What price, peace?

Is peace (or anything) worth an ‘at all costs’ approach? I’m specifically talking about personal and interpersonal peace, rather than resolution of the Middle East Conflict-type peace. Harmony and calm in the home, extended family, workplace, book club, PTA, etc., how much is it worth?

How much of your own opinions, personal expression should be suppressed for this peace? How much of another’s opinion should you allow to be imposed on you? How much of yourself should be sacrificed to the sacred gods of “getting along” and “keeping cool”?

What price, peace?

I’m actually pretty good at suppressing my own thoughts and desires. I’ve had a lot of practice. When you are as conspicuous as I have been all my life, you learn quickly to keep quiet and make yourself as small as possible, so as not to cause trouble. Because that’s how opinions of awkward, ugly, fat, gender nonconforming girls are viewed, as “causing trouble”. Weird girls with opinions are trouble makers, rabble rousers. They don’t engage in spirited, fair debate. They bellow and rant.

But, as with so much in my life lately, I’m rethinking this policy. How much harm am I causing, or at least enabling, by not speaking up when I have a voice?

I’m talking specifically about personal things. Professionally, I’ve always been outspoken and unafraid to challenge anything I felt needed it. But in my personal life…not so much.

There’s no quick answer to any of these questions. This issue doesn’t stand alone. The consequences are intertwined with those of other decisions. The risk is related to other choices yet to be made. But still, I feel there is room for both continued deliberation and near-term action. Taking it slowly, is the adage, I think.

Although I’m not ready yet to challenge all the misconceptions my family have about myself, my identity, I can certainly challenge overt statements of bias, discrimination and intolerance I hear from them. I’ve already started. Over the holidays, I had occasion to object to a “that’s so gay” jab my nephew threw out during a family gathering. Although I was nervous and didn’t fundamentally change his or anyone else’s views on gender or sexual identity, I think the point was received.

Starting small and at home may seem a very safe and easy path to resisting hate, but for me it’s an essential first step in a larger process. If I can’t cultivate a bare minimum of tolerance among those who profess to love me unconditionally, how will I face the larger world when the illusions are stripped away?

This shouldn’t be this hard.


1 comment so far

  1. […] What price, peace? (suddenawareness.wordpress.com) […]

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