I’ve received a few comments lately that I need to “lighten up” and focus on positive things in both my writing and my life. Most were well-meaning and well-received, but some came with the implication that it would make it easier on everyone, including myself, if I toned things down a bit. I wrote this to try to make people understand that I’m not as much of a pessimist as I may be perceived to be. I prefer to think of myself as a wide-eyed realist. So here are my reasons for writing about the “bad stuff”.
1. I can’t live inside a bubble
Yes, there are some wonderful and beautiful things in this world. However, there are also some atrocious and hurtful things. As much as I’d love to not think about all the suffering that goes on, it’s not a button I can simply turn off. I’m not necessarily focusing on the negative, it’s just there and I acknowledge it.
2. Someone needs to say something
Too many people are afraid to speak out. I am possibly even one of them, but I’ve found a way to speak and that is through my writing. I used to be the type of person to silently scream within myself during social events when people made stupid remarks, whilst just smiling and nodding during conversation. Then I turned into the person who always spoke out, which was perceived as “bitchy” and anti-social. Now I’ve learnt to better control when to speak and when to shut up. Or rather, I’ve learned what type of people to avoid.
3. Just because we’re not speaking about it, doesn’t mean it’s going away
If we ignore the tidal wave, it will still come and drown us all. I’m still astounded by how many people choose to live in selective ignorance. I guess they’re simply too afraid to step out from the path that has been carefully laid out for them throughout their whole lives. However, ignorance is a choice, and it’s sometimes difficult to watch loved ones blissfully make that choice.
4. Discrimination is alive and well
People try to tell me racism is dead. Aha! All these people are white, and let’s not even try to explain to them what white privilege is. I’ve also heard people smirk that depression is not a real illness. Aha! Let’s hear you say that after suffering through it (and I really wouldn’t wish it upon anyone). People also discriminate for so many reasons, many of them petty at best. Many of these people will also not get it, but there is hope for some. There is hope for the few that will one day catch themselves and get it, and once that happens there’ll be no turning back for them.
5. You cannot cherry-pick your education
We are learning every day. It’s part of the process of being alive. Some lessons will come to us gradually over time, whilst others will smack us in the face and leave bruises on our egos for years. Yes, you can be selective about your experiences, but life cannot be pre-determined. I don’t choose to focus on bad things, nor to just speak out about negatives, but I voice the issues that I think require the most attention. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is the “bad things”, because those are the things that we fight the hardest to ignore. Once we’ve overcome them, then I guess I’ll have less to write about.