When I write, I rewrite. I often cajole others to read it. Then I read it again. I read it in my out-loud-in-my-head voice. I pick and chose my line breaks and periods to create pauses and timing.
One of the greatest gifts of blogging is recognizing the power of words. That one misspelling (like when I wrote antennae instead of antenna in a comment about my television NOT about an insect and the entire point of the thought-out and funny-to-me comment was lost because another commenter decided to correct me and didn’t even acknowledge the rest of my comment) or that funny story taken out of context (like when I wrote about 2 children at a play area who would not leave me alone to play with my children, which got at least 35 people to tell me that I’m a cruel person who must hate children including my own).
I know that a single comment or tweet or Facebook status can bring the drama, end a friendship or blogship, or just get me side-eye for the next few months.
I know that a few words can end a relationship regardless of the years of words and actions it took to build it.
I know that I can be the center of a controversy one day and back to anonymity the next.
I know that words can be forgotten.
I know that 19 compliments can’t drown out 1 well-played insult.
I know that silence can be the loudest sound of all.
I don’t play loose with my words because deleting a post or comment can be close to impossible online. Because people behind these computers are real. Because I don’t want to be mean.
But I am not going to use only friendly, hugging, complete-agreement words here either. I’m not always going to think through my ideas and cover every possible loophole. I expect engagement. I expect to be wrong. I expect others to realize that it’s not personal.
I’m writing thoughts, ideas, feelings, attitudes, realities. I’m writing what I think I know. I’m writing and thinking and thinking later, I shouldn’t have written that.
But I’m not going to say, screw it, and start writing for the sake of controversy or for the sake of coming together. I’m going to write from my heart and my intellect and stand by my words until they don’t measure up anymore.
I’m not careless, but I’m not perfect.
And I won’t be driven to fear because I didn’t say, write, think, do something perfectly and in a way that makes everyone think they are okay.
Words are important. But these are my words first.
I won’t apologize for using them.