I just recently passed my 63rd birthday. There are those who would warn me against stating my age publicly, and I’ve considered that. I’m single, with no children and no interest in another marriage. All of my family are dead. People don’t like to hear that; it causes them to make a sad, pouty face, tilt their head, and whisper softly, “Oh, no.” It’s disturbing because it changes the way they think of me. What they think of me.
I hate that. I know who and what I am, and as a very private person, I don’t have to announce every thought that runs through my head.
In all I’ve seen in my life, I have to say I am most proud and grateful to see people standing up for their identities; be it age, sexual orientation, religion, or political standing. The days are ending where a person has to tread carefully around most subjects to avoid alienating persons they want to impress or superiors who control their livelihood.
Working in customer/client services for a chunk of my working life, I find myself carefully keeping silent on sensitive issues. I remind myself that the very nature of my job is successfully handling the client, not making personal statements or getting into a debate. I am a representation of the company I work for and the values it holds. If I didn’t agree with those values in the past, I could either stay silent or quit.
But, recently, I have begun to step past that boundary when the client chooses to push for and demand a stand be made by me as if they are searching for a compadre in this crazy social climate. Having worked with clients in the psych field, I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying fear in a person.
That is exactly what I keep seeing. Fear. So many things are changing, pronouns need to be general unless the person lets you know how they identify, political statements can end in a shouting match or even physical altercations, and don’t get me started on religion. It seems to me politics and religion need to be separate, even though in many countries, particularly in the US, they have always been two halves to a whole. That’s a problem.
People feel the shift of change beneath their feet and, like a scared cat, scrabble, hiss, and spit if they start to fall. Anyone close can get badly scratched.
I am torn every day for feeling like a hypocrite in my silence.
And there, I see the fear in me.