There comes a time every so often where everyone must look at the environment around them and evaluate what it is exactly they want to make of it. All who travel down the long road of life have the privilege of choosing the path he or she alone wishes to take. Even a social butterfly with a fruitful social following is required to choose a direction alone. Privileges come with conditions, even difficult ones that are sometimes beyond negotiation. There are stories of lone wolves who are forced to traverse through life alone for the crime of going their own way against the current of conventional thought. This might be the road I have chosen without even knowing it.
I have recently experienced great troubles within my personal life, and I feel my activities here and elsewhere have caused the first rumblings of social isolation. I know very well that my beliefs of the past few years have turned to very unpopular locales. I was once a very liberal-minded young man. As a matter of fact, even if others may disagree, I still see myself a liberal in many aspects. I have no issues with topics like homosexual love and women wanting to go their own way from society not unlike I do. I recited the lines I was given. I came to age starting with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I was taught that whites control everything with impunity, women were oppressed since the first female blob formed in the Earth's great primordial oceans, and having pride in your country and culture is a horribly backwards mindset. I bowed down to women and minorities and recited my lines to earn the respect of those I knew who knew better. I have repented my sins and would change the world for the good of all.
However, my mindsets were not made of solid granite. Even back in my high school days, I have had nagging feelings of doubt; soon to be known as "thought crime" with further exploration into modern society. After my initial year of community college, my foundations would really start to warp and ripple. I knew what I had to think. I knew what I had to know as fact. Despite knowing what was right and just with the causes I have sworn by, not all was right in the world. There were certain fallacies that I struggled to solve. Why is it not okay to feel comfortable in white flesh but perfectly acceptable to be any other color? Why can a woman choose not to follow traditional gender roles due to past oppressions but demand men follow their roles without question or face public humiliation? Many questions were starting to surface, and I couldn't explain why.
I turned to the internet. I wouldn't know what to do without this wonderful technology. How would I the discover answers to tricky questions without investing years of research and personal experience to find them? How would I find others like me who hold doubt in their thoughts and hearts to communicate with if not for the web? I didn't have to go to a authority figures how would publicly ostracize me for asking such questions. I didn't have to consult uncaring if not hostile acquaintances to find like-minded fellows who would discuss the tough topics without putting me down for being so daring. All I had to do was type those questions into a search engine and comb the results the indifferent machine provided me. I came upon hidden worlds of people who already took those first steps in the pursuit of enlightenment. Here on the internet is a bizarre reality where a faceless persona could say what others would not dare say. To make a comparison, the internet is the wild west of the intellectual. Schools and media are nowadays ol' Europe, and the internet is the free west. I could not imagine taking the first steps into voicing unpopular opinions on the internet as if I was shouting curse words and derogatory terms into a sewer pipe. Forget living in the times before the internet allowed unity and enlightenment second only to the printing press.
Steering this post back on track, I found information provided by men and women who have seen more of the world, lived through different times in history, and were full of far more conviction than I can imagine feeling at this point in my young life. I was communicating and listening to these people and completely humbled by their wisdom and ability to bring light onto often ignored or otherwise unknown topics. I could have elongated conversations with fellow travelers (which is great for me; I need time to think through my possible responses not allowed in normal discussion). I started to educate myself a great deal during my early college days. With the success of the internet, I also turned to other off-beat sources of information such as radio and books. I was not disappointed. Things would start to become troubling when I realized that there was no turning back on ignorance and naivety.
I was turning into a different person. Not necessarily different in character for I still hold the values of honesty and kindness instilled in me by my parents. I was different in how I started to view the world around me. No longer did I think it strange to ask politically incorrect questions. However, I saw the beginning of a division between my old way of life and the new one I had to accept. I saw others I would have easily been in lockstep with before making statements that were too hypocritical or ignorant to ignore. I tried challenging these ideas in the hopes that I could show them alternate views and not just a single view distilled with pop culture and arrogance. Often, I was met with a homecoming of derision and occasionally outright lies about my character. I was on these occasions considered a racist, sexist, bigot, and privileged whiner for falsely perceived "hate speech." I saw that this was yet another doctrine used to promote group-think where only the right opinions are valid and conflicting thought is to be silenced for the greater good. I couldn't give up on them yet, so I tried to point out this problem and how it is turning them into the very things they hate. Fuel onto the fire, I was not successful.
Permanent riffs began to form in my social life. Friendships I thought were impervious to taboo debates crumbled. I was labeled. I was ignored. I was a leper. Although I have maintained many friendships (of which I can certainly say are truer than the many I have lost), I was slowly being relegated to a corner where I would be "out of the way." It is like high school never ended. Instead, I refused to be thrown to the side and stood my ground. I had a right to my beliefs, I had legitimate reasons for maintaining those ideas, and I would not be submissive to the majority. As such, I lost many friends, and there is no getting them back. I have been far too out of line and I must suffer the consequences for my hateful nature. I know better than that.
I can see with certainty the path I am on right now is much more attractive than the one in which I remain obedient to the majority trap. I am not living a lie where I value superficial things such as shallow friendships, but living by my own ideals. I know who I am even if I occasionally have my doubts. This is not to ignore the hardships I am now actually beginning to experience. Being the social creatures we all are, we need to feel included with others around us. Some of us though are also grounded in some form of morality and inner character that overrides these natural commands to some extent. I want to have as many close relationships as I can. This is a way in which I know I am liberal in one regard: I want to be loved by everybody possible. I guess I am still living through the young-with-heart stage. It breaks my heart to see friendships destroyed because I refused to fit into their personal form of conformity.
However, it is high time I start to accept the new way of things. It isn't worth trying to force relationships where they are no longer wanted. I have my own way I need to travel. I will use the tools I have been blessed to own such as the internet and possibly unforeseen avenues of expression not yet known on this world. I need to be true to myself, and so I will. It will be a long road ahead, and I hope I will find the strength to reach the end and have no regrets that I have lived my life for all it was worth.