a battle

Writing, to me, is a way to keep track of events and also to make my thoughts become real. I believe that words are sincere. When I write, my personality reveals on papers, and it becomes so vivid that I am afraid people will see me and judge me. What if they are so smart that they think I am childish? What if they will laugh at me because of what I write? These questions were why my social media account is full of notes but has no “likes” and “shares”, for I set them private, and why I had a blog for a long time, but no one ever knew about it. Words were so sincere that the idea of sharing them was like putting myself to trial.

Until I went to high school.

I was a part of a literature honor program after two years devoting my time to Mathematics and Science. Up to that point, I had learned to write just through reading and personal writing experience. However, here, any writing styles were valued, as long as they convey the fully author’s messages. For class assignments, we would put on papers thoughts about intriguing topics such as what I would name the classroom or what it felt like to be an adult. Then, we secretly traded our papers with other classmates to get feedback, and I was surprised about how most of my friends were honest about what they wrote and appreciated my writing by giving good reviews. When getting feedback on how to change my tone or how to put more details to make words become appealing, I found myself growing more in this.

And here came the hard part – the battle between my mind and my heart.

On papers, I would affirm people about what I appreciated, while I also wrote what I did not feel comfortable about. I realized sending letters to others was a great way to tell them what I thought they could improve more. Therefore, for the very first time in my life, I wrote a long note for a teammate who did not cooperate with the rest of the team on an important class project. I revised the letter time after time, making sure my language was appropriate and that I was making the group environment better instead of breaking our bonds. But giving it to someone seemed to be impossible.

Should I do that?

The mind said, “Yes, you should tell him what you truly think.”

While my heart was roaring, “No, you will become a bad person in his mind!”

It took me a week after witnessing my group project making no progress to eventually give it to him. My heart pumped fast and my face turned red when waiting for him to finish the letter. Seeing his facial expression, I felt even more nervous. I did not know what he would react, and I was so scared that, for a moment, I kept thinking I would never write to anyone else.

The result, turned out, was he thanked me for pointing out what he did wrong while still showing my full respect. Meanwhile, he also shared his personal reasons for not doing well, and I became more understanding of his situation – his grandfather recently passed away.

After that event, there have been countless cases when I think more than twice about sharing my online journals. I decided to send close friends the link to my personal blog after months of hesitating. Eventually, I realized that for those who love being a part of my life, going through my daily journals is a way to both knowing more about my deeper thoughts as well as “talking” to me despite different time zones and conflicting schedules. The battle between my mind and my heart, between sharing and hesitating about the potency of being judged, ends with my mind won. I came to believe that sharing was a way to grow – for only with others’ feedbacks that I could write better – and to “turn my tongue seven times before speaking”.

Published by Thi Le


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