When you decide to stick yourself anywhere where it is possible for someone to be critical of your outlook, there are personal consequences. Mostly, it is the very real understanding that people are likely to challenge you, and you’d better be ready to stand by your argument. Being confident is only half the battle: belief has to exist, that what you think is actually what matters. If you don’t someone will find you out, sooner or later, and however good you believe your memory is, it’s never as good as your fiercest critic. So, there’s a choice to make. Stand or fall, argue or walk away.
Mostly, you need to decide what kind of world you live in.
I know I can’t keep everyone happy, and I’d be a fool to try. Mostly I take counsel from a group of people who I know are going to tell me the way it is: if I’m out of turn, I know they’ll tell me. This isn’t about ego massaging or making it what I want to hear. If I’m a twat, they won’t sugar coat it. I’m very grateful for this, and it gives me the confidence I need to stand on my own. I realise just how lucky I am, too. Don’t think for a moment that I don’t. That means that if I’m happy with my outlook, I will defend it, and if I choose to stop arguing? It’s not because I’m not willing to continue. Mostly it’s because I’m confident the other person stopped listening.
I don’t do black and white any more, because life is far too complicated, and if you think that your answer is the only one that matters? It’s not, just the same as my view is only one of hundreds, thousands of others. Just because I expound does not make it right, or the only solution. It’s because I can say what I want as everyone else can, and stand and fall by it just as they will. It doesn’t make me right. The only things I know with 100% certainty are my name and my biological designation. Everything else has the potential to change, based on circumstances both within and beyond my control. That means I need to be prepared to change, even when the possibility actively petrifies me.
That’s why I cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge on a tricycle. That’s why I did a water slide on my holiday when I was physically shaking both before and after. That’s why I will learn to swim, and I’ll start streaming my game time, and 1001 other things that actively push me out of my comfort zone. Because the other 100% certainty in my life is that I die, and before that happens, I need to feel I lived every moment well and with a sense of purpose, and to do that I have to be afraid, and I need to be scared, or else things just never get better.
This weekend will be remembered for many things. All those who lost their lives were doing what they enjoyed on a Friday night: a concert, a football match, eating out with those they loved. We do not allow terrorism to dictate our lives, and we must not allow fear to consume the possibilities our lives present. People will not agree with me, and I won’t agree with them, but we can live together, if both of us are prepared to compromise. Sometimes this is possible, but for many there is just no other way. It is either black, or white, and there is no other path.
I am not one of these people. I wish more shared the understanding that true enlightenment does not begin with an intractable outlook, but I cannot change them, just as they will not make me decide there is only one way. There are many ways, and all of theme are valid if you can justify them within the confines of your own existence.
Mostly, I am never always right, and never wish to be, however much I might lament this fact at a distance.
I like what I am, and I hope I can get better at doing that before I start being an advocate of anything else.