Permanent Under Your Name

by Devina Gunawan

Yesterday I saw one of the greatest news of all time, that of which the marriage equality has arrived. Many of my friends were ecstatic. Many celebrated. And I was one of them.

Why? Well, personal reasons come first, and it was fun to join.

So I used Twibbon for fun to one of my favorite photos and accidentally made it my profile photo on Facebook. It looked like this:

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I have to admit, this was not the best move. I have plenty of friends all over the world who are conservative. And I love them to the moon and back.

I did not realize that I had posted that as a profile photo until about an hour later when I had spotted a lot of notifications on Facebook. And the moment I saw what I had done, it was simply too late.

There was no way I would take it down from my profile. Because I was not ashamed, at all, to say that I was happy too. I was very happy, and to me, it was something to celebrate.

It was the end of a lot people’s misery.

Apparently, it was the beginning of a hell lot of people’s misery as well.

So I decided to write that I had posted the photo by accident. Because it was what had happened. I laughed at it, of course, because the world knew me as the least tech savvy person in the world, and now it was finally confirmed.

About a few hours after the photo was posted as my profile photo, my high school teacher commented on it. He stated how he was ‘saddened’ to see it. That I supported ‘the destruction of marriage.’

Well, I left it be because I had nothing mean nor nice to say. I respected his opinion. However, I would have been much happier if he had sent me a private message instead.

To be honest, the destruction of marriage could mean a lot. It could mean anything, really. A lot of couples ended their marriage because of financial matters, losing their children, broken trusts, and in the end, divorces.

Destruction of marriage could mean all that.

Which, I did not support.

I supported, however, the acceptance that the world is ever changing. I supported love and acceptance for everyone. I was happy, and I was not afraid to show it. I celebrated love. I celebrated a new beginning. I rejoiced over the end of a lot of my good friends’ pain. I was happy knowing that a lot of people could stop pretending and hiding.

Then, my happiness lived pretty short. I was also saddened by the fact that my teacher had to post it on my profile.

I wanted to leave it alone. However, I received messages from some people, asking me if it was okay for them to respond to the comment, if it would be okay for them to fight back.

I have to say, I was glad they had asked for my permission. It showed courtesy. They knew darn well that anything posted there could trigger an argument, a long one, and they did not want me to suffer through the notifications and shame.

I wonder if my teacher had thought of that.

Well, long story short, I told my friends (and my mother, who stumbled upon the comment) that it would be best to leave it alone. I really would prefer to wake up to no crazy notifications and sick debates on my profile photo. That would break my Facebook.

Besides, any comment made would be under his or her name. It would stick around like permanent marker on a poor white board. It would be under your name. And people would know exactly what you supported or fought against.

Unfortunately, a friend found another case. Another high school teacher of ours commented on one of our high school seniors’ posts on Facebook in rather, rude manner. It was also regarding the support towards what was celebrated.

And honestly, seeing that just brought shame upon me and the other alumni. We all grew up in private, Christian schools all our lives, but it did not make us invest so much anger towards others.

We believed in the first and foremost rule, to love our neighbors. And we would try to do so, unconditionally. We would try to do so without separating ourselves by classes or races or gender roles.

And those comments affected us.

Because they were written under the names of people we had looked up to growing up. So perhaps they should have considered private messaging? It would be much safer and quieter. And it would not trigger a public debate over something worth celebrating for, or killing for, in their own respective terms.

But think about it. I would not ask anyone to change his or her mind because of my opinion and ideas. I would not impose. I would not try to force my ideas and thoughts on anyone. Because I believe in individual rights, and everyone’s rights to choose.

My best friend told me, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything.”

And perhaps it would be the best choice. Especially when what you said would be permanently marked under your name.

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