Hello! Thanks for checking out my blog!
I’ve been wanting to jump on the blog bandwagon for months, because writing has always been a natural form of expression for me. Pretty recently, I’ve realized that I have a lot of stuff I want to talk about, and that’s when I got the idea to start this thing.
So, what exactly is this all about?
Basically, I want this to be a space where I can share my thoughts and hear what others think. I would love this to become a respectful community open to dialogue and discussion – and where, hopefully, we can learn from each other’s perspectives. A huge focus of my life right now is trying to be the best ally I can to causes that I care deeply about, and I want to use this blog to not only participate in the online community of advocacy, but also to continue learning about what being a good ally means by engaging with other people.
However, it’s taken me months to start this blog because, honestly, I’m pretty fucking scared. Since it’s right in the name, you can probably guess why. I’ve been dealing with varying degrees of social anxiety since I was a kid. And one of the things that anxiety makes you really good at is imagining every single worst-case scenario that could ever happen. To see what I mean, these are some of the scenarios that have kept me from doing this for months, and that I want to address right here and now to (hopefully) help assuage some of my fears.
I worry about:
1. Writing a blog post where I’m just really wrong about an important issue, or misrepresent an issue, or in some way deeply offend someone who I’m trying to be an ally to. I basically live in mortal fear of this, and it’s tricky because, being human, I am more than likely going to do something like this at some point. In fact, I’ve already made horrible mistakes. But what I can say is that I’m willing to listen, and though I don’t hold other people responsible for educating or correcting me, I definitely welcome constructive criticism when I mess up. It’s not my goal to please every single person, because I already know that’s impossible. But I do care about what you have to say, especially when it’s coming from a place of respect and good intentions.
2. What other people think of me. This kind of seems like a repeat of 1, but this fear is more about personal judgments of me more than judgments of my opinions. I worry that people will see this blog as a form of arrogance, or they will see me as self-absorbed, or pretty much any other negative trait you can think of. This one is a huge part of the human experience in general – and the core of social anxiety. There’s not much I can do about it but learn to accept it, because it is what it is. I’ve gotten more okay with the idea that I don’t need everyone to like me over the years, and I’m sure this blog will help me continue to get over this.
3. A blog post going viral. I’m not saying that I think so highly of myself that I expect writing here to propel me into instant stardom. On the contrary, I know awkward blog writing is par for the course, especially when first starting out (and especially when you’re an awkward person in general). But I’m genuinely worried about any kind of scenario like this because I don’t enjoy being in the spotlight. I would love to be part of a small community, but the thought of tons of strangers potentially reading and dissecting what I say makes me want to stop writing right now and delete the whole thing. I know it’s unlikely to happen, but I’m also trying to be open to the possibility instead of terrified of it, because a lot of what I want to talk about needs to be heard widely. So, it could actually be a good thing.
4. A future employer or member of an admissions committee finding this blog and using it as grounds to reject or fire me. This is not unheard of on the Internet. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take because, ultimately, I don’t want to work for a company that’s on the wrong side of ethical issues that affect other people.
I could go on with these forever, but I think you get the point. Social anxiety makes me hyper-sensitive and compels me to overanalyze from a thousand different perspectives. It takes even the smallest social tasks, especially ones that involve putting yourself out there in some way, and endlessly complicates them. At this point, I’ve accepted that anxiety is probably always going to be part of my life, but I’m trying to find ways to befriend it and live with it, instead of running at the sight of it.
However, there’s another fear I want to talk about that’s above and beyond my anxiety, and that is the general fear that comes with speaking out against social injustice. Whenever someone has a strong opinion that deals with issues of equality and challenging society’s current norms, they’re almost always attacked for even daring to question the status quo. I’ve seen the abuse that’s rained on a woman who talks about her right to dress however she wants without being harassed, and this pattern is repeated all across the board whenever a minority group or historically disadvantaged group asserts their rights and stands up against oppressive societal norms.
This kind of fear is, I think, one of the most crippling when it comes to trying to be an advocate for something. It’s used aggressively as a weapon and a scare tactic to prevent change. But right now, I find it to be my biggest motivation.
I refuse to be silenced by people who benefit from the status quo at the expense of others. I have witnessed and actively participated in things that were not right, but now that I’ve seen them, now that I know how wrong they are and how crucial it is that they stop, I have a responsibility to speak up about them.
I will not be quiet. I can’t afford to be. And I invite you to share your own experience and perspective about what needs to change.
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.” — Arundhati Roy