My first published piece of writing was in the junior-high-school newspaper. I don’t remember how it ended up in the paper. My friend’s dog was run over, and I was devastated. The only thing that I knew to do with my young grief was to write. I simply needed to write.
That was also why I started blogging. I needed a place where I could give my feelings a voice. While I have never aspired to be a writer, I am a person who needs to write, to take pen and paper or keyboard and spill out what is inside in order to make sense of it all.
In the process of blogging, I healed, and I learned from all of the wonderful people who interacted with the things I shared.
It surprises me how many people blog under their real names. At first I was very afraid and worried that my blog would be discovered by people who knew me. Anonymity seemed necessary in order to journal in such a public realm.
I grew to treasure the freedom of expression without scrutiny. For several years this has been an oasis, a secret place to process my journey – thoughts that are unpolished and unedited, free to be wrong, and subject to change.
My real world has been skating dangerously close to my blog lately. I have prepared myself for the inevitability of discovery.
With friends reading The Shack and Pagan Christianity, I hear of them talking about the internet places that I tend to hang out. Blog searches on abuse, authority, and apostles are leading them to blogs that are very close to home.
My carefully constructed walls seem to be developing fault lines.
I have had to question whether I am willing to take responsibility for my words and to reconcile this secret life with my public life.
There is a disconnect between the person that the blog-readers know and the person that my friends know. The blog writer is a part of me that I have not given my friends a chance to know.
I don’t feel like I have been deceitful or unaccountable about who I am in my writing. The blog-readers with whom I have developed email relationships know my real name and, if circumstances allowed, would be welcome to visit my home. I am willing for them to know the real me and meet my family and friends.
Yet it is somewhat ironic to share your thoughts freely with random strangers. These strangers though have been incredibly trustworthy with my thoughts and feelings. I am not sure yet if I trust my acquaintances to be as gracious.
The fear of having my blog discovered is that I envision people reading it voyeuristically as if it were a tabloid, my words becoming fodder for the local gossip mill. If people are going to read and discuss my writing, I would rather it be done in relationship.
The blog puts more of my thoughts and feelings out there than I would normally share with the people I know. I think that we all sense the degree of openness we can have in various relationships and about specific topics.
In an earlier post, I once said:
“I think, to a degree, that all of us package ourselves in appropriate ways for the group we are with. Do you ever get the feeling that people couldn’t handle a full dose of you, a straight-out-of-the-bottle, unrefined, undiluted 100% dose of the real you?”
I worry that people may end up with a fuller dose of my thoughts than they ever wanted or expected.
Initially, I was in this journey alone. Now, I don’t really want to be responsible for influencing how others process their journey out of the CLB and into whatever is next for them.
Maybe that’s the bottom line. This is my journey and my process of figuring things out. I don’t want it to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Risk, vulnerability, trust? We’ll see.