Just because one person rejects you doesn’t mean you need to reject yourself. Just because some people choose to disregard your worth and treat you without kindness doesn’t mean everyone will, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to imitate their behavior. The truth is that the way other people treat us isn’t about us—it’s about them and their own struggles, insecurities, and limitations. You don’t have to allow their judgement to become your truth.
You may not be able to control what other people say or how they act, but you can always choose how you treat yourself. You can choose who you surround yourself with, and who you let go of. And no matter what your circumstances, you can choose to believe in yourself and your worth.
Because at the end of the day, trying to please everyone is exhausting and impossible. No matter how you change or who you become, there will always be someone who doesn’t approve. So instead of wasting your energy in a futile attempt to become someone that other people want you to be, give yourself permission to be exactly who you are. And know that who you are is exactly enough.
The right people will find their way into your life. These are the people who will love and accept you wholeheartedly and without conditions. These are the people who matter. Let go of the rest.
In all of my time running this site (four-plus years now), I’ve never really faced a decision as difficult as this one. I wasn’t sure if I should post this picture or not given its graphic and disturbing nature. After sleeping on it, and asking five different people who have been loyal and long-time followers of this site what they thought I should do, I decided I should post it with the face blacked-out, and say a few words about it in the hopes that I can maybe change a few minds about a big problem facing our city.
Yesterday while walking through Kensington I came across the man pictured above. I never got a chance to know his name, as he was already in a bad way when we crossed paths. He was screaming in agony, and not screaming anything in particular, mostly gibberish. When I walked over to him, I asked if he was okay and he continued screaming. As time passed, he began to have more trouble standing up, until he completely collapsed on the sidewalk, clutching his arm, which had clear track marks on it, barely breathing. By this point, other passersby had joined me in trying to help this man, and paramedics had been called. Police showed up promptly, followed by paramedics who strapped the man to a gurney at which point myself and everyone around us was told to leave and rightfully so.
I’ve seen plenty of disturbing things in my life, including seeing members of my extended family under the influence of heavy drugs as this man appeared to be with heroin. All that said, this has really cut deeply for me. The look of sheer terror, pain, and most of all, sadness that I saw on the man’s face the second he hit the sidewalk and passed out is something I cannot get out of my head, and am not likely to forget any time soon. Tragically, this man is just one of many that has fallen victim to the rampant heroin epidemic that has swept through this area of Philadelphia, and many ares in the suburbs as well.
When I looked at this man’s face, I tried to determine his age. With heroin it’s hard to tell how old somebody actually is given the impact it has on the human body. What I do know is that I found myself wondering many things—how long has he been using, does he have a family, where does he live, and the list of questions go on and on. Drug addiction is a perfect example of how harsh life can be, and while we sometimes see things that bring us feelings of indescribable joy, we can also see and experience things that bring us tears of extreme sadness.
So, why post this picture? I posted this picture because ultimately seeing is believing, and I think in the right context people will start to see drug addiction for what it really is—a struggle that consumes the lives of many people, and is extremely difficult to break. When websites such as “People of Septa” post pictures of people who are drug addicts without their faces blurred out (as I have done here), it dehumanizes the people, and trivializes the problem. I decided to post this because people need to see the gritty reality of something that isn’t funny, but actually very sad, and use it as a means to better themselves, and work to better their city. People who are addicts were not addicts their entire life, and people who are addicts are not bad people. Even though the person addicted to drugs likely isn’t a selfish person by nature, their addiction has taken over their personality and made them that way. We should always try to put a human face on everything, especially other humans, and try to see the person for who they are behind the addiction.
If you know someone who is an addict, help them, but don’t enable them. Give them support, not money, because you don’t know what they’ll use that money for. Remind that person of how much they mean to you and others, and if they decide to make the effort to get clean and sober, encourage them every step of the way. The people you see on public transit, or roaming the streets of Kensington, or roaming the streets of your neighborhood or town are somebody’s son, daughter, maybe somebody’s father or mother, and possibly someone’s brother or sister. Think of all the pain and emotional hurt that comes attached to that one person on every angle, and treat those people with respect.
I hope this post accomplished what I set out for it to do, and I hope it was done in a proper and respectful manner. The only way we can help those in our city and our communities with the struggle that heroin and other drugs has caused is if we stop trivializing the problem, have an open and honest discussion about it, and help those who are addicted because ultimately, they might be our biggest asset in this serious and upsetting problem.
Getty photographer Scott Olson has taken some of the most iconic images from the Ferguson protests. Last night, he was arrested.
Tear gas is banned in international warfare — and in use in Ferguson, MO
In case anyone didn’t know, the use of tear gas was banned in international warfare at the Geneva Convention. These are human rights violations, people. Ferguson PD needs to be put in front of a UN board as war criminals. They are also arresting and detaining journalists.
Time for some reading.
The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, by Radley Balko (2013)
About the book: [x]
Podcast interview with the author: [x]
Purchase the book:
Tonight in Ferguson, Mo. Even CNN is calling out police brutality.
We are watching history unfold. Do not stand down. Spread the word.
No justice, no peace.
THIS IS HAPPENING IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI.
I need all of you to pay attention to this. SWAT is attacking peaceful protesters and arresting media so they can’t cover it.
This is going on right now.
This is the Police State
I’m only sharing tweets for those who are not on twitter and can’t see how passionate and outraged journalists are as they tweet from #Ferguson.
If you are on Twitter, here’s a good roster of people to follow if you want to keep updated.
Just now reading about this Luis Gonzalez case
I was just thinking that. History has shown us MANY TIMES, that even when we have them caught on camera unlawfully kill someone, police still get off. Too much room for unreasonable doubt for a conviction in this case.