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Letting family in is a double edged sword

standard December 4, 2008 10 responses

I love that my family reads my blog. (Hi guys!) I know a lot of people go to great lengths to keep their families out, but I really, honestly, love that they check in on me on a somewhat regular basis.

That said, I’m not a person who finds it easy to open up to people in person, especially to my family. I like to maintain the illusion that everything is always hunky dory, peachy keen. I’m the tough one, the one you can rely on, the one who’ll put on her big girl panties and just deal so you can fall apart. I’d have to say that 90% of the time it’s not even an act, but trust me, you probably won’t ever know when I’m in the throes of the 10% when I am acting all cool and collected and melting down inside.

The only time I feel comfortable opening up is when my fingers are tippy tapping on a keyboard. Ask M! If I have something I need to vent about I do it over IM or over email. The words just flow better when they’re coming out through my fingers. They somehow always get jumbled up between my brain and my mouth. So I let lose on my blog. Venting to the Internet gets out all the stress and the angst, then I feel better and I can get on with my cool and collected life.

Are you seeing where this is going?

Right. If my blog is where I lower my guard and show my true murky angsty colors, and my family reads my blog, then they know that I’m not always doing awesome.

Now, when I started blogging, I really wanted to shut them out so they would never know about that side of me. Then I realized that having people know that I wasn’t Super Girl wasn’t a bad thing, and could even be a good thing, so I threw the gates open and let them in. And then I discovered the one drawback. These people, they love me (Oh, shush, yes you do.), and it turns out that they worry about me. So, every time I write about having a middle of the night meltdown, or about not getting any sleep, or even about depression, then they all call to see how I’m feeling, and I feel terrible for having worried them.

So then the one thing I really didn’t want starts happening, I start to censor myself before I write. I stop and wonder if what I want to unload will cause my family to fret. I agonize over how what I write is going to make them feel, I imagine how they’re going to react, and I discard great blog posts, fantastic topics, and tough emotions that I really should be sharing with the world both because it makes me feel better and because I know it helps people to know that they aren’t alone in the world.

The more I think of it I realize that the issue isn’t really that I don’t want to worry them, it’s that I’m back at that “I don’t want to admit that I can’t always deal” and that I’m hiding behind a smokescreen so I don’t have to confront my true feelings.

Well, guess what feelings, you’re busted! I’m on to you and I’m going to out you to the world. Heh.

And no, in case you were wondering, this is not a post about me being covertly depressed. Things are actually pretty good these days, if you ignore the fact that I still never get to sleep and the fact that my writing is bringing in close to $0 at a time when we need more money, not less. It’s a post about the challenges of opening up to the Internet when it’s filled with familiar faces. It’s a post about baring yourself to the world and then putting your clothes back on and looking your readers in the eye.

Originally posted on It’s my life…

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10 responses

  • This should be required reading for every person blogging. And their families.
    The worst thing for me is when their issues become YOUR issues and you can’t blog about it. I always say I can never use my best material!

  • Good for you! I have had a real problem with censoring myself lately. It is not good.

  • To be honest or to be protective, that is the ultimate blogger question> i’ve been writing a syndicated parenting column for newspapers for 20 years. It’s been an interesting juggle/struggle trying to protect my family, while being me. And now I’m blogging, where the potential for honesty and immediacy, where everybody can see everything, is even more dramatic. And yet, and yet, the blogs I like to read the most are the ones that are brutally honest! So who we gonna serve? Check out snappymom for brutal honesty and also breed em and weep. I’m at http://www.journeyinparenting.com. Type Debra Lynn in search field for my stuff. Keep at it. You are a good writer.

  • I have mentioned that I blog to friends and family, but have not shared the url with them. Why? Really, it is because I am currently at a time of standoff with a family member. I want to have the blog to vent, but know that she would be upset to see my venting. So even though my blog is unknown to my family and really not well-travelled I hesitate to post. It’s a double edged sword for me at the moment.

    I like your twitters and see you are also an AddsYou writer. Come see my blog: http://www.writingmylifeoneblogatatime.blogspot.com I’ll add you to my blogroll — could you do the same?

  • I was thinking about this the other day. I’ve let my family into my blog, and I think I’m a lot like you – putting a good face on in person. So my posts probably worry my mom. But then she’s a few hundred miles away and we don’t talk all the time, so I just pretend she doesn’t know. 😉 I’m only half kidding.

    I worry more about revealing things from my past that influence my present behavior. My mom takes all of that personally and gets her feelings hurt. I’ve resigned myself to keeping some of that stuff out of the blog.

    Maybe people like us should guest post on others’ blogs just to let it all hang out. 🙂

  • @Darryle Isn’t it so frustrating? Sometimes the best blog fodder is other people’s issues. HA!

    @Professor J I always know when I’m over censoring and sugarcoating; my readers drop off and the comments vanish! Worse I get bored with what I write! Horrors!

    @DebraLynn That is always the question isn’t it? I much prefer the honest blogs too…

    @Mom on the Run My family found my blog in the worst way possible and I had to make the tough decision to let them in or take it down. I’m glad I ended up letting them in, it brought us all closer and I think it made me a better writer!

    @Steph My family is way far away and I think the distance actually makes it worse. The local friends and family see me happy the day after a “dark” post so they don’t worry quite as much.

  • I came here through someone posting this on Twitter, and when I read it, I said wow, that’s me.

    Sometimes it’s a daily battle for me to post what I really want to say vs what will my parents think when they read this and live so far away, when they can’t just come check up on me when I’ve posted some really low points in my depression, and I get so close to not posting at all, or I don’t post all of what I really want, and then other times I HAVE to post it no matter what they will think because I feel like I’m dying inside and need to get it all out before I explode.
    This post is exactly how I feel a lot lately.

    This is a great post, thank you for sharing it with everyone.

  • Oh boy, do I know how you feel. I used to be *very* open and honest on my blog — almost too much so. I finally got to a point that I realized maybe I should stop, and I did. And you know what? The minute I censored myself my writing suffered. It was horrible. My posts were lifeless and had no spunk, no character. Keep writing about yourself, and who you are and what you’re going through…because I truly feel that’s how writers find themselves. THAT is how you will make money in writing….by being yourself. Trust that. Oh, and big hugs. 🙂

  • Disclosure! Family Member Comment. Well, I for one am very happy that you didn’t take your blog down. I love that we have this new relationship via blogging and that we can talk about things we don’t normally discuss on the phone. Letting people in is scary but can only lead to good things – especially when we’re so far away! I love seeing the girls’ pictures and hearing about your day to day – it makes us so much more connected.

  • Here, here! I have the added stress of having my father follow me on twitter and facebook, and my brother harassing me to write more. I can’t seem to get away. Most of the time it’s ok, but sometimes? I just want a place where they won’t read and know.

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