I am not speaking up today.
I have a lot I want to say, and even more feelings I would like to vent; that is not my intention now. I am holding back, and thinking through every word at least once (which is unusual for me, seriously); but why?
I am afraid.
I am scared of the consequences of my honesty. I am terrified of being made a villain; terrified of being attacked online. I am worried about the aftermath of such an attack and the effect it could have on my job and my career.
I would like to respectfully disagree; I want to voice my complaints; I would seriously love to honestly explain my feelings; I wish I could do these things without fear.
But I am very afraid. My opinions and feelings do not reflect those of the majority, in this case. The questions I would like to ask could be seen as offensive, inflammatory, and frankly, sexist. I want to ask for reasons, and evidence. I want to provide counterarguments and also supporting evidence. I want to have a conversation without any participants getting defensive and therefore blocking us from learning from each other. I want to voice my concerns, but I won’t.
My concerns are not those typically held by a woman in my position (a book blogger, YA reader, librarian). I am afraid of losing the respect and friendship of others in this community, simply because my opinions and thoughts do not align with theirs.
And so I am afraid of the reactions I will get from the rest of the community. I am afraid those reactions will lead to unkind things said about my comments and my person. I am afraid that what will be said about me will be seen by my employer, and that the ensuing reaction will have an adverse effect on my job and my career.
When I think about this situation, I am shaking with anger and fear. Literally, shaking. I step back, try to forget about it, but when I come back to the Internet, my fear is still there.
I am silenced by fear. And I don’t know what to do about it.
If you have dealt with this kind of fear in your experiences, please share. I would love to learn from your experiences. This is new for me – I am a very outspoken, loud, and honest person. It is so hard to not speak up. But I recognize that many, many people throughout the world, not just the YA and library community, struggle with this every day. I hope to learn from everyone. I don’t know how to learn if I can’t get past my fear to speak up.
A little background on the situation, if you peruse the links below. They are in attempted chronological order. The views reflected by the linked posts do not necessarily reflect my own; I am simply providing context.