A lot of people in relationships probably have a conversation at some point about whether or not they should “go Facebook official.” I’m guilty of starting that conversation with my boyfriend. And then there are probably a lot of people in relationships who never have that conversation because they really do not care about Facebook or how others perceive their lives and I’m deeply jealous of those people (like you, Melissa) because I think a great deal about how others perceive my life. It was a great joy to me when my Boyfriend nonchalantly told me that he certainly didn’t mind if I made our relationship public knowledge. I was expecting to have to bug him for months before he would finally cave, and I was willing to nag him incessantly. I’m a little disappointed in myself for caring, of course, but that doesn’t stop the caring from happening deep down inside.
So take all of those feelings about going “Facebook official” with your boyfriend and magnify them by a trillion and you will get how I feel about going Facebook official with my blog. Don’t get me wrong, my blog is something I am proud of and when you are proud of something you should want to show it off. But telling people about your blog feels kind of like ripping out pages of your diary and climbing onto the roof of a giant building in a crowded street and then throwing those diary pages into the wind and down into that busy street of people, and then while they are reading all of your secrets you just start flailing your arms around and yelling down to them “I wrote that! That embarrassing story is about me! Up here!” And then you trip and fall in front of them and they all gather around to look at the train wreck that is your life. Oh, and you’re wearing a sandwich board with your name, number, address, and a list of all of your fears on it in bold font –Comic Sans- because what can be more humiliating than using Comic Sans? And then when you look closer you realize the people in the street are all acquaintances from your hometown or people who bullied you growing up. Okay, I may be taking this a little too far, but that’s seriously how vulnerable it makes me feel. When there are lots of people consuming something there will be a lot of different views of that something. Some people might pat me on the back and say “good job” and some people might think I’m silly for letting others know how I feel about things and others might think it’s dumb and that I’m narcissistic.
I have had my blog for over a year now, and it has helped me immensely in coming to terms with a confusing illness, a chaotic period of time in my life when I couldn’t work because I was sick and I didn’t know why, and lots of other little things that have happened along the way. It has been an amazing year on the internet for me. I have met so many incredibly inspiring human beings from all over the world who show me, everyday, that having a chronic illness is no excuse for not living life to the fullest. I have a network of blogging friends who support each other, make each other laugh, and are just there to let you know that they get it, whatever being sick means to you personally, they get some variation of that and you are not alone. The internet is a great place for reminding you that you are not alone.
In this year of blogging I have been told that I, myself, am one of those people who inspires others. I have been told that I help people in a similar position as me, especially those people who are sitting on the edge of their seat just wondering what exactly is wrong with them and why it’s taking so long to figure out. I have been Freshly Pressed by WordPress, which is a great honour. I have been nominated for a bunch of really cool awards. I have gotten paid writing gigs on awesome websites because of my blog. And yet I have kept it a secret from a lot of people. If you don’t read my blog chances are you have very little idea what I have been going through, not that it’s the worst sort of illness or anything. Of course I know people worse off. But chances are, all the same, you may not have a sweet clue that anything has been going on at all. I am not one to advertise it anywhere else. I don’t write Facebook posts about being sick. I don’t shake someone’s hand after just meeting them and say “I’ve felt pretty miserable all year.” It’s one of those weird things where I openly talk about it with my close friends and then to a sea of strangers through the anonymity of the world wide web. There’s very little in between.
It’s pretty terrifying when you’re writing your innermost feelings and you start listing off in your head all of the people you know who will be reading that. People you love, people you don’t particularly care for one way or another, people you don’t like even a little bit. It’s all out there for everyone to see, but when I don’t post about it on Facebook I have this false sense of security that those people won’t ever find it.
By going Facebook official I will have a few tiny worries when I publish posts from now on. Every “F” word I type will conjure up an echo of my mother’s famous “tsk tsk tsk.” But then I will just remind myself that writers and singers and comedians all have families who have access to their innermost thoughts as well. But they believe in themselves enough to suck it up and move along. They don’t hide those thoughts from the world just because they are terrified their parents might disapprove. So I will do the same now. I want to be a writer, damn it. I want to be openly proud of the things I write, every last diatribe, personal essay, or silly anecdote. If Amy Poehler can write about her divorce, knowing full well that Will Arnett is going to read her book, then surely I can write a measly little blog knowing that people in my life might read it. I will just keep saying to myself “What Would Amy Do?”
My sister, Kayla, gave me a very nice Christmas present this year. She bought me a URL for my blog and a brand new design. There was one catch, though. She told me she would only buy this for me if I would tell people about my blog. She said it isn’t something that should be hidden. So this is me living up to my end of the bargain. I figure New Years would be a decent time to rip off the band-aid.
Just do me a favour, k? If you’re in my family and you read my blog just don’t tell me you read it. I will go on being completely ignorant to that fact and then return to writing for me and not for other people.