We all live in our own fragile bubble. Bubbles give us a false sense of safety, but they also shape our identity and politics, or lack thereof.
Upon reflection on how my first post on medium.com, “I am a Feminist, but I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton,” was received on Facebook I felt humbled.
Did I just admit to my liberal friends that I was not part of their club?
Will I be forced to forfeit my long-sleeve, purple Womyn’s Action Coalition shirt?
Did I reveal too much?
Will my religious relatives pray for me?
Did I hurt my mother?
How will my honesty effect my professional life?
Will my husband lose customers?
And then a person came to me to share her dirty little secret: She voted for him! POP!
She has also felt left out. She told me I was brave. She made me cry.
I felt a mixture of apprehension and elation that entire day. The apprehension that my words exposed me too much. Elation because I was authentic.
And then the next day another person approached me and told me how she connected to my writing — she told me her story. A story that led to the best political conversation I have had in a good, long time. I conversation I would never have had the pleasure of experiencing if I had not popped my own bubble. POP!
I began to think about how many people might be out there fearing ridicule from their friends, family, or co-workers.
I returned home and my husband shared with me an anecdote about a man who rejected a date with a woman solely because she voted for the “other.” He didn’t inquire as to why. He didn’t have a conversation. This man did the same thing he rages about–he judged a person narrowly.
Such rigidity is what made me write my first (and horribly transparent) piece. That piece brought people into my intimate bubble.
Many of us bash the extreme views of the right or left, especially when that extremism is modeled by politicians or celebrities. And yet, how will we move forward in this brave new world if we instantly dismiss someone solely on their political views. These people have value.
If we don’t value other’s stories they never become part of our own.
I remember the first time I faced my own rigidity. Sarah Weddington, the attorney that argued for Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, spoke at my college campus. In the post-lecture discussion, a young woman came out as a pro-lifer. There was a collective gasp until another young, brave women spoke up. That brave soul said to that pro-life young woman: “At least you are consistent, you support both the unborn, and you are against the death penalty.” That is when my definition of Feminism expanded. That was the moment my consciousness grew. POP!
I wish that I was always perfect and saw both sides to every person and issue. I am not. Mostly I am a judgmental jerk. However, my intention from now on is to give the people I interact with a chance for me to enter their bubble.