Express Yourself [NaBloPoMo 13]

Thursday, August 13, 2015 / 7:55 AM

I used to be terrible with expressing my opinions. I originally wrote "I used to be terrible with having opinions," but that isn't true at all. I have opinions. I always have. But I was never too good at saying what they were, especially when I had the less popular opinion of a group. Like how people think vanilla is a boring ice cream flavor, but I actually really like vanilla. (Also, as Mallory and I learned on my last trip to DC, there's apparently a bajillion different kinds of vanilla in the freezer section.)

One of the many things I learned from being friends with Mengfei in college was learning how to speak my mind without being argumentative. It's not something I'm particularly great at, but it's something I've been working on. As long as my opinion isn't guided by factually incorrect information, why shouldn't I want to say what's on my mind?

It's all just a challenge in being assertive, which is something I think everyone struggles with on some level. As the youngest on both sides of my family, along with being a fairly introverted person, the way I expressed my thoughts was through writing rather than speaking. One of the things I've always struggled with when it comes to putting my writing in a public place is the exact same thing I struggle with when it comes to speaking up: who cares? I think I get hung up on the idea of an audience too much. Who's reading? Why are they reading? What are they thinking? Why am I even bothering to write?

But as I was reading in to prepare for one of the panels I'm speaking on today (more on that in a later NaBloPoMo post!), I realized that the answer to all of my insecurities and wonderings about "an audience" were right in my own words of motivation I've been giving to others for years: write your own story because you have a story to tell. Write your own story so that others don't change your narrative or try to erase you from who you are. Use your words--whether it's in writing or in speaking or in whatever medium you choose--because only you can be true to yourself.

*steps down from soapbox*

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