About 2 months ago in June, I made new friends in Washington, D.C. I was there as part of an advocacy work, but it was more of a journey for me (and less work). It was advocacy for torture survivors from countries around the world, including the U.S. It was part of a Survivors Week that has been held for 13 years in Washington D.C. by a group called the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC). More information about this group can be found in their website, http://www.tassc.org/. One of these days I may share my reflection about my journey in D.C. and my involvement so far with TASSC. My new friends asked me at that time why hadn’t I tried to blog or share my writings online. I remember making a lame excuse about how I wasn’t comfortable sharing my thoughts. I held on to that lame opinion for a while too. Before I met those friends in D.C., I have heard a similar question from other friends, and I continue to hear the same question from more friends. And the impact of all these “friends and questions” on me? Well, genius, what do you think?
Anyway, regarding these friends that I met in D.C., many of them do not share my background in clinical psychology. Instead, the majority of them are activists and journalists. Translation: they are used to the idea of writing for the public. Heck, the whole point of their job is to get their writings to be read by the public. In contrast, clinical psychologists are not used to that kind of writing. Translation: it is the kind of writing that is difficult for other professions to read due to its jargons and psycho-bubbles (Hint: that was a joke, and you know that must be a lame attempt if I have to explain myself). On a more serious note, one might also ask if there is a slight truth to it. I would like to think so. I was an amateur in advocacy work, evidenced by my lack of understanding of the importance of writing and speaking up. By the time most psychology students in many doctoral programs finish their study, they are not ready to do advocacy work. The idea of writing something other than psychology papers is probably foreign to them, just how it is also foreign to me. But then again, it could also be just me. At my school (Adler School of Professional Psychology), we are trained to do advocacy. There is a class specific for advocacy and public policy that we all have to take. Although the class doesn’t necessarily make me more ready to blog, my argument becomes weaken here. Perhaps I am the one who is not comfortable to blog and share my writing on the internet for others to read.
I think the idea of blogging is a challenge for me because it is about taking a risk. Taking a risk in life, however, should not be new to me. My life thus far has been about taking risks. You can’t say coming to the U.S. alone as an 18-year-old girl or leaving a full-time job to go back to school as not about taking risks, right? You would think that I should be familiar with this feeling of vulnerability. Yeah, well, here I am feeling it, and can’t say that I’m enjoying it. I feel like I have surgically opened my brain and allowed myself to be judged (Note to myself, ought to blog on this topic: fear of judgment). I feel like I’m losing a level of privacy. But then, privacy on the internet sounds like an oxymoron anyway.
I have discovered that blogging can also be a tool for making a statement; it contains a potential or a spirit of activism, of encouraging, of spreading news, of educating. Nowadays, many journalists have even participated in blogging. It is a form of editorial, of sharing an opinion or an analysis. People don’t need to have a degree in journalism or experience as an activist to blog, though. Anyone can do it. There are no blanket rules in blogging, yet. At least, not that I know of. Each blogging network creates its own rules and regulations. Perhaps this is the part that also concerns me a bit in the beginning. I have always considered writing as a task that carries profound responsibilities. I am sure many writers, responsible writers to be more precise, would understand what I meant in that statement. Writing has its own ethical responsibilities. True, we can’t always control how people comprehend our writing, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t write responsibly. Therefore, my concern is that, to the best of my knowledge and effort, I don’t ever stop considering the impact of my writing on other people.
Now that I have listed my concerns and decision-making process to join the blogging world, what more can I say? I guess you may say that I am testing the water. After all, didn’t a wise person once say that life is about testing the water? Who knows what will happen. So here I am, blogging, putting my thoughts out there on the internet for people to read and allowing myself to feel vulnerable (Scary, what crazy people would do things like this?)
Lastly, I would like to thank all of my friends (I feel like I’m on stage at the Kodak Theater) who have influenced me to blog. You know who you are. Thank you for sharing your stories, thoughts, opinions, and courage. Your courage, really, was the one factor that finally made me realize what a waste it was to hide my thoughts and stories since I have a lot to offer. I just hope I can do it responsibly and make the experience gratifying.