Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Fence Sitter

"I sit on the fence so much somedays that my ass cheeks have dents in them..."

I wrote this in an email, meaning it as a criticism of myself. Having thoroughly enjoyed the phrasing of it, I have stored it in the back of mind ever since. The thought reappeared the other night and I ruminated on it, understanding this time that it is not necessarily a bad thing to do.

The discussion turned to the dairy industry, and my one rant against a barista at a cafe that will remain nameless. I was angered by the fact that I was being charged an extra fifty cents for the substitution of soy for my dairy in the drink. His comment was that soy was more expensive. My retort was that not really, it's just not helped out by government subsidies: a claim that, truthfully, I have no proof of, but I spoke as if I did. (As a sidenote, this is, of course, how many ranters irritate me into not listening to them, if I don't like what I'm hearing.) I left the cafe that day feeling a bit ashamed of myself. That, I remember thinking, is not how I want to win this war. I do not like confrontations.

After sharing the first half of the above story with a fellow vegan, I was corrected. The dairy industry doesn't get money directly from the government, she pointed out, and I shut down. I back-pedalled slightly, but still pointed out that milk does not cost what it actually costs to produce it. And, actually, soy probably doesn't any more, either; even it is probably a victim to subsidies now, too, but I haven't researched that. I dropped the argument - which is more important to the point at hand - because I don't like confrontations. As much as an activist as I probably always will be, I hate to tell somebody that I disagree with them...and so I am a fence sitter.

But, that's not a bad thing. I don't think that the argument will actually be won through confrontations. This is not a civil war, this is a change in ideology. And, like success, the best changes are the ones that take longer to come. I believe that, in the long haul, Grass Roots projects are more effective than corporate marketting, and change from within will last longer than change from without. And, so, it's a good thing that I sit on the fence, looking at both sides, trying to mediate between the two.

Perhaps, though, I should gain more of a backbone to my arguments... That will come, ... when I'm ready to be a stubborn ox.

Alas, that is not me. I am change. I do not wish to wake up suddenly one day and say, "that's me. That's who I am." And from that moment on, stop questioning myself, pushing myself forward, reflecting on both sides of the argument to get a deeper understanding of the world. When we stop changing, we stop growing. Life is not about 'finding' ourselves, but CREATING ourselves. So, I sit on the fence so that I can use parts from both sides to be the person that I am at this time.

This song came on while these thoughts were uploading from my mind to the computer. I found it fitting, if you don't, keep reading. One day, you'll understand enough of who I am to understand why Corb Lund is appropriate for my rant on Fence Sitting...

Corb Lund - This Is My Prairie

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