Who Are Your “Friends,” I Wonder?

I probably mean who are MY friends. I’m not talking about my inner circle of friends and family, which is a small number, like with most people. I mean the larger group of folks I care about, respect, and am interested in hearing from.

Obviously I’m weird. Who coordinates their accessories this much? Also I was hot.

Thanks to my career on the internet, I know and have gotten pretty close to lots of people from a wide range of backgrounds. We all have something in common that ties us together, but we’re all different, too. I honestly like that, even though I also like being around my “tribe” as well, which is very human.

Most of the people I know are great about respecting the rights of others to express themselves, even when they are TOTALLY WRONG (i.e., on the other side of an issue). A few aren’t. I’m okay with that, unless I get accused of thinking or believing something I don’t think or believe.

I got my feelings hurt pretty badly when I shared the recent news article about people who,as a group, aren’t big on following rules sinking their compatriots’ boats by going too fast in a parade. I thought it was a funny example of logical consequences. (I am having trouble linking to an article, so just Google “Lake Travis boat parade” and it will come up.

Someone took offense to my posting it, even though I didn’t comment, and said: “Pretty sad that you take pleasure in this. I’ll bet you wish some of these people had drowned.”

Wow. That’s the kind of thing that hurts a lot. Did they really believe that? Knowing I’m a pacifist, nonviolent, Buddhist-leaning tree-hugger?

Poor stereotypical me in my stereotypical shirt.

So yeah, I said that was mean. But I didn’t delete this person’s comments, since they have a right to insult me and lump me into some hypothetical evil group of people. On the other hand, I didn’t delete any subsequent comments, some of which agreed and some that didn’t. Everyone gets a say.

Im not surprised someone treated me like that. I’m learning that people who speak out, in today’s climate, will get bashed. Others have it lots worse, so I’m grateful for the kindness of people I know. Maybe that’s what matters more to me than beliefs, kindness.

I just hope the bashers (ha ha autocorrect hat it as badgers) stick to words! Dialog or one-sided rants are fine. But I’m against hurting others or their businesses because you disagree on things. I want to hear all sides, even when it’s hard. But I’m not super. I have to deal with my own knee-jerk reactions. Don’t we all?

What I Discovered

After all this, I checked my Facebook friends list. I was relieved to see quite a few people I care about who disagree politically or socially. This is GOOD. I don’t want to isolate myself in my comfort zone!

I want to share what I wrote on Facebook, mainly as a record for myself, but also to try to say how much I care for all my friends and family. Please don’t think I’m a horrible stereotype!


My Post. It’s Long.

I just culled my friends list. I saw a beautiful parade of faces from all over the world, in every color. From teens to my elders, there they were. Some I hear from often, some haven’t posted in years. I just like seeing their precious faces. Who did I cull? A couple of leftover fake people, people who have passed from this life (cause I get sad at their birthdays), and a lot of animals who long ago passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Who did I keep? A large group of very diverse people I truly care about. Family, old friends, new friends, locals, people in other hemispheres, people from the whole spiritual spectrum (Yes, including Christians, Jews, Muslim, Buddhists, Wiccan, agnostics, and atheists). Straight, gay, trans, questioning, bi, gender fluid—they’re all good to me. There are people across the range of political and social groups, too (that’s right, from MAGA to Antifa to Communist to pacifists to gun rights activists to Capitalist to Socialist to fans of dictators to fans of the US Constitution (many interpretations) to people who just don’t care).

I’ve kept people who are vocal about their beliefs. I’ve kept people I agree with. I will keep people I disagree with. I’ve kept people who don’t post controversial things and people who do. Why? Because we all get to express ourselves however WE see fit.

I’m human!

We have the option to scroll by things that bother us or to react. Then we deal with the consequences. When I screw up, I can count on others to point it out. I am not going to censor friends I agree with or disagree with. I’m not going to invite people I disagree with to leave. Nope. We all get to stay.

Sometimes my humor upsets people. I hate that! But I’ll keep trying. If I hurt your feelings, tell me. I’ll do the same, though. Thanks to all of my diverse friends for sticking with me in these troubled times. I treasure YOU.


Take care friends. The US is in a bad place and it will get worse the rest of the year, I’m afraid. Do your best not to pigeonhole your friends, acquaintances, and family. Try?

Can Your Words Hurt You?

Yes. I am sure of it. Why am I so sure? Well, things you say in public forums, such as Facebook groups and pages, Twitter, etc., can be read by anyone. “Anyone” includes potential employers, people doing background checks, etc.

I now commence to lecture people who probably won’t read this. Bear with me. It will make me feel better, and hey, it’s my forum.

I hereby mount my soapbox.

So, if you threaten to kill people who don’t agree with you, declare that every member of some other group is stupid or evil, or declare that everyone who does something for a living should suffer or die, all kinds of folks will read it and form opinions about you, not just your in-group members.

