Less Afraid to Be Wrong

Tagged: meta

Yesterday I posted a blog post about using Streams in Elixir . I posted it on r/elixir and got some feedback on some things that I had misunderstood - and I'm really happy this happened. I'm writing about it now because it feels like a bit of a milestone for me.

First and foremost, I've taken a big step in publishing things (and sharing them in the communities I'm interested in). Five years ago, when I started learning to program I didn't hesitate to share anything I was doing (it was a capacity that might be core to who I was up to that point, or perhaps it was the thrill of being an unabashed beginner - I'm not sure). Somewhere along the way some life stuff happened and I clammed up in several ways. In the last year perhaps, I've taken some personal steps that have made it a lot easier to share what I know, what I've done and who I am.

This post is titled "Less afraid to be wrong" because it was inspired by a specific experience getting feedback about technical subject matters I had misunderstood. But really, I could just as well have titled this post "Less afraid to be me"!

This might not seem correlated or even related to technical writing, but I have been thinking about shame and vulnerability a lot lately. That's mostly thanks to listening to Brené Brown, who studies these massive topics and presents strong quantitative and qualitative data on how these things impact our day to day life and often stop us from being the way we want to be. [1]

Closely correlated to shame is the fear of rejection. In fact, I think they may be a lot more intertwined than I think. I'm often prone to thinking there are universal truths (how non-post-modern of me!), but I do think that things like fear of rejection and shame stop us from being ourselves - maybe that's normal and breaking out of it is just an idea and not practical (or at least very difficult for most). I'm not sure yet.

To simplify, somewhere in the past few years shame and a box full of it's counterparts (abashedness, ego, age, fear of disconnection, fear of judgement for privileges I've had in my life) had quietly booted my passion for learning, creating and sharing down into the metaphorical basement.

It's a pity, but that's life! Thankfully, I've had the fortuity to reasses this, and I'm starting by writing about it here, publicly. I don't think that now I'll be "this-day-forward-the-best-and-most-vulnerable-shameless-version-of-me" - no, I'm just writing here to remind myself that there will be quiet periods, and there will be loud periods. I don't expect to turn off shame and turn on vulnerability like a switch either - but I do think every now and then I will have these moments of respite, moments where I come up for air, where I can choose which direction I'd like to walk.

That's all for now!

If this post resonated with you, or you feel like saying hi - head to about and find my email and say hello :).

Footnotes

[1] And I'd also like to thank my friend Tony, whose passion for sharing and teaching inspire me.