Thursday, 22 October 2015

1. On not having opinions

When I was young I used to ask myself frequently, “what will it be like when I am old enough to have opinions? Will I have any? How will I know what they are, what they should be?” This feeling comes back to me often. It sits in an interesting relationship with ethics, this idea of not knowing what my opinions might be. On the one hand, I blame sexism and capitalism and the many links between them for forming in me someone who might not be able to value her own thoughts and opinions, who has had to learn from others what it might mean to believe in something, and to trust that belief even when it flaunts the everyday reality that is being presented and underlined. On the other hand, I like that a part of me still doesn’t understand how to have an opinion. I think that holding on to this kind of wonder is a part of not falling into the patterns of the world. It is a part of not falling into what is given. It is, and of course I would say this, a part of what it means to be a listening creature in the world.

I recently read something written by a friend of mine who has a very clear relationship to their own opinions. This person is humble and generous and interesting, and also always seems sure of what they are saying, and their right to say it, in a way I feel I never could. And having read what they had written, I feel inspired and excited and I want to draw lines between what this person is saying and what I am saying. But at the same time I feel like slipping more into the shadows and drawing myself into cracks and negating myself. The wonder in not yet knowing how to understand, or how to respond, it’s a wonder that is hard to hold, it’s a place that is almost a negative place. It is, in many ways, the opposite of identity. It is the opposite of words. It is the opposite of making a mark, of being a part of ‘history’.

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