Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We ALL Need Support

I've had a lot more spare time than usual over the past few days; those of you who know me know exactly why. It's usually during times of sheer boredom that I do my best thinking, and the past seventy-two hours or so have been no exception. I've thought this through more times than I can count on one hand, and I think I've gotten the hang of what I want to say.
As usual, I'll start with a story: In 2005, the (alleged) finale of the Star Wars saga, Revenge of the Sith, came out in theaters. People flocked to the cinemas, and both professional critics and regular movie-watchers were singing its praises. Some conservative reviewers had one problem with it, though. Since battles between good and evil are present throughout George Lucas' space opera, it's very popular with people of all faiths. However, the notion of religion got insulted by the scene where newly-Sith Anakin says, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy," and his mentor Obi-Wan replies, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." It was especially offensive to those of the Christian faith, since Jesus himself once said, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." (Matthew 12:30, NIV)
Why do I bring that up? Simply because what Anakin and Jesus said applies to the people I regularly interact with as well: they're either with me or against me. I don't consider anyone who isn't my friend to be my enemy; Jesus also said, "Whoever is not against you is for you." I'll admit that I do have right many friends, and I'm not talking about Facebook friends. Between my weekly small group, the library where I volunteer, and my church family, I have a large amount of them. You may be asking: How do I know who, among the people I associate with, is my friend and who isn't? Simple: if they support me, they're with me...but if they don't, they're not. I'm not talking about financial support; I'm talking about emotional support.
As usual, I'll use some stories to illustrate my point: There was a person who I (unfortunately, I might add) had to deal with quite often who often showed his/her disdain for my favorite things. Remember the story from my "Don't Mention It" post about how I was "punished" by someone for saying, "Na nu, na nu," to my Sunday school teacher? Well, that same "someone" treated the old 80's sitcom Growing Pains, my number one favorite show at the time, like it was pornography, saying, "I'm sorry; we don't watch that show in this house! Turn on the news!" Even one brief mention of my favorite computer game series caused an angry response from him/her. Another person--who will also remain nameless--was just as unsupportive, but in a different way. He/she was essentially the sole leader of a group I was in, and he/she sat there and repeatedly condoned what the other members did, even things such as lying or spouting off at the mouth, while continually putting me on blast for anything that he/she found the least bit inappropriate. That probably doesn't sound very supportive to you, and it isn't; one can only conclude that those two individuals--at that time, anyway--were not on my side.
Conversely, I have a friend named who is in charge of the magazines at the library where I volunteer. Just like everyone else who knows me, he/she knew I was a big Victoria Justice fan, so, a few months ago, when a brand-new issue of Seventeen arrived with Vic herself on the cover, my friend thought of me and (almost) let me read it before anyone else. (The only reason he/she didn't was because I'd already left for the day by the time it came in.) It may not have been anything big, but I really appreciated such a kind gesture. To me, that's a perfect example of what support is.
Believe it or not, most of the people I interact with on an at least somewhat frequent basis fall into one of those categories; that is, supportive or unsupportive. I'm thankful that the majority of the people I communicate with regularly are supportive; I don't know what I would do without them. Still, it pains me to think that some people could be my friends...if only they'd support me.
Now, let me be clear on one point: Money will not buy my friendship. Most of you know that I am a child of divorce, and that my biological father is the quintessential jerk. In fact, I'm quite thankful that my mom left him when she did, because that decision gave me a better life. Even though I almost never saw him, one thing he used to do quite often was send me gifts. Most of it was sports-related, which made it worthless to me. Occasionally, though, he did send me some good stuff. My mom warned me--and, remember, she was married to him for fifteen years, so she knew his ways--that he was probably trying to win my love with things. The same could be said of some people who were regularly unsupportive. Seriously, you can shower me with presents on Christmas or my birthday, but all those material things don't mean anything if you're not emotionally supportive of me.
In conclusion, let me say this: I get that many of you don't understand why things such as entertainment, celebrity crushes, yard/garage sales, libraries, etc., are so important to me. If I were to guess, I'd say it's because, compared to many people my age, I don't have much going on. Most of my coeval friends are in some sort of relationship, have a job, and/or are taking a lot of classes. However, I'm not involved in any of those things right now, unless you count my volunteering at the library as a job, which I don't. I need something to fill my time, and the aforementioned things that are important to me currently fit the bill perfectly. In my opinion, a true friend would already understand all that and would do just like that librarian friend did in the story mentioned above. Yes, I need emotional support; we all do. If, however, you're going to repeatedly tell me why my favorite things are stupid, or that I'm always wrong about everything, then you are not being emotionally supportive of me. If you're reading this, I'm either already your friend or want to be, but friendship goes both ways. I can show respect for what you're into; can you do the same for me?

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