Being Triggered is No Reason to Censor

I honestly strive to be level headed, compassionate and understanding, especially to all those around me who are going through difficult times.  I earnestly try to keep my overly critical comments to myself, and try to understand why I feel the need to be so harsh, rather than, whatever the opposite of an opinionated, judgemental so-and-so.  In this post, I am breaking that silence, and saying to hell with it.  I have a strong opinion on those who feel triggered by things in our society and then take great strides to try and ban or censor those things for other people.  And basically, I think these people to need to grow up, and not project really shitty things that have happened to them onto others.  I believe censorship teaches us nothing, and banning things directly violates our freedoms, and yes, I think less of you for wanting to impose your skewed belief onto me.

 

A few weeks ago, I had a friend tell me that she supported the banning of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because every time she heard the lyrics, “what’s in this drink?” she felt triggered.  It was a painful reminder of the situation that lead up to her first rape and she was in complete shock that I wrote about not wanting to ban it here.  Now I know she shared this very painful moment with me to illicit sympathy and understanding as to what she went through every time she heard the song.  The pain, is for her, still as fresh today as it was many years ago.  And while I wanted to pause, and give her a shoulder to cry on, the realist in me took over and basically told her that regardless of her specific situation, banning a song would accomplish nothing.  You cannot shelter yourself from that specific phrase for all time, and you have zero right to impose your pain on the rest of us.  That is plain wrong.  To take away something from me, that I love, because it causes you pain is the epitome of selfish.

Here is what I equate this thinking to, in all it’s ridiculous form.  Imagine, as I know many of us can, myself included, that the word rape makes you uncomfortable.  Now imagine, for example that any form of that word would trigger in you some form of emotional response, as again, it does for so many of us.  Now, let us imagine that you are shopping for peanut butter, and decide to quickly peruse the ingredient list to ensure that it is appropriate for your specific dietary needs, and BAM!  Without warning, you see the word “rapeseed” listed innocently amongst the listed inclusions.  And you, understandably, do a double take.   Now, here’s where we see rational get overtaken by the emotional, because in that moment, you vow that you will never look at the word rapeseed again.  You vow further to ensure that you a) never read an ingredient list again, or b) start petitioning food manufacturers to take this obscene word off of the list (screw anyone whose allergic to it) or c) you work in earnest to get this seed renamed for the sake of “all the children” who will be exposed to such a vile word (again not taking into the fact that this could have serious consequences for those who are unaware of the change and ingest it accidentally).

Yes, this example is ridiculous and way out in left field, but I do feel it makes a pretty clear point.  When you are triggered, you do not think rationally, and that is completely understandable.  I am not trying to shame your gut reaction.  What I am hoping to accomplish here, is that you take a step back, perhaps remember this crazy illustration and maybe, take pause, to remember that censorship will not in fact heal you.  It will not make you feel better in the long term, and it is selfish to try and impose your will on other people, especially when you have become overcome with emotion.  Hiding behind the word triggered is just that, hiding.  If you need to hide for a while for your own mental well being, then please, do what you need to.  But know, imposing your pain on others does not make you a do-gooder… it makes you selfish.  There, I said it.  Sorry, not sorry!

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Sharing My Opinions and the Current Radio Silence

The first few years of non-monogamy, I felt unsure.  I had zero clue what I was doing, wanted, and therefor no voice.  I made mistakes, and when I would try and write about them, it just came out fuzzy and convoluted.  I wrote as a girl experiencing something new for the first time, but with a fragile and timid voice.  Sitting here now, writing the “big” story for the first time, I realize, with complete humility, that I found my voice.  The writing style has progressed and that scared and timid girl is no longer a part of me.  It is so crazy looking back and seeing the complete change in identity and voice that I have found.  It almost feels like I was searching for my strength and identity through my blog for so many years that I barely noticed when I switched from it being my safety net, to a real part of my identity.  And this goes beyond my writing, because in the past few months, I have actively shared my opinions and views that I did not first test out in writing.  And I was doing it without even realizing it.  I have gained a voice beyond my blog, and it is as exhilarating as it is a little strange.

