Telling your truth to anyone–not just power–takes courage today

November 10, 2021


Fia Skye’s* newsletter often inspires as it did the other month. She wrote: “what a dangerous and difficult decision it is to tell someone the truth.” She discussed the increased importance of truth-telling when it’s about her moral vows and the things she holds nearest and dearest.

Well, it’s true. Truth telling–YOUR truth– CAN be a dangerous and difficult decision, both on a personal and political level.


Aren’t there people you know to whom you can’t tell your truth because they are unable to take you in and will go off on you? Yeah, me, too.

Very few of these remain in my life but do have one or two. It’s like dealing with a scorpion–step gingerly, you never know when they’ll strike.

These days the reality of polarization requires that some of our deepest thoughts must remain there–unless we want to risk blowback.

I’ve recently had some blowback from a friend that I consider unfair and inaccurate. It definitely impacted how I see that friend, who simply could not take me in. The give and take of conversation on hot button stuff was fraught.

Trevor Noah recently wrote that we live in a world where having a conversation is punished. Because the other person is not hearing the meaning and context of the words.

I’m pretty brave about speaking my truths–and I also recognize that my truth can change over time as new information comes to light. It certainly isn’t carved in stone.

Yes, I can step in it. It IS risky to tell truth. And in the face of new information or a new angle I can backtrack without hesitation, and reshape my opinion. That’s more likely to happen if someone takes the time to hear me and talk to me.

So today, I thought I’d tell some of my truths.

telling-your-truthAbout transgender

The level of outrage about transgender people shocks me. So much misunderstanding. The debate about what makes a “real woman” is ridiculous if you can take in the fact that gender identity is much more complicated than the equipment between a person’s legs when they are born.

That is fact. It’s not something you “believe in.” It’s biology. Genetics.

It seems to me that there’s no need to get exercised about transgender unless it is  about a gender-based physical competition, and being born with male physical traits gives an athlete competing as a woman an advantage over other women. But. There are medical calculations made about the amount of male hormone that is acceptable in women’s athletics and yes, they might get it wrong at times, but there ARE rules. And, this is a developing issue.

A 21st century issue.

It is imperfect, still.

Why would anyone think someone would “opt” for a gender reassignment like they’d opt for a dress or jeans? Not what happens. Shaking my head.

Why is marijuana a banned substance for Olympic sport?

Marijuana is not performance-enhancing. If anything, it would be counter-productive. So WTF? Some modern version of Reefer Madness?

On the other hand, if you are an Olympic athlete and you know the rules, you are duty-bound to follow them. You do not make excuses of any kind. You know the rules. You are not “special” because if your situation was special — EVERYONE’s situation would be “special.”

Enough already. The rules are the rules even if they are stupid. And let’s change stupid rules.

telling-your-truthSpeaking of athletics

This won’t be popular but: if you are an Olympian representing a country and the anthem to that country is played it’s unnecessary to disrespect it. Oh and by the way, I do NOT believe taking a knee is a sign of disrespect. I think it’s the perfect way for an athlete to protest. Forming an X on the podium is also not disrespectful IMO. But turning away from the flag but still representing the country is inappropriate in my view. Confront it. But turning away? That’s a different thing.

Here’s the thing: If you feel historically the nation you represent has disrespected your people (and I might agree that it has), you have the right to those feelings. But then why represent that nation? Why would you want to?

Have the courage of your convictions. Find another country’s team to represent. No harm, no foul. News flash: Some Olympian athletes have competed for countries other than their own. This is not unusual. Take your talent to another nation you can more ethically represent.

Yes, Gwen Berry’s early protest was a peaceful one, but here’s the truth: it made news, but had no impact, not on those who agreed.  It changed nothing. For those who disagreed with her? It dug them in deeper. It then became a lot of purposeless noise.

Got an issue with how your people are treated? (And yes, I also have an issue with that, no argument.) Do something with real purpose. Political activism to work against the racist, sexist, moronic Republicans who are trying to restrict your voting rights. Act out in ways that make a difference. Polarizing people further may feel good in the moment but bigger picture, it is not a useful strategy. Because the goal should be to move the needle.

The President is

Joe Biden. No, the election wasn’t stolen. trump lost. Stop this silliness.

January 6 was

An insurrection. Illegal.

