizing this, perhaps we can start to address the roots of this anger, to find a way back to a more empathetic and patient way of interacting with our world and each other.

The irony is not lost on me—the systems we’ve designed to streamline our lives, to connect us more deeply, often do the opposite. They complicate our existence, creating digital personas of only our attractive attributes, and superficial interactions. The simplicity we sought is now forever buried under layers of complexity.

As I sip my morning coffee, the warmth reminds me of the ghosts of my past—the people I once knew, are now mere shadows in my memory. They are like silhouettes in dreams, where everything seemed better, simpler, and ideal. In my minds eye, the past held disagreements which were fleeting, and harmony was always the norm. But perhaps, these are just the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, painting a past that was never as idyllic as it seems now.

Our modern society seems to thrive on conflict, as if it’s a stimulant we can’t live without. We witness a constant struggle for superiority, where cutting others down is a ladder to success. Loyalty and trust, once the cornerstone of human relationships, now seem like relics of a bygone era, often mocked or seen as naivety.

In this early morning solitude, I wonder if we can ever break free from this cycle. Can we find a way back to genuine connections, to a world where our value isn’t dictated by digital scores? Maybe, in acknowledging these patterns, these flaws in our modern times, we can begin to weave a new narrative. One where trust isn’t a joke, and our lives are measured in moments of genuine, unquantifiable joy.

In these moments of early quiet, as the world around me slowly awakens, I feel a renewed sense of purpose and clarity. It’s as if the dawning day offers a gentle nudge, a kind encouragement to shed the weight of yesterday’s mistakes, and carry forward only the lessons learned. It’s an invitation to embrace the day with a heart open to possibilities, to face our challenges with a blend of grace and resilience, and to keep one’s heart open with kindness and understanding.

As I sit here, watching the sun rise, I’m filled with a sense of hope and determination. Perhaps, today can be a step towards something better, and I have the determination to make that hope a reality. Every day is a chance to nurture the best parts of ourselves and to extend that warmth and compassion to those around us.

Colophon
Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of hurtful messages from individuals who use the anonymity of the internet to spread their ignorance. These messages unfairly question my intersex birth assignment, wrongly suggesting that I’m simply fabricating my story or that I am hiding the fact that I am transgender. Genetically, socially, and legally, I am a female. As for sexual orientation, I identify as a lesbian. Professionally and vocationally, I have identified as an Information Technology Specialist, Paramedic, Firefighter, Writer, Photographer, Website Designer, and a general Jill of all trades, sometimes these identities overlap and blend into each other.

My mother did her best by raising me as a girl, and as such, I’ve lived and identified as female my entire life. To everyone who knows me, I am recognized as a woman named Thomas.

Asides
What Would You Do If You Won The Lottery? | Behind The Pearly Gates | Seeking Happiness | This Wealth Thing… I Don’t Get It. | Reflections On The Downward Spiral Of Modern Society | I’m Going Through Changes | Almost. | I Have Been A Lot Different | In Another Set Of Chances, I’d Take The Ones I Missed | The Enchanting Aura Of Nostalgia | AMAB | We Simplify Our Journey To Make It Understandable | The Bittersweet Feelings Of Letting Go | Writing, Photography, And My Life With Amelia | A Girl With Abstract Dreams | Friendships Shouldn’t Be This Hard…

16 Comments

    • Thomas Slatin

      You’re welcome, Jay-Lyn! Amelia and I agree with you, and we decided that I’m better off just writing for my blog and our collaborative blog, ObscureCuriosities.com, and avoiding social media altogether. Reddit has become utterly toxic, and while we have met a handful of people in person via the platform, those same people ended up being toxic in real life. As for me and Amelia, what you see is exactly what you get. We are both open, honest, and dependable individuals who will do whatever it takes to nurture friendships.

      • mydangblog

        After spending some time this morning on social media (I have to go on Twitter to share my posts and it’s always a cesspool), your voice is truly a shining beacon in a sea of darkness. 🙂

        • Thomas Slatin

          I recently took a deep dive into Usenet, curious to see if my name ever popped up in the archives. What I found was both shocking and disheartening. It appears that back in the 1990s, I was the topic of many discussions, and not in a good way. A lot of people really had it out for me, and instead of coming to me directly with their concerns, they chose to air them on Usenet, all without my knowledge. It’s a strange feeling, stumbling upon conversations about yourself from decades ago, filled with negativity you never knew existed.

          As society evolved, we embraced social media, and platforms like Usenet faded into the background. Yet, it’s clear we haven’t learned from the past. The same behaviors of discussing others in public forums without their knowledge or consent have only magnified with the advent of social media. It’s as if history is repeating itself, with the only difference being the platform. The anonymity and distance that digital communication provides seem to embolden people to say things they would never say face-to-face.

          This experience has been a stark reminder of the importance of direct communication and the impact that words can have, even if spoken or written in what seems like a distant, digital echo chamber. However, the worst part is realizing the permanence of these words. Unlike spoken words that can fade from memory, these posts will linger on the internet for eternity, a constant reminder of how people viewed me at a time when I had no opportunity to defend myself or address their concerns directly.

          It’s disappointing to see that, despite the technological advances and the passage of time, we still struggle with the same social issues. This underscores the need for us to cultivate empathy and kindness in our interactions, both online and offline. Only then can we hope to break this cycle and create a more understanding and respectful society.