Why though does this matter?  Why am I writing about finding my voice?  Well, simply put, there has arisen an interesting reaction or rather, a radio silence.  Some people in my life, are extremely off put by me having opinions.  It was one thing for me to just write about my journey, and question the things going on around me.  As it turns out, it is quite another for me to voice my opinions about societal changes, or my views on relationships.  I’m accepted if I am just a wanderer questioning and exploring, but hot damn, coming to conclusions of my own is polarizing for my readers.  It’s a pill that cannot easily be swallowed.  And rather than just talking to me about things, asking questions or even engaging in a little discourse, it’s much easier to just run away or ignore me.

When did our society get so scared of conflict or a difference of opinions?  If you don’t like a particular subject or opinion of someone, do you just block and ignore them altogether?  Can we not reconcile a way to engage with a person who thinks a little differently than us?  It seems we are so afraid of offending others that we are losing the ability to actually communicate.  Yes, it is easier to just close a tab when you read something you don’t like, but guess what?  There is nothing gained, or learned by just walking away.  There is everything to learn by asking yourself why are you offended or uncomfortable.  Is it due to your preconceptions, biases, or perhaps even a word just sets you off?

I don’t love the feeling of being scoffed or shamed, but it feels much worse, when I am ignored and cut out because I share an opinion.  It’s not a very inspiring feeling.  But, unfortunately that is a part of our social climate right now, that I have to come to terms with.  If someone disagrees, the chances of me hearing about it are sitting at about 2 percent.  Whereas when I began my blog over 7 years ago, I was sitting at about 20 percent of people who were willing to have a conversation with me or engage and share a different perspective.  And as a writer it is little lonely having all this radio silence.

I move forward, knowing that I have earned my opinions, of which I know I have many.  And when I share them, I am not looking for validation or even really like minded souls to engage with, but I do very much appreciate the brave souls who are willing to at the very least think about what I have said.  But this is merely an assumption that I make based on the readership and clicks, because beyond that, I hear crickets on my end.  Perhaps this is something that I will just have to mentally prepare myself for when my book comes out.  I no longer believe that no news is good news, because as I am learning, no news often means that people just don’t have the capacity to disagree or engage.  We are afraid of offending and it is paralyzing our ability to communicate.

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Ahhh Pickup Lines

When I was in junior high, one of the boys in the school said to me at a band concert, “why don’t you sit on my lap and see what pops up”.  I was mortified, but not because I had any clue what he meant by that statement, but rather the implication that it must be vulgar in some way.  My girlfriends and I never talked to each other in one line banter, so it was dismissed as disgusting and I proceeded to avoid this guy.  Which of course being in junior high my running away from him only made him chase me more, ah the clueless of youth.  Now to this day, I wish this clueless mentality had worn off, and yet men are still using pickup lines on me and I am still confused by them.
Last weekend, I had a guy approach me to ask where the washroom was, then proceed to try and chat me up in a number of different ways.  None of which worked including “you look like the type of girl who enjoys football” (no I was not wearing a jersey or anything of the sort).  Did I react with some witty banter, or tell him to get lost as years of “practice” should have taught me?  Oh no, I sat there just hoping the guy would get the hint with one word answers, and when that failed I pulled out my phone and completely ignored him until he went away.  I could not muster up the words to say flatly that I was not interested, or that he was creeping me out.  Oh no, I did the passive aggressive pretend he wasn’t there, my modern day version of just running away. 
Is this a direct result of woman being cultured to be far too polite for their own goods?  When I re-iterated this story to some male friends, they naturally asked why I did not just say screw off.  And of course that is what I should have done, but the guy was in no way rude or abrasive so I just could not bring myself to be outright rude to him.  But as with every pickup line, the guys have a motive behind them whether vulgar, or sweet.  They are opening you up to a conversation, and for some damn reason I still feel uncomfortable after all these years speaking my mind to a complete stranger who means absolutely nothing to me.
I guess my inability to react in a rational way to pickup lines is just one of the reasons that guys still try and use them.  And I am sorry to all my female friends out there, that I have done absolutely nothing to call out the douche, who uses them in a creepy way.  I will try in future if for nothing else than to prevent somebody else feeling that uncomfortable skin crawling feeling when some stranger uses an unwelcome one liner.