Offended much?

Here’s a topic I never thought I’d discuss again. This image seems to be making the rounds in certain places on social media.

Maybe what I’m about to say is an unpopular opinion, but I’m certain if you’re getting offended by someone else’s personal achievements, that’s entirely a “you” problem.

While it’s not something that’s ever crossed my mind, yes, I’d say I beat teen pregnancy too if I was asked a question where that an appropriate answer. Why not? I didn’t hate teen parents. In fact, I was friends with a teen mother in high school. Never looked down on her. But I certainly didn’t want her situation. Someone who says “I beat teen pregnancy” is saying it wouldn’t have been a good situation for them. Maybe it was a good situation for you. Great. But that’s not a situation that is good for everyone. Speaking for myself, I was heavily suicidal in my teens and I did think about having a child in high school for the sake of having someone who loved me. Bad reason to have a child. Very bad. Depression screws with your mind. Thankfully, logic beat out that idea and I made it out of my teens with no child in tow. That’s a personal achievement for me, not a slight against teenage parents.

Granted, “achievement” is not what I’ve really ever thought of it as, but I’m not unhappy to have not been a parent in my teens, so that’s the closest word to describe it in this context. The same applies to other aspects of life. I’ve never stepped foot in a bar or club, or had a drink of alcohol, but I don’t hate people who enjoy those activities. I just want nothing to do with them.

Two of my friends graduated university earlier this year with their bachelor’s degrees, one in biochemistry and the other in psychology. Meanwhile, I just started attending trade school four months ago after spending almost two years in retail and I am dying for it to be over. If my friends say “I’m glad I went to college right after high school” or “I’m not a college dropout”, I don’t take that as a slight against me because it is not about me. They are talking about themselves. My sister just went through a break-up after being with her boyfriend for two years. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost four years (though it has been a very bumpy road). If I say “I’m glad we never broke up” or “I’m glad we’ve been together all this time”, that’s entirely in reference to my boyfriend and myself, and zero to do with my sister because I am not talking about her.

Let’s also not forget parenthood isn’t always the best thing to happen to someone, and some people don’t realize that until after they become parents. There are absolutely parents who walk out on their children, do not properly care for them, let it be known the parents resent them, and at worst, outright kill them. And while I don’t doubt parenthood is fulfilling for many, I’ve heard even happy parents say the “kodak moments” are only 10% of parenthood (some say 5, some say 1). Take that for what you will.

Also, on the internet, where a single post can reach millions of people, what are really the chances the creator of the post is referring specifically to you?

Warning: May Offend

That’s a tag that may as well be put on everything these days.

Before you get your pitchforks, hear me out. Yes, I know genuinely offensive things exist. There are some things I’m offended by, so I certainly can’t say nothing is offensive. However, I’ve noticed some people seem to actively try to be offended. I respect that different people are offended by different things, but what I cannot respect is when people are offended by things that truly have zero to do with them.

I’m talking about a person’s personal preferences and no, not matters like who they prefer to date. I mean things like what TV shows they like and what foods they can’t stand. That kind of stuff.

Seems silly to get offended over such a thing, doesn’t it? Why would what someone likes to watch on TV offend anybody? But it does. I talked about this a little in my post about death threats, but even without death threats, people can be very vicious. I’ve talked several times about the mess a fandom I was previously part of has become because of a rift between fans who prefer the older seasons versus fans who like the new ones. But why? Why does anyone have to give an explanation for liking or not liking something beyond “I like/dislike this”, and have their reasons deemed to be the right or wrong ones by other people? In short, why are people’s personal preferences about trivial things put on trial?

Is it even possible to have an explanation for everything someone likes or dislikes? I like strawberries above all fruits, but I can’t tell you why. I have no idea. I just do. I don’t like the color gray. No idea why. I just don’t. Why are fairies my favorite mythical creatures? Why do I hate snakes? I have no clue or explanation for any of these. However, they’re how I feel and that should be enough. Yet, for some people, it’s not.

Even if “offended” is too strong a word, these people are still getting mad someone does not have the same likes and dislikes as they do, or that they’re not keeping quiet about it. Why should they? I know the whole world isn’t the USA, but to my knowledge, the internet is for everyone to freely and openly express themselves. Why should someone have to be quiet or censor themselves in a certain way (not tagging a post, etc) because someone else can’t deal with seeing things they don’t agree with? I walk out in public and see multiple things I don’t agree with, but I can’t tell anyone to stay home because I don’t agree with something I see of them. The internet is hardly much different.

If someone wants to talk about or give reasons why they feel a certain way, that’s fine, and they should understand they’re opening themselves up to criticism if they publicize it. But making someone feel they have to explain whatever feelings they have, especially over something as insignificant as entertainment media, is little more than being mean-spirited. At the end of the day, it’s how they feel and those are their personal preferences. They’re called “personal” for a reason. Personal is defined as: “of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else” or “of or concerning one’s private life, relationships, and emotions rather than matters connected with one’s public or professional career“. In other words? It’s. Not. About. You. It’s only about them and their feelings.

I believe anyone who’s angered because someone doesn’t like something they do, and further angered if it’s for reasons they don’t agree with, or vice versa, needs to take a cue from my favorite queen.

“Let it go, let it go!”

Because, really, someone’s personal preferences do not affect you. Their personal preferences are about them, not you. Remember, everyone’s entitled to free speech, and that right doesn’t end because you don’t like what they have to say.

And if it really and truly does bother you so very much, here’s a nifty idea: try a blog! Then, you can control who speaks and who doesn’t on your space. That suggestion tends to get people mad, but it’s more productive than complaining about seeing things you don’t like in spaces you can’t control.