“Tolerance” leaves a bad taste in my mouth…

29 Mar

There are 2 completely ridiculous things that people can do to me that make me angrier than anything on this planet.   They are:

  1. Tickling me.
  2. Looking at/acting like you want/or actually take a bite of my food before I get to eat any of it when I’m hungry.

Yes… these 2 things should be benign behaviors that invoke little sincere emotion- but they make me go bonkers with rage.  Why?

  1. Tickling:  I get weird sometimes about being touched if I’m not in the right mood or prepared for it.  And tickling is a completely spontaneous act of overpowering another person.  I know it’s innocent and done in fun… but my automatic defense system kicks in, and my immediate response to it is to repeatedly punch the tickler in the face.  I can’t help it.  It triggers my “fight or flight” response (and that almost always tends to be ‘fight’ instead of ‘flight’).  So when I get tickled, my brain sees it as an attack.  It’s too primal for me to do anything about.
  2. My food:  If I’m hungry, don’t fuck with my food.  Don’t look at my food.  Don’t ask me for a bite.  Don’t act like you want some… or at least until I’m no longer hungry (and when I’m no longer hungry, I will share my food openly).  You know when you try to pet an animal when they’re eating and they growl at you- that’s what I do.  Absolutely 100% stupid… I know.  But again… it’s too primal for me to do anything about.

Brad is extremely aware of these 2 things because we’ve actually gotten in really big fights over them.  He now knows that if I’m sitting in bed having a late dinner, he needs to keep walking and not even acknowledge that I have a plate of food he may want in front of me or else I’m forced to hover closely over it and growl.  But tonight, when I was making dinner, he decided to pull a double-whammy by coming in and saying, “What are you making us for dinner?”, acting like he was going to start eating it, and then tickling me.  He thought it was really funny.  I obviously still don’t think it’s funny because I’m bitching about it right now.  This is my public statement to my husband:

Dear Brad… If you ever do that again, I’m going to light you on fire.  Love, your wife.

Brad’s reworking Blacknoise Recordings (his online merch and music distro), and we’re adding a whole new section to it of political t-shirts and such.   I say ‘we’ because I’ve been helping him with the graphics and images to put on the new wears.  As I’ve been hopping around online getting ideas for political subjects to tackle and make into Positive Political Promotion, the word “tolerance” keeps coming up.  Racial Tolerance, Gay Pride Tolerance, Religious Tolerance, etc.  And it’s started to get to me.


  1. capacity to endure pain or hardship
  2. indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own

When you look at the actual definition, it doesn’t feel as open, accepting, and loving as it’s intended.  And the misuse of this word insults me.  I don’t think that differing races, sexual orientation, religions, or ways of life should be merely ‘tolerated’- as if it’s a bad medicinal aftertaste that you endure in order to achieve the desired medicinal effect.  Somehow this negative word has taken on this positive meaning, and been embraced by the politically active- but they don’t realize its demeaning undertones.  Women’s rights shouldn’t be ‘endured’. Cultural and religious minority’s rights shouldn’t be ‘endured’. Non-heterosexual’s rights shouldn’t be ‘endured’.  And so on…  “Endurance” is insulting.  “Tolerance” is insulting.  The only thing acceptable is acceptance.  Does everyone have to roll around blind with love for everything everyone on the planet does… of course not.  But if you’re going to promote a cause and try to change the closed minds of people who blindly hate, at least use language that doesn’t promote the opening of minds in a belittling way.  Language is important.  The way we use our words to communicate messages is important.  How can we properly communicate important messages if we misuse the language.  This wouldn’t irritate me so much if it wasn’t on every single god damn site I went on.

If you don’t know how to use the language, then shut the fuck up.

Those are my soap boxes for the evening.  No to tickling.  No to looking at my food.  No to “Tolerance”.  But YES to acceptance, understanding, and dictionaries.


12 Responses to ““Tolerance” leaves a bad taste in my mouth…”

  1. bob March 30, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    my girlfriend kicks me in the neck almost every time i tickle her, it’s like i push a secret button and a foot canon shoots at me

    • Kristen Ferrell April 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

      That’s what’s supposed to happen. It means her body’s reflexes are working properly.

  2. Katie March 30, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    I’ve always wondered about the word “tolerance” as well. I don’t think letting people live their own lives and have their own beliefs is tolerance, I think it’s mind your own damn business and realize that there are people in the world different than you and all should be embraced. I don’t know what word to substitute there, but tolerance has always bothered me.

    • Kristen Ferrell April 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

      I’ve been trying to think of a good substitute as well- but all the other words I think of reek of the same demeaning sentiment.

      ‘Acceptance’- maybe I’ve been around too many AA program-people in my life, but that just sounds like you’re throwing your hands up and giving in to horrible things you can’t change.
      ‘Endurance’- minorities and oppressed people have to ‘endure’ being ‘tolerated’… not the other way around.
      ‘Patience’, ‘Understanding’, ‘Sympathy’… that all sounds like something you’d have for someone who is unable to stand up for themselves.
      Can we come up with a new word?

      • Katie April 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

        How about LALL – live and let live… that’s the best I can do…

  3. Kat March 30, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    Ha… I think using the same word to describe the ability to cope with agony to describe the ability to cope with a person that may not be just like you is a pretty good illustrator of how the American cultures so often see each other.

    • Kristen Ferrell April 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

      EXACTLY!!! Not exactly the ‘enlightened’ Freedom For All american mindset that we like to shove in everyone’s face.

  4. jackie March 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Tolerance is for fags!

  5. Gretchen March 31, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    I like it! Never really considered it. Thanks! 🙂

  6. J April 2, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    first of all – HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTEN!! XD may you and your family be happy & healthy!!

    as for the substitute word for tolerance, i personally like the word “respect”. i think respect is the foundation of good human relations. kind of, you don’t have to love your neighbor (i disagree with christianity about that), but if you respect them and their choices, your own life will be better. i can’t understand how those hate-spewing, shit-throwing teabaggers sleep at night. what a dark soul you have to have to say that “non-religious people should have no rights in America” (a real person said that at a teabagger rally).
    why do they always have to make enemies out of people who have done nothing bad to them or to anyone else?? they don’t understand that this mentality – “i am in my own fortress with my guns, ready to shoot anyone who’s not like me” – is primitive (more suitable for caves than for the XXIst century) and likely to generate disasters.

    of course, when i say “respect the neighbor’s choices”, i mean respecting people only when you know that they’re not doing evil to anyone. i’m not saying that if your neighbor’s teabagger you should respect him 😛

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