To be clear - this is not an 'all lives matter' post or anything of the sort.
I'm going to kick this off with a Ryan Reynolds gif for two reasons.
First, it's appropriate.
Second, it might make a good hook...
I'm seriously so bloody sick of the dichotomy of society and the kind of two-faced bullshit which leads people to present fake empowerment phrases or actions which sound like "Your voice matters" but contain the delightful parentheses subtext of "...unless it contradicts mine".
I'm sorry, don't we live in a time where there is a growing number of the population realising they can stand up for themselves, what's right and what they believe in (in many more ways than one)? Is this not an actively encouraged trait among those we love and respect?
Doing the right thing even when no-one else is - that's called integrity. It's NOT called being awkward, difficult or obnoxious - these are words used by morons who don't know any better. Dinosaurs sinking in the tar, clinging onto what was.
With all the pressures and adjustments of COVID-19 and the global unrest surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, it's becoming all too clear how many individuals and organisations are stuck in the past in a great many despair-inspiring ways.
It amazes me that in a time when people are praised for speaking up (about a seemingly never-ending parade of widely varying issues), there are still so many who would smother those voices.
These people serve systems which try to keep us in place. And this post... is going to be a rant (which I will attempt to dress up in apt doses of humour to maintain my zen and sanity, along with my soon-to-be-anticipated links to something media-related).
Yes-Men are Dinosaurs
I mean, the term even sounds dated - 'Yes Man'.
What's a Yes Man?
I don't mean the Jim Carrey 2008 film kind.
A Yes Man is the kind of person who never challenges the status quo. Who won't speak up even when they know or believe things should be different. The kind of employee who always agrees with their boss even if they have what may very well be a better solution. The friend who won't tell you the truth because they're more interested in 'pleasing' you and scoring bonus points.
Hopefully, you don't need me to explain what a dinosaur is...
I never really fit into most corporate work environments, not the big ones anyway. For years, I toiled away as a cog in a faceless machine, unappreciated and unseen. I made some friends along the way (Hi Joe! *waves frantically*), but deep down I knew that corporate cultures still clinging to their dying ways of life were not a good fit for me.
Between working for big corporates and finding a home in the radically different world of startup companies, I ping-ponged between a few different jobs. I was finding myself, what worked for me, and I wasn't afraid to do what needed to be done.
Even when others attempted to convince me that 'hopping from job to job would look terrible to future employers', I wasn't afraid. I knew I had to do things differently.
Finding a home in a tech startup as a support engineer, moving from there to my present position as a Content Manager for a digital marketing company - that's another story. But it was during my time at the aforementioned tech startup that I learned of Yes Men.
It was also here that I encountered two great chaps I'd worked with in one of those highly temporary job hops between big corporate environments and startups. These two were managers and both told me how much they had respected my decision to leave a job I knew was wrong for me, regardless of my minimal time spent there (along with my honest feedback at the time).
This was the beginning of me questioning everything, my views and perspectives, never content to simply accept anything as 'the way that it is'.
This way of thinking has been integral in my development these past years, a part of me seeing another path - one where I've found a great many successful individuals along the way (who share my philosophy - surprise, surprise!).
My point is, it's our duty to do what's right even when no-one else is.
Kill them all
I'll be honest - I'm just quoting Spartacus with this heading, overdramatising to see how much attention you're paying.
I'm not advocating violence in any way.
What I am doing is drawing parallels with Spartacus, however. It's easily one of my favourite shows, a huge inspiration on my writing, and packed with relevant lessons which we still seem unable to learn from even though this has happened before.
Ok, this exactly hasn't happened before. But as anyone who knows the show or the reality can attest to, the fact is that just because things are doesn't mean they should be. That even when it's hardest, even if an entire nation (in this case, the Roman Republic) is against you, stuck in their ways and blind to the reality of others, those they deem 'beneath' them, it doesn't have to be this way.
