Sunday, October 29, 2017

Unfriending.

I recently discovered that an old friend--of roughly 20 years--unfollowed me on all social media after I posted some pro-gun-control sentiments following a school shooting in my home state and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.



And surprisingly enough, it felt like a punch to the gut.

I was taken aback by my reaction to it. Usually I am unaffected by such things. Friends in my life come and go. Such as life, you know? You keep some friends forever, you lose others. Sometimes they come back, other times they don't. Sometimes you show them the door, and tell them not to let it hit their backside on the way out, other times they quietly slip out and you're left feeling like this:



I mean, I get it. Relationships wax and wane. Some stay longer than others, some mean more than others, but my circle of friends has become a family of sorts for me, especially since I am not especially close to my biological family. I've found acceptance and love within my circle of friends, that I haven't found elsewhere, and when it's cut off over political hot topics.......



Ouch. Ouch.

(That "ouch" is right up there with relatives who don't like me being friends on social media with my ex husband. Yeah. It smarts. Not going to lie.)

I wish it didn't sting, but it does. You see, I'm finding that relationships in my life--and in the lives of so many freaking other people, it's impossible to count--are being irrevocably fractured over political hot topics and their basic core beliefs these days, and it's breaking my heart.

In the last two or three years, I've been shut out by more than a handful of relatives over hot button topics like gun control, abortion, race relations, and religion. And it's not just them. I'm doing it, too. In an effort to maintain what little emotional stability I had left, I've shut a fair amount people out of my life, because of the alarming amount of strife, insults, arguments, scapegoating, and gas lighting that was happening. I've felt forced into a closet over my beliefs, often out of fear of being rejected, yet again, by the very people whose opinions I value most of all. All over the very core beliefs and personality traits that add up to all that is me. The kinds of things that if asked to change, would ultimately change everything that makes me me, and since I can't do that... I seek solace in likeminded friends, instead.



Which is why this one stung a bit. Because I've long since grown used to being rejected by family. That's not a new feeling for me. But by friends?

That's been a tough one.

I doubt she even knew how deeply she hurt me. Honestly, she probably just didn't want to hear me babble on about gun control, or how much our current president resembles a death eater from the HP series anymore. She was probably sick of my opinion, and simply didn't wan to hear it anymore. Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing per say.

She's from an extremely pro-second-ammendment type of family. They're conservative. Super conservative. Almost as conservative as my own biological family is super liberal, which is extreme, to say it mildly. So while I don't consider myself to lean in either direction, rather to sit staunchly in the middle of the political road, I have found that as of late, if you're conservative: you vehemently detest liberals. And if you're liberal: you vehemently hate conservatives. And often times--at least in my own familial experience--there is no middle ground to be found.



Let's just call a spade a spade here: if in order to warrant your respect, tolerance, and friendship, someone has to think, believe, or act the same way as you...you're intolerant. 

I'm sorry. I don't mean offense, I just mean to shed some light on a clearly foggy topic for everyone. Now that we've made it 100% clear, in no uncertain terms, lets get back to the subject at hand.

I'm sad. I want my friend to like me. I want to be accepted and loved and respected by my friends. I'm no longer accepted or respected...or maybe even loved, I don't know, I'm not about to ask...by much of my family, so losing the respect, love, and acceptance of friends feels like being punched in the gut. It's been a rough few years for me. And it doesn't look to be letting up any time soon. Losing a friend over politics hits a little close to home. And I've been hit close to home so many times lately.

I hope she'll reconsider. I hope she'll someday know how much I love her, and how much our kids love each other, and how much her presence in my life has changed me for the good. Or, at the very least, I hope she never has to face being unaccepted by her family for who she is, or what she believes. Because it sucks. Like a lot. And I don't want that for her. We might have differing views on some politics, but over all, the love and respect is real, and strong, and--at least on my part--won't wane.




It's odd how some people walk out of your life (or you kindly--or not so kindly--walk them to the door and push them out) and it doesn't even make you bat an eye. But others leave a mark. Their absence is felt, even when you pretend that you don't care. On the inside you feel like this....



It sucks.

I really hate politics. I really hate opinions. I really, really hate what it's done to my life, and how it's blown certain relationships that meant the world to me into a thousand pieces. I'm beginning to lose hope in humankind. We should be better than this. We should want to be better than this.

xoxo
Brooke