I have never been one to use that “unfriend” button on facebook. It seems uncalled for, even now. And as if we got to decide to drop someone out of our life so completely! so neatly and efficiently! As if all feelings, and residue, and mess can be surrendered at a moment’s notice…
I used it for you, though. You, of all people, who left more of a mark on me than either of us or our friends ever realized. A lot has changed since the times when we were in love; one of the biggest is my ability to stand up for myself and say “no.”
I cannot be friends with someone who condones the use of the term “feminazi.”
“Oh, maybe he doesn’t mean it,” “Maybe he doesn’t realize,” “You know what he’s like, he doesn’t think sometimes…” I can already hear doubts and excuses, all brought to mind in my mother’s voice. I am through trying to help you understand though. I have tried so many times to have a conversation with you, to bring up these issues, to put forth why it is such a grave matter, and put out so many invitations to think… It is not a question of being educated or ignorant, it is a problem of choosing time and time again not to educate yourself. You make a conscious decision to shy away from expanding your worldview or learning about the implications of your actions. All in the name of “having fun” and keeping your “jokes.”
How dare I try to take away your right to perpetuate oppression and make others feel uncomfortable? Really.
I cannot sit back and watch you spread offensive slurs in the name of humor… but I can’t keep exposing myself to your reactionary insults when I do say something. When I say anything. Whatever the method, whatever the tone, whatever approach I use, it will always be met with reproach on your part. Resentment even. Nothing I bring up is addressed, your responses are torn between self-defence and justification on the one side, and insults to me on the other.
Maybe I am still a sore spot for you. Maybe you still care… I know I still care about you, and that that is why I am so hurt when I see you circulating bigotry. I will not claim to know what is going through your head, and, in the end, it does not concern me. What does concern me, however, is the way you affect me, and the pain I feel at watching you go down a path of entitlement and feminist-hating. I do not want to see you do that, and I cannot deal with the sadness it brings me.
I am committing to doing my best to leading a fruitful and happy life that makes me a joy to be around and allows me to connect with others. If you refuse that offer for connection, I will not continue to extend it. If you turn to hateful discourse out of spite for me, then I will not engage you.
I always hated that “unfriend” option, but I still used it today. I feel brighter, cleaner. And with more space for the people that matter.
I wish you love, and peace, and happiness, and all the beautiful things. You were a part of my life and you lingered in my heart for a long time thereafter. That is why, most of all, I wish you enlightenment. I wish that you may be granted a greater sight that allows you to see the consequences and context of your actions. I wish these things from afar, however, in order to preserve myself I have given up on ever being of those to point the way. At least not directly. I will live as if you were not here at all. Maybe I will inspire from afar, maybe an echo of something I said will resonate one day… I do not count on being there to find out.
You have access to the internet, you are literate… I am no longer making myself available to give you special one-on-one tutoring on the importance of feminism. No financial compensation would ever be enough to deal with the grief caused by your presence in my life.
With the greatest respect, and with genuine love, goodbye.