Choose Your Battles, Choose Your Words
I feel like there are a lot of things I’m learning traveling that you wouldn’t expect like… diplomacy skills! How to approach, communicate, and respect people past the barriers of my own language or culture. I’m learning about wildlife, history, and just life in general.You know if I was Bernie Sanders, and I had already been the core of a movement so opposite of the man now in power, then I would feel a responsibility to continue to be that icon. It’s important to choose your battles wisely because once you invest energy, you have intertwined yourself with the conflict. For example, a lot of people post dushey things on facebook and I just ignore them or unfriend them. It’s non-confrontational and I just forget I ever met them. But sometimes I also like to be a troll. This one guy, named Alex, from Humboldt but I had no recollection of knowing, posted on facebook how this bum laid on his front porch and basically how disgusting it was. I commented, “people are people” and he went into a paragraph long rant attacking me using language like fucking- this fucking- that. Now I’m involved. Because its my responsibility to defend myself (luckily it was such a stupid argument it was just funny and not difficult to do). But then another girl wrote a really well articulated paragraph about the homeless problem in the area and started getting baraded by low-frequency asshats in the comments. That made me mad.
I am faced with a dilemma now. Because that genuinely upsets me that they would talk to her in such a demeaning way, and she did not defend herself. I would rather defend her at this point than myself… but maybe I’m crossing a line with energy investment. Now that I made one comment, I feel tied to the people in the thread. As if I have a responsibility to respond, to defend her. This is why choosing battles is so important! It’s not the first battle… but how the battle manifests in your mind and consciousness.
I find myself looking out the window, in beautiful India, driving by landscapes I will only get the chance to see once, and I’m thinking about this? What a waste of my energy.
One time when I was in elementary school, a kid was getting bullied and I went right up between him and the bullies and was ready to fight them to stop. But guess who got mad at me? The boy who was being beat up! Geez dude, I’m trying to stand up for you! But maybe he felt that I was inflaming the situation more, and making it worse for him in the long run.
When I was in high school, there was a guy in my class that was making inappropriately aggressive comments through our club facebook page, and I publicly told him to stop. He proceeded to post threats to me on facebook, saying “You’ll get what’s coming to you white rat.” But even somehow everyone at my school supported him and ostracized me during that time. I think I responded poorly because I didn’t respond at all. Things that weren’t true were being said and spread and I just stayed silent. I felt deeply confused at how humans could be so stupid and such sheep to blindly follow what was clearly wrong just because it was what everyone else was doing.
That wasn’t the right approach either though. My thought process was, I’m almost done with high school, thank god I’ll never have to see these people again. I’m moving on to bigger things in my life. But in retrospect, silence is not the answer. I allowed him to dictate the logic of the situation, and never stood up for myself.
I inevitably intertwined myself in the energy of the conflict, the second I picked it as a battle. You can’t drop only one fleet of troops into a battle without backup. You have to stand on your own two feet and if you’re going to fight- fight!
In India, today I visited a castle with huge walls surrounding it in a 36 km perimeter! These beautiful structure were made for living a beautiful life, but they also have a clear history of war. They defended themselves through engineering and bravery. But the defense was necessary. Wars were fought, walls were breached, and kingdoms were won.
Even Ghandi knew that silence wasn’t synonymous with peace. He was a warrior, a non-violent one, but a warrior none the less. The silent person is not going to be the one to shake or move things.
Maybe in a small way, I need to overcome the associations with the warrior woman. She is the feminist. She is the agitator. She is bossy. She is a bitch. Society tells us that good girls and quiet and submissive. Two things that don’t lead to making a difference.
I’m still in the process of allowing my voice. That means finding when and when not to give my energy to something. To be strategic in which battles I fight. To be logical and of course, vocal. To be aware and have foresight. To stay calm and to let others decide when they need me to fight on their behalf… To trust people to be okay and to manage. To make my words meaningful.
What will I choose to put my energy towards in my future?