My little point of view concerning the decision of taking the road less traveled.
|I actually have to say thanks to Jim as he is the one who started off this whole thing. He and I got into a conversation about social situations and I brought up labels.
In particular, labels that are thrown about in conversation. We're all guilty of doing it, at some time or another. Seeing a homeless person, dirty and frazzled, some might assume a drunk or a drug addict. When in fact, the person may just be a hard working parent, who made some poor choices, and has had it rough. "Bum" is a prime example of the label, that I am guilty of using.
I've battled a few labels myself, as it is more or less a way of defining a undefinable person or situation. For example, my freshman year in high school: riding the bus, I sat next to a kid my age, who thought it'd be funny to whip out his package and start playing with himself.
Sitting in the back of the school bus, trapped between the kid and the window, I sat there attempting to ignore the situation as a self respecting adult. When the bus stopped, I climbed out and directly made my way to the principal's office to report what just happened. Decidedly, the road less traveled.
The situation that I was advised to keep quiet about, surprisingly, got shot around school by lunch time. I'm not surprised that people knew that it had happened, I was surprised that the teachers couldn't adhere to a more strict professional conduct. Even teachers couldn't refrain from whispering with each other about what had happened. The students, in particular his friends, labeled me "prude" and a "trouble-maker".
I stood up for myself and pressed charges against a guy who had been known to do this particular stunt with other girls. However I didn't find that out until later, when I confronted one of the girls who knew it had been happening, she refused to do anything because she and her parents went to the same church he and his parents did. She had learned from seeing what had happened with me that big symbols make big targets.
The label that I held against her was "gutless" and "passive". It took me a few years to realize that she had her own cross to bare. She, on the other hand, got walked on every day of her life and got taken advantage of frequently. A victim of a similar situation herself, the thought of becoming a target, was unacceptable and terrifying.
My second example is that I grew up having been molested by my grandfather. Unfortunately, I was one of several women in my family that he took advantage of. I bring this up, because it carries weight in the argument of perspective. Those members of my family that it happened to kept quiet, pretending it didn't happen.
Those women in their different perspectives, did the best they could to cope with the situations. They are good women with big hearts who've led relatively simple lives. The conflict that they battled was, "Break up a marriage and scandalize a community with accusations of indecent behavior from a prominent citizen or sweep it under the rug, keeping it a family secret?"
The road they chose was a road well traveled, as I've noted through my experience, as other women that I've talked with have uncanny similarities within their own families. "Loyal" and "Love" were the labels that guided those decisions. The motto is that you don't ruin families. If you love that person, you turn a "blind" eye to the instances.
The labels for my seemingly uncaring perspective and attitude was, "distant" and "detrimental". The conflict I faced was the same. Divide a family, prosecuting a old man who was failing in health, or keep quiet, saving myself from any further unacceptable situations concerning him? Unfortunately, it is too late to take the road less traveled, as the outcome would be nothing other than grief for all parties in question.
The labels of "prude" and "trouble-maker" in the first example were given to me by my peers, who did not comprehend what had actually happened that day. Did I do what I felt was right, yes. Can I say that the labels weren't correct? No. I was prude and a trouble maker.
The labels of "bum", "gutless" and "passive" that I used concerning the homeless and the young girl, were because I didn't take time to understand that just because people weren't doing what I thought was necessary to correct the situation, doesn't mean that they weren't doing anything.
The same thing for the other labels in example two. "Loyal", "Love", "Distant" and "Detrimental" are ignorant perspectives from people who took the road more traveled. It's easier to blame anyone else other than yourself, when it comes to causing discord in a relationship.
It can be argued that there is no clear cut distinction between right and wrong, as to the ways that the second example was handled. Are the labels correct in that situation? No. Detrimental and love should have been more properly defined. Loyalty should have been weighed against the extent of crime. Is it fair to demand loyalty from a victim who has been wronged? I say no. The same for love. It is right to demand love from someone who you have undeniably shown you have no love for? Again, I say no.
My questions to you, dear reader, are: Will you stop and think, the next time you use a label and be able to say that you were fair and right in your opinion? Will you hold yourself accountable to the fact that you may be incorrect and pause before making a comment that could hurt another? And should you find yourself in either of these two examples: Will you take the road less traveled?