I just posted this also on tumblr – 2017: Voice – thoughts about self-silencing and circumstances
So, my friend Ashley (aka @smokesinatra) did some vlogs this month and she mentioned in one that she has a really interesting way of doing New Year’s resolutions. Instead of the usual “I’ll do or not do this thing!”, she chooses a word that is something that represents that year or what she needs to work on for that year and then every day she tries, in big or small ways, to do something related to that word. The word she’s chosen for 2017 is brave/bravery.
I freaking love this idea and have been telling other people about it, and so far everyone has really liked it too. I thought about what I wanted to do for 2017 and my word, and I’ve decided on what it is:
My word for 2017 will be: Voice
Something you may or may not know about me is that I silence myself a lot. It’s the byproduct of simultaneously being so used to not being mainstream on just about anything that I know I almost never will agree with the majority of people on something, and literally having a personality which is called The Mediator. I don’t like confrontations, I don’t like hurting people or alienating people. I would rather silence myself to let other voices grow in my presence if that’s what it takes to make a harmonious interaction. I would rather let other people feel heard in my presence than have to always be heard, myself. (I mean, sometimes I’m sassy and don’t let them feel heard, especially if I’m worked up on something, but generally speaking I try to make sure people know their voices didn’t just fall into the chasms of silence)
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing all the time, honestly. I get along with a lot of people who don’t really know each other because I try not to alienate people, and if I realize I did I try to make up for it if possible. I’ve been able to have really great conversations with people who believe the exact opposite than me, even convinced people to change their minds on controversial topics, because I respected their differences instead of alienating them from the start.
But at the same time, I’ve always been someone extremely unwilling to change myself to fit mainstream society because fuck that shit, I’d literally have to euthanize my entire personality and become a 100% different person for that to happen. Because there is so little about me that’s “normal” or fits together “normally.” Which means I struggle daily with not hurting others while still being true to myself. I’m outspoken on a lot of things but so many other things I silence myself on because I think it’s safer to hurt myself than others.
That’s not a good mindset to have and it feeds into a lot of the issues I have that I don’t know that I talk about often?
Like me being suicidal in the past or the massive struggles I’ve had with anorexia or depression or whatever. Or how I was born with a genetic mutation (or 2? I’m so confused at this point) which sounds super dramatic but what it means is I will 100% get cancer just because of how I was born, and I’ll have to have major surgery to remove more than one organ to lower my chances of developing full-blown cancer and dying from it. It should be fine. A lot of my family has the same mutation, most of them lived either through the lead up to cancer or the surgery, although some didn’t. Not being dramatic, just being straight with the facts. I was born with a mutation that has made a lot of my life pretty frustrating even though if you look at me from the outside I seem “normal,” and that mutation will give me cancer unless I have surgery. Possibly even with it, not sure, but the chances are at least a lot lower.
The thing is, I get the impression sometimes that people think that if you’re like me, someone who’s generally optimistic, who believes in the ability for humanity to make the right choice, who doesn’t think people are inherently evil, who believes being respectful and kind and open-minded can make a greater impact than shutting other people down for their beliefs even if their beliefs are “wrong”–
I’ve heard from people sometimes this mindset like, “Oh well if you’re optimistic/advocating respect even to these awful people, clearly you’ve never dealt with any shit your entire life. Clearly you don’t know what it feels like to never belong or to have people not accept you or to not be able to be freely open about who you are or to have people talk over you like your viewpoint doesn’t exist or to be told or feel like you’re wrong for how you were born or etc. Clearly you don’t know how shitty people can be. Clearly you live a charmed and happy life with no stress whatsoever.”
Which is…. incredibly fucking comical if you actually know me and my life lol Depending on your circumstances, believe me dude: I may know way the fuck better than you do on exactly how shitty people can be on so many levels and so many scales and in so many hypocritical ways it’s just. That would be several novels on their own.
Trust me, dude. I’ve had pleeeeenty of people be shitty to me. I see people be shitty a really fucking lot.
If you ever wonder why I write such dark stories? It’s because I just take into account the human psyche when writing, and go the route it seems logical for someone in that psychological mindset to take. Which, in cases like ICoS especially but even for some people in Incarnations and elsewhere, can mean they do some incredibly horrific shit. Because human beings and humanity can be utter shitbags, and they can not only do that but then also blame the person they shit on for being shit on in the first place. You start with a concept and do if-then down the line taking into account the way a lot of humans operate, and you can end up in a pretty fucking dark or upsetting place pretty quickly if they are a person who doesn’t bother to try to do something good.
Humans can be fucking awful. I could give you so many detailed stories right offhand of just how shitty they can be. Some of those are stories where they were also personally shitty to me even though I never hurt them the way they hurt me.
