So, for those of you who know me personally, I think that you are pretty much well aware of how self-conscious I can be when it comes to my ability to articulate my thoughts and opinions. Sometimes, it’s due to my lack of knowledge in a particular subject. Other times, I just experience difficulties finding the right words at the right time – and this is why I write. Writing allows me to take the time to gather my thoughts before hitting that “publish” button for all the world to see.
You may or may not have noticed this, but I don’t often write my responses to articles that I have reblogged on Facebook that often. I’ll sometimes write a couple of sentences here and there but never paragraphs. Also, I don’t write a lot about the topics that have led me to identify myself as a social justice activist on my blog either, sadly. Most of the times, it’s due to the lack of time (sometimes it’s sleep, but that’s another topic I can touch on for later) – and time is what I need when I want to write well about something I really care about. And let me tell you, it sucks. Not being able to hold an argument or not being able to explain a subject that I am particularly passionate about is very, very frustrating.
Having access to vocabulary that promotes higher level thinking is a privilege. I had a very difficult time expressing myself in complete sentences growing up. It wasn’t until college when I felt like I had some power over my words. At Smith, I gained access to new vocabulary, new thoughts, and etc. I finally was able to reclaim my voice. (I know that I mention Smith often but it has become such an integral part of my identity that I cannot see myself not mentioning my affiliation to the school every so often.)
However, still to this day, I struggle, and I’m not going to lie, especially when I’m engaged in conversations with people who are already comfortable and ready to present their opinions, I am both in awe and intimidated by them. I constantly aspire to articulate well not just to be able to hold my ground but to also provide a safe space for others to share their thoughts as well.
This brings into the next topic I wanted to talk about: a project that I have been working on since the beginning of summer. Some of you already have either probably heard about it, seen some of it, or even took part in it in some way. I’ve spent months on this particular project and to this day, I do not feel satisfied with the product.
And despite the hours working in the library and staying up late on weeknights, I am very willing to start with a clean slate on this project (there were moments when I was at the brink of tears working on it). How do you draw the essence of authenticity out of the narratives you’ve created? That was the struggle that I was facing while creating this video series.
You see, what’s so great about freelance content creation projects is that they allow me to provide a platform for others with visions that align to mine to share their voices. So, even if I can’t share as much knowledge on a particular subject as I’d like, I’m at least supporting someone else who can. However, they don’t offer opportunities for me to share my voice because I’m the one creating content for somebody else. To lead a project – for example, my personal style blog – means forcing myself further out of my comfort zone in an unlimited number of ways.
And this particular project requires – key word – my voice, something I’ve constantly been self-conscious about for years and finally have somewhat got a grasp on for a while. And I’m not going to lie, I’m afraid of being called out. I’m afraid of being misunderstood. I’m afraid of not saying the right things and receiving a lot of backlash for them.
But everybody makes mistakes and everybody needs to be checked now and then.
If you look at individuals who have spearheaded a project for their own marginalized communities – such as the founders of Everyone is Gay, for example, you notice that not even they are 100% knowledgable about the subjects they’re covering. Founders of EiG, Kristin and Dannielle, often find themselves learning through the process of providing advice for the LGBTQIA community (that’s what they do on the site). So, it’s also important to realize that you just have to be open and receptive to others’ feedback, especially if you are representing their community.
So, it’s better to try than not try at all, right?
Well, to be fair, you don’t really know what I’m talking about because I’m not getting into the details of this project just yet…
Look forward to November.