I am writing as a cis-gendered white female; I am writing as someone who is aware of their social and economic privilege; I am writing as someone who is blessed to have a supportive and loving circle of family and friends. I happen to fit into the margins of what society deems ‘acceptable’, and for this I know I am ‘lucky’.
But for those who don’t fit in… Those who are questioned and judged and scrutinized by everyone else. Those who are spotlighted on a stage they do not wish to be on. It is for those ‘unlucky’ that I am rife with anger on behalf of. I use the term luck with irony here, because frankly, it is not luck. It is society’s ignorance and audacity.
I am sick and tired of people thinking they have a right to force their views on others, adopting a position of uncredited moral superiority, discrediting somebody’s existence since it fails to abide to their narrow perception of right and wrong.
As a university student, I am living in the most open-minded, accepting, and liberal environment I have ever experienced. But it is still not enough. Every day I encounter people’s assertions, imposing their negative views which – if I’m honest – nobody asked for, wants or needs. Of course, everybody on this earth is a free-thinking being: everybody has the fundamental right to speak their opinion, to share their views, to tell people what they think and, ultimately, to get things wrong. We are all learning and growing; we are only human, I understand. Yet this isn’t my problem. My problem is people who use their opinion as a weapon, disintegrating the validity and respect of other people in the process.
Don’t you, too, find this exhausting?
And if it’s exhausting for me, think of how exhausting it is for those who are the targets of these opinions, the people who cannot live a single day without being the butt of somebody’s joke or insult, the topic of an argument.
It is soul-destroying.
What is beyond me, as I write this, is why people feel the need to tear others down. We all know the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’; we are all the first to say ‘always be kind’ following national heartbreak; we are all ambassadors of ‘live and let live’, ‘Live Love Laugh’ and other phrases brandished on homeware decorations. But where is this in action? Why is there such an inability to just be loving, to accept that we do not know everything and that we never will? Would people say, having never done a marathon, that it is easy? No. So why would they say, having never lived a day questioning their gender or sexual orientation (by way of example), that gender is binary and straightforward? Do you see the hypocrisy here? Do you see the license that everybody feels they have, purely because they have a tongue and a brain?
Please stop. I am begging you, please change.
Growing up in a society rooted in concepts of normality is hard – whoever you are. Growing up in this society, surrounded by loving and accepting people, is still hard – because there is an inward battle with yourself. The hate, the hurting, the struggle for acceptance and validity will always be a battle, even for the strongest people. So, growing up in this society, every day facing people who feel the need to exert their opinion, their harmful and hurtful views on you – it is impossibly difficult.
What angers me the most, amongst all of this, is the utter lack of need. Again, I am not saying do not share your thoughts, nor am I saying do not voice your opinion or have a viewpoint. I respect that. I am simply pleading you to consider the alternative to your viewpoint: just because you believe something, does not mean it is correct or the only option. We do not have the privilege or power to consistently tell people what we think, all the time. Sometimes, it is just not necessary.
Amongst other factors, I think this problem lies in ignorance – a misunderstanding which fuels fear. If you have not been through something, it is hard to understand and empathize; if you do not understand something, it is easy to discredit it; if you do not appreciate and credit something, it is easy to devalue it; if you devalue something, it is easy to dislike it and form opinions against it. But behind everything, behind this hatred and pre-disposed views, there is a person. There is an individual who is on their journey, who have their values and beliefs and precious life to live. That person is equally worthy, powerful, and correct as you – despite a clash of viewpoint. To educate yourself is so fulfilling, to understand people and to welcome them and to accept them – even if you do not personally agree – is a beautiful freedom.
Naïve as it may be, I am pleading for love: for a society which is understanding, which makes the effort to educate itself, which accepts that there is not always a right or wrong and that things are often not as simple as they seem. I am tired of living in a world which makes people dislike themselves, a world which makes people hate who they are, a world which makes people feel unworthy of life and love and joy.
I am tired of our society.
Please, make it change.