Today I will press the “publish” button, and I will make this post public even if this is the only sentence I am able or willing to write. Sentence number two. Good start. Currently, in the “drafts” section of this blog, I have 5 saved half-finished ramblings. This is in addition to the overwhelming number of notes I’ve jotted down, entire posts I’ve written and deleted, and the ever-growing list of writing topics that are camping out in my head, taking up valuable space I could be utilizing for other things. Like music. Or dating. Or finding the will to put on pants.
In order to clear up that head space, I know I have to get those thoughts on a page. I have to share them and talk about them and read them and re-read them, and most importantly, I need to connect with and find more people who also have them. That acknowledgement is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. It’s relatively easy to share other people’s words and say that I agree with whatever liberal, rage-inducing, topic du jour they are brave enough to share with the world. There’s a profound sense of comfort in that solidarity. We share an opinion. Go ahead and challenge it. When they’re your words, though, that “share” button becomes symbolic of every vulnerability, insecurity, and nagging sense of doubt you’ve ever had. It’s riding stoically into battle and hoping your fellow soldiers will show up, while trying to remain confident that you can survive even if they don’t.
The topics that I feel compelled to write about are ones that, without any further explanation, often provoke a visceral, defensive, sometimes even violent reaction. Intersectional feminism, anti-racism, reproductive rights, privilege, rape and rape culture, polyamory and dating, sex and body positivism, child-free by choice, leaving 12 step addiction recovery, mental illness, and a wide range of other issues that are often perceived as “victimhood” by those who vilify the PC/trigger warning/safe space culture that they somehow feel personally and seemingly endlessly assaulted by. In online spaces, what this means is that those who dare broach these subjects are often met with swift and punishing push back. Rape and death threats. Suspended social media accounts. Endless harassment. I have already experienced these things on a lesser scale without publishing a single blog post. It is emotionally exhausting and intimidating. But, I seem to have reached a point that my drive to escape the isolation of my own mind is taking over, and I’m ready to put it all out there.
So, today, I take my first solo ride. From the time I learned to read and write, people have told me I have a way with words. Articulate. Well-spoken. Intelligent. My sister says I missed my calling as a lawyer. I have never had any trouble articulating my position on an issue in writing. Occasionally, I’m even able to convince someone who disagrees with me that my point is worth considering. I don’t say this to gloat. I say this because there are people who are like me, the ones who can make their thoughts and ideas sound real purty-like, who have saved my life many times over simply because they were willing to endure judgement and ridicule to get their words to me. Sometimes I desperately sought them, and now I want my words to be patiently waiting out in the internet void for someone to find them, and however briefly, remind them that they are not entirely alone in the universe.
That’s Why I Can’t Not Say Things anymore…and you don’t have to fucking like it.