The Sibling Police [Thanks for Being There]


“Isn’t it kind of scary that people you don’t know read your blog?”

This question always comes from people who don’t write.

I thought I would be a writer when I was two years old. I’m not even exaggerating. I remember one day in the apartment before we’d moved to our house, and I wanted to write a letter. I didn’t know how to spell anything, so I ran out to the living room and asked my mother how to spell “Dear Gramma.” I wrote letter after letter of the same sentences: “Dear Gramma, I love you and God loves you too. Love, Catherine.” A little redundant, huh? But that’s the day I remember thinking something along the lines of I want to write books because books were some of my best friends. (Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely social. Don’t imagine me all reclusive and lonely in a diaper.)

It’s because I’ve always hoped to write that I’m not too worried about others reading my work. It’s a natural result of writing. It’s what we all hope will happen one day.

I am not worried about people I don’t know reading my blog. I’m worried about people I love reading it.

I was thinking of writing a post about my selfishness and my strivings for graciousness and self-sacrifice and gratitude. And then I imagined my brothers and sister reading it, and all the hubbub that would’ve caused: “Um, excuse me, but didn’t you just write about being more giving? I could really use xyz right now…” And then I laughed because I realized I don’t want anyone keeping tabs on my soul-work but me. I guess God can be in on it, but even that’s a little dicey sometimes (I half-kid).

The idea of “live and let live” has never crossed my family’s mind, at least not my siblings and me. My parents are much better at stepping back and watching us screw up (not in a ‘haha!’ way, just a good, healthy, you-are-adults-now way). The four of us, on the other hand, are constantly giving our two or three or four cents-worth and then raging when our obviously-correct advice goes unheeded. I am by far the worst culprit, but the other three are fast at my heels.

It isn’t my words that make me feel vulnerable, it’s the implications those words have on my life that make me (and any writer) easier to critique.

That’s the trade-off, though. To hold everything inside because someone might discover I’m not nearly as good at doing what I strive to do as I am at claiming the coffee as “mine!” and the bathroom as “mine!” and the warmest winter coat in the house as “mine!”. This is not an option.

So when people ask me if I’m nervous about strangers reading my blog, I’ll just smile and say, “I’m honored when strangers read my blog. I’m terrified when people I know read it.”

Note to the Siblings: I am NOT working on graciousness today, FYI.

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