Forewarning, I often write pieces of writing like this, but I don’t share them as I feel like they are just for me. But I felt the need to share this, and maybe the sharing aspect is just for me, too, because I am not sure how long I will feel safe enough to speak up, or even have the right to speak up as someone who is a minority.
I always said that my blog would be largely free of politics and religion. I am aware that all writing is political in its way. But I was never here to preach or make anyone feel excluded, and I write this to the same end now. In fact, I write this to preach inclusion. I am inviting people to come into my social media sphere and talk with me, or around me if you need, and I will keep that space as safe as I can for your words.
But my words, although intended to be compassionate, will be savage and blunt, because I want them to be and I feel they need to be.
I don’t care what age you are, what sex you are, what gender you are, what socio-economic status you are, what race you are, what religion you belong to, or who you voted for. Yes, that’s right, I don’t care who you voted for in this last train wreck of a U.S. election. Why? Because we are all human and regardless of what labels you put on yourself, I want to know who you are. I want to know what you feel and what you think, because the moment we sink to the level of black and white thinking, of us and them thinking, we create “the other”: a villain. We create boundaries to understanding and education. And when people feel alone, excluded and invisible? That is when hate, intolerance and violence has a greater chance of growing. I don’t want anyone to feel hated – even those people who hold opposite political views to mine.
I have always said I write the villain’s story. My protagonists are the “bad” men and women that fairy tales warn you about. Why? Because I want to understand the bad and the evil and draw my vision back from black and white thinking. I want to inhabit the grey so that there is no clear “other” any more, on either side – the darkness or the light. Because when there is no clear ‘other’, there is less chance of war and hate, also there is no clear target for violence. Cultivating curiosity, understanding and compassion often mitigates fear and hate. And I want to inspire the same in my readers, or at least have them think about that point of view. And it doesn’t have to be a political stance, its more an invitation and a psychological exercise in exploring the shadow and the shadow self through the joy of story.
Does evil happen? Yes. Are there bad people? Debatable. Should we stop being aware of, or seeking to understand the simple fact that evil and badness does indeed happen? No. But I will always and forever preach understanding, open mindedness, education, and safe places for discussion and support for everyone regardless of age, sex, gender, socio-economic status, race, religion or political persuasion. I will always, always preach support for people from all walks of life to live their most authentic selves to the best of their ability – and no more than that.
If you can stand up and fight against injustice, great. If you can be there for others, wonderful. If you only have enough energy to keep yourself safe and if possible, happy, fan-fucking-tastic. And that goes for every group I have and haven’t mentioned above, because I personally want to strip away the barriers and take us back to our most basic, human selves.
I absolutely refuse to hate anyone for who they voted for, or embrace someone completely for who they voted for, because that is NOT the sum of who they are. I believe that is an unhelpful road to walk down. However, it is still important now more than ever to fight for human rights, the environment and the safety of every human being.
I believe that even the people who voted for Trump thought they were doing the right thing and are far more similar to those who didn’t vote for him than we all want believe. We all want the best for ourselves and the people we love, and if we can reach for that common compassion that lies within all of us, maybe, just maybe we have a chance to pull the rage back, stop throwing hate around, and open up a discussion and therefore, help those feeling smothered by the rage feel less afraid and more willing to speak up, or perhaps reach out for help if they need it. The world is a very scary place for a lot of people right now, especially young people, I don’t think adding to their fear helps.
Will evil still happen? Yes. But by opening up a safe place for discussion and understanding we will all have a better chance of stopping the evil and the badness, and coping with and supporting each other when badness does happen. I don’t know what the fallout of this election will be, all I know is I want people to have a safe place to be and to talk if it is even as half as challenging as the papers are saying right now.
So, I hope this election doesn’t diverge into people fighting one another, rather I hope to see the power of understanding, compassion and hope come to the fore and through that path, positive change.
The only line I draw is when hate and violence is incited, or sexism, racism, bigotry, homophobia – anything that denies a person their most basic right to exist safely in this world and to be themselves. Because if we can’t even support one another to simply “be”, how can we possibly turn our gaze outwards and save the environment that is beyond breaking point?
Fear drives people to shrink and pull away. The best way to thwart fear, is to inspire love and each other, and peacefully stop the spread of hate. Hate doesn’t stop hate.
I am in a minority, I am white a white female, who is disabled and who writes both homosexual and heterosexual oriented erotic horror fiction for a living. My values are not mainstream and generally not widely accepted. More than that, I am largely invisible and therefore, my voice is silenced and my rights are precarious at best. But when someone comes up and tells me that I don’t deserve my rights, that I should “shut up and know my place as a woman” be “raped for what I write” (yes, I have been told that plenty of times), or that disabled people are a waste of tax payer’s money, I won’t cower or hate, I will (and do) ask why? And I will be fully present for their answer.
That said, I don’t expect others to do the same.
I also espouse no censorship and freedom of speech; this demands I must stand up for those who hold different opinions to mine. It also demands I respect those who wish to stay silent. Everyone’s choice is their own. I respect the people who decided not to vote in this election, as that was their right and their choice. Yes, we all have to live with the results of that decision, but where will blame get us? I am more interested in why they didn’t vote, rather than the fact they didn’t. Maybe if we can understand why, we can support change in the future. I also think there will be lessons gleaned from the outcome of the election itself that will incite change and growth in all directions. Pain is a great teacher, but only if we are supported to grow through it and feel safe during that process.
I will encourage and empower but I will never, ever push – because that is not authentic to me, or the person I am pushing. It is disrespectful, even if you are thinking you are doing the right thing, sometimes silence is important to a person and their safety, so trust people to make their choices and if you have the energy to fight hate, then do it.
The only time I will fight, and I mean really fight, is when hate is incited. And if someone doesn’t have the energy to fight hate, I will do it for them. The content of my stories is horror in an effort to understand horror and quell a fear of darkness and the other – both externally and internally, my social media space will continue to the same.
My blog posts and social media will become a bigger forum for people to speak up and seek support, and I invite people to use it as such.
A final note. I am terrified in posting this blog post because it is raw, it is personal, it is opinion, it is political, it is inviting debate and discussion. Also, I am highly introverted, painfully shy, typically of a fluid mind-set, so open-minded that my views and approaches to life change daily. But one of my only real, unwavering values is that censorship of anything that doesn’t incite hate or violence, is dangerous. And that includes not letting my own fear censor my own voice. I suspect a lot of other people are feeling afraid right now, I hope in speaking up I inspire them to speak up too, or at least feel a little less afraid and alone.