8.12.2010

beeswax.

(Disclaimer: I am aware that I am just a little blogger...a bitty drop in the bucket in comparison to giant, mega-bloggers with millions of views per day. But, I think in writing about our lives, we're all somewhat the same. So here it is.)

Blogging is sticky with a side of sweet. 

When I started blogging two years ago, my voice was soft, quiet. Not yet comfortable with sharing the intimate struggles and joys of a girl in her twenties. In time, specifically within the last year, life became murky and I turned to my laptop, Chuck, to tap out phrases and thoughts which drifted into my head during precious moments of clarity. I progressed, letting down my hair and becoming less edited, discovering that vulnerability was magnetic...it draws more of you than you thought it would. A gentle, quiet freedom builds inside. And writing without a face becomes like a confessional. Veiled in a little anonymity, vulnerability comes much easier. When responses are warm and wise, honesty is nothing to fear. I understand Catholics a little better these days.

Over the past year, as I discovered more individuals than I originally thought were reading my words, I figured I should establish a standard for what I would and would not write. I now write with only two rules:

1. Write only what is true: true in the world, true in my mind or true in my heart.
2. Written words, even if they're true, should never hurt others. Soften anything unflattering, remove identifying details and when involving others, write about them as objectively as possible.

I've stuck to my rules, remaining a strong proponent for honesty and vulnerability. But, most recently, I've found myself at an impasse: when writing transparently, you begin to feel that your beeswax is no longer yours. You occasionally find yourself the target of unsolicited advice, or discover an inquisitive individual probing behind your back, questioning your decisions. As a girl who lives a pretty drama-free, mom-and-dad-approved life...that can be a smidge jarring. Years ago, my people-pleasing self would have been thrown into a nervous tizzy at the thought of someone questioning me. Now my initial instinct is a combination of, "Wow. You really have time for that?" and "Mind your own beeswax." But, I suppose when one posts her beeswax regularly, she puts it out there for others to mind. And, although most mind it nicely, its tough when those distantly removed take time to make things sticky. I've started to think: perhaps transparency, without context, can be slightly dangerous. Perhaps I share too much beeswax here.

But, on the sweet side, I've had such beautiful responses due to transparency: people I don't know, and some I do, letting me know that my silly little life and words have touched them, and brought them clarity or even inspired them. That is something I never expected, but is certainly rewarding. E-mails from women who've struggled as I have with food, their bodies and the desire to be loved...a few women thanking me for saying the words they couldn't find. Those emails and comments can make me cry, wanting to hug the faceless women who are so much like me.

It's sticky. And it's sweet. And I'm not sure what to do. I'll likely change nothing, but I'm pondering.

Dear blog readers...what are your thoughts on vulnerability in blogland? Bloggers, do you have personal boundaries for your own blogging,? Are there pieces of your life you're completely unwilling to share, in order to keep your sanity?

8 comments:

  1. i have thought about these same things...questioned and pondered. it sometimes takes me a while to decide what and how i want to share what is unfolding in my life. i do share most details and try to do so in a graceful and genuine manner. frankly this past year was one hell of a roller coaster and having my blog was an important part of the healing process. so many wonderful, kind and loving women supported me as i came to terms with losing my baby and then having my husband leave me shortly thereafter...i made special friends through my blog and it made it worth it to bare my soul. i decided that i would share my experiences and that was my part...whoever decided to come and read my words could do what they like with the information they gain....
    i enjoy your blog. you make me smile, you write beautifully, you make me think and yours is a special spot in blogland!
    xo.
    k

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  2. I can only commend you for sharing what you do. Your posts are so beautifully written and so often speak close to my heart. Keep writing true to yourself. It is what brings me here and makes me smile.

    Personally I tend to keep myself hidden away in blog-land. Only sharing the bits and pieces that make me whole. I guess it's because I'm still finding myself in this world and putting it out there makes it so solid that I often shy away.

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  3. Bethany,
    I've really enjoyed your posts. You are bright and articulate and manage to hit upon many of the same insecurities that most of us face even when our individual circumstances are, well, individual.
    For most of us the anonimity of the ether world allows a certain freedom; for many of us, it is still a matter of holding certain things back because we don't want to offend or distress a particular reader. (If I can't say it to someone's face, I certainly can't blog about it) but this does eliminate the cathartic element of blogging that I had hoped for.
    My husband has a phobia about being included in my posts, which I respect, so he only gets an occasional mention even though he is my constant companion and delight. And I certainly can't say anything about how crazy my mother makes me if she's going to be reading the posts, but it also means that my entries can be rather lame and one-dimensional.
    I read your posts because of the way you express yourself, and in the process, express common experiences that others can't, for whatever reason, put into words. Although none of us would wish for sad days to continue for you just for the opportunity of reading your reactions, we see that you've grown through them and we've learned from them, too. You've chosen to write for yourself and thus, write for many of us....

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  4. yes, yes, and yes. i am loving and agreeing with all of the above. nothing smothers my blogging inspiration like a creep-o comment from someone in real life. sometimes i feel so insecure that i completely shut down and can't post for days on end. it's so very delicate. you know the cheesy saying about being yourself?...because the people who matter don't mind and the people who mind don't matter? i think it's actually pretty profound. hearing you reflect on those you've inspired and touched assures me that there are plenty more authentic beth posts in the pipes. keep it up my friend.

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  5. Ooh yes! I think about this all the time. I feel my blogs are often boring because I don't mention what I'm really feeling. I'm worried someone I know will read it, so I've started writing my posts like entries in a diary...only less personal. I'm always truthful - I just give a lite version of my feelings, rather than the deep stuff. I love reading your blog because although you stick to your rules, it's always interesting and it flows gently.

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  6. I keep my privacy by not disclosing my name. I don't think I've ever mentioned my first name on my blog, and thrown JEGs' out only a few times.

    I don't have some crazy, rare first name (It's actually pretty common) but it helps me to draw that line of what people are allowed to know.

    Please don't change a thing. I adore you blog to peices :)
    LB

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  7. Hi there. I stumbled upon your blog as i was looking for wedding inspiration.i love your writing, i can really relate to a lot of it. i know blogging can be exhausting- keep it up.

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