I was reading Rachel Wilkerson’s blog (which is to be blunt, fucking amazing since she’s hilarious and pretty take-no-bullshit) when I came across her owning it post and loved it. (Granted, there has been some blog drama surrounding the whole owning it thing, but it’s still awesome.) I’ve already posted about things I’m not ashamed to admit I love that most people think are lame, but the topic got me thinking about disagreements that I repeatedly have with others. They may be friends, family, complete strangers, whatever – there are some topics that the vast majority of people do not seem to see eye to eye with me on. (I’m not talking about a gentle agree-to-disagree thing here either, I’m talking about reactions ranging from anger to complete and utter confusion that I could even hold such an opinion.) It’s not really about owning it as I’ve never been sorry for these opinions, but it is about being willing to say “oh, fuck this, I don’t agree” and not feeling bad. So, today I present: the top five things I think that tend to piss other people off. This isn’t funny, but it’s all true.
1. Your bedroom activities have jack shit to do with anything else in life
What I mean is: I don’t care how weird and kinky your sex life is, who or what you choose to screw, and how often you do it, if you’re honest with your partners and everyone involved is a consenting adult, it has absolutely no bearing on your ability to do anything else in life.
This seems to cause a problem because so many people categorize sex into “normal” and “not normal,” and think less of all those in the not-normal category. I have noticed that even the enlightened and open-minded among us have more than a few sexual practices that they will actively judge you for having, such as being into BDSM or having a very specific or intense fetish. What’s sad to me and where I get into arguments is that most people seem to think that one or more sexual practices falling outside of their definition of normal actually means the person is less suited to doing something completely unrelated to sex. Hell, there have been a hell of a lot of straight folks who think gay people shouldn’t be employed in child-centered professions or in the military, and that’s just a fairly well-tolerated deviation from what they consider normal (and one most people would probably frown on judging at this point). Just imagine their reaction if they found out little Suzy’s third grade teacher really, really enjoyed having two or three dudes on her at a time. They may not be getting out the pitchforks but she’d most likely be discreetly fired as soon as someone complained, and I have to ask: how does that make her a worse teacher than someone who had a single partner?
Don’t get me wrong on this, it’s not about how everyone should be willing to do everything and the world would be a better place if we all had no sexual boundaries, blah blah blah. I don’t buy into that claptrap; everyone has a different comfort zone. I personally find a lot of stuff people are in to sexually ranging from odd (feet? really?) to downright fucking weird (furries, I’m looking at you), but I also know I’m ridiculously vanilla and I’m not going to get most of it. My reasoning is that I don’t get people who love to knit but I don’t think they should be banned from the board of a local non-profit because of it. In short, I don’t think that your hobby means your ability to work, parent, go to school, or live a normal, law abiding life are lower than anyone else’s simply because your hobby involves orgasms. This seems to confuse a lot of people.
2. No one has to justify being unhealthily overweight by claiming it’s actually perfectly healthy (also: it doesn’t matter if you’re fat)
Healthy at every size is a big movement. So is fat acceptance. While I do believe that the moment you tick over to the overweight category does not mean you’re going to die tomorrow of a Whopper-induced heart attack, let’s please stop trying to justify unhealthy weights by saying that any weight you are is healthy no matter what. It all stems from a really good (and true) idea – fat people shouldn’t be treated as lepers and judged constantly – but it just gets taken too fucking far. If you’re extremely fat and okay with that, good for you, but there very well may be health consequences down the line. You don’t have to want to change just because of those health consequences being a possibility, but not wanting to change does not mean the health problems magically go away.
Admitting that being very overweight is unhealthy doesn’t mean you must lose weight, or that the way society treats fat people is acceptable, or that body standards the media presents us with are completely okay. I’m a healthy weight, but I have other health issues I don’t manage as well as I should or could – I don’t think less of you for the health issues you can’t or don’t control. Plus, the bottom line is that very few people are actually judging fat people for being so unhealthy, it’s just a non-shallow sounding excuse for the real reason a lot of people judge the fat: people are jackasses and judge others on their looks. Body image in the media is so fucked I can’t even begin to get into it, and even if everyone in this country were at a “proper” weight, they’d still be fucked up. Be fat and happy with your body, just don’t try to claim something is healthy when it most likely is not.
