127: Participation is optional

127: Participation is optional

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I don’t have the answers and I don’t think any of us do. But there is an influx of people in my life and on my social media that want me to dig into current events and talk politics. I’ve been told homesteading and politics are related, and current events affect everyone, even don’t be an ostrich and bury your head in the sand. The angrier people get at what’s going on, the more they want me to address it or accuse me of failing my platforms because I haven’t “taken a stance.”

Hopefully this post will explain where I’m coming from.

Read on for *some* of my thoughts, or check out the podcast episode for a *much more* in depth discussion.

Listen to the podcast episode by pressing the play button on the black bar above.

All episodes are linked under the podcast tab that you can find way at the top of this post in my menu bar. 

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When I look at a lot of the things that are going on right now—or, let’s be honest, things that have always gone on—I like to remember the phrase participation is optional.

Say it with me: participation is optional.

That doesn’t mean don’t care. That doesn’t mean be clueless. It means choose what you’re going to participate in. And realize that sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is step away.

Choose not to play the game.

And saying you’re not going to be part of the game, and then just switching to the other side of the table and playing checkers from a different chair means you’re still playing the game.

In other words, buying into someone else’s fear, anger, propaganda, drama, whatever, is still playing the game.

I’ve heard several people say, “What’s happening right now is the worst thing that’s ever happened, we will never recover from this as a nation or a world.” Y’all. That hyperbolic language is part of the fear, anger, and propaganda of the game.

Is what we’re going through a real struggle? Yes. Is it bad? In my opinion, yeah. Are there things that need to change? Absolutely.

But have there always been things that needed to change? Absolutely.

If you have ever listened to Jack Spirko (The Survival Podcast) you may have heard him use the phrase the Assclown Circus to describe government and the spectacle that it is, and I’ve always thought that’s a pretty accurate description.

Y’all, it is a circus. When you agree with what’s going on, when you like what the trapeze artist is doing, you clap and say yay! When you don’t like the performance at the circus, you want your money back.

We buy tickets to this circus and we watch, glued to our seats, and we clap or we boo, and we wait to see what they will do next, and really what we should do is say, “No honey, we’re not gonna go see the ringmaster and the elephants and the monkeys today. We’re gonna stay home and do some chores and then we’re gonna sit on the front porch and drink some tea.”

I want you to keep in mind: you have the option to step away. That means different things to different people, and depends on where they live, where they work, and who they are. But as much as you can, please choose not to participate in the game. Don’t participate where you don’t have to. And always reconsider where it is that you have to participate.

Stop buying in to things that get you nowhere, like the anger. It’s a distraction.

People are like crows. All you have to do is create a reason for them to be angry at each other and they’ll be distracted for daaaaaaays.

It’s a game.

People in certain communities that I hang out in are freaking out right now because Krispy Kreme has said they will give you a free donut everyday until the end of 2021 if you show proof of having received the Covid shot. They’re posting meme after meme pointing out the irony in celebrating a vaccination to “stay healthy” with a sugar laden donut, and commenting on people’s need to “perform for a treat.”

And I’m over here thinking, I can’t remember the last time I had a Krispy Kreme donut. I don’t live near a Krispy Kreme. I don’t care if they’re giving free donuts because it doesn’t apply to me. The fact that I wouldn’t get a free donut because I don’t have proof of getting the Covid shot isn’t going to rent space in my brain because I didn’t have any plans to go to Krispy Kreme in the first place.

And that’s what I want to ask people who are freaking out about this. Are you a customer of Krispy Kreme? No? Then why do you care? How does it affect you? Let the people who have their shots and go to Krispy Kreme get their donut everyday if that’s what makes them happy. It has nothing to do with you if it has nothing to do with you.

It’s a game. Suck people in, get them angry, sit back and watch what happens.

We are playing right in to, y’all.

And I understand the whole, “But Amy, people have to speak up and make it known when something is wrong or they don’t agree or point out things that don’t make sense.”

Yep. I get it. But… then what? Because I think it’s perfectly clear that our country is divided. Everyone knows that. I think it’s perfectly clear that a lot of people are unhappy with how things are proceeding. So, you can post all the memes and articles and links that you want. But, then what?

No, really. It’s an honest question. Then what?

Do you have a plan? Have you thought through a way to bring about change to the current situations that you think aren’t right? Or do you just want to yell and scream and make noise?

I also understand that some people’s choices take away from or infringe on your freedom and that’s a totally different problem to tackle in a different post/episode. But someone, for instance, deciding they’re going to put on a mask does not infringe on the fact that you can choose to not wear one, does it? (Speaking from my own experience, where I live.)

Someone told me the other day, “I didn’t wear a mask and people stared at me!” Yep. People stare when you’re different. People also stare when you color your hair purple or when your shorts are too short or when you’re still dressed for the farm and walk into a decent restaurant. When you make a choice to be different, whether that’s to wear a mask or not, people might stare.

Get over it.

Sometimes I wear a mask. Sometimes I don’t. It depends on the situation. And I’m not going to take up that much space in my brain thinking about it.

And in the midst of all this virtue signaling that happens by both maskers and free breathers and those who get the shot or refuse the shot, in the midst of all the arguing back and forth and pointing fingers, I think, “Wow. Someone right now is thinking man, I’ve got them right where I want them. Completely distracted about who is or isn’t covering their face and which side is taking rights away from the other. I’m gonna go over here and do this other thing while you’re not paying attention.”

Remember what I said about people being like crows? All you have to do is create a reason for them to be angry at each other and they’ll be distracted for daaaaaaays.

Should we be mad at each other? Or should we maybe back away from the table and look at who put the game board there in the first place?

There is power in deciding not to participate. There is power in stepping away and saying, “I’m not going to be a part of this”, whatever this happens to be. We think that yelling and screaming and fighting back with fists is always the answer for everything… but have you ever wanted someone to fight with you or argue with you and they won’t? They just walk away?

And doesn’t that piss you off more than if they would have screamed and yelled?

Keep them angry. Keep them distracted.

Y’all, that is the game.

And it’s your job to decide if you’re going to participate in that game.

When you are angry about every single thing you hear about and you let that all into your life, you are taking up space in your head that should be reserved for things where you can actually make a difference.

I’m not saying don’t fight. I’m saying if you choose to fight, know what you’re fighting for. If you choose to participate, know what you’re participating in and why.

Your attention is a currency. Spend it wisely.

— Amy Dingmann, 3/29/21

Links mentioned in podcast

If, Then: Quick Thoughts on Ruling the World


My new book! Make Friends with a Dog: 18 Tips to Live a Good Life

“Daily” posts here at the website: https://afarmishkindoflife.com/category/itty-bitty-thoughts

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