Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Trouble With The Truth

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The problem with the truth, is that it always hurts. We deny it, we batten down the hatches and we throw up our armour. When our truths come to confront us, we do whatever we can to make it disappear. Even if that means there is collateral damage along the way.

After my blog post, "The Rarity of Kindness" went live last Thursday, I've been forced to repeat justifications of my opinion, and deal with unpleasant reactions and the usual gossip. I didn't quite understand, to be honest. I knew I would shake it off, and I knew no person's opinion was more valid than another's. I stood by my words, and comforted myself with the small detail that they were at least talking about my work, this time.


I was faced with a few reactions, and one was close to an annihilation. Luckily for me, I don't passively accept annihilation and I did respect the fact that it was being done in front of my face.

Arguments included:
"You are not a nice person" (Wasn't I trying to make life a little smoother for someone less fortunate? Invalid.)
"You should specifically name the people you are referring to." (Look up libel, slander, and all that good stuff.)
"We all know there are people who do these things, you should rise above it." (Google: Enabler)

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Yes, I was impressed with the brutal honesty that flew in my direction like a paper plane in the face. Some of it flew behind my back and it circled around me, and that alone proved me right. To those who faced me, why not channel this same energy into promoting a kinder community? We were all live-wires, and we were all waiting our turn to generate some spark.

Yet, why couldn't we accept the truths of others? I say "we" and not "they", because I was told I generalise too much. You see, I take your insult and turn it to constructive criticism, so thanks for that.

I asked why one opinion would matter? Why couldn't an alternate thought be entertained for the sole purpose of making the village a nicer place to be? I wasn't in it for the popularity, and my intentions would be seen as honourable if only they had served the purpose of the popular.

The more they tried to hold it against me, the more it worked in my favour.

The more they tried to make it hurt, the more I knew I'd made an impact.

The more they tried to prove me wrong, the more glad I was that I had done it in the first place.

We were all flexing our social muscle, fuelled by stubbornness and the unwillingness to accept another. Sat at a picnic table, I found myself wishing for one second that the red parasol would shadow my presence. This wasn't the first time I wanted to hide, but I stood by my words. I wasn't giving in, when I knew all I wanted to do was promote positivity. 

The truth was, I was waiting for it. I expected the backlash, because the truth was that I had never been accepted. I wasn't meant to be there, I knew it and they did, too. I held little social value, which was fine since I had cut the cord and moved away from home. The truth was they would try to punish my parents for my actions, and I would be responsible for the consequences. There shouldn't be a ripple effect, because why should someone else pay the price for my words? I had accepted my truths, and I was waiting for them to accept theirs.

I was advised to maybe keep my blog off Facebook. But where there is a will, there is a way. To prevent reactions to anything I write I would have to start all over. I wasn't going to be controlled, and when it comes to cutting through my Facebook- I can hardly keep track of everyone who doesn't like me. They can read my blog, and they can take it or leave it.

It was ironic, really. All I had intended to do was bring kindness to a community that needed it, and kindness to anyone who reads my blog. I had used the village as an anecdote for the shortness of compassion. Anyone who self publishes has developed a thick skin to the instantaneous backlash that we find ourselves smeared with.

There were some who discreetly apologised for judging my blog before reading it, and there have been a couple to come to my defence. People aren't so bad when you take them out of the vicinity of rabid dogs, and I was grateful for those who did understand what I was trying to achieve. I had genuinely never been more appreciative to those who had the decency to read it without judgment. I had never said I disliked every person, just that there was a collective understanding between the worst of them, and this witch hunt was a blunt reiteration of my point.

After a couple of days, people started being unnecessarily nice. They were almost a sickly sweet alternative, and that was okay. Their motive was irrelevant to me. I respect that they can look at me in the eye, and that they can smile. Whether they were being kind because I hit a nerve, or doing so to prove me wrong, they were doing what I wanted them to do all along. There was no loss here. 

As for the Bulgarian rough sleeper (name withheld for his own pride), he still walks at a brisk pace. We gave him some recent TIME magazines, a pen and some food and water. He has no frame of reference, no idea of the time that passes him by, and he has no company. We hoped we could at least ease part of his suffering, and I hope one day he can lift his head as he walks by.

We all have room to grow, but even when the dust settles it can rise up again. In one more effort to showcase my point, I was proved that sleeping dogs can still bite. Just like I expected them to.

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