Someone recently sent me a message complaining about my ‘failure’ to post a content/trigger warning on blog posts that may be of an ‘upsetting nature’. Among the ‘issues’ cited were a post referring to the Sandy Hook shootings (here), use of the dreaded F-word (here and here), and mentions of mental illness, cancer, and death (too many to cite). Apparently, I am being an ‘insensitive excuse for a human being’ by not putting big neon signs over each blog post that warn of potential triggers.
So for those of you who need one, consider this your content warning: This blog… and indeed the person writing it… contains content that some might find offensive, objectionable, upsetting, or in direct contrast to the opinions and thoughts that they hold dear.
Now… and I say this with love… get over it.
Trigger/content warnings have their place. For example, I think film ratings are a good idea, because some things are too mature for a seven-year-old. And I love people who label emails/post as “NSWF”, as we all need to be able to earn our keep. Trigger warnings are also a great tool or certain spaces on the net, such as sites that deal specifically with trauma survivors or that show images of a graphic nature.
However, I don’t think that my decidedly non-graphic post about a school shooting warrants a trigger warning. I am not on this planet to make sure that anyone exists in a constant zone of safety, free of references to things that might be painful, uncomfortable, or upsetting. While I generally try to keep content somewhere between PG and PG-13 levels and am a trauma survivor myself, I feel absolutely no need to be the babysitter, guardian, or gatekeeper for other people’s pain.
In fact, keeping myself (or others) constantly insulated from pain is quite the opposite of my fundamental beliefs. Life is full of discomfort, pain, and trauma. It is my belief that a part of becoming a ‘spiritual grown-up’ is to accept that pain is a part of life and that no one is exempt experiencing pain. To function fully, we need to be able to take the pain that we’ve been exposed to, learn what we can from it, and then let it go.
I do not expect strangers on the internet to safeguard my emotional state for me, nor will I accept the role of doing this for other people. I will do my best to be respectful and courteous, to not be overly graphic in my descriptions, and not to casually reference things that I know are triggers for many people. I will not, however, post a warning on every post for potential triggers. I leave it to the reader to understand that, in any public space you enter, you have the potential to hear, see or read something that might be upsetting to you. I also leave it up to you to figure out the best way to handle those moments. (Hint: Attacking the person who made the triggering comment may not be the ideal way to handle these things.)
There. You’ve been warned.