When I write something in all caps, I’m serious. It’s not difficult to ascertain. Anyone who knows me, even just peripherally, knows I’m a huge animal person. Even if you just notice the headlines of what I post, it’s blatant. Regular readers of my blog know I’m a vegetarian since my teen years and I love to share positive links of animal stories. Animals and their well being are my passion, possibly the most important issue to me. That and women’s rights but that’s for another post.
So when I post something in all caps about animals, you know I’m not kidding around. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become very amenable to hearing both sides of the story — however this is not one of those times. I am sticking to my principles; This is a black and white moment.
One of the best things about posting to the world is that you meet like-minded people. My people! My veggies, my writers/editors, my fellow New Yorkers, my Irish! All my faves. Then you get the people who think their opinion is more important than your own. And I’m not saying it isn’t valid but I AM the one who posted her opinion. This is what I am talking about right now. Why are people so determined to ignore your feeling and sway you to their way of thinking?
To be honest, whenever I see someone post something I don’t agree with or don’t really care about, I ignore it. Just keep scrolling…Just keep scrolling… Unless they’ve said something so outlandish like Donald Trump supports women. I might have to hit dislike there. Or maybe not…because I’m probably not going to sway your opinion. Why get into it? When should you get into it? When email became the norm, I came up with a saying, “He/she is a lion behind the keyboard.” Same can be said now except on a larger stage. We all become dictators through our wildly clacking fingers.
So the other night I saw that someone I know is getting a puppy from a breeder and I exploded. There are so many (over 800 euthanized a day in the U.S. alone) animals that need homes in shelters. Why on earth would you support a breeder?
Dozens of friends shared my feelings emphatically except for one. He said people are afraid of abused animals hurting their kids. “I get it,” he said flippantly. Cop out. Really? A bred dog guarantees a great personality? I don’t see the logic, I said. If that’s your concern then you shouldn’t have a pet, I told him but he felt the need to continue. All caps wasn’t a deterrent to this guy. I told him I disagreed but that wasn’t enough. When I said the conversation was over he continued. Why are people so hellbent on being right? Yes, I heard you and I do not agree. You need to deal with that.
A few years ago a friend posted a story about a former high school teacher who had his students dissect domestic cats in class. Naturally I vehemently disagreed with this practice — this isn’t medical school. There are virtual models that many argue are much better and safer. The story also talked about the students who were equally upset. The teacher simply told them to get over it. When I voiced my opinion on the post saying how insensitive the teacher was and that I disagreed a number of people attacked me. They loved their former teacher and I was crazy. I was fairly taken aback at how many people told me to shut up. (Full disclosure, this teacher and these people are in Texas.) The “friend” is actually a childhood friend of my husband’s and treated me beyond horribly. His sister-in-law even jumped in calling me names. (Same woman who went to Paris on her honeymoon and only ate at McDonald’s.) I decided to bail out before I dropped to their level. When my husband called his friend to ask what happened he declined the call. The next day he sent me a note of apology saying he treated me poorly. Not publicly, of course. I never responded. This person has a problem with women (among other things) and I just didn’t want to have anything to do with him any longer.
A college friend told me quite plainly in a comment on something I posted about the vegetarian diet, “Jen – Atkins is much healthier.” No question about it. As if my lifestyle was completely unimportant and foolish. I blocked him as I remembered how a number of friends, including myself, found his personality to be caustic and rude. Oh, how silly of me. You must be right.
Why do we think its appropriate to foist our beliefs and opinions on others? Is anyone actually right? What value does it serve? For long periods of time I’ll just post photos because I’m exhausted by the vitriol. Here I posted something straight from my heart and I was told I was wrong for feeling that way instead of saying, “I can understand where you’re coming from but perhaps this is a reason why…” Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I need to fade into the background for a while.
It’s actually quite ironic as I’m participating in a virtual group (mostly made up of women) this month that is incredibly supportive and warm. It’s all about creativity. Every single person has made it their mission to support everyone else’s endeavor. It’s pretty remarkable. It has been such a pleasure to bask and thrive in the positivity instead of the snarky political and social crap. I DON’T CARE. See, caps again. Get it now??
I just read a great interview with actress Jennifer Lawrence about pay equality. In the wake of the Sony email hack, she learned how much more her male counterparts were earning compared to herself. Instead of blaming them she spoke out saying she failed as a negotiator. She was worried about being seen as a spoiled brat and one male colleague even said he felt she was “yelling at him” when she forcefully spoke to him in a conversation. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable!” Jennifer exclaimed. I’m right there with you!
Girls are taught to be demure. Don’t speak up. Catholic school enforced that. Is it ingrained? See how my instinct was to fade into the background when faced with having an unpopular belief? Nope.
Don’t worry, I won’t back down; My opinion matters.