Welcome to Abby Gabs…home of the silly Photoshopped picture. I’m sure this is one of those blogs on your list that you visit looking for a laugh. I’m rarely serious. I never take on political issues or rant about rant-worthy things here on this space. I like to keep things light. Fun. I like to think that this little corner of the internet is somewhere people can come to kick back, relax, and giggle about things that have nothing to do with the front page of your newspaper.
Sure, I have my not-so-funny days. I’ve shared with you my struggles with infertility, weight loss, and depression. But for the most part, I just tell funny stories about day-to-day life, illustrate them in a way that I think will make you laugh, and hit publish hoping that I’ve been a bright spot in an otherwise regular day.
There’s a part of me that envies the bloggers who tackle the hard stuff–those that share their beliefs and their convictions with such heart that their words strike a chord with whoever reads them. I’ve always wanted to be one of those bloggers. But I know that it’s not my strength. And so, I write what I know. And I like to think that I know humor.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. Passions. Things that I believe in so strongly that I want the world to know where I stand. I do. And I share them on other forums. But this place…this sacred place…I choose to keep it neutral. A safe space for everyone. A safe space for me.
I can’t help but wonder if, by choosing to leave my political and religious beliefs out of my daily writings, that I’m somehow muddying the causes I support. That somehow my silence speaks more loudly than the causes I carry closest to my heart. Is it my duty to shout from the rooftops, to argue until I’m blue in the face, to post pictures and videos and diatribes to the point of exhaustion, just to make my point? Or is believing in something, with every fiber of my being, and living my life in support of that belief enough?
All I know is that the internet is beginning to feel like shark-infested waters to me. I never know, whether Monday or Friday, what sort of political debate is going to be shoved down my throat on Facebook. I can never judge if a bold statement made on Twitter is meant to be open for argument, or if it’s purely rhetorical in nature. Do I jump in? Do I agree? If I disagree, do I get involved in a discussion that, at its end, should be referred to as an “altercation” instead? Do I have to head into my News Feed everyday, dressed for battle?
It feels like individuals can no longer put their opinions out into the world without opening themselves up to bigotry, hatefulness, or spite. And with everything going on in the world outside, paired with the growing pains of my own little world, some days jumping into the conversation feels absolutely daunting and exhausting to me. I choose to use my “social media filter” instead, panning for the conversations that feel safe, discarding those that feel hostile to save my own sanity.
I’m saving my soul by sacrificing my soap box.
I can’t help but wonder…does it make me close-minded that I’m unwilling to debate the concept of basic human rights? That negating free speech is a major deal breaker? That I would rather avoid conversations about religion rather than bicker with someone about my very personal, very private beliefs? That there are some things that are so resolute, so much a part of me, that no argument will ever change my mind?
I’m choosing to believe that the axiom “Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you” is still the right one to live by. And that, just as it is my right to speak out against those seeking to prevent our nation from growing into what I know it can be, it is also my right to speak softly and carry a big stick. It is the sacrifice I make to maintain my voice, and to maintain my well being.
And so, Abby Gabs will continue to be what it is, what it was created to be. I’ll still read those other blogs, and I’ll still envy those other bloggers. And I will read their words and want to comment. But I will refrain, because confrontation is not my strong suit. I will return home, to my little blog, and settle into the comfort of laughter and the safety of silence, carrying those burning torches where they are safest–nestled next to my heart.