I am a big believer in sharing parts of myself with others. I do this because when I let people take a glimpse into my world, it sometimes helps those who are struggling with a similar problem. It makes the world a little less lonely – for me and them.
This drive of mine to be transparent and honest on my blog unsettles some people – those who choose to keep their life private. They prefer to only share with those closest to them. I completely understand, honesty can be confronting. When you open your soul to others it is scary. You are then a target of judgment. Or simply, you feel it is no-one else’s business and that is fair enough. It isn’t.
When I start to write about my experiences I always ask myself if anyone else will feel exposed. If in doubt, I ask the person directly. I do not want my friends to feel like every time we are together I am trying to condense our experiences into a 500 word blog post. That is not what real life is about. I often say to people my blog is my story, it is not my place to tell yours, yet sometimes our stories entwine.
When I was a journalist I was always telling other peoples’ stories. I was bound by a code of ethics. Impartiality was my driving force. Now, as a blogger, I have no such restrictions and can discuss openly what drives me. I am free to tell my own story. Sometimes what I write is purely fictional, sometimes it is raw; all of the time it is edited. Because I am a blogger it does not mean I have signed my bloodied name on a contract of holy vows to rip my flesh from my body, exposing my raw bones to you. You do not know my whole truth.
Yet, with my new-found candour, I have also walked into a room full of critics with ferocious appetites. Social media has made judgement such an easy pursuit. Every word I write and release to the world is dissected and served back to me in tiny chewed-up morsels. People dine on my experiences and spit them out if unpleasant with such force it’s like rats with gastro. My words are pushed down into an over-flowing garbage bin, layer-upon-layer of unpalatable morsels gathered from throughout the internet. Those words which are enjoyed are rolled around the reader’s mouth by their eager tongues and savoured. They are presented neatly on fine china so others can dine upon them. Peoples’ hearts and souls passed around shared tables. Words are so easily digested that people forget their manners; they cannibalise you.
In the not so distant past it was just celebrities and politicians who were at the mercy of the connoisseur, now anyone who is a purveyor of truth in the online space can be ripped to shreds or delicately appreciated. You are open slather.
This force of instant judgement has made those who write even more vehement in their discussion, too quick to spew forth their opinions. Quiet words, gently opening yourself to the world, are being lost among the shouting. It is of little wonder I often find myself having to defend blogging which helped me rediscover my personal equilibrium. Even I’ve struggled to find my place in this increasingly unpalatable arena. Drive-through judgment is indigestible and always leaves me unfulfilled and hungry for something more authentic. Real words with substance. Real food without the spit.
So, next time you wonder why I share my truth with strangers it is because, in all honesty it helps me. And sometimes it helps others. I wouldn’t put myself out there for any other reason. The piranhas would eat me alive.