Or, in this case, my voice from the past. When looking up stuff on cyberstalking for someone, I came across an article that I wrote in 2006: The virtues of being mouthy, talking back, etc…
Being mouthy is both liberating and infuriating. I say what I feel, how I feel it, but because it’s threatening — especially coming from a woman — it also means that, regardless of how right or wrong I am on an issue, I get hatred poured on me. There are times when I think it’s a virtue, there are times when I think it’s a curse, but, ultimately it’s just me.
This is who I am. I can no more change this about myself than I could stop breathing. And, furthermore, I’m proud of who I am. Even when it causes me pain to deal with the harassment I get, even when it causes me pain that I get called a facist because I don’t let people vomit all over my blog with their bile, even when I think to myself that this is what my life will be: an endless round of being smacked down by people who don’t like what I say and how I say it. Even then, I know myself. I know that I have to do what I think is right. And I know that it isn’t all about the bad.
Switching to moderation has actually curbed a lot of that. Most of the comments that don’t make it through moderation these days are for breaking other discussion rules, and I haven’t been called a “bitch” or worse in a good while. And the attempts to silence me come in different, often more covert, ways.
But it makes me think about the next part of what I wrote:
Maybe they’re stronger than me. Maybe they’re not. But if I didn’t fight, then how could I come to know these wonderful people? Blogging has brought me some of my best friends, it has brought me together with people who believe in doing what they believe is right. We’re all mouthy in our own ways. We don’t always agree. But this is a community we’re building. A solitary mouthy person is just one voice against the crushing tide of people who want to silence voices they don’t like, but a community of us is not so easily silenced.
And that, I think, is where the virtue lies. Call me what you like — mouthy, bitch, man-hater, etc. — but know that there’s nothing you can say to me to change who I am. I’m an outspoken feminist who believes in advocating for what she sees right. And I’m not the only one.
Since that time, my blogging community has grown and changed. I have founded the Iris Gaming Network, had to read sexual threats made about my friend because she was nice enough to pose for the cover of the first issue of Cerise (the world’s second gaming magazine aimed at women). I have gone to WisCon and met my internet friends in real life.
I have networked, formed a solid support network, gotten some cool co-bloggers, and have finally gotten myself a nice little bunch of regular commenters here. Just, of course, in time to take one of my “I’m on break (sorta)!” breaks. I have had to deal with the pressures of moderating (a burden made easier with the help of my co-bloggers) and the problem of knowing that my moderation of borderline cases isn’t consistent, and is far, far from objective.
I have come so far (yet with so much farther to go) and it’s all due to my being mouthy. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, argue when I’m not, but I will never give up one of the most important aspects of who I am: my ability to speak and be heard.
And, in the end, I think that reading my words from the past has reminded me why blogging is so important.
Although I’m still technically on break. This month is hell, as I have tons of homework to catch up on, two tests, the need to get my applications in for school… So, in short, brain is still on break! No intelligent posts for you!