chocolate, chicago, train

Dear Internet,

Rude. Shit stirrer. Abrasive. Confrontational. Asshole. Mean. Purposeful troublemaker. Troll. Judgmental. Hater.

I’m sure I’m missing a few adjectives, but that’s a handful of the ones I’ve been called, at least to my face and that I know about, in the last few years.

I have an opinion. I always have an opinion. If I don’t have an opinion it is more than likely I don’t understand or am aware of something so the next step for me is to ask you, the explainer, to explain what it is you’re going on about so I can go and form an opinion of my own. If you don’t like the fact I’m asking for an explanation or to question your reasoning or you don’t like my tone (which apparently can be magically conveyed and nuanced over text because you are just that good), then I’m the condescending asshole who dared question your benevolent, everlasting wisdom. Or a jealous individual who is simply hating on your good fortune.

For quite sometime I’ve been watching from my digital grass, binoculars in hand, how people react to me and also to each other when the aforementioned scenarios show up. I found the following to be true: If you ask for someone to explain themselves when they state something as absolute, most often times they can’t offer up that explanation. Not always, not everyone, but enough that I’ve begun to wonder if anyone actually knows what the hell they are saying anymore.

If I disagree with an opinion, or ask you to further explain, it’s not with malevolent intent. I promise. I double pinky swear I’m not out to take you down like a deer to a rabbit. It is not to make you feel stupid, it is not to make you treat you with less respect, it is not to be harmful, or to troll you. But if I cannot formulate a response to your statements it is more than likely I don’t understand your point, angle, reasoning, or any other related synonym. If one person doesn’t understand your point of view, what is the likelihood others will?

I’m not quite sure what has been dropped into the water as of late, but I grow weary of constantly seeing others, not just me, treated like we’re the anathemas of society. I’m not a troll apologist, and there are some truly pretty shitty people who are out there, but there is a large swathe of land between being an actual troll and those looking for our questions to be answered. The problem, and one that is increasing, is that we become so wrapped up on protecting ourselves in a public space that ANYONE who so much as throws us perceived digital shade is a flaming asshole.

Even professing an opposite opinion on popular somethings can also carry its own burden. I’ve been called an uncultured moron for not liking Arrested Development and the person was dead serious.

The brassiness of my tactics are not for the fainthearted and that stems from living with my husband for so many years. TheHusband is not a sedate man by any stretch of the imagination and he is adamant, especially when my ADHD is running at full speed, that I compose, clarify, and make succinct when I speak. “I went chocolate, Chicago, train” may sound like gibberish to you, but in my head I hear, “I went to Chicago, on a train, and while in Chicago bought some great chocolate.” My own self-awareness of my problematic word retrieval which can spill into my thought process puts me on high alert for this sort of thing. I also know I am not perfect and I’m just as guilty of braying, OH MY GOD THIS PERSON IS ATTACKING ME WITH THEIR QUESTIONS, for no good reason. But if it not unreasonable to expect my husband or anyone to question me if something I say is not clear, why is it totally unreasonable to question others with the same respect?

What I ask from now on, of myself and of you, is that if someone asks or responds to your statements with a question to probe or rebuttal, before going into defense mode – stop. Listen to what they have to say and think about the question or statement made to you. It is TOTALLY okay, as much as I or I’m sure anyone would like to not to admit, to be wrong. It is totally okay to hear a totally different point of view and meld it with your own or be swayed by someone else’s point. It is totally okay to reject what is being said to you if you disagree.  It is also totally okay, as much as I hate to admit it, to ignore that person altogether if you don’t wish to engage.

But it’s never not been okay is to demean or treat anyone who disagrees with you like they are the problem, verbally or otherwise. It is not okay to be a coward or use passive aggressive tactics to undermine someone. It is never okay to use ad hominem attacks or any variation thereof. It’s never okay to be a narrow minded jerk when you profess to be an open minded individual. And especially never okay to start spreading rumors and gossip about someone because they do not align with your ideologies and called you out on it.

We’re all dying to be heard, to be understood, and to be listened.  But if you aren’t willing to engage in methods that will get you heard, listened to, and understood then why are you here?

xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-universe: 1998

3 Comments

  • Kate Kosturski

    12 November 2013 at 11:50

    I find it interesting that the ones who think people like you and I are the trolls are actually the trolls themselves.

  • […] was a strange blessing I wrote chocolate, chicago, train in a fit of insomnia the previous night, I was dead asleep, with an achy brain, almost immediately […]

  • Lauren Arnsman

    13 November 2013 at 22:26

    I was terminated from my last job because I disagreed with someone who was so insecure, he would rather I be fired than come to a resolution. I’ve been lucky enough to find employment quickly but they royally screwed me.