The Heartbreak a Conservative Endures

I've had my heart broken many times in my life. But, what does that mean - having your heart β€˜broken'? I wish I didn't know. Usually, when one refers to a broken heart, it's a painful reminder of severed relationships. As a 17-year-old, I suppose it's natural that I've felt that at least once. But what about the feeling you get when you can't say what you want, when your opinion is silenced and those with different opinions speak freely and without possible repercussions? As a conservative living in New York City, heartbreak in that way has followed me for as long as I can remember. I did a good job hiding it for a while, too. Because when you're someone like me, hiding your true values and morals becomes second nature. However, it comes to a point where your frustration, your sadness, your silence, becomes too much to handle. You see your liberal friends, expressing their opinions with full knowledge they'll have a legion of supporters standing behind them. You see this, and wonder why can't that be me? Why must I stay quiet, and let everyone else wreak havoc in the midst of my silence? Why must I stay quiet, while they voice their opinions? Just recently, I wrote an article about racism from an Asian perspective. The death of George Floyd made me upset. However, the reason for my anger was different from everyone else's. I was frustrated that the racism felt by Asians was disregarded simply because we don't speak on it as African Americans do. I wanted others to know, to understand, to listen to what I had to say. I wanted people to understand that racism is a conversation that involved everyone, not just African Americans. And so, I wrote the article, knowing full well I was taking a risk. I submitted it to my editors, quite proud of what I had written. What ensued was two full weeks of constant editing of an article I knew wasn't offensive but was claimed to be. My editors were afraid that my article would cause unnecessary backlash in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement gaining unprecedented momentum. What I wrote ran the risk of offending those who believed I was disregarding their sadness, when that's what they were doing to me. For context, I compared the racism felt by Blacks and Asians. If I had not, it wouldn't be an op-ed. I suppose that was where the problem lay. What frustrates me is the hypocrisy that exists everywhere I look. I decided to retract the article, after obsessing over it for more than two weeks. It seemed that, no matter what, my editors always found something wrong with it. I realized it then when I told my editor of my decision. She didn't even negotiate with me. If they had wanted my article published, they would have encouraged me to rethink my decision. I'm still so proud of my article: it's my best op-ed yet. But for the safety of my future reputation, the, unfortunately, best decision was to leave it unpublished. However, it angered me to see that one of my friends had their article published in the same week it was written. The topic, you ask? How unreasonable it is to counterargue the grief of Black students. Another one of my friends is writing about how the All Lives Matter and Not all Cops movements are problematic. It makes me wonder what would happen if I expressed my own opinion on that, knowing it would counter both? I suppose it would just be another back and forth with my editors about how offensive my article could be. It's against the grain of our own country, to do something like this. But did that ever stop anyone? I'm tired, I'm upset, and above all, I'm frustrated. The news has gotten me into conversations with my friends I wish I didn't have to have. All of them are liberals and as much as it's become second nature for me to remain calm when expressing my opinions, it hurts to know that it's all of them against me. That's how it's always been. As I go into the conversation, I realize how isolating it is to have no one your age to support you in this way. It makes me wonder, is there something wrong with me? It makes me want to assume that crowd mentality, to just go along with the media and everyone else. It would be so simple, but I'd know it would be wrong for me to do that. I've reached the point where I no longer care. So what if people hate me for my opinions? I believe it says more about them than it does about me. Actions speak louder than words. If you choose to despise me for a single article I write, then you don't truly know me, nor will you ever. It's a different type of heartbreak, not being able to express yourself as others do. And just like any other, heartbreak is something expected to be gotten over, overcome, and forgotten. But when it follows you with every decision you make, how can you just β€œget over it”? This isn't a breakup, this is my life. There's a reason why I think this way, and one day, I hope I'll be able to let the world know without fearing retribution.

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Krister Axel

Music Blogger and Memoirist at CHILLFILTR.com

Ogdensburg, United States