When my truth hurts others…the downside of radical honesty

This year has barely started and already it has been packed full of excitement, most of which if I had my way would cease to be…but do I really get a say? Of course not! In the midst of dealing with my father’s health issues, it seems I passed a milestone (actually a few, including my eldest turning 21…yikes!). Last month this blog turned 5 years old. If you know anything about the blog world, I am nice and middle aged now…gee, the blog and I are running on the same trajectory.

This week has been an interesting time in the life of this blog, one of the challenges of having a larger and more diverse readership is that frankly I am feeling less open. I started this blog in 2008 when I was in the midst of an 18 month period of unemployment. I was doing some grant writing for a few clients and desperately looking for a permanent job. I had briefly worked with a life coach and one of the areas of career interest that I had identified from that process was writing. At that time, I was already doing a column for the Portland Phoenix and wanted to expand my writing. Back then I thought a blog might be able to lead to something more substantial that would bring in some income. It was also a way for me to experiment with my voice in a way that neither grant writing nor my column allowed.

Back in the old days of this blog, I wrote whatever I felt like writing, safe in the knowledge that very few people were actually reading what I wrote. I am not sure when things changed, but they have changed and this week, for the first time ever, I am feeling the impact of sharing myself with others and really I am feeling at a crossroads with this space.

In the past few years, I have embarked on a personal journey to make peace with myself. Part of making peace with myself is being radically honest with myself and by extension this space being part of me is where I strive to be radically honest. The problem with radical honesty is that for many people, it’s hurtful and can come across as rude. This is the point at which I have to say I am looking at the wall and not really sure where to go.

A few days ago, I published a piece on this site, which came from a deeply honest place in my spirit. While many replied either on the blog or directly to me and understood the spirit in which I wrote the piece, not all agreed. In fact a long time reader who did reply to that piece said she was done reading, as she felt I didn’t get it. I have had other people unsubscribe in the past several days and in one instance I was informed that they found my material offensive. As a Black woman in a state like Maine, hell in America, I am well aware that discussions on race are hard. Yet at what point must my reality be blunted to accommodate another’s reality?

Moreover what responsibility do we owe to others when living our truth creates discontent for them? I believe that we are all connected as part of the human family and when we look out not just for ourselves but others, things are simply more harmonious. I believe that a great deal of the tension and stress that is so prevalent in our culture is because we value surface appearances to the detriment of truth. As a result many of us stuff ourselves down to avoid conflict, but eventually there are limits to how much stuffing down we can do and what we stuff down, eventually comes back up.

Anyway, I am sitting and wondering what my next steps are for this space as I have done many times in the past. Someone recently asked me what my plans were for this space and the truth is; I have no idea. In many ways the goals that I had when I started this space are no longer applicable. I have been wondering if it is time to take it all back to the old fashioned journal and say good bye. I don’t feel quite ready for that but when I no longer feel that I can honesty speak my truth in this space, I do have to wonder, is there any point in going on?

Life Update: For regular readers, I did want to give an update on my Dad. He is stable and pain free at present as we wait to hear the final diagnosis. We are starting to deal with the day to day impact of his illness which includes lots of paperwork and phone calls for things like disability payments. As a result, my plans for the e-book are on hold since I am holding down my day job and trying to secure as much freelance work as I can to ensure that my dad’s needs are met in the short run. I did have a couple of readers who pre-ordered and because of life’s interruptions I am offering a refund for anyone who wants one since with everything going on, it’s become clear that rushing to get the book done is a bad idea. Too bad, I can’t get more than 24 hours in a day to get everything accomplished.

Choosing to blog publicly, wise or not?

I originally wrote this piece in 2008 when I had only been blogging for a few months, at the time I was a self employed non-profit consultant and freelance writer. Fast forward several years and I run a small non-profit that is growing and finding myself wondering if I have made the best decision in blogging under my name. Yesterday, a local reporter contacted me using my blog email address and it dawned on me…holy shit. As regular readers know I recently made Babble’s list of top Mom bloggers debuting at #70 which depending on one’s career aspirations may have value or not. Right now it has no value since I don’t earn my daily keep as a blogger. That said, when so much of my work depends on making connections and a certain image, I do wonder is this going to blow up in my face at some point?

 

When I initially decided to blog the plan had been to remain anonymous since I basically wanted a space where I could let my hair down, not always needing to be mindful of exactly what I said but a place to just let it all out. However after sharing with a few folks IRl that I was blogging I made the decision to come out so to speak, being the connected person I am I put a link on my face-book page and in a few other places and well I just have to say that, that six degrees of separation shit is real.

Now unlike some folks out in the blogosphere, I don’t have an employer to be mindful of, I am self-employed and actually I do write in my real life for a local publication. (in my real life writing, I am also not nearly as casual as I am here either, so a lot of the essense of what I say gets diluted I think) This blog is the raw uncensored version of what I have written for the past 4 years, its me up close and personal.

I must admit today I found myself wondering if coming out though was a good thing when a local buddy hit me up that she had read one of my pieces and actually had some thoughts.. no, it was nothing bad but it did get me to thinking, um, is it a good idea to be out there especially when I live in a pretty white place and truthfully race factors in to a lot of my thoughts? On the other hand, I found myself thinking maybe being out is not a bad thing, yes there is a good chance I may piss someone off, on the other hand, anyone who knows me knows I rant a lot anyway and honestly I think some of what I post on provides a starting point to some good discussions.

This blog was born partially out of my frustration of needing to vent and shit, its cheaper than therapy. Anyway tonight’s post is a quickie since its time to get off the computer for the night and connect with the spousal unit.

I am curious though, for my fellow bloggers do you share your blogging with your real life folks or are you in the closet?

Have a good weekend!