But does that mean I hate humans or humanity? Nope. Does that mean I think all humans, even the ones being shitty right now and even if they’re being super shitty to me, are inherently evil fucktards who deserve nothing but pain and retribution for their wrongs? Nope.
Here’s the thing: humans can absolutely be shit. But they can also be wonderful. I’m not going to dismiss entire species or races or demographics because some of them are having a shit day and treat others like shit, or had life experiences that made them think their behavior that is truly unacceptable is in fact acceptable.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
I can’t control other people, I can only control myself. Maybe those other people are super shitty to me or others. Well, that’s their choice. My choice is not to add to that negativity. There’s enough of it going around already; I’m not going to be another voice in that crowd. If people who are being shitty want justification for being shitty, they aren’t going to find it from me. I’m not going to hurt them just because they hurt me. Some people seem to think that having that viewpoint means you’ve never been hurt in your life but that is not at all true. Some people also seem to think that means you are just being a victim and it’s an unhealthy view on life but I don’t believe that’s true, either. Personally, I think it’s more unhealthy to let the voices and emotions of others dictate your own. Just because other people choose to act a certain way doesn’t mean you have to act that same way. It’s your choice, the same way it was their choice.
My problem with society in general lately, but honestly my problem with this has been my whole life, is the lack of responsibility people take for their own actions. They think that they are entitled to being dickbags to others just because they are upset. And I mean, I get ranting, I really do. I totally get that sometimes you just have to release steam. Sometimes you have to yell to a friend about how much this thing upset you. I also get that sometimes it’s too hard to care about something, too hard to do something about it.
I 100% understand how exhausting it can be simply to live. Trust me. I get that completely. I also get completely how exhausting it can be to live in society and how sometimes it’s like, I just can’t anymore. I just can’t have that conversation with that person because I’m too tired even just thinking about it, let alone having it.
This week I was bored as hell at work and was super aggravated I had to be there. There was a lot going into it that led to that overwhelming emotion, but suffice it to say I was so frustrated that more than once I commented, “I want to die right now” “I want to fucking kill myself, it’s so boring.” Today my coworker said, “That’s not appropriate, considering all the people who have died recently.” And I said, “Oh, yeah” –and just stopped myself from saying– “it’s okay though, I can be suicidal so when I say that I kind of actually mean it.” I didn’t add that because I figured she didn’t need to know the extra bit.
Anyway I guess all I’m trying to say is that me saying I love humans, I love humanity, I love the complexity of our world, I believe in the possibility of change– it doesn’t mean I don’t also know humans can be shit. Because they can be the most hypocritical little shits you will ever find. It can be maddening.
But that doesn’t mean I have to see anyone only for one part of who they are. It doesn’t mean I have to let the shitty parts of life dictate my view of life and people as a whole. It doesn’t mean I have to bow to anyone’s mindset.
I’ve lived my life being who I am, and being very strongly supportive of other people being who they are, too, even if that Who They Are doesn’t mesh with me.
All of these are thoughts I have going into the new year, and all of these and more are reasons why I’ve chosen Voice as my word for 2017.
Not only do I want to stop silencing myself constantly on things where I may have an unpopular opinion on a popular or mainstream topic, but I also need to work on not downgrading my own voice when I do speak up, or the impact I can have on others. I’m good at recognizing the voices and import of others, but terrible at acknowledging the same for myself.
When I say I want to work on voice, by the way, I don’t mean I want to shit all over everyone else’s viewpoints because it doesn’t match my own and etc. I’m not talking about being a dickbag in 2017 because people have been dickbags to me lol I just mean, there are times I have thought a lot about a controversial topic and I have a viewpoint on it that I can support with sources or at least have validity for through personal experiences, and on those times even when I wouldn’t be denigrating anyone I still didn’t let myself say anything about it because I knew it was controversial, and I knew that no matter how respectful or objective I may be, people may be upset. And as I said, I hate hurting anyone. But I need to also be better about recognizing that sometimes in my efforts to not hurt others, I hurt myself instead.
I don’t know completely all the ways I will work toward the theme of voice in 2017, but I will be thinking about that going into the new year. Also even this post is a good example because I’ve written posts like this before and then put it in save drafts and don’t actually post it, and just let those thoughts disappear.
Stayfocusd just yelled at me so I have to stop here but I wanted to mention this concept today so if you see this post, you should follow this link and go watch Ashley’s video, hear in her words a better explanation of how she does her new year’s resolutions, and start thinking about a word of your own for 2017.
I’m wishing you all the very best, my friends. I hope you have a lovely night, and I hope you are able to ring in the new year as peacefully, happily, or at least minimally traumatically, as is possible for you in your specific circumstances.
I believe in you and all your possibilities, so I really hope you can get to a point where you can believe in you too 🙂