It’s a funny thing to write a blog – particularly a blog that contains your real name and discusses real circumstances. It’s tricky because firstly, who is reading your public memoir? Secondly, should you be spilling your guts to this virtual world? And thirdly, at what point do you draw the line in terms of sharing information?
Actually, these are great questions for being online in general. When you go onto Facebook – do you post updates on hair re-growth, have you switched your status to: “cancer fighter?” What about on this forum – should you post a picture or use your real name?
This week Riding Shot Gun and Both Sides posted some frank writing about hard topics – and I know they held reservations about being so open with their readers. As Riding Shot Gun questioned, how wide should we open the kimono?
(And partially because I can’t keep my virtual mouth shut)
This is how I see things: we go online because there are times when we need to shout our feelings, and that calls for a different sort of support. It’s not anyone’s fault. Despite loving us, sometimes others can’t cope or simply haven’t walked in these specific shoes of life (thank goodness). So we come here to places like FacingCancer.ca to vent and ask questions from people who have worn the same shoes.
Also, when it comes to venting and asking questions, the beauty of being online is that you can read quietly, you can register a false name or, alternatively, you can post a photo of your beautiful self and forget the alias. Either way, you get supported. Isn’t that kinda liberating?
And then – for me – one of the biggest reasons I’ve discussed topics like sexuality, loss of loved ones, and fertiliy struggles with this online community (plus so much more) is because you are real, and we all really experiencing these issues. Doesn’t matter if you lurk, doesn’t matter if your username is ‘hotpotatoe65’, doesn’t matter . . . because you are a real person, and you’re here because we’re all dealing with a very real problem.
So when you go on the forum and write that hard question that’s almost too painful to admit beyond your own head (and that warm, inviting keyboard), or you post an article that almost crosses the line in terms of its honesty toward the emotions and difficulties of the situations . . .
. . . and you’re quite ready to delete the post or erase the message. Just take a moment to remember that beyond the usernames we’re people who have been there, worn the same shoes, and have the greatest compassion toward your story.
That’s what I tell myself before hitting the ‘publish’ button on my rawest of posts.
We all have our line in the sand. Mine generally involves not divulging too much information that involves other people’s problems (even if they are mixed with mine, with the exception of the sexuality post).
As someone who looks online for community (and you must be, otherwise how did you come to read this post?) – what’s your line in the sand? And have you ever told a hard story online, only to realize that soooo many people relate?
This post is terribly reflective. But it’s been on my mind, and now it’s out I can get on with my day. Speaking of which, it’s Friday the 13th here and I’m at a B&B named Kirkman House in Arnprior, Ontario – it was built before 1900 by the local lumber baron, and this room is totally gorgeous! If you live in Ottawa (though I realize readers are worldwide) – get yourself to Arnprior. You can eat Wes’ chips by the waterfront, rent a canoe, enjoy a truck stop breakfast, and take a walk in an old growth forest.
Lovely bunch of loveliness.
And now, if you don’t mind, I’ll depart. My husband just arrived back home yesterday, and we have some work to catch up on . . .