Last week I wrote an intensely personal post about the changes and inspirations I’m experiencing in my life. My words were the most honest I think I’ve been here. Some may disagree and think that other posts were more revealing, but this one was hard for me. The irony is, I wrote about how happy I am. In fact, I called it radiating. And I am.
But for the entire day after publishing, I felt unsettled. And I’m not sure why. I’m an honest, open person by nature. Discussing my feelings and emotions comes naturally to me. I’m not uncomfortable with it at all. So why this niggling feeling, particularly after a post about such joy?
Two words that feel the same, are often used to mean the same thing. But to me, the difference between them is a meaningful one, especially for the type of community and interactions I want to create. To me, personal details are actually not all that sacred or even private…But what they don’t know – what I don’t want them to know and what it would be hard if they did know – is the vulnerable stuff. The hopes. The anxieties. The prejudices. The irrationalities. The hazy hazards that float before my mind’s eye as I lay down for the night. Only my very closest friends know the vulnerable stuff.
And so, as Kristen so accurately described, my post left me feeling vulnerable. Perhaps the vulnerability is motivated by the intensity of feeling that I’m experiencing, feelings I don’t yet completely understand myself. Perhaps because of that I’m left feeling slightly raw from sharing it with all of you. It certainly doesn’t come from any negative or insensitive feedback. The comments and e-mails I received that day, and for days after were nothing but supportive, positive and generous. But still, a post such as I wrote takes a leap of faith.
As Coffees & Commutes (and before that at Thoughts from a Lite Mocha Mom) has evolved, I’ve considered at length the kinds of things that would be off limits for a blog post. I’ve wondered just how far I would go in sharing my most personal thoughts, or as Kristen says, my “anxieties and irrationalities.” I haven’t been able to definitively say what that would be. Already I’ve shared my most personal thoughts. And I can easily see me sharing more. Because what I write here is meaningful, to me at least. And I enjoy it. It feels good. And I think it’s also meaningful to some of my readers. I know this to be true because so often I find the words of others meaningful and helpful to me.
I discussed this earlier today with my husband. We came to an interesting realization. The issue I have with sharing my vulnerabilities on this blog is that I don’t always know who I am sharing them with. And I think, quite honestly, that could be what’s leaving me unsettled.
When I write, I take the same approach as I would were I having a nice long chat with a friend over coffee. The only difference is seeing a friend face-to-face, inviting that friend specifically to talk, and the ability to really experience their real reactions and fully discuss the issue.
I consider so many of you my friends, some real, some “virtureal.” How could I not? Through my writing I’ve shared things that I haven’t with many others in my life. But just as I’m certain that you are sincere, and true, so am I certain there are virtual strangers who read too.
And though I appreciate everyone who reads, and hope that everyone who does find some value and connection, it is still hard to wrap my mind around this place.
So I find myself at a crossroads. A figurative one that I must fully consider. Through my writing, I’m going where I want to go, but before I go further, I need to reach a more comfortable place. I need to feel confidant that this is the right way. I need some assurances.
And so I ask you: How do you know what’s too much? What is your no-go zone when it comes to writing? When you read others, do you ever feel that someone has crossed the line? Has shared to much? Or do you value honesty? Is it meaningful you to you to read about the vulnerabilities of others? I’d love to know your perspective on this issue.