Stranger danger. Obsessive pain avoidance. Looking good and not looking bad. Being right and not being wrong…
Long-form cowardice, I think.
That’s a very confrontational thing to say, especially in this thin-skinned age. PC, bland conformism is the baseline. Any deviation is risky and raises the possibility of rejection.
I’ll take that bet.
Once upon a time, I was shy, socially awkward, painfully self-conscious; obsessed and terrified by what other people thought of me. It got me much suffering and nothing useful. To hell with that.
I can only be myself, but I’ll own it. A far more satisfying outcome with fewer regrets. Welcome to the omelet model of the universe: nothing very useful and worthwhile happens without making someone upset and uncomfortable (or breaking things, to put it simply). Pain and darkness happen and can not be avoided. Grownups call this “life”, and the chronically immature are scared of it.
Your writing is vivid and relatable. Content is king (it was ever thus) and yours is compelling and intimate. Vulnerability requires courage, which seems increasingly uncommon.
Don’t change anything to accommodate anyone. Change things to make them great, the way you think they should be.
You do great work. Don’t dumb it down or hide it.