There’s a small, quick breath of uncertainty that comes just before hitting PUBLISH on a post, especially when I write from the more private and unfamiliar depths of my heart. These stories and emotions that only a select few have heard, or perhaps witnessed, suddenly become exposed to a larger audience. My anxiety becomes less about the quality of my words, the grammatical structure or spelling, but about acceptance and understanding.
My mom asked me yesterday if I was worried about any fall-out from family or friends in regards to my post on Tuesday. I won’t lie. There was some hesitation as my cursor hovered over the large blue PUBLISH icon, concerned I would disappoint some of my dearest to the point of severing ties. However, as I looked at my words again, it was hard to think that those who truly loved me, could stop loving me for being honest. So I published.
My family is a rare symphony of harmonious melodies. Although our musical structure is slightly altered from one another, sometimes even trying to blend major and minor chords, the time-signature unites us. Our hearts beat in unison, loving each other unconditionally and I have no fear of being an outcast. We have a unique ability to honor one another because of our differences, not in spite of them.
Friendships are different. They are relationships based on limited perspective most of the time, shared interests and similar activities; glimpses of ourselves that we have allowed over time. We tend to morph into whatever personality best fits the relationship, too. I don’t think it makes us dishonest, or false, just guarded and safe. It makes us likeable.
My twentieth high school reunion is coming up in October, over our homecoming weekend. I’m excited about fall football in Texas, sharing funny antics about our “glory-days” and of course seeing how far many of my classmates have come in the last twenty years. It’s strange to me how Facebook and my blog have perhaps made me better friends with my classmates now than we ever were in high school. Somehow, these relationships sparked by our childhood, are now united by unexpected bonds that are not distracted by childish drama, economic divisions, or education. We are more transparent, partly due to maturity, but maybe also partly due to some false anonymity the internet provides.
I do think I am finally closer to the person I wanted to be.
Transparency is a crazy thing, though. I think there is a fine line between choosing to be transparent for the shock value versus being honest. Motivation is essential. I also think a writer must first write for themselves, then for their audience. We have to stop thinking about how we can use each piece to get paid or recognized. We have to write simply because the story itself is more important than anything else, regardless of the outcome, as if keeping those words bottled up inside would make our hearts explode.
I saw a wonderful quote yesterday on page 9 of Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s Pen on Fire that said:
You cannot do good work if you take your mind off the work to see how the community is taking it. – Dorothy L. Sayers
This time, the community embraced my post with open arms, surrounded me with hope and encouragement. I could finally get out of myself and see how my story could positively impact another woman’s life rather than focus on how it negatively impacted mine. I know that won’t always be the case, honesty isn’t always received with such generosity and friendship. But hopefully, if I continue to focus on the work, and stop worrying about how the community will take it, I will hesitate less before hitting the PUBLISH button.
After all, isn’t that why most of us started blogging in the first place, to tell our stories?