A project to share your own opinions and compare them with others across the globe (yes, I said globe). Without even having to make a pretense of making it entertaining or in some way relatable? Yes, please. Where do I sign?
I have been deemed “opinionated” for as long as I have known how to form actual words so a chance to share them is always a pleasure (for me, though not always for those around me) especially when I may do so without fear of coming across as “too self-involved” (Read: totally self-absorbed narcissist).
A Opinionated Man, the creator of this worldwide project, is a blogger that writes HarsH ReaLiTy, of which I am sure you all are following, as the man has more followers than any blog that I have ever seen and the number grows steadily each day. His posts can be anything from simple thoughts in a few paragraphs to long-winded and intricately written controversial pieces that may cause your eyebrows to raise even though you cannot stop reading. So, for those of you that know me…know that he is kind of my hero.
So, without further ado, I will throw my humble hat into the sea of many to be a part of this.
Question 1: Please provide a window into who you are, some background information in a not too overwhelming profile here. I am allowing you as the writer to immediately connect with your audience so take advantage. Remember the point of ordering these questions is to arrange this project so it is easy for comparison and not to constrain you as the writer. Write as long as you need to for each question to get your point across just remember not to lose the reader.
I am an only daughter of two parents of trauma and abuse. I was raised in a home where no one ever expressed themselves, no one was ever real, and everyone lived in their own heads. Crying was weakness. Strength was all that mattered. Even as a child I knew that they were not who I wanted to be.
Then, at 16 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. This sent me down a destructive and self-serving path that raged on through college and into my twenties. If I was not going to live forever…then I was going to live fast and die young. I reveled in my wild emotions, determined not to be anything like my parents.
Then, in my mid-twenties, I met my husband and we chose to start a family. I decided that a short life was meant to be lived but it was also meant to be a service to others. I made a choice to be remembered for the moments that I brought others happiness as opposed to being able to drink an Irishman under the table.
Now I am a wife, a mother of a son with interesting challenges, a volunteer preemie mom mentor, and a voracious believer in the power of yoga to heal the mind, body, and spirit. But I still do enjoy a nice glass of wine at the end of the day (all of this taking care of others is exhausting).
Though, as an adult, I did I grow up to repress every emotion just like my parents taught me to. So, I suppose the great “Circle of Life” is alive and well. And, while at the time I did not understand it, that strength that they were so determined to instill in me has served me very well.
Question 2: If you haven’t already done so please provide your country of origin, whether you are male or female, an age would be nice, and where you currently live if that differs from the country of origin. If you are in America this might be a nice time to explain what state you are from. Also try to give us a brief view of your current neighborhood and what it is like in as specific terms as you like. Why is this important? I believe our surroundings and where we come from have a strong impact on our development of opinions. It would also be highly likely that depending on the safety of the country might also determine how willing one is to express their opinions aloud. Does sex also have something to do with this, as well as age? These are all characteristics that can definitely affect a person’s outlook.
I am a 31-year-old woman that was born and raised in the United States. I tend to be a contradiction, in some terms, as I am a true southern girl, born in Tennessee and living most of my life in Texas. But I attended high school and college in Florida (where many, many northerners live) so I did spend my formative years learning to speak my mind without apology and that goes against my strong southern upbringing. This results in guilt over being who I am at times and that causes me a great personal struggle with my identity.
Question 3: Recount the first time you remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than you. Do you remember what the topic was about? Did you voice your opinion or hold it to yourself?
I have been wracking my brain for an eternity and I simply could never come up with the “first” time that I questioned a person that was older than me. I have always questioned what I was told. I have never accepted age to be a determining factor in knowledge. Not ever. I questioned teachers, church pastors, and parents alike. I was a wildly inquisitive and well-read child so it was not in my nature to simply accept information that was passed onto me. I, even from the tender age of four and five, required proof.
It has gotten me in more trouble than I can recall but it is a major part of who I am as a person.
