Cookie Cutter Copies

I would like to start my blog with a general statement.

Everyone has opinions.

I’m fairly confident (without performing any additional research) that this is, indeed, a fact.

As a living person it’s practically impossible to not have opinions. I’m not just talking about the “I don’t care. Pick a restaurant. . .” type of opinion. I mean, preferring Fall over Winter, Spring over Summer, Tea over Coffee, Cats over Dogs, Blonde over Brunette, Blue Eyes over Brown Eyes, and Lutheran over Evangelical. Our world is overflowing with opinions. Each and every person is arguably entitled to their opinion.

I’d like to make another statement.

Everyone has an internal desire to defend the opinions that they are entitled to.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of the population likes to argue. I’m sure that this can be broken down further to a subconscious addiction to drama and conflict that all forms of media shove in our faces (would you watch a movie without conflict?). Perhaps even further. I’m not a Freudian student. But whether you have an opinion on the music your best friend blasts through the car stereo when he/she pick you up, or you really don’t care for the comedies your husband prefers to watch over your political thriller, or the type of food served at the wedding of your date’s father’s business partner’s niece, most people feel the need to find flaw in it because it does not suit their personal opinions.

I feel the need to bold, italicize, and underline this, but with no underline option available, I'll settle for bold and italicize: WHY?????????????????

When pushed comes to shove, even the most reserved, quiet, and anti-debate-ists among us will draw swords to defend their cherished opinion. I include myself in this. I hate debate. I hate arguing. I. Hate. Conflict. I have ended friendships over conflict – well, I have slowly and nonchalantly yet deliberately distanced myself over the course of several years from people who tend to cling tightly to a world full of drama. I can’t even bring myself to express my conflict with them about conflict! But in my imaginary world, when people challenge my beliefs, my opinions, my “rights,” even though it’s all in my mind, my adrenaline begins to surge as I prepare for a fight that I will never allow to happen! I’m absolutely confident it’s not good for my blood pressure.

I have always been a firm believer that opinions are opinions and you are entitled to them. Please don’t misinterpret me on this: I’m not talking about illegal actions of any kind. I am simply talking about opinions about day to day things: what types of book you like to read, what type of books you like to write – are you catching my drift?

I began thinking about this as I read a book last week: The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn. I enjoyed the book. I read through it in a single day, anxiously awaiting the brilliant climax. After turning off my kindle, I felt disappointed. I was not content with the way the author chose to end the story. I began thinking about how I would have preferred it to end. Then I caught myself doing this and got a little indignant on behalf of the author. It’s her work. HER WORK. She has a right to end the story however she wants to, despite how I might feel about that ending.

Then there are the marketers of the world who tell us if we want to be popular, if we want to be famous, we need to write our books with our readers in mind. That’s why producers change the plots of novels when converting into film. They don’t care about the story. They care about how many people are going to pay to watch it multiple times in the theater.

And depending on who’s point of view you look at, there’s nothing wrong with that. Humans thrive on entertainment. Yes, they have to work to make money to pay for that entertainment, but it’s what all of us strive for. Movies, books, vacations, fruity drinks, sports, etc. It’s all entertainment. That is what keeps us moving. It creates jobs. It keeps money flowing.

But I’ve gone off topic, slightly. Sometimes I take the long road to say a short thought. We all have opinions. Why can’t we concede that opinions are just opinions. They don’t have to be right or wrong. I get so tired of hearing “Well, that’s not how I would have done it,” in a snooty tone. That’s fine. I would haven’t have expected you to do it that way because YOU HAVE YOUR OWN WAY. Why do we feel the need to feel negatively when someone does something that we wouldn’t do? So Ahlborn closed her novel slightly differently than I would have. There’s nothing wrong with that. No law of humanity has been broken. No moral code corrupted. No unspoken rule of thumb that all authors must agree on a stories ending before it can be published. Why can’t we just applaud her for completing a novel? Why must we allow our own biases to pollute our worldview? ‘

My mother is a saint. When I find myself saying things like “Well, I wouldn’t want my baby to wear an outfit like that,” she’s quick to respond with an attitude of “It’s a baby. It’s adorable. End of story.” She sees the positives. In everyone. In everything. The older I get, the more I strive to be more like her. This world can be a beautiful world. We can see the blue sky, the green grass, and the gorgeous and astounding variety of individuals this planet houses, or we can wish cookie cutter copies of ourselves onto everyone we meet. Why do we continually choose the grayscale world over the brilliantly colored one? 

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc