Realizations, feelings, et al
I’ve come to realize my parents think my Facebook account is one big temper tantrum.
I can’t blame them. The statistics (courtesy of a quick scroll-through of my own profile just now) have spoken: at least five out of my last ten Facebook wall posts have been angry. And don't even get me started on my Twitter. My posts, for the most part, are calm, composed and backed up with logical points, but they're angry nonetheless. On the platter today: a heaping serving of worldwide police brutality, disappointment at the government's apathy towards the working class, a piping hot cup of #JunkTerrorBill tweets and a general disgust towards people eager to use the #BlackLivesMatter riots as a way to feed their pro-violence, pro-white kink.
There I go again. Sorry.
Specific opinions aside, I think it’s been pretty apparent to anyone who has seen my Twitter tirades, tapped through my Instagram stories or even engaged in conversation with me in the past few months that I’ve got more opinions forcing their way out of my real-life and proverbial, online mouth. Am I more opinionated now? It’s hard to say. I’ve always harbored my fair share of thoughts on issues, but the obvious shift can be credited to the fact that my opinions don’t just live in my head anymore. These opinions––no doubt backed by more research and coming from a deeper pocket of understanding than before––don’t just sit there to simmer. They don’t hit a full stop after being given the time of day. The anger and the opinions don't disappear. They shouldn't. They persist, a burning, round-the-clock reality just like these issues we should all be angry about.
I’ve come to realize that I may have become a little less fun to talk to.
Or perhaps I’ve just a little more intimidating, maybe even annoying. I feel it when people close to me bring up these topics and when I try to to probe their reasoning. This also becomes apparent to me when I slip into a discussion of why our government should be held accountable. Or why power abusers—government officials, police officers or whatever they may be—deserve more than just a slap on the wrist. Or why people don't deserve to be punished for violating the same rules that authorities excuse themselves from following. From the dinner table to the workplace to casual conversation, I’ve seen people’s eyes glaze over, seen people harden up instead of unpacking the discussion. People reacting by refusing to so much as hear counterarguments. I can't be the only one.
I get it. It’s not easy talking about these things. Especially not on social media, where the norm is to post the tip-of-the-iceberg good stuff, to slap a pretty filter on everything. Can being loud about opinions dampen your social life? It’s likely, and therefore, it’s hard to do. But I don’t know, it’s gotten even harder to sit with the idea that these issues could just pass us by. If there’s a chance that a deserving candidate will earn a vote, that petitions will earn a signature, that another person will advocate for equal rights across the board, I find that having a shrinking follower count is a minuscule price to pay.
I’ve also realized that there is still so much left to do.
There are thousands out there airing their feelings out on Twitter, spilling their sentiments via their keyboards, but the number of people going out to carry onto the next step? Not nearly as many. It's easier said than done, but there's more to justice than publishing an empty Instagram story and tagging ten friends. We have the awareness, now we need action. Don’t let the thoughts stop in the mind or within your own circle. Educate the self and then others. Sign petitions. Demand to know where your taxes are truly going. Write and tell stories that need to be heard. Rally online until we can take things outside, and for the love of all that is good, remember to register to vote this time.
Sorry, do I sound like I’m getting angry again?
Art Alexandra Lara