Being misunderstood is not just a possibility; being misunderstood is inevitable.
I begin to think that the longer people know each other, the better people know each other, the more likely they are to misunderstand each other, and that goes double, or maybe triple for families, for the people we grew up with.
I’m a person who speaks her mind; in fact, I’m quite well known for it in certain circles, and the closer those circles are to home, the better known I am for saying what I’m thinking without using any sort of filter between my brain and my mouth. The misunderstanding does not lie in the fact that I dissemble or bluster. The misunderstanding does not lie in the fact the I tag along with an idea because it seems expedient to do so, or that I mumble some vague agreement rather than stand my ground and risk a conflict.
People misunderstand me simply because they choose to. They choose to misunderstand me for their very own reasons, some of which seem good and fair to them, and some of which probably are good and fair to them. It matters not that their reasons are neither good nor fair to me. That, as they say, is life. I’ll take it. I’ll suck it up. That, after all, is the nature of the beast.
What I won’t do is apologise for it.
If you have an opinion and you state it, especially if you state it knowing that it might not be popular, you will, inevitably, get into conflict with people. They will argue with you, and, the better you know them and the longer you have known them for, the more likely they are to marginalise you simply because it is easier to do so than it is to think about what you have said or the reasons for your saying it. It is, in short, easier for them to marginalise you than it is for them to change their thinking.
As far as those closest to me are concerned, I have lived a charmed life, and I would have to agree with them. I have had more education than most, more interesting and demanding work than many, and I have had greater access to a more diverse mix of people, colleagues, friends and acquaintances, than a lot of people have had the pleasure of. I have travelled more and experienced more of the World than some, and I have been lucky enough to have known people much cleverer than I am. I have listened to them talking about their ideas and I have read their books, and those things, those people, those ideas have changed me.
I will not apologise for being broader of mind and more liberal of politics than I was in my twenties. I will not apologise for being the better person that people of my more recent acquaintance believe me to be.
Neither will I apologise for expecting more from the people who have known me the longest. It changes nothing, of course, but I feel a damned sight better for having said it.
Now... What’s next?