I recently came across an article by a very talented writer. She discussed her perspectives on gender parity — the areas in which it is lacking and her desires to see it improved upon, for everyone’s sake. For girls and boys to be raised with the same awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, to be equally expected to express themselves, to feel the freedom to act with unabashed boldness and sensitivity in the pursuit of their goals.
I took a moment to leave a comment, thanking this woman for so eloquently sharing her truth and her optimism. Allowing others a glimpse into the depths of your being is vulnerable. It’s brave. As bloggers, we are acutely aware of this.
Not everyone had the same reaction to this author’s post. In fact, it took very little time for the comment section to devolve into a free-for-all, brimming with hateful rhetoric. Mud was slung viciously from both sides of an invisible fence that we have all contributed to building, the only purpose of which is to confine ourselves and allow us to feel safe among the people who think like we do, while we rally against those who oppose us.
I was shocked at this pent up aggression, smearing itself all over an authentic piece of art that someone had taken the time to create. And not because I tote around a naiveté that the rest of the world can, or will, align itself with my beliefs. But because when you repeal the -ists, -isms, or -ers we use to define ourselves, we’re all humans. And where I come from, we behave better than that.
To intentionally inflict injury on another person, whether through word or deed, is pitiful. There are ways to generate conversation, to reach across the barrier, and to close the gap. These exchanges, however, only served as examples of how to further the divide. And, oddly, they quite succinctly proved the writer’s point.
To illustrate this, I chose to (literally) illustrate a few of the more egregious remarks from the peanut gallery.
While Kayla and I were taking these photos, a truly beautiful thing happened. We laughed. A deep laugh, with intermittent stomach cramps and a few tears. What absurd and useless insults these really were. Their inability to have the intended effect stripped them of their power, and gave that power to us. Our hope is that you also experience relief at the sight of ugly words given a light-hearted makeover.
– click the images to enlarge them –
It is a privilege to evolve into such a state of self-assurance that you become unshakable, even by those who despise your light or seek to dismantle your foundation.
Your value is not determined by your friends, or by family, or by strangers lurking in the corner. Your value is determined only by you. Your kindness, your intelligence, your compassion are unstoppable. Your goodness is dangerous. Be unafraid to use it.
xo Faith & Kayla
P.S. It was after much deliberation that I chose not to provide a link to the post that inspired this project. I felt it important to view the comments themselves, regardless of where they appeared.
Daily Post Photo Challenge: Danger!