Lately, I have been thinking a lot about why I keep this personal blog up and running. Last night I was talking to my husband about the mammogram that I had earlier in the day and I said I shared I was going here and on Facebook and Twitter to normalize the experience for everyone. We all go through things that are challenging, exciting, frustrating and lovely. When we share those experiences, those stories, we allow others to see and feel that whatever they are experiencing is part of the fabric of being human. Our moments, good and bad, are woven together to make who we are.
Now, I won't be dishonest that it has gotten me into hot water. When I first started blogging I was fired from a job because they said I blogged about looking for lots of opportunities (granted, that was the excuse, but whatever), my blog was copied and pasted into email and sent to my entire church congregation with commentary from one member (humiliated to the biggest degree and one reason I don't go any more), my blog was printed verbatim in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette without acknowledgement of my identity to humiliate me and my opinions by a columnist.
So, why keep doing it? Because I believe that ultimately we are better when we share our stories with honesty and integrity. We are better when we own up to our crap. We are better when we live a life of courage and authenticity. And that means sharing.
Now, I live in a very small town, by choice. I don't blog much about where I live, the people in it or the stories I hear. I don't want to become a local gossip rag. I also don't want to misinterpret other peoples experience and, honestly, I want to protect myself from some of the mean behaviour I have seen in my 10 years here. That said, I know folks read it, and that is fine. If I wrote it out on the world wide web it really isn't a secret.
I grew up in a family that didn't have a lot of secrets from each other, but I was ashamed and afraid to tell everyone about the chaos that was happening in my home. Hell, I couldn't even process what all of that was, much less share it with anyone. So I felt, for a long time, that I couldn't tell anyone about the real stuff that was happening. I had to pretend it was all ok. Well, let me tell you, that makes you crazier because when the house come crumbling down around you and you are still trying to dust the shelves, well that's crazy. Plus, I found that my experiences weren't very different then other peoples. They had mental illness in their families, people died, people divorced, family members had addiction issues, depression runs rampant throughout most families, kids aren't perfect, jobs don't work out - whatever it is, well, we all share those moments and if someone tells you their story, wraps you in their blanket for a moment, then maybe your life isn't so bad.
So, I share. I share the mundane, the good, the bad, the silly and the sad. I live a life of open door and open hearts. That may make me open to being hurt, but I would rather live like that then bar the doors and live a scared life. I'm not perfect, but I am trying every single day to do good work. I'll be sharing it here, and I hope you share your life too.
Photo: Saskatchewan Storytellers