Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Living with Less - Update

So last week, I wrote about Living with Less, both literally less stuff and emotionally making room for the important experiences and people I want to have in my life.

This week, two people have made that decision easier for me and gone ahead and removed themselves.

I don't like losing people. If I had it my way, I'd love and smoosh the people I care about forever.

But sometimes people make that really hard.

The first person was actually the one I talked about in the last post. Just through not communicating in any way with me, he's basically gone from my life. I don't dislike him, we just, like I said, want different things.

The real killer though is the second person, who is also, sadly, family.

I love my family. My mom is my best friend (Mater Woccasin!), my brother is the coolest "kid" I know, my sister is amazing, my stepdad is the best a girl could ask for. (Seriously, the man fixes my car and makes me patty melts at 2 am. Just sayin'.) My extended family is great, even the ones I don't agree with, and there are a ton of them.

But most of my family I can either ignore their political and moral views (your standard conservatism - dislike marriage equality, really zealously preach-y Christian, anti-choice, Obama hate, racially biased, etc) because you can't change people. Me telling my relatives that it's morally wrong for us to treat people like second class citizens just based on their bits or who they love (and that god made them that way...) isn't going to convince them to change. I just have to love them anyway. Or, like my cousin Sam, who does not fall into those categories but is certainly more conservative than I am, I want to have a fair, fun conversation that actually leads to both of us learning more about the other, and opens up some interesting political debates.

So basically I'm an ignore (and point out flagrant fallacies when I see them, cause, sorry, y'all, snopes isn't hard to use) or debate intelligently kind of girl.

But sometimes that just can't happen.

Yesterday, on my Facebook page (so yes, this is FB drama) I posted a story about the royal baby. I care quite a bit, since, ya know, I study the British monarchy. And my thought is that, first, I'm glad Americans realize that the rest of the world exists* and, second, that we can have happy news that, even if you don't like the monarchy or Britain or colonialism or mushy peas or whatever, you can't blame a baby for, or Will and Kate personally. So it's happy news. Let's be happy, because I'm sure the rest of the news is generally awful.

And I want the internet to stop judging me for it.

*I had a student ask me before I went to London in the spring how I would respond to emails since, basically, he didn't think Europe had the internet. Yeah.

99% of the comments were "yeah, happy news is great," or, "I don't particularly care about this, but you're right." Or "Hooray Prince Shinylocks!"

And then one of my relatives commented.

This person used to be one of my favorite people. And even now, although i find their political views to be morally and practically wrong, I still think they are a genuinely good person who is stubborn, and, to me, wrong, and absolutely acting in a way that makes their claim to be Christian laughable, but I still love them.

They said, on a post about how we should celebrate happy news and not get bogged down by politics because BABIES!, something along the lines of, "AREN'T YOU GLAD THEY WERE PRO-LIFE."

What the fuck.

Beyond the fact that that statement just doesn't make any sense, since I can't think of any pro-choice person who thinks abortions should happen all the time or in a circumstance where people want a baby, and have said, many times, that they would like children, and the child is healthy, and the parents have the means and desire to care for it, that's completely going against the spirit of what I was trying to do.

I just wanted to look at the cute baby and Kate's beautiful hair.

And be happy for a minute before some other member of society does something stupid and horrible.

So I deleted the comment and sent the standard form email from FB that's like "I didn't like your comment, yo."

And then this person emailed me, basically saying that I shouldn't have sent that because I don't "own Facebook."

Which is true.

I wish I did own Facebook.

But I don't.

However, I feel like I have a right to monitor what people say on my wall, and to tell people when I disagree with them.

Long story short, this person, who I thought once cared about me quite a bit, said that they would make it easy for me, and then unfriended me.

Getting unfriended isn't a crisis. But I feel like I got punished for standing up for myself. And that pisses me off.

This person has implied that I'm mooching off the government for going to school still. Like I'm taking a billion years on purpose, or like I don't have a scholarship that I won.

They continually make me feel bad about my life choices and beliefs.

And now they can't even engage in grown-up conversation.


I'm upset, because losing people sucks.

But I can't keep people who are emotionally abusive and destructive in my life.

Especially when they remove themselves.

And this isn't the first time this person has been like this to me or someone I love.

I still care about them. And anytime they want to build our relationship back up, I'm here.

But I'm done feeling like I did something wrong. Like I'm the bad guy.

I'm just the girl who won't be a doormat anymore.

That doesn't mean I don't care about what people think,* or that I won't take a certain amount of silliness from people I care about. But when people make it clear that they don't want to try, or to have anything to do with me, I'm going to quit trying so damn hard.

*Anyone who got a "I rearranged the living room and I'm afraid my roommate (who is literally the most laid-back person I've ever met) won't like it!" freak out texts from me yesterday can attest to the fact that I absolutely still care about what people think.

My mom may have said it best:

"When you stand up for yourself, some people just aren't going to like it."

In other news, the stack of physical stuff I'm getting rid of is also growing. Which my roommate will like. :)

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