It is not my responsibility

5 Jun 2018

A change in perspective can come from the smallest of moments or a truly life-altering catalyst that shifts your priorities and makes you see every little detail of life in a drastically different way. For me, it was the latter, a realisation that the way I was living my life at that time was, quite frankly, not good enough, things had to change and there was simply no way to continue the way I was.

I mentioned in my recent post, we all need a healthy balance, that back in September 2017 my life was quite literally turned upside down with the very sudden and unexpected loss of my younger brother. It had been over a decade since I had experienced the loss of a close family member and the grief consumed me in a way I never expected; it was completely different, experiencing grief as an adult and now as a parent myself than when I was just a child or teenager. Not only did I find it incredibly difficult to bury a younger sibling, feeling as though although not his parent, as an older sibling I should have been able to protect him, but as a parent, the thought of losing my child, suddenly or not, broke me. Just trying to imagine the pain was too much to bear.

The hours, days, weeks and months that followed were difficult, are still difficult, but also eye-opening. Normal everyday conversations seemed incredibly mundane. Frivolous plans seemed like a waste of time that could be better spent doing more important things. Mostly, the time I spent online, the way I interacted with people online, it suddenly seemed absolutely nonsensical. And I realised something.

 It is not my responsibility. 

It is not my responsibility to behave in the way others expect me to behave. It is not my responsibility to think, act or speak in the way others believe I should think, act or speak. It is not my responsibility to have certain personality traits or to come across in a certain way just because I blog and use social media and it is certainly not my responsibility to make someone else like me.

When you put your life online, particularly in such an open way like blogging, you are under scrutiny. I will never agree with the notion that if you 'put yourself out there', you deserve to be treated horribly by strangers online - as human beings we have a responsibility to be decent people and that does not include going at someone in the extreme ways some people do.

We are not meant to get along with every person we meet in life whether in person or virtually online, hell, there are many people I have come across online who I disagree with, who I have disliked and who I would never get along with, but these people are not people who I will be thinking of in my final moments (hopefully, when I'm grey and old after a long and fulfilling life), just as I will not be one of their final thoughts. Yet I have spent many, many years not quite censoring myself, but second-guessing myself, because I felt like it was my responsibility to come across a certain way or to be thought of by certain people in a particular way.

Trying to tick other peoples boxes is exhausting.

That isn't me. Trying to please others or trying to make people change their opinion of me is not who I am. I am someone who is passionate about the things most important to me; my family, my friends and loved ones. I am vocally passionate about the way I view this world, the people and beliefs I support, the changes I want to see in my lifetime, for the future of my daughter and generations to come. I may not do things the same way as everyone else or be willing to sit quietly on certain topics for the sake of looking mundane online or go along with the majority for the sake of a quiet life, but every one of those aspects makes me who I am and I would not, I will not change who I am for other people. In fact, I'm bloody proud of who I am. 

Too many people - myself included - waste away precious time concerning themselves with what other people think or do. Staring angrily at a computer screen or smartphone trying to make sure you get the last word or shaking your head as you read something you disagree with. The amount of times a perfectly good mood has been ruined by reading the comment sections of controversial news articles or searching trending Twitter hashtags has left me reeling, it's completely senseless to waste what is such precious time in such negative ways. It's such an absurd waste of time.

It is not your responsibility to make someone else live their life a certain way.

It is your responsibility to live your life in the most fulfilling way possible.

So as Buffy Summers once said, in a scene that always leaves me a hysterical sobbing mess;

"The hardest thing in this world, is to live in it. Be brave. Live."