I Am Not Your Snowflake

We’ve all heard the phrase “snowflake” get tossed around time and time again, at people on all ends of the political spectrum. It has become the new catch-all insult. What once was a term that would bring forth images of freshly fallen snow, warm fire places, and hot coco, now summons up images of people screaming with their faces red from hatred and their voices strained.

How did this happen? How did such an innocent word become a slur seemingly overnight? And, most importantly, why should we care?

The term “snowflake” seems to refer to people who emotional reactions to events around them. Liberals who want Confederate Monuments taken down are called snowflakes, Conservatives who shout to keep the statues are called snowflakes, minorities asking for safe places are called snowflakes, disabled people demanding government protections are called snowflakes, alt-right people who are angry about criticism of Trump are called snowflakes…it has become the ultimate insult to hurl at anyone who you disagree with.

So, why should we care? Well, because people are allowed to be upset by things, especially when those things include being denied equal rights in the eyes of the law. The greatest impact of the term “snowflake” is that it diminishes the person’s emotional reactions as being unnecessary or overly dramatic. Throw in the word “triggered” and you have yourself one hell of an ableist insult. That’s right, ableist, because the term triggered, as discussed in this post, is a term used for people with PTSD. By using it as an insult, you are telling people with PTSD that you believe they are weak and that they should be embarrassed for feeling upset by things that trigger PTSD episodes.

Words have power. People like to pretend that they don’t, but they do. Otherwise people wouldn’t be getting so worked up by what someone else posts online. that they start calling them a triggered snowflake and spitting other harsh words out in hopes of convincing the poster that they were wrong for having their emotional response in the first place. Using the term triggered out of context weakens it, and makes it harder for those of us with PTSD to communicate our needs and reactions. It makes us feel ashamed of our reactions, reactions we cannot control as we have no say in what triggers us.

This insult of snowflake, carries with it the connotation that it’s not ok to react emotionally to things. Ever since the Enlightenment Period, we have glorified “reason” to the point where many people believe the only legitimate argument is one that comes from someone who is completely devoid of emotions. Yet, historically, that is not how change has ever come about. People who are unaffected don’t fight for what they want. It’s only when there is an emotional stake in the argument that people are willing to give their very lives, if necessary, in order to bring about change.

This avoidance of emotional responses is an easy way that people knock down an argument. It’s a cop out. “You’re too emotional to talk to,” they will say, looking down at you as if you are a dirty sock. “You can’t see the answer because you’re too emotionally invested in it,” they sneer, as if my emotional investment meant that I couldn’t possibly understand the full scope of the issue at hand, when, in truth, my emotional reactions come from understanding the full weight of the problem.

Personally, I don’t want people who are cold and detached from the issues that matter to me, making decisions about these issues. I want them to care enough to ensure my survival and protect my rights. I want them to care that without health care I will die. A calculated look might say, “well, her death will save us money,” it is the emotional response that recognizes that I am human and deserving of care. It wasn’t pure rational thinking that caused people to risk their lives to save others after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, it was emotional reactions that tugged at their souls and wouldn’t let go until they did all they could to help. We need to stop demonizing emotions. Yes, emotions run amok can be a dangerous thing, but so can pure detachment.

I am tired. I am tired of being belittled as a delicate little snowflake whenever I get upset by atrocities in our world. I am tired of seeing emotions demonized or thought of as a weakness instead of a source of great strength. I am tired of people hearing mental illnesses used as the butt of a joke, or as an insulting comparison. If having emotional reactions to upsetting things is being a snowflake, well, then maybe I am a snowflake. But I am not your snowflake.

I am not your snowflake

I am not your snowflake.
Your picture of fragile twisted ice,
breaking apart from simple touch,
Or melting from the warm breath of life.

I am not your snowflake.
My body, scarred and weathered, a monument to
Surviving the storms of cruelty and abuse.
Unspoken testimony to strength that lies within.

I am not your snowflake.
The winds of conflict howl and roar,
Attempting to tear at every inch of my existence,
But, I laugh, saying, “this again?” Of course,

I am not your snowflake.
The fire that grows within me,
Cannot be tamed by the frost of indifference.
It burns too furiously to be imprisoned by ice.

I am not your snowflake.
What you perceive as weakness: a tear, a scoff, a laugh,
Is the life force that breaks down walls and glass ceilings
That strive to contain me in binding oppression.

I will not be imprisoned.
I will not be broken.
I will not be contained.

I am not your snowflake.

 

I don’t often share my poetry on my site, and I won’t pretend that I am a brilliant poet. But, these words have been speaking to me as of late, and I wanted to share them with all of you. You may call me snowflake when the horrors of the world bring out heaving sobs in me, but that’s ok, because I recognize this truth: emotions are not weaknesses, they are the tools of change.

 

© 2017 spooniewarrior.com

SaideeWynn

I am a mother, partner, teacher, daughter, writer, and blogger. I'm working on turning my private hobby into a public one, whether the public asked for it or not. I have a BA in theatre and a Master's in Education (with a Montessori integration), making me a highly overqualified internet ranter.

2 thoughts on “I Am Not Your Snowflake

  • September 8, 2017 at 3:49 am
    Permalink

    Actually, I love poetry!

    I hate to say it, but I think the world is just going to keep insulting people. People are becoming less sensitive and less sensitive. It doesn’t make it right, but at this point, with all the tension, I wonder if things in the nation can ever be repaired.

    And what people need to realize is that you DO need emotional investment. Emotional investment is where compassion comes, and that is what we as a people desperately need.

    The people who go around calling other people snowflakes have no compassion. They don’t understand how to be sensitive and understanding.

    Reply
    • September 8, 2017 at 11:46 am
      Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t see people stopping insulting each other any time soon. :/ hopefully, this post will reach even just a few peopleand have them re-evaluate their use of the term. Emotional responses are human and often necessary, so we need to stop demonizing them.

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts woth me. 🙂

      Reply

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