By Kate Catalina
If anything, I’d like it to be so that I leave this world having made one message clear:
It’s OK to speak your mind. I do it everyday.
By the time I am well and dead, but not yet even rotting, I’d like both familiar and unfamiliar faces to say, “That girl was fearless. She had gumption. She was small, but brave. Truthful. If only we could all be just a little bit more like that.”
I’ve been receiving a lot of slack lately for the way I express myself on social media, which is not to say I have never dealt with this before, but only to say that I am at the point where I’d like to say something about it. Quite frankly, I think it’s a hot crock pot full of poo simmering on blast; and while it’s not at all anything I desire to be served, I consider it a blessed catch-22 since what I do aim to stand for is the act of making waves in the form of expression.
Other scenarios aside, why might one person (not close to me) feel the need to call one other person (close to me) and inquire as to why I am “being negative on Facebook” when (if you can see below) that the particular post in question, about an evil kid who got in the way of 2016 was, actually, 1) taking a negative and turning it into a positive, 2) being grateful for something negative because it gave me something positive, and 3) onward and upward, right?
Stating the truth of what that negative experience was is not “being negative.”
It’s just the truth. And the truth just so happened to be negative.
I am the kind of person who aches to expose the truth, bad people, bad situations, bad things… but also, not always. I choose what I want to invest my fury in, and I figure out why I choose to invest fury in it before I even speak. I even choose when to let it go. My moves are feircely calculated.
Why can Leah Remini, for instance, speak her mind and expose (negative) truth, and be a hero, but when I do I am labeled as “crazy,” or “too much to handle,” or a “troublemaker?”
Nope, you’re wrong there. The difference is not because she is exposing the scam that is Scientology while I choose to expose one violent rich kid with an evil agenda against me and family. There is no difference. It’s about the action of speaking when it could be dangerous, and having no shame in doing so.
It’s about that specific action, and not about the content that inspired that specific action.
I mean, is this all going over the heads of the judgmental? I certainly know that if you get it, you’ve got a brain. Congratulations. No, I genuinely mean it.
My own mother chose to delete me from the aformentioned global outlet of expression for using the term “strip club” in a status update.
I am gravely misunderstood, wildly underestimated, dangerously perceptive, and my abilities are commonly doubted. Stumbling usually through a stinking crowd of misguided folk, I always land softly, with accurate observation, that I proudly vocalize with gusto before enduring the expected dismissal of my truths. My words are often deemed as devilish, negative, or just plain unnecessary. Pretentious is what they call me.
“Tisk-tisk, Kate,” they say. “You’re better than that. Why give something negative so much attention?”
Or (my personal favorite), “Rise above.”
But I disagree. I know what I am better than. I know very well what I am saying. I know all too well what I am doing. My question to you is why don’t you take a moment to think and express yourself too?
Stir up your guts and dispose of them. Cause a scene. Make people feel… something.
Look at it this way. Some of you are driven by sports or politics or animal rights or really bad music at an unnecessarily loud volume. I am driven by truth, justice, and expression. I think the generic term is passion, but for the sake of making things interesting, just find a better word. No, no, do it yourself. Try to even describe what that “better word” is rather than to merely speak it.
I am never sorry for speaking my mind.
At the same time, speaking your mind is also the same as being who you really are. “Challenging the norm,” as the expression goes.
If you haven’t figured it out already, you’re exactly 750 words into reading a massive, public example of how I choose to express the truth. That’s just me, Kate. Calling it like it is, letting you know their is stupidity, naiveté, close-mindedness, and judgment clawing onto your very existence at every turn – especially when you’re outspoken.
Surviving in this world as a perceptive, brave, free-thinking soul is a job.
I also remember once realizing that great writing comes from truth. For Bukowski to write about his sexual desires so openly, and for ee cummings to depict the imagery of a one-night stand so gracefully, and for Mary Shelley to write about loneliness and hate and revenge with a telling soul of experience, understanding… How might any bit of evidence of who they were exist had it never been for their bravery to speak with the truth?
C’mon, people. You can move the world forward in goodness if you could just express yourself, even if it might be dangerous. You’re not right just because your opinion is that to say less says more. I dearly believe that too, but what if you didn’t always hold your tongue? Whose soul might you awaken?! How exciting is that thought, that likelihood of reality!
The downside to expression is that it can limit you, ironically. People will think less of you, they will be scared of you (or they will claim to be scared of you), they will tell others you are wrong, they will avoid you, they will influence others within your (sometimes mutual) circle of friends to agree with their idea against you.
I remember the day I decided to speak my mind, and live as who I am. It was the winter of some years ago when I was living in my father’s house in the smallest of New England towns. I had awoken from a night’s rest in good time to jump out of bed and get ready for school. The house was not yet empty since my father was still in the kitchen getting ready to leave for work. But then the door shut behind him and I heard his car drive off. I was alone, and realizing he would not even notice if I did not jump on the bus and head to my morning math class, I weighed the consequences of my urge to stay home instead.
It did not take me long to accept that I could deal with those consequences. But then? What if I never went back to school at all? I hated it anyway. I was bullied, I was failing, but I felt the pull of a world beyond that I understood much more than first and second period, or why the cafeteria just had to smell of generic folly, freezer burnt chicken fingers and old sneakers. That mindless chatter of the cool kids, Alas!
Well, I left school for good, and from that point on I decided that I would think about anything I wanted to do or say before doing or saying it. If my wants might challenge the masses, or even my closest friends, I would think about whether or not dealing with the consequences would be worth it. Could I handle it? Well, yes.
I already told you, I’ve been doing it for years.
While speaking my mind and being the brave one is not always easy, those who assume I am merely opinionated must realize that I feel it’s my duty to express myself for the sake of possibly opening others’ eyes to truths they chose not to speak on themselves.
I mean, what are they scared of?
Now, as I’ve been cornered into assuming the position of being the crazy one, I do not hesitantly accept my title. Allow me to proudly remain gravely misunderstood, wildly underestimated, dangerously perceptive, commonly doubted – but remember this:
To have an opinion is one thing.
To know what you’re talking about (and why) is another.