Sometimes writing in my blog is part of a healing process, other times the stories exist as a living journal, a legacy for my daughter. Often I try and crystallise important moments in time in this virtual frame.
I love sharing, connecting, and I’m happy to give much of myself to readers. Maybe it makes them feel less alone. At least I hope so. The reality is that often people know much more about me than I do about them.
There are some writers and bloggers who put everything out there. Call it confessional, call it oversharing but maybe they are braver than me, tougher than me, or maybe they just have different boundaries.
I’ve read books about writing memoirs (and have yet to finish my own) but they talk a lot about ethics, about making sure to tell your story- not someone else’s. They talk about having healthy motivation for saying what you want to say. This makes sense when it comes to protecting people in your life.
Brene Brown says in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, that its best to make public only the things you’re already at peace with. Which makes perfect sense because if an issue is unresolved in your mind, you are far more vulnerable to criticism. I’ve made that mistake.
My blog mentor, Pip Lincolne, tells us to be wary of leaving our hearts open on screen, even if we receive supportive feedback, our words will soon become ‘yesterday’s’ blog post. That’s another point to consider. Do I want my heartache to gather dust faster than a computer screen?
Somehow I’ve turned into a bit of Mommy Blogger though I prefer the term ‘Lifestyle Blogger.’ Becoming a mother was a huge part of my story and motivation for re-starting this blog. It’s part of my identity but I worry about what and how to include my daughter. I try and make sure that I am the main subject and she is just part of the detail. I worry about how big her digital footprint is already at age two, not even close to being able to give consent for any of it.
As she gets older I hope to push her more to the periphery of my stories. I don’t want to say anything that will embarrass her, I refuse to talk about potty-training and the like but I have been known to vent about tantrums on Facebook. I guess I won’t really know if I’ve succeeded until she’s older. I guess it’s okay if she’s embarrassed of me, just not BY me.
Also on that same topic, I don’t write about my husband very much. I don’t write gushy Facebook posts about him either (other than on his birthday or our anniversary). It’s not that he’s off limits but I do enjoy a degree of privacy in our relationship (but I do plan to tell our story in a book- as long as he is okay with it). I do gush about him heavily after wine and when he’s out of earshot. Don’t worry he already has very healthy self-esteem.
Maybe this whole post is about how I’ve been working on developing healthy boundaries for myself and my writing. I am happy to be open about my struggles with postnatal depression, anxiety and good ole’ regular depression but those are my stories to own. And at the moment I’m not inside them- if that makes sense.
I love this quote from Lawson’s book Furiously Happy:
“I do have boundaries. I don’t tell stories that a mean fourteen year old girl could use against Hailey one day. I don’t write about anything I’m currently fighting with someone about or anything where I’m not the biggest butt of the joke. There are a lot of stories that I don’t write because they aren’t my stories to tell, but I think telling my stories helps to encourage putting other stories out there.”
But yes, from experience, I think it’s better if you’re at peace with the subject matter- which should ultimately be yourself.