In Letters to a Young Contrarian, Hitchens wrote what has become my favorite quote from him:
"Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence."
It made me think of my life so far and how during much of its duration I regretfully kept silent. I used to be very shy when I was younger. I rarely, if ever, spoke up in public. I'd usually sit in my chair in school, emotionless and timid, afraid to talk to anyone. I had no confidence in who I was. I couldn't make friends. I couldn't talk to girls. I'd keep my opinions all to myself, afraid I'd be mocked by my peers for exposing what they were. The interests that I had, like science and history, were simply not "cool" in the culture I grew up in and I suppressed my knowledge of them, thereby suppressing the main source of confidence available to me.
Then I got older. Towards the very end of high school and into college I began to break free from my cocoon. With some luck I made friends. I started to speak up in class and offer my opinion. I took several public speaking courses that greatly helped my ability to speak in front of audiences. At times I got really good at it, becoming the most outspoken person in the class. In fact, in one professional development class in college, my professor called me the best student in the class. I had achieved this by showing off all my knowledge of history and philosophy, which greatly impressed him. I had finally, right around that time, "found myself" so to speak.
Today I am very comfortable in my skin. I like who I am. I like my personality. I like my interests. I like my sense of humor. I am very outspoken now. Hitchens' quote further inspires me to not stay silent. When it comes to philosophy and politics I cannot even imagine being shy about them at this point in my life. There will be an infinite amount of time after I'm dead when I'm not going to be saying or writing shit. During this finite amount of time I have in this universe it is absolutely imperative that I be heard so that there's at least a chance that my views will makes waves. That's why I can never stay silent. Not anymore.