The Paladin’s Burden

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but never quite sure how to approach it. See, I fell out of the habit of posting my writing a few years ago. I got a little too honest and it hurt some people. I’m not sorry for what I said but it was devastating to find out how powerful my words were. So I just stopped. I got gun-shy, worried about the repercussions of every post. Am I going to say something that someone is going to take the wrong way? Does this really need to be discussed in a public manner? Do I even have anything worth writing about? Is this ethically, politically, and grammatically correct?

For the sake of the handful of people who chose to take my words as personal offense, I abandoned my craft. In doing so I abandoned my audience, the people who I’ve been speaking to all along. The people who read what I have to say and identify. The people who come up to me and say “Hey, I really loved that thing you wrote. It meant a lot,” or “I feel that way too. It was so helpful to read the perspective of someone else and know I’m not alone.” I turned my back on those people. I stepped away from a core value; integrity. I backed down from who I am, I stopped sharing vulnerable things with people. Anyone who claims anxiety can probably agree on one thing, if you make yourself vulnerable then you will get hurt.

But isn’t that what makes us stronger?

During my brief time in this reality, I’ve learned that vulnerability can be an asset. When you open up to others, they trust you. If you are willing to take the risk of asking the first question, others will follow. If you are willing to admit you were wrong, people will forgive you. Vulnerability is a principle of leadership. For me to not be vulnerable with others is to cut off my wings. I have a deep craving to share my deepest darkest secrets with others. Back when I was a user of livejournal, I told the internet everything. I let them know exactly what I was feeling, exactly what I was going through. My best friends were people who read my blog and said “hey, me too.” I felt empowered in those days, I felt like I was my honest self, my truest form. Now-a-days there’s this feeling like honesty is too risky. If I am not careful I will hurt the ones I love, I will put career and reputation at risk, I will set the fire of my own destruction.

This careful person is not me. I am a rebel gypsy punk. I drive fast, I swear, I cut my own hair and I don’t give a damn about the world’s expectations of me! So how can I live in this confused state, my personality and self preservation constantly at odds with each other? Simple, I can’t. No longer will I fear the wrath of the Anti-Feminist and the Social Justice Warrior. No more will I worry about being the Good Girl. And no more will I censor myself for the sake of fake friends. My best friends are not because they are just like me. No, my tribe is built on seeing the honest self and respecting that. Be who you are. Even if you’re an asshole. I’d rather you be faulted and aware than giving a perfected persona and hoping I won’t notice.

I will.

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