I often sign petitions on the internet, all of them attempting to counteract injustice. I study the latest outrage and I sign. Immediately my inbox pings with a thank-you email requesting – or demanding – that I ‘share’ my participation with Facebook/ Twitter/other friends.
Similar stuff is circulated on Facebook, stuff like ‘If you think children shouldn’t be abused, share this post.’ Or, ‘If you love your granddaughter, share this…’ Or ‘If you’ve lost someone to cancer, share…’.
Do you remember chain letters back in the days of twice-a-day postal deliveries? ‘Send this letter to ten of your friends. If you don’t the world will end.’
This blog post isn’t a condemnation of conformism or a celebration of individualism. But really…
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it was the hysterectomy way back when. Maybe it’s because for the last seven years I’ve been living alone. Maybe it’s because I’ve become a Quaker and have learned to make up my own mind. Whatever. These demands to ‘share’ make me want to shout very loudly, ‘Please Do Not Tell Me What To Do!’.
There, I’ve said it.
Even though the petitions are full of good intentions, even though I love my granddaughter, even though I lost my husband to cancer.
I do not need to be told what to do.