“I Write What I Like” and I’ve Learned a Few Things Along the Way

“You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts, and your feelings.”
— The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4 (1944-1947)

(Quotation in title can be attributed to Steve Biko).

This blog is the first place where I have made my writing public. For years I wrote my thoughts and ideas down in journals and on sheets of paper. Some kind souls encouraged me to start a blog and I did. I wasn’t sure what I would write about and I decided to let my blog grow organically. For the most part I write book reviews but at times I write about social issues, things I’m passionate about, things that affect me. I try to be as authentic as possible and try not to hide my true feelings.

This is a post about what I’ve experienced due to all the posts I’ve written about race issues, and there have actually been relatively few. This is an amalgamation of my feelings about writing allegedly “controversial” topics and the feedback I’ve received from them, and what that has taught me.

In the past couple of weeks, amidst my book reviews I’ve written two race-related posts. It’s not something I do often but the subjects were on my heart and I felt like sharing them. With my Sociology background I must say I may dwell on certain societal issues a lot more than other people.  I have an INFJ temperament on the Myer-Briggs scale and that results in some idealism and my being strongly humanitarian as well as being naturally drawn to activism. I enjoy dialogue and actually thrive on it as I often get writing ideas from conversations I have with others. Hearing different viewpoints is rewarding; however, nullifying my personal experiences as an immigrant woman of colour is extremely dismissive and not something I will ever accept.

I’m not afraid of challenging the status quo and I think it’s obvious looking at all the inequalities in society that it needs to be challenged. Judging from some feedback and comments I’ve received, what some people have failed to realize is that my speaking out against white supremacy does not mean I am accusing white people of being racist any more than my tackling feminist issues mean that I hate men.

There are a lot of issues I am passionate about but there aren’t many I feel I should write about, at least not currently. For example, I became interested in deaf culture because of a former deaf student of mine who told me about his experiences as a deaf person in Japan. Talking to him made me more curious about the culture and I ended up reading up about it. Fascinating stuff but is that my story to tell? No, it’s my student’s , and I told him to write about it. He did.

My point is I write about things that I know, things that affect me personally, things I’m passionate about.

I believe that as women we are so used to being silenced, talked down to, made into a joke, and I notice it more online than I do in person. I made a pact with myself not to be quiet if something was bothering me. I write what’s on my heart and I believe my intent is clear.

A lot of people who have read my last two “controversial” posts have sympathized with me, thanked me for sharing my thoughts, either telling me they had no idea something was an issue or to tell me that they can relate (and I have felt the same relief when I’ve come across something written down that spoke to me). I am truly honoured to all those comments I’ve received.

I guess anyone who writes online is at a risk of criticism and of being misunderstood. Sharing my thoughts has shown me that but I’m so glad I finally got over my anxiety of speaking my mind.

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9 thoughts on ““I Write What I Like” and I’ve Learned a Few Things Along the Way

  1. I hope you are never afraid of speaking your mind, because the things you share are always educational and emotional. Freedom of speech applies to everyone, but it’s in people like you that the principle of learning through dialogue truly shines.

  2. I agree that women are often so used to being silenced… and that’s terrible. I’m glad that you speak your mind, Rowena, (and in addition, it’s always with such eloquence) and hope you will continue to do so. Your blog is just that: your blog. Your place to write your thoughts and share your opinions. I look forward to reading more of your posts this year!

  3. I love it Rowena. I understand the journey that brings you to this point — of putting down in writing the things that are in the soul – an uncomfortable journey in the beginning but something that is necessary.
    “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

    The only truth we can tell is our own, authentic from our own experiences and what we feel deep inside – and sometimes this – just this – is a revolutionary act
    If you black and a woman the truth cannot exist with about race and gender

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