I often question if I’m doing the right thing by putting my personal life on show for anybody to read. As a teenager I wrote pages and pages in my diaries and wondered how it would feel if other people read my most secret and shameful thoughts. I approached the idea with a cavalier “that’ll teach them to mess with me” attitude, almost hoping that somebody would find my diaries so the world could know how unjust it had been.
Of course, my diaries eventually got read; it’s not long since I found one in my mother’s room, tucked away in a chest of drawers. The teenage romance of justice suddenly felt very shallow indeed; my life was exposed, and I didn’t like it. I’d been writing Halfway Between for a year before that happened, and I admit it did bring a new fear of being judged. Knowing my mother read that diary served as a reminder that real people are following what I’m saying.
I think writing a personal blog can have a lot of negatives, especially when it comes to subjects you’ve laid yourself bare on. My mother doesn’t understand why anybody would speak about themselves on the internet, and I’m still not quite sure why I do. Yes, it helps me rationalise emotions and let off dangerous steam, but not everybody will understand that. Not everyone who reads my posts will know how I’m really feeling at that moment, and nobody knows my entire history. In each post I write there’s an opportunity to criticise me, and sometimes the fear of that keeps me awake at night.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I can’t sit in an ivory tower and demand exclusion from all criticism because it inevitably upsets me. I’m not a special little snowflake by any means, and I can’t expect the world to surround me in bubble wrap until it feels safe. By putting my world out there, I leave myself open to everything, and I really do question why I do that. I know it helps, but I can’t help but wonder just what would happen if somebody really pushed me.
You see, I’m far from invincible. A lot of my more extreme behaviours are under control but I still have the underlying fear of being abandoned, and to my addled mind criticism = abandonment. As far as I’ve come, that fear still triggers that fight-or-flight response, and I’m not yet strong enough to stop the self-destructive thoughts which smack me in the face whenever I feel trapped in a corner by harsh words. I may not always act on those thoughts anymore – swapping knives and bulimia for writing this blog – but just knowing I still think them is a hard thing to deal with. Sometimes, the concern that I’ll act on them grows into a massive ball of fear, and one tiny strand of all those worries is the fear that I’ll be judged harshly on my words or actions.
You see, I don’t do this for attention. Nobody ever claimed I did, but I do know some bloggers consider personal diaries to be self-indulgent affirmation for weak souls.
Personally, I don’t see how writing a personal blog can ever be anything other than self-indulgent, and I don’t understand why that necessarily needs to be a bad thing; especially if it’s beneficial. Through reading blogs similar to my own, I’ve come to the comforting realisation that I’m not as fucked-up as I perceived myself to be. Most importantly, I’ve learned I’m not alone, and that’s something everybody needs to feel now and then.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been overracting to minor events, turning them into a mess of anxiety and confusion and lashing out verbally in an attempt to protect my corner. So when I received criscism on Facebook this evening regarding a post I wrote on depression, it pushed me into a place I didn’t feel at all safe in. Despite all my efforts to reign in the urge to prove myself, I freaked. My first thought was to retreat here and smack the keyboard a little until the panic subsides, but then I questioned myself.
Do people really need to hear this?
I’ve become convinced that my blog is taking up time and space which could go to a much better cause. I get these feelings sometimes – a favourite hobby is beating myself down – but right now I honestly think I’m pushing it by assuming my feelings mean anything outside my own, fuddled head.
Now, my worry is that this post will be taken as a cry for attention and a bit of sympathy; an ego-boost for the damaged soul. Perhaps deep down it is. Perhaps it’s all that keeps me afloat sometimes. All I know is I don’t want to undo the progress I’ve made by becoming wary of putting a step wrong every time I post, and there’s only so many times I can apologise for slights only I can see.
A while ago, a blogger commented that my posts were too negative. I didn’t understand it, and I still don’t to this day; is there a programme I should be following? Should I gee up my posts and pretend everything’s hunky-dory because things are getting a little morbid?
I’d be lying if I did that and lying has never brought me anything but trouble, so I avoid it these days.
The reality of writing a diary for everybody to see is far from the romanticised revenge of years ago. I don’t want revenge anymore. I don’t care for sympathy, or sit comfortably with platitudes. Empathy, yes. False best-wishes? No, that’s not for me. I no longer feel 100% secure in what I write and the possible consequences my words could have. Despite appearences, I loathe attention, and writing this blog has certainly attracted plenty of that. It’s a hard thing for me to deal with; something entirely new which I was never prepared for. Like compliments, I shy away from attention because the reality of accepting either is something I just can’t process. I may have a big voice and type thousands of words about myself, but that doesn’t mean I feel comfortable doing it.