In this day and age where almost everyone has access to the internet and is connected through some form of social media, it is so easy to have opinions and post them online. Not only do we have an insurmountable amount of content and information, but we also live in a tense political climate where opinions are so polarized it's scary sometimes. It's easy to hide behind a keyboard, post links to opinion articles or simply reshare passive aggressive memes that may or may not be intended to offend or trigger people who think different than we do.
When I scroll through my FB feed I get to experience a whole range of emotions that go from contentment, to agreement, to frustration, to pity and sometimes even anger. It sounds dumb to admit that some posts even put me in a bad mood even when they seem to be so insignificant but I'm not one to lie about my feelings, so there.. I said it.. For what it's worth, we live in an era where many of us connect through social media so that's why it matters...
As much as I try to bite my tongue and stay away from politically charged posts, sometimes it's difficult to avoid commenting on things I agree or disagree with. I have friends from all walks of life, some of us are very like minded and some are not but I have always been fine with differing opinions and diverse thinking because that's what keeps things interesting and I'd like to believe that my friends and I value feelings and affection more than our political, social or ideal views. I don't feel the need to prove to anyone the kind of person or friend that I am and I also don't fear losing friends over being myself...or at least I know I shouldn't.
But this post isn't about politics or how to handle friendships with people on the other side of the fence, this is more about my opinion on the importance of not hiding behind a keyboard and understanding that while posting opinions isn't wrong, people must always know that everything we write has consequences and most likely will elicit a reaction from someone... so if you want to "give it", you gotta be willing to "take it".
Yesterday, one of my FB "friends" reshared an excerpt from Glenn Close's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes this past Sunday. The exact excerpt that was shared goes as follows:
"I’m thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. And in her 80s she said to me, "I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything."And it was so not right. And I feel like what I've learned from this whole experience is, women, we’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us. We have our children, we have our husbands if we're lucky enough, and our partners. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, "I can do that, and I should be allowed to do that."
I happened to have watched the award ceremony and heard this very same speech, and while I clearly understand the intention of it (which is great, btw!), I took issue with the fact that she implied that having a family and a successful marriage wasn't "fulfilling". Had she used the term "professional fulfillment", or something along those lines, her speech would have been on point for me, but somehow the fact that she passive aggressively took a jab at women that "sublimate" themselves to their husbands, didn't sit well with me. I personally find that having a happy home life is extremely fulfilling but I also understand that it might not feel like it's "enough" for other women, however I don't feel like Glenn Close needed to put others down in order to validate her feelings...
And so when this "friend" posted the excerpt, I commented on her post with "...because having a family and a successful marriage isn't "fulfilling""....(end of quote).. a few minutes went by and I thought my comment could have come off as "rude" or could easily be misconstrued, so I decided to go back to add to it and explain what I meant (as stated above)... To my surprise (and within minutes of my comment), this person had unfriended me on FB.. (shocker!...not!)... So there it was.. a girl who I had been "friends" with for 10 years (we met through a pregnancy board when we were both pregnant in 2008), a person who I cried with when she lost a baby, who I prayed for when her son has been sick, who I have shared endless photos and stories with through FB for more than a decade, decided that because my comment didn't sit well with her, the easiest way to "dispose" of whatever relationship we had was to click "unfriend". Granted, we were only "cyber friends" but you get the point... While I wholeheartedly believe that she is free to friend or unfriend whoever she wishes, I find it incredibly childish and intolerant on her part that instead of engaging in some sort of healthy debate or insightful conversation, she just decided to cut me off. I will admit that I wouldn't have noticed this at all had I not attempted to elaborate on my initial comment, which I planned on doing out of respect for her and for anyone who read my differing opinion.. but oh well...the irony!
But again, this post isn't even about what this girl did or didn't do, but about an illustration of what happens when people hide behind a screen or a keyboard. I am using this incident to demonstrate that those that claim to be the most tolerant and accepting are usually the ones that get easily "butt hurt" when someone doesn't think like they do or simply disagree on a belief. It happens to me all the time with this blog; I post something and people disagree.. it's ok.. the world doesn't end because of that..
I will, however, give credit to all of the people who genuinely stand by what they believe and are mature enough to have friendly debates that get started by a simple meme or a link shared on social media; I value those people more than I can ever say and I appreciate the fact that we share mutual respect and are able to see past our difference in ideals and opinions. We have deeper friendships because of that and I am glad that we can continue to stimulate each other through intelligent conversations (you all know who you are!)...
So, to the girl that unfriended me because you didn't like my comment on your post "I'm sorry"... "I'm sorry that what I said bothered you so much that you couldn't stand keeping me on your friend list", "I'm sorry that you're looking to surround yourself only with people who think like you", "I'm sorry that a person who doesn't think exactly like you do isn't worth your time", "I'm sorry that whatever relationship we had was dependent on me biting my tongue or giving your post a fake applause", "I'm sorry I didn't agree entirely with Glenn Close's speech" , "I'm sorry that I wasted 10 years thinking that we were connected somehow" but most of all "I'm sorry that our world has come to this...."
People.. own your opinions! Embrace diversity!..keep giving it.... and TAKING it!