Recently, I found myself telling a friend that I agreed with his post but did not comment for fear of reprisal. Were those words really coming out of my mouth? Where did I get the filter to not comment? And since when did I care about reprisal?
At first blush, I think I was just tired. I have worn the tiara of ‘crazy’ for years. Not in the take-medication-and-lock-your-self-up kind of way, but in the way it happens when you are a mother in suburbia who dares to step outside of the ‘norm’. In my suburbia that meant letting my kids stay home alone and telling the school when something seemed awry. These actions are ‘crazy’ because the norm here is to hire a babysitter until your child is 13 or 14 (seriously) or do their laundry until they just can’t carry it all home from college. Noting a misbehaved teacher means your child is ‘marked’ (and only a foolish parent would draw attention to their child that way).
The kids have survived being left home alone and being ‘marked’ and rarely are in need of my defense or support in such direct ways anymore. So now I am wondering, was I able to be so bold only when I was fighting for them? Am I becoming cautious when the expression of my opinion is simply ‘for me’? It seemed so much easier when it was ‘for the kids’.
In light of the above, I responded to a rather controversial editorial in a trade publication. I supported the editor because I believed his argument was fair, despite knowing that the emotional nature of the issue would make it too difficult for most readers to even hear his logic, instead judging his audacity to look beyond the emotion.
I wrote, deleted. Wrote. Deleted. And then took a big breath and wrote until I finished saying what I wanted to say. Even though I wrote anonymously, I could feel myself shoring up for accusations. Did I care that complete strangers might bash me for taking an unpopular point of view? It was only moments before I found the answer. Imagine my surprise when I read “Does SH(how I identified myself) stand for SH…T head?” and instead of cringing, I laughed.
I can’t hide behind my kids anymore. It’s time for me. And time for me to be BOLD. I have opinions and they can be shared. Maybe they will enlighten someone. Maybe that someone will be me.