After going to Sweden for a friend’s wedding last year and heading back to school, I took a hefty timeout from this blog and really from writing at all. I do still tweet, although I focus primarily on finding material for my library’s twitter feed (@MGHTreadwell).
I told myself that I felt like there was plenty already out there; that it was enough to keep up with it, I didn’t have to talk about it too because people were already saying what I would say better than I would say it (true). And honestly, I’ve started keeping up with a lot more than just library blogs; I’ve become more interested in geek feminism and the discussion about women being silenced on the internet, as well as keeping up with the larger pictures of data management, information technology and the digital humanities. It’s funny that librarians, the people users turn to to help them manage information overload, end up buried under it themselves.
So I haven’t been checked out, just quiet; it’s the same in class. I used to be one of those inimitable chatterboxes with an opinion on everything, but now I sit there hoping I won’t get called on, which is strange considering that I’ve been more on top of my work this semester than any other. I’m just not confident that I’ll be able to answer the question, even though I usually would have given the answer that ends up being right.
Part of me is nervous that I’m not working as hard to distinguish myself as my peers are, and that at some point that’s going to show. But I think we probably all feel that way, and that’s never stopped me before – if anything, it’s made me work harder. Part of me is nervous that I’m too competitive, or that I’m not a good enough collaborator to really be able to produce anything worthwhile working with a group of smart people. I guess that sort of has yet to be tested, but I’ve worked harder at building relationships with people who are interesting, who are doing interesting things, and who have good style (they’re the easiest, because I can start there). And there’s always part of me that’s going to be nervous about something, but it doesn’t explain the radio silence and the unwillingness to break it.
Then I looked at the date on my last blog post, and I realized that shortly after that I was told by someone I admire that I was basically a know-it-all. It wasn’t meant to silence me as a girl or to shut me down professionally, but it has had a huge influence on the way I see myself and my role in professional relationships. Maybe I am a know-it-all, but being reserved to the point of timid is not helping me to be invested in my field. It’s not a quality I admire in my peers or the people I look up to, and I need to find a way to balance my tendency to get excited about ideas with my ability to listen without just retreating.