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No love, no fight

A maine coon cat looking unimpressed

This maine coon doesn’t care either

Walking through my neighbourhood at about 9:30 last night, I ended up in a prolonged conversation with a stranger; I’ll call her Jane. It started with her asking for directions and then me offering my phone for her to call her ride, and wound up with me hanging out with her on this patch of grass while her ride repeatedly put her off (“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” “That’s what you said ten minutes ago!”) until she finally got picked up.

 

Our conversation meanders quite a bit, touching on Jane’s life history and health issues, the history of the neighbourhood, and raccoons and bedbugs. We don’t have much in common. She’s almost twice my age, uses a cane, and is living in a transition house after a period of homelessness. We do both love cats. Jane makes some vaguely racists comments and says some things about mental illness that I’m not comfortable with. I steer the conversation in other directions and we talk about how beautiful maine coons are.

 

Maybe the right thing to do would have been to confront her prejudiced comments, but I don’t know this woman. If it had been someone I loved, I would have opened up a discussion to figure out what they meant and see if I could show them why the comments were inappropriate, but I have no investment in this stranger. In that moment, it isn’t worth the fight to try to change her mind.* I will probably never see her again, she has very little power to do anything with her prejudices, and I don’t care enough about her to be concerned about her karma, spirit, or soul.**

 

I recently stopped attending a Pagan event I used to be highly involved in. Since making the decision to completely give it up, I have been having a long debate with myself about whether or not I should tell the organizers why. The truth is, the event has been going in a direction I’m uncomfortable with for quite awhile, and I hung on and kept attending, and donating time, energy, and money, in the hopes that I could help steer it back to what I used to love. But as it drifted further down a different path, my efforts lessened until I was no longer really trying to do anything. It happened slowly, almost subconsciously, and it was only after this conversation with Jane that I realized the important truth: I no longer love this event enough to fight for it. I just don’t care enough anymore to deal with the discomfort of being a dissenting voice, even from the distance of telling those in charge why I won’t be there. It isn’t “my event” anymore; it belongs to a different group who appreciate and love the new direction. As much as I grieve for the event that was, that event doesn’t exist anymore***, and what has replaced it is a bit of a stranger to me. And as much as I might wish a stranger well, in the end, I don’t love them enough to fight with them over their soul.

 

* Of course, my white privilege is one of the things that allows me to avoid this confrontation.

** Or however you might conceptualize the harm done to a person by their own poisonous thoughts and negativity.

*** If it ever did; the power of nostalgia…

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