Flipping the Script

I'm so tired, you guys.

I'm tired of hearing teen moms will ruin their children's futures, just because of their age.

I'm tired of hearing young unwed mothers are a detriment to society, because hasn't she heard of the "marriage before carriage" rule?

I'm tired of hearing love is only worthy within familiar boundary lines, and that untraditional families, of any kind, are damaging. Young love? Won't last. Gay love? Doesn't exist.

I'm tired of people — researchers, journalists, bloggers, mothers, students, grandparents — making these blanket assumptions with unequivocal certainty, as if they've walked in many a pair of shoes and seen life through a multitude of perspectives. And I'm sad to see so many women feel discouraged and undervalued because of a circumstance, not a certainty.

The problem with the traditional discourse is this: it reinforces that there are right ways and wrong ways to be a mother/woman/person, and each path has a consistent set of obstacles and a consistent end point. Studying statistics isn't the same as studying humanity, and just because the odds might be stacked against you? Well odds are meant to be beaten — and you have to believe that you're exceptional enough to beat those odds.

But it's hard, right? It's hard to believe you could be the exception when you get berated from all angles. It's not just the random outbursts from strangers, but it's on the news, and on the Internet, and in TV scripts. When you're constantly told you're not good enough, you eventually believe it. When you're constantly told you'll fail, you probably will.

I think what I'm trying to say, society, is that I'm tired of this abusive relationship and I want out. I want to be supported and accepted and unconditionally loved. I want you to boost my confidence with words of encouragement, not seeds of doubt. I want you to say, you know what? The road you're taking is a little bumpier, but you'll make it through — and instead of telling me about the 1,000 people who crashed on this road, tell me about the 700 people who made it across and are better people because of it. Give me positive examples to aspire towards, at least ALONG WITH the negative.

Maybe we could all acknowledge the fact that we don't know what it's like to think, live, and love differently than we do. I can't judge your emotional depth and commitment levels based on the way you look, or your age, or who you love. I can't predict your future based on a black-and-white statistical graph.

Negativity leads to discouragement, hopelessness, and shame. But positivity? Man, imagine if we all just flipped the script from blasting the worst-case scenarios to focusing on the positives. Nothing would really chance except we might be more motivated to strive toward success and happiness. Except we might be more confident in our abilities (which might make us all a little less defensive).

And isn't that everything?

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Print: Mei Lee, Society 6