I say what I think.
This is pretty obvious for anyone who has spent more than five minutes in my presence.
My therapist often talks about my “strong sense of justice.” She tells me that justice is one of my top values, and if I refrain from speaking out to those who question that justice, my whole world-view is compromised.
At face value, this might seem great. It means that I care about the welfare of others; I will stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
However, based on my experiences, I’m not so sure.
When I see someone being mistreated, I find it difficult to bite my tongue. In fact, I rarely resist the urge to say something; to call out the injustice. Oftentimes, I am the lone voice for a group of like-minded individuals. I become the mouthpiece for those who see the injustice, but will not speak up, for fear of creating conflict.
So then where does that leave me? It makes me Enemy #1. I find myself as a scapegoat, for speaking out, for standing up for what I believe in, for what a passive group of people have agreed is wrong, but refuse to say.
As the scapegoat, I discover that this group of people who were once whispering in hushed tones about this injustice, are nowhere to be found. I am stranded on the island of my own personal value system. No one is in my corner.
This has been happening to me for decades. Back in high school I told a good friend that her boyfriend was cheating on her. The swiftly broke up, got back together, and then decided as a couple that I was no longer their friend. At a former job, there was an employee who was mistreating my peers. I stood up, and then that employee was telling everyone that “I was out to get him,” when really I was sick and fucking tired of everyone being miserable at work.
In the aftermath of each of these events I feel isolated and start to question why I even spoke up in the first place.
If getting older has taught me anything; it’s that being complacent and staying silent is the way to get the exact opposite of what you really want.
So do I continue this cycle? Do I continue to throw myself into the fire and come out scorched with a chip on my shoulder?
I don’t really know.
But I do know that it would be nice to gave someone, just once, back me up; someone to be in my corner of the ring.
I don’t want pity for this post; because lord knows I am the one who ultimately makes the decision to speak out. But I want to ask you all to think next time someone stands up on behalf of you. Think about the personal sacrifice and guts it takes to really speak up. Think about the bruises and the pain that person might endure so that you could stay out of the conflict.
And maybe just be kinder to one another so I don’t have to call people out on their bullshit. 🙂
Forever a fighter,