I am resurrecting my Best Comments Series from the grave, because I have some incredibly smart readers who write incredibly intelligent and thought provoking things. So far this year we have had discussions about antifragility, calling in vs. calling out, and much more.
In response to my article about LGBT antifragility, Caden wrote the following,
Yes! This is something I’ve been doing a lot of this past year. It’s funny, I was familiar with the term antifragility from my years of being in the “alternative” fitness culture. It’s how the parkour pros can jump from rooftop to rooftop without blowing out their knees. It’s why I do squats on the outer edges of my feet (legs crossed, balancing on outer edges) and, therefore, have almost zero chance of ever rolling my ankle. I put my body into bad positions and SLOWLY add weight/momentum. The body has to adapt, and all the structures are made better for it. It’s injury prevention training.
I realized a year or so ago that I was avoiding this type of thing mentally. I would do hard things, like cold plunges, and think I was doing it. I was, in a way. It was discipline, and overcoming my brain’s tendency to make excuses. But then I realized… it was still physical! I was avoiding podcasts, books, people who had different views than me. I love a lot of Rogan’s podcasts, and even credit him with helping me become the person I am today, but I would avoid any ‘controversial’ guests. I would avoid anything conservative like the plague. I was vegan for nearly 10 years, and I would avoid podcasts or books from people who were vehemently opposed to it. I knew the science, and I would just get angry when people misrepresented it. But last year I decide that if my beliefs were strong, they could withstand other opinions. If they turned out to be wrong, I could correct my course and live better because of it. So, I SLOWLY allowed one expert in at a time. Podcast or book. Some were way behind the current science, so it made sense why they had their opinion. Other times it was so thought provoking I had to accept the wisdom. I became less ridged in my beliefs. I gained a lot of mental freedom. I started doing the same thing with conservative ideas/media. Occasionally, with trans issues, it still hits a nerve. But overall I’ve learned so much and I feel like such a better person.
Part of me tries to do the “if only I’d done this sooner!” thing, but I wasn’t ready before. It took a certain level of resilience and self-love and mental strength to try it at all. I had to be ready to let go, ready to be wrong, and ready to change myself. Or at least ready to live and let live. if all of those pieces weren’t there, I would not have been able to truly open myself up.
And Azura Rose had this to say in response to my blog post on Antifragility:
This echoes with me as well. When I was first recovering from trauma or on shaky ground first coming to terms with my identity I needed safety but now that I know who I am I become stronger by being out and unapologetic and refusing to be defensive about it. Like my elevator phobia, for example, would have gotten worse if I’d just retraumatized myself in sketchy elevators, but by taking short rides when I was in a good mental space I taught my brain that it was ok.
We’re like swords. Hammering and grinding the raw ingot will just make it misshapen and broken, you have to wait until it’s been shown warmth and guided to shape first. But you can’t leave it unhammered and in the fire either or it’ll never become sharp.
Like many people on the internet, I’ve been called out for good and not-so-good reasons. All of these experiences were harrowing, and left me feeling hated. I wrote about this experience, and Loretta J Ross’s attempt to cultivate a culture of “calling in” vs. “calling out.”
J.R. Buckley had this simple comment in response:
I’ve been trying to practice this more and have tough conversations privately rather than exchanging easy jabs in public discussion threads. I have to continually remind myself that it was the unexpected kindness of the people that I once opposed that eventually helped me to reexamine my values and beliefs and ultimately change.
I share the same view. I am who I am today because I responded to the kindness of those who disagreed with me. Now, it is my duty to demonstrate hospitality to those I disagree with, because I know just how much transformation possible by way of honest engagement. To clarify, it might not be your duty, and that is ok, but it is certainly mine.
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