R-E-S-P-E-C-T, of the Self Variety 2

Technically, the election is over. Obama won and I should be happy, but I feel like shit. In the past few months, I’ve watched friend after friend unfriend me on Facebook. These were people I liked. They were people I thought maybe I could one day socialize with off of Facebook. They were people I went to school with or church with at one point or another or, in some cases, were people I am biologically related to. And for a while it really hurt, but I knew that being a Democrat liberal was something that is not going to earn me brownie points with many of the people I grew up with.

But I watched as they left and I watched as they commented. Some comments were fine, and some weren’t. Some were funny and some hurt my feelings. Some reminded me that I’m not alone and some reminded me of days when I was picked on in school, a place that was my only refuge from an angry grandfather at home.

It would hurt when people would say that I didn’t know what I was voting for, because I did. It would upset me when they said I didn’t have an opinion and that I believed in a lie, because that’s not true. It would hurt every time I was called some stupid name or made to feel like less of a person because I had an opinion that they didn’t like. And it even hurt when they called me crazy, which is something that I not only know about myself, but that I actually joke about being.

So, yeah, I get angry and act out when it finally gets to be too much. God, I’m human. That happens. There is only so much shit a person can hear about their personality, about their intelligence, etc. in a day without finally pushing back. And yeah, it makes me say things that are probably not so mature to say, but that are honest and are real and are things that I’m not ashamed of feeling.

I am sick of being the girl that people dismiss. I am sick of being the one that is told to shut up. I am sick of being that girl because I never was meant to be that girl. I was the girl who bottled up every bad emotion she had and ended up in a damn psychiatric unit when she was 17 because of it. I used to cry myself to sleep every single night because I was unloved by a handful of people.

I used to cut myself because I hated me and because I knew everyone in my world didn’t want me to be me. I knew my friends didn’t want the liberal friend and that my family didn’t want the opinionated cousin or the fat grandchild. I knew those things. All I knew how to do up to that point was hate myself, and that is still the thing that I do best in this world. I hate myself more than any other person can, and that isn’t good.

I used to want to die because I knew I wasn’t perfect or loved by this small group of people. Now, I just want to cry because I’ve lost so much of my life to the hatred inspired by their lack of approval. If I had loved myself, my life could be so much happier, but I didn’t. My life has been a pool of suck because I was so broken that I let people walk all over me.

Tonight, I stood up for myself and took an active part in losing someone that I probably should have never wanted in my life. And I’m sitting here crying because of what I lost. I’m sitting here crying because I’m slowly respecting the one person in the world that I should have respected the whole time. I’m crying because I’m doing something that I haven’t done in a long time: I’m growing up. I’ve been emotionally at the maximum age of maybe 17–and that’s on good days. On bad ones, I’ve been a toddler. And today I decided that I was sick of being that girl for everyone.

Every mean liberal image that I reposted on Facebook during the campaign season was my response to every negative campaign ad, every negative comment, every snide remark, etc. that I had ever dealt with–and as a poor southern liberal on government assistance with a weight problem and tendency toward crying at the drop of a hat, I can assure you that that number is very high. It was a response to the people who called me earthquake in middle school. It was a response to the people who made liberal sound a vile, contagious disease. It was a response to every person who made a comment that reminded me that I didn’t feel accepted. If those images upset actual friends, I’m sorry.

I’m not sorry to people who aren’t my friends, though. I’m not sorry for upsetting people who hurt me in some way, whether they realize they hurt me or not. I’m not sorry to people who have always underestimated me. I’m not sorry to people who continue to underestimate me.

I’m also thankful that my bad behaviors have only been things that were verbal. Yes, on the internet, things can last forever, but they can also be easily forgotten. If you don’t print out a mean tweet, Facebook post, or blog, or don’t reread it a million times, then you won’t remember it. If you don’t slam someone’s head into a door frame for pissing you off, then you won’t nearly go to jail or have a death threat leveled against you by someone you live with. (I’ve never done this, but I have seen it happen when someone gets picked on one too many times–specifically when Dadada called my mom crazy all Christmas Eve in 1992.) Words on the internet are words that can be forgotten. They are actions that don’t have to have bad outcomes. They don’t have to make bad memories.

So now that I’ve rambled on for 1000+ words, I guess I should sum it up. Basically, I’m crazy and I voted for someone that some people don’t like, but dammit, I respect myself for voting my conscience and for standing up for myself instead of letting old traditions continue.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

2 thoughts on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, of the Self Variety

  • Georgie

    You are a wonderful human being and you should definitely be proud for standing up for yourself. For those people to treat you that way just because of something you stand up for is horrible. You deserve so much better than those people in your life.

  • Jenn

    I’m sorry that you were/are surrounded by people who don’t respect your freedom of choice, and can’t agree to disagree. Dan and I voted for different people yesterday. Hell, a lot of his family were staunch Romney supporters, and here I am, an Obama supportive, and there’s Dan, a liberal/Johnson supporter with a resigned nod to Obama for doing an OK job in the place of the liberal candidate who would never make it to office.

    In my opinion, politics & family, and even politics & friends, just don’t mix… especially when you have people who are so quick to lash out at those with differing opinions.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself, and not swaying from your beliefs or your confidence in your vote.

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