Sunday, May 20, 2018

I am a person not an opinion

It's Sunday morning and I'm in love with the soft, green, humid air. I love this sky and this light! The clouds are thick, opaque grey and the sun is slowly spreading light over the green leaves. I'm watching it and thinking about being with. All of us. In the last few years, I feel like one of the measurable outcomes of social media is exposure. Of all of us. We know who is calling the cops on Black folks. We know who is rigging the nomination. A lot of previously disputed theories are proven. We can't deny as much. There's something good there-- when we can't deny our own bad behavior or at least where behavior strays from our spoken agreements we can be honest. And it's hard for many of us. In addition to public figures and offices getting exposed, individually, we're getting exposed. Privacy is different. Keeping our lives entirely offline sometimes means we feel disconnected. Offering our lives online means we lose control over who is receiving the sacred information of our days. We're all exposed.

I think this is one of the reasons this time feels so tight and intense to many of us. We can't deny ourselves to ourselves. We can tell ourselves we're one thing or way or quality, and yet here we have all this evidence that we're actually really complicated beings. Each of us acts on our own barometer and it's usually not so logical. We all stray from our own codes. It can be challenging to gain the full self-awareness to truly know what is guiding our actions, thoughts, and beliefs.

When we see ourselves and one another, then what?

I'm finding for myself that honesty feels really, really important. My own honesty. Honesty from those I engage with. I don't like being honest about myself. Kevin often calls me on my inconsistencies or when my reactions are harmful. I don't like it. I don't want to admit these things about myself. And yet. I am relentless in asking Kevin to be accountable for himself. And I believe in fairness. So I must have the same relentlessness with myself.

I'm finding that with honesty, I want the ability to disagree. And that feels hard. Agreeing to disagree, while a simple statement, seems really hard to actually act out. Where are the lines? What issues are too important to disagree over? Where do we need agreement? And why? What are the stakes?

I want to be able to disagree. Because in truth, I disagree with a lot of commonly held beliefs and ideals. And if I deny my disagreement, I'm dishonest. I'm denying a part of myself. And I can't do that anymore. It stymies too big a part of who I am. It also denies me the ability to grow my thinking with others.

I'm finding there are more and more conversations that feel somewhat out-of-bounds. The ideas and conversations, while many of us privately mull them over, are considered too controversial. While so much is exposed, there's also this quietly agreed upon mutual repression about some issues. I appreciate that we don't want to be insensitive and hurt one another but I also think we have to do a bit better. How do we talk? How can we be honest? How can we disagree? And still be respectful of one another?

I like this age of transparency and exposure. I think it has potential. One of the possibilities is that we all reconnect with our own truths and we allow the space for others to do the same. There's a strong potential that we no longer fall across simple party lines. There's a big chance that our own experiences and thinking will make our worldview bigger and bolder than pat ideologies. I want that. I want to be a person, not an opinion.