I know that there is a lot to be worried about and to be involved in these days and it’s easy to feel like you have to do something to make a change for the people and creatures around you but I think that what people need to understand is that not all of us can or will do the same.
I do feel strongly about a lot of things, but the thing is I’m not the type of person who seeks conflict and activism by its nature is something that encourages conflict. Not all of us want to seek out conflict, and that’s okay.
Whether it’s going to protests or trolling people on the internet as the so-called ‘social justice warrior’ many feel they need to be, sometimes I think we all need to understand that not everyone is interested in being so outgoing and that doesn’t mean we don’t care.
I certainly care. I care about a lot of things. I care about humans being treated fairly; I care about the environment; I care about everyone having a voice and the freedom to control their own lives, bodies, and minds. But here’s the thing: I don’t need to be threatened or pressured into activism.
Too often I see people use social media to pressure others using aggressive, threatening messages like ‘reblog or I’ll unfriend you’ or ‘if you don’t reblog you don’t care’ and that’s not the way to rally people to your cause. That only makes you seem militant.
If there’s one thing that makes me uncomfortable, it’s extremists. Whether extreme conservative or extreme liberal, it doesn’t matter, extremism never leads to anything good. As history has shown us over and over again, extremism leads to tragedy, and innocent people get caught up in the crossfire.
The other thing to realize is that all through human history, there’s always been a cause. There’s always been something to fight for, something to struggle against. There’s been wars and injustices since humans evolved into a civilization. Today is no different; the only difference is that now we have the internet to bring the whole world to our attention, and we have new technology with which to hurt each other with. But the fight, the struggle isn’t new.
That doesn’t mean we should give up and not resist oppression and injustice, that just means that there will always be people who are willing to do the activism and some who simply want to live their lives and be left alone and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every American colonist fought in the Revolutionary War; some just wanted to go about their lives.
I do feel strongly about specific issues and concerns, and I do feel like there are things that need to change. But I’m not going to be pressured or bullied on places like Tumblr or Facebook. I’m not going to reblog your sad little kid meme telling me I don’t have a soul if I don’t reblog. Because I know what I stand for and I don’t need to prove it to everyone around me by reblogging and heckling people. I stand up for things in my own way. Like my writing. This blog is how I do my part. My novels, my art, that’s how I do my part. Reblogging and sharing and threatening everyone on my feed if they don’t do the same is not how I do my part.
It’s easy to badger people from behind a computer screen, but a lot of time those efforts can seem shallow and insincere. How many people are actually taking their fight beyond the internet? And that’s not the point. If you go to protests and wear buttons and bumper stickers, that’s all great. But don’t pressure others to do the same.
I’m an introvert who tends to shy away from conflict and other people. I’m not the kind of person who has the mental or emotional stamina to be the kind of activist that others pressure me to be. That doesn’t make me any less brave or courageous than you, because I do make a stand in my own way. You can’t push people into the spotlight if they don’t want to be there. That does nothing for your cause.
Just remember that in the end, you are only accountable for your own actions, not anyone else’s. So instead of passing along threatening, passive-aggressive clickbait, focus on yourself and your own actions. Because you can only speak for yourself, you don’t speak for anyone else. And let the rest of us do what we can in our own way.