Being Out There Again – #reverb13 – Day 5

The brutal impact of self-censorship

Standing at the Precipice by Charkrem on Flickr

Right now, you are experiencing with me my biggest risk of 2013.

Back in 2009, after the kids came to live with us, the kids’ attorney advised me to consider cutting back on my online presence.

I was shocked. I felt sick.

It hadn’t occurred to me that the family of our children would be interested in my generally mindless online rambles. It turns out that they were.

The kids’ social worker let me know that their bio-grandmother printed out pages upon pages of this blog, in the hopes that it could support her and her daughter’s case that the kids needed to be reunited with them.

I believe the logic was something like this: “You can’t place our children/grandchildren with someone who is obviously unstable and here is the proof.”

For anyone who understands how foster placements like ours work, you’ll know that the role of foster parents is, according to the courts, very much separate from the expectations that are placed on the biological families to stabilize their own lives. This however does not stop these families from placing blame on any/everyone else involved in the case. This kind of action I understand now is deflection– a way to avoid making the really hard changes to life.

Regardless, it’s true that since 2009, my ability to feel “open” in my blog and with my online community has been greatly limited. How can I say what I feel (which is often loud, opinionated and sometimes full of representative cultural angst) when I have now changed roles? When my job title has changed to protector?

This year, since the adoption, I’ve been tentatively considering allowing myself to be more open in these spaces. It’s daunting… partly because I still feel exposed — geographically and otherwise. But also because I am not alone in this anymore. I have a new responsibility, and that is a great one.

However, one thing I want to teach my kids is that censorship, especially self-censorship, damages trust. It breaks down community. It lacks compassion. It erases cultures and histories. It stops people from being fully human.

It breaks a part of you.

So, that is my position. That is the precipice I feel I am standing on. It’s a new place to be and I don’t know how it will play out.

Today’s Prompt: What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?

This post is part of December’s reverb13. Click the button to read more.

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