Leave bland behind: have a damn opinion

don't be a sheep

Do you ever feel like you’re playing things a little too safe?

Have you ever worried about offending people with your point of view (or your occasional tendency to use the word “shitastic”)?

I have. And you know what I think? Screw that nonsense.

Listen, I’m pretty even-tempered. Call it a Libra thing, but I try to see the validity in every argument that seems fair, sane and logical. And while this isn’t always the most productive behavior, I tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. So I’m not what you’d call the world’s most opinionated person.

That said, I’ve got an opinion to share. I’m a little bored with the blogging culture of trying to appeal to a wide audience by pleasing everyone and never coming near anything even remotely controversial. Maybe that’s just where I am as a writer and a reader, but I want a bit of challenging commentary thrown in the mix from time to time.

I believe there’s a simple explanation for why so many bloggers burn out. We’re trying to be happy and creative and professional all the time, and that can be difficult to maintain. For the sake of transparency, we might pen an honest and open essay about our experiences with burnout to feel better and get some encouraging comments in response, but then we go right back to doing the same old thing. Until the next bout of burnout hits.

Don’t get me wrong—I love reading inspirational and light-hearted posts. They brighten my mood and fill my need for passive entertainment. Clearly, I enjoy writing that stuff, too. But if I were new to the personal/lifestyle blogging scene and was toying with the idea of starting my own site now, I’d be under the impression that there’s only one path to success. And I’d probably be so overwhelmed by the notion that everything has been said (over and over) that I might as well not even bother.

But really, I don’t think that’s true at all. All that’s missing is a little flair.

“Be yourself” is such common advice not only from our moms but also from fellow bloggers writing how-to’s on the craft. Those words are so commonly thrown around that they’ve almost lost their meaning. So I propose this saying instead:

Be yourself. ALL of yourself.

Be smart, funny, thoughtful, sincere, inspirational and whatever else it is that truly makes you you. And if you have something to say? Have a damn opinion. Unapologetically.

Let’s stop over-thinking, second-guessing and censoring ourselves, and let’s begin embracing, celebrating and acknowledging our differences in opinions and ideas. I see so many great minds expressing themselves on Twitter calling out assholery and inequality. We should be extending those conversations on our blogs, encouraging discussions in the comments section and not worrying whether someone will disagree. (Because it’s okay if they do.) At the very least, I’d like to see a stronger commitment to the ideas we put out there, rather than wishy-washy language such as “I feel like” or “maybe it’s just me, but.”

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but I’m a design blogger. This doesn’t really apply to me.” I beg to differ.

If you’re a designer who wants to see the chevron trend die already, say so. If you’re a professional photographer who sees novices making the same cringe-worthy mistakes over and over, help them by pointing it out. If you’re a feminist who has a problem with sexist language in an ad or article, call the creators out on it. We’d be doing a service not only to ourselves by doing so, but to the blogging world as a whole. We have so much to say, and it does no one favors when we hold back for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

I have too much respect for myself and my fellow bloggers to strive for blandness. I intend to take a stance on the things that matter most to me.

How about you? What do you think is worth speaking up about?

Psst. You can highlight any text in this blog post to tweet it. Try it out!

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I tweet, therefore I am.

Several months ago, I deleted my personal Twitter account because I felt it was one too many social networking site that was wasting my precious time, and I knew nobody cared what I thought about Adam Lambert unjustly getting voted runner-up on American Idol. Twitter felt like nothing more than a collection of Facebook statuses, and I didn’t need to have two separate accounts online to update in the same vein. So, smartly, I deleted my Twitter account.

Today, however, I find myself on Twitter multiple times a day, browsing news links and videos, wondering what I can comment on for my own updates. Yes, I have rejoined The Twitter, and yes, it has everything to do with me being unemployed.

Though a timesuck for sure, I based my decision to rejoin the world of tweets on the fact that I have nothing better to do than try and network with fellow bloggers, potential employers and whatever stores want to offer me hefty discounts on products I don’t need. Win-win-win, in my opinion. I also get minutely updates on world news that doesn’t require more than 140 characters’ worth of comprehension. Who needs to know WHY Obama recently gave a speech in Arizona?! Just knowing that he did is good enough.

Twitter was atwitter today (now yesterday) of the news that January 17th was the most depressing day of the year. Or The Most Depressing Day of the Year– that looks more doom-ish. In any case, I think someone messed up. Deeming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day The Most Depressing Day of the Year? #whoopssorrydrking

Man, I’ve already got my hashtag labels DOWN. Twitter, here I come.