Stupidity reigns on the right

Ignorance–willful ignorance IMO– is now a core conservative value, wrote Paul Krugman recently. And it is. Get one thing straight: these are not ideological differences any more. This is just plain stupidity. SMH.

Vaccination is smart. Not getting a vax shows willful ignorance.

Terrible reactions can happen with any medication and any vax, from penicillin and anti-depressants to rubella, tetanus to DPT. They are rare. Any single death or bad reaction does not mean vaccinations should not be taken. It means that bad shit happens from time to time. Bad shit has ALWAYS happened with all medications.

But today, people who are not using the brains God gave them, are putting themselves and others at risk by refusing a vaccination. No, it is not a plot by the government to insert chips in us all.

Truly, I have never seen so much craziness as I have among Americans today. It’s embarrassing. If you are not vaccinated you are not welcome in my home for any reason.

telling-your-truthWear a damn mask in public

It’s not hard. Wear it to protect yourself and others. Because yes, even if you are vaccinated you can get and transmit covid, even asymptomatically. Do not count on the honor system and for unvaccinated people to wear masks. There IS no honor in this country any more. People lie. A lot.

So wear a damn mask. An N95 or equivalent. They are available. They are reasonably priced.

I won’t apologize for an accident of birth

I am a white woman. I have faced all sorts of discrimination against women in my many decades. I have an idea how discrimination works. Gender discrimination. That gives me some small appreciation for how racial discrimination works. I said “small.”  It does not mean I feel the weight of slavery and racial discrimination. I do not. I am, after all, not a person of color.

White privilege is real. I have learned a lot about it over the past couple years and I see how it works. I am still learning. Institutional racism is real and must be eradicated.

The person I am now is made up of all of my life experiences. All of them. And that is sometimes problematic for people who look at my race alone and decide how I am.

I don’t think I’m better or worse than anyone else. I’m just part of the racial majority in this country. I am NOT part of the racial majority in my state of California, which is only 36 percent white. However, I see that my whiteness has given me preferential treatment in my life. NO question.

At the same time, I do not accept the title of racist. Yeah, yeah, I know: “People who say I’m not a racist are.”  Well, no. My view on this doesn’t hew to the liberal party line, and I am a liberal, but I am also a free thinker.

Perhaps there are some deeper feelings I do not see that drive me but I have dug pretty damn deep and I don’t believe there are. As a friend said to me the other day: “I treat everyone like an individual.”  YES. He does. I do.

Now, it has sometimes felt like I should apologize for being born white. And for living in the first world. A privileged world. Yes, I am privileged. Very.

Well, look. That’s the way it turned out for me. That is the path I was assigned before I got here. Decisions I made along the way are partly responsible but I do believe we are given a path before birth.

Or, maybe we’re dealt a hand and it’s up to us to play them as we will.

As I matured, I began to learn how I could use my privilege more thoughtfully. Which I do. More thoughtfully than some and maybe less thoughtfully than others. Still, I give back. Sometimes I talk about that. Most of the time, I do not. But I can not apologize for being born as I was, just like you shouldn’t.

But here’s the bottom line: I am always willing to listen to you. I might push back. I might not agree. But I will listen. And I expect you will listen to me.

Courage should be unnecessary in any dialogue in which you are telling your truth without malice.

Our gently supportive gifts for healing and grief are now found here.

6 comments on “Telling your truth to anyone–not just power–takes courage today
  1. Robin Herman says:

    Seems there are no conversations anymore just attack speech. It can’t even be called debate. Speaking truth too often invites disputes instead of understanding. How do we fix this? ??‍♂️

  2. I’m in the “don’t lie” chapter of Martha Beck’s The Way of Integrity. I don’t consider myself a liar, but man… giving up the white lies that tip toe around uncomfortable topics. I’m buckling up for the ride. Wearing a helmet too.

  3. Diane says:

    I loved reading this, Carol. It is such a look into the heart and mind that we have only caught glimpses of before!
    I loved the open honesty.
    Has stating our truth always been seen as an attack? I’m asking here because it certainly seems like an accepted reaction among most of us.
    I state my opinion. The person I’m talking to jumps all over it.
    With hobnail boots.
    So I keep my opinions to myself.
    I need to change that.
    I appreciate your courage so much because it gives me some!

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