Overcoming my fear of not speaking

I took my personal Twitter account private last week. I realized that I wanted to comment on things related to the Ada Initiative, but without giving the impression of speaking for the Ada Initiative. I have long believed that “Views expressed here are not necessarily those of my employer” is a bit of a cop-out, and when you’re executive director, it becomes totally meaningless.

My conclusion is that I have to be more careful about everything I say publicly (duh, Sherlock). That goes for my “personal” blog, too, so expect even fewer posts here.

Deciding to be more circumspect feels weird and scary, but worth it. Because I was not allowed to say the truth about our screwed up, abusive family situation when I was growing up, part of feeling safe as an adult has been saying the truth about screwed up, abusive things.

Sometimes people tell me that they think I’m brave because I spoke up about something controversial. This always cracks me up a little. What they don’t know is that I’m more afraid of not speaking up – my fear of saying something controversial pales in comparison to my fear of being a silent, helpless victim again. At some deep level, I’m afraid that if I don’t speak up, I’ll wake up tomorrow 14 years old, trapped in a trailer near Moriarty with my abusive parents.

But I truly want to change the world for the better, and this is only one of a number of personality changes I’ve had to make in order to give the Ada Initiative a chance of succeeding. If it will help other women, I will confront the fear and get through it. Bleargh.

I still need a venue where I can say what I think to a sympathetic audience without carefully vetting my words first. Fortunately, not all the world is Google+, and I can use locked Twitter accounts, private Dreamwidth posts, and pseudonyms. I have a really good pseudonym I’ve been meaning to try…

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