I’ve never understood being told to stay out of situations that have universal implications. I’m sensitive to this only because I believe communication is key. I don’t understand being told I don’t understand when the discussion is about a topic that is NOT unique to a specific group. When it comes to issues that impact women, those are women’s issues—that is the point of equality. The point of equality is that we all experience the same rewards for the same effort or we are all impacted similarly so one group isn’t disparaged against. When something happens on a public platform that changes the dynamic. I will fully own that there are particulars in every case that don’t apply to everyone so the conversation does change a bit. That is true of most things. I will also fully own that not everyone’s experiences will allow for each individual to interpret things the same way. That is just life. But if we are looking for a way to encourage like-mindedness and inclusivity, something that happens in a public forum is not one groups to own.
Sometimes, as hard as it is to hear no matter what side we fall on, we have to turn down our sensitivity to other people speaking their opinions. I can respect that some people haven’t had the same opportunities for expression and they need to be part of the conversation, but I will not support the idea that a witness to an event has no say in the matter. That simply isn’t true. Is one opinion valued over another—that’s a tricky area. Yes, there are some areas where experts need to weigh in or someone with more experience needs to take the wheel. But we don’t LEARN if we don’t have the conversation, and making someone feel like they aren’t entitled to an opinion that may elicit a different thought pattern is irresponsible and exclusive.
See, that is the real truth of the matter: we are too exclusive in our lives. Shit, I dwindled myself down to a party of one at times because I didn’t feel anyone knew what I was going through. Holding a razor blade to my wrist, or downing a bottle of pills—that’s not a unique experience but it isn’t common. But we all know about loss and that was underlying the action. We all know about wanting to end the pain we feel, we just seek different ways to numb it. We know these things yet we judge each other and we hold each other up to ridiculous standards and THAT is what needs to stop. In order for that to stop we have to stop cutting each other out of the conversation. We don’t need to take everyone’s information to heart, we don’t need to exercise or act on it, but EVERYONE has the right to be heard. Contrary to what you believe, not everyone is seeking to control the conversation, they are trying to add to it. I will acknowledge there is a time and a place and an appropriate means to insert said opinion. But if something occurs in a public forum, it’s fair game. No one gets to control that.
Until we are able to eliminate exclusivity and sensitivity and learn to actually receive information, process it, and respond (not react), then this will happen. This is also why it’s so important to own our behavior. This is why we need to take responsibility for who we are and what we consume. We need to align with what our values are and make sure we are acting from that. That we are speaking from there. And that we are always honest. Not everything is about us, no. But we have to be open enough to share our experiences to learn from them and create a better experience for the next time around. Let’s learn to communicate rather than cut people out. Let’s learn to hear and find commonality rather than judge. Let’s learn to embrace the idea that there is room for everyone. If you want change, the conversation needs to include everyone. It’s not about reciprocating privilege, it’s about leveling the playing field and cutting people out will not do that. So listen. Invite. Learn. You never know what comes next.