A few years ago, I got my septum pierced and it quickly became my favorite piercing. I felt this beautiful/bad-ass combo feeling, something I never felt before and I wore the ring in my nose proudly. Some former friends decided to speak their mind about my new look. But instead addressing their “concerns” to my face, they hid behind their computer screen. They sent me messages on Facebook, saying that my septum ring looked hideous- one friend said that I looked like a bull. Needless to say, I was crushed and stopped talking to these people.
I was taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Saying mean things are just mean. I carried this belief with me throughout my adulthood- most of the time, I find it’s easy to stay quiet. Sure, if someone severely pisses me off, I will let them know. If I’m talking with someone about another’s appearance or an opinion I disagree with, I leave the comment alone and shut up. For example, I don’t believe in god. Having many religious friends and family in my life isn’t a problem because I keep my opinions about religion and spirituality to myself. I don’t tell my friends that they’re “wrong” for believing in what they chose to believe in- I don’t diss praying (I know it just doesn’t work for me). I don’t hate on gospel music (musically, some songs are gorgeous). Even on Christmas, when I attend church with my friends, I participate despite my beliefs. Who am I to say that their beliefs are wrong? And vice-versa? I silently respect what they chose to believe in- and I expect them to respect me in the same way. No one is stupid for having a thought of their own.
After the SlutWalk this past weekend, I posted some photos of the event on Facebook. These were pictures I was extremely proud of- that event meant so much me as both the event organizer and a protestor trying to get her voice heard. Some pictures apparently struck a nerve with people and they left some pretty rude comments on some photos. Of course, I was hurt. If people respected my opinion and knew how much time and effort I put into the event, I think they wouldn’t have said anything so awful and nasty.
Before you tell me that I’m being too sensitive- shut it- I believe there is a lack of consideration and dignity in the world. We are cruel to each other. We constantly hear about the kids who are bullied every day, pick on for being different and thinking differently. Those comments on my SlutWalk pictures? They were typed by bullies- cowards hiding behind their computer screens.
Can you imagine if all the online trolls and offline bullies decided to give up hating others? What would the world look like if they practiced tolerance instead? It’s all about respect and acceptance- you can’t control what others chose to believe so accept it and respect it. I remember vividly another life lesson my parents taught me- treat others how you want to be treated. So, keep your bitterness to yourself.
To me, it comes down to this: if I’m looking for your opinion, I will ask for it. Have some damn respect.