Wanna know who you are in this analogy? You're a fucking gladiator, that's who!
Where will the world be if you cower and accept how things are through the weight of sheer indoctrination?
The things that need standing up for aren't always global issues and the 'world' I speak of can simply be your own reality (after all, are our lives not our worlds just as our perceptions are our reality?). My point is, standing up for yourself and what's right has never been more important, and will never stop being so important.
True progress demands challenge, doing things in new ways rather than because it always has been.
Yes, change can be scary. Welcome to the world. Deal with it, whatever way you can. Find the strength to raise your voice and speak your truth. Don't copy the dinosaurs right down to how they flail in the tar pits, learn from them. Of course, this doesn't mean judging others' truths or taking extreme action to make your point - I'm not supporting that one bit.
It's not an easy road, but it's one we all must tread.
Current events have made it abundantly clear that change is both coming and essential, and those who can't or won't change are pretty fucked...
Ok... here is where things could get seriously ranty. I'll try to hold back.
My partner Jamie wrote a blog post recently - a truly heartfelt piece where she opened up about the last year of her life and what a huge difference a year can make. It's a post which walks through her ups and downs, detailing how she came through the other end and what she's learned.
She did nothing in this post except share her truth... and received remarkable responses for it.
People she hadn't heard from in years surfacing to say how happy it made them to read and hear how she's successfully finding her rhythm in life, or how inspirational they'd found her words, hearing that things can and do turn around.
A key point behind her words was very much focused on the power of finding the right headspace and how putting the right energies out there helped immeasurably - that's the Law of Attraction, for ya!
This post did so well because honesty resonates. Because we're all just trying to figure our shit out and find our footing in the world. When you're a kid, you think grown-ups have it all figured out... then you get older and realise what a load of crap that really is.
No-one ever figures it all out, and it's only the wisest who realise they know nothing at all.
Which is why it pissed me off to the max to hear of those who would try to pull her down for that post. People who didn't like what she had to say for their own misguided and misinterpreted reasons, going so far as to stoop to underhanded manipulation tactics, playing on fear in an attempt to force her hand to remove the post.
It's a long story and I'm not getting into it because it's really beside the point.
The point is that standing up for her beliefs (and rights) has been met with personal attacks which bring tears to her eyes and force moments of questioning not only her worth, but her decency as a human being.
All this for SHARING HER HONEST FUCKING TRUTH!
Understandably, this made me livid.
To people like this, to those who attack and judge others, who think the world revolves around them and everything, therefore, must be about them - fuck you 🖕
How can you claim to support diversity, freedom of speech or change when you behave like this? Do you really want us all in a row, nice little robots in matching shirts slaving to the beat of your metronome like fucking Oompa Loompas?
You who judge and condemn without understanding, you who would seek to smother anyone's truth - you're guilty of the same misgivings as racists.
Wake the fuck up.
Rant over, but please...
Ok, I'm done... sort of.
I think I kept that well within the realms of zen, don't you?
These times are seriously showing who is stuck in the past, clinging to their ignorance. So many of us have said sayonara to people we've known for years or even family members through their outdated and immovable opinions, and I can only imagine this will continue as we press further into the madness that is 2020.
If we're lucky, we might see an end to this level of indoctrination, where (whatever the issues may be)
we are kept down by those in authority who operate exclusively with blinkers on.
I stand with anyone brave enough to question, to take a stand and make their voice, their truth, be heard - whatever environment your battle takes place in, I'm there by your side in spirit.
If you're still reading this (aside from having WAY too much time on your hands or being perhaps a smidge drunk), I implore you not to let anyone keep you down, indoctrinated and questioning your worth.
Know your worth and rights - and if you don't, then ask someone or do some research, it's really that simple.
Please, don't accept poor or derogatory treatment from anyone, be they your boss, colleague, friend, family or lover. You deserve better.
In the end, we get what we tolerate - it's only smart to evaluate what that is in all areas of our lives.