Performative Beliefs

Maybe other writers feel this way, but I find the drive to write decreases the more I hear about what’s going on around us.

When the lockdowns were first beginning in Sydney, I found myself not wanting to blog because I felt like I would be just another voice writing about covid before knowing the facts, or I would write about something different and risk seeming insensitive, ignorant, or unaffected.

It’s what I’m facing now. Watching and reading the news makes it difficult to know whether to write something simple about my own everyday world that seems uncaring towards the rest of the world, but to mention everything that’s going on feels inauthentic to how I normally write.

I’m not a big fan of writing about global events, or even what is happening in my own state. Not because I don’t care, but because I don’t want my writing to be performative, nor do I want to discuss what I don’t really know.

It feels like these days, whether you choose to speak up about a topic or stay silent, you can’t win. Someone will be displeased with the path you’ve chosen. It seems either you speak up, and risk being viewed as ignorant, privileged, or not doing enough to help, or you stay silent and lose followers because you aren’t talking about “what really matters”.

When did it get to this? Why does everyone have to prove they’re on the “right side” and that they believe the “right things”?

Blogging about the books I read does not mean I’m unaffected by events, and we shouldn’t assume that of others, either. If someone you follow online donates money for a cause, why does it matter whether they share that information? If they don’t, why is it normal to insult them through comments, or try to “cancel” them?

It makes me wonder, for those who are in the public eye, how much of their beliefs are performative? How much do they know about what they’re speaking up for?

I no longer have Instagram, for various reasons (you can read about that here), but one of the minor reasons was simply; I stopped doing it for myself. It became an obligation, but to who, and why? Why share something online that does not match up with how I want to use a platform?

From the outside, it may seem like some things are more “worthy” of writing or sharing than others. But if God has put something on our hearts, no matter the content, that is the most important thing for us to share. I may not feel called to write about the complexities of religious freedom, but I do feel called to write about femininity. While both could be discussed, I choose to follow the one God has placed on my heart.

This is not to say people who share their opinions about world events shouldn’t. Social media and blogs are spaces where we can – theoretically – talk about such things with a vague sense of freedom. But I do wonder about hidden motivations and how strong a belief can be if it is only being said to please others.

Is it really helping others make informed choices, or understand the truth, if we only talk about the trending narrative? I think we know the answer to that.

Sarah xx

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