Do you have the freedom to speak freely?

In the early 2000s, I told the world about what I thought about my roommate and boys. No filter. No censorship. I just wrote what was on mind, even if it was blatantly insulting or self-centered. (Back then, I didn’t quite embody the consideration that I would value in life.) Sure, there were times that it backfired—like my supervisor asking me to take down a post or a former roommate getting angry about my complaints about her demands. But overall, I was allowed to speak freely.

And today is quite a different world.

I have specific goals in mind. Some days, it’s to be a design thought leader. Perhaps some kind of TED speaker. Other days it’s to be a writer. A writer of a beloved novel. Whatever the case, the best path to success involves being spotlit in the public eye. The word matters and the intention behind that word matters.

Today, I read about the terror of J.K. Rowling’s twitter feed. She didn’t want to participate initially, but eventually pulled by its instant congratulations and ego rubbing, she couldn’t resist. In doing so, she alienated fans and disgraced her work.

All because of speaking freely.

How can I be the perfect person all the time? Especially when I am representing myself. And how I certainly don’t want a PR person representing me. I want to show the real me, all the time. And yet. I know how I should portray myself, but is that who I want to be? To create an identity, almost like a brand where there are specific principles and structure to every decision, to every spoken word, and every action.

That’s not what I am. And no rules can capture every aspect of my personality or even its dark side.

When I talk about my recent trip abroad, I hesitate to speak badly of anyone or anything. Because I think, it’s not that I hated it, it’s that only I hated it. The person who is me in that particular sense, so I feel almost constrained in what I say. I didn’t like it, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t like it. That preface floats nearly in front of every sentence that drips from my lips.

But then when I say what I love? It’s easy to spill the beans. People love hearing that. Positivity is the essence of being human. But how can we be like that all the time? Without the darkness penetrating?

to be me is to be me. Whole, imperfect, and real.

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