When I was a very young child, one of my favorite stories was about Katy, the shy kangaroo, who just wanted to spend time with her mom every day. I think it was a favorite because I could relate. I have memories of the neighborhood kids asking me what my name was, and calling me, "Twisty." No matter how many times I repeated myself, they laughed, and still got it wrong. My mom always got my name right, and she didn't laugh at me.
Though I don't think I was permanently scarred from that experience, and I can make the kr sound now, I still don't like being laughed at. I'd like to believe that my ideas have value, even when my delivery is not perfect.
I don't think I am alone.
Of course, there are so many ideas in this world. Some I agree with; others I don't. One thing I really disagree with, though, is name-calling and personal attacks. It is possible to disagree on issues without hatred, but not everyone has developed the skill of talking about an issue without attacking a person. Discussing an issue calmly can lead to better understanding and discovery of shared ideas (even if contrary views are still held), but resorting to childlike taunts weakens the possibility of working together.
Over the past couple of months, I have felt a driving force to speak up, to explain myself, to be a voice. This is a scary proposition. Will I be opening myself up for attack by those who differ in their opinions? Will my words adequately express my feelings? Will readers who have never met me in person understand that believing exactly like me is really not a requirement for friendship? Will they also understand why, despite my hesitation, I feel compelled to say something?
The specific current topics which have driven my resolve to speak up are those of marriage, family, and gender. Periodically, I'm going to address aspects of those topics. Before I write those posts, though, I wanted to write this one. I suspect that my opinions are not universally supported by all readers. Please know that if you hold a view different than mine, I will not call you names, and I will not laugh at you.
In return, please don't call me "Twisty."
Thanks for open dialogue, and friendship despite differences.