But do I not engage because I prefer to listen and learn, or because I'm too afraid? And if I'm afraid, what exactly am I afraid of? This is another issue that has consumed my brain this morning. I'm not kidding, last night I was freaked out by what I had written about, even though I felt it was important to say it. And if I felt it was important, it should be said.
But it's not as simple as that. In studying history, I have been made aware of the danger of elucidating ideas as facts. The facts as we know them are frequently subject to change, and are usually open to interpretation. Thus, when I open my mouth, I am barraged by mental needles reminding me to hedge my answers, make sure my audience knows my qualifications, don't commit to anything unless 100% certain. And even then, it's just a very likely hypothesis. If you haven't heard a historian speak on their subject, watch a documentary. I love how they almost never commit fully to an opinion.
I'm not saying all my conversations are that careful. They aren't; I can talk nonsense with the best of them. But when I'm putting thoughts onto paper or explaining my position to someone who doesn't know me that well and hasn't seen my charming demeanor in person? You bet I'm being careful. And I try to be gracious when my errors are pointed out to me. Bah, I sound like a girl scout. All sugary and sweet. I have to throw myself up now:)
So if I'm careful in conversing, and aware that I need to be careful when throwing facts and opinions around, why does it freak me out to go public with an opinion? Of course, the answer to that is simple. I don't want to be laughed at. I don't want a conversation to degenerate into name-calling, which has happened to me before, although never through this blog. I don't want people to assume I won't like them or be friends with them, because I have previously stated that I hold this or that opinion. That has also happened. I apparently have quite the reputation back at one of my old churches. I voiced my opinions loud and clear, because I was among friends and they knew I loved them. Right? Ha ha.
So I am left with this fear. What do I do with it? Never voice opinions? Always sit in the back of the room? I don't think so. I used to have a voice. I was too opinionated, that much is true, and I offered advice a little too freely, but shutting down my voice entirely because I've previously made an ass of myself is not the way to go. So I shall be thinking on this fear.
And are you done with reading my introspections? Good. I am too. It's good to dive deep every once in a while, but frankly I'm exhausted by these latest dives. My next post will be all that is frivolous, pink, and cotton candy.