|I'm not a fighter, but I am an actress.|
Confusion = totally understandable.
Actually, that's putting it lightly. I avoid confrontation like Lady Gaga avoids normal street wear. I would always rather diffuse than explode, discuss than argue, make peace than seek conflict. I am direct with my loved ones, and try not to pretend everything is okay if it's not. I will ask someone to their face if I think there's an issue we need to address. It's actual arguing I avoid, particularly in the public sphere.
Despite that fact, I frequently find myself in the middle of fights. Not fist-fights. (At least, not often. Anyone who has seen my tiny fists of rage in action knows swiftly that they better not mess.) No, the battlefield I'm on most often is a war of words.
And the thing about wars of words is that I know my metaphorical sword can be quite powerful. When it comes to verbal sparring, if I decide to engage, I do have the ability to be a worthy word-warrior. Opponents beware. I am not only armed, I know how to wield well my weapon.
Let me say again, with emphasis added, I am often in the middle of fights. I can look to my left and to my right and see people I love duking it out from either corner of the boxing ring.* And other people cheering on or attacking them. Social media has enhanced this experience exponentially, but this has happened my entire life. Around the holiday dining table. In classrooms. And now, every single day, online. It's not like I'd be arguing with my enemies; more often, there are few anonymous foes; there are scores of friends and family. Or at the very least, people from whom I am only one step removed. They are not strangers. And those are always harder battles, because any casualties count, big time.
The question becomes: how to pick my battles?
Because, so long as I'm managing any inclination toward passive-aggression, I rather like my peaceful tendency. I want to be reasonable, and a "safe" person for my wide spectrum of friends and family to have conversations with, even when our opinions differ. Anytime I do take a stand, I risk alienating someone.
And sometimes, you do have to take a stand. Or at least, I do. Because if you always choose the path of least resistance, and never engage no matter how much you disagree with sentiments expressed or actions taken, guess what?
You haven't just avoided the fight, you've thrown it. Because there will still be punches thrown, and no matter how good you are at ducking and deflecting, you're going to get socked in the gut sometimes. And so will people you love. And sometimes we need to protect and defend not only what we love, but who we love, and sometimes that means picking up the old nunchucks.**
|I mean... d'awwwwwww.|
I still don't know precisely how to pick my battles. I guess it'll sort of be like the Supreme Court with porn. I'll know it when I see it, or something. And then I'll take on the challenge. I will do this because I do not want to be so passive as to be pointless, nor do I want my desire to avoid conflict to ever become more powerful than my drive to do the right thing. It won't always be easy for me. I've done it before, sometimes hesitantly, and I'll do it again, hopefully more confidently. Either way, though, so long as we speak up when circumstances demand, that's what matters. As Maggie Kuhn, seniors'-rights pioneer and founder of the Gray Panthers said, "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes."
Right, so, now that I got that off my chest ... anyone want to go dove-shopping with me?
*Swords, boxing rings, fist fights... yeah, I'm just going to mix lots and lots of fighting metaphors. Just wait 'til I mention something far more obscure and/or that might be used by a hero in a half shell.