What Opinion Isn’t

I was harshly criticized recently for publishing something on my Facebook page that someone else thought was ‘inspiration porn’. I admit that when I posted it, I saw that it could be taken that way, but there was something about the intense dignity of the child, who was the subject of the video, that I wanted to share. No, I didn’t talk about that on my posting, I had this rash feeling that I was tired of always having to explain myself and my reaction to things. I am allowed to have multiple motivations and I am allowed to have a dissenting opinion and I am allowed to see things differently than anyone else. So I posted it.

Now, I’m always open for debate and disagreement. I’m also open to being wrong. I don’t find admitting error to be losing face, I find it to be liberating. However, I don’t, can’t and won’t engage with someone who opens with an attack. I also have difficulty engaging with people who decide that they can decide on me, or be disappointed in me, or to dismiss me, because of a single post. I am more than one blog, one post. I am my history, as are you. There are people I’m still friends with even after we’ve had a really big disagreement or argument precisely because they are more that that moment, they are part of a history. Is it possible for one single disagreement to end a relationship – I would imagine so, but it would have to be a big one.

What I have loved about the readers of this blog is that there have been disagreements in the comments section here and on Facebook, but people have been, by and large, civil and willing to discuss the issue. I can’t tell you how important that has been to my own growth, I’ve changed my language and my practice simply because I’ve learned from disagreements that lead to discussion. I can’t learn when people are shouting at me.

In this particular interchange the person said that they needed to ‘knock me down a peg or two.’ I laughed out loud, literally actually, because I’m already a fat, gay, wheelchair user, I don’t have a lot of pegs to be kicked out under me!

Sometimes it matters that we all treat each other like we matter. I find it unsettling that in a world of such hostile ableism that we can be so mean to each other, over something that really, in the end, is a matter of opinion.

And if we should be learning anything from the times we live in – opinion is not fact.

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