In Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice encounters the irascible Duchess in the house with the screaming baby. As she leaves to play croquet with the Queen, the Duchess flings the baby at Alice, who tries her best to calm the ugly, wailing child until the baby turns into a pig. (Rest assured, we'll come back to this bit at some future time!) Alice sees the Duchess again at the Queen's croquet ground when the Duchess is brought from prison to determine if the Cheshire-Cat can or should be beheaded.
Alice notes that the Duchess has a much-improved demeanor than what she's encountered in the house. The Duchess shows herself to be a compulsive moralizer, although she often dissolves into false syllogisms and absurdity. This happens during the chapter entitled "The Mock Turtle's Story", which is possibly Carroll's most-concentrated commentary on language. Carroll is truly genius with his twisting and bending of language to show how verbosity can submerge simple meaning in obtuse verbiage. (i.e., people can use big words and be asshats)
After turning her own logic upside down, confusing poor Alice about the ways in which flamingoes and mustard are alike, the Duchess starts a new moral tangent, related to neither flamingoes nor mustard:
" 'Be what you would seem to be'--or, if you'd like to put it more simply--'Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might appear to have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.' "
"I think I should understand that better," Alice said very politely, "if I had written it down: but I ca'n't quite follow it as you say it."
The gist of this, of course, is to be yourself. The inside and outside should be true and honest reflections of each other, both to yourself and to others.
I have long been a proponent of such Verisimilitude of Self. It's no big secret that I try to live my life in the way that I see best, regardless of what anyone else thinks about it. Don't like my clothes? Don't care. Don't like my purple hair? Don't care. Don't like that I sometimes swear like a sailor? Don't fucking care.
Someone, a nameless asshat who barely knows me, decided to call me out for dropping an f-bomb as part of a comment to a picture posted on Facebook. It was a personal picture posted to my own wall. She was upset that her teenage son would be unduly influenced by my choice of language, and she demanded that I stop using such language or remove her son as one of my Facebook friends.
First and foremost, as I explained to her, I am an adult. I can choose to exercise my staunchly-defended freedom of speech in any way I deem personally appropriate or necessary. Secondly, he's a teenage boy who attends a very large public high school. I can guarantee that I am the least worrisome influence in this kid's life. If she chooses to wage war on such an influence, I wish her the best of luck on her uphill journey. Personally, I think it's a waste of effort. Lastly, I haven't seen this kid in six months, he doesn't show up in my News Feed, and I have no reason to take him into consideration when doing anything I do.
I was happy to oblige her request, and I have unfriended and blocked the entire family.
This brings me back to the assertion that I will be who and what I am, regardless of the opinions of others. There are very, very few people whose opinions matter to me, and all of you know who you are. I may (or may not) consider their opinions and reactions when I choose to do or be anything. Chances are, they would already approve of my choices, because they are the people closest to me. I wouldn't have let them get that close if we were diametrically opposed to begin with.
As I publicly said today, if you don't like my choices of language, topic, hair color, or anything else, GO AWAY. Please, do us both a favor and don't even attempt to be my friend. I won't take kindly to your unsolicited judgments, and I won't pretend to be anything more, or less, than who and what I am. I'm all about the Truthiness of Me.
My only resolution this year is to keep doing the things that make me me. I've been doing it a long time, but I can always do it a little better.
Happy New Year, fuckers!