Taking a risk

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!]

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11 responses to “Taking a risk

  1. Nice read …

    Please continue to give us, the “General Public” your perspective and insight. The anonymity is great. I will definitely add your blog to my daily must list

    ~blkirish

  2. As I say, there are lots of nice people out there! Glad you enjoy reading it.

  3. What you experienced with someone you loved rejecting your truths — that seems like a profound experience, and I can see how it would make you stronger for having come through it. It does make one wonder, how can someone claim to know another’s truths? How audacious.

    Well, now that I write that, I realize people do that all the time. I do it, and especially with people I love and know well.

    I’ve never been attacked in my writing or art. While we’re being honest, I have to wonder if it’s because I’ve played it safe all these years.

  4. Boy, do I know about risk! I’m so sloppy on my blog, and yes, I have written things that I wouldn’t really want to be public knowledge. Technically it’s anonymous, but there are a couple of small ways in which I’m not as careful as I could be.

    Mostly, I think I take the possibility that I might be traceable as part of the risk I have to take in order to get what I need out of my blog. It’s worth it. I’ve grown and learned from some of those posts. I leave them there because they’re real, they’re part of me, and deleting them after I’ve grown through them would be like denying a part of myself.

  5. Ybonsey – yes, you’re right, we all have our own picture of what is going on for other people – I think it’s a necessary part of having a relationship with them.

    But problems arise when someone starts to believe that their picture of another person is more reliable than that person’s self-scrutiny. This is arrogant, unhelpful and a powerful way to wreck communication.

    Of course there is often stuff going on emotionally that we’re not always aware of in ourselves, and find it difficult to admit to. Sometimes we guess that this might be happening for our friends, and in some circumstances it can be helpful to suggest to them, without being judgmental, that this might be the case. But at the end of the day the only person who can decide whether that is true is the person themselves.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts Lynet – a useful reminder about how difficult it is to be entirely anonymous!

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  9. If we don’t take risks, we aren’t really living. Great post. 🙂

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