It feels like a barren wasteland lately in the creative world. When discussing this with a friend of mine today, she and I both concluded that there seems to be an unspoken fear that is keeping many people away from their passions. Not long ago, I felt as if I was part of a strong and nurturing blogging community. She felt the same. Now many of us have retreated into our own worlds and lives; we’ve closed our shutters. And while this doesn’t mean we have necessarily stopped writing, it means we have been slow to share and even slower to read what others have written.
Or perhaps my friend and I are the only two people at this party — though I don’t think we are.
I do believe there is a fear of fear that has crawled under our beds and reach for our ankles when we get up in the middle of the nights. It stretches out with its long scaly fingernails and gnarled knuckles, waiting for the moment when we say or write something that could possibly taken out of context or misconstrued. And then? It pounces.
Defensive creating is no way to create and so it is much easier to not create at all.
Our world has become very fragile, hasn’t it? Collective egg-walking is precarious and anxious; especially when people around you begin arguing over whether or not the eggs should be brown or white; farm-fresh or store-bought; organic or stolen from the farmer. Or if it is even human to be walking on eggs in the first place. Perhaps they should be replaced with enviro-friendly plastic eggs or maybe we could just meditate and pretend their eggs in an imaginary sort of way.
Soon, there are protest signs waving around with clever slogans celebrating the tolerance of egg-walking or people being interviewed pleading with the public to be judgmental of those who choose not to walk on eggs. Facebook arguments erupt over the issue. Quotes by Martin Luther King, jr. and the Dalai Lama are retweeted by the thousands on Twitter. Two men who, I ‘m sure, never thought they would have to intervene on walking on eggs.
We have all completely lost our minds.
Because the issue, of course, is not about eggs — it never was. The issue is that in our quest to be fair and tolerant of everyone we have become fair and tolerant of no one. How? The old playground rule of “there’s more of us than there is of you” was only fair because children ruled by fear. Children have no concept of empathy or democracy or even fairness. Children align themselves with majority because they are afraid of the repercussions that come from by being in the minority. And this is why the pointless classroom game “Heads Up, Seven Up” is still being played to this day — because even though everybody knows the game has no point and is stupid, it will always be chosen on rainy days by the majority of students. Why? Because it celebrates the popular kids and keeps the less than popular kids quiet.http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/judgmentSo here we find ourselves in a world where many of us have so much to say but instead we keep quiet. Our words have been sacrificed at Tolerance’s altar in order to avoid confrontation and contention. But to what end? This hasn’t happened in order to bring about true tolerance.
“Tolerance” does not mean to remain quiet; it’s a “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different than your own”. This is a fairly textbook definition. At no point does it define “tolerance” as “willingness to be adopt feelings, habits, or beliefs” or the “willingness to have other feelings, habits, or beliefs forced upon you”.
Misused words seem to be in style at the moment, sort of like chalking hair and bringing back fads that should have died in the same decade they were first born in. Where Tolerance is tossed around like crimped hair you’ll find Judgmental — as in, if a person is not Tolerant than he or she must be Judgmental. And this, in particular, frustrates me.
Just like having money, being judgmental has become an unpardonable sin. However, in both cases, it is what a person does with both his or her money and judgment that really matters. “Judgment” is simply “an opinion or decision based on careful thought” or, my favorite definition, “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning or comparing”. Being “judgmental”, then, is the use of one’s judgment.
I can’t believe everyone has suddenly forgotten what these words mean, so why has it suddenly become unacceptable to utilize our judgment out of fear of seeming intolerant? Why is that we care more about the eggs we are walking on rather than the fact we are wasting our lives walking on them in the first place?
And now we are held hostage by inaccurate word usage and defensive reactions. Nobody wants to be labeled as Intolerant, or a -Phobe of some kind, or a Hater, or an -Ist, or an -Can, or a -Crat, or a This or a That. Everybody simply yells or clicks “Like” or “Share” or “What-Have-Yous” and you know what?
I don’t even care anymore.
I don’t care if people share my opinion on gay marriage or drinking age or lotteries or the war or who should be president/senator/mayor/fire chief or where women should breast feed or if I should wear a motorcycle helmet or if we should vaccinate our children or if working moms/stay-at-home-moms are best or if we should outlaw plastic shopping bags.
I just can’t find it in me to raise my blood pressure.
I do care about engagement. I care about sharing ideas and sharing hope and sources. I care about exchanging jokes and teasing in good fun. I care about asking for thoughts and opinions. I care about posting interesting articles and graphics. I care about illustrating and pointing out my passions.
I care about being able to say, “This is what I believe. I know it might not be what you believe, but I believe this. Tell me more about what you think.” I care about respecting my peers and colleagues in creative spaces.
I even care about eggs. Scrambled, boiled, over easy, and baked into food. I love them.
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8 thoughts on “A Certain Fragility”
Thank you. And thank you for visiting. I apologize for not responding sooner.
Oh… THANK YOU! We have all retreated. I am at the party too. There is so much truth here. Thank you to Tracy as well. It must have been a hell of a conversation.
It’s easier to retreat then to be attacked, isn’t it? It might be that we won’t be attacked at all, but because it has happened too often we think it is easier to just hide instead of find out.
I had a feeling that you would agree with this. x
You put into words exactly what I’ve been feeling. I want to live. I want to breathe. I want to hear what people have to say. I want to talk. I want to engage. I want to learn, to grow, to share. To hear and to be heard. We have so much to share and so much to give and we must never back away from that. Never.LOVE you so very much my friend. Never stop being you.
It’s taken long for me to respond to any of these comments because the feelings were too raw. You state it exactly. We need to be able to share with each other in order to learn and grow. We have a desire to not only hear but to be heard.
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