Now that I have your attention, let’s get down and dirty and talk about something completely opposite from the title of this blog. Never fear though, I’ll come back to the getting stoned and making out part, but bear with me while I pontificate on something that makes us all shudder—criticism.
We all hate criticism, yet we all engage in it, and guess what? We’re all assholes.
When done properly, CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is meant to help us develop and grow. Though it’s sometimes tough to swallow, constructive criticism is actually a good thing because it teaches us something and I think we can all agree that learning and growing is good. I welcome constructive criticism in my writing because it makes me a better writer. And, as humans, constructive criticism generally helps us be less “asshole” and more “whole” when we’re able to take it in, develop it and turn it in to something positive. Unfortunately, however, there is a very fine and almost indistinguishable line between constructive criticism and, well, just plain assholery criticism (yes, I just made up that term right now).
The sucky thing about assholery criticism is that it’s usually born after two opposing opinions come together and instead of agreeing to disagree, they do a little dance, have sex and become impregnated with clouded perceptions, big egos and irrationality—all in the name of “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Case in point, the 2016 presidential election.
Now, I think we can all agree that this election is ugly and we can’t wait for it to be over. And, don’t worry, I won’t give you my opinions on the candidates because they are just that—my opinions. But, what I will say is this: it’s not cool if you judge me for my opinions if I express them wisely. You can most certainly choose to disagree with me and, if you feel so inclined, we can have an intelligent and constructive conversation about our differences, shake hands, agree to disagree and walk away with our dignity and perhaps a better understanding of who we are and why we feel the way we do. Or, we can choose to say nothing to each other at all; I am 100 percent cool with either scenario. But, if you’re going to pull your assholery-critiscm card on me, please refrain. Because I choose to back one political candidate over another does not give you the right to insult my intelligence, my allegiance, my spiritual beliefs, my gender, my parenting skills, my effervescent potty mouth, the fact that I think kittens are adorable, or that I would have absolutely no problem making out with Adam Levine AND/OR his wife (preferably her on most days, but they are equally beautiful) in front of everyone. Do with that information what you will, because I am not ashamed of any of those things—but do not judge me for them. It’s that precise form of assholery criticism that removes me from my happy place and frankly, I like my happy place. It’s warm there, plus there’s rainbows and unicorns and let’s face it, rainbows and unicorns are pretty fucking awesome.
Last night I was briefly sucked out of my happy place because I made a joke on social media regarding a certain nameless presidential candidate. I had never done that before and does it make me an asshole? Yes. And, because I’m an asshole I opened the door to criticism and welcomed it inside for tea and crumpets with the unicorns. Though I wasn’t intentionally trying to offend anyone and thought I was being funny, I did, and I learned something from this. After receiving a fiery and rather negative response, I thought about my actions, and though I won’t necessarily apologize for what I said, I recognized that I was being an asshole, and so I responded with this …
I respect you, and because I do I’m going to end this conversation peacefully. Your political and religious beliefs are perfectly within your right, and so are mine. I won’t be drawn into an argument about those things because arguments over politics and religion are rarely solved without judgment or misunderstanding. What I stand for isn’t what you stand for, and that’s ok. I teach my daughter to respect the differences of others, to look beyond labels, and to always be responsible for her actions. I’ve taken her to the polls with me on every presidential election since she was born, and not because I want her to believe what I believe, but because I want her to understand the importance of having a choice. Regardless of who wins this election, life will go on. I look forward to my daughter’s future because, as her mother, I’m not interested in raising a good conservative or liberal, I’m interested in raising a better human being.
Now it’s time to practice what I preach. So, the bottom line is this—opinions are like assholes, and since we’ve already established here that every one of us is an asshole, and it’s fairly obvious that we all have an asshole, how about we try something new and STOP criticizing each other for having both? It’s a tough concept, I know. You might find my argument a bit convoluted, but the principle ideas are not—just be nice, be respectful, be patient and be good to each other and, I promise, WE WILL ALL BE OK. And, if everything I just said isn’t enough to convince you that things will be ok, well then we can all just get stoned and make out. I’d be cool with that as well. (See, I told you I’d get back to that and in case you haven’t guessed yet, yes, I’m a liberal, but a very long time ago I was a conservative. Figure that one out.)