I don’t know any martyrs. Historically, there are plenty to choose from, but in the context of “real life,” I don’t know any.
I’m not a martyr. Not even close. Whatever sacrifices I have made on behalf of my beliefs, they never came anywhere near martyrdom. Discomfort or disruption to your normal life does not make you a martyr. Taking care of your kids, working at jobs you don’t like, or struggling to survive? None of these make you a martyr.
This is one of those greatly overused words, along with “awesome,” “resonate,” and the ubiquitous “back in the day.”
How many times have I read “I’m a martyr to housework.” Really? What strange belief system do you follow?
You are not a martyr, even if you are depressed and miserable. If merely being miserable were enough for martyrdom … well … who wouldn’t be one? These days, there are an awful lot of thoroughly wretched people and if you don’t believe me, read a few columns in Facebook and count the whining, pathetic chorus.
In the “not a martyr” category, I assure you that neither your father, mother, or any of your friends were or will be martyrs. Even if they served in the military or worked in a coal mine.
English is a wonderful, rich language. We have millions of words. Which means the language has a special word for pretty much everything. “Martyr” is a specific term, often used incorrectly to mean “dedicated,” “dutiful,” “honorable,” “generous,” or “self-sacrificing.” Unless you are in jail and likely to die for your political or religious beliefs, you are not a martyr nor will you be.
Dedicating your life to a cause doesn’t make you a martyr. On the other hand, if they kill you because of your faith and dedication, then you have achieved the basics of martyrdom. Remember though. The bad guys can torture you, but unless they really kill you, you don’t get the full title.
I’d last about 10 seconds under torture. The threat alone would make me spill my guts. I guess I’m lucky I don’t know anything important enough to kill me for, eh?
So, in the name of keeping us all sane, if you have a dark secret, spare us both a problem and keep it to yourself. Please.