Wednesday, July 01, 2015

He is not Me

I'll admit, sometimes I just don't know the answer. And I am terrible at explaining how I feel. But I've had it being told what to think and how to feel.

You see, I'm married to a wonderful man that has strong opinions on many subjects, and he has no problem explaining why he feels and thinks things, and he stands on a soapbox making statements that are loud and proud and stop talking already! I love that my husband has convictions, and I know his beliefs are well researched and supported. He isn't crazy. He isn't even too far off the mainstream.

But I can't compete.

My beliefs are not as loud, not as obvious, not as cut-and-dried. So when I try to ask The Man a question about politics, I often get a diatribe rather than a balanced response. His beliefs quickly become the only ones in the room. Refuting his evidence or questioning a point only serves to make him talk louder and with more conviction.

I take a long time to make decisions regarding my beliefs sometimes because I want more information. I want to know that the camp I'm joining is the right camp for me. (Hell, even joining a major political party wasn't easy until I found out that being an "independent" in Oregon meant joining the Independent Party rather than actually being independent of a party.) Taking my time ensures that I can feel out the nuances and grey areas without missing details. However, sometimes the abundance of information results in me not picking sides or being very comfortable sitting on the fence.

For almost any big political topic or religious issue, I exist in a grey area. Three quick examples:

  • Though I profess my faith to be Catholic, I still struggle with some beliefs like confession and infant baptism. While I understand what the Church teaches, I hear other ideas that make sense too. It doesn't mean I'm less Catholic or that I want to leave the Church. I don't have the answers.
  • I'm a feminist, but I am not a Feminist. Women should have the same rights and responsibilities that men have, but women are not men. We should be paid the same for the same job, but we shouldn't be given the job if we aren't equally qualified. Women should not be forced into wearing sacks to avoid attention, but men shouldn't be ashamed for staring or admonished for telling a woman she is attractive. Yay women! but also yay men!
  • Bad people are bad. Good people are good. Guns are bad when used by bad people and are good when used by good people. Bad people will always use whatever tools they can find to inflict their bad on other people. Taking guns away from good people won't stop bad people from getting guns. Limiting ammunition, restricting trade, and requiring licenses won't stop bad people from getting guns. I don't have a solution, but I know the current tactics aren't working.
If I try to talk to my husband about these grey areas, I might as well grab a well-cushioned chair. Grey is not okay, or so it seems.  I need to be able to listen to him without internalizing his message. I need to find the gumption to say "he is not me" and believe it.

How do I stand up for what I may or may not believe in? How do I fight fire with embers?

What do you do when you encounter someone that is more vocal or opinionated? How do you share your beliefs when you know you're fighting an uphill battle?

1 comment:

Mary H said...

I guess I take the coward's way out. I simply try not to bring up those topics in discussions with my man. And if those discussions happen, I try to get my point across, but if that ain't happening, I fold camp and quit arguing (or discussing). If you can't make him change his mind, and you won't change yours, why bother? (My thoughts to myself.) It leaves me sometimes with hot words in my mouth that I try to swallow, or I stonewall the discussion with non-responses and get a headache.

But it is hard when you just want to find out information without getting a lecture or soapbox speech!