This is my second post of the day. The first one got caught up somewhere in virtual, computer-land and totally disappeared. It turned out to be a good thing. This re-write shares some of the same content, but in a less tolerant and more self-care sort of way.
The other post was about some critters that I’m sharing my environment with right now and the ways that I am attempting to co-exist in an environmentally friendly and cooperative way. I do have my limits though. Some things I just can’t tolerate at the risk of personal harm. As I clicked on the publish button, I started thinking about the way my writing could also be construed to have an undertone of frustration with some friends and acquaintances here on social media.
Here’s the rewrite:
We’re still having warm weather in my part of Texas. I’ve heard a rumor that cold weather is coming. I’m hopeful. Meanwhile, my neighbor’s bees are having a good old time in my yard and in my kitchen. I’ve stepped on a couple and come uncomfortably close to others. I like bees. I appreciate their value and the work that they do. We need bees. I, however, do not need bees in my kitchen or underfoot. Out they go. Some die in the process. I try to avoid that.
I have a banana spider that took up residence on my back porch. I have to leave my back door open at night because Barret the dog is back on steroids and needs to pee about a hundred times a night. The banana spider, who should be named by now, moves it’s web in every night. Every morning, I relocate it to the back porch. We have mutually agreed to disagree. There has been no violence yet.
Fire ants. Well, I’m not negotiating that . Death. Preferably, slow and painful…for them. I am using diatomaceous earth though. I’m not unreasonable. I just want the damn ants to die.
Last night as I was cleaning out the pantry, I discovered that a mouse had taken up residence there. It does not appear to be just the one. I think he invited a lot of his friends. It looks like there was a party in the pantry. I don’t dislike mice. I’m just not interested in cohabitating. He is being encouraged to leave. It will probably not end well for him. I’m not going to apologize for my decision. Sometimes you just have to draw a line that meets with your convictions. Then you have to defend that line.
I’ve made the decision to unfriend some folks today on facebook. I’ve tried to be patient with their postings. I’ve tried to understand and listen. I’ve given it time.
What I’ve discovered is that some have not relented in the content of their posting and their words have continued to be divisive, hostile and increasingly biased in support of their viewpoint. I’m discovering that it is harder to “like” anything that they post even if I agree with it. We do have some common ground, after all. I’ve tried to cling to that commonality. I just don’t want to join the club.
I want to maintain my conscious ability to think through issues and make independent decisions based on research and my own core values.
I am also just plain tired of being clumped into a category because it fits someone else’s version of the truth.
My personality is such that I tend to seek the approval of others to help contribute to my own self-worth. This need for validation led me towards ordained ministry for example. I was not comfortable enough with the value of my own “ministry”. I needed to make it “official”. I came to terms with who I am and chose another path. It’s all good.
This post is a declaration of independence of sorts. I am learning not to cling to friends that reinforce an image of who I would like to be. I don’t need a liberal friend to reassure me that I am not a racist or homophobe or whatever label is popular at the moment. I don’t need a clan of artists that tell me I can make art. I don’t need a governing body to tell me that I am a good Christian. That’s not friendship. It’s a crutch. My identity lies in my actions. Those actions tell the story of who I am and what I believe.
I also don’t need “friends” who dismiss me and my feelings in pursuit of their own interests. I don’t need to cling to friendships that heighten my anxiety and threaten my self-worth.
Perhaps some of these friendships weren’t really friendships at all. Some are individuals from another part of my life. Maybe the time has come for me to move on. Maybe the friendship has served it’s purpose and it’s time to cut ties. None of my decisions were made lightly or without thought.
I do need friends that respect, challenge, and care for me. A good friendship can transcend any difference in thought, belief and tradition. It fosters sharing, debate and growth.
I do need friends.
I don’t need folks that feel a need to denigrate my views or choices because it differs from theirs.
I don’t need friends that continually tell me that I should feel guilty for being born white in America. I am a descendent of indentured servants and if you believe the story you heard in school about that simply being a great opportunity for a trip to America, you might want to do some research. They worked hard and overcame discrimination. I am proud of who they are, but they do not define me. I am responsible for my life and my choices. I don’t lay that at their feet. I carry a great burden of guilt for many things that I have done that have caused harm for others, but being born isn’t one of them.
I don’t need friends telling me that my vote endorses any negative or down-right horrifying behavior by others. It’s called personal responsibility, folks. You can’t blame me for the actions of thousands of other people. I don’t have that kind of power.
I do have the power to care for myself. In doing so, I am choosing to have the ability to care for others around me. I must not forget to battle my own demons. Then I have the energy and courage to work for good.
And last, my call to action may not look like yours. Just because I don’t choose to fight the battle you are fighting doesn’t make me wrong. There are plenty of wrongs to right and more than enough problems to fight. Quit wasting time and energy telling me that I’m not caring enough or doing enough because it doesn’t look like the work you are doing.
It is not my place to judge my friends. And I am choosing friends that don’t judge me.