I’m having a hard time with my moods this week, which might make me crankier than usual. But I’m not sure it’s my bi-polar mood swings this time. I actually think my annoyance might be pretty organic. We’ve all been beat over the head with the Starbucks red cup issue, and I think most of us agree that it’s silly. Giant corporations are pretty careful with their images. And Starbucks, being a company that promotes tolerance in their workplace, probably made the red cup in order to be sensitive to those who don’t celebrate mainstream holidays. Overall, it’s a non-issue. It’s a cup for coffee that a company who has no reason to identify as solidly pro-Christmas chose for their hot beverages. It’s not a gun in your face, nor even a slap in your face. It’s a cup. The issue is only an issue because a person with a privileged life wanted to feel oppressed.
But non-issues are not just the domain of Evangelical pastors. I feel like non-issues are popping up all over the internet lately, and it just bums me out.The fact that the Seahawks aren’t doing well this year is a non-problem. I don’t know these guys. They get paid too much, which is a societal issue I’d actually be keen on hearing addressed. But their winning or losing doesn’t really effect my daily life. I don’t want to discuss, for hours, how their offense could do this or that.
I know that I, too, am guilty of making issues out of things that aren’t issues. We all do it. Sometimes when I’m manic, I get angry about the stupidest shit. I once gave away most of my wardrobe because I didn’t want to do laundry anymore. That’s sort of a non-issue, isn’t it? I mean, poor me with my too many clothes that need to be cleaned. I think I probably made it a huge issue for my husband, who could care less if I wore the same t-shirt every day.
He looked at me like, “That’s not really a big deal.” And it wasn’t. It’s maybe a bigger deal than a red cup, but not much. I’m not oppressed because I have to do laundry. My husband and I have to play our parts. He happens to bring in most of the money and his job is far away, so he can’t be home to do a lot of the chores and helps when he can. My job is done mostly from the home, and I can throw some laundry in while I write. He’s a present father and a caring partner. He treats my goals as valid, and supports me in them. He can do and often does laundry. He simply doesn’t really care if the house is a mess. Probably because it’s a non-issue.
I’m not trying to say that people don’t have their struggles. There are some people who are killed for their beliefs, orientations, race, etc. There are people who have generational trauma, whose very being was/still is appalling to the majority. Those people probably have issues. There are people with chronic illnesses, some who are dying, who have to fight trauma daily. These people probably have valid issues.
It’s okay to be annoyed that your day’s not going well, that someone was rude to you, that you can’t do something you want to do. But I’ve been asking myself lately, when I start to feel oppressed, is that really a big deal? Do you really know what it’s like to be oppressed? Is this an issue or a non-issue? Turns out that a messy house and kids building Lego towers in my living room is a non-issue. When my drink order is prepared wrong, it’s a non-issue. I can just ask for it to be done again, and it will happen. I have money to waste on coffee every day while I write books. I can do these things because I’m pretty privileged. I have actual issues. I have had actual trauma. I’ve been talked down to and berated for my gender and my physique. I’ve been sexually abused. I have a mental illness. But I find that my social feed is crowded with non-issues and I catch myself making non-issues a priority on my feed, and, in turn, my life. It’s all so Real Housewives or Kardashian or whatever dramatic reality tv show kids are watching these days.
This red cup thing is a non-issue and it’s silly. But so are many things I’ve been complaining about this year. I seriously think most of my social feed would not make it through the Dust Bowl, a world war or, dare I say it, a zombie apocalypse with how much we complain about little things. I don’t want to do it, anymore. I want to appreciate where I’m at. Make a difference when it comes to the big issues. Take a breath and realize the difference between an issue and a non-issue.
I don’t feel qualified to define what a “non-issue” is, but I know them in my own life when I start to rail about them. I’m gonna try to stop that. I’ve got bigger problems in my life, and I don’t need to add to the drama. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go tell that barista that my Gingerbread Tea Latte is missing it’s gingerbreadiness. In a polite way, of course. After all, a few squirts of gingerbread flavoring will fix the issue, and they’re usually spot on with my drink orders. I don’t really care that the to-go cup is red, since they know I’m just going to stay until my editing is done and they give me an environmentally friendly mug. They are empathetic that way. And I like reducing waste when I can. I feel it’s an issue of importance.