Sometimes as an author I do feel like I have to be perfect on social media, some sort of role model when dishing out advice or trying to offer something insightful to a conversation that begs one to be insightful. Then once I say one wrong thing that I didn’t clearly think through, I’m lambasted for saying something so stupid and idiotic, when I wasn’t trying to be neither of those things. I often try not to be controversial at all, so oftentimes when I say something, I don’t think it’s controversial, until I start being attacked for it.
There are those who try to help me see why what I said was wrong in order to help me better understand what I said so that way I can formulate my thoughts better. These are people who genuinely like what I have to say, people who want to see me do better. Then there are those who agree with me. Then there are those who fight with me, who offer nothing but nasty criticism in response to what I said. These are people who fight with other people in general, as though people aren’t allowed to make mistakes from time to time, as though they aren’t allowed to be ignorant from time to time. These people don’t want to be gentle about others’ ignorance. They want to be rude. EVERYONE IS IGNORANT! Why should we be so critical about the ignorance of another person, especially if this person is willing to engage in conversation and try to make themselves less ignorant about a particular topic?
I read a question on Tumblr from a bisexual person who misunderstood that you can be bisexual and still be attracted to those who consider themselves transgender. This person mistakenly thought he/she was now pansexual, when that wasn’t the case at all–or he/she can identify as pansexual, whatever they want to identify as. Of course, this person was then attacked for mistakenly believing otherwise, as though this person committed a serious crime for simply being ignorant when two people kindly explained that bisexuality can include attraction to those who do identify themselves as transgender. Nevermind that being bisexual is tough already in a society who still believes LGBTQA people to be absolutely abnormal. These people felt it necessary to attack, forgetting that there is a person on the other side of that keyboard, forgetting that person may currently be struggling with something.
Why is this necessary, this cutting attitude to someone who is ignorant about something?
When we attack people for their ignorance, we’re being ignorant ourselves, especially if we never recognize our ignorance and try to make peace with the person we attacked.
I had to temporarily shut down my Ask Box on Tumblr because of so many vicious messages I was receiving based on one sentence alone: hatred is never okay. I wasn’t thinking through that hatred is not so black and white, that there are gray areas, that hatred is a feeling like any other and should be allowed to be felt. After all, our anger helps us to take action in a hopefully positive way.
I was being called insensitive, stupid, idiotic, ect., and then I was attacked for closing down my inbox, which was the smart thing to do so that way I wouldn’t be continuously blasted with hateful words at a very sensitive period in my life right now.
I responded to those condescending words with consideration, doing my best to not be patronizing myself. After all, the best way to respond to someone being deliberately patronizing is to try not to be the same way in return.
I wasn’t closing it because I was afraid to face my ignorance. I had already faced it. It would have been foolish of me to keep my Ask Box open, to tirelessly answer all those messages because I make it a point to not leave one thing unanswered; thus, I deleted every single one of them–after having read them all, of course. I realized the original purpose of my blog had been taken off track. I knew I needed to bring it back on its rails by closing down my inbox and only answering questions pertinent to my blog.
Wanting others to be perfect is just as psychologically damaging as the ignorant things people sometimes say, people who aren’t trying to be hurtful.
We don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life. We don’t know what that other person has experienced for that person to come to such a conclusion. Therefore, what gives anyone the right to be so condescending to someone who is clearly trying not to be nasty to begin with?
No one has that right.