3. No one has only “liberal” or “conservative” political opinions
I am a registered independent, and I have views that fall all over the political spectrum, depending on which issue I’m talking about. I am frequently accused of being either a Democrat/liberal (or, sadly, a “librul”) or a Republican/conservative (or, sadly, a “Fox News fan”) – whichever the speaker thinks is bad – when I state an opinion that doesn’t fall precisely in line with whatever political doctrine the accuser follows. It doesn’t seem to matter what other things we agree on, I’m the opposite as soon as I disagree on even the smallest thing. This is absolutely fucking mindblowing to me. I guess after years and years of being told you’re either with your party or against it has finally destroyed peoples’ abilities to believe that political thought, or hell, any thought, really, can exist on a continuum rather than be either/or. I don’t really have much that’s amusing to say about this one, because it simply baffles me totally. All I can do is say that yes, it is possible to dislike the Obama administration without thinking he’s somehow not a US citizen and part of some sort of anti-US conspiracy, or to simultaneously believe that fiscal conservatism is usually best and that women should have the right to an abortion. This is not fucking rocket science, folks. A correlation to this could also be that I don’t necessarily have every opinion perfectly researched and thought through, which means I can (gasp) change my mind without being a hypocrite as long as I don’t claim to have always believed exactly what I do now.
4. Getting over it is highly overrated and unrealistic
So about a year ago, my dad died. Worst day of my life, which will only be tied when my mother one day dies. This is the thing: I’ll never get over it. I’ll never be okay with it. And I’m fine with that. The vast majority of the time I function completely normally. For the most part I just miss him and think of him fondly, but I have a day every month or two when I spend a good ten to fifteen minutes crying about my dad being gone and missing him painfully. This, I think, is pretty normal. My life doesn’t revolve around my dad’s death, but I feel the loss acutely. What I strongly disagree with is those who expect me to one day be “okay” with his death (which is a surprisingly high number of people). Not going to happen. This brings me to my point: there’s a lot in life that you don’t ever get beyond, yet many people discuss dealing with that horrible shit as if you should eventually be in some sort of state of zen about it. I call bullshit. This does not make me terribly popular.
Bad and good things happen in life. Expecting to be able to always deal with the bad stuff fantastically or even reasonably at all times is, in my opinion, completely unrealistic. Even the most optimistic, happy, live-in-the-moment type of person has days where the bad stuff comes out. Yet many people seem to think that showing any negative emotion beyond some sort of socially sanctioned time frame is a failing – once you’re beyond your allotted time to be upset about bad stuff, it shouldn’t hurt you any more and being upset is just your failure to cope, of which you should be ashamed. Unfortunately, bad things affect you for the rest of your life, not just for a few months or a year. The repeated mantra of “be okay, be okay, no matter what” that a lot of people see only serves to make the moments of pain that crop up later more difficult; not only are you upset about something that legitimately hurts you, but now you have to feel bad about not being able to force yourself to be happy in spite of it. Fuck that. I’ll cry over my dad for the rest of my life. I’m not dwelling on how much I miss him daily, but when I do feel his absence strongly, you can fucking bet I’ll shed some tears. Trying to pretend that’s not the case is a lie. I encourage you, too, to be honest about the bad emotions when you can. As long as you don’t spend all your time dwelling on your pain or problems, you’re doing just fine no matter what anyone else says about grief, sadness or whateverthefuckelse you might be experiencing. There’s some shit you won’t get past. Don’t waste your time beating yourself up about not getting past it.
5. No one needs religion
You. Yes, you. What religion are you? Oh, that one. Fucking stop talking about why that’s the most moral religion ever. No, I’m not going to apologize for telling you I don’t care to hear it. It’s just that I’m an atheist of the teacup variety and have some pretty strong views on claiming you need god to be an okay person.
Look, lots of people derive some moral guidance from their religion. It gives them a framework, etc. That’s fine, if it’s how you make sense of the world please continue to do what works for you, I’ll be over in the corner glad to know you’re happily ticking along. However, please remember that people without religion are not immediately morally bankrupt or incapable of understanding why, say, theft is wrong. It frightens me that many, many people seem to think that you need to believe in something in order to be a good person. I get comments ranging from the obvious “you’re going to hell” to the bizarre (and most point-missing) statement of “why can’t you just be a(n) [insert Eastern religion here]?”. Are you kidding me?
In addition, I am most likely familiar with your religion. The fact that I’m an atheist does not mean I just haven’t actually had your religion explained properly to me before, it means I’ve considered the existence of the supernatural and don’t think it’s existence is likely enough to shape my life around. Please don’t try to convert me, either.*
*Final note: I will celebrate any fucking holiday I want to celebrate, regardless of religious basis. I don’t much care for Christianity, but I give a good Christmas present. Why? Because it’s a day to give presents and generally enjoy your loved ones. If it has some mumbo-jumbo about god, who gives a shit? Other people can believe it, but I’m not going to sit out on a holiday that even for us totally secular folks is fun just because someone else thinks I shouldn’t be able to enjoy something that doesn’t match my views 100%. Newsflash: it probably doesn’t match your views 100% either, because everyone interprets religion differently. So stop asking me why I celebrate Christmas. Good lord.
So, I’ve officially alienated the three people who read this regularly. Goodbye and good luck! Also, I learned while editing this: do not fucking drink and blog. Holy shit, the typos and terrible sentence structures.