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.