When I first began blogging about widowhood, and letting it all hang out, many people remarked to me how honest, passionate, and in depth my entries were. I shared with my blog readers exactly what was going on in my life with the emotions of having lost a spouse.
As I continued writing, and realized more and more people, and strangers, were reading, I wondered how to balance how much I shared with people who may be reading me for the first time. What would they come away with from my blog?
One blog in particular was a turning point for me, when I realized there was a particular topic that was being highly judged in the widowed community when brought up in online forums. I knew that I needed to share my own story about what choice I had made, and the positive and negative impact of that choice, so that others in my grieving community would not feel alone, rejected and judged as I had. But it meant exposing my weakness, my shame, my worry, my very intimate life with not only strangers, but possibly friends and family who may choose to read it. It took me a long while, and a lot of encouragement from my writers group, to finally publish that blog. The reaction to that piece is still worth every awkward word that I typed. The responses I have gotten from other widows, who that blog was meant for, still come in. They share their own journeys with me and the shame and concern that they, too, have. It continues to encourage me that I made the right decision.
As we were discussing blogging last evening, an old friend and I stumbled upon our mutual struggle with how much to share on a blog that may be read by strangers. Since I published that blog several years ago, I’ve felt myself pull back from sharing as openly and honestly as I once felt was necessary. I wanted to be transparent on my blog – what you see is what you get. I can’t say that my blog is that way anymore.
While there are many factors to this decision, probably the most important and life changing for me was entering a serious relationship that led to marriage. I knew that the words I put out to the general public may impact his life and the feedback he received about me. I didn’t want those opinions and concerns to change our relationship and I still don’t. I struggle with wanting to share about my life’s journey, yet offending people I love, care about, and also those I don’t even know.
I put a challenge out to my friend last evening, and to myself, that in the next month we share something open and without restriction. It doesn’t have to be mind-altering, but it does have to be honest, transparent. I don’t know how she felt after I said it, but I know I immediately went, “oh my what did I get myself into?”. I hope I got myself into a challenge with myself to become an attentive and active writer again; to step away from vague ideas and concepts, and to truly share in the spirit that it may help clear my mind, and may help someone else. Challenge accepted.