By nature I am not a controversial person. I don’t like people being mad at me or even like having disagreements that leave us feeling at odds with each other. It is uncomfortable. However, I am a passionate person who feels deeply. These two characteristics are often in conflict with each other. In the past, the quiet noncontroversial person inside me generally had more strength than the passionate side. Then I became a mother and realized that by sharing my journey, which was often controversial, about co-sleeping, extended nursing, and alternative homeschooling, many were inspired and followed my path. This gave me a sense of confidence I had never felt. When I became a lifelong patient, I realized how staying quiet and not sharing my voice would only damage me as a person who needed to heal. The surprising thing is, by sharing my voice, I found many who agreed with me and many who didn’t but either way liked me for being true to myself.
While I have never considered myself to be political, looking back, I probably have been more so than I thought. I think I just wasn’t as knowledgeable about how politics affects us as I am today. And with that knowledge, I can’t stand back and just hope things turn out for my family, my health, or my beloved country. In my heart, I sincerely feel we have sold ourselves to the devil in hopes of something different. My heart isn’t okay with this and has given my passionate side permission to make weekly calls to my representatives voicing my opinion about a variety of issues and to share on social media that I am not okay with what is happening in our country, always crossing my fingers that the information I share is informational and not mean spirted. I don’t expect or want everyone to agree with me. (Well, truth be told, I do sometimes wish everyone agreed with me.) Constant agreement would be a mistake because I do enjoy learning how others think on the topic. It helps me to grow.
As a young adult woman working in low income schools with lots of student debt, my philosophies about life were often different than my father’s. However, we could have serious political debates and then leave feeling like we understood the other side a little better, even if we still disagreed with each other. We never left feeling angry or held a grudge against the other one. Instead we left the discussion with a big hug and moved on. This lesson from my dad is the one I want to take going forward. I want to share my thoughts, accept those of others, and then go a step further by seeking out others who are doing wonderful things in this world that inspire me to do the same. I don’t want to live my life building up walls and feeling anxiety. I feel the same as Martin Luther King, Jr, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”