I’m having some kind of coming of age around things I’m no longer interested in spending my time and energy on. Some that have become clear to me recently are that I’m no longer interested in:
1. Justifying my decisions to other people, particularly men. (Hi, nope I’m not looking for your validation or approval!)
2. Spending time debating basic rights and human decency - especially under the guise of “free speech” or debate for debates sake (unless you are literally in a debate club or academic situation where you’re doing an exercise).
3. Being around people who either don’t care when wrongs are happening (wrongs like anything from bullying to climate change), or who are defeatist and refuse to even try to improve things.
4. Excusing or ignoring people’s bad behaviour for the benefit of the status quo or under the guise of “being nice”.
5. Being around or condoning others who excuse or ignore people’s bad behaviour for the benefit of the status quo or under the guise of “being nice”.
Those last two are important - and I know they’re not easy. But when we excuse or ignore harmful behaviour, whether that’s anything from outright abuse to bigotry to exploitation to bullying to unfettered capitalism - it allows it to continue. It says “this is socially acceptable enough to not have consequences”. It’s an endorsement by association. And a sacrifice of the recipient(s) of the harm in order to keep those harming comfortable.
It’s the reason why I took a lifetime of emotional abuse from my parents - and didn’t realise until my 30s (when I became very sick and that still wasn't enough to make them stop) that love was not supposed to look like that. And then I was forced to choose between enduring continued abuse or giving up family connection and “support” - a decision nobody should have to make. Other people knew what was going on from when I was very young, knew it was wrong, and did nothing because it was uncomfortable for them. My life has been irreparably changed for the worse because of prioritising comfort over doing what is right, and that is something I continue to figure out how to live with - as I *still* live with it in an ongoing fashion.
It’s the reason our governments have done really in the greater scheme of things fuck all about the environment. When I was in university 20 years ago, we were studying the amazing sustainable revolution to come. Guess what? Nothing has changed substantially since then. Why? Profits and the status quo rule. Literally, like they are protected by laws.
It’s the reason that when bullies or ringleaders (whether just selfish or legit sociopaths) decide to target and/or exclude someone for no real reason, others generally don’t want to know what is going on because that would force them to choose morals over comfort. Instead they let people be outcast or abused because it is an easier sacrifice than what they would have to give up to call out the wrongdoing. This is something I’ve experienced in childhood and again as an adult about a decade ago, and it is extremely traumatic and in hindsight so very closely tied to enduring those same family dynamics.
It’s the reason why we had to have #MeToo after women were no longer willing to have violence ignored and swept under the rug.
Every day, I grow more grateful for the perspective my more difficult life experiences have lent me - though I will not feign gratitude for the experiences themselves, as a better life and world may have let me achieve contentedness without going through so much. (And don’t you dare preach silver linings to me on this.)
But truly recognising the consequences of complacency, ignorance, choosing comfort over justice, choosing “nice” over “kind”, is bringing a clarity that I did not really have access to in my teens and 20s - despite all my education and morals. The critical nature of the actual choices and consequences has come to take precedence over anything theoretical - actions speak louder and hit harder than words.
Can you imagine the impact of more and more individuals in our society prioritising justice and positive change over comfort and not rocking the boat? I can. And for better or worse, I’m becoming less interested in giving my time and energy to those who either cannot or refuse to sacrifice some comfort, and stick their necks out to protect the vulnerable and ensure a better future for EVERYONE.
ps. Public comments have been disabled. (If you know me, you'll know a way to respond!)