I take a risk when I write about my private thoughts in a public space. Blogging is both more satisfying and more scary than writing privately or to friends, because I’m putting my personal thoughts on display to random strangers who come by. So far all the people who’ve commented have been extremely friendly and have commented in ways that made me feel they understood where I was coming from. But there’s always a risk that someone will come by who is less understanding, someone who will say something hurtful.
So why do I want to write all this? Is it a good idea, or am I setting myself up for trouble? It has a lot to do with the way my last relationship ended, I think. The break-up made me really think about honesty – with myself and the world. It made me really want to be heard and understood.
My ex kept demanding that I speak honestly, without filtering what I said. As I’ve said in some previous posts, there were bits of the truth I wasn’t aware of at the time. But I always tried to tell the deepest truth I knew, taking the time to really find the most honest answer to his questions, or my most honest reaction to situations. The problem was that, for a variety of reasons, he could not accept that what I said was the truth. So he kept telling me that he did not believe me, that I had a hidden agenda, and that I wasn’t being honest with myself or with him.
Being honest with someone you care about is always a risk. And it hurts when you are not believed. It hurts when you are rejected. It hurts when someone is unwilling to listen to you, or talk to you. But the truth is there, regardless.
And something in me is burning to speak that truth, and to be heard speaking it. To put into words and into the world what I am feeling and the truth of what I am. To stand unashamed and naked before the world and say – “This is what I am thinking. If what I say is wrong, I am ready to change my mind, but I am still proud to be me.”
So yes, I am prepared to stand in front of the world, speak the truth as I see it, and listen to what the world has to say. If people like it, fantastic. If they reject it, then either they have good reasons to do that or not. If they have good reasons, bring them on – I’m prepared to change my mind. If they have bad reasons or no reasons at all, then they deserve to be ignored.
It’s strange – having had some deeply personal truths rejected by someone I loved and respected has somehow made me much more confident about that truth. It hurt like hell at the time – but I’m still alive and strong. I know I can survive rejection and deeply personal criticism by someone to whom I was completely honest, open and vulnerable. So why should I be afraid that a stranger’s words can hurt me?
And so writing this blog, and sharing my thoughts with the world, is a statement of my confidence in myself and in what I have to say. I’m not unaware of the risks, but I am choosing to go ahead regardless.
Some risks are life-affirming. I think this is one of them.
[Like my earlier posts breaking the silence and hair, this is a 15 minute writing practice on a subject suggested by Red Ravine – this week’s topic being taking risks in writing – an interesting choice of subject! I’ve done a little minor editing – mostly clarifying some sentences that wouldn’t otherwise make sense to anyone but me!]