When did the phrase “my truth” become a thing? The best I can tell, somewhere around 2017 is when this pretentious little response was utilized as a substitute for something less woke, like “my opinion,” but apparently “opinion” does not quite carry the cache anymore. Alternatively, it is akin to “you’re not living the life you should,” because you know man, “your truth” is your path, bro.”
My eye-rolling at every utterance of “my truth” was no longer a voluntary action, the phrase just automatically triggered a response of utter disdain. I feel safe saying I am not alone in this experience.
However; in the midst of this current media “cleansing” process I’m enduring, feeling relaxed by an open mind and a Deep Eddy’s on ice, it’s much easier to take a rational look at just about anything – including this tripey trope (dibs on that one.) So, I did. And while it is not something I will be adding to my repertoire of snappy retorts, I now think I can explain it. Maybe even understand it.
What makes it “my truth”? Three things triggered by a fourth thing…ready?
- DNA – There is no escaping genetics Broseph. Not just our race, height, eye color, and other visible indicators of our heritage but the little helixes that make up the essence of you. Those little things hard-wired into you, i.e. “Jimmy doesn’t like misunderstandings.”
- Experience – No surprise here, it’s all nurture vs. nature, I didn’t make this stuff up. But it’s why some people will naturally have a different reaction to law enforcement than others – if only there were a recent event that could exemplify that dynamic. It’s also the one thing no one can discount or explain, because, frankly, nobody else knows your experience. It’s yours and yours only.
- Values – A big reason I can say I voted for Jesse Jackson in the 1984 primary and Donald Trump in the 2016 election? Values changed, I changed. I got married, had kids, bought a house, started caring about stuff like my steps per day and my 401(k) and started to yell at kids on my lawn; In 1984, my first year to legally vote, I was all about shocking the world (or at least my Dad), not an economic stimulus program or conservative values.
These factors have always been true. Even with the unlimited number of combinations of these dynamics, we still managed (for the most part) to function as a country based on healthy debate and disagreement. We didn’t refer to each other as Nazi’s, fascists, white supremacists, anarchists, activists, Marxists or “SJW’s.” Nope, for us to get to that level, we need the fourth thing added to the list.
When you squeeze a tube with a Kung Fu grip, the contents come pouring out a pace we can’t handle. And brother, we have been squeezed.
Global pandemic, months of a lockdown, continued uncertainty, bad information, social injustice and riots in the street, all in an election year that features two candidates that remind no one of Ronald Reagan. Add to this traumatic confluence of events the “contributions” of a corrupt and polarized media industry that continues to stoke the fire in each of us.
We can and will get past this dark time in our history, and the optimist in me thinks we’ll be better because of it. To quote Jack Nicholson, “this town needs an enema.”
That’s my truth, for what that’s worth.