Honestly Blogging: exposing our true selves intimately and deeply

I love certain blogs and posts most likely because I agree with the author or the point of view on a given topic. Human nature forces the mind migrate towards those who have similar views to our own. Naturally. But why do we expose ourselves so intimately on topics that affect our lives so broadly with such a dangerously wide audience, not only those who agree with and similarly like our writing styles?

Writing a personal blog provided me with something soul cleansing. I feel better when my honest words spill out onto the virtual page instead of, or sometimes along with, my tears. Isn’t “honesty” not the objective but the catalyst?

There’s no one who cannot see through you like a plate-glass window if the writing presented is disingenuous or trite. I get complimented on my honest no b.s. style, with regards to my primarily cancer-related blog posts. By divulging other corners of my emotional life along with cancer’s affects on my body and my spirit the therapeutic benefits become self-evident. This includes the sticky issues around how my husband’s depression effects me and our relationship. My blog also allows me tackle all kinds of issues through my poetry.

I’d not feel genuine nor as though I were presenting my life with authenticity if I don’t present the three-dimensional view of Ilene. So I publish it all – ugly, funny, beautiful, strange. 

Why a blog instead of social media?

Publishing my innermost feelings on a platform such as Facebook opens up a big can of worms that won’t get back inside without much squirming – kind of like those surprise spring snakes in a can labeled Peanut Brittle. Frightening and not very humorous. If a friend or relative chooses to read my blog posts they have to actually make an effort to leave Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or LinkedIn, or… I provide a link on those pages to let those who want to know I’ve published a new post.

A closer look at the kinds of posts on social sites and the reactions they illicit, pushes me to take what I believe is the right approach for my purposes in the virtual world. Getting what I need and giving back what’s needed by others on specific sites primary purpose for taking a deeper look at what the right content – and at what comfort level I derive from each.

For instance: participation in peer closed cancer groups on Facebook; short messages on Twitter for communicating to the wider metastatic breast cancer community; and marketing to a wide general audience through more visually engaging platforms like Instagram and Pinterest for my vintage Etsy business and for my blog. 

“Tell me about your mother, yah?”

Writing is therapy – and not everyone wants to know what lights up the CT scan from deep within. And there are many who need to know there’s another person who has been through a similar experience so they don’t feel so alone with their malady. They find our blogs eventually and on their own terms. That’s one reason to keep writing – it’s not cowardly or hiding out cowering from feeling vulnerable in a dark corner of the web at all. It’s rather brave to spill your guts in the midst of history’s most public forum of all – the internet. Our blogs can be read by a hugely wide audience including people we’d prefer not have access to our fears and our pain. 

The recursive act of throwing ourselves out there without any reason to believe someone will or will never read our stories leads us down an unknown path without a map or a compass. We jump off into a great unknown and hope for the best.

Why am I telling you all this?

I read a wonderful blog post on Fractured Faith – What have you written about today? My comment on the well written and thoughtful post (equally well written and thoughtful as the rest of the blog posts) sparked a lot of thought. Specifically thoughts about why all this gut spilling and what purpose it serves me and those who slouch towards my posts?

Additionally, I sat down to reply thoughtfully to a heartfelt comment on a prior post. The comment’s author emphasized feeling connected to another human being who also happens to be a cancer patient. Since I do strive to bleed on the page without prejudice and with no b.s., a feeling of interconnectedness sparks at the moment when my words meet a like mind or a like person with similar experiences.

That’s the point (to me anyway.) A blog can create a bond between minds, no longer strangers to one another. And that’s where the gift of writing comes back to pay dividends. The value of those bonds doubles upon knowing your words met someone during their time of need – or they wouldn’t have sought out someone or something to connect with – and therefore it’s not my right to keep it all to myself.

It’s my privilege to pay forward to others who found me in the vastness of the internet’s expansive universe of people just like you and just like me. And we gravitate towards each other here, don’t we?

 

Ilene

Female. East coast transplant living in the Bay Area of California. Living with Stage IV breast cancer. Married to the coolest guy in the universe who occasionally suffers from serious depression. Love my stepsons, although I never thought I'd have that thankless job - ever! And my best friend Simon is also my cat. How I have survived with stage IV: treatments including chemo and surgery; palliative oncology; tenacity; a dark sense of humor; support groups; and my newly reinvented career as a vintage and antiques maven. Some days I miss the old me who led a well respected and well paid life as a business strategist in high tech. So much for that. I blog to simply share my experiences and my poetic approach with others who have cancer of any kind or with their care givers and those who love them. If one person at the very least finds a little commonality or a friend out in the ether tor a smile, a common nod about this experience, or even a link to assistance, then I have accomplished a small but extraordinarily meaningful goal. Go team.

3 thoughts on “Honestly Blogging: exposing our true selves intimately and deeply

  1. Hi Ilene,
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself the question you asked in your first paragraph: “But why do we expose ourselves so intimately on topics that effect our lives so broadly with such a dangerously wide audience, not only those who agree with and similarly like our writing styles?” Sometimes I cannot believe what I’ve shared on the internet. Usually, I tell myself, if I don’t share candidly about the hard/ugly stuff, too, what’s the point? Still, revealing vulnerabilities carries risk. But the rewards out weigh them, as you so eloquently wrote about. Bonds between minds. That’s powerful stuff. Thank you.

    1. Oh Nancy, tell me about the vulnerability aspect of sharing such intimate facts in the wide open space of the global “village.” Hitting publish takes two hands at times. But it’s not all that personal. Setting the record factually straight in many cases takes a public voice without fear and with unabashed honesty.

      Sometimes I feel like the global village idiot. But then again ignorance, or idiocy in my case, is bliss. I’ve no time to give a rats ass about anyone who may read my words, including family by the way, and who respond negatively. The incredibly dissociative nature of guilt versus empathy seeps into the cracks in the seams of those relationships compared to those who need our words – compulsory for greater public awareness and to lend our strength to those who feel isolated like we do from time to time and have no way to understand they’re not alone. It’s their individual needs that drive my brutal and difficult writing. Even the posts on depression and my husband. He’s none too happy to hear those posts mind you, but immediately it brings about the realization that I’m both caregiver and patient and it’s quite a lot of pressure.

      All of these issues are public health crises requiring loud voices to raise awareness beyond our own pain.

      A life unspoken in this instance is a life in vain.

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