I’m so bad at conflict. Getting called out, being put on the spot, having to defend my position; it’s all a water slide to a deep pool of uncomfortableness. Still, there’s growth in those challenging moments. There’s something to be learned about hearing myself present my arguments. I oftentimes realize that what makes sense in my head is not so clear as I try to verbalize it to someone else.
And then there’s the emotion. It’s like a Doberman Pincher in a junkyard, trained to maul and attack the first thing it sees. Learning to keep my emotions in check in times of disagreement has been the toughest challenge of all. And it’s hard for me, when I feel my words and logical thought processes are falling upon deaf ears, to not throw my hands up in frustration and just walk away. I feel like Clarence in Coming to America:
I really used to worry about what someone might think of my writing. I really used to worry about having to censor myself because my audience continued to expand . Yes, I’ve caught myself editing out controversial items. Yes, I’ve changed language or tone or syntax because I took into consideration how others may interpret what I am saying. To me, that’s part of the self-editing process of a writer, ensuring the subject is not so narrow that no one will enjoy reading it. But in the end, I always fall back on a brief conversation I had with a friend of mine from Church. He told me, “Don’t change a thing. You have a voice. Don’t be afraid to use it.”
A voice. My voice. And as small and miniscule as my online reach may be, I have the opportunity to speak my mind and advocate for those who cannot. I have the opportunity to, in my own little way, affect change and help make a difference. This is my voice and these are my words, words that are fueled by my experiences and the passion in my heart.
I used to think my writing was just for me. However, be it on the pages of this blog or on any other site to which I may contribute, I’m reminded tonight that my writing is not always just for me. I may be a flawed messenger, and I may get destroyed by others in the arena of debate, but these are my words ….. and they aren’t going away.