          • mydangblog

            I’ve never even heard of Usenet–that’s horrible that people would do that. And yes, the worst part is that it exists forever. Anonymity gives cowardly people such courage, doesn’t it?

          • Thomas Slatin

            I recently stumbled upon a revelation that left me both shocked and reflecting deeply on my journey. I discovered that my father had taken to the online world to discuss my sexuality, following a pivotal moment in my life when, at the age of 16, I brought my first girlfriend home to meet my parents. That was also the time I came out as a lesbian, a moment that marked the beginning of a challenging, yet ultimately empowering, chapter of my life.

            I’ve always had a sarcastic streak, a trait that didn’t wane even in the face of my father’s outrage at my bringing a girl home. I remember retorting with a pointed observation that he, too, had once brought a girl home—my mom. Why, then, should it be any different for me? The irony of the situation was not lost on me, even in the midst of such a heated and personal confrontation.

            The world of Usenet, where my father aired his grievances and sought advice, was a harsh landscape for a young lesbian woman. Many of the posters there grossly underestimated me, boldly claiming that I would never make it in a traditionally male-dominated field like the fire department. Their doubts and derision only fueled my determination to prove them wrong. And prove them wrong, I did. Some 20 years later, not only did I survive in the fire department, but I thrived, retiring as a Lieutenant Specialist. My career was a testament to my resilience, passion, and commitment to breaking barriers.

            Looking back, I realize the importance of support and reassurance from those who believed in me. To those of you who have been there for me through the years, offering encouragement and standing by my side, I cannot thank you enough. Your faith in me during those times of doubt and discrimination helped me to overcome the obstacles in my path and achieve what many thought impossible.

            As I reflect on these experiences, I’m reminded of the power of perseverance, the importance of authenticity, and the value of supportive communities. My journey has been far from easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for your unwavering support and reassurance all these years.

    • waywardsparkles

      Wow, just wow, Thomas! I’d love for so many I know to be able to see the world through your perspective. At present I’m going through a painful time in my life where my “friends” — well, once you find out some people’s true colors, can you even call them friends anymore? Even so, I try and remind myself that we all have faults (boy do I have faults!) because we’re all human. I just try to accept who people are and where they are in life even if they can’t return the favor. Don’t know that I’ll ever feel good about being the outlier, but I also wouldn’t have it any other way. Anyway, I’ll come back and re-read what you wrote from time to time because what you’ve written is incredibly important! Thank you for this gift! Mona

      • Thomas Slatin

        Thank you, Mona, for your heartfelt comment. It’s rare to find someone who takes the time to express such kindness and understanding, especially towards a life as unconventional as mine. I’ve always known I was a little different. To those who know me, I often seem like a mystery, an enigma that doesn’t quite fit the mold society has crafted for us.

        From the moment I entered this world, my path was marked by difference; doctors labeled me a hermaphrodite when I was born. This label, this deviation from the norm, set the tone for much of my early life. Teachers, unable to understand or accept my uniqueness, often expressed disdain. Their disapproval wasn’t solely aimed at my birth sex, but intertwined with misconceptions about my capabilities. Doctors prognosticated a future dimmed by limitations, citing my intersex condition as a harbinger of mental challenges and a life devoid of achievement. They underestimated me, failing to see the strength and intelligence that lay beneath their narrow definitions.

        Their underestimation wasn’t just about my intellectual or physical abilities; it extended to my character and my aspirations. They couldn’t fathom that my perceived faults—my high level of intelligence, an iron will to succeed, and my self-identification as a lesbian—were, in fact, my greatest assets. These aspects of my identity, far from being hurdles, have been the bedrock of my resilience and the driving force behind my achievements.

        Navigating life has been a journey of proving others wrong, not out of spite, but as a testament to the human spirit’s indomitable nature. My wife and I, united in love and shared experience, have often found ourselves on the fringes of social circles. People meet us and struggle to place us within the binary confines of their understanding. Our existence challenges the norm, and in doing so, it seems to create a barrier to forming those typical societal bonds termed as friendships.

        Despite this, I’ve never turned my back on those around me. Both in my professional life as a Firefighter and Paramedic, as well as my personal endeavors, I’ve consistently put myself on the line for others. I’ve risked my life more times than I can count, not simply as a disregard for my safety, but as a profound belief in the value of every individual’s life and well-being.

        I share this not for accolades, or pity, but to illuminate the power of difference. Our society is quick to judge, to label, and to dismiss based on deviations from the norm. Yet, it is precisely these deviations that hold the potential for the greatest contributions to our collective humanity. My life, marked by the challenges of being born intersex, facing societal rejection, and embracing my identity as a lesbian, is a testament to resilience, love, and the unyielding desire to contribute positively to the world around me.

        To those who feel misunderstood, underestimated, or alone in their differences, know this: your uniqueness is not a fault. It is a gift. It is an opportunity to forge new paths, to challenge outdated notions, and to live authentically in a world that often demands conformity. One should not be daunted by the journey, but instead embrace each step with courage, love, and an unwavering belief in ones own worth.

        Thank you again, Mona, for your kindness. It’s a reminder that even in our most solitary moments, connections can be forged, understanding can be deepened, and love can flourish. In a world that often feels divided, these moments of genuine connection are a beacon of hope and a reminder of the beauty in our differences.

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