On choosing your battles wisely

This is one of the most obvious understatements in the world: human beings are complex and often downright frustrating creatures.

Defining your place in the world is hard enough without having to deal with unsolicited and misguided opinions thrown in your direction. As multifaceted people, our internal battles are all over the place. I am far from the only person to suffer from a condition known as Multiple Soapbox Syndrome. Symptoms include (but are not limited to): caring about multiple issues, getting passionately angry when people dismiss them, wishing the rest of society could care about these things as much as you do.

This is a brief, non-exhaustive list of issues that have made me want to hit my head against a wall on several occasions:

The idea that Jewish background + Christian beliefs automatically = Messianic Jew (it doesn’t. It’s a bit more complicated than that).

That being a Christian, period = hating gays, believing atheists have no morals, forcing beliefs on the nation by turning them into laws.

That social custom allows for people to shorten my first name without asking permission, for their own convenience (that’s just rude. Never assume what someone wants to be called. At any rate, I feel more like a Beth these days than a Sarahbeth, so there you go).

That feminism = bra-burning, man-hating, always pro-choice, anti-shaving extremist (I’ve had the privilege of meeting a handful of married, stay-at-home, religious, self-described feminists. They are real. I promise. And we all generally want the same thing: to be treated like human beings).

That English degree = future English teacher (nope, not me).

That author = famous and made of money (HA…not even close).

That self-published author = not a ‘legitimate’ author (self-published books are on Amazon like all other “legitimately published” books. If it’s made of paper or downloadable via Kindle and you bought it from a major distributor, it’s a book, dangit).

That being raped or assaulted always = brutally attacked by a stranger hiding in the bushes, because it can never happen in a relationship with someone you actually know (more on that here)

Your own list may look similar, or completely different. It’s easy for me to lose patience and want to write off the people who misunderstand me as ignorant or even stupid. There are battles, and then there is the battle to pick your battles, because you simply can’t afford to lose it every time someone misunderstands something important to you.

I’ve decided to pick three of the above “battles” as educational fields: defending Christianity, because that’s who I am; rape culture awareness/feminist issues, because those have affected me personally; and misconceptions about being an indie author, because that is my chosen profession. Even one of those issues results in a fully loaded plate, and I wish I didn’t have such a random lot to choose from. I felt like a freak for a while, until one day I realized that no one’s life is lived completely in a vacuum. It’s okay to stand for multiple things, and the best way to stand for something is to be an effective teacher of it.

I’m always curious to learn more about how people deal with ignorance regarding who they are, or what they’ve been through. Now is your chance to educate me: what are your battle fields?


4 thoughts on “On choosing your battles wisely

  1. Do you try to talk to people who perpetuate those things or just ignore it? I’m struggling with how to respond myself. Hypocrisy is another big one (especially knowing I’m a hypocrite too, but I think all of us are in a way).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s