I just want you to know, whoever you are, whatever you have done, regardless of your skin color, gender, gender expression or sexuality, that from the bottom of my heart I want to say: you have pissed me off. At some time or another you have done something to anger me, and I want you to know, for the most part, that is all right. We do that, we are people, it is what we do. We live our lives, do the best we can and occasionally we do or say something stupid. I know I have pissed you off too at some point. I am sure most of you moved on, as I know, for the most part, I have. Which is why this captioned picture bothered me so:
Hey, we all get angry, I understand. I have been known to fly off the handle (stop giggling, oh siblings of mine.) The finality of the idea in this pic though, the absolutism of it, bothers me. Does the creator, and do the people spreading it, really believe that if someone has trespassed against them that they need to be cut out of their lives for good? Do they really buy into a definition of human interaction that values more the notion that you need payback for wrongs than building understanding?
It bums me out a little, I have to tell you. I often blog about some big issues in our society and if we cannot strive for civility (hey I know we cannot be perfect all the time, that’s kind of my point here) in our personal relationships, how can we strive for it in group dynamics? How can we solve the larger problems of classism, sexism, racism, and so many others if we cannot solve our problems with our family and friends?
“Life is too short.” That is something we hear over and again. Sometimes it is used to tell us to cut people out of our lives we do not want to waste our time on, but more often than not we hear it as a call to not let the little hurts ruin our life. Besides, as bad as the person this is directed at may have behaved, I am willing to bet all of us have one time or another inspired this kind of sentiment from people we love. Glass houses and all that.
I get that these sort of things are posted off the cuff, and often in moments of anger or disappointment. I also would never suggest people not cut people out of their lives who are legitimately toxic influence in them. I have done so, and will do so in the future. I just worry that meditating on our relationships in this fashion sets us up for failure in all relationships, the big and the small. It sets us up for failure in solving the worlds problems and in finding our paths to happiness.
So maybe before you get ready to write someone off and act like you never knew them, find out what happened to make them do what they did. Even if it was straight up thoughtlessness, that does not make them the devil, just a person, flawed like you and me, and that is a silly thing to lose a friendship over. Unless of course it is a pattern, then yeah, fuck ’em.