My last post struck a nerve for at least one reader. It’s probably unfair to say this person lashed out at me with their response, but they certainly directed a different sort of criticism at me than I’m used to receiving: my post was slamming whites, I was blaming society instead of working on my own shortcomings, or maybe I was blaming white people for society’s problems.
It was an informative criticism, and it helped me see that I need to take more care to make sure my words are clear before I hit publish.
It also, in a weird way, served as something of an award. This space has morphed in the last few months from a collection of more or less useful platitudes read by my close friends and family, to a space people I don’t know personally come to see what I can offer them. Ironically, in order to reach this expanded audience, I’ve had to stop posting empty platitudes on generic courage and start posting the occasional kick in the pants, the kind of post I hope will make readers think about how they are living and maybe change something about how they approach the world. And when you kick your readers in the pants, sooner or later someone will be offended. My critic confirmed that for me–I’m now reaching enough people that some feel the need to respond negatively instead of just ignoring me.
Knowing people are waiting to be offended by my words adds a whole new level of courage for my contributions here.
For the record, I don’t blame society for anything. There are only two people I hope to engage in this space: you and me. When you and I interact with others, we should do so with compassion and patience, because that takes courage. We should challenge ourselves, because that takes courage. We should hold ourselves accountable, because that takes courage.
If you fall short, you should know that I fall short all the time. If you succeed, you should know I will celebrate with you.
But above all, I want you to push yourself to live as well as you can, and I will do the same.