I’m seeing this more and more as people become increasingly frustrated these days. I see it a lot in people who currently aren’t working, but will want to be re-hired back at their old jobs or find new ones as soon as it’s possible or safe. I read a lot, because I’m interested in how other people think. So, I follow along on the adventures of some people so far left they make me look like Ronald Reagan and I read many things said by people so far right they make the current US President look like Jimmy Carter.

Are all these people entitled to their opinions (as am I)? Sure thing! And do they have every right to express it? Yes, indeed they do. Is it wise to share those opinions in ways that denigrate or threaten others, even if they “don’t really mean it?” I don’t think so.

You see (and I know most of you readers actually DO see, because I’m venting), we’re sorta stuck here in some weird capitalist oligarchy, which means that the people who hire us are probably business owners or people invested in the success of a business. So, if you think all businesses are evil, that might not go over well. Some business owners may well be of the opposite political party from yours, with advanced degrees, a long history of helping the less fortunate, and a strong desire to hire qualified people, even if they disagree with them personally. But, if you repeatedly insult them, call them stupid, and threaten people like them, guess what? They might think twice about hiring you. (And yes, indeed, I have specific individuals in mind.)

Now, if your opinions about the evils of capitalists, liberals (excuse, me, I mean libtards), MAGA fans, or Fox News viewers are more important than your ability to earn a living, feel free. Your devotion to your cause is, to be honest, sort of admirable in a self-destructive way.

I have some opinions of my own that I feel pretty strongly about., too. But you know what? I can tone it down publicly out of respect for people who graciously pay me a lot of money to write for them. I think it IS possible to express my opinions in a way that are true to my beliefs but not rude, insulting, or threatening to others. And in any case, I’m pretty sure I won’t convince anyone to come around to my point of view by repeatedly calling them stupid, no matter how good that might make me feel.

Let’s take a deep breath and enjoy some orange cactus flowers.

Oh well, people are like that. They love to divide themselves into us versus them, as I repeat endlessly. But remember, those in power know that, too, and they know that a divided populace is much easier to control than one that figures out who’s actually pulling the strings.

And it isn’t evil liberal capitalist me who pulls the strings, potential employees. I just want to give people jobs, but would prefer to hire people who don’t denigrate me in public. And, while en employer can’t discriminate against sex, age, disability status, they certainly CAN choose to hire people who are respectful, open minded, and non violent.

I feel better.

Your words CAN hurt you in the job market. They can also cause people to look at your entire family and set of friends with suspicion. In an ideal world, maybe disrespect and threatening behavior wouldn’t affect people’s impressions of others. But, they do. Right now a lot of us aren’t happy about how things are. We have every right to express that. But, maybe we can try to express it rationally?

Whew. I’m Irrational.

I’m really having a harder than usual time listening to people lumping me in with some group of tantrum-prone babies because I have differing opinions from them. I’m not using my best words, either, which doesn’t help. I can work on me, though, after listening to my friends’ criticisms of me.

I am not Supergirl. I’m fallible human woman.

It is so hard to not stereotype groups of people when people say stuff like this to and about me:

Attack when the opinion differs. Humiliate when you don’t get your own way. Scream in people’s faces like a spoiled child when you can’t make someone succumb to your way of thinking. They are a bunch of spoiled brats who don’t know how to communicate, they never had to. They were led to believe no one loses, that someone calling you a name will destroy who you are instead of defending yourself, they were taught any college degree is worth an above average wage, even though it might have been in fashion, or liberal arts! We used to sit, have discussions, not arguments. We never disowned our friends and families because we disagreed with their policies. We never had to convince our friends, we only gave our viewpoints and that was ok. This new political party is a rude, childish, a true embarrassment to us all.

a guy on Facebook who I don’t know

Wow, I’d said that some people find it really important to own objects designed for killing, while other people want to have more peaceful, secure lives. I do realize that when people expect a certain type of words to come out of people they don’t like as a group, they will interpret the words in the worst way possible. And I am NOT at my word-smithing best today. I am sorry for that, honest!

Summary

Anyway, gun-loving friends, I do not think you all want to kill people. Pacifist friends, I am against killing people, so would use the shotgun I own only to scare away animals. That’s just me. You feel how you want to feel.

I really DO want to sit and have discussion. And folks, name-calling may well make you feel better, but I don’t like it. Why? Not because it hurts my feelings. No, because it stops any rational dialog in its tracks and just leads to escalating labeling and ranting, not listening. Or, as in my case, I just leave the “conversation” and concentrate on places where I actually can engage in dialogue and learn from others.

When you feel attacked, you defend, even if you don’t want to. So, this is my public apology to anyone I’ve been unfair to on social media. Now you know why I’be been trying to keep quiet. I will work on figuring out a way to share my thoughts without inadvertently making others feel attacked.

I admit that studying this got me more upset yesterday. And it’s made me vow to not be part of the problem.

My next post will be about tea, or ants, or something neutral. Please encourage me to keep growing and making myself less easily provoked.