I’ve only recently started to (mentally) commit to writing blogs on here, despite setting up this website ages ago. My reluctance, I’ve realised, comes from the crippling anxiety I face as I convince myself, three sentences in, that nobody cares what I have to say.
I was re-inspired to start writing again by my partner, who’s able to think up, write, and publish a kickass blog post in under 30 minutes. I observed him so effortlessly articulating his inner thoughts, bashing away at his keyboard and posting it without hesitation. He’s also, by the way, not comforted by the assumption that he can delete it the next day after an evening full of self-doubt, regret and embarrassment. He doesn’t need this reassurance when he presses publish. He’s totally secure.
I started thinking about why he’s able to so effortlessly and confidently articulate what he’s thinking and post it for the world to see and why I, on the other hand, am completely terrified by the entire prospect.
Here’s what I came up with …
I think my insights aren’t legitimate unless I can back them up with research.
Since my first year at university (I’m now in my fifth) I’ve been conditioned to, a) chronically reference anything that could have, at one point or another, been said by another person, and b) back up anything I say with research from a legitimate source; so I find it unnatural to write freely about my inner thoughts without references or datasets. I actually tried to write a blog post on my opinion of catcalling as a misogyny hate crime, and it kind of flopped because I couldn’t decide if I was a blogger or an academic? I’m also terrified of co-opting someone else’s views, for an array of intersectional reasons. This kind of writing doesn’t really lend itself to carefree blogging.
Men have, historically, been socially encouraged to speak out. Women haven’t.
Since birth, society has told boys that they can achieve anything they set their mind to; that the world is their playground; that their choices and views are always legitimate because whatever happens boys, will in fact, be boys. Obviously, this is b****hit and I actively rally against this mantra in my everyday life – as does my partner – but there may be some unconscious crippling doubt creeping into my mind because of this socially constructed boisterous-male-docile-female dichotomy. In any case, this should motivate me to incessantly vomit all over my website in the weeks and years to come.
Maybe I actually don’t have anything interesting to say.
Maybe it’s my gut telling me that my ideas aren’t insightful, that the internet is already full of self-entitled bloggers saying a lot about nothing at all. Maybe people genuinely won’t care.
As a caveat, this blog was supposed to be about how it’s okay to admit you haven’t heard of X concept or read X canonical text, particularly as an early career researcher navigating academia. But, because of my crippling blogging anxiety, I didn’t think you’d care what I had to say. Maybe I’ll write that one for you tomorrow.