I read with some interest in the ‘Community’ I inhabit that there are those who have suggested to others it might be a bright idea to start boycotting people on Twitter who were, in their minds, unduly negative. Of course, this makes perfect sense when you think about it, because absolutely the best way to promote positivity is via censorship. Woe betide anyone who’s a part of this campaign who ever has a bad mood, however, or posts without thinking first. I do wonder sometimes whether age is a factor in all of this, that it is only with the benefit of time and experience that you get to learn that some ideas are just so bad they’ll actually end up creating more problems than they solve.
Then I look at what happened on my timeline yesterday when I made a judgement call and realise that, like it or not, you can easily prevent all drama ever by just saying nothing at all.
Of course, there’s a world of difference between positive and critical, and if you believe that the latter’s only ever going to be negative? We need to have a chat about how, when you really love someone, you just don’t live in blissful harmony forever. When conflict arises, the mark of a decent relationship is how it reacts to failings. If enough people perceive there’s a problem in a community and speak out against it, like it or not, that is worth listening to. Okay, you may well have an entitled buttwadd having a hissy fit in your eyes, and yes you can happily paint it that way for your own ends, but the truth is if that person feels genuinely aggrieved? They get to deserve the airtime too. The mark of a ‘true’ Community is that it supports all kinds of opinions, and not simply the ones you like or think deserve a greater significance. Mostly at this point if you choose to pin your colours to a particular flag? Be ready to defend them to an inch of your fucking life, or learn the skill of detaching yourself from the drama. Nobody’s perfect, after all. Even the smartest people make mistakes.
Having the courage to stand by your convictions is a hard ask in the anonymity of the modern world.
I know how I look from the outside, because amazingly that’s not really changed much in half a century. Mouthy, opinionated, rude, insincere are words that I’m used to, because if you won’t take the time to get to know me then what do you expect? Except I am actually none of those things if you move about six feet to your left, out of that zone you refuse to vacate where the World is always the same and you never change. The funny thing for me is that this story never changes either: I am surrounded by a brilliant group of people now who understand that I deal with my own issues and that sometimes I make mistakes. They are willing to look past what others see only as noise and stupidity and grasp a larger truth. If you won’t open your mind to the understanding that life is just not you? I can tell you now, there’s a fuck of a lot of stuff you’ll end up regretting when you get to 50. Maybe this could be the moment you change, instead of becoming more and more intractable. It’s not too late, after all.
Take it from someone who knows.
Mostly today I thought about how other people see me as negative, when all I see is a different truth. That means I’d be one of those people others are told to boycott, because I won’t tow a line they think is the only answer, and that is a genuinely scary thought indeed, because once you shut people like me up, who comes next? You gonna exclude people with different religious views, perhaps? Maybe being fluid in your sexuality is the next stop you make, who knows? However hard you want to be on other people, if your answer to a problem is to restrict basic freedom? You’re doing it wrong. You may not like the people who you see starting fires, but without them you’d have frozen to death in a cave tens of thousands of years ago. Without indignation, anger and revolution, shit just never happens.
Without negativity, positivity has no point. There is balance for everything, and if you’re only grasping one half of the equation? You need to reassess your priorities.