Romantic Panic



- Feel Good, Inc. -

(Radio Edit)

-Gorillaz-

(photo of a mural at school)

When I meet new people based on common interests, sometimes those interests play into the assumption that I share other perspectives or experiences as well. I've noticed a strong tendency for humans to assume that if we like someone, then they're like us in all the important ways. Though this definitely isn't a part of human nature on the whole, I've learned to always watch for it.

Watch for it, not excuse for it.

But I've wanted to say something about it for a while, and not just to my existing friends in private.

I've lost people who I thought were my good friends, not because I actually disagreed with them, but because I disagreed with them in the wrong way. Because I told them no, I've been told to never contact them again, and to never be in the same room without consequences. Not because I actually, really an quantifiably, disagreed with them in general.

I live in the United States. I may have readers who don't, but that's where I'm coming from. But I don't think this phenomenon is a simply American thing. It grows around the romanticizing of panic. As in, if someone is more emotionally moved than you, they have a more worthy cause, and if you question the source of their enthusiasm, they will turn it on you and regardless of what you actually said, you are now the enemy.

I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not liberal. I am not a conservative.

I am not a Libertarian. And if another political party or orientation popped into your head, you're missing the point.

I will be judged by assumptions and speaker subjectivity, regardless of my words and actions. I have become a fictional character that fits into the needs of the person in panic. And that's just it -- regardless of how calm and collected a person looks on the outside, there's a strengthening culture of romanticizing panic.

If someone is in more distress than you, they're more justified. But only if they're on your side.

Just like a business owner who started conveying to his teen audience that it was the end of the world, but we could get through it. Though not without sounding drunk and talking about hitting people. Who told me to never talk to him again, because I told him he was setting an example for his young customers, and didn't deserve to go on a rant that would affect them, just because he was in panic.

Just like a connection in the arts who threatened me with police action when I told her that one of her employees supports riot, and another was latching onto politics to make himself look better to his boss. And another who refused my business not because they disagreed but were offended, but because they valued the person who threatened me with police action because I hurt her feelings.

By not doing what was expected of me -- because the assumption was, if they liked me, I was going to be a certain way, I hurt them, and hurt meant I was now the enemy, regardless of the source of that hurt. The exterior manifestation of distress won the day, independent of anything else. Those who romanticized panic and asserted their ability to incite panic were those who felt justified above all else.

Is an emotional response ever justified? Definitely. But if it's your only driving force, there's something wrong. And I might mean "you" specifically, I might mean "humans." For many, many years, I've been mocked by various people for not being overwhelmingly led by emotions. It wouldn't have been so bad if some of these people hadn't also been people in authority who accused me of ulterior motives because I didn't have the "correct" reaction.

If anyone deserves to panic, it would at least be me.

As a Christian, LGBT, non-feminist, there is nothing I can do to not be an enemy to people who want me to be one. All because I ask more questions than people in panic want to answer, or even think about.

As someone:

  1. reliant on health care to relieve pain that many believe I'm making up for attention,

  2. with an approach to religion that could get me killed, while modern violent religions are fine,

  3. who has had his childhood used against him as an attempt to guilt-agree with sexism,

  4. who has been accused of faking his gender to get back at people, or to corrupt the LGBT,

  5. with a pale complexion, and physical and personal attacks are encouraged because of it,

  6. told to "man up," by "gender equality" proponents, and my gender painted as abusive,

  7. with a small business, having people constantly attack "capitalism" on the whole,

  8. occasionally a person of interest in stalking, with no interest from authorities,

  9. in art school, an endeavor often made a mockery, regardless of portfolio or skill,

  10. living in a culture of boycott based on complete congruence of beliefs with sellers,

If anyone deserves to panic, it would be me.

And I have to admit, sometimes I do. No one has any reasonable claim that current events aren't affecting me. The difference is in how I feel entitled to show those effects. No one has told me how I can and can't express myself.

Even if they have, it would be irrelevant to me. I don't work like that.

The difference is that I don't romanticize panic. My feelings don't make me right, any more than they do for you, even if they're yours and they're really really important.

Emotions are a powerful tool, and can signify important things. But they're not an indicator of something or someone being more worthy than something else. If you start with emotions, you're not going to get anywhere you want to be, except that emotions told you something is good. You become an addict who can't see that they're an addict, and won't accept help because the addiction has told you that everything is fine internally.

I try to be positive with my interactions with you, but I'm quickly realizing that while I try to avoid the extreme negative, and occasionally reach an over-arcing positive, I sit somewhere in the middle. Ironically.

I post things based on subjects that are building up in my thoughts. When I think I have enough material to cover it, or start to cover it, that's when I'll share. I haven't set out to be a place of purely feel-good vibes, or be some kind of heavy-handed politico-religious blog that tells you what's the only right way to do Life.

I want to be a place you can come to think about something from a perspective that's often dismissed because it doesn't fit into a tidy box. I do fit into some categories neatly, if we're getting technical, but I've found once you find the thought of categories irrelevant unless they're practical, there's infinitely more freedom.

And it gets infinitely more terrifying.

But I try not to panic.


#philosophy #politics

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