For the last few days, I’ve felt a rant coming on. I seem to be in one of those periods when almost everything bothers me. It happens on occasion with some regularity. I notice when people are being rude, not following directions, take a me-first attitude, there is a lack of communication, and more. And, it grates on me because I truly do not understand it.
I have a history of always moving aside for rudeness instead of being rude back….why? I have to ask myself this question, too. Truly, I don’t think I know. But, I have some probable reasons. First, it is most likely because I do not like confrontation. Secondly, it is because I try not to be rude. I tend to try to always consider “the other person.”. In the grocery store, or other places where there is a “flow” to traffic – be that walking in a crowded hallway or in a narrow aisle in a store, I always move to accommodate the other person. Always! Not some of the time, not most of the time, but always! It’s almost as if the other person can read the intent on my face, believing (correctly, so) that this person will move aside for me. And, I do! I don’t know if this is some kind of weird self-fulfilling prophecy or just that I believe in gentility and decorum, and strive to not put myself in a position of being in the way. So, I move.
I’ve tried standing my ground. It just doesn’t work for me! I end up moving aside in the end. And, very rarely, I will experience another person moving “around” me. But, I assure you, it is not often.
I’ve had a couple of similar vitual experiences on social media this year. No matter what has been said before me, or how bothersome other people’s comments are, if I am the one to comment (even after waiting, reading, and considering what to say), I am the one who gets called out! And, it’s not even for being rude! It’s just because I contributed to the thread with my one small opinion. Someone can be blatantly rude and no one mentions it, but if I even come close to stating an opinion that is not within the tide of popular opinion, I get hammered! And, it’s not just by strangers, either. I’ve also been hammered by those I consider friends. When this happened, months ago, on social media – I took a week or so off from posting. I actually deactivated my page for a while. Then, stupidly, I took it back up again.
Yesterday, it happened again, albeit on a different platform. I recently joined a Listserv regarding monarch butterflies and the problems with captive rearing/raising. Some of the biggest researchers on this subject have been weighing in (sometimes offering scientific evidence against each other) on the threads in this email forum. For close to two weeks, I did nothing but read the posts by others. Yesterday, I posted a question to this same forum. I wondered if anyone had heard if another one of the esteemed researchers had publicly made comment about the recently released statements regarding the captive rearing of monarchs from the Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) and the Xerces society. The scientist in question was a part of MJV and helped to establish the organization in Minneapolis Minnesota, but recently moved on to accept a position at another esteemed institution. I wondered if Dr. Karen Oberhauser had made any public comments about these statements. My question to the listserv members was brief, respectful, and worded in such a way that informed them why I wanted to know the answer to my query. A very nice person responded to me and we exchanged two, very short, emails about this topic. Then, a short time later, another person made the accusation that the “thread” had been hijacked! Well! We all know what that means, don’t we? Obviously, someone felt that things were being discussed on the thread that did not pertain to the topic. Was it me that was off topic? I don’t know. I honestly felt my question had to do with the main subject of the thread. I do know I only saw one other post between mine and the person making the hijacking accusation. In any case, I unsubscribed to the Listserv. Who needs to be accusingly called out when asking a mere question? Not I!
And, as I feel the need to take another break from society’s “in your face” and “me first” personalities, I started to read a book I had on student motivation. Strangely enough, there are some correlations! When people fear they will be misunderstood, fear their question will be met with sarcasm, fear they might not be taken seriously – they shut down. This is true for students as well as the rest of us. I will continue to read about monarchs, work to conserve their habitats, and make presentations to the community as I am called on to do so. But, I will no longer put myself in a position of having to get out of anyone’s way, verbally or otherwise, even if it means hiding for a while until I have the strength to take my stand!