Blogging and sharing my story and my self online are not things I had entirely thought through when I launched this blog in June 2019. It really was something I did on a whim, almost out of intuition or from a visceral place, without much cognitive or rational assessment of the possible short and long term consequences. I really had not thought about the risks until my then-coach asked me what my plan was for when I’d receive harsh criticism or negative feedback.
Hmm, I remember saying to her, I really had not given this much thought. I guess it would sting, I told her, but I trust that I will have the support and resources to withstand those moments.
Since then, the threat of negative consequences has always danced around in my mind. I have continued to push the boundaries of what I share and put out into this online world for others to read, and for others to judge.
In our second podcast episode on Unraveling, my friend and co-host Reilly asks me why and how I share so openly and with so much vulnerability. “You mean what’s wrong with me?” I ask her laughing. “No”, she replies, “I think the correct question is what’s right with you”.
I wish I could say that I always come from a place of confidence and self-assurance, but the reality is that every time I share on here, I do it with a bit of fear.
Sharing on this blog feels extremely vulnerable, not necessarily because of the content of what I share, but more because I have no control over how my story will be received, nor how sharing will impact my life. Some times I wonder if this is all just crazy. Why the hell would anyone put themselves out there like this? Especially when the risks are real.
I have written about sexuality, masturbation and intimate relationships. Not only are those subjects still taboo, but it also at times involves sharing aspects of other peoples’ lives who may not want to be exposed in this way. The other risk I constantly have to keep in mind is my career – I am a registered professional and there are standards by which I must abide to maintain my license. Writing about such things certainly exposes me to professional repercussions, and even professional suicide.
I have written about illegal things like psychedelics and driving while under the influence of alcohol. I have written about very private moments and insecurities. I have literally exposed some of my most vulnerable parts to the world, and I have to be honest I don’t know why I keep doing it.
I was lucky that I had never been confronted with any real consequences up until recently. For the last two years, I have continued to write and share, aware of the risks, but without anything bad ever happening. So I guess it has been somewhat easy to keep doing this because, although the risks were real, I had never actually experienced any real resistance or obstacle. But it finally happened.
I won’t share much details because I want to respect the privacy and values of the person who was involved. But essentially my blogging and sharing came up as an issue in a relationship with someone I cared about. This was intensely hurtful because criticism came from the place where I needed safety and support the most. Not from the college of nurses, not from an employer, not from a colleague, not from a stranger online; it came from someone close to me.
I have really had to give this all a lot of thought: why the fuck do I feel so called to share like this online? Is it for attention? Is it to perpetuate victimhood? Is it for validation? Is it because I am lonely? Is it even true vulnerability? Is it worth the risks? Is it worth losing a job? Losing my career? Losing relationships?
I am honestly still not sure.
But what I do know is that blogging and sharing has literally helped me become who I am today. It has helped me heal. It has helped me connect with others. It has helped me accept myself and all of my flaws. It has helped me regain a sense of power and purpose around my life and my story.
A few days ago, I was listening to an interview of Arielle Schwartz and she was talking about healing from complex trauma. Complex trauma relates to trauma that happens over time and usually within relationships and society/culture. It’s hard to define because, well, it’s complex. She shared how one of the most foundational things we need is to have our pain witnessed and validated.
And I understood my need to share.
For most of my life, I have been conditioned to believe that my suffering was not valid. I don’t blame any one person, rather I blame our culture as a whole. There is a serious lack of safe spaces where we can just experience our pain and have it be witnessed and validated.
Our culture is built around avoidance of our pain. We literally spend our lives working [often meaningless] jobs to gain money to then purchase things to distract us from our pain (i.e. the human experience). We are obsessed with material things and “success” and productivity … but for what purpose? And at what cost?
The same questions that come up when I ask myself why I blog.
I haven’t quite figured it all out. And I suppose I never will …. because isn’t it our life’s work – to “figure it out”? Oh the time and energy I spend beating myself up for not feeling like I have it figured out … only to realize (again and again), that This. Is. Life.
So, yes, I am taking major risks by blogging and sharing so openly online. And I am taking these risks without even being able to fully articulate what drives me to do it in the first place.
But what I do know, is that the even bigger risk would be not to share. The bigger risk would be to stay quiet. To stay with all of this shame. To not express my self to my full potential. To risk not following the one thing that has brought me so much healing and so much self determination. To risk not doing the thing that literally feels like the most important work of my life.
And that is the one risk I am not willing to take.