I really didn’t intend to give you an earworm this morning, but Sly Stone said it best and who am I to mess with perfection? Although, just between us? My favorite song by Sly and the group has always been “Family Affair,” but it just didn’t work as the title of today’s blog post. Again, not gonna mess with perfection. And I wanna say Thank You. You know, for lettin’ me be myself. Again.
Why am I thanking you for letting me be myself again?
Well, mainly because those of you who follow me on Facebook didn’t A) unfriend me, B) come to my house with baseball bats, or C) call the men in the white coats when I dipped
my toe my whole foot into responding to political and/or societal posts with my own opinion, no matter who I pissed off in the process.
See, when Crimson and Clover was first published in 2013 I read lots and lots of advice from people who know what they’re talking about that authors should not talk about and/or engage in discussions about hot-button topics, including politics, religion, and the like. It was pretty good advice, because who the hell wants the political opinion of a romance author? If I wrote a political column for a newspaper or magazine or something? Well, yeah, then people would expect me to spout off. But all the people who know about this stuff said it’s a bad idea to even hint at that kind of stuff if you don’t write about it because you’re bound to piss off readers. Some authors got all huffy and said they felt it was their “duty” to write blog posts about politics, et al., because they thought they had “a voice” to “effect change.” They may have been authors of how to arrange flowers, but they really thought their readers would hang on their opinions on the political topics making headlines.
Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. So I kept my mouth shut. Tight. I did not want to be those people.
After three years of stifling myself and restraining myself from making any comment whatsoever about the hateful shit going down in the world today, I snapped. I started by responding in comment threads. Hey, if I was going down the rabbit hole I was going to make sure it was the express hole to hell, right? Got into some down and dirty fights with other trolls, too. Yes, I said other trolls, because I was just as mean and awful as they were. Except I could spell. (Sorry. Not sorry.) I then graduated to posting inflammatory things on my Facebook newsfeed and sharing posts I knew would make everyone who didn’t think exactly like me either hurt or raging mad. And it felt so good. At first.
Yes, at first it felt good to finally let go, to stop holding everything in, to pretend that I was dancing through life without letting any of this bother me, even when other authors who I follow and/or am friends with on Facebook posted snarky, passive-aggressive things that subtly called me (well, people who think and believe as I do) a moron, a fool, an idiot, wrong about everything and everyone. And I wanted to strike back. Take that! And that! You’re the idiot. You’re the fool! You are so, so, so wrong about everything. Let me laugh at you now. Not so smug now, are you? But then it hit me one day.
What was the use?
Their hateful memes with quotes from Samantha Bee or Joy Behar or other talk show hosts hadn’t changed my mind at all. It just made me think less of those who posted them (and also made me wonder why they were getting all their political views from “talk show” hosts, but I digress. And I also couldn’t help but get in one last shot. Again, sorry. Not sorry.) So it stood to reason that my posts weren’t changing their minds, either, even though they came from people who actually knew the laws. (Sorry. See? Politics. Bad to talk about. We should just do our talking at the polls.) Besides, though it felt freeing in the beginning to finally let loose, now it was just making me mad all the time. While I felt hurt and insulted by the things others posted before, once I started responding in kind I felt personally attacked by them. I was turning into one of them — one of those people who think everything they see is about them! No!
So I’ve dialed it way, way back. I started by unfollowing a crap ton of people on Facebook. I hated to do that, because I genuinely like every one of them. But their passive aggressive crap was making me feel bad all the time. Maybe after the election I’ll see about following them again. Plus, I’ve hidden all posts from a lot of source posts I see from people I didn’t unfollow. Some are things with which I don’t agree, but not all of them. The majority of these things are political opinions with which I agree, but they’re still couched so hatefully that they made me feel bad, like they left a light coating of anger over my whole newsfeed. It’s made for a much lighter newsfeed, both in content and in tone, and I feel a whole lot better, this time in a good way.
Does this mean I’m going back to the hide and stifle routine? Nope. Look, if a reader decides to not read my really good books just because I’m a conservative who votes Republican 99% of the time and owns firearms, then their loss. Myself, I think that’s a petty reason to not read an author, but hey, whatever floats anyone’s personal boat. Ain’t no politics in my books, but that’s their prerogative. No skin off my nose. Ouch to my bank account, I’m not gonna lie, but oh, well.
No, I’m not hiding anymore. I am who I am, and I think what I think, and I believe what I believe, and I think you should do the same. We just don’t need to beat each other over the head with it. But before I completely shut up, there are a few things that have bugged me, and I’d love to get them off my chest. Indulge me for a minute, would you?
Am I the only one who
- didn’t think the lady in the Chewbacca mask was drop-dead hilarious? I watched about a minute and a half of the video and thought it was mildly amusing, but then she got on my nerves and I hit “stop,” but then everyone was sharing it and talking about how “cute” she was, and I was all, WTF?
- doesn’t care all that much for Betty White? I liked her in The Golden Girls, but now she seems to just be a coarse broad with no class. JMHO, y’all.
- doesn’t think the guy on the Got Talent (or whatever it’s called) show who did the cover of “Somebody to Love” was very good? Everyone was posting the video and gushing over his performance, and so I watched it and thought, “Meh. I’ve seen intoxicated people do a better job of it on karaoke night.”
Am I the only one who felt that way?
Okay, done. Just a few things I held in because I was all bewildered that everyone’s reaction to these things was so opposite my own. I was afraid to say anything contrary because people were freakin’ passionate about that stuff, especially that Chewbacca lady.
So thank you. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). 😉
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