There's a noisy and relentless social media buzz surrounding Gabby Douglas. The Olympian gymnast received media backlash for not placing her hand over her heart during The National Anthem. While others complained her facial expressions throughout the competition were unsportsmanlike.
For the critics: Did you know that Gabby is a military brat? She *gets* sacrifice. She tweeted, she apologized if she offended anyone and that she was overwhelmed by what she and her teammates had accomplished. Gold. The hand over-the-heart is a warm gesture, shows reverence to our flag, but not doing it doesn't make anyone less patriotic. Gabby seems to have been singled out. If you go to most any other sporting event you will find athletes, coaches and fans not placing their hand on their chest.
As for her facial expressions, she's my spirit animal. My face has been misread many times. I may give the appearance of anger or disgust but in reality I am in a state of extreme concentration or focus. Please people. Let's be gentle with her, others and ourselves. If you had a camera in your face during a competitive event or something less pressurized like, I-don't-know, going to the grocery store - not all of your recorded facial expressions will be placid. Amen?
Why has it become okay to quip a callous comment on social media? There are real people with real feelings on the other side of your words. Why is there so much criticism from the comfort of our chairs? Those of us who are not the athletes, the politicians, the performers, are typing in judgement when we have no skin in the game and let's face it, we're only seeing the highlight reel in most cases.
Look and feel what I'm writing....That battered butterfly was once a cocoon. It emerged new, and limitless. The powdery, delicate crepe paper wings could take them anywhere. Undamaged. Untested.
But life's storms injure fragile wings. When you have no other option than to survive and test your strength. If one is to enjoy summer breezes and swaying flower heads, she has to survive the pounding rain and erratic winds. Those wings pull you through the storm but you're left with tattered, silvery edges. There is beauty in the flight which bounces and wobbles. Imaginary puppet strings create the magic of fluttering. A sky dance pattern as random as a leaf on a breeze or the route of a bee to a particular rose. It's an aerial limp, lifting and sinking. Gaining and losing. A personal struggle....not against another...but a survival against what life offered.
Some lives last longer than others. Some lives live in the darkness while others glare from the spotlight. But we all have the nicks in our wings, the rip in our fin, the missing patches of fur, the scars in our skin.
Why throw the stones when the nick, rip or scar is not the same is yours?
Your mark may be longer, but theirs may be deeper. Don't judge when you have no idea what someone is carrying.
Listen - It's not a *competition* with each other - Who has had it worse?
It's a *connection* to each other that we've all suffered pain.
It's an opportunity for *compassion* that we've had tough times and made it to the other side.
Our scars can be revered - celebrated almost. Like a hero's welcome home. We must agree that though I may not have survived the battle you have, I understand and applaud your victory.