I wrote a lovely, light-hearted post about summer picnics that I’d scheduled for today but somehow it doesn’t feel right to hit the publish button and keep moving.
On Saturday night as I was getting into bed I read THIS blog title and I must’ve groaned out loud because Jim asked me from across the room.
“What’s wrong Les? What happened?”
And then I read him the first few lines written by my blogger friend and he let out a deep sigh and ever since then, I’ve had these words stuck in my head that I’ve needed to get out.
If you’ve been following Pat’s blog you probably already know she’s been going through some tough times because she’s shared bits and pieces of her struggles with her awful neighbors and her pending relocation--and now this.
It’s simply tragic. But instead of focusing on her loss, this post is really about a brief apology she made about a particular post being a “downer.” It was just a few innocuous words and she might not even remember them.
But her words struck me.
In fact, immediately after I read her word “downer” I wanted to write about this topic. Our fear that if we share our troubles openly we might be viewed as “being negative” or—if we reveal too much real life on our blogs it might turn off our readers. I certainly can’t speak for Pat’s feelings but I can relate to having fleeting moments of insecurity after I’ve hit the publish button.
Most recently about a post entitled, I Am Crazy Person, So What, (although apparently not enough to choose a safer title)
But mostly I wanted to tell Pat not to worry about my reactions to her post. Because truthfully, there are no feelings she could share that would cause me to judge her. No agonizing struggles that would turn me off or sad posts that would make me skirt over her blog.
It’s just not going to happen.
Does that sound strange to you? Because I’m aware that my professional background makes me an oddity at times, it’s colored the lens that I view Life from and it’s given me the ability to casually tell my boys,
“You know, there’s nothing you can ever tell me that will shock me. Seriously, I’ve heard it all.”
And lucky for me, it’s the truth (courtesy of years in the session room). And I would only mention this to them as a reassurance. Because in the end, isn’t this what we all want? To be accepted for who we really are? To feel like we don’t have to hide any fragile, little-piece-of-ourselves? And that we can express our truths without fear of being judged or shamed?
When it comes to friendship this is the kind of person I aspire to be, whether I’m reading your posts or sitting across from you. The person who is not afraid of your feelings, whatever they might be. I think this kind of emotional acceptance is the kindest gift we can offer someone.
Those glimpses beneath the surface of another person’s life? I consider those a privilege. The deeper stuff. Those heartbreaking losses. The messy struggles. It all tends to flood me with tender feelings in fact, these are the kind of experiences that help me feel connected to someone, bonded by what others might label as ‘negative emotions,’ and I consider simply our humanness.
This is why I’ve been touched by certain bloggers –like Pat--who have dared to share a piece of their heart on their blog, not realizing the extent that women like me would feel moved by this kind of intimacy and raw truth. I’ve appreciated when Michele opened up about her BRCA2 gene and her subsequent surgeries. When Simone shared her anguish over her daughter’s struggles. When Cathi shared her thoughts about the fragility of life. When Loo wrote about her struggles to find a balance between work and family life and finally decided to leave her career. And when Jessah continues to share her heartbreaking struggle to get pregnant.
These are the kinds of posts that help me know the real person behind the blog. And even though these may be tough topics to read about, they remind us that we are all connected as women, trying to do the best we can.
The truth is Pat’s concern about being a “downer” for her readers was not simply a blogger’s dilemma. I think it’s common in real life too. Maybe you’ve been hesitant to open up about your sadness or your anxieties, the things that keep you up at night…..
because of what others might think.
Because there’s a whole lot of pressure out in the world to only show our most perfect selves. Our lovely homes, our high achieving kids, our problem-free relationships. And maybe that’s the point of this rambling post. It’s a post about being real. About knowing your deeper feelings and finding a way to share them with people who truly care because that’s how healing happens. And one more thing. Please don’t ever feel self conscious because you’re going through tough times. Because it’s all part of life. And real friends will understand
In the meantime, today the world mourns the loss of one amazing fifteen year old because Pat has lost her precious grand-daughter. If you get a moment, please stop by and offer her your condolences.
As for me, today I will not complain about ONE thing. Not one. I will welcome each inconvenience (my internet is down I may not be able to publish this)
and anything that goes wrong today in honor of those like Pat and her family who are truly suffering.
Today I’m aware that time is really a gift and I will be grateful for every single moment.
…tell me what you think.
I’m linking this inspiration post up with these friends: