Post Script to ‘I Found My Line’

Upon completing my entry “I Found My Line”, I turned to a trusted and well-respected friend for counsel regarding the publishing of that article. This is one of the smartest and kindest people I know. They left me to discern my own feelings on publishing or not publishing (that’s what I mean by being smart), but offered this one sage piece of advice; if I were to wait for a few days and marinate on these events more, I may easily come across nuances and intricacies of my own feelings that could be, not only helpful for me, it may also lend greater insight to my readers. You see I wrote the other article very near the timing of the events and therefore may have lost some perspective being that close. For my own reason, I could not wait forever. I put it simply to them, “with each day that goes by my simply writing it gets to be a little more “enough” and the desire to share it fades a little correspondingly”. Maybe I was afraid of losing my nerve to be that honest with my readers, but if I lose that, why did I write anything at all? Wasn’t that the whole point. To put it out there, own it, live my ideals, accept it, and grow from it. I would regret risking and losing that kind of opportunity. So, I published, without additional time for retrospection or further introspection. I will make the same promise to my readers that I made to my good friend, if I come across any thoughts concerning this topic, I will share them just as readily.

This may be the first in many additions, as I truly do believe there is more for me to learn from all this. Plus, my logical mind tells me that, if after one day I am already sitting down to write a post-script, my good friend appears to be correct on all accounts. With this limited additional time to contemplate what I had written I have only come across (or somehow have gotten stuck on) my thoughts about comments. And it may not be the road you think.

I started my blog in the hopes of engaging with a particular group of people. I sought to commune with others who seek self-improvement. Open minded people who saw dissenting opinion or belief as an opportunity for better understanding and, in turn, could articulate their own opinions in a constructive and respectful way. Like most blog writers, I somewhat live for the comments. Not only is it a reaffirmation that someone is listening, but they are engaged enough to weigh in, whether in support of an idea or in dissent. They have, for however brief a moment, found a place to be heard too. That is just a beautiful fucking thing right there. I can tell you that no matter how much I write, my own words or writing them, never have the impact that the words of others hold. I mentioned before (see “I Found My Line”, no its okay, go ahead and read it, the rest of us will wait), that an article on honesty was one of my favorites because there was such an articulate response from so many readers. The comments helped me to distill my own beliefs, and again, I selfishly do all this to better myself.

So here is the twist. I started to think about comments on this last article.

I was not scared of someone thinking less of me or saying something mean. I don’t need your approval and after being in the Marine Corps, there are not words or groups of words that you can say that will hurt my feelings. Bullets hurt, but your words never will. I refuse to empower your words simply because you want them to have a negative connotation. I respect the views of anyone who would find anything I write or do reprehensible. I encourage you to share those views and help others to gain perspective on the world around them. But if you think your views or opinions will shake me to my core or make me think less of myself, it is an exercise in futility. I am stronger than that.

Just the same, I was not looking for comments praising or applauding any part of what had transpired. I did not want to hear about how I did the right thing, or how brave I was, or how open I had been about it, or any form of response that seemed to be a pat on the back. I am stronger than that too. Not that I don’t want someone recognizing and sharing how they have had to deal with similar issues, that would be great, but I do not want any recognition for doing the right thing. Doing the right thing for the recognition is a dangerous endeavor. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing, and deflecting its recognition, sets a base line of conduct we should all strive for. Or, at least, it is what I want to strive for.

So, bad, mean, hateful comments won’t really have any impact on me and likely none on my readers. I don’t necessarily want, or am willing to accept, any positive comments regarding any of my actions. I write a blog, as hungry for comments as any blogger, and then find myself leaving little for you to comment with. But that isn’t really true, is it? Whether good or bad, you can all leave any comments you would like. I do not control your words or thoughts anymore than you could control mine. The more the merrier. Let your slings and arrows fly if you must, just know they will never hit their mark. Laud me as the idealized version of myself, but know it falls on deaf ears. I would prefer you share in kind. You tell the rest of us how you chose to do the right thing, or how you chose to be open or honest, or some part of you that will help us all be a better us. I will continue to hope that some part of me will help someone be a better them. And that, is really all I have ever wanted.

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