A new week, a new outlook. I think. I had some people on Facebook I haven’t talked to in years reach out to me to unload their opinions this weekend, all stemming from one of my blog posts. Love to say it was the first time that I offended someone, but alas… People had breakdowns over my “Conspiracy Theory” post, and they weren’t even the ones I was talking about! I guess it was a “if the shoe fits” type deal. Let me first say, that very educated people believe in conspiracy theories. I don’t think lack of education equates to being more susceptible to conspiracy theories, it’s just that MOST of the people I know who believe in them do lack a “proper” education. Especially the inability to know how to find/cite sources, hell even to know what a primary source is! But the notion that conspiracy theorists are all uneducated morons, is just wrong. Some of the smartest people I know (doctors, attorneys) have said, “Fake News” and meant it. See, you can be a smart moron, just as easily as an uneducated redneck. I know plenty of them. We all do. Look at William Barr! BUT, I do get the sense that conspiracy theories come from a deep-seeded need to believe in something, anything. Like they can’t take hard truth at face-value, they need to place blame on people they don’t like, or water down the truth with a little lie, which to me, means you have a weaker mind. Not necessarily a less-educated one, but maybe more naive? Naivety? Can we blame it on that? Is that better than claiming mental illness?
Here’s the real thing though: I’m offended all the time by what people say. Most people are. Nowhere in our world, least not in college (like people think) are we told we won’t be offended. I have an empathetic heart. I’m too emotional for my own good. But I usually take a moment to critically think (sometimes for days), and blog about it in my own personal space (as I stated, I’ve stopped commenting on others posts). This is a website that you have to seek out and read. If you are reading it, thank you. But if you are a “Conspiracy Theorist” and you know me from FB (you know I don’t believe in such things), yet you made it a point to read a blog post I wrote titled “Conspiracy Theorists” then I suppose you specifically came here to get offended. So I guess I should consider my writing concise, if nothing else. It certainly gets the job done!
A friend once told me that when someone is offended, that’s on them. And I believe that to be true. I hate when I accidentally offend someone, but if a person takes offense to something I say that has nothing to do with them, I can’t help that. That’s on you. I don’t usually speak in vague terms and I wasn’t the other day. I made it clear that I “unfriended” those I couldn’t “deal” with anymore. (Short of naming them, which I won’t do because that seems unnecessarily mean.) Which means if we are still friends on FB it wasn’t about you. Maybe you shared something similar to the people I was talking about? Maybe you believe in conspiracy theories and you know it’s crazy, but you like crazy? Maybe you took my opinions as direct shots at you because you don’t like me, or you wish you had something I do, or you think I’m uppity? Either way, it has nothing to do with me. That’s projection. And really you’re just showing your own insecurities. And I’m sorry that you have those (but we ALL do), or that my successes shine a light on your insecurities. How can you fix that?
But all this made me wonder, if you don’t like me, why are you still “friends” with me? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I won’t be offended if you “unfriend” me on social media. If we are still real-life friends I’ll see you around at some point. Or you’ll get a Christmas card in the mail. Or you’ll see my pics when I’m with mutual friends. It’s all good here. No one, not even me, should be friends (in real life or on social media) with people that make them that upset. So upset you fell compelled to wage a war through vague statuses doing the very thing you accused me of: being mean. (Of course this could be me reading more into it. Your status could have nothing to do with me or my blog post!) See what I mean?! It’s super easy to get upset over something that has nothing to do with you because we are all so self-centered! But please, please stop sending me DMs with misdirected anger. I didn’t cause Covid-19 and my opinions aren’t going to save your small business. I’m sorry, but my opinions (like yours) just aren’t that important.
It’s bizarre that we live in a time where this is even a discussion. When I was 14-years-old I logged into my first “chat room.” I remember how awesome and exciting the feeling of anonymity was, but also how scary. I was so afraid, even then, I’d say something wrong. I recognized, even then, the power it gave me. It gave us. And I promised to use it wisely. Or at least amusingly. But times are certainly different now. People have changed. They speak in all caps first, then dwell on it later. Hide behind this shroud of their public/private personas. Me? I really try not to. I pride myself on knowing that I wouldn’t type anything about anyone I wouldn’t say to their face. Or write in a letter to them (because I’m better written than in person. Sorry to disappoint some of y’all.)
Even now as I’m writing this, I’m debating with myself. Do I just message those people who took offense, and hash it out? I’m choosing no, both because what if I’m wrong and it had nothing to do with me (ego). And because it might spook them. People aren’t used to getting truth to their “face,” trust me, I learned the hard way. You have to sneak it in between slices of cheese or else they panic and buy up all the tp. And if they are a true conspiracy theorist, the truth might spin them up, and then it becomes counter-intuitive. But see? I’m self-centered and egotistical at times. We all are and it’s something we always have to be aware of.
We are all in a “bad” place right now. We are scared. And sad. We are nervous. Certainly. We don’t know what our world is going to look like on the other side of this. But, I’ll reiterate what I said the other day, I won’t tolerate lies, misinformation, lies masquerading as misguided goodness, and meanness for the sake of anything (revenge posts or not) on my FB feed, or in my DMs. I won’t. Which means I still may have to “unfriend” more people, but that’s okay. I still think they mean well, most of the time, they are just not educated enough on the topic, slopping in forming an opinion, or easily mislead. Naive. I think we settled on naive. But I hope they can see that even if we don’t agree, we can still be civil. What’s the point on going on a good, old-fashioned FB rant if you’re just gonna turn around and flip out on the people who call you out on your bs. Remember, there will always be people who don’t agree with you. And you will always be offended, if you let yourself be. (It’s amazing to me when the people who call me a “liberal snowflake” end up being offended by what I write…)
Lastly, not agreeing is one thing, meanness toward me I can deal with. If you need a punching bag, sure, you can use me. But spewing lies and misinformation, especially about a deadly pandemic, that people like my mother might come across and believe (because like the conspiracy theorists it’s easier than the truth) is something altogether different. I can’t take that chance. I’ve spent the last three-and-half years watching this nonsense trickle down my newsfeed, gaslighting the weaker of us, and people like me, we simply can’t tolerate it anymore.
I usually sign off by saying “stay safe and sane” and I truly mean that, y’all. It’s okay to feel out of control right now. I do. And I’m getting through it with family, friends, and therapy. I hope you find something that works for you. Just seek to find the truth, the kind that comes from real science and primary sources. I know it’s scary and hard to read/hear sometimes, but I promise it’s worth it to learn how navigate this here life.
I’m going to leave you with this adorable, horrendous quote, stitched onto a vintage napkin via the #TinyPricksProject.