A few weeks ago, we had a bunch of friends over for a BBQ and drinks. After the kids were sleeping and the lights were out for Earth Hour, we sat around talking. I mentioned something that caused someone to reference this blog. And then everyone chimed in about what they had read that I’ve written. And I stood at the stove, heart beating fast because here were people I know IN REAL LIFE talking about the things I write that they read.
I have kept a journal faithfully since I was 14 years old. I have them all (up until 2001 when I started online) stacked in a pile on a shelf in my closet. Scribblers and notepads littered with doodles and stickers and hearts and peace signs. I wrote poem after cliche-ridden poem in high school and university. I kept them as well. But my writing and my real life have always been severely segregated.
At any given time between the ages of 14 and 24, when I was feeling lost and alone and different than other people, I retreated to a place (on paper and then through a keyboard) that was safe. Online never merged with real life and honestly, the issue of privacy never really occurred to me until recently.
But now the lines between the two are less concrete. And while I’m very careful not to say anything here that I wouldn’t willingly tell anyone in my life face-to-face, I wouldn’t say it so…. whimsically?
The women in my running room created a facebook group, which I joined and proceded to bombard them with articles about running gear and stretches, etc. One from Bodies, and of course, inevitably, they found my place there. Which I, of course, realized would happen. And then I wondered how long until someone else found me here.
The relationships we forge on these blogs with people we may have never met in real life are much more intimate than many “friendships” we hold, because of the sheer amount of details that are shared. Here, I write in detail about how a long tiring day made me feel but to a friend I might simply say things were “not too bad”. We’re more honest here, more open. More raw.
It’s not that I mind anyone finding me here, like I say, I’m careful not to vent too much. But it got me to thinking: if more than a handful of the people I see on a somewhat-regular basis were reading this, would it change the way I write?
I guess we are all afraid of being judged. My fears are that I’ll come across as a flake, as someone who uses cliches to express her emotions and has no idea that her writing isn’t that great, as smug, as arrogant. But in my heart, I know that I am neither smug nor arrogant.
I lay myself out here as honestly as I can, albeit sometimes too vulnerably. But that’s also part of who I am – I am vulnerable. I am emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I can’t take rejection. I put too much weight on people’s minute reactions to the things I say. I’m afraid of offending. I am anti-confrontational. I am gaining self-esteem by the day. I am strong. I am a slow, non-natural runner, but I consider myself one nonetheless. I questions my (emotional and physical) strength daily. I am proud of myself.
And so, I keep writing here, knowing that bit by bit, this little place where I hide is being found. But maybe that’s just another part of my journey, finally letting the people in my life know more of who I am. Whimsical me included.