Your Opinion…

downloadSo then. I’m close to finishing up a pretty good blog when I sidestep onto Facebook. “Just for a second”, I tell myself. Nasty habit. Of course, you’d never do that because you’re perfect. Me? Not so much. Whatever, I see the achy-breaky posts from friends, real and virtual, who have been in the throes of goodbyes. I’m not good about them at the best of times but most especially during these months when my heart recalls the final days of a family and beats vulnerable.

Now, it would be hard to get to my age without losing something or someone treasured. Hopefully your goodbyes have been few. But even if, like me, they’ve been many, there’s stuff you get over and stuff you carry. Some hurts go deeper and last longer. That’s life. We just trust folks are dealing as best they can. Or do we?

When someone voices an opinion, one which differs from yours, it isn’t always necessary to put forward your thoughts on the subject. I mean, this applies to darn near everything, really. Did the person ask for your opinion? Do you have the facts? Are you reacting, triggered in some fashion by their comment? My questions are rhetorical, needless to say. The point is that we all too often assume failure or weakness when someone’s strategy contradicts our own. We don’t stop to consider that the individual might know what is best and is acting accordingly. After all, how one person counteracts the pangs of loss might send another person to the edge. Surely, we know that by now, yes? So the best response is often no response. Anything else is easily interpreted as judgement or worse, condescension.

Division is strengthened by thoughtless, holier-than-thou comments. Even worse, in today’s world, ten second sound-bites stand in for what would have once been an entire discourse on a subject. No wonder misunderstanding and hurt is rife.

Anywho, today I was judged. It hurt. Still hurts. The judges doing the judging surprised me. I don’t believe they would appreciate having an outsider call into question their choices. But, for some reason, they felt they could belittle mine.

We do this kind of thing all too often in big and not big ways. Today’s exchange got me looking closely at how often I assume to know what is right, what is best, for someone else. I pronounce infallibly on this topic or about that idea when I should be holding my tongue, offering silent witness to something that, while different, might be worth my consideration.

I applaud the choices of my accidental judges. I have no doubt that lives are greatly enriched by them. But there are a great many ways to achieve fulfilment, happiness, and love. Theirs is but one – a beautiful one – but still only one.

My wish tonight is to find the energy to re-jig my view of others. How do I speak about another’s style? Am I fully supportive of the woman who decides she will not have a child? Can I still see the value in a person who decides they will not get another pet? Does it matter that my neighbour has ten piercings? When I slander another in anyway, if I think myself better, I’m doing a disservice. Geesh, wake up calls are not always welcome but staying asleep isn’t an option. Gotta love it.

Until tomorrow…

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Your Opinion…

  1. Frances Sullivan

    No kidding! I guess it’s knowing when it’s personal, yes? My post wasn’t about standing up, though. That’s different again. Mine was about judging. I can explain best using the ‘kid’ model. Women with children (gotta be a majority) can be brutal toward childless women. They circle their pompous wagons and stand sentinel against invaders. Worse, if they find out a woman made a conscious choice to remain childless, well, if those pointing fingers could shoot bullets, their would be carnage. Perhaps you know a bit of what I speak. Hopefully you’ve not felt that judgement. But, if you have, I am sorry. And yes, there are times to speak but I’ll guess it’s far less than we think.

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  2. I am one of those women who consciously chose not to have children. Although I had the biology to have children, I didn’t have the ‘wiring’ for it. Funnily enough, I have had several women say to me over my lifetime, that although they love their children utterly, if they had their time again, they think they would chose not to have children. In hindsight, they realised that they had children mainly because it was an expectation they fulfilled, rather than a true desire. I haven’t felt the judgement of being child-free from ‘childed’ women, although I expect it was there – not that I cared. More interestingly, for a long time I had no club or tribe that I felt I identified with. There aren’t very many role models that show us how to successfully not be one of the mainstream .

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  3. Frances Sullivan

    I am happy to learn you did not suffer at the hands of women with children. One strike for us. I have, however, been part of our derisive banter on the subject and its recollection nauseates me. Being judged myself was the reminder I needed to address and seek forgiveness for my ‘sins’. It seems silly now. I do struggle over such insignificant things. My process, I suppose. However, I’m not sure I share your view on role models. I agree they are not common, but they are there. Perhaps we are intentionally dissuaded from seeing them by the mainstream you mention? I grew up with an entire family of single, childless women who were rather remarkable. They are long gone, and I did not replace them because, once married and a mother, I could not. But they left their mark for me. And, like you, I have heard the laments – have uttered them myself – but question their sincerity. We can never go back. It is folly to do so and actually makes our misery, perceived or real, worse. We can change what is but it’s often that we choose the “devil we know”. Change is hard. Owning one’s culpability is hard. It is, however, in my opinion, necessary no matter how apparently insignificant.

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts with me. I value them a great deal.

    P.S. I’ve still no tribe or club.

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  4. I had a laugh at your PS about still being tribeless and clubless – that just about describes me, too 🙂 However, I fully own now that that is me, and live my life accordingly. I, too, had some unmarried aunties, but sad to say that the pervading thought of the time was that they had ‘missed out’. In fact they both had interesting lives, but I was encultured not to see that as being as important as the fact they had ‘missed out’. The stigma meant that I didn’t consider them worth getting to know better – accompanied by the usual youthful disdain of older people, of course 🙂 I wish I had known enough then not to allow that stigma to colour my view of them, and got to know them better, because they certainly would have been great role models. There were always stories about successful people who defied the mainstream, did amazing things, and maybe became famous – but ordinary people who didn’t swim in the mainstream were deemed to be odd, and maybe to be pitied, rather than admired. That’s not everyone’s experience, but that was mine growing up. At this point in time, I don’t care what others think of me (such liberation!), and in fact I like my life a lot. I have more clarity than ever, and clarity is power (I just read that last bit a wee while ago, and I like it so much I have to repeat it wherever I can 🙂 ). These days, I consider that my off-mainstreamness might be more of a role model for younger people who don’t swim in the mainstream either, rather than an object of derision or pity for ‘missing out’.

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  5. Frances Sullivan

    Absolutely and spot on. Society=majority=guides. Thank heavens we now know how misguided many of those guides were. They were doing their best, of course, but there was no critical theory component, just “That’s the way it’s done, son!” kind of rhetoric. Don’t get me wrong, I experienced life similarly to you. My aunts felt they had missed out on a lot because they did. They were ‘forced’ to give up “normal” pursuits to take care of a sickly mother. What they didn’t do was sit around and whine about it. They went into the man’s world and rocked it for themselves. In the end, they were happy about themselves and what they had accomplished. I’m not there – not yet, anywho. But, somewhat like you, I don’t give a rat’s ass anymore – well, most of the time I don’t. Hehe. And I agree that we speak for a younger generation, too. However, I don’t really care about that. I just need to let it out and let the chips fall. I’m not certain my audience is anyone other than myself.

    As for the tribe-club thingy, yeah. My thoughts and ideas now are so out of the standard box that my own company is preferred to others because I’m over trying to explain myself. LOL

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