I wobble between loving my facebook feed and needing to take a break from it.
I love that it has me feel connected to people I love scattered all over the world, and for the ways some posts inform, inspire or stretch me but I flinch at the judgement, the attacks, assumptions and injustice I see happening on social media.
There’s this thing we’re doing. It happens less frequently in person, and it’s particularly rampant online. There’s some post or observation that makes us think. It isn’t a whole comprehensive analysis of an issue, but it’s contributing to change and reflects where that person is at. Cue the jumping on of the bandwagon of people ripping shreds off the person and their insight in the comments, lecturing all the ways in which their social media offering is not good enough and labelling them ‘not woke’ or whatever.
I have seen this play out countless times lately. Someone commented that they loved the work of one particular person. Within minutes come multiple comments about all the ways this person in the public arena has screwed up. Whether it be the use of a certain word, a collaboration or a drunken rant.
The implication being that the original poster was a lesser person for admiring their work. I looked up a few of these accusations. In one case, the person had used a word deemed ‘anti-feminist’ (though I know many feminists you use it) 2 years ago. Another indiscretion was five years ago.
We need room to outgrow our mistakes and have the confidence that people will not hold one thing we did or said against us for all time, negating all the other good work we do in the world.
People are becoming afraid to speak up publicly. Me included. Actually, I have always been on the sensitive side and struggle to express myself fully in public writing. None of us are perfect. Societal conditioning is an insidious thing.
It makes me so sad. We are not all enlightened on all issues. It’s a journey, a constant unpacking and unfurling. We develop and grow in the areas we give attention too. We are all at different levels of unpacking gender issues, racism, body image, spiritual growth, environmentalism, ableism and accessibility, the spectrums of neurodiversity, the correct use of straws and a multitude of other issues.
I have never made significant changes in my ideology from being shouted at or lectured to. Which, admittedly, is a bit kettle calling pot black as I have definitely improved my communication skills about my radical ideas.
I think it was Arthur Ashe, the tennis player who famously said ‘start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.’ I think he was talking about becoming great at sport but it speaks to me about where you are in your personal development and contributing what you can to make the world a better place to live in. Word to live by.
Although these days we’d might add ‘And let others start where they are’ at the end.