A Man with a Plan
How does the world teach us to live? Doesn’t Hollywood depict the ultimate life either killing for the good of the human race, or being some sort of hero? Don’t people dream of being remembered in history for something? How many times have I heard of someone “just wanting to make history”, or something along those lines? But why? Why is it so Important to the human race to want to be remembered for something so incredible that they did? Why do you need to have your name written in a book to feel accomplished? Why does your family name have to go down as something special? Let me ask you this: without the people that history forgot, would there be any actual history? There is so many theories as to people who did not invent the things that they invented, such as the first rocket wasn’t even built by NASA, they just paid the guy off and took all the credit. There was even stipulation to the guy who invented vegetable oil ran vehicles, but the government literally just paid him to shut up. So many unanswered questions, but I can give you an answer to one. My name is Nick Hollis, and my family name is already in history, and I don’t have to make the history books.
The civil war is one of the most brutal recorded battles of history. It is now known as one of the most interesting and most studied wars in American history. This war produced different media outcomes, then and now, and was considered the first “modern war”. This was because of the new implemented technology in the creation of the bullets, guns, and even the first actual machine gun was produced. Why is this an important part of my essay? Because the hero I am to write about, the one I am related to, put our name in history. His name was —— and he received the medal of ——— for his courage and his loyalty to his fellow countrymen and his country in general. This medal was given to him by Abraham Lincoln himself, and we still have it today.
The South in the civil war had the greatest military minds of all time. As discrepancies go, there are so many different theories on how wrong it is we look at the South today. They were outnumbered, they had fewer resources, but if push came to shove, and the generals of the South switched with the North, that war would have not made it past two months. This may seem terribly insignificant, but it actually ties in with the entire story.
My ancestor, —–, rode cavalry for the union. He and his band of men walked the boarders of the North and south almost every day of that war to make sure that there was no shenanigans going on that may make the North worry. One day, my ancestor and his men came across a band of Southern spies scouting the border; they captured the spies and brought them in for interrogation. They learned from the interrogation that the Sothern spies were scouting the land to circle the Northern troops and ambush them from both sides. They were also going to sabotage the camps and weaken the Northern army. Thanks to my ancestor, the army that was near the northern tip of Virginia was never weakened, and fought bravely in the final battle for Richmond, in the battle to come.
How does this tie with my personal narrative if it’s about an ancestor of mine? Well, his story is courageous and heroic, while mine is nonchalant and normal. The small details are always the ones that count in the story. The tiniest ties are the ones that make you go, “Oh really? No way!” Well, the North was fighting to free the slaves, and they won that battle. My ancestor was fighting to bring pride to his family and fight for what he believed in. The Civil War was honestly just a stepping stone to a newer, more complicated future. The Civil War might have ended slavery by law, but it didn’t exactly end slavery by custom. African Americans were free to do what they wish, but at what cost? They lost their homes, a place to sleep, a place to be fed. Hollywood paints the South as one of the most evil things on the planet. They try to show you how harsh slave life was and how horrific slave owners could be. What Hollywood doesn’t show you are the other guys. These were the ones who liked pleasing their masters and were given a home. Once slaves were free the southern states were war torn and destroyed, they couldn’t go back to their masters who they no longer had. Some were lucky enough to get re-hired for a place to sleep and food. Others were kicked out and died on the streets of hunger and sickness. War is never a good thing in any country, and the aspects of it that are given to us today are completely fantasized.
The South begins to rebuild, but the war is still ongoing. There are no guns or armies coming at each other. The fight isn’t fought on a battlefield over land and strategic position. The battle is fought at home. The battle was for equal rights. After years of suffering through slavery and being treated like dogs and animals, it never changed. So, they were free. What exactly were they free from? They were living under the same conditions and the same treatment, and they had another war to fight.
I won’t get into detail about the civil rights movement, or how the African Americans are still fighting the war today. Here is where I churn the pot and mix it all together.
I didn’t grow up in a war torn country or in a time where people fought against each other or my family was taken from me. In a common sense, the war that I fight today is not in the streets or in a battlefield. There are no guns and there is no new type of bullet I am going to load into my M4 assault rifle. The truth is that I am fighting a war within myself. I am fighting a war that is crossing my culture with my beliefs. So, no, I may not be carrying a M9 semi-automatic pistol on me at all times, but I do carry a weapon. I carry my brain, my words, my beliefs, and my faith. These are all my weapons against the common enemy that I struggle to fight everyday with my life. I have to be constantly pouring ammunition into each and every one of my weapons to create a sort of common ground on where I stand. I don’t have backup or I can’t call in air support. I’m all alone like the Punisher waiting to take out his enemies one by one, gathering Intel, and devising a plan that gets them all in the same place at the same time, and slaughtering all of them all at once like pigs in the slaughterhouse. I am patient. I take my time, and when I am ready, I make the kill. When I am ready, and I have enough proof, I make my argument heard.
