Someone asked me something the other day that really struck me and made me think. I couldn’t even answer them immediately. In fact, I have yet to answer them. I think though, that it is an answer all of you deserve to hear. The question was…
How can you be so honest in your writing? Reveal so much? Type so deeply?
My blog is the one place I can be honest. I guess, after some time, I began to rely on that safe place to go to. I needed it, whether you liked my posts, commented on my posts, or even read my posts. I needed somewhere to go that I could be completely honest and not be judged for it. I needed my safe place.
If you know me in real life you know that I struggle with honesty, well I should say openness. Shoot, if you know me through my blog you know that I struggle with openness in real life. I very rarely open up and tell people what I really think, what I really feel, what I really fear, or dream, or hope.
I’ve built a massive towering wall and even those closest to me never really get to see what’s behind that wall. So how did all this openness begin?
In the beginning, awhile after God created day and night, I accidentally opened up. I never meant to, really. I got angry. That’s usually when a great deal of true feelings come out, when someone is angry, if you really listen you can hear them. I was angry over an article I read detailing about men not having any rights or consequences to an unborn child. That men had no feelings either way. It angered me to the core and I spewed my anger across the keyboard and onto this blog.
Whoever wrote that article was wrong. Men do care. They have the same exact hopes and dreams and fears about that unborn child that a woman does. The ONLY difference is that men have absolutely no voice for those feelings until after the child is born, then we’re okay with them caring about their baby. In fact, we demand they care about that baby or suffer being labeled a deadbeat dad. We’re wrong, it’s wrong, and what we’re doing to men is wrong.
Point proved; it pissed me off! So I wrote a post about it. A post where I shared why I felt I had a right to voice my own opinion. Why I felt that my viewpoint was the correct way to see things.
By the next morning I had calmed my roll a little and realized that I had just told “the entire world” a secret that only a very few select people in my life knew. I didn’t just tell them but I had told them my true reasons, which weren’t very good reasons. I was embarrassed and terrified of what I had waiting for me in my comment thread.
I logged onto WordPress much more hesitantly that morning. When I logged on though, I was met with hundreds of loving, supportive comments. I was met with comments thanking me for sharing the truth that so many others were too scared to share. I was met with gratitude from others for doing nothing more than being honest with them.
In that moment a little seed was planted inside of me. I didn’t know it yet, but that seed was digging it’s roots into my soul, slowly growing, spreading, creating.
I worked at being more honest with you all. I knew that you each appreciated it and it was helping me too. I was healing and growing in ways I didn’t even know needed healed or grown. So, I went with it.
In the meantime, I was working on growing my blog. I was trying to find my niche. This was a struggle. I didn’t have a niche. I’m probably the most average blogger one could come across. I could never find that one little thing that made me special, to make my readers keep coming back. Thankfully, y’all kept coming back anyway. I was grateful, but I didn’t really understand why.
As time went on I got the comment or two here and there complimenting my honesty, or openness. They’re kind of one in the same to me. The comments made me glow with pride. It was very important to me and having a reader recognize that quality in one of my posts made me feel good. I still didn’t know why though.
In my mind I compared it to spending half the day scrubbing down the kitchen. All the dishes were done and in their place. The microwave and stove was sparkling. The floor could be eaten off of. The garbage can looked and smelled as if I had bought a brand new one. Even the dog dishes gleamed in the light. The compliments were no different, I presumed, than someone coming home from work and complimenting how wonderful the kitchen looked. But deep down, buried with that little seed, these compliments were so much more.
I worked at being honest and open and when someone acknowledged my hard work, it felt good.
It was way more than that though. As the little seed inside grew and sprouted throughout my soul, interesting things began occurring in my life.
I began opening up to those around me. Being more honest about what was really going on inside my head and heart. Not in the immature twisted ways of anger or such things, but in a legit calm manner. A manner which others could truly understand.
For example, I sometimes have horrifically vivid nightmares of tragic things happening to my son. I’ve had them since he was born and have summed it up to my irrational fear that God would take my son away from me as I took my first child from His world. My son is ten now and I still have these dreams on occasion.
Just the other day I had one of these awful dreams. My son had spilled boiling hot cocoa on his face and it cascaded down his body. The pain was so immense that he fell limp to the floor. I scooped him up screaming for my husband but my husband was taking his good old time as though all was well. I was panicked, running with my son in my arms towards our car screaming hysterically to my husband that he needed to go to the hospital. My son woke up slightly and began moaning in pain. I looked down into his eyes, my heart breaking as he slipped into unconsciousness again. I was flooded with guilt. Guilt because moments before I realized how badly he was hurt I had angrily screamed at him to clean up the mess as he stared at me blankly. I was overwhelmed with guilt and fear as I held my little boy in my arms, helpless to get him the immediate care he needed. And I woke up.
About a week ago I had another dream where I was letting him steer for me, for just a split moment. Our car sailed off the edge of the road through a hill of brush and landed in the lake below. I woke up just as the car went dark and the last bit of air was filled with water. The last thing I was doing was struggling with my son’s seat belt, panicked because it wouldn’t unlatch.
I just recently started telling my husband about these dreams. I told him about the car one and we both walked away agreeing that I have some messed up dreams. The other day I told him about the hot cocoa one, but this time I told him why I believed I had these dreams. Even though I don’t think God is after my son anymore, I do think that a part of my subconscious has held a tight grasp onto this fear I had held in secret for so long.
I’ve had these dreams for over ten years. I have them a few times a month on average. I’ve been in a relationship with my husband for nearly twelve years. I have told him about maybe 3 of these dreams. It is apparent to me that my being so open in my blogging world is crossing over to my real life.
So, to sum it up, I can be so honest, open, and revealing in my blog because it has done nothing but to bring good things. But…
That’s probably not the real question behind the question I was asked. The true question, I believe, is why can’t you be so open?
The short answer, fear. Being open leaves you vulnerable. We have been conditioned to believe that vulnerability is a bad thing. It is not. In fact, vulnerability might just be the best thing ever. Here’s why…
Vulnerability opens you up to be accepted by others. You are scared they are going to judge you, and yes one in a million might. But, one in a million people are just assholes, so forget about them. Truly think about how you feel, think, respond to someone that is open with you.
Recently I had a friend of mine, probably by accident, reveal an insecurity that I believed was the last thing this person would ever have. Without going into too much detail due to the persons preference for privacy, they pretty much allowed me to see that they think they’re not good enough. I had always believed this person thought they were the best thing ever. I was so taken aback by this persons vulnerability that I couldn’t even reply right away to reassure them that they’re one of the best people I know.
In that moment I saw this person in an entirely new light. A bad light? Heavens no. It was the best light I had ever seen this person in before. It was the first time I had ever told this person how great of a person I truly believe they are.
Vulnerability creates a connection that deep inside we are all desperately seeking.
What I’m saying is that the fear is completely irrational. No one is going to judge you for being human. They are going to run to you with their arms wide open… they are going to thank you and love you and best of all, let you see that they are human too.
Knowing this one small truth is how I can be so honest in my writing. Reveal so much. Type so deeply. But, the real secret of this post is… that you can too!
What are you holding back?
~See me behind the blog at Sarah Plotts’ Instagram