I Will Not Apologize For Writing

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.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

39 thoughts to “I Will Not Apologize For Writing”

  1. Thank you for this post, I needed this reminder. I had a bad blogging week last week and decided to make my blog private, and have hated myself for it all week. This reminds me that my words are just that, mine. People don’t have to agree with them. I just they weren’t so mean when they don’t.

    1. I didn’t see what precipitated you making your blog private but that sucks. All of it: feeling bad about your words, feeling like you had to go private, feeling like you regret it.

      Whether private or public, keep writing.

  2. Reading this makes me feel like I’m missing out on a whole bunch of drama since I don’t blog and only comment on your blog. Maybe I should branch out to add a little excitement to my life?

  3. Yes Ma’am! As it should be. Otherwise you would be bought for a price, need to be paid by your constituents and then would need to run for office. :o)

  4. Oh, and I love that I have a friend that I fiercely love and can also passionately disagree with. You make me think when I don’t want to. Pick sides when I’d rather be Sweden. And thus, become a contributing caring member of society when sometimes I’d rather be a hermit and not make a difference. I love our differences and our similarities and I love you. No matter what!

  5. Amen to that! I like how you said that you’re not careless, but you’re not perfect either. We can all use some grace for the times when we are not perfect.

  6. I’m not sure what brought about this post, but I admire you for writing it. And you really hit home with several points:

    Yes, you can go from popular and praiseworthy (or controversial) one day to completely invisible the next.

    Yes, silence can be deafening. And hurtful. (I’m dealing with this one today.)

    Yes, it’s annoying when every.single.comment. to a post is nothing but complete agreement with no real dialogue. To the point that you have to wonder if people are being genuine or if it’s all just a nicer form of spam (“I kissed your ass, now you kiss mine.”).

    And yes, rewriting is part of writing. I do it obsessively, often even after I’ve published a post. I figure they’re my words and I can tweak them as I wish.

    Oh, and I also have an out-loud-in-my-head voice! Mine sounds like Lori from In Pursuit of It All when she read about her red panties at BlogHer. 🙂

  7. Thank you for speaking out loud something that has been flittering around my brain for several weeks. I don’t think you could realize how much these words mean to me.

  8. I do try to consider the feelings and perspectives of others when I post or comment on posts.

    I worry that I may unintentionally hurt someone despite my best efforts to be fair.

    But ultimately, as you said, I cannot and should not fill all the loopholes. I have to be honest. And not everyone will agree with everything I say all the time. (How’s that for a sentence full of absolutes?)

    I think the key is to come from a place of authenticity, not cruelty.
    And hopefully, people will see our intentions despite any offense.

    We can disagree with each other as long as the underlying note is respect.
    Even if someone differs from me (and even if I believe his/her opinion is absolutely wrong) I will try to respect it.

    But if there is conscious, overt rudeness?
    All bets are off.

    (See how harsh I can be? I know. Lame…)

    1. My line is usually: keep disagreements to the topic instead of the individual writing it.

      And I know that I’ve hurt people’s feelings — it’s 99% of the time unintentional. Does that make it okay? Sometimes.

      Oh and I usually give rudeness the benefit of the doubt (bad day, hit a nerve, etc) although I have a few nerves, too, that if pushed, I’m going to probably push back.

  9. I appreciate your writing.

    My dad always says “You don’t like everybody. You can’t expect everyone to like you.” Much easier to say than to live. Sometimes, apologizing is tempting – but I like you just the way you are.

  10. Yes, we should be able to write freely.

    Why do some have to disagree so violently.

    We are different, if you don’t like what one person says, and you can’t present another side to it with courtesy, then click out.

    But, usually, if I”m at a blog, and it is so against anything I’d ever think..I usually just click out

    Not someone I”d want to know. And there is some pretty ugly, not controversial, but UGLY hatred out there.