My life is an honest heaven. I live everyday knowing that each day is getting better and better, and that I have a family that loves me, and my God who I can attribute to that. I am strong in my faith, I am sensitive at heart, and I didn’t start seeing things as they really should be until now, as a whole. I grew up in a house that was small, but beautiful. My dad slaved away at work day and night to pay the bills, while my mother worked for a quadriplegic who died a few years ago. (R.I.P. Diane) My life was absolutely sound, and I grew up in a pretty good neighborhood. The only thing different about my neighborhood was that I grew up with girls. There was little to no boys in my subdivision for years, and I had to make friends with the locals, who ended up being girls. As bad as this sounds, I made a best friend. When I write about her today, I can’t think of her the same as I once did. As a child, she was my one and only, my very best friend and it saddens me to say that it is no longer the same way. Anyways, growing up with this girl and a few others, I learned how to befriend girls a lot easier than boys. I don’t think I had a guy best friend until about seventh grade. Learning how to befriend girls also made it easier to think like they did, know what they wanted, and create an explicit understanding of how they wanted to be treated. This was only part of my personality though. The other part of my personality was created by my family. My family is very nice as a whole, but there are some deep negatives to our culture that were never really negatives until I actually started realizing what I was saying.
I never thought about my political views until I discussed liberalism with one of my co-workers in eighth grade. This discussion came as a shock to me, as I thought that it totally was what my family believed in. Until I brought it home to the dinner table. You have to understand how ridiculous conservative my family is, and how my voice still struggles to be heard in my home, and how my opinion on things doesn’t faze anyone, or just makes them angry. My family’s base belief has been hammered into my head for years and I have just believed it forever until I realize that you can actually have your own opinion in this world. Let me first explain what my father believes: He believes that the reason he cannot raise his kids in his hometown, Glenwood, IL, is because black people started moving in, not taking care of their homes, and running down the town. The world today would look at that and say, “That is the most racist and absurd thing I have ever heard.” Sadly, he is not wrong. There is statistical evidence to prove that the number of African American people in certain communities will deplete home values and cause a rise in crime. This is not proving my father right. My dad is a proud, great man, but that is a bias opinion. The reason that this can be explained is not actually because of the black people, but because of the white people, who become afraid their community will be ruined by people like that, move away, and leave their community to become undervalued by people who cannot afford to keep their houses up. I do not agree with my father that it is black people causing slums or ghettos, but I do believe that there are decent people in their community who want the community to be decent, and not a craphole.
He is not the only family like that. His entire side of the family all believes in this, and I can’t even speak when I hear, “Oh well he’s black,” or “oh well that’s the black part of town.” The other major change in my life actually came in the form of my ex girlfriend. Before that relationship, I had all of my base family beliefs. I was racist, I was sexist, I had a very naïve view of the world. As an extreme feminist, she changed all of that. God love her, we disagreed about everything still, but I definitely took a lot from that relationship. I still do not agree with pro-choice (abortions), and she does and she tried so hard to change that out of me, but I wouldn’t. I kept my base faith, but she changed my views of women, I became a feminist, and realized that as bad as women have it, men have it bad sometimes too. Not only do I sit at family parties now and cringe at black people comments, but now, I see sexist things, and I hear it, and it irks me to the bone. Not only is it sexist things, but being gay also sends you to Hell, and now I go to a college where that is completely okay and that is such a change for me considering the amount of intolerance my family has for them. A great example of this is when my grandfather referred to my mother and my aunt as “eye candy for me” along with my sister and cousin. That seems explainable since he is getting old, but there’s been worse. My family likes to host horseshoe tournaments and it is extremely gender biased. The men will all play horseshoes while the women sit and watch most of the time, or find something else to do. This kills me every time because you are all expected to attend, and if you don’t make it, my God you are in trouble.
Finally, is the milk and cookies. I started off my life believing that everything my parents said was true. I love my parents dearly, but I didn’t think it was acceptable to have my own opinion until now, today which seems ridiculous but is true. The irony of growing up with girls, and not realizing they had further purpose then to be mothers and to make me chicken patties and French fries didn’t really dawn on me until I dated a feminist. She taught me that feminism isn’t only for the equality of males, but for females too. It should be okay for men to cry, or to be “unmanly”. I go to a school now where there are many gay people, and it doesn’t bother me at all, even though I have my father’s voice in the back of my head saying, “What on Earth are you talking to this fruitcake for?” Then, racism against black people runs in my blood. Luckily, my racism has completely faded, and I think that most of them are absolutely approachable. I have no issue with any of them, unless they have an issue with me. (Yes I am a bee.) Lastly, my faith has never changed. I love God and my parents set a small base of where I could start, but didn’t have a big part like the connection that I made with Him. The last person to shape my beliefs is Jesus, and that’s just because he is family too.
I’m not a hero. I don’t wear a badge or carry a gun. I do have a soul. I also have a love for the people of this Earth, and for the people around me. I consider myself a good person now not because of my customs or the way I was raised, but because I chose to be the man I am today, and am happy with the man I am turning out to be.
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