*Hi Everyone! I wrote a piece for my own blog that has really been weighing heavily on my heart. I am eager to spread this piece so as to create discussion and dialogue. With that said, I have brought the piece here as well, so as to increase the diversity of the audience that is reached. Please enjoy and start talking! (: *
My favorite class in college was Rhetoric & Civility. It was a class dedicated to figuring out the different ways in which we are able to be civil with one another through persuasive speech, both written and spoken. I became absolutely enamored with questioning if the events around me were civil for those involved. I was overwhelmed with the multiple ways in which we are able to view one particular situation from multiple perspectives of civility. Since the class, I spend a lot of time focusing on the multiple perspectives of every situation in my everyday life. I have found that I am at a loss as to whether or not my actions, beliefs, and morals are actually civil, or if they are uncivil to those around me. Let me explain.
There have been a number of situations that have arisen lately in regards to basic human rights. I have always been a firm believer that as a human race, we all deserve the freedom of choice. Whether that be freedom of sexuality, religion, hair color, body modification, the cars we drive, or the food we eat, I think we should all have the right to make those decisions for ourselves. I wake up every morning and embrace my identity because it is who I have chosen to be. While I sit with this identity, I find myself turning away from things that hurt my heart and soul. Videos and articles detailing animal abuse, child abuse, human abuse, violence, negativity, etc. cause my being to ache. I shut videos off, or scroll quickly passed them as a means of shielding myself from the pain of consuming such content. And that got me thinking: Is it civil of me to turn away from another's pain in order to shield myself from the pain of consumption? Is it uncivil to not give the time and dedication these victims deserve to maintain my own wellbeing? Or is choosing my own wellbeing the civil choice? What makes my wellbeing more important than that of a fellow female who has been beaten by a partner? Or a person of color being murdered for the concentration of pigment in their skin?
All of these questions have built up a confusing and saturated wall in my heart and soul. I am unable to really examine what it all means because I am continuously inundated with these different forms of rhetoric on said abuse and negativity. It calls even further into question how frequently we are encouraged to consume such stories. The media is a fascinating medium through which we are intricately fed facts, information, stories and tales of what is happening outside of the bodies we reside in. I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn more about the different events around the world and I know that that was much less of an opportunity for generations before me. The media has created a platform for news to travel much more quickly and easily than it did before. The newspaper was a great way for people to learn about events around the world, but it happened on such a slower scale. Today I can open up any social media platform and know about events happening across the world in real time. Which in so many ways is incredible, but on the opposite side of the coin, is it really incredible? Were the previous generation better off living in a state of ignorance (for lack of a better term) to what was happening outside of their towns? Is it civil of us to crave a "worry free life" (if such a thing even exists)? Are we better off knowing what is happening in other countries? Is it civil of us to know the moment a terrorist attack happens so that we are able to prepare for such an event in our own backyards? Or are we living in increased fear by knowing that any moment our homes could be attacked, our towns destroyed and our people slain?
I battle with this often because as of recently, I have found myself turning away from these forums in an effort to maintain what little sanity I do have. I spend more time focusing on the little time I have to spend with my son and less time focusing on the basic human rights that are being stripped from people around the world every single day. Is this wrong of me? Is my civility more important than the civility of those unable to use their voices? I am struggling with a naive "if I don't see it, it's not there" approach so as to free my heart and soul of the negativity and pain that is flooding our nation.
It's safe to say that there is no right or wrong answer to these questions, but I am fairly certain that I am not the only one battling with whether to consume such stories or simply change the channel, quickly scroll, or press 'stop' on such things. I am aware that a lot of these choices I am able to make are due to my own privileges and I am constantly trying to check each of those privileges when I find myself in an emotional tailspin of consumption versus redirection. I have always been bound and determined to fight for the freedom of choice, myself included. At what point does my freedom of choice intrude on another's? Does my freedom of choice make me uncivil to those around me? Or does focusing on the incivility of others infringe on my own civility?
I imagine that I will be fighting this battle for the rest of my life, but I am hopeful that by putting this out into the world I will be able to create some form of dialogue on the matter. I am open to learning from and gaining more perspectives from those around me and I encourage the dialogue. All I ask is for respect. Respect others' opinions. Respect my opinion. And respect your opinion on any given topic. We all are entitled to feel however we may feel and a discussion or even a debate on the topic shouldn't belittle that.
With that said, please know that I am but a single person in a world of billions. I am navigating this life as best I can and work hard to be an upstanding citizen for my husband, son, family, friends, and community. I encourage you to open your hearts to the multiple perspectives of any given piece of rhetoric and know that the time we have is limited, so spend it wisely. Be kind. Take care of yourselves and those around you.
Have a wonderful weekend. 💙
My blog can be found at theyearleysoliloquy.wordpress.com for more content!
Published by Alexandra Yearley