I believe that speaking out will save the world. I just haven’t been doing it, really. I’ve let others do it for me. Why not? It’s easier. But it’s not better.
So maybe it’s time to start. Starting is much better than not starting, or complaining about not being able to start, or blaming others for your inability to start, which is by far the easiest thing to do, much easier than actually starting. But here I am, at some age that may or may not be hovering around 40 (not that I’d ever cop to that, and if you ask me, I’ll deny it out of hand so don’t try it), having not taken much of a stand about, well, much of anything.
I am a writer. I have always been a writer, and in fact I write for a living. I’m good at writing about things that other people have invented—situations, projects, topics—things that require research or technical proficiency, where the parameters are clear and my job is tell a compelling story. I know how to tell a compelling story. I am less comfortable writing things that are risky, things that reveal a personal point of view, perhaps an unpopular point of view, not because I can’t write them but because I think I may be found out—revealed—if I go around stating what I believe in public.
But I’m working on it. I’m a good Midwestern girl at heart, so it goes against God to talk about anything other than the weather and golf, but at this point I feel I have to try to say something about what I think, what I believe. It’s so easy to let others do the talking. There’s no risk. You simply nod knowingly and associate yourself with other, braver souls who stick their sorry necks out on our behalf every day. Or you criticize them brutally. It’s not a pretty sight. So by choosing to speak out, you enter this unspoken contract with, well, everyone else. It’s a little like leaving the house without your face on, and I don’t like the implications.
But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Isn’t it worth the risk? Shouldn’t we all be participating in the public discourse? Isn’t it our responsibility to do so? Isn’t that what we all want–to make ourselves heard, to feel like what we have to say might make one tiny little difference in our community, and in our country? And what right do I have to complain about the state of the union, the state, or even the state of motherhood if I won’t go on record as believing in something? You can’t go through life flying without belief. You’ll never, ever, leave the nest.
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