The Choice to Publish
I have tried many times to write articulately about current events and issues that I am passionate about, mainly through the lens of feminism. I want to write about raising a child with open-minded definitions about what it means to be a girl or a boy or a good friend. I want to write about the influence of racism and classism in Hawaii politics, or about being a (frequently ignorant) white person involved in Hawaiian culture. I want to write about sexual and domestic abuse. I want to write about how the media influences our views on all of these issues, and why people should care. I want to write, and so I do write — dozens of saved drafts on my blog, many deleted tumblr posts, an entire deleted wordpress blog, a private twitter account, scribbled notes in paper journals stored in my closet. I begin to write and then there is a point where my pounding heart turns from passion to fear. Where my confidence in my own words fades and is replaced by the sure knowledge of the attacks to come. I re-read an online article and see the careful words of those I admire mis-quoted and turned against them. I make the mistake of reading the comments sections. I make the mistake of imagining the comments sections of anything I might publish. And so I stop, I put down the pen, I walk away from the keyboard, and I do not finish, I do not publish, and I have nothing to send to the Advertiser or Civil Beat. I swallow the rest of the words and spend the rest of the day talking about the weather and planning play dates. I spend days flinching, afraid, knowing I have left important work unfinished, and then I wonder if it matters at all. How many people are even shown my posts on Facebook, how many would read my article (if it was even chosen) all the way through, how many would care, how many would listen — and would it change anything at all, or would I be shouting into the wind?
And then I think, maybe it’s okay if most of my writing stays in draft format. Maybe it is best, for me, at this time, if most of it is finished and polished by the experience of sharing person to person. Maybe I can view the written word as practice for the spoken word, for the face to face conversations. Maybe I can gain a slow confidence that yes, there will always be trolls in the comment sections, but there will also be friends, willing to read, willing to listen.
So this is a big thank you to the friends and family that have read and heard my practice rants and half-finished essays, who have stayed with me so far on this journey as I try to find my voice and my place and try to make a positive difference in this big, loud, beautiful, crazy world.