Your opinion is probably right and no doubt well researched, comes from a deep well of experience and is just bursting out of you full of passion and certainty. Or it is wrong, borne out of ignorance and fear or sourced from the writings of people as misguided as yourself. Either way, it is needy for the ears and eyes of strangers, for the sage nods of recognition and the digital thumbs up that pass for agreement these days.
Here’s the thing. Whether you’re en pointe and bang on and pitching perfectly, or dangerously wrong and flailing about like Trump at a hastily called press conference, do feel free to stop adding your sanctimonious judgement to your opinion.
You check out your opinion in the mirror. It looks good on you. It hugs in all the right places. In the light you’re standing in, it makes you look a little taller, and accentuates all your best assets. But I tried it on after you left, and you said it looked great as you left, but it made me feel small. It didn’t take my history into account and I felt uncomfortable at how constricting it was around my throat. It just didn’t fit me, but it was so right on you.
Look, maybe I’m banging on with too many neat turns of phrase here. I just feel like there are too many instructions disguised as musings in the world. There are a thousand ways to be a good person, a good mum, a good boss, a good runner, a good human, a good Australian, a good TV star, a good dad, and good divorcee, a good consumer, a good Christian, a good gender equality advocate, a good whatever the hell you’re trying to be. It’s confusing these days. All the easy labels and definitions are gone. All the boundaries are shifting and we’re all trying to figure out how to be happy (or at least not miserable) and not be an arsehole. At least, those are my main goals. Again, they may not be yours, and there I go telling you what should be toppermost of your poppermost.
It’s the difference between ‘this is my experience of raising a child’ and ‘all good parents do XYZ’, between ‘If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t choose to use my beauty to promote my sport’ and ‘that man/woman is not empowered because they’re in a tight outfit’. It’s ‘I got through my anxiety by doing the following’ and ‘you’re weak if you choose medication/ meditation/whatever..’.
Don’t get me wrong. Please have an opinion. And please put it in front of me, particularly if it’s different to mine. Please disagree with me and show me facts I didn’t know, or may have misinterpreted. Please tell me what is going on in your head, what you’ve discovered, or are figuring out, and why you think you might be on track or lost in the dark. There’s one women’s site I’m thinking of as I write that does this so much it makes my teeth ache. It will tell the story of an event in the lives of some humans and break down how right, wrong, significant or trivial those experiences are and why that is so. Is it the way writing is heading? Is it important to draw a conclusion, a moral imperative, before you sign off? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m wrong…