About a week ago I wrote this in one of my blog posts:
“I would like to declare the 1500-word essay the worst idea in the history of education.”
Had I written it a year ago, this is probably what it would have said:
“In my opinion, I think the 1500-word essay may possibly be one of the worst ideas in the history of education. But I could be wrong.”
In other words, “I have an opinion, but if you disagree then I’m obviously wrong. Please don’t hate me.”
I’ve never been confident about putting my ideas across, especially in person. There’s always the chance that someone might *gasp* disagree with me, and then I’d either have to back down (I’ll do anything to avoid conflict), or press on and risk that person Not Liking Me Any More. (Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who wants everyone to like me.) So it seemed easier to just keep my opinions to myself.
The Internet (i.e. emails, discussion forums, etc.) made things a bit easier, because it gave me time to think, to construct my thoughts without letting my emotions getting in the way. (I may still get emotional in my reply, but it will be a lot more controlled.) And I got to say what I need to say without being interrupted or sidetracked.
But I still risked people disagreeing with me, and thinking less of me.
So when I started this blog, I had to make a decision: play it safe and talk about things people couldn’t possibly disagree with or hate me for (“What I had for dinner”), or forget all that and hope I don’t alienate too many people with what I say.
I chose the latter. Sure, my early posts were pretty harmless, but that’s just how they came out. Some days I’ll have an opinion about something. Some days I’ll have a very strong opinion about something, though I doubt I’ll ever post a full-on rant like John Birmingham. I don’t have the writing or research skills to pull anything like that off (not to mention his ‘attitude’).
A while ago I talked about how this blog is helping my find/refine my writing voice. Well, I think it’s also helping me use that voice.
For the record, a few people have already disagreed with some things I’ve said. But while I would have backed right down a while ago, I’m okay with it now. I still stand by what I said, but they’ve given me new perspectives and new ideas, which can only help. And the fact they’ve replied at all means I’m at least being heard, which is important to me.
So no “What I had for dinner” posts from me, unless that’s really what I want to talk about. But in case you were wondering, I had lasagne.