Nothing to do with opinions. I just like owls.
Blogging is all about saying what you really think.
Unfortunately, that's never been something I was very good at.
Having discovered as a teenager that my likes and dislikes didn't run in accordance with fashion or popular tastes (see G), I developed an almost pathological fear of giving an opinion. I'm the kind of person who agrees with others for the sake of harmony. The kind who doesn't declare a great passion for any particular book or film or TV series, and can always see the good points about anything. I pretend to admire things I secretly find hideous and keep quiet when someone airs a view I find offensive. Except with family and my long-suffering partner, I avoid debates on politics and religion and other sensitive topics. I'm so used to suppressing my opinions in public that sometimes I don't even know what they are myself.
The irony is, I developed this meek, self-effacing facade out of a desire to be liked. It didn't occur to me that anyone who stops liking me because of one of my opinions probably isn't someone I want to like me. And I didn't realise, either, that it's the people with interesting and definite views on things who are remembered. Who are respected. Who are admired. Holding back is just another way of making myself anonymous. And that's not what people want, from a blog or from a friend.
Being online has helped me, to a certain extent. OK, this blog isn't exactly controversial, but I'm able to write things I wouldn't say in person. I realise that can be a bad thing – that people can go too far the other way and come out with all kinds of extreme opinions they'd never dream of sharing with their friends and colleagues in the real world. But hopefully, it can also give those like me enough practice that we'll start speaking up for ourselves outside the blogosphere.