A Sobering Saturday Post on Trust

My week didn’t really work out as planned. That’s life. Today’s a gorgeous anomaly of sun and warm temperatures before we dip back to unseasonal coolness again tomorrow, so you KNOW I have a huge bike ride on tap this afternoon, coupled with plans for some photography.

I just wanted to post a quick something here, feeling pretty moved by this really tragic story I found on BBC.

Long story short: A female Italian artist decided she and her friend would try to bring a message of peace to everyone by hitchhiking dressed as brides to the Middle East. The two women got separated, and one has now been found murdered. So much for the cause of peace.

One of the victim’s devastated sisters had this comment to make, “Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and of trust, but not everyone deserves trust.”

I guess that’s something I see wrong with a lot of women today — too trusting at the wrong times.

There are times for trust and times for skepticism, and engaging in skepticism does not mean you’re a bad person, it means you’re protecting yourself against chance.

I don’t care if this “trust” is as dangerous as hitching for rides in the Middle East, or just choosing to have sex with a “nice” guy sans a condom.

I’ve had a story sitting in my email inbox for a couple weeks because I’ve not wanted to confront the depressing reality I’d need to tap into in order to do it justice, but it’s largely about how their is a STARTLING ascent in the transmission of sexual diseases with young women. What the fuck are you girls thinking? CONDOMS! If men say no to wearing them, YOU HAVE A REASON TO BE SCARED. I don’t give a fuck what his reason is — wearing a condom should absolutely be mandatory. I mean, come on! Okay, that’s another posting for another time, but you see that it clearly inspires some rage in me…

Tangent aside, this all goes to the same troubling thing: the wanting to be able to trust everyone.

You cannot trust everyone. It’d be nice. But there are very, very bad people in the world. Crimes will always happen, people will always be murdered, poverty will always exist. That’s just what the human condition entails. We will never solve everything, we’ll never genetically-engineer “nice, trustworthy” people, we’ll never conquer violence against each other. We can sure try, but I doubt we’ll ever succeed.

Trust can’t be randomly assigned. You cannot trust people you don’t know. You cannot trust people you have no history with. Trust must be gained or earned. As you get to know someone, you develop instincts. You must learn whether your instincts can be trusted or not. I can trust my instincts about 80-90% of the time, and I’ve learned that from years of judging it.

We need to live cautiously. We need to expect that the worst can happen. We need to understand that any situation can go from safe to horror in five minutes or less. And we need to believe that, even though we live with all these safeguards, there will always be people who surprise us and inspire us to continue taking the chance on trusting others…

…Just not blindly, like this poor, now-dead woman did.

Trusting others is a difficult thing to do, and we’re often wrong in the assigning of trust and faith to those others, but we need to keep trying because there will always be moments when trusting is the threshold to great, great experiences. Trust is hard to give, challenging to keep, but a terrible thing to live without.

Like I say, though, in a big ol’ world of wonder that also happens to be filled with STDs, automatic weapons, and violent people, the giving of trust can’t be done blindly. People’s faces have nothing to do with what lurks behind their eyes, and some of what’s lurking, none of us ever want to experience.

I guess there’s no happy way to end this posting other than to say, be wary of who you trust. They’re call “strangers” for a reason. Embrace skepticism, then allow yourself to trust when the time is right.

So, uh, happy weekend?

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