You may find this hard to believe, but once upon a time I was the most tolerant of individuals--if only because I simply didn't give a damn what anyone else was doing, so long as it wasn't discommoding me in any way. People often confessed the most alarming things to me, perhaps because they recognized me for the outlier that I was and felt that I would hear them and accept them through some sense of misfit solidarity. And unless I thought they were doing something that might be actively harmful to them, I was invariably accepting--albeit less out of a sense of universal and altruistic love than of a sublime disinterest in anything that didn't negatively impact me directly.
I'm afraid that statement makes me sound like a monster of selfishness, and I don't think that I am all that bad; it's not that I didn't care about what was going on with the troubled people who chose to confide in me. On the contrary, I am empathetic to a fault--to such a painful degree that I had to learn early on how to compensate for that lest I drown in feelings I had no clue how to process. As a result, I next developed a reputation for being "cold." Alas! (And people wonder why I identify with Dr. Brennan up there; that's who the writers crafted her to be, at least before they began to systematically destroy her last season. But I digress.) Still, I was open-minded and tolerant of things that others might have considered aberrant. But that changed somewhere along the way. Gradually my bullshit tolerance faded away, if only because I'd finally had too much shoveled at me for too long. I didn't ever want to be so open-minded that my brain fell out, and I could only suspend my critical reasoning skills and analytical nature for so long. Paganism did me in, I'm afraid; long-term exposure to a wide variety of mental issues being thrust forth aggressively as everything from lifestyle choices to "religion" nearly destroyed my capacity for cheerful disinterest and benevolent acceptance. It's not entirely gone, but I have to work damned hard these days to find even a glimmer of it.
Now, I started this new blog shortly after I started working with the concept of temperance last year, and a big part of temperance is balance. I hate imbalance, intemperance, immoderation; these conditions feel unnatural and uncomfortable to me; these things are not Ma'at. Extremism is so rampant in our larger culture these days, filtering down from the political sphere to infect nearly everything else, and I hate it (and yes, I understand the paradox of expressing the extreme emotion of hatred against other extremities). I feel that I have become extreme, unbalanced, my expressions skewed in the direction of intolerance and judgment. My task, then is to find the balance between blind acceptance of complete bullshit and utter condemnation based on the subjective criteria of what is ultimately my own personal preference. It should be easier now to go back to my old way of saying "not my kink" and moving on, since I have little exposure these days to the aggressive types of people who like to demand you "accept" their behaviors no matter what your personal values might be--and by "accept" I mean you're usually expected to embrace said behaviors, lest you be dismissed as being somehow not really pagan or whatever shaming technique the manipulator brings to bear. This doesn't mean I won't speak out against things that I perceive to be dangerous or damaging, but I won't pursue them unless they're in my face and causing me a problem. Otherwise, not my kink, and others may do as they will. I won't endorse it or participate in it, and I won't attempt to "change it from within" (that trick never works), and if someone asks my opinion I won't lie, but I'm tired of being so consumed with negativity and anger over situations long since past. It's time to balance that with things that I find positive and enriching and delightful, time to moderate my own behavior and perceptions, and restore Ma'at in my life.
(Gods, does this mean I've embraced the Wiccan Rede at last? I honestly can't find much fault with the philosophy at the moment: an' it harm none, do what you will. It seems like a sort of noninterventionist policy that I can get behind right now. Being a crusader is so exhausting.)