    1. I agree that courtesy is the key, and I work hard to focus on the topic rather than the writer when I disagree. I particularly hate the whole idea that one or two grammar and spelling mistakes negates an entire idea, topic or comment.

      But yes, the hate on the Internet can be vicious although so can the hate down the street and in our school hallways. I don’t know why perspective-taking is so hard for so many of us.

  11. “Side-eye”? Is that Southern or Yankee?

    Thanks for the heads up on the whole antennae instead of antenna thing. Did you know about Blond and Blonde? I just found out. Cheese Louise. Who’d a thunk?

    Sometimes I take a point opposite from what I have IRL to spark controversy and conversation in the blog.

    Sometime your blog is a little too touchy-feeling let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings. But on the other hand, some of your best posts are when you let it fly and not care where it sticks.

    I, [is that comma right?] on the other hand have no comments to be scornful about. |:(

  12. Good post, Alex. It can definitely be difficult to balance honesty, kindness, and differing opinions, etc.

    I’m guessing you haven’t noticed (but you can totally say that it was on purpose!), but how ironic is it that the title of this post has a typo! 🙂 Sorry, NO offense intended whatsoever!

    Keep up your great words, here Alex. And I agree with Walt that “some of your best posts are when you let it fly and not care where it sticks”. xo

    1. Haha. I wish it was on purpose. I almost put at the bottom that this was one of the posts I wrote nearly free-form and hit publish soon after. Now we all know why I can’t do that on the regular.

  13. You wrote what I can’t because now I have folks reading my blog and then defriending me on Facebook because they finally are getting to know me and don’t like it. Holidays will be interesting, but I don’t take back anything I have written.

  14. Wow. I can’t see how any of your posts could be offensive in any way. Although I do read you every morning when your new pops into my inbox, and I don’t come out here and comment (I know – lame) but really? Are you writing about how you may have lost friends or followers because of words? Pfshhh… those people didn’t deserve reading your words in the first place.

    I offend on a regular basis, and every time it happens I’m totally stunned. People need thicker skin. Obviously some are just too easily offended! Just keep on dishing YOUR words, because they are pretty awesome!

    1. Well, I think that my political and social ideas annoy people (my favorite is when I’m accused of lying about how I feel — ha!).

      But more so, I think it’s an Internet-wide problem. Even if someone is just sticking to the issue at hand but is in disagreement, it’s taken as a personal attack. Or if a word is misspelled, it mean the person’s whole argument doesn’t count. And if one doesn’t follow “the rules”, they aren’t welcomed.

      And don’t ever feel pressure to comment. I mean, I’m sitting here sad and lonely but no biggie. (just kidding. probably. haha. wait, what?)

  15. Writing is a process, not just a product. And don’t apologize for your thoughts and ideas, whether you agree with them in a week or not; it’s by exploring and asking that creativity – and genius – happens. I appreciate your words and thoughts, no matter what level of agreement I might have. Keep bringing it.

    1. I love the idea that the process of writing cannot be forgotten and perhaps means we must be forgiving. Particularly on the Internet, where the “product” is out daily or weekly not like a book which goes through hundreds of revisions over months to years.

  16. You shouldn’t apologize. Your writing is beautiful and it’s clear how much thought you put into it. You make people think. I love that about you.

  17. I write and re-write and think and over think every post I write. But when it comes down to it, they’re my words. My thoughts. My feelings. I’m writing for me.

    Love this post, so much!

  18. I love this. I think reading needs to be a bit like friendship, you can take breaks, you can tune out, but it’s still your friend, that person’s words and feelings. Allow yourself to learn more, then, if it’s weird, you can always respond to the writing. Right?

  19. Thank you so much for writing this. I have only just started blogging and whilst I haven’t had any bad comments, the comments have been few and far between and the silence has been deafening. Today I was wondering if I should keep going. Your post, and some of the commenters above, reminded me that I am first and foremost doing this for myself, to tell my story, to help cleanse my soul, and whether people like it , comment on it, or even read my story is irrelevant.

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