Stepping Out of the Silence
For being an “online personality,” I’m actually pretty private. Aside from my carefully and intentionally composed monthly Coffee Break posts, I don’t put much of my personal life online. Even in my personal accounts, I don’t post pictures of my kids, my vacations, my dinners or my workout routines. I don’t share my political views, religious beliefs, or comment on things happening in current events. I prefer to keep these thoughts and feelings close, sharing them only around the dinner table or in intimate conversations with those I know and love the most.
But this week…I found myself part of an online community that was suddenly (and rightfully) speaking out and speaking up. Muting, supporting, listening, sharing, reflecting. And I’ll be honest…I had no idea what to do. My gut reaction was to stay silent, not engage, stay behind my carefully crafted wall because that is how I prefer to operate in the online space. But then as the days passed and I watched and learned and read and prayed…my silence became deafening…even to my own ears.
Interestingly, deciding to speak up was the easier part. Figuring out what precisely to say has been the greater challenge. Posting a black square on my Instagram feed to signal my support felt inauthentic and insufficient, especially since short and catchy quips are not at all how I engage with the online world. And simply saying I am “listening” and “learning” didn’t capture the sadness, fear, ineptitude, worry, disbelief, helplessness, and overwhelm I’m working through in my own heart. I know injustice, disgrace, unfairness, racism and inequality when I see it. I want to show solidarity, reach out my hand, lend an ear, and rally for the cause. I want to better understand my white privilege and (more so) learn how to use it to make lasting change. But the fear of articulating those things imperfectly, insufficiently, and incompletely almost paralyzed me back into silence.
Today, I am simply choosing to no longer be silent. I am scrapping my scheduled Coffee Break post to instead stand up, speak up, and be counted among those calling for change. Because I believe #blacklivesmatter