29 Dec Breaking my Blog Silence
A blog is a web log. An online journal. A place to jot your thoughts and feelings. A place to tell stories, share photos and express opinions. But, unlike a true journal (or diary), blogs are written to be read. They are like diaries on display. What that means is simply this: what is said or shared on a blog is always something that is anticipated to be seen and/or read. That’s the nature of blogging. To speak and be heard. To share and be seen. To express and be responded to.
You will never hear me say that this is a bad thing. I think it’s a really really good thing. I love blogging. It’s helped me find my voice. It’s helped me find myself. It’s given me a creative outlet that I value deeply and it’s led me to a career I never saw coming. It’s quite honestly, changed the course my life. And I’m confident that it’s going to continue to do so. And likely bring wonderful surprises and opportunities along the way. That’s how things usually work.
Even still, there’s a part of me that has begun to feel uneasy and discontent about blogging. I have been asking myself the same question over and over again, if my blog is my personal journal then why am I not writing about everything? Why am I not feverishly writing about stuff as it occurs; the good, the bad and the ugly?
Long before I became a blogger, I was a journaler. Ever since I was in middle school I wrote about everything that was on my mind and in my heart as it happened, in real time. That was the best part about journaling, writing through things. It was like a daily check in. And the more tumultuous things were, the more I wrote. My dry spells, when days would pass without a single scrawl, usually meant things were at their best. The writing picked up again when I was struggling. It was obviously therapy for me. And it was confidential so I was always at my most authentic because I wrote without censorship, without fear.
My patterns in blogging have become almost the total opposite. I write when things are good. When there’s something wonderful to share. When I’ve have a marvelous trip or a fun outing. When I’ve got exciting news, a new book, a new class or an event on the horizon. When I’ve got photographs to post. And that’s great, because these things are a big part of my life. It’s natural (and fun) to share good news. But why do I stop writing when there’s nothing exceptional to share? Why do my posts slow to a trickle when things aren’t super-exciting, or even more, when things really stink?
That being said, I guess I have used my blog more a cheerleader than a confident. I enjoy the enthusiasm and well, cheer of the cheerleader; shouting something from the rooftops in excitement. Rah, rah! But, other times I need a place to share my struggle as I am in the most confusing, hard part of it and I need a shoulder to cry on. And I don’t use my blog for that very often. It’s not that I don’t share the hard parts of my life, but I’ve noticed that when I do, it’s almost always in hindsight. I don’t usually share my tears in real time. I only talk about them when I’ve used the entire tissue box (or two), I’ve gotten a good night sleep and I’ve gained enough perspective to speak of my struggle or my sorrow, after the fact. In other words, after the mess has been cleaned up. The problem with that is that there’s no telling how long it might take for the trials to cease (weeks, months, years?) which means that the stuff that I probably need to write about the most is not getting “out”. Not in my hardcover journal (I stopped writing in one of those when I took up blogging) nor on my web journal.
For years now, my greatest joy has come from sharing the pretty. I have always been a Pollyanna like that and I tell you true, that it is authentically who I am. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. Everyone does. But, because I don’t openly talk about it, you might not know about what I struggle with, just as I might not know what you struggle with and that makes me feel very alone. And right now on my personal journey, I see that as a huge problem. How is it that I feel alone in anything when I have such a robust network of people that I truly care about, many of whom I know care about me, that I tap into each and every day? I think the disconnect comes because I’m not sharing enough of the actual process of my life. I’m talking the tough stuff, in real time.
So, what about it? Why now? Because lately, I’ve been struggling. Which means all is quiet for me on my tiny piece of blogging real estate. No words, no pictures, no sharing. My blog is barren and I feel more alone in my struggle than ever. And, what I’ve realized is that I’ve become weary of being silent. Of keeping it in. Of holding it back. Of waiting until things are pretty again before I can share how unattractive things feel now. I guess what I am saying through all of this is I want to change things. I want muster up the most courage I can from here and use this space to be my most authentic, even if it means showing parts of myself and/or my life that I have, until now, creatively and conveniently cropped out of my life’s portraits, of the details that I don’t want to talk about in a public forum, of stuff that may change the way people think of me.
I didn’t think I was all that worried about people actually seeing all of me (the joy and the hardship) until a few months ago when I first began to consider pulling back the curtain to share my struggle. But, that’s when all the fear flooded in. And then I found this quote from Rosanne Cash, “The key to change…is to let go of fear.” So, I guess I know what I need to do if I want things to change. Let go of the fear, come out of the closet and start sharing more of my whole, real life. Of both the parts I love AND the parts I don’t love. And that second part is going to be hard. But, I think it’s time.