When I first started blogging in Ye Olden Dark Ages (2008, which feels like a lifetime ago sometimes) I didn’t really think about what I was writing in terms of who would read it. Because I didn’t really think anyone would. (And let’s not even get started on the LiveJournal I had in college. ELL OH ELL.)
But then people did start reading, and I started paying attention to the way things happened in this weird blogging culture and I had some decisions to make about what and how I would share my life and my family’s life online. Some of that came from trial and error and some of it came from watching other people’s trial and error. But it all came just the same.
So I came up with some rules about what I would and wouldn’t share here and while I won’t say I’ve never broken them, I’ve tried my best to blog within the confines of my guidelines.
- Don’t court controversy for controversy’s sake.
- Don’t embarrass people on purpose.
- Don’t let your blog hurt the people you love.
I’ll expound on the first two in later posts, but it’s really the last one that has given me trouble lately.
Truth is weird. Sometimes our truth about a situation isn’t someone else’s truth about that same situation.
When we talk about our truth, what we mean is our perspective. What we saw, how we felt, what we thought.
This blog is written from my perspective. For example, one of the many truths I’ve shared here is that while I love my children fiercely and would gladly and willingly lay down my life for them if asked, sometimes they make me crazy. As they grow up, I’ll tell them about the times they did really awesome things that made me laugh and smile and the times they made me crazy.
And I’ll also encourage them to share their perspectives with me and maybe I won’t like what they have to say. But maybe I will.
Sometimes the truth hurts, but another person’s truth might be more right than our own.
I mean, feelings can’t really be wrong. You feel how you feel. And sharing our perspective with others is the only way to let them know how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking about a situation. Even when that perspective–our truth–might hurt them. Sometimes we have to do that, but there are ways to do that which are smart and ways to do that which are mean and spiteful.
And that’s where I’ve been for a couple of weeks now.
I’ve struggled privately with sharing my perspective on a decade worth of situations with someone I love dearly. I’ve been unable to find the words to say to her because I knew that saying them would probably cause her pain.
And while I tried to figure out how to share them privately with her, I’ve wanted so desperately to come here and vomit out all the hurt in my heart and head so I could purge myself of all the bad but I knew that in doing so, I risked hurting her, both her reputation and her heart, because she reads.
This blog can’t be the place for hurting people, no matter how much I wanted to lay bare my own soul. It just can’t. Not now, not ever.
But that’s the weird thing about blogging. At some point, you’re sort of expected to share. Nearly condemned if you don’t.
People expect you to tell them what’s happening in your life or they start filling in the blanks. Or they’ll talk and claim they’re just judging based on what you do share in that tongue-clicking way that seems to scold bloggers for holding back.
People want what they believe is “authenticity.” But there’s this fine and sometimes zig-zagging line that has to be walked when it comes to deciding what to share and how to share it in order to balance what is authentic and perhaps helpful and what is the definition of oversharing.
No matter how much it sucks for me to keep my perspective inside my head sometimes, I will not use my blog to hurt people, intentionally or unintentionally. Because words do hurt, no matter what the rhyme says, and there’s enough pain and suffering in the world without my words to add more hurt to the mix, you know?
I guess my point of this ramble about truth and perspective is that there’s a lot that never gets shared here, and I hope that’s not painting an inauthentic view of my life because, while I don’t want my words to hurt people, I don’t want to come across as phony either.
And that’s the truth.
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Wednesday 27th of November 2013
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Wednesday 16th of October 2013
This is something I don't struggle with at all. What I do write, I will write honestly. I will be true to myself, be honest with myself, and reflect that in what I write. But I will not write about everything, because vulnerability isn't about taking off your armor all the time. It's about choosing who to show your soft, squishy parts to carefully. There is an audience for everything. And the internet audience? Has not earned a skeleton key to my life.
I don't write about my parents because they value their online anonymity. And I don't write much about sex because my husband would die of embarrassment. And if I have a personal issue with someone, I'm more likely to write about my feelings and be vague about the specifics, because I am the only person here who agreed to share about her life.
I agree with Story. I believe you are authentic. It's why you are on my "must read" list.
Saturday 26th of October 2013
I can be true to myself and honest with myself when I'm the only one involved in the situation. When there are others wrapped up, I start to struggle with how and what to say.
I like your line about vulnerability and skeleton keys. No, the internet hasn't earned that. I think in this particular situation, I couldn't write about my feelings because it would've felt...hmm...pointed? Directed at the person involved in the situation.
I just like to choose my words very carefully.
Tuesday 15th of October 2013
You don't have to say everything to be authentic. You are real and I am grateful, and you are doing it right.
Saturday 26th of October 2013
Thank you. I think the thing I struggle with is that I don't want people to think that my life is one way when the reality is different, you know? I am human, incredibly flawed. I don't want people to think I have it all together when I most certainly do not.