Up until recently I would have described myself as apathetic with regards to news sources and the issues that are affecting our world. I generally don’t read the newspaper and blatantly disregard any and all current events on the television. It’s not because I don’t want to stay informed or because I’m too absorbed in my own life to care; it’s because for a long time I found it too difficult to constantly read about all of the horrible depraved acts that we commit as human beings.
After the attack on the world trade center back in 2001 and the events that followed I began to separate myself from the world at large and only stay informed on the most pressing of topics. As someone who feels things very intensely, I made the conscious decision to wrap myself in a little cocoon, free of politics and the immerging realities of a changing world. I disregarded news outlets and made it a point to protect myself from the inevitable sadness that would come from reading about shootings, bombings, and the ever growing death tolls of war. I somehow isolated myself to some degree while the world was still spinning around me.
In recent months, however, I seem to have stripped away that protective cocoon and found myself enthralled by the day to day happenings of the world at large. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and have developed a thicker skin or that I’ve become a more open person. It could just be that I’m finally starting to see how the issues I’m reading about are pertinent to my life. No matter the reason behind the change, I have found myself wanting to know more and more about the issues that until recently I would have ignored.
In the last few weeks alone we’ve come face to face with stories in the news that are not only undeniably relevant to my role as an American citizen, but to my identification as a gay man as well. We’ve witnessed discrimination, hate crimes, and outright psychosis resulting in mass murder within a very short span of time. With events like these in the newspapers and on the television I think it’s easy for us to forget that not all news is bad news. The good things are sometimes overlooked because of the tragedies that are plastered all over the front page. We tend to forget that despite all the terrible things that happen in this world, good things happen too. People like me overlook the good because we’re accustomed to the bad.
When I really stop to think about it, this mindset is damaging. Information is power and to ignore the events of a changing world is to put me at a disadvantage in the grand scheme of things. To be informed is to be able to see the world from multiple vantage points and to integrate various knowledge sets into a comprehensive whole in order to make decisions based on fact, rather than blind obedience to the words of others.
Information gives way to perspective and I think that in these trying times we could all use a little more perspective. To close ourselves off, ignoring the issues that impact our lives on a grand scale is a mistake; a mistake that I made growing up and a mistake that many people are making now. Luckily for us, it’s never too late to change and to see the world in a new way. Do what up until now I had not: stay informed. It’s the only way to move forward.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry
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