jane q. public

send whips of opinion down my back, give me more

The problem with having an opinion

I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. Maybe only briefly, maybe for a long time.

The fact is that I kind of hate Facebook. I think it could be a useful tool, but because EVERYONE uses it, you not only have to be subjected to things that annoy or infuriate you, but you have to watch out so that you don’t annoy or infuriate anyone else.

My biggest problem is politics, and almost as an extension of that, my feelings about racism. I allow the radical right and racists (sometimes the same people, sometimes not) to infuriate me so much that it’s probably unhealthy. I’m always pretty guarded about what I share or say on Facebook on those topics, but sometimes I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Unfortunately, because just about everyone uses Facebook, this means that I’ve begrudgingly accepted friend request from family members with whom I get along much better if we stay away from these topics, and even worse, from co-workers (former co-workers for me now). Almost everyone I worked with at my last job came from a small town where the God, Guns and Gays (and of course racism) were the order of the day. You can probably put two and two together and figure out the main reason I quit.

I kept the politics away from the former co-workers on Facebook back when I still worked with them, because a) I’m not stupid, and b) I almost certainly would have been fired for being a vocal liberal, even in my off time. However, after I left the job, I didn’t unfriend any of them because I’m too scared of offending people for my own good.

Since then, I’ve stopped being so careful about what I would say regarding my beliefs and values, but I still try and rein it in. In fact, I hold back the majority of what I want to say because I’m so terrified of conflict.

This week, I decided I’d had enough of being careful about the things I said and sometimes being attacked when I did speak up. I set up some Facebook lists basically so I could say whatever I wanted without having someone jump down my throat. Sometimes I just need to vent, you know.

So I posted (to a limited list of people – “safe” people) that for the second time this week I felt indirectly attacked by members of my family for having my own political opinions and beliefs after reading some passive aggressive posts from a couple of my conservative relatives. I didn’t feel like they were directed specifically at me so much as any liberals they knew who DARED share their opinions. I went on to mention how I didn’t know whether to say something to them and risk conflict or keep my mouth shut so I wouldn’t jeopardize the baby shower they were throwing for me.

A few minutes later, I get one of those Facebook instant messages from my aunt saying something about how she didn’t think one of her earlier status updates was threatening and that if I felt that way, she was sorry. I just lied and said “it wasn’t you.” It totally was, but as I’ve already alluded, conflict puts me in the fetal position.

My aunt was not on that list and shouldn’t have even seen my post, because this is the type of thing I was trying to avoid by making the list in the first place.

I don’t think that the list malfunctioned. I think that someone on the list told her what I said.

I think the post may have been shared in an email between my mom’s sisters. My cousin (her son) would have been able to see it, but I don’t think he would’ve cared enough to tell my aunt about what I wrote. One of my other aunts would have been able to see it, as she got a place on the list for being a good Democrat (she’s to the left of me, if you can believe it). She’s my best suspect, although I don’t think she would’ve intentionally caused trouble. My theory is that she sent a “what’s this about?” email to the two Republican sisters when she saw the post, not knowing that they wouldn’t have seen it.

The biggest problem with them discussing it is that they (along with my mom and mother-in-law and a couple of others) are planning a baby shower for me. I’m sure to them I came off looking like a spoiled brat who doesn’t deserve the baby shower, and I could see how they would think that.

It’s certainly true that I pretty much said that I didn’t want them to get mad and decide not to throw the shower. That sounds tacky and materialistic, but the fact is that my husband and I aren’t rolling in money, and there are still a lot of things that we need for the baby. We will need help getting those things, as many people do. Baby showers happen for a reason. So before you judge me for what I said about the shower, consider my motivation.

I guess what I’ve rambled and rambled on about boils down to this: I feel like every time I go out on a limb and express my opinion or frustration about something (generally related in some way to touchy issues), someone gets in my face about it. I don’t have the thick skin to deal with that, but sometimes I need to get it out of my system. I think that’s natural.

I tried to work around that problem by setting up that stupid Facebook list, so I could say what I wanted only to an audience of people who would either agree with me, or wouldn’t try to pick a fight if they didn’t.

That didn’t work. So I guess I’m better off seen and not heard.

Needless to say, I’ve disabled the comments here because I’m fucking tired of people yelling at me.

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Written by janeqpublic

January 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

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