The more I think about this notion of writing every day and giving access to the entire Internet to read it, the more interesting it becomes. What if no one wants to read it? What if people read it and feel inspired to make negative remarks? What if people make suggestions that I can’t understand? For an introvert to be facing the idea of such public scrutiny is alarming at best. But there’s another prong to this dilemma, namely that it’s much less scary to type words into a document and send them up the mast for strangers to read than it is to stand up and speak them in a room full of people. Using words as proxies comes naturally to an introvert. We send them out as scouts, and heralds, and as ambassadors for our true selves every day. Typing them and releasing them onto the Internet isn’t all that different from what we do verbally in our daily lives. Scrutiny of the words doesn’t hurt me; if someone doesn’t like the words, that’s not the same as not liking me. The Internet as a forum for my voice is in many ways a safer and gentler place than an actual forum would be.
What to send out into this great forum? I don’t have any bones to pick about politics or philosophy, although I do have opinions on both which can be fairly tidily boiled down to “Just love—radically, bravely, creatively, fiercely, intelligently, with every fibre of your reason and your passion and your spirit—and you’ll be doing the right thing.” Hardly the stuff manifestoes are made of, really, but it keeps me out of most debates. I happen to think that love is the most powerful force humanity holds, and that it means something far richer and darker and more potent than the Hallmark people would have us believe. Sure it involves the kindness and the sweetness and consideration that we all conjure in our minds when we talk about love. But it also involves making sacrifices beyond anything we imagined, and being glad we did it. It means being willing to speak truth honestly, even when it may cause pain or confusion. It means being able to listen while in the grip of unholy anger, and able to speak from the depths of unfathomable sorrow and disappointment. It means learning new ways to give and teaching ourselves new ways to receive. It means a degree of openness and acceptance that makes us desperately vulnerable, and a degree of courage that exposes us to incomprehensible risks. The joy of love needs no explanation. It is worth, however, noting that the more radically one enters into love, the greater the joy. And I believe that all matters of the mind and spirit must be informed by radical love to be truly useful to humanity. No wonder I’m not sought out to discuss these issues!
©Mary Braden 2013