The Curious Case of CJ Matthews vs The World

How does one remain hopeful in a hopeless world? How do you remain level and optimistic when the world around you is slowly deteriorating right before your eyes?

This isn’t another one of my clever and intentional “stories” displaying a look into my life but rather an showcase of feelings I’ve been harboring about the world around me for little over a year now.

I told a very close and personal friend that the recent US Presidential Election of November 2016, would show me how much hope I should have in humanity. Needless to say, words like hurt, disappointed, pissed off, confused seem too light for me.

I don’t get it, I really don’t. My parents always taught me (as well as my sisters) to treat others the way you want to be treated. My mom used to always tell me, “Your decisions determine your destiny.” Both those “rules” I’ve always held on to.

Over the course of my life so far, I’ve always felt a disconnect from the world. Like there is something different about me that keeps me isolated. I used to think that was my (sometimes naive) hope that humanity at its core in genuinely good. I genuinely don’t know what to think anymore.

I’ve never seen such an outrage from so many people over a six letter word. MATTER.

Black Lives Matter. I can fully understand if we said “Are Better” or even “Matter More” but it just says matter. What that means to me as an Black American is, it’s a cry and statement to tell the nation/world that my life matters and should matter not just to me, but to the government, justice system and the world. And people get beyond upset if those three words are spoken or put in a hashtag and becomes a trending topic. Or get upset when an NFL player exercises his right and protest injustice and police brutality via taking a knee during the National Anthem.

I’m getting sick and tired of white America, complaining about anthem protests without understand and/or acknowledging why they happen in the first place. We’re outraged about Trayvon Martin? Michael Brown? Sandra Bland? Freddie Gray? Tamir Rice? Philando Castle? I could name more. When you get outraged at someone saying “Black Lives Matter” what you’re telling me as a black man is my life doesn’t matter, and I can’t help but to feel that the United States could care less about me because of my God-given skin color.

Yet, even in all that, I had some hope. Hope given by way of those white friends who told me my life mattered to them. To that I am forever grateful.

But what do you say to a world where truth and justice are, seemingly, no longer valued. Where right is wrong and wrong is justified. Where politicians put their political party’s agenda over the very people who elected them in office. Where we allow such a vile and cruel man to sit in the most important seat on Earth and people defend and support him, blamelessly.

What he has done, is given ammunition, drive and motivation to every fascist, sexist, racist, xenophobic idea.

What do we tell younger generations? That it is okay to be racist? That it is okay to sexual assault women? That is okay to cast judge on an entire race of people because of the violent acts of few?

I used to be extremely and openly homophobic. I didn’t care for the LGBTQ community. What opened my eyes and changed my heart was when a prominent and legendary Olympian came out to the world and said, “Hello. I am Caitlyn Jenner.” Watching the world genuinely accept her, tugged on my heart and I came to the realization that I can’t ask for rights and justice as a black man but then completely negate the rights of the LGBTQ community. So for that, I humbly apologize for who I was.

Whenever I think about the social and political state of our country I think of the saying, “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” But what if that “dawn” never comes? What if our country and world has reached a point of no return? That’s where I am currently.

I don’t know what going to happen in our country and world months or years from now, but what I do know is there is genuine goodness left in the world.

If you took the time out of your day to read this, I first thank and appreciate you greatly. Second, I charge you (as well as myself) to never give up hope. Even the smallest amount of hope can spark a faith that can move a mountain. Finally, love everyone around you, especially those who are the hardest to love. Only love can drive out hate, and love always wins.