What makes a person toxic? To me, it’s a person who can’t see past their own lives and experiences and empathize. If it doesn’t forward their own view of themselves, make them money or something for them, the person or experience or whatever is worthless.
I don’t tend to have toxic people in my life on a daily basis. Yes, I will come across a random person but they don’t tend to be important enough to do more than avoid.
And yet…none of us can avoid all of them. And unfortunately, a lot of the unavoidable ones are family. I consider myself a relatively open-minded person. I don’t expect everyone to have the same opinions or views that I have. That said, the most toxic people in my life tend to “other.”
“Those people.” “That neighborhood.” “Why do they do that that way?” “Things weren’t that way when I was your age.” You get the picture.
I remember learning the term when I was in college. Frankenstein and Dracula were the books where it was discussed and dissected. The idea that people who were different were less in some way. There was finally a term for that creepy feeling that I used to get at family reunions or other gatherings when a comment would be made that felt wrong.
But understanding why doesn’t always help. There are just sometimes when you can’t remove people from your life. You can’t even excise that piece of them that makes you super uncomfortable.
The most toxic people in my life are luckily not often in my life. I didn’t choose to bring them in, but they are part of my family through marriage in the family so there they are. The ones who tell me they don’t travel because “those people” smell. Or go to a restaurant and inform the table that the people working there look like “terrorists.” The ones who peer over my shoulder to “catch” me looking at something scandalous–which, of course, then I make sure to have available. Because me.
I don’t have a solution–I avoid when I can, I move away from them when forced into contact and am very grateful when they are gone. And then go back to my life where people are unique, inquisitive and accepting–and that makes me happy.
And for FebPhotoFest20?