Monday, December 31, 2018

Odd end

So, starting this year (2018), I had begun to feel nervous about saying things out loud/in public. This wasn't just the nervousness of saying politically incorrect things, or things that would make me lose friends. It was the nervousness of thinking, will I trolled for this? Will I be called names and will my ancestors' chastity be called question? Worse, will I have to defend myself from state institutional over-reach (people filing complaints or policemen acting on their own initiative). Would I waste precious time battling such over-reach? Would I become unemployable?

As laws were made or amended to allow the state to act with greater authority viz people's communication, private and public, my nervousness grew. Was it enough that I did not comment myself, but only RT-ed someone else's tweet? I felt guilty too, for feeling nervous. And I was also afraid of saying that I felt afraid.

As a way of dealing with all this, I began to maintain a private log of things I could not say, things I was afraid to share or retweet. It was a sort of diary. Today, I had to decide whether or not I'd keep it going. I've decided next year will be different. Not because all fears have evaporated but because fear doesn't get you anywhere much. Where it does get you, is backed against a wall in a blind alley, and you become an unwilling magnet for everyone else like you - similarly nervous, similarly backing away, ceding the public space.

The answer lies not in silence, but in finding new and creative - civil! civic! - ways of saying the things that must be said. Doing brave things without bravado. Hoping 2019 will be about that. 

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