Friday, November 11, 2011


I don't take compliments well. Like, at all. I generally just mumble thanks and duck my head and change the subject to the weather or whose mama makes the best fried chicken, anything that'll redirect attention.

That's why all the people who called me "brave" over the past few months made me feel all awkward as heck. Brave for writing my column, brave for doing the video, brave for speaking out, period. I really don't think "brave" is necessarily accurate. I think more accurate was the person who grumpily called me an "attention whore" behind my back. I do enjoy attention, not gonna lie - more specifically, I thrive on interaction. That's why I do social media the way I do it - I love posting things that make people laugh, think, angry, and most importantly, talk to me. I'm a stay-at-home mom, for heaven's sake. I don't get much adult interaction.

I don't know any other way to be, other than an "attention whore." When I'm feeling anything, I tell people about it. If I'm enjoying a Saints game, I tell people about it. If I had a great pedicure, I tell people about it. People seem to care - I have over 1,000 followers on Twitter, so I'm doing something right. But believe me, when something pisses me off as profoundly as 26 did, I'm shouting from the rooftops until someone takes notice. And once I have their attention, I'm gonna get them worked up until they shout it from the rooftops. So maybe I was an attention whore. But I wasn't standing on a bar booty-dancing with my boobs hanging out, I was using my influence to bring attention to something that needed it. I don't call that brave.

No, brave were the people who spoke out in tiny Mississippi towns surrounded by Southern Baptists, the driving force behind 26. Like I said, the religious pressure surrounding 26 was oppressive. Seeing the opponents get absolutely torn apart by their "friends" on Facebook was heartbreaking sometimes, but they stood up against them anyway - that's brave.

Brave was my friend who convinced her church in her tiny Mississippi town to not put up a Yes On 26 sign because it might make a woman considering going there feel shame about her past and stay away.

Brave was the woman who got her BIG Baptist church to take down their BIG Yes On 26 sign.

Brave was the woman going up to the Yes On 26 booth alone at her tiny Mississippi town fair and calling them out on their nonsense.

Brave were the people who confronted their conservative traditionalist parents and in-laws and eventually converted them.

Brave was the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Greenville, Mississippi speaking out against 26.

Brave was the woman who went against her mother's wishes (something you Do Not Do here) and registered to vote for the first time in 20 years JUST to vote no on 26.

Brave were the people who were not allowed to voice their opinions because of their jobs, but did so in sneaky ways anyway.

So no, me speaking out to my mostly liberal followers on Twitter and my friends on Facebook who have already written me off as slightly left-of-center is not especially brave. Not compared to the people who went completely against their surrounding culture. They are the brave ones, and they are the unsung heroes of this victory.


elizabeth said...

You *are* brave!
Take that!

Melinda said...

Okay, I guess I have to try this again. Darn Blogger!

I would remind you that writing openly and non-anonymously about controversial topics in public forums (like the local newspaper) can also be very risky. (Remember my death threats and stalker-ish hang-up calls?) I get that you want to be humble, but we have to give credit where credit is due. This doesn't mean you don't get to acknowledge that there are varying levels of courage and that some people may have taken bigger, more immediate or more personal risks.