Didn't you ever see the puppy poster: Dare to be Different?

When I was 17 a teacher said to me, “You are very opinionated. Just like your mother.” I went home that evening and like the tattle-tale I am, I told my mother, with all of the indignation in my voice that I could muster, what the teacher had said. She simply looked at me and said, “Yeah, so?” like she was the Fonz. She had a similar haircut at the time.

From that day on I knew it was okay to have and voice my own opinion, even if everyone else disagreed with it. I voted Republican when I was 20, much to the dismay of my liberal, college friends and I have proudly marched with the pro-choice crowd, much to the dismay of the College Republicans. I’m not unique, and I’m not a rebel (I shop at the Gap) but, like most of the women I have chosen as friends, we have all been able to assert our opinions while not getting our panties in a twist when someone disagrees with us.

And that’s the difference between my friends and some of the people I have decided to not make my friends. Recently I gave my opinion to someone while pointing out that my way isn’t right, and theirs isn’t right but everyone has to make a personal decision and that’s okay. We all think what we think. It was diplomatic. It was presidential. It was OLYMPIC.

The reply I received was headstrong, and close-minded. It was someone who mocked me for the way I am, and the way I think. Granted, this wasn’t life changing stuff, no one was kidnapped, starving or dead because of these few words, but I’m adding drama for your entertainment and the hopes that this will one day be a made-for-TV movie. My opinion did make this person laugh, which, if it was funny I would have laughed along. Instead what I said was sincere and their response was one typical of a teenager.

This, of course, is not the first nor the last time I have noticed some people can not open their minds to the possibility that someone else is different from themselves and that’s okay. There are tons of people out there who hate the fact that there are others with a differing opinion then their own. I can only assume that it stems from unbelievable insecurity in their own beliefs that they have to assert them in a way that makes someone else feel badly that they don’t agree. “My way or the highway” is their motto and I personally find these people pop my eyes out of my head annoying.

This is what I thought my teacher meant by “opinionated” 10 years ago. However, 10 years ago, I would have had an immature rebuttal to someone's mocking or superiority. Now, I have maturity on my side, too. Michael Phelps would shed a tear.

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Liz in Dublin