Censored by fear of saying the Wrong Thing

I have a very weighty blog entry in mind, one that will be full of things I find scary to say, but things that really must be said. This is not that blog entry. This is the one about how often I keep my lip zipped due my to fear of saying the Wrong Thing.

That is not to say that I never say anything awkward or clumsy. Au contraire, I’ve always had a real talent for putting my foot in my mouth (literally, as well as figuratively–doh, there I go again putting an embarrassing image in your minds). From childhood, I have blurted out the Thing I should not, the Observation that should have remained unsaid, the Critique I should have kept to myself. I’d get scolded, I’d feel mortified, I’d feel terrible for anyone whose feelings I hurt.

In my more mature years, I’ve managed to put a pause on my patter. Most of the time I can take a moment before spewing out the Thing that impulse is goading me to say, to consider whether it’s such a good idea to make that joke or commentary. Sometimes I say it anyway, many times I do not.

The downside to this is that I’ve become a bit of a coward. I’m so worried about who might be offended that sometimes I say nothing when I should be speaking up. I’m particularly worried about what I post online because of the varied audience and the permanence of words on the internet. I have this fear that I’ll spout an opinion or make a declaration that will anger some group of people so heartily that they decide they’ll Never Buy My Books. Then they’ll tell all their friends, and they’ll start an internet campaign and pretty soon no one will ever buy my books.

Okay, that’s a wee bit on the irrational side. But it lurks in the back of my mind and I sometimes (often) wonder if those fears end up watering down what I write. Maybe my blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses are more bland than they could be. I think I’m braver in my books, but there’s at least some self-censoring going on there too.

I’ve been working on it though. Getting myself accustomed to definitively declaring my stand. Not in every little thing (I try to keep politics out of it), but when it’s something that’s important to me, like in this post, I’ll make a statement.

Someone once described me as “Don’t rock the boat/rock the boat Karen.” Meaning I hate to rock the boat, but at the same time I feel compelled to rock it. I think it’s time I did a little more rocking.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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