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LJ Idol: Topic 1/Week 1: Winding Up

I finished my sentence as my heart thudded in my chest and the flames in my cheeks began to die down. The embers still glowed on my olive skin as I touched my face, feeling the warmth. Seeds of doubt planted themselves in my brain as the professor moved on to the next student's comment.

People are going to think you're crazy.
Maybe you misunderstood that guy, and now you've just gone off on a rant for no reason.
Does anyone agree with me?

As a student, hell, as a human being, there are moments where I feel I have to stand up for something I know in my core to be true. I am constantly surrounded by people with differing and sometimes opposing views, and I would not have it any other way. I am a passionate person, though only certain topics wind me up and light the fire in my belly: politics, women's rights, child welfare, racism, homophobia being a few. I am prepared to discuss and, if necessary, defend my views on these subjects. They are part of the essence of me.

I am wound up by these subjects. Sadly, some people I know (good friends, even!) are afraid to even discuss them with me. Either they are unprepared, or unnerved by the fire that alights in me by a good discussion or debate. It is not because I fail to hear out their side of the argument, because I am willing and able to do so. At the same time, I should be allowed to express my views on the topic. Instead, I am considered "too sensitive", "too liberal", and, more recently, "snippy". Snippy? My passion is often mistaken for anger, and it has made some people turn away. My excitement for a good conversation, for an educated debate, is interpreted as irritation. It reminds me of something Ani DiFranco sang in her song, "Not a Pretty Girl":

I am not an angry girl
But it seems like I've got everyone fooled
Every time I say something they find hard to hear
They chalk it up to my anger
And never to their own fear

I have no desire to be surrounded by a million others who think and act as I do. I am a flawed human being, and I am constantly learning and re-evaluating my beliefs. It is part of the process of being human. What I would like, however, is for someone to see me get "wound up" about a subject and come toward me instead of running away at top speed. Rather than buying into the old adage that no one should discuss sex, religion, or politics, why don't we break every rule and discuss them all? Can't we clear the air and still be friends afterward? Even if we disagree, even if what you say makes my blood reach dangerous temperatures, I want to hear it. I will listen. I will always respect the person behind the words. I will never let politics get in the way of a good friendship. Winding up and feeling that fire, that spark within us, is one of the greatest things about life to me. It reminds me that I am alive and capable of feeling, of reason, of constructing a sentence.

Let's do it together. We can even like each other afterward.


( 50 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 8th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
It's true, we do tend to mellow a bit as we age. However, I've always believed that if you truly do have fire running through your veins, it's always there in some way. And it's better to be passionate than not at all :)
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
Absolutely! Thank you. :)
Nov. 8th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
Yes! Someone else who loves a good argument - the kind that makes you stop, think, and maybe reevaluate your position. :)
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! It's how we learn.
Nov. 8th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
I absolutely love a good discussion on sex, politics and religion. Absolutely love it. It's always getting me in trouble too. Especially because my ex and I were exact opposites and he always had to assume I was fighting if I disagreed with him. I love a good debate.

I can easily like and respect others with opinions that differ from my own as I long as I get the same respect in return.
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
Respect is definitely the key. If you can't respect one another's viewpoints and know that you will be able to safely walk away with your own views (should you choose to), then debates just are not possible.
Nov. 8th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
I appreciate what you wrote here, because I'm probably exactly the type of person you're referencing. I have a serious aversion to arguments and often try to shut them down before they even begin. Sometimes, I can't make the distinction between "spirited discussion" and "fighting", and would rather just avoid it altogether. I'll try to be more open to it. It'll probably take some time though. :)
Nov. 9th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
I completely understand that. My boyfriend is actually a lot like that, and there are times when he will tell me, "I don't think we should go there." Which I can understand, because I think there can be a very fine line between an argument and a healthy debate. You have a great point. :) Thank you for reading and sharing!
Nov. 9th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
I have to agree. We can disagree on politics or religion and still be great friends.
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And thanks for reading!
Nov. 9th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
I love the sentiment here. I live in Texas and most of my friends are conservative and Republican, while I am the opposite.

What holds us together is stronger than what divides us.
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
What holds us together is stronger than what divides us.

Nov. 10th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
It's amazing how many people mistake "passion" for being "unhinged" or "snippy".... and how many people can't rationally and logically discuss something like politics without feeling like you're attacking them.

There is a lot in this piece that resonates with me... I'm easily wound up by those things that I'm passionate about and have scant few people that will discuss them with me. :-) Really nicely done.
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
It really is! I don't know why we can't all agree to disagree but be able to actually discuss these things!
(no subject) - java_fiend - Nov. 11th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
A person after my own heart! I have found that, as I got older, my views tended to get more conservative about some things. I am, however, always willing to listen to someone else's point of view and be converted. Like you, I love a good debate.

You've got a real gift with your depiction of inter thoughts and matching them to outer actions. Generally the change in status in a piece of writing is rather rocky. My only problem with the piece is the last line. I think it could stand on its own without that sentence as that is what your piece is all about and I think you already conveyed the message admirably.
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the constructive criticism as well as the praise. I was concerned that leaving it at it was would not work, but I see now that you are right! Thanks very much.
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