I was raised to speak my mind from a young age. to be strong minded and not let people push me round. something I’ve noticed lately though is that no matter how much people say “you’re entitled to your own opinion” and “speak your mind” they don’t really mean it. what they are really saying is “tell me what you think and I’ll go to ridiculous lengths to argue that whatever you said is incorrect”.
I used to get fired up about a lot of things. I had opinions about nearly everything. some which were pretty warped and some which I felt very strongly about. I used to get the “well tell us how you really feel, bec” snide remark every time I dropped a C bomb in relation to a topic I felt particularly passionate about… because apparently having an opinion is only allowed to go so far. you go too far, you say too much, and you end up just looking like a dick. someone will come along and prove everything you are saying is wrong and there’s no way you can back peddle out of it because you are knee-deep in your own opinionated word vomit. you don’t want to let down at this point because you don’t want to look like a puss, but your argument is slowly becoming more and more ridiculous… you’re wishing someone would run across the street naked just to distract the person you are arguing with for long enough that you can make a quick get away…you’ve probably even remarked “oh hey look! there’s jesus!” on numerous occasions just to get out of an argument gone too far…
something people don’t tell you is that it’s tiring being so opinionated all of the time. constantly trying to argue a point that is never really going to sink in because the person you are standing there getting blue-faced arguing with is mentally playing out the execution of a little stick figure version of you the more you go against what they are saying. and then there’s people out there who just have opinions for the sake of having opinions. just because they are dicks. they have an opinion on everything. and god forbid that opinion should ever be wrong…
recently I’ve decided to go for more of the ‘I don’t have an opinion on the matter’ standpoint (particularly regarding the election tomorrow, but we’ll get to this later) and I’ve been personally attacked on several occasions for being too blase’. wait..hold on, let me get this straight…I have an opinion on something, you will go to absolute lengths to prove that I’m wrong… I don’t have an opinion on something and you will go to absolute lengths to prove that I’m a bad person for not having one… huh?!
in an attempt to be a-political, I posted something recently about being tired of seeing politics related statuses on facebook…and what happens? a stack of people come onto my anti-politics status and start discussing politics and attacking me for not voting this election… that’s the thing about people. they just love coming into your little safety bubble and proving you wrong. voting is about having the choice of electing somebody you believe in. if I don’t believe in either of the parties going then surely not voting at all is a valid thing to do? it’s so ironic. voting is about having freedom…but it is compulsory to vote. so is it really freedom?
I feel passionately about not voting because I don’t feel passionately about any of the parties running for office. in fact, I am so completely uninterested in all of the political parties and their policies that I genuinely would have no idea who to vote for even if I was to vote. I agree that it is important to vote and that everybody’s voice counts. but why count a voice that neither understands nor feels anything about any of the policies put forward by either party, and whose only opinion about politics comes from tumblr pages like tony abbott’s “Hey girl”.
surely that’s not a grounded view of a political parties policies… I have people telling me that I’m essentially dooming all women and homosexuals in Australia if I don’t vote against Abbott… so I’m supposed to vote instead for a party I’ve been raised to dislike my entire life, and who has caused a complete embarrassment to our country with their childish bickering and changing leadership? I am bloody tired of being slammed by young people constantly for not voting against the liberal party. I am tired of being told I am an idiot for not voting at all. I am tired of being told my vote counts when I know that if I was to vote I would probably just put in a blank ballot paper. and then I have friends who are like “oh hey I’ll just vote for the sex party because I’m young and trendy and it’s the hip thing to do” yet they slam me for not voting at all… seems legit. there is, after all, something worse than having no opinion at all…having an unsubstantiated opinion built on fluff. and this is in every respect, not just in regards to politics.
so next time you are about to passionately tell somebody how you feel about gender roles, melting icecaps, free-range eggs, tony abbott or anal sex… stop, read this list, and remind yourself why you shouldn’t bother-
1. there are at least a million other people out there who are more passionate about a given topic than you are – let them fight your argument for you. they know way more about it man, they’ve read at least two articles on it.
2. nobody likes to be wrong, and people have this constant need to affirm themselves. let’s be honest, if you are arguing with a life-long vegan that steak tastes great and is actually more sustainable than farming vegetables, there is never going to be a salient point or remark that you make that is suddenly going to make them do a 360, jump off their hammock and run to macdonalds (because all vegans apparently hang out in hammocks in their hemp fisherman’s pants, all day long). you’re never going to win. just give up.
3. people are like pregnant women – way too sensitive (go on, slam me with some feminist argument about how stereotyping pregnant women is insensitive and demeaning) and are likely to take your argument way too personally. sure you might be arguing that blue is a better colour than red, but this person is going to mentally warp your argument so far that they believe you are accusing them of being a communist. they are going to start to hate you on principle and consider setting your house on fire because you’ve personally attacked them by commenting on their colour preference.
4. opinions are polarising and you are going to lose a lot of friends and probably alienate yourself if you have an ‘out-there’ opinion on something, particularly if it’s not politically correct (and god knows we all think a lot of things that would certainly not be classed as politically correct these days). sure you might think women are the devil and that global warming is a rouse, but keep it to yourself or you’ll be “that person” who eats steak, blows cigarette smoke into strollers and kicks baby animals.
5. everybody else is entitled to an opinion too, and 9 times out of 10 it is not the same opinion as yours so why bother trying to argue with them? can’t we all just agree to disagree? (p.s. I totally pulled that statistic out of my ass)
so, moral of the story is-
if you really want a way of being egotistical and vain without stepping on anybody’s toes, just buy a mirror and spend hours intently staring at your own reflection. works great for me.