“Always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
I’m sad to say that I spent years of my young life letting other people’s opinions, judgements, unsolicited “advice,” etc. effect not only my choices, but my personal view, how I saw myself, what I believed I was capable of.
And I went to college with a diminished viewpoint of myself and my abilities. It’s not their fault for saying their peace, even if it was hurtful or damaging at times. In truth, they probably didn’t know that it was. It was my fault for ever giving their thoughts dominion over my own.
Those judgements and opinions were none of my business.
We live in a time of increasing volume, especially where opinions are concerned. With the growth of social media has come the opportunity for people to share their opinions with the world. There are no gate keepers anymore. Editors and publishers no longer have a monopoly on what the world reads. Any ole average Jane can start a blog and just write their thoughts down (I should know!)
I relish the chance to share my thoughts. Perhaps I’m making up for lost times. Times when I would keep my opinion to myself, when I stayed silent because it felt like other’s thoughts were more important than my own. But I’ve learned to speak up and once you break through a glass ceiling like that, you can’t just paste the glass back together and crawl back down into that little box. I’ve learned that silence isn’t always golden. And I stopped listening to hurtful, “advice” from people who would shut me down if given the chance.
Take, for example, my Facebook feed recently. This blog is a place for happiness and nerdiness and it is rarely, if ever, political. But it’s also a place for my passions and I am passionate about the 2016 election, so if it seeps into my posts here and there…ok. But Facebook? My Facebook feed is whatever the hell I want it to be. Political, religious, nerdy, fun, sad, angry…whatever I want. And yes, I am of the opinion that a Trump Presidency would be a very big threat to this nation. So too have my Facebook posts occasionally been about the growing threat that is a Trump Presidency.
To some people, my posts seem like an invitation for the most vitriol, angry, mean and incendiary comments and opinions I’ve ever read culminating in the general tone of “shut up and sit down, Liz.”
Not once in my posts have I said, “Read this and change your mind! Read this or else. Read this or unfriend me.” I’ve simply made available on my wall some videos, articles and memes that I find funny, important, poignant, whimsical, etc. Read them…don’t read them. I’ll do the same with whatever I see on your wall.
I probably don’t have to tell you free-thinking Americans that these posts are just as arbitrary as they sound. Nothing to get so upset about. Nothing to lose a friend over. But if you watched that Trevor Noah video I posted or that CNN article I really like and blocked me because of it…THANK YOU!! What were we even doing as friends in the first place?
If you can’t handle me sharing my opinion, then I’m afraid the Liz you’re looking for is that mousey little thing from back in high school. The one who never raised her hand or stood up for herself. The one who never had an opinion. The one who constantly sat down and shut up when what her heart wanted was to jump up and scream.
I’ll thank you not to darken my Facebook wall again. Because there are things I don’t like that are posted on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram everyday…and sometimes by my friends. My opinion of those things are none of their business. Just like your opinion of me is none of mine!
If you choose to share my brain space with me, here on my blog, I thank you. That comment section down there is just for you. And yep, free speech works the way it sounds. That may mean that things I don’t like may come my way. That’s ok! I won’t unfriend you.
But if you privately message me basically telling me to shut up and sit down, you better make that message count and get it all out cause that’s the last one I’ll ever be reading from you. And that is enough for me to unfriend you. Because my friends…well they love me the way I am, opinions and all. You are clearly not a friend and I don’t believe in keeping my enemies close!