I don’t know when to speak, when to stay silent

Lately, I’ve been considering backing out of a writing commitment I have. I’m feeling threatened, taunted, and ridiculed in a space that should be safe. I don’t want to give up the exposure or the experience I’m getting, but I’m also getting tired of the mini panic attacks I’m starting to get with each new instance. What’s worse is that I know most outsiders probably won’t see what I see and will be of the opinion that I’m making a big deal out of nothing. In some ways, I can’t disagree with that. Going by the actual textual evidence from the last few weeks, there isn’t much there, but once you add in the weight of my experience, the history, it grows. And as it’s not a history I’m willing to talk about to the greater Internet, I will continue to look like a drama queen.

But there are always some things that can be said, some things that can be done. In the last few years I’ve realized I do have a voice, one that matters. But the best option isn’t to always say what’s on your mind. Sometimes speaking only escalates things. And besides, my mom taught me that often, in these situations, the bigger person is the one who lets it go, who walks away.

The problem comes up, though, when part of the original problem was in having your voice silenced. When someone starts to tell you what and how to think, walking away silently can send the message that you give in, that the other person wins. That there’s even a game that can be won, in some way. It’s a balance that’s almost always on my mind, going back to the first time when I realized that I didn’t deserve to be treated this way. I don’t want to let others silence me, but I don’t want the situation to be any worse. Maybe there’s not a correct balance, or maybe the answer is one I don’t want to hear, but I’m wondering, and testing, and trying to find something that works. Worst case scenario, I excuse myself from this writing gig and move on with my life, finally free from this person. But still, I don’t like the idea of giving up something I enjoy, something that helps me, because of the presence of someone else.

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