Discover more from Random Minds by Katherine Brodsky
Ever since I’ve began speaking my mind more openly—and publicly, I’ve also become more hyper-aware of the impact this might have on how people in my immediate radius might perceive me.
Do I reassure them that I’m not a conservative? Do I vouch that I’m a long-time liberal? A classical liberal at the very least? Tell them I’m a raging conservative and have fun with it? But why should it even matter? Perhaps it’s best to just let people think what they want to think.
The truth is that these days, I identify mostly as tribleless—it’s a growing demographic. I have no allegiance to anything but to ideas and thoughts—and I reserve the option to change my mind on anything if presented with better information or arguments. I borrow freely from socialism, libertarianism, and I’m sure from conservatism too. Whatever works best and aligns with my principles. I don’t belong to anyone, let alone a political group.
Truth be told, most of my life was spent in a pretty liberal bubble—especially working in journalism and the entertainment industry. That said, I’ve always been fairly open about conversing with people who held different views, even if we disagreed. I found it refreshing. But I didn’t often have the opportunity. Recently, I’ve had many more such opportunities and have made an extra effort to engage and follow people with whom I don’t always see eye to eye.
But the truth is, I was never particularly political. I still don’t consider myself to be. I had opinions on things, but I never much thought about what parties or politicians they might align with. What I’ve cared about—and still do—are the things that affect individuals in their daily lives. But perhaps I find myself caring a bit more these days. Not only that, I’ve found myself more willing to speak publicly about what I believe.
It didn’t happen overnight. I had crippling fear and anxiety, for years. I felt lonely. Until I began to speak honestly with others, I didn’t know that many others had felt the same.
But eventually I found myself increasingly unwilling to be silent about the things that others were also thinking but were too scared to vocalize. My openness gave them permission to do the same.
Now, I wish I could tell you that ever since then I’ve felt this absolute freedom and each word that I utter or write is carefree. But that would be a lie. The truth is, even when I tweet something that could be considered slightly provocative or contrarian, I tend to panic and check to see who unfollowed me and if it’s someone I might know in real life. Sometimes it is, and it stings. Sometimes when I’m being especially open in person and someone’s expression changes or they don’t talk to me as much anymore, I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of something I’ve said. Perhaps it is. Perhaps not. There are people who are no longer part of my life because I don’t feel like I can be myself around them. There are situations that give me great anxiety. The key, of course, is to keep going. It does get easier.
And, I hope, that the tribe that remains, the people that stick around after I’ve said both all the things that they agree and disagree with…a new tribe forms—the kind that I can breathe freely around. I hope that I’m building a new tribe—a free, tolerant, brave—and “tribeless” tribe.
Are you “tribeless”? Leave a comment below.
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