In high school, I was awarded with one the best titles: “Most Sarcastic.”
It was a title I had fought hard to attain. Even as an introvert, I went out of my way and asked people to vote for me.
The blue cardstock with my name and title held so much meaning to me that it’s even framed somewhere at my folks’ home.
And … there was another award that I won senior year, of which I had not asked to be considered for … “Most Opinionated.”
It was weird. Again, I was an introvert and rather anti-social. It was odd simply because it was a three-way tie between me and two other girls in my grade. How does one even get into a three-way tie?
But, it was more odd that I had even won the award. In high school, I didn’t really talk to anyone besides my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I did have quite a bit of opinions. They were mainly broadcast through social media, though, which was the only way people really ever “heard” me.
Posts contained thoughts about current events and political stances, mostly edgy memes. I did post often and I guess, they were pretty “opinionated.”
That never really changed. After high school, I remained pretty vocal — at least through social media — about my stances. My goal wasn’t to instigate, but rather to provoke thought. At times, Facebook friends would message me to have a civil (and sometimes, not so civil) conversation about whatever was on my mind that day.
My parents have also been subjected to my opinionated ways. I boycotted KFC for years due to its cruel treatment of animals, so I had to fend for myself whenever Mom or Dad brought it home for dinner.
They often groaned about that.
I even passionately debated with a priest at our house during dinner about his misguided sermons, to my mother’s horror. There was also a time in sixth grade when I had vehemently questioned the deacon during a catechism class why women couldn’t be deacons. He was frustrated, to say the least.
Well, and all the teachers at my high school knew how opinionated I was when they received a heated, yet comprehensive, email from yours truly. The email, sent to all the staff, expressed concerns on the hypocrisy of the outrage due to the “I Heart Boobies” bracelets instead of being equally outraged about bullying taking place at school.
So … maybe I have always had something to say, earning that award. That is until recently.
Everything happening right now with the virus and how some officials have responded to it just has me going “Yeah, that seems about right.” And that’s it. Nothing more.
I think 17-year-old me would be thoroughly disappointed in the once appointed “Most Opinionated” during the most active time in modern history.
It feels almost as if, with the daily absurdities, I’ve become numb to things, or even complacent. I’ve said it in my daily conversations, but it just seems as though nothing surprises me anymore.
Even though as a teenager, I don’t believe as if I’ve actually accomplished much by being so opinionated with peers or clergymen. But there was a sense of passion.
A passion to question, to push the boundaries, and to be, quite frankly, angry with whatever was happening at the time, in effort to bring some kind of change.
That complacency in me almost set up shop inside my brain, to just brush things off, to say “Yeah, that seems about right.”
Complacency is the most dangerous thing right now. It’s comfortable, non confrontational and boring.
I want to be mad and I want to make a difference, I’m just not sure where to start...
Excuse me while I go blast “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” by Against Me! and other angsty songs for a couple hours while drinkin’ a couple brewskis to get that little activist up and running again.
Diana Rojo-Garcia can be reached at 507.344.6305 or firstname.lastname@example.org