Integrity

So, the last Writing 101 assignment for the 20-day writing challenge is to write about a prized possession, breathing life into it with my prose and, for a twist, do it in long-form. 

I know the point of this exercise is to discuss objects, how they make me feel, the context & history. But, as this is the last post for the challenge, I think I’ll try my own twist on the prompt. I’m going to try to write about something that means everything to me. But it isn’t a physical object. 
For me, the most important thing I have is my personal integrity. It is the core of my being. It lets me live as stress-free as possible, knowing that I’ve done everything in my power to maintain honesty, peace and good will with the world around me. I can sleep, look at myself in the mirror, be still and at peace at the end of each day when I know I’ve remained true to my values and done nothing to compromise or cheapen my integrity. It’s the value, the worth, the treasure that I save at all costs and don’t trade for short-sighted, ephemeral gain. 
My personal integrity is my most prized possession and I feel it deeply when my integrity is jeopardized. 
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. There’s something that’s bothering me and, in my head, it is an integrity issue. But it’s not as straight forward as a matter of telling the truth or doing the right thing in a hard situation. It involves examination of motive, which can be tricky and complex. 
Here’s the situation and then I’ll get to how it’s an integrity thing. 
I have received my first negative comment on one of my posts, https://suddenawareness.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/what-is-butch-anyway/
The post is about my personal take on my own identity. And I took great pains in that post to address the fact that validity of any identity can only be determined by the person so identified, not by an outsider’s opinion. 
So this commenter takes the time to lament my delusion of being butch and masculine. He took the effort to give me a free (and unasked for) lesson on how my natural psychology as female (which he seems to think is the same as feminine) will always betray me, I’ll never achieve what I describe, and guys will never fully accept me, but they’ll kindly patronize my delusion of masculinity. 
Never mind that I am not trying to be a “guy” or that I do not wish to attract men. Somehow, he felt the need to instruct me on the error in my identity and the waste I had made of my time in writing such a long post about something I can never be. 
And by throwing in a token “Peace” at the end as an afterthought, I get the feeling that he would think me unsporting if I were to take exception to his male-privileged-skewed opinion on my identity. 
Infuriating. 
As you can tell,  I’m still peeved about his condescending, deliberately disrespectful by-passing of the point of my post in order to impose his views on my description of my own identity. 
But…and this where integrity comes into question…I have not approved the comment for publication to the blog. 
I’ve been letting it sit, cooling my own reaction, in hopes of looking at it objectively. If I’m calm, maybe it won’t seem like such a trollish, bullying intrusion into my space. Lulu, on the other hand, has advised that I approve it. She knows how I feel and why. But, she feels that since it’s his opinion, his view of his truth, I should not suppress it, but let others judge for themselves. 
I’m not so sure. 
Do I compromise my integrity by not giving all commenters their voice, even if I disagree with their message? If I only approve comments that praise and agree with me, is the integrity of my blog and my philosophy undermined? Am I unreasonably suppressing the free exchange of ideas by not publishing a comment that, I admit, hurts and enrages me? Do I have a duty to let all who read my blog have the ability to voice their opinions about my posts? Is it a copout to point out that this blog is my safe place for saying what I am unable to express out loud in the real world and, therefore, I should be free to admit or exclude whomever’s opinions I choose? Is that churlish and wrong?
The thing about integrity, like identity, is that only the person who wears it can justly answer those questions. 
That blows. 
I don’t have the answers. But I think the fact that I have the questions should tell me something. What that something is, I don’t yet know. It may be that my questioning is merely the healthy mental process of facing an uncomfortable aspect of maturity that will ultimately lead to a balanced resolution. On the other hand, it may be indicative of a flaw in the character of my integrity, showing that I m not as transparent and authentic as I believe myself to be. 
And, yes, it is probably unfair of me to talk about the comment without letting you read it. Maybe that’s the real integrity question.  For now, though, I am going to hang onto it, unpublished, and think more about why I don’t want those words, smacking as they do of arrogant derision, published on my blog. Is it just because they’re hurtful to me and maybe others? Or is it because I don’t want anyone who disagrees with me to have a voice in this space?
I don’t believe it’s the latter, but I don’t know for sure. 
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6 comments so far

  1. wendikali on

    In reading your take on the comment, it sounds like the guy missed your point on the post all together. How can it be a disagreement if he missed the point? Also, it’s your blog and you can choose who’s comment to publish or not.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Thanks, Wendi. I didn’t think about it that way–no meeting of the minds. Hmmm…

  2. Jamie Ray on

    I have received only a handful of negative comments, but I have deleted all of them. I try to encourage comments, and I usually respond to them – but negative people do not deserve my energy and I want my blog to be a place where people are comfortable.
    There was a really good piece on This American Life in January on trolls on the internet – particularly males trolling women. It is episode 545 – and it is “Act One”. Well worth a listen.

  3. J. Blue on

    Trolls are ubiquitous, and way more often men than women, as I see it. I don’t see any reason why you should waste any time letting his royal male a**holeness bother you or why you should not delete his nonsense. This is *your* blog and he can keep his bullshit to himself, though I doubt he will.
    I am a 2 spirit butch myself and the femme side of me is way more pissed off at this than the male side. My male half just shrugs and says “whatever”. I won’t go into what the female side says, except it is long and profane. Don’t let this kind of crap get you down, bro. It’s glaringly obvious that we are waaaay stronger and smarter than”he” is.
    BTW, I have been really enjoying your posts lately. It’s nice to see you writing a lot again.
    Hang in there. Your strength is much greater than you realize!

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Oh, thank you so much! I really appreciate the up. And I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the posts. Working on keeping to a writing schedule. It’s proving more difficult than expected. Hope not to disappoint you, tho. 😃


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