I was an insufferable child. My entire life, people had told me that I was so smart; my mother regularly said: “Wow, you’re so much smarter than me!” I had no reason not to believe them, so I did. I thought I was this child genius that would save the world by being a meteorologist (a short-lived dream). My father never joined the praise parade, and one evening in his truck I said to him: “Why am I so much smarter than you?” He laughed and said, “You aren’t.” My response: “Oh.”
For years I acted like the person I had been told I was: smarter, better, more gifted. Looking back, I cringe and regret my actions. At the time, however, I thought this was just the proper way of things. Us gifted individuals had a right and a duty to correct people and educate the masses. Despite growing up and away from this superior mentality, my extended family often treats me like that spoiled seventh grader who knew it all.
Facebook is an excellent medium for connecting with old friends and family and immediately alienating them from your life. I posted articles and blog pieces about politics and religion in hopes of making my Facebook friends more knowledgeable about certain issues.
In February of 2014, I posted an article regarding the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I had a cousin (in red) criticize my influence on my sister and use the word democrat as an insult. As a liberal and a progressive, I’ve gotten use to this from my family.
He later deleted me on Facebook after I posted about listening to Marilyn Manson on Friday the Thirteenth.
Also on that post, my uncle (in yellow), had insulted me for a significant amount of the thread and implied that because of my age, I was incapable of reason and that I let hope blind me. He insulted me several times, and I concluded our conversation with: “I’m more upset that you can insult me and it not be a big deal. That I’ll get more hell for being liberal than you’ll get for insulting your niece.”
A few days later, I posted an article about a lobbyists attempt to create a bill banning openly gay football players from official NFL locker rooms. I posted it because I thought it was despicable, and something that should truly be frowned upon. My uncle’s response was intense.
My uncle is a conservative, but agreed with this law interfering with public business. He insulted my friends, accused them of being gay, and used slurs. After, he proclaimed I was being disrespectful. A few days later, he called my mom and said that he actually agreed with me, but worded it poorly. I can’t explain his reasoning behind that.
This isn’t meant to be a pity post of “Oh, woe is me the persecuted liberal,” but I think it’s important to show the real life repercussions for being outspoken about liberal beliefs in the South. I can kill my family with kindness all I want, but they will still insult me and accuse me of disrespect simply for disagreeing. I’m no longer the know-it-all child, but because they didn’t individually witness my growth I’m treated like the teenager I was, not the adult I am.