The Right to Speak

Normally, I don’t have a problem sharing my thoughts.

Writing comes easily to me, and, as any of my friends would be quick to tell you, I have an opinion about everything.

Everything.

But I’ve found myself struggling this week with feeling silenced.

I’ve felt this way before, when something I’ve said, or some opinion I’ve had, has elicited a punitive response, especially when it was unexpected. And I’ve shut up, out of fear. Out of anxiety.  Out of wanting to keep the peace. Out of total exhaustion.

Keep quiet.

Don’t say anything that will rock the boat.

Why would you put yourself out there?

You have a narcissistic craving for attention.

No one cares what you write about.

You can’t possibly actually think about all this stuff. It’s contrived.

Your private thoughts should stay your private thoughts. They only open up cans of worms when you put them out on the internet.

You can’t say stuff like that. It damages your witness.

And you used to call yourself a Christian…..

Yep. All direct quotes of things people have said to me about why I shouldn’t blog. Why I shouldn’t share.  Why I should keep my mouth shut.
And I bought into that bullshit for years. [oh yeah, and don’t say bullshit. Or damn. Or holy crap. Or anything like that, because it’s offensive and negates everything you say.]

Well, guess what?

I’m not buying into that load of crap anymore.

Yeah, I am feeling a little like I want to fall into the old trap of letting myself be silenced right now, and the words aren’t coming easily. Anxiety has been getting the better of me this week, even making simple, clear conversation difficult.

And I don’t want to write.

So I’m writing anyway, if to say nothing else than, “I’m going to keep writing, even when, ESPECIALLY WHEN, I feel like I shouldn’t.”

And I’m writing to pledge to myself that I’m not going to allow people to bully me into silence EVER AGAIN.  I’m not going to pull down or delete what I write to appease others any more.

I’m going to keep speaking.

When I was a cadet, there was one particular instructor at the seminary [besides my sister] who stood up for me and championed what I had to say, especially what I had to write.  When I graduated, he gave me a card that I’ve managed to hold onto all these years, even since my exodus.  In it is what has become one of my favorite verses penned in the bible – Acts 18:9

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Those first three clauses.

Do not be afraid.

Keep on speaking.

Do not be silent.

 

Okay. I can own that.

 

Yes, this post is ‘ranty’. No, there’s no deep spiritual ‘point.’

And I’m not apologizing.

This is my defiance.

My rebellion against the anxiety that always lurks and threatens to silence and cripple me.

I’m going to keep speaking.

Even when it scares me.

Even when my voice shakes.

Even when I have to remind myself – with posts like this.

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