Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Self-censorship

I was informed that some of the stuff I post in my blog entries and five-minute free writes (still haven’t fully figured out whether I need to hyphenate) may come back and bite me, especially when I’m doing a job search.  In response, I have put a disclaimer on the side of my blog about the content I put on here.  People will still jump to their own conclusions about who I am and what kind of character I have, but I want to make it clear that the sloppy spelling and scattershot flashes of my mind in the five-minute free write are meant as an exercise and a publicly accountable document of my own goal of writing every day.  The ideas I have in them may be the basis for future entries or projects, but they are solely to get juices flowing and synapses sparking.  They are outpourings of creativity, and they are mine.  If I become less concerned with getting words out and more into communicating or hiding specific ideas from being made public, that defeats the purpose of the exercise.

I am not going to lie in my blog, though.  I do drink alcohol from time to time.  I get sad.  I get angry.  I think more about the nature of the universe and I question what I have been taught growing up from time to time.  I get frustrated with myself when I get caught in habit.  I can feel blessed to have so many friends one minute, and frustrated that I can’t really find that bridge between myself and them another.  I am not going to pretend to be anything I am not for the sake of others.  This is not a way to live.

I am not going to keep silent on things I think are wrong.  I am a political progressive who gets disgusted every time I see a conservative politician lower themselves to some of the crap they’ve pulled either in debates or in actual policy.  I believe the actions taken against the Occupy movement in so many places were excessive and underhanded, and to dismiss the whole movement as a bunch of tree-hugging hippies who can’t get jobs seems to prove more about the level of control the 1 percent has.  I am concerned about where our world is going.  I am also very outspoken on gay rights issues, and see too many ways that GLBTQ people are diminished through policy and attitudes.  If I feel strongly about something that is going on, I want to be able to speak my mind directly and truthfully.  I am not going to pretend I love the new Conservative crime bill or keep quiet the next time some politician or televangelist says that gay people are destroying the family.  The fact that there are still so many people who think gays don’t deserve a voice or the slightest bit of compassion sickens me to my core.

I am guilty of letting myself not get involved in causes or organizations I believe in because I am worried about what people will think when they see me my association with them.  I dislike that about myself and want the courage to change.  At the same time, I get strident on my Twitter.  I retweet a lot, I reply to others’ posts and I say things that I can’t really elaborate on within the space of 140 characters.  That last line in the previous paragraph?  One of my tweets.  I’m more bold there, maybe to my detriment.  Tweeting feels more in the moment, while at the same time still filtered into a single coherent thought.  What is being careful, though?  Sometimes a thought will come and I have to get it out.

Where do you hold back?  There’s a well-known xkcd comic about this subject, with the conclusion that holding back every little impulse you have for the path of least resistance is not a way to live.  Granted, there are still ways you should still hold back: saying that someone deserves to die is not something I consider letting go.  Badmouthing former employers is never wise.  Constant streams of self-pitying entries are something I don’t really want to let loose on the world either.   At the same time, I really admire bloggers that have been able to share parts of themselves that are not particularly pretty.  Maybe honesty works better when you’re using it to reflect on something from a distance.

How do you decide which feelings are worth sharing with the world?  And what point do you run the danger of letting your audience dictate the content of your blog?  I know of people that may be seeing these words.  I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve read my blog and encouraged me to go forward.  I try to write for myself, but part of me wants to impress some writer, musician or artist who may come across this page.  Part of me wants to make sure I don’t want to imperil myself.  Part of me wants to connect with other bloggers whose writing has struck a chord with me.  At what point does a blog no longer exist as an authentic expression of yourself so much as pandering to what your audience expects?

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2 thoughts on “Self-censorship

  1. Wow. Absolutely great post. I could have written that myself, just not as well. I often question whether or not what I’m writing is my true expression or the filtered version I feel okay with my parents and friends reading. It’s the curse of everything, really: we say things, with balls and determination and no care for what others think, until…we do care. In my opinion it is truly a mark of courage to work past that blockade, our inherent desire to please and pander – to be liked – until we get to the other side. On the other side lies freedom and contentment with ourselves, and acceptance. Oh, and the respect from those who whether they agree with us or not, truly admire our ability to speak our truth. I’m speaking out of my a$$ of course, because while I realize this, I’m not even close to being there yet. I don’t use my real name, I often stop short of letting the world see who I really am. I have fear of reprisal. For the moment there are only glimpses of courage. I’m trying though. This post has really helped me to put a point on what is hampering my writing. Thanks for that. Maybe we’ll get there. Isn’t the first step toward recovery admitting we have a problem? Really like this, thought provoking. I’m a fan.

  2. Pogue Mahone on said:

    Write for yourself, write whatever you want, use the blog as therapy; whatever you decide. It’s your blog and you shouldn’t feel you have to censor it for others. If they don’t like what they read they don’t have to read it. No one is forcing them to be here. Your site, your right!

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