Question 4: What levels of respect were practiced around you when you were a child? Was there bowing involved, handshakes, “yes Sirs and yes Ma’ams,” or some other equivalent respectfulness in your culture’s tongue? Is an honorific given to someone older than you and do you often respect and practice that? How might the culture you were brought up in have affected the growth of your own opinions?
Being a child that has sass downloaded in my DNA, I was taught that if I must be such a “firecracker” that I had to use manners at all costs. My mother used to say that “I disagree, ma’am” and “Nuh-uh!” would illicit vastly different responses from people.
To this day, I still say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” even when addressing people much younger than myself. To me, this respect is almost an apology for my brash manner of speaking.
Question 5: How traveled are you and to what degree do you keep up with international news? You might also provide an educational background if you wish and if that education was gained from somewhere other than your current location. How available is the news and what goes on in the outside world to you in your country?
I am the opposite of “well traveled”. I followed some bands in college (namely Tool) and am relatively familiar with what are considered the ‘south’. Outside of that I have only been to New York twice (which I disliked greatly) and that is the extent of my travel. I do not have that drive that makes people crave adventure.
And, honestly, I do not -in any way- keep up with international news. I barely keep up with the news in general. While this may be shocking to some, I just do not feel compelled to. I think the world, by nature, is a place with yin and yang. Good and evil. And I find that the news is something that only showcases the negative side of humanity and I choose to not see my world like that. Perception is reality, correct? And yes, I have been accused on more than one occasion of living in a “bubble”.
Question 6: If you could share an opinion on a single international incident or topic that you either feel strongly about or that might not be known to the rest of the world what would it be? You have our attention.
The topic that I feel most strongly about is women’s rights. While I tend to be very “Switzerland-esque” when it comes to controversial political topics and can easily see both sides and where the good intention lies, I am a pit bull when it comes to the health issues of women. This is less a pro-choice stance (which I do have) as I feel that the money and time that is spent attempting to regulate something that, in this day and age, has no business being discussed but an issue with attempts to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies when the state run facilities are underfunded, understaffed, and completely overwhelmed with children that have yet to have been adopted. I have seen with my own eyes the conditions of these places, the sadness of the children that are forced to live there, and how difficult it is for them to find any home at all.
So when I hear people discussing how abortion is immoral and against god and those girls could just “give those children to a good home” I just see red. Not every child gets a good home. It is heartbreaking. Why would we want to put more innocent children through that?
Question 7: What does the right to an opinion mean to you? Is it essential to freedom to have this right? How far would you go to protect that ability? The world is on fire with people of passion, how passionate are you about things you value?
I am a staunch believer that everyone, and I do mean everyone, is entitled to their own opinion. I believe it is an integral part of what defines us as people. Though, as I grow older, I am beginning to think it is also a large thing that divides us as people. Liberal, democrat, republican, conservative, pro-life, pro-choice…the ways that we can all disagree has taken us farther away from unity.
While I was once a person that went to protests and stood my ground with the passion of youthful idealism…now, I would have to say that I would not fight hard for it. I will not even fight hard about it. When someone disagrees with me, I simply change the subject most of the time. To be honest, I prefer less controversy now (at least with people that I will have to see again). I feel no compulsion to have people agree with me any more than I want to be convinced of something that I do not believe in.
Question 8: Is it ever right for you to be allowed an opinion while someone else is denied that same right on the same topic?
I think opinions are like the thoughts in our head. We cannot control them, no matter how appropriate that they may be. While, a travesty that not everyone is granted the same rights, I do not think it is possible to “control” ones own thoughts on a matter. Only how we choose to express them.
Question 9: The last question. upon completing this template and hopefully contemplating the issue what does this project mean to you? How can Project O potentially enlighten or help the world?
I believe one of the things that will help to enlighten the world is the realization that, deep down, we are all the same. We have different backgrounds, different morals, different drives…but we are all citizens of the world. We can all find common ground in even the most outwardly different individuals.
I think projects like this -that force people to open up and speak their truth– allows us all to see that, firsthand, for ourselves.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.