I have this awful habit of changing who I am so that others will like me. I’ve done this for most of my life and it’s never really worked out in my favor. After leaving my ex and realizing that I had no idea who I actually was, I decided that I needed to learn to accept myself and find others who would do the same.
Just this past week, I had a breakthrough moment on this journey. I was seeing this guy that I really liked. We had already had “the talk” about human rights, feminism, intersectionality, racism, etcetera and I told him that I was really passionate about those topics. He appeared to be on board until I posted a very strongly worded vent about Trump supporters being racist or at least complicit with racism (along with many other -isms). He unfriended me and after asking him about it, he told me that he finds all the political posts annoying, has friends who are gay or black who have voted for Trump, and doesn’t like posts that attack others.
Now, historically, I would have somehow tried to appease him. Instead, I stood my ground and told him that I’m passionate and stubborn and that’s what he’s going to get with me. He didn’t reply.
To make things even more interesting, I battled with myself for days afterward about whether I made a mistake and whether I should apologize. I had already told him that it’s not my place to speak about why anyone in a marginalized group would vote for Trump. I have theories, but as a privileged person, it’s not my place to tell them who they should and shouldn’t vote for or why their vote was wrong.
But my fear of offending him or his friends wasn’t even why I felt I should apologize. I wanted to apologize to appease him. I wanted him to like me again. I was considering compromising myself in order to regain his approval. Something I told myself I wouldn’t do anymore. But I fought it and realized that if he’s not going to be interested in me because I’m passionate and stubborn and loud, then he’s not worth my time.
Eventually, I will find someone who will find these things endearing. Who wouldn’t want me to be any different. Who will love me more deeply as they see me fight for the rights of others. Who will see that activism is part of what brings me life and will support me every single step of the way.